The Children of Odin The Book of Northern Myths

Page: 46

[Pg 98] her hands and held them. He kissed her on the mouth. All the marks of ill favor went from her. She was no longer bent, but tall and shapely. Her eyes became wide and deep blue. Her mouth became red and her hands soft and beautiful. She became as fair as Gerda, the Giant maid whom Frey had wed.

They stayed looking at each other, then they sat down side by side and talked softly to each other, Odin, the Eldest of the Gods, and Gunnlöd, the beautiful Giant maiden.

She gave him the three jars of the Magic Mead and she told him she would go out of the cavern with him. Three days passed and still they were together. Then Odin by his wisdom found hidden paths and passages that led out of the cavern and he brought Gunnlöd out into the light of the day.

And he brought with him the jars of the Magic Mead, the Mead whose taste gives wisdom, and wisdom in such beautiful words that all love and remember it. And Gunnlöd, who had tasted a little of the Magic Mead, wandered through the world singing of the beauty and the might of Odin, and of her love for him.

[Pg 99]


It was not only to Giants and Men that Odin showed himself in the days when he went through Jötunheim and Midgard as Vegtam the Wanderer. He met and he spoke with the Gods also, with one who lived far away from Asgard and with others who came to Midgard and to Jötunheim.

The one who lived far away from Asgard was Vidar, Odin's silent son. Far within a wilderness, with branches and tall grass growing around him, Vidar sat. And near by him a horse grazed with a saddle upon it, a horse that was ever ready for the speedy journey.

And Odin, now Vegtam the Wanderer, came into that silent place and spoke to Vidar, the Silent God.

"O Vidar," he said, "strangest of all my sons; God who[Pg 100] will live when all of us have passed away; God who will bring the memory of the Dwellers of Asgard into a world that will know not their power; O Vidar, well do I know why there grazes near by thee the horse ever ready for the speedy journey: it is that thou mayst spring upon it and ride unchecked, a son speeding to avenge his father.

"To you only, O Vidar the Silent One, will I speak of the secrets of my doings. Who but you can know why I, Odin, the Eldest of the Gods, hung on the tree Ygdrassil nine days and nine nights, mine own spear transfixing me? I hung upon that windy tree that I might learn the wisdom that would give me power in the nine worlds. On the ninth night the Runes of Wisdom appeared before mine eyes, and slipping down from the tree I took them to myself.

"And I shall tell why my ravens fly to thee, carrying in their beaks scraps of leather. It is that thou mayst make for thyself a sandal; with that sandal on thou mayst put thy foot on the lower jaw of a mighty wolf and rend him. All the shoemakers of the earth throw on the ground scraps of the leather they use so that thou mayst be able to make the sandal for thy wolf-rending foot.

"And I have counseled the dwellers on earth to cut off the fingernails and the toenails of their dead, lest from those fingernails and toenails the Giants make for themselves the ship Naglfar in which they will sail from the North on the day of Ragnarök, the Twilight of the Gods.

"More, Vidar, I will tell to thee. I, living amongst men, have wed the daughter of a hero. My son shall live as a[Pg 101] mortal amongst mortals. Sigi his name shall be. From him shall spring heroes who will fill Valhalla, my own hall in Asgard, with heroes against the day of our strife with the Giants and with Surtur of the Flaming Sword."