Hárbarðsljóð – The Poem of Harbarth

Thor spake:
21. “Thou didst repay good gifts with evil mind.”

Harbarth spake:
22. “The oak must have | what it shaves from another;
In such things each for himself.
What, Thor, didst thou the while?”

Thor spake:
23. “Eastward I fared, | of the giants I felled
Their ill-working women | who went to the mountain;
And large were the giants’ throng | if all were alive;
No men would there be | in Mithgarth more.
What, Harbarth, didst thou the while?”

Harbarth spake:
24. “In Valland I was, | and wars I raised,
Princes I angered, | and peace brought never;
The noble who fall | in the fight hath Othin,
And Thor hath the race of the thralls.”

Thor spake:
25. “Unequal gifts | of men wouldst thou give to the gods,
If might too much thou shouldst have.”

22. The oak, etc.: this proverb is found elsewhere (e.g., Grettissaga) in approximately the same words. its force is much like our “to the victor belong the spoils.”

23. Thor killed no women of the giants’ race on the “journey to the East” so fully described by Snorri, his great giant-killing adventure being the one narrated in the Thrymskvitha.

24. Valland: this mythical place (“Land of Slaughter”) is elsewhere mentioned, but not further characterised; cf. prose introduction to Völundarkvitha, and Helreith Brynhildar, 2. On the bringing of slain heroes to Othin, cf. Voluspo, 31 and note, and, for a somewhat different version, Grimnismol, 14. Nowhere else is it indicated that Thor has an asylum for dead peasants.

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