Vafþrúðnismál- The Ballad of Vafþrúðnismál

Vafthruthnir spoke:
11. “Speak forth now, Gagnrath, | if there from the floor
Thou wouldst thy wisdom make known:
What name has the steed | that each morn anew
The day for mankind doth draw?”

Othin spoke:
12. “Skinfaxi is he, | the steed who for men
The glittering day doth draw;
The best of horses | to heroes he seems,
And brightly his mane doth burn.”

Vafthruthnir spoke:
13. “Speak forth now, Gagnrath, | if there from the floor
Thou wouldst thy wisdom make known:
What name has the steed | that from East anew
Brings night for the noble gods?”

Othin spoke:
14. “Hrimfaxi name they | the steed that anew
Brings night for the noble gods;
Each morning foam | from his bit there falls,
And thence come the dews in the dales.”

Vafthruthnir spoke:
15. “Speak forth now, Gagnrath, | if there from the floor
Thou wouldst thy wisdom make known:
What name has the river | that ‘twixt the realms
Of the gods and the giants goes?”

Othin spoke:
16. “Ifing is the river | that ‘twixt the realms
Of the gods and the giants goes;
For all time ever | open it flows,
No ice on the river there is.”

Vafthruthnir spoke:
17. “Speak forth now, Gagnrath, | if there from the floor
Thou wouldst thy wisdom make known:
What name has the field | where in fight shall meet
Surt and the gracious gods?”

Othin spoke:
18. “Vigrith is the field | where in fight shall meet
Surt and the gracious gods;
A hundred miles | each way does it measure.
And so are its boundaries set.”

Vafthruthnir spoke:
19. “Wise art thou, guest! | To my bench shalt thou go,
In our seats let us speak together;
Here in the hall | our heads, O guest,
Shall we wager our wisdom upon.”

Othin spoke:
20. “First answer me well, | if thy wisdom avails,
And thou knowest it, Vafthruthnir, now:
In earliest time | whence came the earth,
Or the sky, thou giant sage?”

12. Skinfaxi: “Shining-Mane.”

13. Here, and in general throughout the poem, the two-line introductory formulæ are abbreviated in the manuscripts.

14. Hrimfaxi: “Frosty-Mane.”

16. Ifing: there is no other reference to this river, which never freezes, so that the giants cannot cross it.

17. Surt: the ruler of the fire-world (Muspellsheim), who comes to attack the gods in the last battle; cf. Voluspo, 52.

18. Vigrith: “the Field of Battle.” Snorri quotes this stanza. A hundred miles: a general phrase for a vast distance.

19. With this stanza Vafthruthnir, sufficiently impressed with his guest’s wisdom to invite him to share his own seat, resigns the questioning to Othin.

20. The fragmentary version of this poem in the Arnamagnæan Codex begins in the middle of the first line of this stanza.

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