Vafþrúðnismál- The Ballad of Vafþrúðnismál

Vafthruthnir spoke:
41. All the champions every day contend in Óðin’s courtyard;
they choose the slaughter and ride from the field,
thenceforth sit reconciled.*

Othin spoke:
42. “Twelfth answer me now | how all thou knowest
Of the fate that is fixed for the gods;
Of the runes of the gods | and the giants’ race
The truth indeed dost thou tell,
(And wide is thy wisdom, giant!)”

Vafthruthnir spoke:
43. “Of the runes of the gods | and the giants’ race
The truth indeed can I tell,
(For to every world have I won;)
To nine worlds came I, | to Niflhel beneath,
The home where dead men dwell.”

Othin spoke:
44. “Much have I fared, | much have I found,
Much have I got of the gods:
What shall live of mankind | when at last there comes
The mighty winter to men?”

Vafthruthnir spoke:
45. “In Hoddmimir’s wood | shall hide themselves
Lif and Lifthrasir then;
The morning dews | for meat shall they have,
Such food shall men then find.”

Othin spoke:
46. “Much have I fared, | much have I found,
Much have I got of the gods:
Whence comes the sun | to the smooth sky back,
When Fenrir has snatched it forth?”

Vafthruthnir spoke:
47. “A daughter bright | Alfrothul bears
Ere Fenrir snatches her forth;
Her mother’s paths | shall the maiden tread
When the gods to death have gone.”

Othin spoke:
48. “Much have I fared, | much have I found,
Much have I got of the gods:
What maidens are they, | so wise of mind.
That forth o’er the sea shall fare?”

Vafthruthnir spoke:
49. “O’er Mogthrasir’s hill | shall the maidens pass,
And three are their throngs that come;
They all shall protect | the dwellers on earth,
Though they come of the giants’ kin.”

Othin spoke:
50. “Much have I fared, | much have I found,
Much have I got of the gods:
Who then shall rule | the realm of the gods,
When the fires of Surt have sunk?”

41. The champions**: those brought to Valhall by the Valkyries. After the day’s fighting they are healed of their wounds and all feast together. 43. Nine worlds: cf. Voluspo, 2. Niflhel: “Dark-Hell.”

44. The mighty winter: Before the final destruction three winters follow one another with no intervening summers.

45. Snorri quotes this stanza. Hoddmimir’s wood: probably {footnote p. 81} this is the ash-tree Yggdrasil, which is sometimes referred to as “Mimir’s Tree,” because Mimir waters it from his well; cf. Voluspo, 27 and note, and Svipdagsmol, 30 and note. Hoddmimir is presumably another name for Mimir. Lif (“Life”) and Lifthrasir (“Sturdy of Life”?): nothing further is known of this pair, from whom the new race of men is to spring.

* This stanza has been edited to replace the mistranslation done by Bellows, it is taken from Jean Young’s translation of the Prose Edda.

** Bellows uses hero in his version of the Snorri translation this has been changed to “champion” to reflect the changed stanza from Jean Young.

46. Fenrir: there appears to be a confusion between the wolf Fenrir (cf. Voluspo, 39 and note) and his son, the wolf Skoll, who steals the sun (cf. Voluspo, 40 and note).

47. Snorri quotes this stanza. Alfrothul (“the Elf-Beam”) the sun. 49. Mogthrasir (“Desiring Sons”): not mentioned elsewhere in the Eddic poems, or by Snorri. The maidens: apparently Norns, like the “giant-maids” in Voluspo, 8. These Norns, how ever, are kindly to men.

50. Surt: cf. Voluspo, 52 and note.

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