Vafþrúðnismál- The Ballad of Vafþrúðnismál

Vafthruthnir spoke:
51. “In the gods’ home Vithar | and Vali shall dwell,
When the fires of Surt have sunk;
Mothi and Magni | shall Mjollnir have
When Vingnir falls in fight.”

Othin spoke:
52. “Much have I fared, | much have I found,
Much have I got of the gods:
What shall bring the doom | of death to Othin,
When the gods to destruction go?”

Vafthruthnir spoke:
53. “The wolf shall fell | the father of men,
And this shall Vithar avenge;
The terrible jaws | shall he tear apart,
And so the wolf shall he slay.”

Othin spoke:
54. “Much have I fared, | much have I found,
Much have I got from the gods:
What spake Othin himself | in the ears of his son,
Ere in the bale-fire he burned?”

Vafthruthnir spoke:
55. “No man can tell | what in olden time
Thou spak’st in the ears of thy son;
With fated mouth | the fall of the gods
And mine olden tales have I told;
With Othin in knowledge | now have I striven,
And ever the wiser thou art.”

Vithar: a son of Othin, who slays the wolf Fenrir; cf. Voluspo, 54 and note. Vali: the son whom Othin begot to avenge Baldr’s death; cf. Voluspo, 33 and note. Mothi (“Wrath”) and Magni (“Might”): the sons of the god Thor, who after his death inherit his famous hammer, Mjollnir. Concerning this hammer cf. especially Thrymskvitha, passim. Vingnir (“the Hurler”): Thor. Concerning his death cf. Voluspo, 56. This stanza is quoted by Snorri. 53. The wolf: Fenrir; cf. Voluspo, 53 and 54. 54. His son: Baldr. Bugge changes lines 3-4 to run: “What did Othin speak | in the ear of Baldr, / When to the bale-fire they bore him?” For Baldr’s death cf. Voluspo, 3a and note. The question is, of course, unanswerable save by Othin himself, and so the giant at last recognizes his guest. 55. Fated: in stanza 19 Vafthruthnir was rash enough to wager his head against his guest’s on the outcome of the contest of wisdom, so he knows that his defeat means his death.


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