Balder the Beautiful, Volume I. eBook

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two—­first, the pulling of the mistletoe, and second, the death and burning of the god; and both of them may perhaps be found to have had their counterparts in yearly rites observed, whether separately or conjointly, by people in various parts of Europe.  These rites will be described and discussed in the following chapters.  We shall begin with the annual festivals of fire and shall reserve the pulling of the mistletoe for consideration later on.

Notes: 

[256] Die Edda, uebersetzt von K. Simrock*[8] (Stuttgart, 1882), pp. 286-288.  Compare pp. 8, 34, 264.  Balder’s story is told in a professedly historical form by the old Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus in his third book.  See below, p. 103.  In English the story is told at length by Professor (Sir) John Rhys, Celtic Heathendom (London and Edinburgh, 1888), pp. 529 sqq. It is elaborately discussed by Professor F. Knuffmann in a learned monograph, Balder, Mythus und Sage (Strasburg, 1902).

[257] Gudbrand Vigfusson and F. York Powell, Corpus Poeticum Boreale, i. (Oxford, 1883) p. 197.  Compare Edda Rhythmica seu Antiquior, vulgo Saemundina dicta, Pars iii. (Copenhagen, 1828) pp. 39 sq.; Die Edda, uebersetzt von K. Simrock*[8] (Stuttgart, 1882), p. 8; K. Muellenhoff, Deutsche Altertumskunde, v.  Zweite Abteilung (Berlin, 1891), pp. 78 sq.; Fr. Kauffmann, Balder, Mythus und Sage, pp. 20 sq. In this passage the words translated “bloody victim” (blaupom tivor) and “fate looming” (orlog folgen) are somewhat uncertain and have been variously interpreted.  The word tivor, usually understood to mean “god,” seems to be found nowhere else.  Professor H.M.  Chadwick has kindly furnished me with the following literal translation of the passage:  “I saw (or ‘have seen’) held in safe keeping the life of Balder, the bloody god, Othin’s son.  High above the fields (i.e. the surface of the earth) grew a mistletoe, slender and very beautiful.  From a shaft (or ‘stem’) which appeared slender, came a dangerous sorrow-bringing missile (i.e. the shaft became a ... missile); Hodr proceeded to shoot.  Soon was a brother of Balder born.  He, Othin’s son, proceeded to do battle when one day old.  He did not wash his hands or comb his head before he brought Balder’s antagonist on to the pyre.  But Frigg in Fen-salir (i.e. the Fen-abode) lamented the trouble of Val-holl.”  In translating the words orlog folgen “held in safe keeping the life” Professor Chadwick follows Professor F. Kauffmann’s rendering ("das Leben verwahrt"); but he writes to me that he is not quite confident about it, as the word orlog usually means “fate” rather than “life.”  Several sentences translated by Professor Chadwick ("Soon was a brother of Balder born ... he brought Balder’s antagonist on the pyre”) are omitted by some editors and translators of the Edda.

[258] G. Vigfusson and F. York Powell, Corpus Poeticum Boreale, i. 200 sq.; Edda Rhythmica seu Antiquior, vulgo Saemundina dicta, Pars iii. pp. 51-54; Die Edda, uebersetzt von K. Simrock,*[8] p. 10 sq.; K. Muellenhoff, Deutsche Altertumskunde, v.  Zweite Abteilung, pp. 84 sq.

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