[Footnote 10: i.e., Odin’s: his hall is the world.]
[Footnote 11: Of introducing the use of gold.]
THE LAY OF VAFTHRUDNIR.
Odin visits the Giant (Joetun) Vafthrudnir, for the purpose of proving his knowledge. They propose questions relative to the Cosmogony of the Northern creed, on the conditions that the baffled party forfeit his head. The Joetun incurs the penalty.
1. Counsel thou me now, Frigg! as I long to go Vafthrudnir to visit; great desire, I say, I have, in ancient lore with that all-wise Joetun to contend.
2. At home to bide Haerfather I would counsel, in the gods’ dwellings; because no Joetun is, I believe, so mighty as is Vafthrudnir.
3. Much have I journeyed, much experienced, mighty ones many proved; but this I fain would know, how in Vafthrudnir’s halls it is.
4. In safety mayest thou go, in safety return; in safety on thy journeyings be; may thy wit avail thee, when thou, father of men! shalt hold converse with the Joetun.
5. Then went Odin the lore to prove of that all-wise Joetun. To the hall he came which Im’s father owned. Ygg went forthwith in.
6. Hail to thee, Vafthrudnir! to thy hall I am now come, thyself to see; for I fain would know, whether thou art a cunning and all-wise Joetun.
7. What man is this, that in my habitation by word addresses me? Out thou goest not from our halls, if thou art not the wiser.
8. Gagnrad is my name, from my journey I am come thirsty to thy halls, needing hospitality,—for I long have journeyed—and kind reception from thee, Joetun!
9. Why then, Gagnrad! speakest thou from the floor? Take in the hall a seat; then shall be proved which knows most, the guest or the ancient talker.
10. A poor man should, who to a rich man comes, speak usefully or hold his tongue: over-much talk brings him, I ween, no good, who visits an austere man.
11. Tell me, Gagnrad! since on the floor thou wilt prove thy proficiency, how the horse is called that draws each day forth over human kind?
12. Skinfaxi he is named, that the bright day draws forth over human kind. Of coursers he is best accounted among the Reid-goths. Ever sheds light that horse’s mane.
13. Tell me now, Gagnrad! since on the floor thou wilt prove thy proficiency, how that steed is called, which from the east draws night o’er the beneficent powers?
14. Hrimfaxi he is called, that each night draws forth over the beneficent powers. He from his bit lets fall drops every morn, whence in the dales comes dew.