“In our language,” replied Har, “he is called Alfadir (All-Father, or the Father of all); but in the old Asgard he had twelve names.”
“Where is this God?” said Gangler; “what is his power? and what hath he done to display his glory?”
“He liveth,” replied Har, “from all ages, he governeth all realms and swayeth all things great and small.”
“He hath formed,” added Jafnhar, “heaven and earth, and the air, and all things thereunto belonging.”
“And what is more,” continued Thridi, “he hath made man, and given him a soul which shall live and never perish though the body shall have mouldered away, or have been burnt to ashes. And all that are righteous shall dwell with him in the place called Gimli, or Vingolf; but the wicked shall go to Hel, and thence to Niflhel, which is below, in the ninth world.”
“And where did this god remain before he made heaven and earth?” demanded Gangler.
“He was then,” replied Har, “with the Hrimthursar."
4. “But with what did he begin, or what was the beginning of things?” demanded Gangler.
“Hear,” replied Har, “what is said in the Voluspa.”
When nought yet was,
Nor sand nor sea,
Nor cooling wave;
Earth was not there,
Nor heaven above.
Nought save a void
And yawning gulf.
But verdure none.’”
“Many ages before the earth was made,” added Jafnhar, “was Niflheim formed, in the middle of which lies the spring called Hvergelmir, from which flow twelve rivers, Gjoll being the nearest to the gate of the abode of death.”
“But, first of all,” continued Thridi, “there was in the southern region (sphere) the world called Muspell. It is a world too luminous and glowing to be entered by those who are not indigenous there. He who sitteth on its borders (or the land’s-end) to guard it is named Surtur. In his hand he beareth a flaming falchion, and at the end of the world shall issue forth to combat, and shall vanquish all the gods, and consume the universe with fire.”
5. “Tell me,” said Gangler, “what was the state of things ere the races mingled, and nations came into being.”
“When the rivers that are called Elivagar had flowed far from their sources,” replied Har, “the venom which they rolled along hardened, as does dross that runs from a furnace, and became ice. When the rivers flowed no longer, and the ice stood still, the vapour arising from the venom gathered over it, and froze to rime, and in this manner were formed, in Ginnungagap, many layers of congealed vapour, piled one over the other.”
“That part of Ginnungagap,” added Jafnhar, “that lies towards the north was thus filled with heavy masses of gelid vapour and ice, whilst everywhere within were whirlwinds and fleeting mists. But the southern part of Ginnungagap was lighted by the sparks and flakes that flew into it from Muspellheim.”