“There was formerly a man,” replied Har, “named Mundilfari, who had two children so lovely and graceful that he called the male, Mani (moon), and the female, Sol (sun), who espoused the man named Glenur. But the gods being incensed at Mundilfari’s presumption, took his children and placed them in the heavens, and let Sol drive the horses that draw the car of the sun, which the gods had made to give light to the world out of the sparks that flew from Muspellheim. These horses are called Arvak and Alsvid, and under their withers the gods placed two skins filled with air to cool and refresh them, or, according to some ancient traditions, a refrigerant substance called isarnkul. Mani was set to guide the moon in his course, and regulate his increasing and waning aspect. One day he carried off from the earth two children, named Bil and Hjuki, as they were returning from the spring called Byrgir, carrying between them the bucket called Saegr, on the pole Simul. Vidfinn was the father of these children, who always follow Mani (the moon), as we may easily observe even from the earth.”
OF THE WOLVES THAT PURSUE THE SUN AND MOON
12. “But the sun,” said Gangler, speeds at such a rate as if she feared that some one was pursuing her for her destruction.”
“And well she may,” replied Har, “for he that seeks her is not far behind, and she has no way to escape than to run before him.”
“But who is he,” asked Gangler, “that causes her this anxiety?”
“There are two wolves,” answered Har; “the one called Skoll pursues the sun, and it is he that she fears, for he shall one day overtake and devour her; the other, called Hati, the son of Hrodvitnir, runs before her, and as eagerly pursues the moon that will one day be caught by him.”
“Whence come these wolves?” asked Gangler.
“A hag,” replied Har, “dwells in a wood, to the eastward of Midgard, called Jarnvid, (the Iron Wood,) which is the abode of a race of witches called Jarnvidjur. This old hag is the mother of many gigantic sons, who are all of them shaped like wolves, two of whom are the wolves thou askest about. There is one of that race, who is said to be the most formidable of all, called Managarm: he will be filled with the life-blood of men who draw near their end, and will swallow up the moon, and stain the heavens and the earth with blood. Then shall the sun grow dim, and the winds howl tumultuously to and fro.”
OF THE WAY THAT LEADS TO HEAVEN.
13. “I must now ask,” said Gangler, “which is the path leading from earth to heaven?”
“That is a senseless question,” replied Har, with a smile of derision. “Hast thou not been told that the gods made a bridge from earth to heaven, and called it Bifrost? Thou must surely have seen it; but, perhaps, thou callest it the rainbow. It is of three hues, and is constructed with more art than any other work. But, strong though it be, it will be broken to pieces when the sons of Muspell, after having traversed great rivers, shall ride over it.”