“’Long is one
Long are two nights,
But how shall I hold out three?
Shorter hath seemed
A month to me oft
Than of this longing-time the half.’
“Frey having thus given away his sword, found himself without arms when he fought with Beli, and hence it was that he slew him with a stag’s antlers.”
“But it seems very astonishing,” interrupted Gangler, “that such a brave hero as Frey should give away his sword without keeping another equally good for himself. He must have been in a very bad plight when he encountered Beli, and methinks must have mightily repented him of the gift.”
“That combat,” replied Har, “was a trifling affair. Frey could have killed Beli with a blow of his fist had he felt inclined: but the time will come when the sons of Muspell shall issue forth to the fight, and then, indeed, will Frey truly regret having parted with his falchion.”
OF THE JOYS OF VALHALLA.
39. “If it be as thou hast told me,” said Gangler, “that all men who have fallen in fight since the beginning of the world are gone to Odin, in Valhalla, what has he to give them to eat, for methinks there must be a great crowd there?”
“What thou sayest is quite true,” replied Har, “the crowd there is indeed great, but great though it be, it will still increase, and will be thought too little when the wolf cometh. But however great the band of men in Valhalla may be, the flesh of the boar Saehrimnir will more than suffice for their sustenance. For although this boar is sodden every morning he becomes whole again every night. But there are few, methinks, who are wise enough to give thee, in this respect, a satisfactory answer to thy question. The cook is called Andhrimnir, and the kettle Eldhrimnir. As it is said,—’Andhrimnir cooks in Eldhrimnir, Saehrimnir.’ ’Tis the best of flesh, though few know how much is required for the Einherjar.”
“But has Odin,” said Gangler, “the same food as the heroes?”
“Odin,’ replied Har, ’gives the meat that is set before him to two wolves, called Geri and Freki, for he himself stands in no need of food. Wine is for him both meat and drink.
“Two ravens sit on Odin’s shoulders and whisper in his ear the tidings and events they have heard and witnessed. They are called Hugin and Munin. He sends them out at dawn of day to fly over the whole world, and they return at eve towards meal time. Hence it is that Odin knows so many things, and is called the Raven’s God. As it is said,—
’Hugin and Munin
Each dawn take their flight
Earth’s fields over.
I fear me for Hugin,
Lest he come not back,
But much more for Munin.’”
40. “What have the heroes to drink,” said Gangler, “in sufficient quantity to correspond to their plentiful supply of meat: do they only drink water?”