The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson; and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 317 pages of information about The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson; and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson.
the woman’s skull.  Baldur’s body was then borne to the funeral pile on board the ship, and this ceremony had such an effect on Nanna, the daughter of Nep, that her heart broke with grief, and her body was burnt on the same pile with her husband’s.  Thor then stood up and hallowed the pile with Mjolnir, and during the ceremony kicked a dwarf named Litur, who was running before his feet, into the fire.  There was a vast concourse of various kinds of people at Baldur’s obsequies.  First came Odin, accompanied by Frigga, the Valkyrjor and his ravens; then Frey in his car drawn by a boar named Gullinbursti or Slidrugtanni; Heimdall rode his horse called Gulltopp, and Freyja drove in her chariot drawn by cats.  There were also a great many Frost-giants and giants of the mountains present.  Odin laid on the pile the gold ring called Draupnir, which afterwards acquired the property of producing every ninth night eight rings of equal weight.  Baldur’s horse was led to the pile fully caparisoned, and consumed in the same flames on the body of his master.


60.  “Meanwhile, Hermod was proceeding on his mission.  For the space of nine days, and as many nights, he rode through deep glens so dark that he could not discern anything until he arrived at the river Gjoll, which he passed over on a bridge covered with glittering gold.  Modgudur, the maiden who kept the bridge, asked him his name and lineage, telling him that the day before five bands of dead persons had ridden over the bridge, and did not shake it so much as he alone.  ‘But,’ she added, ’thou hast not death’s hue on thee, why then ridest them here on the way to Hel?’

“‘I ride to Hel,’ answered Hermod, ’to seek Baldur.  Hast thou perchance seen him pass this way?’

“‘Baldur,’ she replied, ’hath ridden over Gjoll’s bridge, but there below, towards the north, lies the way to the abodes of death.’

“Hermod then pursued his journey until he came to the barred gates of Hel.  Here he alighted, girthed his saddle tighter, and remounting, clapped both spurs to his horse, who cleared the gate by a tremendous leap without touching it.  Hermod then rode on to the palace, where he found his brother Baldur occupying the most distinguished seat in the hall, and passed the night in his company.  The next morning he besought Hela (Death) to let Baldur ride home with him, assuring her that nothing but lamentations were to be heard among the gods.  Hela answered that it should now be tried whether Baldur was so beloved as he was said to be.

“‘If therefore,’ she added, ’all things in the world, both living and lifeless, weep for him, then shall he return to the AEsir, but if any one thing speak against him or refuse to weep, he shall be kept in Hel.’

“Hermod then rose, and Baldur led him out of the hall and gave him the ring Draupnir, to present as a keepsake to Odin.  Nanna also sent Frigga a linen cassock and other gifts, and to Fulla a gold finger-ring.  Hermod then rode back to Asgard, and gave an account of all he had heard and witnessed.

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The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson; and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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