After he had sent forth his messenger maidens, Odin had seated himself on the top of Air Throne that he might see how the earth received his message. At first he watched the Valkyries as they stepped forth north and south, and east and west; but soon the whole earth’s steaming tears rose up like a great cloud and hid everything from him. Then he looked down through the cloud and said, “Are you all weeping?” The Valkyries heard the sound of his voice as they went all together down the slippery road, and they turned round, stretching out their arms towards Air Throne, their long hair falling back, while, with choked voices and streaming eyes, they answered, “The world weeps, Father Odin; the world and we.”
After this they went on their way until they came to the end of the cave Gnipa, where Garm was chained, and which yawned over Niflheim. “The world weeps,” they said one to another by way of encouragement, for here the road was so dreadful; but just as they were about to pass through the mouth of Gnipa they came upon a haggard witch named Thaukt, who sat in the entrance with her back to them, and her face toward the abyss. “Baldur is dead! Weep, weep!” said the messenger maidens, as they tried to pass her; but Thaukt made answer:
“What she doth hold,
Let Hela keep;
For naught care I,
Though the world weep,
O’er Baldur’s bale.
Live he or die
With tearless eye,
Old Thaukt shall wail.”
And with these words leaped into Niflheim with a yell of triumph.
“Surely that cry was the cry of Loki,” said one of the maidens; but another pointed towards the city of Helheim, and there they saw the stern face of Hela looking over the wall.
“One has not wept,” said the grim Queen, “and Helheim holds its own.” So saying she motioned the maidens away with her long, cold hand.
Then the Valkyries turned and fled up the steep way to the foot of Odin’s throne, like a pale snowdrift that flies before the storm.
ADAPTED BY JULIA GODDARD
Once upon a time Thor set out upon his travels, taking Loki with him, for despite Loki’s spirit of mischief he often aided Thor, who doubtless, in the present expedition, felt that Loki might be of use to him.
So they set off together in Thor’s chariot, drawn by its two strong he-goats, and as night drew nigh, stopped at the hut of a peasant, where they asked food and shelter.