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Ignatius Donnelly
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 362 pages of information about Ragnarok .

     There saw she wade
     In the heavy streams,
     Men—­foul murderers
     And perjurers,
     And them who others’ wives
     Seduce to sin. 
     Brothers slay brothers
     Sisters’ children
     Shed each other’s blood. {p. 142}
     Hard is the world! 
     Sensual sin grows huge. 
     There are sword-ages, axe-ages;
     Shields are cleft in twain;
     Storm-ages, murder ages;
     Till the world falls dead,
     And men no longer spare
     Or pity one another."[1]

The world has ripened for destruction; and “Ragnarok,” the darkness of the gods, or the rain of dust and ashes, comes to complete the work.

The whole story is told with the utmost detail, and we shall see that it agrees, in almost every particular, with what reason assures us must have happened.

“There are three winters,” or years, “during which great wars rage over the world.”  Mankind has reached a climax of wickedness.  Doubtless it is, as now, highly civilized in some regions, while still barbarian in others.

“Then happens that which will seem a great miracle:  that the wolf devours the sun, and this will seem a great loss.”

That is, the Comet strikes the sun, or approaches so close to it that it seems to do so.

“The other wolf devours the moon, and this, too, will cause great mischief.”

We have seen that the comets often come in couples or triplets.

“The stars shall be hurled from heaven.”

This refers to the blazing débris of the Comet falling to the earth.

“Then it shall come to pass that the earth will shake so violently that trees will be torn up by the roots, the

[1.  Anderson, “Norse Mythology,” p. 416.]

{p. 143}

mountains will topple down, and all bonds and fetters will be broken and snapped.”

Chaos has come again.  How closely does all this agree with Hesiod’s description of the shaking earth and the universal conflict of nature?

“The Fenris-wolf gets loose.”

This, we shall see, is the name of one of the comets.

The sea rushes over the earth, for the Midgard-serpent writhes in giant rage, and seeks to gain the land.”

The Midgard-serpent is the name of another comet; it strives to reach the earth; its proximity disturbs the oceans.  And then follows an inexplicable piece of mythology: 

“The ship that is called Naglfar also becomes loose.  It is made of the nails of dead men; wherefore it is worth warning that, when a man dies with unpared nails, he supplies a large amount of materials for the building of this ship, which both gods and men wish may be finished as late as possible.  But in this flood Naglfar gets afloat.  The giant Hrym is its steersman.

“The Fenris-wolf advances with wide-open mouth; the upper jaw reaches to heaven and the lower jaw is on the earth.”

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