The 2nd Epic
The Sword of Victory
NY SVENSK TIDSKRIFT, 1884, pp. 3-29
*Evidence for the correctness of this presentation would require too much space to be conveyed in Ny Svensk Tidskrift. They shall be published in a separate work on the German-people’s mythology. ~ The Author.
Page numbers of the original text appear in [brackets].
Words not found in the text, but helpful to aid understanding
appear in (parentheses). Footnotes not contained in the original text appear in red.
These are inserted to aid understanding, and not meant to be
comprehensive. I have indicated the origin of some of the more
unique theories and ideas. Rydberg adorns his prose with quotations and
paraphrases from the Eddic poems throughout, making them too
numerous to note. The illustrations have been added for
effect, and have been collected from a number of
popular retellings of the mythology. The original text
contained no illustrations. ~ The Translator.
Page numbers of the original text appear in [brackets]. Words not found in the text, but helpful to aid understanding appear in (parentheses). Footnotes not contained in the original text appear in red. These are inserted to aid understanding, and not meant to be comprehensive. I have indicated the origin of some of the more unique theories and ideas. Rydberg adorns his prose with quotations and paraphrases from the Eddic poems throughout, making them too numerous to note. The illustrations have been added for effect, and have been collected from a number of popular retellings of the mythology. The original text contained no illustrations. ~ The Translator.
Three powerful and loveable Aesir walked one day in Midgard, which they created. They went along the shore and found two trees, perhaps sprigs of the world-ash, which the breakers had cast in their path. The trees may have resembled them in appearance, because the travelers stopped, discussed them and were in agreement about giving them spirit, intellect, senses and beauty. So it happened and the first human pair, Ask and Embla, stood before them naked and bashful. Odin, the foremost of the three, gave beautiful clothing to the man and woman, from his own attire.
*Based on Völuspá 17-18, and Hävamál 49.
Ask and Embla lived in Midgard under the gods’ protection and raised sons and daughters. Their descendents multiplied and settled wide tracts. It was not easy to break new ground, because Midgard was overgrown with forests, haunted by giants, monsters and wild animals. But wise and beneficent Vana-powers deigned to descend and live as humans among human beings. From them the (fore)fathers received instruction to establish communal bonds and practice useful arts for protection and progress. 
Toward the great island in the
*This is based on the Anglo-Saxon legend of Scef, most notably recounted in Beowulf. In UGM 1 no. 21, Rydberg identifies the boy-king Scef with Heimdall, the son of the 9 waves, who later becomes Rig of Rigsþula and sanctifies the three castes of men, and mentors the first king.
** By the second Vana-chieftain, Rydberg means the elf Ivaldi, This is a connection Rydberg doesn't make or justify in UGM I. There Heimdall's son is Borgar, whom he equates to Jarl of Rigsþula. Ivaldi is the father of the famous Sons of Ivaldi: Völund, Egil, and Slagfinn, whom he begat with the giantess Greip [See UGM I, nos. 22 & 113].
While the Vanir instructed the children of men in useful trades, Odin
gave them the precepts the norns’ had spun for life’s course. Live so
that you win an honored name and a favorable judgment on you, when you
have died! Be chaste, honest, and generous! Holy is the bond between
husband and wife, parent and child, siblings and siblings’ children:
relatives will help in need and avenge in death. Keep your oaths and promises!
Lying is shameful; although you may repay lie with lie and blow with
blow. Maintain a trusted friendship, but be wary with one unproven!
Revere the gods and sacrifice with a w
*In the form of the poem Hávamál, judging by the advice given above.
Thor too, Odin’s strong son, was keen on the welfare of that age’s children. The giants that lived in Midgard,  did not wish to abandon their farms and flee before the settlers of Embla’s tribe. The forests, which could easily be turned into meadows and fields, were made more somber by bewitching sights and sounds conjured up by giant-arts. Land which seems to be flat and indivisible in the evening, in the morning was found to lie in swamp-water and quagmires. Islands that invited settlers with green shores, sunk into the sea at sunrise, and rose again at sundown.* (Derived from the first chapter of Gutasaga). Wind storms dashed down their roofs and suddenly swollen streams swept away their shelter and drowned their dwelling. Wild animals and giants in the shape of wild-animals stalked flocks, lusting after blood. Without Thor’s help, it would have been difficult to expand the boundaries of human settlements. But Thor made daily excursions into border-districts and was seldom away long when he was invoked. He did not yet own the lightning hammer, but his older hammer was also a heavy weapon, and the giants knew his strength.
The being of giant-blood who caused more harm among humans than any other is Hrimnir’s daughter Heid. She went out from Jötunheim and came to Midgard in order to wake what evil slept in human hearts. Until then our (fore)fathers had sought knowledge in the runes that Odin had given them; but they demanded special revelation when they beheld a sign whose foreboding power was revealed to them by the gods or when they listened to words of inspiration from wise men or noble women’s lips. But Heid went between farms with misleading gander. She enticed humans to want evil things and to turn toward unnamed powers for fulfillment of their desire. From her seid-stool she sang incantations with which, ever since, malicious joy (Schadenfreude) has understood how to destroy others by striking with confusion, disability, sickness, and death. Against the norns’ holy statutes and the Aesir’s decrees she spread the malignant teachings and magic arts of outermost Jötunheim. The paths she went down in Midgard were furrows in which she sowed seeds of mistrust, fear, infidelity, discord, theft and plunder. She was captured by the gods and burnt. But she was born anew in a giant home and in a shifted shape continued her work among our fathers. (See Völuspá 21-26, see UGM I, no. 34-36 on Gullveig-Heid).
The times worsened. Reports of criminals were now heard. Weapons, which were used to conquer wild animals and fell game  were now misused for murder. As an omen of worsening times, the sword appeared (for the first time). Human beings were now divided into different types of people with different languages. However, a great war [folkkrig] had not yet broken out, and no valkyrie chose the dead on the battlefield.
Then, at the end of the primeval peace, lived Borgar, loved by the gods, the wise and just judge of the people who spoke every language— the man which we honor as progenitor.* Thor traveled green paths and came to him when, with his people, he cleared land in the Bras-forest (Brálundr). Borgar received the god with unlimited hospitality. About nine months thereafter a powerful storm broke out over Borgar’s farm. Eagles in the forest screamed, the holy waters beat down from heavens’ mountains, lightning flashed. During the storm Borgar’s wife, Drott, bore a son, considered to be the offspring of Borgar and so too the son of Thor, as the god’s presence when the child was begotten had given him the rights and duties of a co-father. The Norns came that night to Borgar’s house, the fastened the threads of the newborn’s fate under the moon’s hall and bid him to become the most famous of our chieftains, the first of our kings. The swain was sprinkled with water, and more than one name attached itself to him. Mann is one of the names, Halfdan another. Father and Mother rejoiced over him, but it was with regret when they, able to understand the speech of birds, listened to the ravens, who looked down from the treetops through the chimney-hole into the hall. The ravens said: “The time when we and the wolves must go hungry is ended: the swain has a warrior’s eye; the swadling around the dayling, of course, is a coat of mail."**
* In UGM I, nos. 20-22, Heimdall's son is Jarl of Rigsþula, whom Rydberg equates to Borgar in Saxo's Book 7. Jarl is succeded by his son Kon ungur, the first king. Rydberg identifies him as the hero Halfdan, also called Mann, mentioned as the father of three races in Tacitus' Germania.
** The details of Halfdan's birth are derived from Helgakviða Hundingsbana I, verses 1-6. See UGM I, no. 30.
The prophecy was correct, since the age of strife came with this
child into the world. When Borgar took up weapons, he did so in the name
of the law to punish
*This occurs in Saxo, Book 1.
The Great Smiths
The sons that a previously mentioned Vana-god begot with a giantess
received land and power on the great
* The island of All-green is named in Hárbardsljóð 16. See UGM II, the chapter on Harbardsljóð.
One of this Vana-god’s sons was Ivaldi, the great spear-thrower who married the light-dis Hildigun, daughter of the ruler of the atmosphere and the moon, the Van Nep, and with her fathered the lovely daughters Idunn, Bil, Oda, Svanhvit, and Alveig.*
*The basis for this conclusion is the argument found in UGM I, no. 123, although Rydberg no longer suggests that the elf Ivaldi is Heimdall's son. Idunn is mentioned as a daughter of Ivaldi in Hrafnagaldur Óðins 6. Rydberg concludes that Bil, Hjuki's sister, is an alternate name of Idunn in UGM I, no. 121, and likewise that Hjuki is a byname of Ivaldi's son, Slagfinn. Svanhvit and Oda are alternate names of Slagfinn's wife. Alveig is a wife of Ivaldi's son Egil and later of Halfdan. This again demonstrates that Rydberg did much research into the genus of elves between 1884 and 1886, which changed his conclusions.
Prior to this a giantess presented Ivaldi three sons. But he cared very little for these gifts, because they had more giant blood in them than he did himself. Their mother raised them as best as she could be bothered, and they lived their first years in the mountainous country Thrymheim on the other side of Vimur among giant-relations, and regarded as their equals. They called the three brothers Idi, Gang and Thjazi. Among the gods they had other names. Among human beings, they are best known by the names Slagfinn, Egil and Völund.*
*A conclusion amply proven in UGM I, no. 115. Ivaldi's sons are born to the giant Greip, while his daughters are born to Sunna, the daughter of the Sol.
The boys, neglected by their father, thrived and drew the attention of powerful beings for their beauty, strength, and unusual talents. The Aesir’s friend, the wise Mimir, ruler of the subterranean meadows of Jötunheim, became the boys’ guardian and taught them runes.* The world-artist Sindri took them to his workplace and instructed them in the arts of the smithy. It was worth seeing Sindri and his brother Brokk’s smithy. The roof and walls glittered with golden works of splendor. If a tool needed for the hearth or anvil was not close at hand, so Sindri called on it, and it came.*
*Rydberg demonstrates that Mimir is a subterreanean ruler and model for the later Gudmund of Glæssisvellir known from several Fornaldarsögur in UGM I, nos. 50-52. His sons are the dwarves Brokk and Sindri, also known as Dainn and Dvalinn (See UGM I no. 54). In UGM I, no. 115, (20), Rydberg demonstrates that Velent the son of Vadi in Thidrek's Saga af Bern, who is identical to Völund, is taken by his father to be raised by dwarves. He learns the art of the blacksmith from them. Rydberg identifies these dwarves as members of Surt's race. Thus, Völund was an apprentice of the fire-giants. Carla O'Harris has made a convincing argument that Surt is identical to Odin's brother Lodur and himself a fallen apprentice of Mimir. Along with Rydberg, she theorizes that Lodur is the progenitor of the Alfar (elf) tribe. Since it is Völund's flaming sword in the hands of Surt which will destroy the world Odin created, this explanation seems most fitting. The evidence is too scant to be conclusive.
**This quality is ascribed to Sindri's awl in Skáldskaparmál 43.
Wonderful were the works that Sindri shaped. In time’s morning Mimir
gave him a drink from his well, and then the
drápa leapt like a ringing
ornament from between his beautiful fingers.  Sindri and his brother
were those, that with Odin raised
But moreover: Sindri and his brother took part with Odin in the creation of the world and, so to speak, were the hands that built the world’s house. They were with him on the seashore when he molded the first human pair.* As a child, Sol has played on Sindri’s knee, and the wagon with which she makes her way through space is his design and creation.
*Here, Rydberg means that Sindri, as a brother of Odin, was present in the creation of man. He thus equates Sindri with either Lodur or Hoenir in Völuspá 17-18. The same idea, however, can be derived from a variant reading of Völuspá 10, without Sindri being Odin's brother.
Where did these smiths come from, when, in the beginning of time, no spiritually-gifted beings existed other than the descendants of Bur and Ymir? Sindri and Brokk were the oldest Vana-powers. Among elves, they are called Dvalin and Dainn, among the Aesir Vili and Ve,* in Mimir’s kingdom Naglfari and Annar. Njörd and Frigg call them father. Like Odin, they are sons of Bur, but younger sons, who recognize the older’s priority. When Odin established the Aesir family, his brothers’ established the Vanir. Odin received Asgard and ruling duties; his brothers, more inclined to peacefully profit than to rule, got Vanaheim.**
*This idea is probably derived from Hávamál 143 regarding the spreading of runes. In Segersvårdet, Rydberg identifies Sindri-Dvalinn and Brokk-Dainn as Odin's brothers and co-creators. In UGM I, no. 54, he justifies the identification of Sindri and Brokk with Dainn and Dvalinn, but no longer identifies them as Odin's brothers. In no. 93, he identifes Odin's brothers Vili and Ve (Gylfaginning 6 and Lokasenna 26) as Hoenir and Lodur (Völuspá 17-18). The Sons of Borr founded the three divine clans: the Aesir (Odin), the elves (Lodur), and the Vanir (Hoenir). Based on a passage in Book 1 of Saxo Grammaticus' Danish History, Rydberg concludes that Lodur usurped the spectre of the Vanir from his weaker brother, Hoenir. Carla O'Harris has extended Rydberg's argument, and plausibly identifed the three sons of Borr as apprentices of Mimir. Hoenir, in this case, is a failed apprentice, while Lodur is a rebellious apprentice, who seeks power for its own sake. Defeated and exiled, Lodur ultimately becomes Surt, the ruler of the opposition, bent on Odin's destruction. Odin remains Mimir's only successful apprentice.
**In Gylfaginning 10, Naglfari and Annar are the fathers of Aud or Unnr ('rich' or 'wave') and Jörd (Earth). They are otherwise unknown, and logically may be bynames of Odin's brothers. Rydberg demonstrates that Aud (also Unnr) is a byname of Njörd, and that Jörd is an alternate name for Odin's wife Frigg (UGM I, no. 25). I have extended these arguments with additional evidence in Odin's Wife: Mother Earth in Germanic Mythology (See XI. Frigg of the Vanir)
The Vana dises were often seen in Sindri’s smithy, because he has many daughters: Bright (Björt), Blithe (Blid), Peace (Frid) and others. They protect the unborn souls of human children, who bide their time in a part of Mimir’s realm. At the given time, they lead them to their mothers and, when so required, assist their entrance into Midgard. They are good physicans, inclined to help mortals.*
*This is a clever synthesis of the passage in Fafnismál 13 which identifies some norns of childbirth as "Dvalinn's daughters", with Fjölsvinnsmál 38, which names Menglad-Freyja's maidens. This only makes sense if Freyja's father Njörd is Sindri's son, which Rydberg claims here, but drops by UGM I. There Rydberg notes that voices of women are heard in Sindri's hall, visited by the hero Thorkill in Book 8 of Saxo's History; and that Gudmund of Glæsisvellir, whom Rydberg identifes as Mimir (UGM I, no. 51), has 12 daughters. They remain unnamed for the most part in the sources. In Sólarljóð 79, Njörd is said to have 9 daughters. Menglad and her maidens are nine in number. Likewise, there are nine waves, represented as maidens. Freyja too is associated with the sea. Her name Mardöll, ("light glittering on water") is related to Heimdall's ("Light of the world'). In a skaldic verse by Úlfr Uggason, Heimdall retrieves her necklace (fagurt hafnýra, 'fair-kidney of the sea') from the ocean in the shape of a seal, before Loki can steal it. In Beowulf, the hero "Hama" is said to possess Brisingamene, 'the fairest ornament under heaven." In the late Fornaldarsaga Sörla þáttur, Loki, a liege of King Odin, steals a necklace that Freyja, Odin's mistress, got from four dwarves. There the gods are reduced to human royalty.
Other maids come to Sindri’s smithy as well, the most beautiful to behold, all sisters or sister’s children: Groa, Sif, Idunn, Bil, Oda, Svanhvit, Alveig.* Sindri taught them to promote saps in plants, flowers on the meadows and crops for human children. Consequently, Slagfinn, Egil and Völund often got to see and talk to their half-sisters, Ivaldi’s daughters, and to dises among their relatives.
*These names will all be identified as epithets of three (or perhaps four) elf-maidens in UGM I, and related to Hindu swan-maidens in UGM II, nos. 15-16. They are near relations of the Sons of Ivaldi, being their half-sisters or cousins. In Ynglingasaga 4, the Vanir are allowed, by custom, to marry close akin. The same apparently holds true among the elves.
Slagfinn, however, did not stay with Sindri long. Already as a boy,
he had been adopted as foster son by
On certain points, Völund was the most excellent of Ivaldi’s sons. In the smithy he worked tirelessly to learn his master’s method and listen to his lessons. He pondered the many clandestine qualities which things receive when they are mixed in fire, cooled in water and pressed under the hammer. In runic knowledge he acquired more than is useful to know; he learned not only good and beneficial songs, but secretly dedicated himself to the worst and most destructive galder. Into the darkness of it, no one has penetrated deeper. His father, the elf-prince’s, beauty was united in his limbs with the height and strength of his mother’s family. It is said that none were found among the giants, not even Hrungnir excepted, that could measure himself against this bastard in bodily strength.
Not many years passed before Sindri said that Völund had no more to learn from him. Völund and Egil moved away and took up land by the shores of Vimur, in Thrymheim and the most northern part of Alfheim. They were chieftains there and recognized as elf-princes. Like Sindri’s smithy, so too Völund’s was visited by elf-maidens, who rejoiced at the miracles the great artists shaped. One day, when they came  he met them with glistening swan-garments that he laid under an oak on the grounds of his estate. He had made the attire for them, and one can imagine the joy the their kinswomen felt as they dressed themselves in these costumes and tried their wings in ever more daring flight. For himself he made an eagle guise which was capable of bearing him among the clouds via powerful wing strokes. For Egil and Slagfinn, he crafted gold-feathered arrows that return from their targets to the bowstring, and skis which turned into ice-skates on frozen water, to boats on open seas, and on land into splendid shields— hard against every weapon. Idunn stood out to Völund, above the other elves. From him, she received a gift, news of which went through the whole world: the apples, which preserve youth’s power and beauty.* At twelve years old, Idunn swore fidelity to Völund without asking their father’s advice. Groa became Egil’s beloved, and Oda became Slagfinn’s.
*In UGM I, no. 114, Rydberg remarks: "I presume that the means of rejuvenation, the divine remedy against age (ellilyf ása - Haustlöng), which Idun alone in Asgard knows and possesses, was a product of Thjazi-Völund's art. The Middle Ages also remembered Völund (Wieland) as a physician, and this trait seems to be from the oldest time, for in Rigveda, too, the counterparts of the Ivaldi sons, that is, the Ribhus, at the request of the gods, invent means of rejuvenation."
Völund and Egil had been entrusted with the farthest outpost by Vimur
against the rime-thurses. On the river’s northern shore dwelt the Ivaldi
sons’ closest relatives among the giants. With a giant, their mother had
begotten sons, who in due time were fathers to Fenja and Menja.
These maidens, barely nine years old, amused themselves by
slinging down blocks of stone from the mountain tops into Vimur’s
eddies. Thrymheim is an extensive mountain country, partially unexplored
and inaccessible, but under its glaciers and snow-slopes in several
places lay thickly wooded dells with luxuriant grass, in which Völund’s
herds grazed. Further north dwelt the disgusting giant-clan, to which
So long as Ivaldi’s sons, like the other elves, protected All-green
against rime-thurses, Asgard and Midgard seemed more secure than ever.
The quick Egil was particularly an effective foe of giants. Besides
that, he also had personal motives, since the giants would w
*Derived from the first chapter of Gutasaga.
Before Egil went on campaigns into Jötunheim, he was accustomed to sending Groa and her sister Sif in safety to Bilskirnir, Thor’s stronghold with its many hundreds of rooms. The Asa-god gladly beheld both elves under his roof, and how he looked upon Sif came to light during an incident, when the mischievous Loki had cut off her wondrously beautiful curls. Thor was highly indignant and compelled the prankster to request of Völund new curls for the elf-maiden. Völund granted the prayer for Sif’s sake, not for Loki’s, and forged the golden flow of hair that transformed into the natural hair now adorning Sif’s head.
The reputation of the Ivaldi’s sons covered the entire world. Their
father ought to be proud of them, but the relationship between him and
them was never good. Good at remembering injustices suffered and
irreconcilably eager to avenge, Völund could not forget the disdain
father showed his sons in their childhood. Ivaldi made no attempt to
appease them. They considered themselves as having an inheritance to
request from their mother, but Ivaldi did not leave one. With embraces,
Völund and Idunn had sealed their love, and the fruit thereof was a
beautiful daughter, but Ivaldi did not recognize it. He sent the
little one— she was called Skadi in Midgard, Regnhild among the elves—
to her father, but retained her mother, who had secretly been
appointed an Asynje and Bragi’s wife. He did all this on the advice of
Loki who was a close relative on his mother’s side and at the time
enjoyed good standing, since he was Odin’s favorite and was adopted into
the Asa-circle. *
*Rydberg convincingly identifies the elf-smith Völund with Idunn's kidnapper, the giant Thjazi. There is ample evidence for this (See UGM I, no. 115). However, Idunn, a half-sister of Thjazi-Völund, need not become his wife until their time together in exile. The birth of their daughter Skadi can also be set later, and is better placed during the elf-princes' exile in the Wolfdales. After Thjazi-Völund's death, she arrives in Asgard outfitted for battle, seeking atonement for her father's death.
Then the relationship between the most holy in Asgard and Völund was better. He forged the most wonderful things for the gods. The strongholds in Asgard are many, and Sindri has adorned them with rival splendor, but the work of Völund’s hands increased their luster. For Odin he forged Gungnir, the finest of all spears.
By this time, Groa presented Egil with a son, so fair it seemed that fate wanted to disclose in advance, that he was a worthy husband of the goddess of love. The swain was sprinkled with water and called Od. The names Svipdag and Skirnir also were attached to him.
At the same time, the Vana-god Njörd’s adorable children Frey and Freyja were born in Asgard. The gods presented Alfheim to Frey as a tooth-gift. The gift included power over all existing chieftains on All-green. When the gods wanted to appoint a foster father for Frey from among them, the gods’ choice fell on Völund, and they let Egil share his honor. The brothers received the Vana-lad, the lord of harvests, into their halls. There he grew up as a playmate of Od. The two boys were very fond of one another.
For Völund it was important now to craft a worthy gift for his foster son. He made a ship that upon wishing can become so large, that it holds all the gods with their weapons and war-gear, or so little that one can carry it with him without noticeable weight. The ship Skidbladnir is world-renowned.
Völund contemplated another absolutely invaluable gift for Frey: a sword
that for all-time would secure the god’s power over the world. The
golden grip bore Frey’s name in victory-runes and the blade was encarved
with images of the great primeval event: the old giants’ drowning in the
waves of Ymir’s wound. *
*This is a bit of unnecessary foreshadowing that Rydberg will not employ in later works. Here Völund dreams of making a sword for Frey. In "Our Fathers' Godsaga", ch. 25, Völund devises and creates the sword in exile, as a weapon to destroy the gods. His nephew Svipdag delivers it to Asgard as a bride-price for Freyja, where it is given to Frey. In turn, Frey exchanges it for the giant-bride Gerd (Lokasenna 42).
But the events occurred which loosened and eventually sundered the bonds of friendship between the gods and Völund.
Shortly Before the First Fimbul-Winter.
Once Midgard’s hero Mann, Borgar’s son, had abducted Groa and k
Nevertheless, Ivaldi’s sons eventually caught up with him, when Thor,
driven by his fatherly duty placed himself between them and the
wife-stealer.* The Asa-god settled the matter so: Mann shall return Groa;
Egil shall be content with the redress he thereby receives. To Mann,
Groa bore a son who was called Jormun and raised by his father. The
friendly relations between Thor and Egil was not broken by this, but
Egil nevertheless bore a heart-wound whose pain even his faithful
brother Völund knew. Then came intelligence that Idunn had been sent to
Valhall against her w
*Rydberg supplies Mann-Halfdan's motive for taking Groa. Here it is lust (see above), and the events surrounding it occur earlier than in later works. In UGM I, no. 31, he says that Halfdan stole Groa with Thor's consent, because Egil and the elf-princes had made a compact with the powers of frost. There is no reconciliation before Egil's death at Halfdan's hands there.
One winter, Loki notified the Aesir that a giant wanted to engage in building an impregnable and insurmountable wall around Asgard and to have the work finished by the first day of summer, if he got Freyja, sun and moon as wages for his work. In this effort, he shall have no other assistance than Svadilfari’s (who was a giant in horse-guise). Loki advised the Aesir to go in on the offer; since on one hand, such a wall would greatly increase the gods’ security, on the other hand, it was obvious that the offer was the giant's boast and that the work could not possibly be completed in so short a time. Thus, the gods consented.
wall demanded a gate, and the gate ought to be worthy of Asgard, not
only as impregnable as the wall, but also an ingenious and splendid
work of art. It lay outside the giant-contractor’s ability as well as
outside his obligation to make such a thing. Therefore, bids were sent
to Sindri and his brother and to Völund and his brothers with the wish
that they would undertake it. They came with some serving dwarves and
set up the stateliest and most ingenious gate ever found, so long as it
is not compared to that of Mimir’s subterranean pleasure-garden. Among
other things, the qualities of the Asgard-gate are that it catches the
uninvited guest and holds him. But during the work, Sindri had his
thoughts and Völund had his. Sindri who expected only evil with Loki’s
presence in Asgard, but nevertheless could not persuade Odin to divorce
himself from this dangerous foster brother, suspected that his
own tribe, the Vanir, would one day stand outside the gate with the desire to come
in, nor would Völund with his own hands close the way through it
forever. Sindri imagined a gate-opener in the likeness of a battle-axe,
Völund in the likeness of the sword he intended for Frey but now wanted
to finish for himself. *
*The gate is described in Fjölsvinnsmál 10, where it is compared to Mimir's according to UGM I, no. 97. It is made by 'Solblindi's sons', who are best identified as the Sons of Ivaldi. Rydberg is foreshadowing events here. Völund's nephew Svipdag will open Asgard's gate by bringing Völund's sword to the gods as a bride-price for Menglad-Freyja. The Vana-god Njörd (Fridlevus in Book 6 of Saxo's History) will open besieged Asgard's gate with a battle-axe during the Van-As war, according to UGM I, no. 31. However, Rydberg no longer argues that Sindri is a Vana-god or Njörd's father in UGM I.
Because Loki went and saw that the work on Asgard’s ringwall had begun,
he came up with a plan that would earn him the Aesir’s gratitude and
increased influence over them, but still would cause them serious damage.
He proceeded to Brokk, Sindri’s brother, highly extolling the artwork
Völund had sent the gods and offering to bet his head that Sindri could not
make something comparable. Brokk went in on the wager because Sindri and
he would gladly have Loki’s head. Now chances were that Asgard could
finally be liberated from the
Völund received knowledge of the wager once it had been made. However it turned out, to his honor or to his shame, it was wrong, because he  had not sent the gods his artwork as an entry in a competition, but as testimony to his reverence and friendship. He set this offense beside the other.*
*This suggests that Rydberg had not yet made his discoveries concerning the paraphrases for gold, þingskil Þjaza and Iðja glysmál, in Bjarkamál. The phrase þingskil Þjaza refers to gold as "Thjazi's testimony before a Thing." See UGM I, no. 113 (5), where Rydberg concludes from this that Völund's works spoke on his behalf. In Our Fathers' Godsaga, ch. 23, he says that Völund was "not privy to the bet." While Sindri's brother Brokk spoke on his behalf, Völund's mute works alone testified to his skill. Here, Völund avoids the judgement, since he is offended by the wager itself. This is probably based on the source itself, which has Brokk face off with Loki, alone before the gods.
As the winter passed, the giant-contractor busied himself with the wall; Sindri and Völund with their forging. Odin was in the habit of a journey, annually in spring, to remote and little known parts of the world. It was said that in the approaching spring he would visit Thrymheim and Loki then would surely accompany him, since the Asa-father could seldom do without so cheerful a travel companion. When Völund heard this, he laid aside his sword work, and hammered another thing that looked simple: it resembled a stick, but anyone who grabbed ahold of one end of the stick could not let go, as long as Völund held onto the other end. It occurred to the cautious smith that he too could devise a ruse. Völund climbed into his eagle-guise, flew to Thrymheim and spread such poles in the grass of the dales by the springs and brooks.
It passed into spring and Loki observed with concealed ridicule that the Aesir grew more restless every day. They believed that the building-contractor would have the wall finished by the appointed time. By night, he hauled stone with Svadilfari, by day he put up what he had hauled. Ever greater grew the gods’ alarm, and they did not look kindly upon Loki who negotiated the contract. But just when their faith in him had sunk its deepest, it climbed to even greater heights. Loki said to them that instead of the unnecessary dread of their settlement with the building contractor, they should rejoice at the glorious victory-securing gifts that he had so unselfishly acquired with great peril to his own head, as Brokk was soon expected with Sindri’s competitive forgings. Brokk came and conveyed these treasures: of gold, the ring Draupnir from which every eighth day a comparable number of rings drips. The bangle was a gift to Odin. Of iron, the hammer Mjöllnir which was presented to Thor. Of a wild boar skin, the glistening boar Slidrugtanni dedicated to Frey. It was important now to test and establish the qualities of these gifts, before the case regarding the bet could be heard and judgment passed. This demanded at least eight days for Draupnir. Therefore it was appropriate to hold off the case until Odin had made his journey to Thrymheim.
 Three days remained until the first day of summer and Asgard’s wall was so nearly complete, that there was only an opening left alongside the gate. The next night, when the building-contractor went after stone, a mare came running up. Svadilfari got loose and ran after her. The night passed, before the building-contractor got his horse back, and the next day there was no stone to build with. It went no better the second day. Then the giant said his wager was lost and his labor unpaid. Furious, he rushed to do battle with the gods, but Thor crushed his head with the newly acquired hammer. The mare that enticed Svadilfari into the forest was the mother of the eight-footed steed Sleipnir. Whom Sleipnir’s mother is Loki knew best. Within Mo’s and Go’s giant-clan, mothers of this kind are not uncommon. Vile was this matter in any case, but as nasty as he was, the gods had to admit that on this occasion, Loki had saved them and the whole world. And at the same time, he had acquired an incomparable steed for the Asa-father.
Sleipnir was immediately full-grown and Odin saddled him up to test his
speed. It is well-known, how Odin then raced with the giant Hrungnir and
how the latter, in his blind zeal, came through the opening beside the Asgard-gate
*The story is truncated here, probably in the interest of brevity. In Skáldskaparmál, Hrungnir and Thor face off in a duel. Each brings a companion. Thor brings Thjalfi. Hrungnir brings an animated clay-giant. When Hrungnir falls, one of his massive legs pins Thor to the ground, until his son Magni, three days old, comes and lifts the giant's limb off his father.
Along with Thor, Egil made a campaign into Jötunheim, the last that he and Thor would conduct together as friends. As Egil returned on his skis, the giants sent a terrible snowstorm after him. On the way home from Grjöttungard,  Thor found him helpless, stiff from the cold. The Asa-god warmed him up and fed him and carried him in his basket over the Elivagor to his hall by Vimur’s shore. Egil had frozen one toe; Thor broke it off and cast it up into the heavens, where, to honor Egil, it became one of the most beautiful stars. It bears his byname Örvandil to this day. At that time, Groa was at Thor’s stronghold Bilskirnir. When her host came home and she saw that he was wounded, she sang holy healing galder to dislodge the firmly set flint-shard. When Thor felt the shard begin to loosen, he could not hold the news he had any longer: Egil was on his way home from his journey and that a star proclaimed the nature of his exploit. Groa grew so happy at this that she forgot to continue the galder-song. Therefore, the shard remains in Thor’s forehead, although not for his adornment.
Odin made his excursion to Thrymheim, followed by Hönir and Loki. They
came to a dale and were tempted to rest. Shadowy oaks stood round a
spring. On the field, a herd of oxen grazed. As they were hungry after
their walk, Loki slew an ox, built a fire and sat down to cook. But the
cooking would not commence, and while the wanderers wondered why, they
heard a voice from out of the oak overhead and saw a great eagle.
Travelers are probably accustomed to experiencing many things without
being astonished, and so the travelers guessed correctly that a giant concealed
himself within the eagle-guise. The eagle said that the cooking would
come to nothing as long as he did not receive his share of the holy
meal. The Aesir did not grasp the deeper meaning of his words, because
who would have believed then that the one in the eagle-guise had resolved to
himself become the highest god and give the dishonorably-dismissed Aesir not so much
as a scrap from the sacrificial altars in Midgard? The oxen were taken
from Völund’s herd and his share of the meal was therefore all of it.
So now, as the Aesir understood
the eagle’s words, they agreed to them. When the dish was
ready, the eagle took all the best cuts for himself and
shoved the worst of the leftovers toward Loki. Thinking this insolent,
Loki took a stick
that lay in the grass and attempted to strike the rude one.
eagle grabbed the other end of the stick and flew up.
The gods were probably
surprised that Loki didn’t let go, as it dragged him over log and stone,
dragged him over treetops and  up into the mountains, unt
*The primary source of this is the skaldic poem Haustlöng. There, the giant Thjazi is the antagonist.
The day for the case concerning the wager came. The works of art that would be compared were Gungnir, Sif’s golden hair and Skidbladnir, on one side, and on the other, Mjöllnir, Draupnir and Slidrugtanni. Brokk appeared in order to speak on his and Sindri’s behalf. Völund did not come and did not care if he had an advocate. Loki took it upon himself to be his advocate and seemed qualified to do so, as of course, his own head was bound up with Völund’s suit. Loki managed the defense so that he surely scoffed at Sindri’s competitive entries, especially the hammer whose shaft undeniably was a bit short (which Loki himself caused, in that, in the guise of a wasp,he had stung Brokk between the eyes as he operated the bellows when hammer's handle was cast on the hearth).* But his defense of Völund’s artwork was badly put, because every praise on Loki’s lips sounded like scorn, and of course the more he praised something, the more he seemed to profit from it. And just when the gods had become certain of the hammer’s invaluable qualities and because they did not want to rank Sindri, the ancient high-born world-artist, beneath his student, the giant bastard, they thus ruled that Brokk had won the bet and that Loki’s head was forfeited.
*In Skáldskaparmál 43, the source of this story, Loki turns himself into a fly (fluga). Apparently Rydberg felt that a fly's sting wasn't aggrevating enough, and thus changed Loki's form to a wasp. In Our Fathers' Godsaga, ch. 20, Rydberg again employs the wasp, but in ch. 31, allows Völund's sword, wielded by Svipdag, to lop off the handle of Thor's hammer, based on an episode in Book 3 of Saxo's History, where the hero Hotherus (Oðr) hews the haft from Thor's club, (See UGM I, no. 101). In the Overview of the mythological epic which appears in UGM II, Rydberg makes no mention of the wasp in no. 28 concerning the "World-Endangering Wager", and again tells how Svipdag severs the handle of Thor's hammer in no. 100 "Svipdag Victorious". These are the only two sources that refer to damage occuring to the handle of Thor's weapon.
For Loki this decision was less unwelcome than one might believe. He had
something on his conscience, that was that the land in Asgard would
burn under his feet, should he not take precautious measures. The
evening before, he had fulf
All parties came out suffering from this insidious affair with the wager, however the seats of the high judges would suffer the most.
Asgard, Loki left behind a lady friend, with whom he arranged a reunion. *
*This must refer to Gullveig-Heid who has become Freyja's servant.
He set his course to the districts by Vimur. Horribly disfigured and
without the ability to utter a word he appeared before Völund where he worked
in his smithy on the the sword of victory. Völund understood that
he had an important errand to perform and he suspected what had
happened, when he examined Loki’s lips and found that none other than Sindri or Brokk could have made the muzzle.
The great smith took a knife, cut the seam and healed the wound with
a holy herb that st
*Here, Rydberg takes much more creative license than he does in later
works. The source of the tale, Skáldskaparmál 42, doesn't say how Loki
removed the seam after Brokk has
sewn his lips shut. Snorri simply says "He stitched the lips together,
and it tore the edges off." According to Rydberg's findings in
UGM I no. 28A, the first contact Loki has with the artist Thjazi-Völund
after the verdict is the episode described in Haustlöng, when Thjazi in
eagle-guise refuses to let the meat cook that Loki broils while in his
territory as the companion of Odin and Hoenir. When Loki strikes the
eagle with a stick laying nearby, he is unable to release his grip, and Thjazi
flies off with Loki in tow. This to punish him for instigating the
contest. Elsewhere in UGM I, Rydberg says that Völund was
known as a physician in the Middle Ages. The herb mentioned here is 'Velunds urt'
('Wayland's wort') or Valarian root, (J. Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, ch.
37, p. 1208, Stalleybrass translation). In Our Father's Godsaga, ch. 23,
Rydberg simply states that "Loki's
lips were soon free again" without saying how. In UGM II, the Overview
of the mythological epic, no. 37, he only states that "Brokk pierced
Loki's lips with Sindri's awl." In no. 38, Loki meets Thjazi in the
circumstances described in Haustlöng.
But to initiate his treacherous servant into his secrets more deeply, he now revealed his plans, and they were such that Loki himself was amazed.
The first thing he planned to do was to proceed to Jötunheim and to call the giant-clans’ foremost chieftains to a secret meeting. While he was away, Völund and Egil moved their charges and their treasures to an unknown and difficult to access tract in the Thrymheim-mountains. There, secure from all seekers, they hid Idunn and Skadi, Sif and Od, and their foster son Frey, the young Vanir god, who happily was unaware of the fate that awaited him. But Groa was consumed with suspicions of serious ruin. She faded and knew death approached. When Egil, Od, and Sif stood beside her deathbed, she said to her son: “A remarkable fate awaits you; when you feel its burden too heavy for your young shoulders, go to my grave and call on me, for my love for you shall live beyond the gravemound.” She bade Sif to look after the boy as a mother, and laid hers and Egil’s hands together.
The giant chieftains met together on the appointed day. They agreed on secrecy, and Völund, who knew that he could rely on those that he summoned to the meeting, outlined his proposal to them for an eternally binding contract with Ivaldi’s sons. The contract was this:
Völund and Egil would surrender Frey, the lord of the harvests, to the
giant-tribe, who inherited the claim of the failed giant-contractor of Asgard's wall
to Freyja, the sun and moon. Frey would remain imprisoned in
Jötunheim, but be treated well by his captors, and protected like a
prince. Völund perhaps had Freyja in his power. He successfully pledged
to surrender her to the same giant-clan. The giants were bound to treat
her well, protect her like a princess and to not allow her to become
engaged until Völund himself gave consent. Völund and Egil owned a
supply of mead, taken out of the well of inspiration and solace,
collected  in Alfheim and made more delightful by their own art.
This they surrendered to be kept by the giant-chieftain Fjalar
in the deep-dales, so that they may enjoy it for themselves and invite
relatives to partake as well, but not to give one drop to any of the
Aesir-tribe. The mead was delivered up in a vessel that Völund made
has the quality that the juice in it will never run dry. Völund delivered
weapons of attack and defense of his own making to the present
giant-chieftains. The giants pledged to make nothing of the enmity between them and Ivaldi’s sons,
and thus to not ever demand
blood-revenge or any compensation other than that already given for
kinsmen that the Ivaldi sons had k
The weapons that were turned over to the giants constituted a small part of the works that Völund and Egil possessed. They had many store rooms full of jewelry and weapons, swords, spears, bows, axes, helmets, shields, coats of mail, radiant with gold. Rings, perhaps as good as Draupnir, they also owned. Of them, Völund and Egil wore theirs around their arms. A third such ring they resolved to bury with the remaining treasures.* These they hid in different places. Much of these they sank down near a cliff in Vimur, and entrusted to Völund’s faithful dwarf Andvari. The horse-giant that Völund had chosen himself, was Grani, kin to Svadilfari, Mo and Go, one of the strongest and also the most moral  of all the wild clan-brothers, who was also strong in his devotion. During the impending migration, he would carry Völund’s forging-tools and other necessities. On his belt, Völund himself wore the sword of victory— if it could be called so yet, since although it was already the best sword that was ever forged, he considered it hardly worthy to be stuck in a sheath.** It would require years, many years, before it could be all that Völund intended to make it. But once it was finished, then what would the world not experience!
*This will become Andvari's ring, stolen by Loki, in the Prose Edda. In UGM, no. 118, Rydberg demonstrates that Gjuki is an alternate name of Slagfinn and that the heroic poems of the Poetic Edda concern his descendants. Rydberg got the idea for these rings from Völundarkviða. There, Nidad is surprised to find gold in Völund's hideout in the Wolfdales. He remarks that there was no gold to be found on "Grani's way" (v. 14). Grani is Völund's horse, and will later be used by Sigurd. When Nidhad and his men first enter Völund's lair, they find hundreds of gold rings on a rope. They examine them all, but only take one. Rydberg concludes that this is a self-replicating ring akin to Draupnir. In Saxo, Book 3, Hotherus (a composite of Baldur's brother Höðr and Freyja's husband Oðr) obtains an invincible sword and a wealth-producing arm-ring from the satyr Mimingus (Mimir).
**In later works, Rydberg has Völund make the sword in the Wolfdales. In Thidrek's Saga of Bern, Velent (Völund) forges the sword and reforges the sword again and again in order to perfect it. In Our Fathers Godsaga, Rydberg uses the hundreds of rings as a symbol of the time necessary to conduct this work, since in the case of Draupnir, 8 rings drip from it every ninth night.
While these preparations secretly took place, an envoy to Völund and Egil arrived from the Aesir. His name was Kvasir and he was world-renowned for his wisdom and eloquence. He is said to be a being of a quite strange type, because the Aesir and the Vanir are said to have created them from their own combined juices, as a living monument to their unity and friendship.* He came to inform Völund that the gods had decided to promote his daughter Skadi to Asynje and give her, when she was grown, as a wife to Njörd.** Such a promotion is the greatest honor that can befall one, and it was clear that the Aesir had made up their minds to appease the artist that undeniably had reason to feel wronged by them. In Asgard, one hoped for the best result from this diplomacy. It is probable enough that Kvasir was also assigned to find out if Völund knew Idunn’s whereabouts. But days passed, indeed a month passed, without Kvasir returning, and Njörd became more anxious for his son who, of course, was in the power of two of Ivaldi’s sons. Odd rumors spread concerning the envoy’s fate. They must put an end to the uncertainty, but the question was how, with severe means or with an offer of reconciliation.
*Kvasir only appears in the works of Snorri Sturlusson. Rydberg clearly refers to the myth of Kvasir as told in the Skáldskaparmál 5, which states that Kvasir was created during a truce established after hostilities between the Aesir and Vanir. In the same work, Kvasir appears after the events described in Lokasenna, recognizing the net in the ashes of Loki's fire. In Ynglingasaga 4, Kvasir is one of the hostages sent to the Aesir by the Vanir. He isn't mentioned in the Poetic Edda at all. In UGM I, no. 89, after studying the mead myth, Rydberg concludes that Kvasir was the product of a late satire meant to explain the origins of good and bad poetry. In the glossary accompanying Our Fathers Godsaga, Rydberg suggests that Kvasir is a name of Mimir's well based on the kenning "Kvasir's blood" for the mead of poetry in a verse by Einar Skalaglamm, quoted by Snorri in Skaldskaparmál 10.
**As explained in UGM I, no. 112 (based on findings in no. 108) Saxo's King Fridlevius (Njörd) desires to marry the daughter of Anund (Völund), who kills the king's envoys when the proposal is made. This event foreshadows Skadi's marriage to Njörd.
The peaceful Njörd’s advice won the debate, and he arranged to honor Völund with a new and more excellent envoy. Njörd would go, in order to see his son and himself request Skadi’s hand, and he should be accompanied by Odin’s beloved son, Baldur, and by his brother Höd. Splendidly armed, they mounted their horses and rode the air’s pathless tracts to the halls of Ivaldi’s sons. But they stood empty and abandoned. Among the elves in that area, a rumor went around regarding what had happened:*
*This effort at reconciliation is based on two episodes as told in Saxo's History (Book 6) and Paul the Deacon's History of the Lombards (chs. 12 and 13), which Rydberg illuminates in UGM I, no. 112.
Völund and Egil
had abandoned  their outpost, and ventured into Jötunheim with Frey.
they had just been seen and could not yet be far away.
Few among the elves had equipped themselves to accompany them, when
Njörd, Baldur and Höd came over Vimur into the giant land. Odin’s birds
passed them, came back and showed them the paths through the
uninhabited regions over which the fugitives had fled. From mountain slopes
and giant-gards, lookout mounds sounded
lurs and smoke from ignited
heaps whirled upwards to call the giant’s together in
defense of Ivaldi’s sons. The giantesses sang
galder in order to cast
clouds and fog between them and the gods. Nevertheless, they took aim on
the fugitives and the fugitives on them. Völund had devised a means of
transportation as good as the gods’ horses. St
The fugitives continued on their way, which was hidden from the gods by mist. From the mists were perceived whines and shrieks and glimpsed coagulating shapes of wolfhound-giants that gathered behind them as they retreated. The gods realized that persecution was in vain; they turned to their horses and sorrowfully returned to Asgard.
During the Fimbul Winter.
With the Ivaldi sons’ departure from Alfheim, the first Fimbul Winter began. The second shall come when Ragnarök approaches.
Far beyond the furthest settlements in Jötunheim, far beyond the frost-giants’ mountain-world lies a tract of dales, overgrown with winter-defying pines, called the Wolfdales and therein a sea called the Wolfsea.
Three men came to the Wolfdales, felled trees and constructed a hall and
a smithy on the Wolfsea’s shore. The woods, which had previously
been without sound once the storm rested or the wolves kept silent, now often
reverberated with hammer-strikes and by a song— odd, deadened and
dreary— that f
Day after day, through months and years,
at one time or another during the day, the sound of this
dreadful galder song was heard over the frost-giants’ mountains, the
Myrkwood’s forest-girdle, the giant-settlement’s rocky-dales, the
Elivagor, Alfheim and Midgard. It advanced toward Asgard, barely weakened by the
expanse which could only be crossed with heavy wing-strokes, and
*As explained in the poem Hrafnagaldur Óðins.
The galder song also penetrated the earth and consumed her saps and power of growth. Year after year, the furrow of the fields in Midgard produced shorter stalks and smaller ears, and what remained for the farmer was devastated even more by iron-cold nights. Human beings prayed and sacrificed for harvests; the gods received their prayers and gifts with shame because they could barely help them. Byrgir, the well of solace in Alfheim, ran dry and the day came when Nep passed Odin the last goblet of mead from out of the moon’s ship. The waters in Urd’s and Mimir’s holy wells diminished over the course of these years and the guardians were wracked with anxiety, whether the world-tree’s roots should thirst. The strong felt their muscles slacken, the wise their thoughts weaken.
Völund was able to sing such galder.
He wanted to remain in the Wolfdales, until he could say of the sword: “Now it is as good as I can make it.” This sword shall open Asgard, whose inhabitants' bloody corpses he wanted to throw down as food for wolves on the devastated, cold-numbed earth. Thereafter a new creation, whose gold-topped heaven shall arch itself over beautiful beings, would worship a better god — Völund himself.
More than once the blade appeared to be finished. It amused the brothers to lay it as a belt around the waist, to cleave a flint block with it — it split them like air — and to let lightning bounce off it without leaving a mark on its bright surface. But nevertheless Völund filed it asunder into motes, smelted them and forged them anew and again anew under mighty incantations.* To pass time, he once followed the brothers on a hunting-trip, that they undertook on skis over  crusty snow, then on horse. Grani was in the Wolfdales, when he did not seek prey or pasture further south. The hunt’s quarry, bears and reindeer, roasted on a spit over the hall’s hearth.
*These are details mainly derived from Thidrek's Saga of Bern, ch. 67 (Haymes translation, 1988). The reference to lightning bouncing off its blade foreshadows the sword's encounter with Thor's hammer, once Svipdag has retrieved it from the underworld.
The brothers believed themselves to be unobserved. But in the mountain over the dale-tract a tunnel opened in the cliff-face, that led deep down into the earth to Mimir’s well and the kingdom of death. They knew nothing of it. Only Mimir himself, his sons and Nep, the moon-god, knew the way.
One year passed. Slagfinn and Egil longed for their lovers. Egil knew that Sif would have borne him a child during this time. The great smith, as deep as he was in the work of revenge and thoughts of grandeur, had room in his heart not only for hate and desire for honor alone, but also for regret over the loss of Idunn and Skadi.
One morning, when the brothers emerged from the hall, they saw three women by the shore who spun golden linen. Swan-guises laid beside them. The eagerly-awaited had come. One of them laid her arms around Völund’s white neck; a second was embraced by Slagfinn; the third laid her head on Egil’s chest.
dises of vegetation had strangely shifted temperament: without sorrow,
they heard Völund’s somber galder song that laid waste to the
foliage in Midgard's groves, the earth's flowers, the field’s crops, because
they felt their lovers’ feelings and thought their thoughts. The country
where they were also altered their dress; their golden breast-ornaments,
armbands, clasps and rings they now wore on clothes sewn from the shaggy
pelts of wild animals. *
*Hrafnagaldur Óðins 8 informs us that Idunn, "the youngest of Ivaldi's older children", when she fell from Yggdrasill and resided "in dales" had "changed her disposition" and was "given a wolf-skin that she wrapped herself within." It seems the swan-maidens empathize with their half-brothers' and lovers' plight in their winter-cold exile, at least for a time. The warm waters of Urd's well are their natural home.
the flames on the smithy’s hearth did not shine in winter evenings, and
when the blaze on the hall’s hearth burned down, and the wives slept, beings
crept, out of the opening of a tunnel, down to the Wolfsea and around
the log-home. One could not catch sight of them, but if the
moon shone, one saw their shadows. Silently they searched the hall and
hearth, and surveyed the sword most of all, but they never took
anything when they left. Thus, Mimir came to know how the sword-work
proceeded day by day. *
*The silent beings are Mimir's sons. In Völundarkviða, they are called Niar, the sons of King Nidhad, whom Rydberg demonstrates is a byname of Mimir, ruler of the underworld, in UGM I, no. 87. In Völundarkviða, moonlight glints off their shields. In Book 3 of Saxo's History, Gevarus (the moon-god) informs Hotherus (Oðr) how to defeat an invisible satyr, Mimingus, who makes himself invisible by means of a magic helmet. Hotherus must wait until he sees the satyr's shadow, and steal the helmet, if he wishes to enter the underworld and obtain the invincible sword hidden there.
However, Völund did not only work on the sword. From his and Egil’s
arm-rings just as from Sindri’s (Draupnir), dripped more rings at certain
intervals. With hammer-blows, they grew increasingly harder. Was it
his intent to forge a fetter-chain for Odin? *
*This is another of Rydberg's intuitive insights. In Völundarkviða 13, Völund awakes to discover himself in fetters, and asks who has bound him. The meaning of line 13/3 which reads "besti byr síma" is notoriously difficult to translate (See Ursula Dronke, Poetic Edda II, pp. 247, 312) In UGM I, no. 98, Rydberg suggests that this passage means ""Who are the mighty, who with bonds (besti, dative of böstr) bound the wind (lögðu síma á Byr) and fettered me?". Since Völund could control the weather, as well as fly, he likens himself to the wind. In Völund's smithy, Nidhad and his sons find a bast rope laden with hundreds of gold rings. Odin, who also wears an eagle-guise, is a wind-god himself and leader of the Wild Hunt. The implication is that Völund had created the rope as a fetter to bind Odin.
Mimir has entrusted himself with the world-tree’s care. If he could ward off the imminent danger for creation, why didn’t he do it? The Aesir admittedly took up the question. But the wise bided their time.
seven winters passed. In the eighth the dises were homesick and the
ninth they flew away. Then Egil and Slagfinn left the Wolfdales in order
to find them. But Völund remained. He was certain that his lover would
come back, after she had seen their home and their child. *
*In Völundarkviða, the swan-maidens spend 8 winters with Völund and his brothers in the Wolf-dales and depart in the ninth. In Lokasenna 24, Odin accuses Loki of spending 8 winters beneath the earth as a milk-maid, giving birth to children there. Might the two events be related? Rydberg convincingly identifies Völund with the giant Thjazi (UGMI, no 113). In Harbardsljóð 20, Harbard says that he enticed "myrk-riders" away from their husbands in response to Thor's claim that he killed the giant Thjazi, son of Allvaldi (cp, Ivaldi). The word 'myrk-rider' is only used here, but implies 'witch' based on comparisons with similar words. Their identity remains unknown. In UGM I, no. 116 (and expanded in UGM II, Harbarðsljóð) Rydberg identifies Harbard as Loki rather than Odin. If this is the case, myrk-riders might refer to the swan-maidens, who fly over the Myrkwood to meet their lovers in Völundarkviða 1. Harbardsljóð 20 goes on to say that the giant Hlebard (wolf) gave Harbard (Loki) 'gambanteinn' there. In Skírnismál 38 (the only other place the word is used), 'gambanteinn' designates the Völund sword, given to Gerd by Skirnir on Frey's behalf (Lokasenna 42). This might imply that Loki concealed himself as a servant in the Wolf-dales. If, as Rydberg suggests in Our Father's Godsaga, Loki gave birth to his three monster-brood on three separate occassions, then Fenrir's birth best took place there.
Briefly, it may now be told what great events occurred during this
winter. Not much time passed since Ivaldi’s sons departed before Freyja
went missing in Asgard. The gods they did not allow themselves to show
shock and sorrow. They assembled to solemnly deliberate the matter at the holy
thing-place. Misfortunes struck them one upon another! Idun, Frey, Freyja
gone, Groa dead, Sif and Oda vanished, the bonds of friendship with
Ivaldi’s excellent sons broken! Creation’s prescribed order, the proper
changing of the seasons with which life’s conditions are bound, kept on
unraveling. Who was it that f
*This idea is derived from the function of Menglad's maidens in Fjölsvinnsmál.
All that was left was to bear weapons, because Jötunheim would never voluntarily surrender its plunder. Already now, Heimdall’s horn should have sounded over the world as it shall sound before Ragnarök, but Mimir had wisely taken it in pledge and placed it in the looming twilight by the world-tree’s root.* Völuspá 28. Frey and Freyja must be liberated, and with all the power that the gods had to summon, must clear the way through Jötunheim and over the frost-mountains to Völund’s hideout. Thus, war broke out which preceded the first great folk-feud.
It was time to take up arms, because the giants, livened by the
dominating frost, were ready to attack and gathered their clans along
Vimur, Elivagor and the land-border in the east. Such unity was
previously not seen in the giant world and w
*The inference here is unclear to me. In Skáldskaparmál 32, we learn that Aegir and Hler are alternate names of Gerd's father Gymir (cp. Hyndluljóð 30). Frey will ultimately trade the Völund sword for Gymir's daughter according to Lokasenna 42. Fjölsvinnsmál 26 says that Loftur (Loptur, traditionally a byname of Loki), made a weapon which could kill the golden cock atop the world-tree, and that it was robbed from him in the underworld. In UGM I, no. 98, Rydberg identifes the weapon-maker Loftur as Völund. That Loki robbed a sword, made by Völund, from Gymir might be an early attempt at understanding these passages by Rydberg. However, Rydberg presents Gymir and Aegir as founders of seperate clans in ch. II above.
*In this version of the epic, Brokk and
Sindri are Odin's brothers; their deaths explain how they become smiths
under Mimir. Mimir is the king of the underworld, and Brokk and Sindri
are the primary smiths in his retinue. Rydberg no longer expresses this
view in later works; King Fridelvus (Njörd) searches the eastern
archipelegos for his lost son and daughter in Saxo Book 5 (See
UGM I, no. 102). Hymir's daughters are known from Lokasenna 34,
where they oppose Njörd; Hildigun and Nanna are the divinities of
the sun and moon (identical to Sunna and Sinhtgunt in the 2nd Merseburg
charm). Baldur's wife appears as the valkyrie Svava in
the Eddic poem Helgakviða
Hjörvardsson—both according to investigations conducted in
UGM II, Towards the Baldur Myth. Hati,
the wolf who chases the moon (Grímnismál 39), is said to be a giant,
father of Hrimgerd and opponent of Helgi Hjörvardsson in
Helgakviða Hjörvardsson 17.
He has a claim on the moon, according to Rydberg's imagination here,
because of his relationship to the giant-contractor who built Asgard's
wall. Háfeti is a horse named in Kalfvisa. The wolf who chases the sun
is traditionally named Sköll (Grímnismál 39).
*In this version of the epic, Brokk and Sindri are Odin's brothers; their deaths explain how they become smiths under Mimir. Mimir is the king of the underworld, and Brokk and Sindri are the primary smiths in his retinue. Rydberg no longer expresses this view in later works; King Fridelvus (Njörd) searches the eastern archipelegos for his lost son and daughter in Saxo Book 5 (See UGM I, no. 102). Hymir's daughters are known from Lokasenna 34, where they oppose Njörd; Hildigun and Nanna are the divinities of the sun and moon (identical to Sunna and Sinhtgunt in the 2nd Merseburg charm). Baldur's wife appears as the valkyrie Svava in the Eddic poem Helgakviða Hjörvardsson—both according to investigations conducted in UGM II, Towards the Baldur Myth. Hati, the wolf who chases the moon (Grímnismál 39), is said to be a giant, father of Hrimgerd and opponent of Helgi Hjörvardsson in Helgakviða Hjörvardsson 17. He has a claim on the moon, according to Rydberg's imagination here, because of his relationship to the giant-contractor who built Asgard's wall. Háfeti is a horse named in Kalfvisa. The wolf who chases the sun is traditionally named Sköll (Grímnismál 39).
But Frey and Freyja were not liberated and Völund’s hideout was not attained.
Continued in Serial 2
Viktor Rydberg's Mythological Works