Myþs of ðe Ancient Norþ

Narrated for young people by
Þeedrich Yeat

Part One

How Odin Got the Magic Mead

Long, long ago in Giantland, there was a magic wine made of honey. It was called mead, and the giants Mime [Mímir] and Swart [Surt] kept it in the well which belonged to Mime. Anyone who drank of it could know the past and the future and everything there was. This made the giants (who were also called etens) very strong. In fact, they were just as strong as the gods, with whom they often fought. Mime, also called "Mead-Drinker" [Motsognir], and Swart worked together and made the dwarves and the elves.

The name of Swartung, or "Swart's son," was Feal [Fjal], also known not only as Outyard-Loke [Utgard-Loki] but also both as Mead-Wolf [Mjodvitnir or Midvitnir] and Skrime [Skrymir]. Although a dwarf, he was the ruler of a mighty race of giants. In addition, he was also the procreator of a tribe of dwarves known as "Suttung's sons."

Mime, too, gathered together a group of artists, namely Doe [Dainn], an elf, and the dwarf Dwale [Dvalin], who is said to have his own band of dwarves.

But one day Mime and Swart (also known as Durn [Durnir or Durin]) had an argument and went their own ways. Swart took his dwarves and elves and went far to the south, to a land called Sunken Dales. Among the elves was one called Swigger [Svigdir, Svidurr or Svidrir], a strong friend of Swart. Swigger took along a large amount of mead from Mime's well to Sunken Dales for safekeeping. From that time on, Swart, who lived in Sunken Dales and had a great quantity of Mime's mead, was also known as Sunken-Mime [Sokk-Mimir]. The gods, by the way, could not go to Sunken Dales or they would be attacked and killed.

Now there were many gods: gods of earth, gods of sky, gods of water and gods of fire, gods of all the things we see around us. They were called Wanes.

But there were also supergods, more powerful than the rest. A god of this kind was called an Oose, and together they were called Eese. They lived in Ooseland, which in their language was called Osyard.

Now the chief of all the Eese was a very, very smart Oose called Odin. The giants, who feared and hated him, called him "Bale-Worker," because he wrought them so much bale, or evil. Odin knew about the magic mead of the giants, the etens. And he also knew that if he could have it, the Eese and all the other gods would be much stronger than the giants. And so he looked for a chance to get the mead.

Because the elf Swigger had brought Mime's mead along with him to Sunken Dales, Swart promised to give him his beautiful granddaughter, Feal's daughter Gunnlod, for his wife. The wedding was planned to take place in Swart's and Feal's wonderfully bright hall.

Now Swart's grandsons, who were known as Swartung's sons (but were really the sons of Swart's Son, Feal/Outyard-Loke) and were fire-giants, and the Rime Thirses who were frost-giants, were all in the hall waiting for Swigger to arrive.

But Odin had learned of the plan for the wedding. So he secretly stole into the land of Sunken Dales and came to the deep valley where Swart's great hall was. There he waited outside the hall, and when he saw Swigger coming along the rock mountainside, he attacked him and chased him into a rock cave where he killed him.

Then Odin put on Swigger's clothes and went into the bright wedding hall, so that everyone thought he was Swigger. Next, taking the place of Swigger, he married Gunnlod. And, because everyone thought he was Swigger, he had to swig down lots of beer and mead.

But Odin drank so much that, in arguing with the cunning son of Swart, Feal/Outyard-Loke, he became careless in his speech, and the giants began to understand that he was not really Swigger but their enemy, Odin.

When evening came, Gunnlod and Odin went to their bedroom, but in the middle of the night the giants burst in and attacked him. In the fight, Odin killed Swart's son, Gunnlod's brother, and used a magic drill to bore his way through the rock mountain and out of the hands of the giants. He took the magic mead with him and, changing into the form of an eagle, flew with it back to Osyard, the home of the Eese.

End of Part One

Part Two

Götterdämmerung: The DoomStory of the Gods

Odin won the magic mead from the giants through trickery, murder and killing. However in doing so, he made a mortal enemy of Swart who then plotted to kill Ošin's own son, Thor. But after trying and failing in this, and afraid of Thor's great strength and his giant-killing hammer, Swart waits and waits until the earth grows old.

At the end of the world he will appear with Frey's magic sword. (This dangerous sword, which will be taken by Feal and given to his father, has long been guarded by Edgethew [Eggthir], a giant goatherd sitting on a gravemound and strumming a harp, to whom Frey gave his sword in exchange for the giantess Gerd, handmaiden to Freya). With it, Swart will attack the gods, and the doomsday war will begin. Swart will destroy the earth and the heavens in a final, terrible battle.

The four directions of the world will be destroyed: in the north, Nivelhell and NecroShore; in the east, Elfhams and Etenhams; in the west, Wanehams and the Warning Woods; and in the south, Sunken Dales, the home of Swart and Swartung's Sons.

Swart will ride from the south with fire, the bane of twigs. From the east, out of Etenhams, will come a ship steered by the great giant Loki and carrying his son, the fearsome wolf Fenner Freach Fivel, and Fivel's monster children. All together, these beings are called Muspell's children. They will all come from a realm of terrible cold in the northeast, cut off from the world of the gods by a vast forest, the Ironwood and the Murkwood. As the ancient stories tell:

  • High blows Rainbow, his (alarm-sounding) horn is raised aloft;
    Wôôden speaks to the head of Mime, the memory-giant;
    Yew-horse's (earth-supporting) ash-tree trembles standing;
    The old tree whines as a giant tears loose.

  • What's with the gods? What is with the elves?
    All giant-land is howling; the gods will be in council;
    The dwarves will be groaning before their stone doors,
    Those knowers of the cliff. Do you know when or how?

  • The Scream-Giant will drive from the east, lifting his shield before him;
    (The World-Serpent) Vast-Magic will turn into a giant rage;
    The serpent will thrash the waves, the sea-ern will scream.
    The yellow-beak will rend corpses; the Ship-of-Dead-Men's-Fingernails will get loose.

  • This keel will fare from the east; from the sea will come
    The men of the Doomsday Fire, and the flame-giant, Loki, will steer.
    All the race of giants will travel with the Wolf;
    With them will come Loki, brother to the Thunderbolt.

  • From the south will come Swart, with that bane of switches, fire;
    Off his sword will shine the sun of the gods of the battle-slain.
    Rocks will crash and fiends will fall;
    Heroes will tread the way to hell, and heaven will cleave asunder.

  • Then (her son dead) to the divine Protectress will come a second grief,
    As Wôôden (her mate) advances to meet the Wolf,
    While Lordship, slayer of Bellower, goes, bright, against Swart;
    For then the cherished one of (Fry, the) Love-Goddess must fall.

  • Wôôden's son will go on to fight the Wolf;
    Wide-Ruler off on the way against the carrion-beast;
    With his hand he will make his sword stand up out of the heart
    Of the son of the Roarding Giantess; then will his father be avenged.

  • Thor, the famous son of Hearth-Goddess,
    Unafraid of its contempt will hardly retreat from the serpent;
    All the heroes will clear out of the land
    When Midyard's guard strikes in rage.

  • The sun will blacken, the earth sink into the sea;
    From heaven will vanish the bright stars;
    Smoke will rage, and the life-nourisher, fire, too.
    High heat will play against heaven itself.

  • But its says here thus:
    "Battle-Ride" is the name of the plain where in combat will meet
    The Black One and the gods we love;
    It is a hundred miles in all directions,
    The plain that's marked for them.

Translated from the ancient Norse Ragnarök
Þeedrich Yeat

— Þeedrich (reachable at