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Told by the Northmen: Stories from the Eddas and Sagas   By:

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Stories from the Eddas and Sagas


George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., London



Hakon's Lay ix


I. How All Things Began 1

II. How All Father Odin Became Wise 6

III. How the Queen of the Sky Gave Gifts to Men 14

IV. How a Giant Built a Fortress for the Asas 17

V. The Magic Mead 22

VI. How Loki Made a Wager with the Dwarfs 29

VII. The Apples of Youth 34

VIII. How the Fenris Wolf was Chained 41

IX. How the Pride of Thor was Brought Low 46

X. How Thor's Hammer was Lost and Found 56

XI. The Giant's Daughters 64

XII. The Story of Balder the Beautiful 69

XIII. How Hermod Made a Journey to the Underworld 78

XIV. How Loki was Punished at Last 83

XV. The Story of the Magic Sword 87

XVI. How Sigmund Fought His Last Battle 96

XVII. The Story of the Magic Gold 101

XVIII. How Sigurd Slew the Dragon 107

XIX. How Sigurd Won the Hand of Brunhild 114

XX. How the Curse of the Gold is Fulfilled 116

XXI. The Boyhood of Frithiof the Bold 123

XXII. Frithiof and Ingeborg 127

XXIII. Frithiof Braves the Storm 131

XXIV. Balder Forgives 134

XXV. How the End of All Things Came About 140

Pronouncing Index of Proper Names 145

Hakon's Lay

By James Russell Lowell

"O Skald, sing now an olden song, Such as our fathers heard who led great lives; And, as the bravest on a shield is borne Along the waving host that shouts him king, So rode their thrones upon the thronging seas!"

Then the old man arose: white haired he stood, White bearded, and with eyes that looked afar From their still region of perpetual snow, Over the little smokes and stirs of men: His head was bowed with gathered flakes of years, As winter bends the sea foreboding pine, But something triumphed in his brow and eye, Which whoso saw it, could not see and crouch: Loud rang the emptied beakers as he mused, Brooding his eyried thoughts; then, as an eagle Circles smooth winged above the wind vexed woods, So wheeled his soul into the air of song High o'er the stormy hall; and thus he sang:

"The fletcher for his arrow shaft picks out Wood closest grained, long seasoned, straight as light; And, from a quiver full of such as these, The wary bow man, matched against his peers, Long doubting, singles yet once more the best. Who is it that can make such shafts as Fate? What archer of his arrows is so choice, Or hits the white so surely? They are men, The chosen of her quiver; nor for her Will every reed suffice, or cross grained stick At random from life's vulgar fagot plucked: Such answer household ends; but she will have Souls straight and clear, of toughest fibre, sound Down to the heart of heat; from these she strips All needless stuff, all sapwood; hardens them, From circumstance untoward feathers plucks Crumpled and cheap, and barbs with iron will: The hour that passes is her quiver boy; When she draws bow, 'tis not across the wind, Nor 'gainst the sun, her haste snatched arrow sings, For sun and wind have plighted faith to her: Ere men have heard the sinew twang, behold, In the butt's heart her trembling messenger!

"The song is old and simple that I sing: Good were the days of yore, when men were tried By ring of shields, as now by ring of gold; But, while the gods are left, and hearts of men, And the free ocean, still the days are good; Through the broad Earth roams Opportunity And knocks at every door of hut or hall, Until she finds the brave soul that she wants... Continue reading book >>

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