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He saw three high-seats, each above the other, and three men sat thereon, one on each. And he asked what might be the name of those lords. He who had conducted him in answered that the one who sat on the nethermost high-seat was a king, "and his name is Harr;1 but the next is named Jafnharr;2 and he who is uppermost is called Thridi."3 Then Harry asked the newcomer whether his errand were more than for the meat and drink which were always at his command, as for every one there in the Hall of the High One. He answered that he first desired to learn whether there were any wise man there within. Harr said, that he should not escape whole from thence unless he were wiser.
And stand thou forth who speirest; ^^^^
III. Gangleri began his questioning thus: "Who is foremost, or oldest, of all the gods?" Harry answered: " He is called in our speech Allfather, but in the Elder Asgard he had twelve names: one is Allfather; the second is Lord, or Lord of Hosts; the third is Nikarr, or Spear-Lord; the fourth is Nikudr, or Striker; the fifth is Knower of Many Things; the sixth, Fulfiller of Wishes; the seventh, FarSpeaking One; the eighth, The Shaker, or He that Putteth the Armies to Flight; the ninth, The Burner; the tenth, The Destroyer; the eleventh, The Protector; the twelfth, Gelding."
Then asked Gangleri: "Where is this god, or what power hath he, or what hath he wrought that is a glorious deed?" Harr made answer: "He lives throughout all ages and governs all his realm, and directs all things, great
1 High. 'Equally High. 'Third.
and small." Then said Jafnharr: "He fashioned heaven and earth and air, and all things which are in them." Then spake Thridi: "The greatest of all is this: that he made man, and gave him the spirit, which shall live and never perish, though the flesh-frame rot to mould, or burn to ashes; and all men shall live, such as are just in action, and be with himself in the place called Gimle. But evil men go to Hel and thence down to the Misty Hel; and that is down in the ninth world." Then said Gangleri: "What did he before heaven and earth were made?" And Harr answered: "He was then with the Rime-Giants."
IV. Gangleri said: "What was the beginning, or how began it, or what was before it?" Harr answered: " As is told in Voluspa:
Erst was the age when nothing was:
Then said Jafnharr: "It was many ages before the earth was shaped that the Mist-World was made; and midmost within it lies the well that is called Hvergelmir, from which spring the rivers called Svol, Gunnthra, Fjorm, Fimbulthul, Slidr and Hrid, Sylgr and Ylgr, Vid, Leiptr; Gjoll is hard by Hel-gates." And Thridi said: "Yet first was the world in the southern region, which was named Muspell; it is light and hot; that region is glowing and burning, and impassable to such as are outlanders and have not their holdings there. He who sits there at the land's-end, to defend the land, is called Surtr; he brandishes a flaming sword, and at the end of the world he shall go forth and harry, and overcome all the gods, and burn all the world with fire; thus is said in Voluspa:
Surtr fares from the south with switch-eating flame,— On his sword shimmers the sun of the War-Gods;
The rock-crags crash; the fiends are reeling;
Heroes tread Hel-way; Heaven is cloven."
V. Gangleri asked: "How were things wrought, ere the races were and the tribes of men increased?" Then said Harr: "Thestreams called Ice-waves, those which were so long come from the fountain-heads that the yeasty venom upon them had hardened like the slag that runs out of the . fire,—these then became ice; and when the ice halted and ceased to run, then it froze over above. But the drizzling rain that rose from the venom congealed to rime, and the rime increased, frost over frost, each over the other, even into Ginnungagap, the Yawning Void." Then spake Jafnharr: "Ginnungagap, which faced toward the northern quarter, became filled with heaviness, and masses of ice and rime, and from within, drizzling rain and gusts; but the southern part of the Yawning Void was lighted by those sparks and glowing masses which flew out of Muspellheim." And Thridi said: "Just as cold arose out of Niflheim, and all terrible things, so also all that looked toward Muspellheim became hot and glowing; but Ginnungagap was as mild as windless air, and when the breath of heat met the rime, so that it melted and dripped, life was quickened from the yeast-drops, by the power of that which sent the heat, and became a man's form. And that man is named Ymir, but the Rime-Giants call him Aurgelmir;
and thence are come the races of the Rime-Giants, as it says in Voluspa the Less:
All the witches spring from Witolf,
All the warlocks are of Willharm,
And the spell-singers spring from Swarthead;
All the ogres of Ymir come.
But concerning this says Vafthrudnir the giant:
Out of the Ice-waves issued venom-drops,
Then said Gangleri: "How did the races grow thence, or after what fashion was it brought to pass that more men came into being? Or do ye hold him God, of whom ye but now spake?" And Jafnharr answered: "By no means do we acknowledge him God; he was evil and all his kindred: we call them Rime-Giants. Now it is said that when he slept, a sweat came upon him, and there grew under his left hand a man and a woman, and one of his feet begat a son with the other; and thus the races are come; these are the Rime-Giants. The old Rime-Giant, him we call Ymir."
VI. Then said Gangleri: "Where dwelt Ymir, or wherein did he find sustenance?" Harry answered: "Straightway after the rime dripped, there sprang from it the cow called Audumla; four streams of milk ran from her udders, and she nourished Ymir." Then asked Gangleri: "Wherewithal was the cow nourished?" And Harr made answer: "She licked the ice-blocks, which were salty; and the first day that she licked the blocks, there came forth from the blocks in the evening a man's hair; the second day, a man's head; the third day the whole man was there. He is named Buri: he was fair of feature, great and mighty. He begat a son called Borr, who wedded the woman named Bestla, daughter of Bolthorn the giant; and they had three sons: one was Odin, the second Vili, the third Ve. And this is my belief, that he, Odin, with his brothers, must be ruler of heaven and earth; we hold that he must be so called; so is that man called whom we know to be mightiest and most worthy of honor, and ye do well to let him be so called."
VII. Then said Gangleri: "What covenant was between them, or which was the stronger?" And Harry answered: "The sons of Borr slew Ymir the giant; lo, where he fell there gushed forth so much blood out of his wounds that with it they drowned all the race of the Rime-Giants, save that one, whom giants call Bergelmir, escaped with his household; he went upon his ship,1 and his wife with him, and they were safe there. And from them are come the races of the Rime-Giants, as is said here:
Untold ages ere earth was shapen,
Then was Bergelmir born;
On the deck of the ship was laid down."
VIII. Then said Gangleri: "What was done then by Borr's sons, if thou believe that they be gods?" Harry replied: "In this matter there is no little to be said. They took
1 Literally, mill-bench or mortar.