The Lay of Vafthrudnir

1 Shall I visit Vafthrudnir? Afford me your counsel, Frigg: For I long to meet him and match runes In a word-joust with the giant.

2 Father of Warriors, Frigg's counsel Is that you stay at home: No giant is equal, I judge, in strength And thought to Vafthrudnir.

3 Much have I traveled, much have I learned, Much have I proved the Powers: I will venture to visit Vafthrudnir And see his hall for myself.

4 Unharmed go forth, unharmed return, Unharmed back to your own: May you, Father of Men, prevail In your word-joust with the giant.

5 So Odin departed to prove the giant, Match him wit for wit: Into the hall of Im's father Ygg the Fearsome entered.

6 Hail, Friend! From afar I have come To visit you, Vafthrudnir: I am eager to learn if you are half-wise Or all-wise, as I hear.

7 Who are you? Who is it dares To toss at me taunting words? Unless your Tore prove larger than mine, You shall not leave here alive.

8 My name is Gagnrad: now from the road I enter your hall in need Of food and drink far have I traveled For your welcome, wise giant.

9 Tell me, Gagnrad, why you talk from the floor And do not seat yourself: You shall prove to me who has more wit, The guest or his old host.

10 A poor man among the wealthy Must needs speak or be silent: No good will bragging bring him, I think, comes to challenge the cunning.

11 Tell me, Gagnrad - you may talk from the floor - Tell me to test your boldness: What is the horse called who hauls forth Day for the heroic race?

12 Bright-Mane is he called who the clear day hauls Forth for the heroic race: Mightiest is he thought among the Hreidgoths, With his golden-gleaming mane.

13 What is the horse called who from the east drags Night that seems good to the gods?

14 Ice-Mane is he called who for all drags Night that seems good to the gods: Foam from his bit falls each morning, Whence comes dew to the dales.

15 What is the river called that runs between The grounds of giants and gods?

16 Ifing is the river that runs between The grounds of giants and gods: Open shall it run for evermore And never be iced over.

17 What is the plain called, the place where Surt Shall finally defeat the gods?

18 Vigrid is the plain, the place where Surt Shall finally defeat the gods: A hundred rasts in each direction The area is of that plain.

19 You are wise, guest: go to the bench, Be seated and continue our talk, To see who in wit is the wiser of us. We will stake our heads on the outcome.

20 Vouch to me first Vafthrudnir, If your wisdom serves you well: ilow did the earth, how did the sky, Both of them, come to be?

21 From Ymir's flesh was earth shaped, The mountains from his mighty bones, From the skull of Frost-Cold was the sky made, The salt sea from his blood.

22 Vouch to me second, Vafthrudnir: Whence comes the moon, whence comes the sun, That move alike over men?

23 Mundilferi is the moon's father And so of the sun also: They shall travel through heaven every day As a tally of times for men.

24 Vouch to me third, Vafthrudnir: Whence comes the day, whence comes the night And its moons that fare over men?

25 Delling is the name of Day's father, But Night was begotten of Nör, New Moon and Old were made by the gods As a tally of times for men.

26 Vouch to me fourth, Vafthrudnir: Whence came winter and warm summer, How did both of them come to be?

27 Wind-Cold was Winter's father, South the father of Summer.

28 Vouch to me fifth, Vafthrudnir: Whence comes the wind that over waves fares, Unseen by human eyes?

29 Hraesvelg sits at the edge of the world, Huge in eagle feathers: From his wings, they say, the wind comes That fares over mortal men.

30 Vouch to me sixth, Vafthrudnir: Who of the gods or of Ymir's kin In the First Age was first?

31 In the endless winters before earth was shaped, Then was Bergelmir born: His father, I think, was Thrudgelmir, As Aurgelmir was his.

32 Vouch to me seventh, Vafthrudnir: Whence did Aurgelmir come who of all the giants In the First Age was first?

33 From Elivagur venom drops Joined to make the giant: We are all his sons, descended from him, Hence we are all so fierce.

34 Vouch to me eighth, Vafthrudnir How that grim giant begot children, Who never knew a giantess.

35 Under his armpits the Ice Giant grew A boy and a girl together: Foot by foot the Fierce One begot A six-headed son.

36 Vouch to me ninth, Vafthrudnir, What you first remember, first knew; For you know all, do you not?

37 In the endless winters before the earth was shaped, Then was Bergelmir born: What I first remember is the flour bin In which they laid the Wise One.

38 Vouch to me tenth, Vafthrudnir, How Njörd comes to be counted a god, To have high altars and temples Raised to his name though not god-born.

39 In Vanaheim did the Vanes shape him And gave him as pledge to the gods: After the Doom of this Age he will return Home to the all-wise Vanes.

40 Vouch to me eleventh, Vafthrudnir: Who of the men in Odin's court Fare to the fight each day?

41 All the dead warriors in Odin's court Fare to the fight each day: They select the slain, then leave the battle, Sit after at peace in the hall.

42 Vouch to me twelfth, Vafthrudnir: From the runes of the giants, from the runes of the gods, Are you able rightly to read What fate shall befall the gods?

43 From the runes of the giants, from the runes of the gods, I can read the truth aright: I have wandered through all the worlds; Through the Nine Worlds and through Nether- Hel Where die the heroes from Hel.

44 Much have I traveled, much have I learned, Much have I proved the Powers: Who will survive when the Arch-Winter Shall kill most of mankind?

45 In Hoddmimir's Wood shall be hidden from it Lif and Lifthrasnir: For meat they shall feed on morning dew, And from both shall men be reborn.

46 Whence shall come the Sun to the smooth heaven After Fenris has eaten her up?

47 Elf-Candle shall have a daughter Before she is seized by Fenris: The maid shall ride her mother's highway When all the High Ones are dead.

48 Who are the maids with minds of wisdom Who shall glide over the ocean?

49 Maidens in threes over Mogthrasnir's Village wing their way, Good spirits who guard homes, Although Thurse-begotten.

50 Who shall inhabit the home of the gods When Surt's flames slacken?

51 Vidar and Vali, the virtuous, shall dwell there, When Surt's flames slacken: To Modi and Magni shall Mjollnir belong When Thor is overthrown.

52 By whom in the end shall Odin fall,. When the High Ones are all destroyed?

53 Fenris will swallow the Father of Men: This will Vidar avenge, Cleaving asunder the cold jaws In the last fight with Fenris.

54 What did Odin whisper in the ears of his son Before Baldur was borne to the pyre?

55 You alone know that, what long ago You said in the ears of your son. I doomed myself when I dared to tell What fate will befall the gods, And staked my wit against the wit of Odin, Ever the wisest of all.