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2011 06 07

[gylfaginning] [gylfa 2] [gylfa 3] [gylfa 4] [gylfa 5] [thrymskvida] [alvismal] [solarljod] [voluspa in skamma] [skirnismal] [skaldskaparmal] [baldurs draumar] [gudrunarhvot 1] [gudrunarhvot 2]


[THIOT: Runesong of the ErilaR Masters]

BOOK FOUR As She Spoke: Le An's Lament

As She Spoke __________________________________

'Le An's Lament' (though it lacks the opening verses given here) is well known in classical literature, having come down to our time in several folios, but its true age and the identity of the author, was not known until this version entitled ĎAs She Spoke' was translated from the ErilaR Manuscript. [The text is annotated with names reconstructed in the Old Icelandic form, bracketed as this sentence].

"Thus treasured all heritage betters, gentle-ones have all sorrows lessened, because about these rows-of-griefs were told."
'Gudrunarhvot', Gudrun's Urging



They build temples and fill them with gold.
Revere studied texts, sacred and old.
Paths are painful and long,
lined with sin and with wrong.
Naming the Lord in every tongue.
Ah, yai yai ya hai.
Oh, yo yo yo ho.
Name the Lady in every tongue.
Ooh, you you hoo hoo.
Hey, yey hey hey yey.

Blood is spilled in the name of the One.
Lost soul of Woman, lost spirit of Man.
Can't they see where they have gone?
Don't they know what they have done?
Curse the Lady in every tongue.
Ah, yai yai ya hai.
Oh, yo yo yo ho.
Cursing the Lord in every tongue.
Ooh, you you hoo hoo.
Hey, yey hey hey yey.

Tell it on the mountain, shout it to the sky;
proclaim it to all: the lowly and high.
Worshipful voices in song,
sound of a glad rejoicing throng,
praising the Lord in every tongue.
Ah, yai yai ya hai.
Oh, yo yo yo ho.
Praise the Lady in every tongue.
Ooh, you you hoo hoo.
Hey, yey hey hey yey.
Praising the Lord in every tongue.
Ah, yai yai ya hai.
Hey, yey hey hey yey.

Lord, Lady, of Earth, of Sky.


              The wolves run now in this world made of our good green earth. I am sure their howls must be hymns of thanks to that great one with the yawning jaws who swallowed up all that was just and good. And yet, not even that so terrible as the wolf who came to my door. That wolf I desired more even than my own child. In the very moment of her death (though I sat hunched in my own house far away) I saw with her the bullet emerge ponderously like a large dog shaking its head before falling upon its prey. I traveled with her to the threshold of death's door. And when he came to my door, I led him into my bed to gather the spent passion of years in lustful embrace. Though I knew. I knew.
              To be left with my sorrow, with my pain. With only the dying people of the round-house. There are only thirty now. I don't count myself anymore, for I have grown so weak I can no longer move from the pile of bedding in front of the only fire we can manage to keep. A huge tent has been erected around the great central fireplace to trap the little warmth our few sticks and scraps generate. It seems we cannot survive this fimbul winter, and still I do not despair ~ nor, it appears, do the others. I called them 'the people' before, but now I'm weary and it's easy to believe that when I close my eyes they will vanish with my sight. It ought to fill me with terror, this anticipated extinction; but instead I'm serene. I suppose it's malnutrition.
              Outside in the bitter cold only the wolves roam. They roam in packs about Gimle. Although wolves seem to avoid humans, because of the deep snow and the great changes in the land they've taken to the roads and trails to scavenge for rotten carcasses of livestock and human burial sites. The age-old struggle between wolves and people renews as the cry: wolf! regains its urgent meaning. Sometimes, pressed by hunger, the packs gather to find strength in numbers, and so harass us we can barely go out. In the nights they sound. Some far off, their wavering howls on the edge of perception, then the rallying cry startling close, filling the woods with echoes. But their silence is more grim, for wolves do not howl when following a blood trail and fall silent when they come in sight of their quarry. Yet have not a few of us hung about our necks a snout of the dreaded wolf.
              There is one who hates wolves. His name is Harrison [Hraesn, Boastful]. Now he is a hardened young man; he was a teenager at the Upheaval, gone to see to his rabbit-snares. When he made it back to the village, he found his parental home destroyed. A lone wolf scavenged the rubble and lay gnawing. He drove it off with curses and a stick to find human remains with torn and bloodied remnants of a dress he recognized as his little sister's. He wept then while the wolf watched him from a little distance. In a screaming rage he ran at it, making it retreat. Only a portion of the pitiful corpse protruded from the jumbled wreckage of building and upheaved earth and boulders, and he worked to extricate it.
              Shortly, the wolf returned with two of its fellows. The animals circled warily, occasionally making grunting sounds. He tried to work on, but the wolves gradually crept nearer and he had to chase them away time and again, only to have them resume the circling and pressing nearer, and he noticed that they'd increased in number and grew more aggressive and difficult to drive off. He realized that he had to cover the remains as best he could for the wolves would not leave him to work uninterrupted to free it and he began to collect stones, bits of broken tree stumps, pieces of lumber, to cover it. The wolves became ever bolder, beginning to harass him from close-by so that he grew fearful of an attack. The large she-wolf leapt back and forth in front of him, emitting such threatening growls which even the stick would not silence that he was forced to climb a tree for safety. Then the wolves, which now counted eleven, tore open the little cairn he had tried to build over the remains and proceeded to tear apart what the cache had tried to protect. Shout as he might, the wolves would not stop, nor did they allow him to descend the tree. Helpless, forced to watch the cruel severing of his sibling's corpse, he sat in the crook of a mighty limb for many hours.
              Harrison became a hunter. Once he killed a wolf, for which he was reprimanded as wasting shot; a second wolf-kill caused a severe castigation; upon a third, they took away his weapon. After that, he trapped and snared any animal spoor he could find, but soon had fearsome competition from the wolves who stole his catch so repeatedly they seemed to watch his trapline closer than he could. During times when the cold was least severe, he camped out and lived off the land. Vigilance took him as a victim. He learned to sleep like a wolf: never more than two or three hours at a stretch. Seeing the wolves, and being seen, made him feel vulnerable. But for string, wire, and a skinning blade, he was without a weapon ~ the fire he made for cooking every two or three days was his strongest magic that never failed to send lupus slinking away. Canis lupus. The hated name became meaningful when he came within paces of the she-wolf ~ the wolfen. She with legs and tail stiff, her neck bristled and lips curled. He bristling too but with a chill of apprehension.
              Several people have since been told what happened next, but not the same each time. Perhaps there was the deathly silence of time frozen as ice to crack and shatter into broken sheets of space, or yet there were voices and unearthly sounds, a mighty wind, scarlet before the eyes. At first he said that, with a terrible shout, he had leapt on the wolfen and grappled ferociously until he ripped her throat with teeth and bare hands. Later he believed she came to him in a stiff-legged walk, then the furred limbs crumpled and she collapsed motionless with her nose nearly on his boot. He stood stock-still. She did not move. He nudged the snout with his boot . . . then kicked it, slightly moving the brow. The eyes opened: windows into the void of the Great Deep. They locked onto his: the eyes of the hunter ~ the wolfer. The wolfen's irises were fibrous rainbow spokes that drew his vision into the black dilated pupils where the retina's surface carried no image. Her jaw gaped and clamped onto his boot. With a bodily shudder that arched the wolfen's back, fangs sank deep into foot muscle and bone. He screamed in agony. Could not get loose. He reached desperately for the knife, plunged it into the hated eyes, then deep into the neck, again and again. He stuck the blade between the jaws to pry them apart and free his foot. He fell upon the lifeless body to skin it. Stood up laughing wildly, held up the hide to drape it over head and shoulders. He started a crazed dance, lifting his feet to the heartbeat throbbing at his temples, around and around the red, naked carcass of the wolfen: Canis lupus, the valorous guardian of evil, slain. On and on he danced until he collapsed at last. When he tried to rise, he discovered he could no longer stand on the sorely wounded foot. Then he realized he had to make it to the roundhouse or perish where he would feed the wolves. As he painfully struggled the timeless distance, in his mind wolfer and wolfen became one ~ her purpose, his.
              Some few saw him as he half-crawled into Gimle, his clothing torn, blood-spattered hands and face, hair matted to the head in which wild eyes blazed. On one knee, he drew the stained knife, tried to speak but growled incoherent noises. Some urgent foreboding had me turn to the door but I did not see Harrison. I saw a shadow, black and soft as smoke, except for a pure white smudge in the center. I fairly flew then (although I could only walk with difficulty), pushed by an insistent force. A broad-bladed knife found its way into my hand, and I struck at the shadow's white center that I knew somehow to be its only vulnerable spot. Instantly, shadow and knife disappeared. The knife was later found outside stuck through a splintered bone. People say that another walked with me, that it was myself stood behind, exact in every physical detail. But the breast of the follower did not rise and fall, no voice came from the pallid lips. Harrison fell as if bludgeoned. His foot was mashed and frozen and they had to cut it off. He lies with me now. He invoked the classic berserker rage, but now he is weak and tame and talks of keeping the wolf from the door and of wresting our land from the wolves.

              From when it did not exist, time is spinning out, each day longer than the last and but eighteen hours a thousand-million years ago. Twenty-million years ago, when apes walked the earth, were the minutes subtracted from their lives? We are the ancients in the age of peoples, we are the old ones in the age of the world to gain the wisdom of time. But are not the young ones closer to the source of time? I walk where none walk, and in this realm are Jaine and Shoo or, rather, their disembodied spirits ~ the true being of which I do not comprehend.
              "Le An," Harrison says, "you're delirious."
              It is my frequent comment to him. What is real and what is not?
              "What you can name is real," he says. "Because a thing's name is true."
              What these things are is one thing, and that they are is another. Listen, Harrison: I awoke stupid and drunk with the question Why? framed in my mind. I was just a perceiving awareness, with no solidity, boundless. A sort of aura or halo spread from me that projected on this mist-shrouded world the shadowy phantoms of my creed. It seemed to me that a long tradition resided here and that I was a part of it in some way, but I didn't know what had shaped this tradition, whether powers high or low. After long contemplation, I was able to reconstruct the events of this time one after another to chart a mental pattern, but it was only a deceptive mask for this realm to wear. I 'walked' in that strange landscape. I was lonely. At once, I perceived the presence of another being. I didn't know the nature of it but I wanted to be of good behavior, so I formed a greeting ~ how, I don't know. The being seemed surprised, sent off a wave of alien affections and motives for which I felt no sympathies, but induced a profound confusion in me. I moved away at a rapid pace, propelled by a need to find the just that must exist in the nature of this universe. In the distance appeared the dim outline of a structure that, as I neared it, grew into a huge circle of standing stones surrounded by a wide and deep ditch. The granite bouldered round could not be entered but by a bridge to a formal entry threshold, over which I stumbled into my habitual body.
              Seated figures in crumbling stone faced inward to a cold fire of long-frozen flames. I walked around from one to another of the figures, returning at last to step again over the threshold but I could not. For a brief time I considered my lot to remain there, to petrify, then crumble like the seated figures all around ~ watching me. I picked a stone off the ground and hurled it at one of them which, striking it full in the chest, caused the figure to collapse by a number of small rockslides and disintegrate into a random pile of stones, revealing a low wooden portal behind. The effect of my throw had frightened me, but the door opened to my hand and I crawled through.
              What seemed a deeply mudded path, was petrified in solid stone that clearly showed a solitary pilgrim's struggling steps meander off into a hazy distance of gorsed hills. The undulating landscape was covered in spiked trees and thorny bushes. I followed the crooked course of the trail and the ancient traveler's plodding tread. Because my body is weak, I often tripped over petrified lumps of clay and in deep stony runnels of eroding water. The footprints marked the way through a wrought iron gate ~ no fence on either side along the path, and halted by a toppled tombstone with this inscription: 'Earth receive our honored dead, spirit singing overhead, within the trees arising nigh, touches root and reaches sky.'
              I left grave and gate, and continued on a narrowed but now untrodden path, determined to follow it when, finally, it led to a hollow dell and a circle of the just who were assembled in the round of judgement seats, where stood a place at council to which I was ushered. A scorn-pole was raised, to call on the land spirits to reject Shoo who entered the circle to hear the sentence of banishment. What is the means of your existence? I asked. His astonishment was so great, I felt it as a shock ~ for he had not formed the question himself, and thus had not given shape to it. Conflict: I transcended the notion, but its idea spawned from the timeless place in which it waited upon my apprehension.
              He laughed. "Le An," he said, "why do you keep to the beliefs that have been handed down from one to another. You hold these only to be practical. Holding to the past lends no merit to a future that is perhaps ultimately perfectible."
              It became intensely cold, and I fell into a violent, uncontrollable shuddering. They carried me away and I laid sick for long, nursed by silent, gentle women who each one resembled my olive skin, shape of eye, black hair. When I arose I was alone to open the door and step outside. I felt weak. I thought to summon Jaine, and her presence was immediate though I could not see her.
              "What appearance would thee have me?" Jaine asked.
              When I answered: the habitual figure of you I loved in life and love in death, my child, she stood before me instantly and I went to embrace her. She yielded gracefully to my touch but did not return it.
              "I do not dwell in this place, Mother," she said gravely, "I came only to meet thee."
              She took my hand and we soared up high into the sky, over clouds, and down again. I saw far below a vast forest and an enormous thorny maze, at the edge of which Shoo was hacking into it with an old-fashioned, short, one-edged sword.


              Shoo slashed into the thorny maze with the old seax-blade, seeking the center. In the face of eternity, the task seemed possible. In three hours he hacked through onto a path. Half a day later, without knowing whether he might have walked around in half an hour, he hacked onto another path one end of which did not end in a wall of green and brown thorny gorse.

              Early in the development of the settlement by the gods, when the gods had set up Midgard and made Valhalla, then came a certain smith and offered to make them a bulwark in three seasons of such goodness, to be trusty and fearless before mountain-risis and rime-thurses, though they came right into Midgard. But he spoke that to buy himself, that only Freija must be his, and he would have the sun and moon. Then went the vital-ones [aesir] to talk and reason their counsel, and was that sale made with the smith, that he must own all that, but they spoke too, if he caught the making of the burgs in one winter. But upon the first day of summer, if certain lots were unmade of the burgs, then he must cancel the sale. And he must cancel anysome laborers accepted for the works. But when they said to him these costs, then he requested, that they must allow, that he have use of a stallion of his, who's named Swath-faring [Svadilfari]. And thus counseled Loki, with him it was who laid this. He took to the first winter's-day to make the bulwark, but during the nights he had the stallion draw the stones for it. But that thought the vital-ones a mighty wonder, noneso sturdy crag as the stallion drew, and half more strength-work made the stallion than the smith. Though there were strong witnesses to the sale and much swearing, yet the giant trusted none of it to be among the vital-ones without a truce, if Thor came home. But he was then faring on the eastern-road to smite trolls. During the course of winter, the stoutest of mighty bulwarks was girded, and they were of such height and strength, that nothing might seek it. And when it was but three days to summer, then had it come nigh unto the burger's-gate. Then sat the gods in the judgement seats and let reason search out that other, of who had reasoned to gift Freija to Giant-home [Jotunheim] or spoil the lofty heavens so to take thence the sun and stars to give to the giant. But that came to be agreed by all, that this must have been counseled by him, who is the most evil of counselors, Loki Lady Leafy's son [Loki Laufeyjarson], and deserving an ill death they said, unless he owns up and advise them, how the smith could be bought off; and some went at Loki. But as he warded fearfully, he swore oaths, that he must manage in such a way, that the smith was bought off, whatever the cost to himself. And that same dusk, when the smith drove out after the stones with the stallion Swath-faring, then walked out of the woods and to the stallion a certain mare and whinnied to him. And when the stallion knew, what horse this was, then he raged and ripped asunder the ropes and galloped to the mare, but she withdrew into the woods and the smith after for he would take the stallion. But these horses walked all night, and after that day there was not such building as there had been before. And then when the smith saw, that his own shall be a shut-down works, then fired the smith his giant-rage. But when the vital-ones had seen for certain, that there was a mountain-risi coming, there was no reverence to oaths, and they called on Thor, and in a half-turn he came. And thus-next flew in the air the hammer Miller [Mjolnir]. He chanted that smith's bargain and no sun or stars, rather he denied him to settle in Giant-home and unleashed that first hitting blow, to shatter the skull into mere dust, and send him beneath under Nebula-home [Niflheim]. But Loki had then been bound to Swath-faring, so that somewhat later he bore a foal. It was good and had eight feet, and this horse is seen by gods and humans as the best. Thus says Voluspa.

['Gylfaginning', Snorra Edda]

              A stronghold had been built amid tall standing homes, and within the bulwark's den, work first had made a court with seats to stand there ~ twelve others and a high-seat that was Allfather's. That house was the best made in the worlds and most all inside and out was the same of pure gold. People called this Gladhome [Gladsheim]. Another chamber was made on a mound, on which priestess families were in their all-so-fair houses. This people called The Friendly Floors [Vingolf]. An enormous smith works had been made and a great forge to make hammer and tong and anvil, and thence all other tools. They smithed the metal-stones, and so plentiful was the metal named gold that all the household goods, riggings and tack, were of gold. After daylight had quelled and drinks were taken, they let bear into the hall swords that were so bright they lit it, and there were no other lights while they sat drinking. The wall-panels were all hung with bright shields. Shoo thought all he saw about him was glorious, as the mead took hold because much was drunk. Next to the human Shoo sat Barker [Bragi, the skald], and they shared drinks and words.


              At one point, Barker rose from his seat and recited an ancient lay ~ As Thrym Quoth:  

              Vingthor was angry then, when he awakened forsakened of his hammer, shaggy bristles quivered, locks all a-shook, as the Earth-born counseled for to seize it back.
              And here are all the words he quoth about this first: "Hear you now, Loki, what i now speak, no-one wits anywhere on earth nor in upper-heaven: that the vital-ones have the hammer stolen."
              They went to fair Freija's garden, and here are all the words he quoth about this first: "Shall you, Freija, lend me the featherskin, if i may meet with my hammer?"
              Quoth Freija:
              "To give, this i am minded, though it was golden, and yet grant, though it was as silver."
              Then Loki flew, ~featherskin rustling, ~until he went far beyond and came before the inner sanctum of the giants' home.
              Thrym sat on a height, thurs' master, his greyhounds wore twisted golden bands and even so in the manes of his mares.
              Quoth Thrym:
              "What is with vital-ones? What is with elves? Why have you come alone to Giant-home?"
              Quoth Loki:
              "Ill it is with vital-ones, ill it is with elves; have you Roaring Rider's hammer hidden here abouts?"
              Quoth Thrym:
              "I have Roaring Rider's hammer hidden here abouts eight leagues underneath the earth. There is no human can claim it, unless Freija is taken and ferried to me for a wife."
              Then Loki flew, ~featherskin rustling, ~until he went far beyond Giant-home and came before the inner sanctum of the vital-ones' yards. He met Thor in the middle gard, and these are all the words he quoth about this first:
              "Have you toiled on the errand? Say up aloft these long tidings. Often sitting makes concealing stories, and lying down treacherous lies."
              Quoth Loki:
              "I have toiled on the errand; Thrym has thine hammer, thurs' master, he'll have no human claim it, unless Freija is taken and ferried to him for a wife."
              They went to meet fair Freija, and here are all the words he quoth about this first: "Bind yourself, Freija, in bridal linen, with two must we yoke into Giant-home."
              Then Freija was so angry she snorted, all the vital-ones' chambers stood a-tremble, and the mighty necklace Brisinga bounced: "You think i've become eager-in-lust, if i yoke with you into Giant-home."
              Soon the vital-ones all were met and asa-ladies all in speech, and about this counseled the shining rulers, how to settle about Roaring Rider's hammer.
              Then quoth that Heimdal, the whitest vital-one, well aware of what's-to-come as like the wanting-ones: "We'll bind Thor then in bridal linen, have him don famed Brisingalace.
              "Let keys dangle under his wives-cloth that falls about the knees, but at the breast the bridal stones, and handsomely hooded around the head."
              Then quoth that Thor, doughty vital-one: "Wretched all the vital-ones shall call me, if i'll be bound in bridal linen."
              Then quoth that Loki, Lady Leafy's son: "Keep you, Thor, these words. Soon giants shall make Asgard their abode, if you don't take steps to reclaim thine hammer."
              They bound Thor then in bridal linen, and with mighty necklace Brisinga, and let keys dangle under the wives-cloth that fell about the knees, but on the breast the bridal stones, and handsomely hooded around the head.
              Then quoth Loki, Lady Leafy's son: "I shall be there as a handmaid, with two must we yoke into Giant-home."
              Soon heifer-goats were driven from home, hastily poled, dutiful runners. Mountains broke, earth burst into flame, as Woden's sons yoked into Giant-home.
              Then quoth that Thrym, thurs' master: "Stand up, giants, and straw the benches. Now is ferried to me Freija for a wife, Njord's daughter out of Shiptown [Noatun].
              "Here in the yards go the gold-horned cows, and the giants' all-black oxen gambol; full plenty have i of gifts, full plenty have i of necklaces, only Freija is lacking to me it seems."
              Dusk came early about there and ale was brought forward for the giants. One ate an ox, eight salmon, and all the dainties that were there for the dutiful women, Lady Sib's husband drank three measures of mead.
              Then quoth that Thrym, thurs' master: "Where saw you a bride bite keener? I've not seen a bride with broader bite, nor a maiden drink in more mead."
              The seated handmaid oh-so-smart, fetched these words to speak with the giant: "Freija ate nothing for eight nights, so madly-eager was she to be in Giant-home."
              Bent under the linen, lusting for a kiss, he was hurled along the seeming endless chamber: "Why is such a fiery spirit in Freija's eyes? It seems to me those eyes are full of flaming fire."
              The seated handmaid oh-so-smart, fetched these words to speak with the giant: "Freija slept not for eight nights, so madly-eager was she to be in Giant-home."
              In came then the giant's wretched sister, she who dared bid for a bridal gift: "Let from your hands these ruddy rings, if you would gain this love of mine, love of mine, with all honor."
              Then quoth that Thrym, thurs' master: "Bear in the hammer to hallow the bride, lay Miller on the maiden's knee, to keep us together in holy Var's hands."
              Roaring Rider held the laughter in his breast, when with hardened-mind he held the hammer; Thrym he struck first, thurs' master, and of the giant family, all were lamed.
              He struck the age-old giant's sister, she who for a bridal gift had begged; she was smacked for just a penny, but the hammer smashed for the rings a-plenty. Thus came Woden's son formerly to the hammer.

['Thrymskvida', Eddukvaedi]

              "Thou needst not hack and hew thy way through the gorse," Barker had said to Shoo. "It's not that sort of maze."
              The seax-blade had taken him here, Shoo thought, but he said: "what sort of maze is it then?"
              "It is hidden in runes or in skaldship," Barker answered. Then he cited:

              "Skaldship arose from this: that the gods disagreed with that folk called the wanting-ones. But they saw to a peace-meeting and set a truce to that temper, so they went each together to one vessel and hawked their spit into it. Then at parting, the gods took it, for lost they would not let that truce-mark be, and shaped therefrom a person. His name was Quasher [Kvasir].
              "He was so wise that none could ask him their lot, that he did not know how to loosen it, and he fared wide about home to know people's learning. Once he was bidden to the home of certain dwarfs, Feller and Yeller [Fjalar and Gjalar], and on coming there they called to see him in a one-to-one talk, and they struck him, let his blood run into two vessels and one kettle, and its name is Goderer [Odreri], but the vessels are called Sidding and Bidding [Son and Bodn]. They blended honey with the blood, and it became therefrom a mead that whoever drinks of it becomes a skald and a learned human. The dwarfs said to the vital-ones that Quasher had choked on people-wits, because there was no-one with enough learning so learned that they could even ask.
              "Then these dwarfs invited to them a giant named Yelling One [Gillinger], and they rowed out to sea with him. But when they'd fared far from land, the dwarfs rowed onto a certain rock and capsized the boat. Yelling One was asundered and he perished, but the dwarfs righted the ship and rowed to land.
              "They told his wife of this happenstance, and she took it badly and wept high. Then Feller asked her if it would lighten her mind if she could look out to seaward where he had perished. When she said she would do so, he spoke to his brother Yeller that he must climb up over the door when she went out and let a millstone fall on her head because, he said, he was loathe of her wailing. And so it was done.
              "The giant Settlemaker [Suttungr], Yelling One's brother-son, heard these tidings and he fared to the dwarfs, took them, and carried the dwarfs out to sea and set them there on a flood-skerry. They begged Settlemaker for a life-truce and bade him a settlement with the precious mead as father's-gild, and that became the settlement between them. Settlemaker carried the mead home and kept it in what's named Mount Knit [Hnitbjorg], and there set on watch his daughter Gunled [Gunlod].
              "From this we call skaldship Quasher's blood or dwarfs' drink or fill, or a certain kind of water of Goderer, Bidding or Sidding, or the dwarfs' ferryboat, because it was the mead that saved their lives on the skerry, or Settlemaker's mead or Mount Knit's liquid."
              "With such names," Shoo said, "it seems to me that what you call skaldship is only murky speech. But however did this mead of the skalds come to the vital-ones?"
              Barker answered: "They say it was like this, that Woden fared from home and came to where certain thralls were mowing hay, and asked if they would that he whet their scythes. They said yes to this. Then he took a hone from his belt and whetted the scythes. They thought the scythes cut so much better that the hone should be sold. So he decided that who wanted to buy it must give a feast for it. All of them claimed to be willing and bade him sell it. But he cast the hone up aloft, and when they all tried to handle it they fell into such differences that they brandished the scythes at each other's necks.
              "Woden sought lodging for the night with a giant who was named Bah [Baugi], a brother of Settlemaker. Bah considered his estate poorly, he said, for nine of his thralls had been killed and he was out of his wits to get the labor done without workers.
              "Woden went by the name of Baleworker [Bolverker]. He offered to take up the work of nine laborers for Bah, and he spoke of his wages as but one drink of Yelling One's mead. Quoth Bah that he had not counsel on the drink, and said that Settlemaker alone would have this. But, quoth he, fare he shall with Baleworker and try to fetch the mead.
              "Baleworker labored all that summer on nine people's work, and when winter came asked for his pay. Then fared they both to Settlemaker's. Bah told his brother about the bargain he had with Baleworker, but Settlemaker flatly denied even a single drop of mead.
              "Then Baleworker bided with Bah, saying they had certain crafts that might bring them near the mead, and Bah let that be well. Then Baleworker brought out the auger that was named Rat [Rati], and said that Bah must bore through the mountain if the auger would cut it. He did so. When Bah said that the mountain was bored through, Baleworker blew into the auger-hole but the chips rebounded up towards him. Then he found that Bah wanted to defraud him and bade him bore through the mountain. Bah bored again, and when Baleworker had another of his blows the chips flew through.
              "Then Baleworker shifted to be wormlike and crept into the auger-bore. Bah stuck the auger after him but he missed. Baleworker fared to where Gunled was and laid beside her for three nights, and she allowed him to drink three draughts of the mead. In his first draught he drank all from Goderer, in another from Bidding, and in his third from Sidding, and then he had all of the mead.
              "Then he shifted to an eagle-shape and flew his most strenuous. But when Settlemaker saw the eagle's flight, he took his eagle skin and flew after him. When the vital-ones saw Woden flying, they set their tubs out in the yards. When Woden came within Asgard, he spat up the mead into the vessels. By then he had come so near to Settlemaker nabbing him, that his rear-end sent out some mead and no-one cared about this. Whoever wants that may have it, we call that the skald-fool's lot.
              "But Settlemaker's mead was given by Woden to the vital-ones and to those people who can work it. Thus we call these skaldship crafts the catch of Woden and find and his drink and his gifting and the drink of the vital-ones."


As Woden set the auger to the mountain, so Shoo took the seax-blade to the thorns. He had discipline and drove himself to the task. Persevering, he hacked onto a path that, as before, at one end did not present a wall of spiky gorse but opened onto a fair place with a sparkling pool on which two white birds were feeding.
              They spoke to him: "Our name is Swan," they said, "and from us have come all that birdkind that is so called. You cannot enter here."
              "But I must," said Shoo. "I will."
              "The wild swan sounds true," the birds answered. "At the great seal which lies beyond you will find it so."
              All was beautiful and light, and such a shimmering faery aura beguiled Shoo that he did not know where he wandered, when he came to a brilliantly white wall. Set seamlessly and artfully into it was a huge metallic portal (like the door to a great vault). It was engraved as a monumental medallion, where-ever the eye alit drawing it near to focus on the smallest etchings of details depicting a masterwork on a thumbnail. He was bewitched and befuddled, hardly knew how he made it back to the sparkling pool.
              The swans were not on the water, but there was a remarkably beautiful maiden wearing a sheer dress in the lightest hues of green and fashioned of lace so airy it sparkled like the pool.
              "The birds set me here to await your return," the maiden said. "Five-hundred-one days you stood before the portal."
              "Whereto goes it?"
              "Oh, it is too difficult to understand for a human. This is how the skalds have told," and she quoted Gylfaginning:

              "Many glorious steads are there. There is one stead there that is called Elfhome [Alfaheim]. There abide that folk whose name is light-elves that are fairer than the sun is. Toward the sun at heaven's end there is a chamber where all is fairest and brighter than the sun, and its name is Gimle [alee of the gem of fire]. It must stand when both heaven and earth have fared on, and in this stead settle then good people and the righteous throughout the ages. Thus it says in Voluspa. Such it says that another heaven is to the south, and up from this a heaven with the name Andlanger, but there is a third heaven up from them with the name of Wide Blue [Vidblain], and in these heavens we think these steads are, but we think only light-elves abide now in these steads."

              "This is heaven? And it's populated by elves?" said Shoo.
              "Once," the maiden answered, "they dwelled on the growing one."
              "The growing one?"
              "Earth is its name with people, called the growing one by elves. But aelf-rek drove the elves away."
              "Aelf-rek is a being?"
              "It means what is drek to elves. It is the dirtying of the growing one so that they cannot abide to live there any longer. But they have such love for it that they tend the flowers and birds and streams, unseen and hidden from humankind ~ which they visit betimes to take their mischievous pleasure in tangling and knotting the tails and manes of livestock, or by riding a steed to exhaustion through the night. Or, with elfshot cause illness."
              "What good are these tales to me," Shoo said suddenly, "if I can't enter here."
              "While you cannot enter," the maiden said, "you may not leave without an alfablot sacrifice."
              "I have nothing to give."
              "You have your blade," said the maiden, and turned her beautiful countenance away. From behind, she was hollow as a trough.
              Shoo tried to depart that place, but when he left the pool he fell into a great befuddlement and always returned to its sparkling waters. Once he thought he saw standing far off a figure in a watchful pose, hand at rest on a great horn. He heard music then, and singing. In a flash of brilliance from high above, pretty aelfs and their elfen females glided down beams of light, to dance on the shore across the white pool. Holding one another by the hand they danced in circles, and delighted in that certain air that is known as the elf-dance, and the dancing, and the singing, and the music, was so irresistible that Shoo could not refrain from dancing too. He danced and danced, incapable of stopping, until it seemed he'd die of exhaustion. Then he pulled the seax from his belt and hurled it high, whirling in the air with bright reflections on its blade, to plunge into the water of the pool.
              Silence fell. Shoo stood in the pale green circle that elven feet had pressed. He saw then, not the hidden people ~ the sprites, the faeries, or the beautiful white light-elves, but all those swarms of dune-elves and wood-elves, field-elves and hill-elves, water-elves and mountain-elves . . . , and they sang and danced, and laughed. They gave to Shoo a wooden staff carved with elven figures, and ushered him from that place.

              The path wended through thistle and thorn, thickets of spikes, piercing bramble, pricking brier, in woody vines, sprawling shrubs, spreading bushes, sturdy trees, with spinescent branches and spiky, thorny stems, sprinkled with sweet little white-petalled flowers and red and black berries.
              He heard a deep voice from behind the gorse, then another in even lower rumbling tones:

              ". . . Wise guest, be wary, unless you can relate of all the homes what it is I want to know.
              "Say to me, Allwise [Alvis],~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is the earth named, that lies before sons-of-the-ages in all the homes?"
              Quoth Allwise: "Earth the name with people, and with vital-ones field, called the way by wanting-ones, evergreen by giants, by elves the growing one, called rich loam by upper-rulers."
              The second voice spoke again: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is heaven named that is known in all the homes?"
              Quoth Allwise: "Heaven the name with people, but spangler with gods, called wind-woven by wanting-ones, upper-home by giants, by elves fair-roof, by dwarfs the dripping chamber."
              Then the second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: howso is the moon named that the people see in all the homes?"
              Quoth Allwise: "Moon the name with people, but milling with gods, called the whirling wheel in hel, hasten by giants, but shine by dwarfs, called by elves season counter."
              The second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: howso the sun's name, which is seen by sons-of-the-ages in all the homes?"
              Quoth Allwise: "Sol the name with people, but sun with gods, called by dwarfs Dvalin's play, everglow by giants, by elves fair wheel, all-pure by vital-ones's sons."
              The second voice again: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is that cloud named, which showers blendings in all the homes?"
              Quoth Allwise: "Cloud the name with people, shower hope with gods, called windfloat by wanting-ones, drizzle hope by giants, by elves weather-might, called in hel the hidden helm."
              The second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is named the wind, which fares the widest in all the homes?"
              Quoth Allwise: "Wind the name with people, but waverer with gods, called neigher by beginning-rulers, weeps by giants, by elves din-farer, called in hel fitted."
              Once more the second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is named that calm, that must lie in all the homes?"
              Quoth Allwise: "Calm the name with people, but haven with gods, called wind-abates by wanting-ones, over-sheltered by giants, by elves day-soothe, called by dwarfs day's shelter."
              The other: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is named that lake that people row in all the homes?"
              Quoth Allwise: "Sea the name with people, but sail-terrible with gods, called barrow by wanting-ones, eelhome by giants, by elves waterstaff, called by dwarfs deep lake."
              Then the second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: howso is fire named, that burns before sons-of-the-ages in all the homes?"
              Quoth Allwise: "Fire the name with people, but with vital-ones flame, called barrow by wanting-ones, greedy-one by giants, but downburner by dwarfs, called in hel dreaded."
              Then the second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how are the woods named that wax before sons-of-the-ages in all the homes?"
              Quoth Allwise: "Woods the name with people, but field-mane with gods, called tangle of slopes by heroes, kindling by giants, by elves fair-limbed, called wand by wanting-ones."
              The second again: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: howso is night named, in Norvi knowed, in all the homes?"
              Quoth Allwise: "Night its name with people, but dimmed with gods, called cowled by beginning-rulers, no-light by giants, by elves sleep game, called by dwarfs dream-sister."
              Quoth the other: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is that seed named which sons-of-the-ages sow in all the homes?"
              Quoth Allwise: "Barley the name with people, but burr with gods, called waxed by wanting-ones, edible by giants, by elves lawstave, called in hel drooping."
              The second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is that ale named, that sons-of-the-ages drink in all the homes?"
              Quoth Allwise: "Ale the name with people, but with vital-ones beer, called brew by wanting-ones, pure-water by giants, but in hel mead, called party drink by Settlemaker's sons."
              Again the other: "In one breast only I saw never-an-age more old lore. Yet, still greater wisdom have the wanters~those who lack, west in Wanting-ones Home [Vanaheim]."

['Alvismal', Eddukvaedi]

              Shoo heard the voices no more then, though he shouted at the top of his lungs. He looked for the sun halfway up the sky ~ morning or afternoon? He set his direction, followed the path westward to an arching arbor of luxurious pink flowers (set on thorny branches, he noted). As he passed under the arbor a misty essence of vital saps enveloped him.
              "Hail thee, stranger," a voice came to him. "Whereto is your travel?"
              Shoo did not see anyone, but with the elven-wand held by his body a certain way he saw the figure of a woman, though he could not make out any features. "I go west to Wanting-ones Home to profit by their wisdom," he answered.
              "Two wisdoms, peace and fertility, are kept in that Home. The twin son and daughter of mother-father, earth and sea, teach to be aware of the Earth. But all their kind do not think it their province to distinguish between good and evil as they act in the worlds. Two powers they have in that Home. To link with the unseen world ~ and this was already worked in you.
              "They work their other power now. Come, see the spirits of land and sea flocking: all the vast assembly of vanir-gods of fertility from all the localities they inhabit on the Earth. This power to create life and increase in field, animal, and home; this Power!"
              She fell silent, and when Shoo turned to her she was Le An. It was as if new life filled him: the substance and energy of the mythical chaos, the urge for creation to be repeated. When he reached for Le An she was soft and yielding. Together they awakened an orgy of sexual energy in an ecstasy they did not wish to stop. Gods and spirits sang vigorous hymns of cleft and rod. Glorious were their melodies, until at last they came to an end and Shoo fell into a deep sleep.

Song of the Sun
Lay of Counsel
              Holy Sisters bid you to where master's speech is wholesome to the mind; betimes after, where all shall wish to go.
              Work of wrath which you bestowed, bettered so you be not ill; griefs must be soothed with lots so good as seeming to quote the soul.
              To god must be attributed these lots so good, then to who have shaped these treasures, and became long before where people were in whom they found the father.
              Asking for help is certainly difficult to who thinkers want to be; while it goes amiss with them who never bid, few suffer in silence.
              Late i came, though early called, to judgement-wielding animals; thither i intuited myself; thus was i named; he will have the dainty who craves it.
              Sin wields so that we fare afflicted out of neverhome; nothing so dreadful as taking to evil deeds; good those who blameless are.
              Like wolves they all think in their own whirling minds; another mind is given them who must go there by the inward shining path.
              Friendly counsel and wits i can combine therefor together; clear your mind and never ever be diminished; all is of use for you to accept.

Life and Death
              Of this is to say, how blessed i was in enjoyment-home, and these other words, why the sons-at-the-launch came to accept the need-deed.
              Will and conceit lure worthy sons, them who desire to possessions; bright silver leads long to grief, many have been mocked by fortune.
              Glad i thought most grooms were, because i knew few before; strayhome has the master shaped with much mindfulness.
              Bent i sat, long i slumped, so much i lusted then for life; but saw the counsel of who rules that from below come the threatening paths.
              Hel-dwellers came hard and rope lashed to my sides; i wanted to slit them but they were tough, until they lifted loose.
              One thing i know, of all the ways that swell my sorrows, it's Hel's maidens have my shudders who bade me to the home of one-and-all afflictions.
              Sun i saw, affirming daystar streams the dinhomes in; but Hel-dweller's gate hearkens day the other way with depressing howls.
              Sun i saw, set in dreary staves, much was i then out of home's halls; mighty is the lure of many ways because they are from before.
              Sun i saw, such like methought i seen an honored god; to this i bowed in yon ages-old home.
              Sun i saw, such a burl on a beam that methought i could in nowise know; but beasts streamed bellowing the other way, blending much with blood.
              Sun i saw in sight a dreadful shaking and decline, so that my heart was greatly torn and in shreds asundered.
              Sun i saw seldom afflicted, much was i then out of home's halls; my tongue felt like wood and cold spread outside.
              Sun i saw beside no-one after that dreary day, the cause of the waterfall stilling before me, but i turned from these beckoning torments.
              Hope-stars fly,~then was i tended,~away from my own breast; it happens like a flea that never settled but now enjoys a well deserved rest.

['Solarljod', Bokarauki (addendum), Eddukvaedi]

              Shoo dreamt he stood before a flaming gate. He approached, but the intense heat drove him back. He found that the elven wand held in front of him gave protection, but the flames leaping all about the pedestals and high arch of the gate were still too hot to bear. He determined to make a run for it. Holding the elfin staff high before him he rushed over the gate's threshold into light and heat so severe he knew he could not survive. The sons of fire rode wildly about him, roaring and flashing, and fanning sere winds. He jumped back, stumbled and crawled away.

              Harrison lies helpless on the bedding in front of the fire of Gimle. His arms and his legs are spread, his face is a tumescent red, eyes bulged, hair wet with sweat. He pants. Le An peels away covers and clothes, finds his skin a hot red everywhere. She shuffles off to fetch snow to cool him. When she returns, he has declined in a slow, laborious, rasping breath that seems near death. She pats snow on his exposed skin. He shudders with a sudden intake of breath.
              "Le An," he says with difficulty, "what is happening to me?"
              She looks into his eyes. "Don't be worried," she says, but is. She can't remove a top garment because he clenches a fist. "Open your hand," she says, but wild gasps are his only response. She struggles to get the clothes off as best she can to pack snow on his deep-flushed body that feels searing hot. She makes him drink often. Tremors run through him that pull muscles taut until, with hands and feet in knotted balls, he falls into the death rattle; then that great shivering again to repeat, while Le An brings snow where he now lies in the watery sludge of a deepening puddle she is diking off. At last, the rasping breath flows long and stops. Le An thinks he died but, with a shock that jerks him upright, he takes a powerful gasp, then sinks to finally have the body relax. She bends over to hear the breath come deep now, and moves him carefully, reluctant to touch his burning skin, wraps him to keep him warm. She only touches him later to make him drink where he lies for two days.
              Le An examines what he'd clasped in his fist all that long night: a wooden rod round as a girl's wrist, as long as the width of his hand, blackened and charred at the ends, carved with foreign characters visible only where his fingers had gripped it.
              When he can speak again, he asks where he is.
              "Harrison," she answers. "You're in Gimle."
              "Harrison? In Gimle?"
              Then she asks him about the wooden rod and he reacts in shock.
              "Where did you get this?"
              "What is it?"
              "It's the elfin staff."
              "Harrison, how did you get it?"
              "Why do you call me Harrison? Get a mirror. Get me a mirror!"
              Le An finds a small hand-mirror, watches his complexion actually fade to grey as he looks wide-eyed into his reflection.
              "Oh, my god," he whispers. "it can't be."
              "Who are you?" Le An asks, "and what have you done with Harrison?"
              "No, no," he shouts, and struggles to get up. Le An tries to hold him down, but he is like a wild man who tries to stand on the stump of his lower leg to collapse with a hoarse cry of pain. As he crawls away, she reaches for him but is afraid to touch the skin that hangs in tatters. He tries to crawl into the fire but she drags him by the legs from the fireplace. He delivers a fisted blow full to her forehead and she falls senseless. In the hearthfire's burning embers he sees an indistinct figure. He crawls toward it.


              Loki ate of heart in linden-wood burnt, he fetched half-done the woman's mind-stone. Womb-filled was the Lofty One [Loftur, Loki] with an evil woman; thence have all ogresses come into the fields.

['Voluspa in skamma', Eddukvaedi]


              The elemental fires of Muspel sent forth huge showers of sparks into the yawning gulf. From the Nebular ~ dim and misty, roared the seething waves that hardened to great blocks of ice in the vast chasm. At Ginungagap the great tree reached root with gap-hallowed rulers.
              If Shoo lived, he didn't know it. These depths he could not fathom. If he lived, he lived as Sheer-one [Skirnir], and this is cited in Sheer-one's Speech:

              Lord Freyr, son of Njord, had sat upon the Open Shelf [Hlidskjalf] and seen over all the homes. He saw into Giant-home and saw there a maiden fair. Then he was shamed and went from his father's scaffold. Since then his mind became greatly troubled. Sheer-one was the name of Freyr's shoe-swain.
              Quoth Sheer-one: "Say, Freyr, good wielder of folk, what I would know: why sit endlessly alone in your chamber, my master, for days on end?"
              Quoth Freyr: "How to say this, young talker, about the torments of moods? While elf-halo lights up all the days, it shines not within my mind."
              Quoth Sheer-one: "Thine mind, I think, is of such might you may say or not, as once we did when we were young together in days of yore, and well valued was the trust betwain."
              Quoth Freyr: "In Shlymir's [Ga Ymir, or Gymir] garder I saw the maiden of my longings go; arms so light, from them it filled the air and the water.
              "This is the maiden I have longed for more than people for their young ones in days of yore. Vital-ones and elves no human will be together with."
              Quoth Sheer-one: "Give me that mare, to bear me through the murk wither the wavering flames, and that sword, which of itself wages against the giant family."
              Quoth Freyr: "That mare I give then, to bear you through the murk wither the wavering flames, and that sword, which of itself shall wage, if the one who has it is wise."
              Sheer-one spoke to the horse: "It is murky out, I state the case for us to fare over the drizzly fells, over the thurs nation. Both to return, or both of us be taken by those almighty giants."
              Sheer-one rode into Giant-home to Shlymir's garden. There were savage dogs bound beside the stockade wherein Girther's [Gerdr] chamber was. He rode to where a cattle herder sat on a height, and demanded of him: "Say, herder, you who sit on the height and watch all the ways: how shall I spill breath with the young one I came for if in front are these yapping-greys of Shlymir?"
              Quoth the herder: "Whatever are you, frantic or far-beguiled? Ever must you lack the spilling of breath with the good maiden of Shlymir."
              Quoth Sheer-one: "A hero's trial is better than to be weak, for them who wish to fare; all my days were shaped in ages past and all my life was laid."
              Quoth Girther: "What is that clashing crash which I hear now coming into our abode? Earth trembles, here right in front of the shelter of Shlymir's yards."
              Quoth a servant: "There is a human outside, dismounts from the mare's back, aye and lets it take to pasture."
              Quoth Girther: "You bid him go into our chamber to drink the maiden's mead. Though it distresses me to have my brother's bane here outside.
              "What is neither elf nor vital-ones' son nor wise wanting-one? How is it you have come over the oaken fire for this intercourse-chamber to see?"
              Quoth Sheerer: "I am not elf nor vital-ones' son nor wise wanting-one. Yet I came over oaken fire for your intercourse-chamber to see.
              "Eleven apples have I here, all golden, to you, Girther, I shall give these, to buy peace, and have you state that Freyr you loathe no more than life."
              Quoth Girther: "Eleven apples I shall never-an-age accept from anyone, nor with Freyr~while we have our faering lives~settle both together."
              Quoth Sheer: "This band I then give which has been branded by Woden's son. Eight of them, just as heavy do fall from it every ninth night."
              Quoth Girther: "This band I'll not accept though branded it be by Woden's son. It is not me lacking in gold at Shlymir's garder, where are dealt my father's possessions."
              Quoth Sheerer: "See you this make-sword, maid, slim and speech-painted, which I have in hand here? The head I shall hew off your neck unless you say accept to my settlement."
              Quoth Girther: "Under duress I shall never-an-age accept suffering from anyone. Though blows I may get, when Shlymir finds out there will be fearless fight to turn the tide our way."
              Quoth Shoerer: "See you this make-sword, slim and speech-painted, which I have in hand here? For these edges the aged giants have been seen to sink, and thine father became cowardly.
              "Meekward I was sent by beatings, but I accepted that taming mind, maid, to me minding. There you must go to accept and see that groom's son ever beside thee.
              "On the eagle's mound you must ever sit, turned to the homes of yore, hankering for hel's abodes; the flesh is loathed there more than the gleaming worm by people who are all bereft.
              "It was a wonder-sight to behold you when you came out to accept Rimed-one [Hrimnir] as lord, to receive everyone's stares, disagreeable you became and warded off good, gaped at in front of your gates.
              "Fool and folly, tassel-magic and suffering, will wax tears of grief. Set you down, but I shall say in answer twofold griefs breaking like the surf.
              "Grim demon's nips must be received all the day long in the giant's garder; to the halls of the rime thurses must every day, cranky and worthless, cranky and of no worth; weep you must against that game that leads to teary grief.
              "With three-headed thurses near must ever you be or havenless be; the deed-mood grips and gets mournful mourning; like a thistle you are, that's overgrown when the season has declined.
              "To the hills I went for succulent plants to get and work the illusion-twig, and illusion-twig I got.
              "Wrathful is Woden there, wrathful is there vital-ones' best. Freyr must receive what is desired, do abominable maid, unless you catch the good illusion-rides.
              "Hear giants, hear rime thurses, sons of Settlemaker, selfsame members of the vital-ones, how I forebode, how I forebane shall people's merriment, shall people's use.
              "Rimegrim [Hrimgrimnir] is named the thurs who must be received before the gates of the dead beneath; there wretches toil over woody-roots and give out goat piss. No other drink fetch you ever-an-age, maid, to thine minding, maid, to my minding.
              "Thurs I etch there and three staves, lust and fury and suffering; that which I etch, same that I un-etch, if this need be."
              Quoth Girther: "Hail be you now, hero, swain, and take the rimed chalice full of aged mead. Though it's a fine day to intend what formerly never-an-age would be granted: to be a vanir lady fine."
              Quoth Shoer: "Mine errands I know full well, before I ride hence to home, to meet and be near you vigorous son of Njord shall strive."
              Quoth Girther: "Needle-grove [Barri, burr] is named which is known to both of us, the tranquil grove; but it shall be nine nights after that Njord's son Girther's gifts will gain."
              Then Shoe rode home. Freyr stood outside and quoth he to pry for tidings: "Say to me what, Shoo, before you throw the saddle off and you dismount from the stepper: is what you learned in Giant-home theirs or mine minded?"
              Quoth Shoo: "Needle-grove is named which is known to both, the tranquil grove; but it shall be nine nights after that Njord's son Girther's gifts will gain."
              Quoth Freyr: "Long is night, longer are two, how much yearning is three? A month seems much longer to me than the time to my wedding-night."

['Skirnismal', Eddukvaedi]

              Over a dark river Shoo was ferried. The ferryman hawed how he had been hired one night by a mysterious personage to ply his boat back and forth. At every trip his vessel was so laden with invisible passengers that it nearly sank. When his night's work had been done, he received a rich reward and was told that he had carried dwarfs across, as they were leaving the country forever because of unbelief among the people.
              On the other shore awaited him a small, homely being, dark of skin, green eyes, large head, short legs and inturned feet. His kind was called dark- elves or dwarfs, and sometimes kobold, troll, or goblin.
              "Blood and bones of Earth and Sky made the dwarven race, but when ages old beliefs were no longer revered, our kind withdrew entirely," he replied to the ferryman's tale.
              Though not gods, dwarfs are far more intelligent than humans, and Shoo could not penetrate the dark elf's purpose. On the road to Dark Elves Home the dwarf let his rumbling voice lead the way:

              "Loki, Lady Leafy's son, had as a trick clipped all the hair off Sib [Sif]. When Thor became aware of this, he took Loki and meant to break his every bone, unless he swore to go to the black elves and have them make locks of gold for Lady Sib, and such that it must grow the same as other hair.
              "After that Loki fared to certain dwarfs, named the sons of Inwielder [Ivalda], and they made the locks and Stickblades [Skidbladnir] and the spear which is named Quailer [Gungnir]. Then Loki wagered his head with a certain dwarf, named so-and-so, that he was meant to make three just as good to grasp as these were."
              When they came to a smithy, the dwarf laid a swineskin in the forge and he bade Shoo blow and abate none before and until he took out of the forge that which he had laid in it. And with that the dwarf was gone from the smithy, but Shoo blew. Then a fly settled on his hand and stung, but he blew the same as before, and he who was smithing took out of the forge a boar that had bristles of gold.
              Next he laid gold in the forge and bade Shoo to blow and let not the blower fail before and until he came back. He went away, and then a fly came to settle on his neck and stung now half again harder than before. But Shoo blew, and he who was smithing took out a gold ring that he called Dripper [Draupnir].
              Then he laid iron in the forge and bade Shoo blow and said it meant to become useless if the blowing failed. Then the fly settled between his eyes and stung his lids. Blood fell into his eyes so that he could see nothing, and he groped with his hand for a kerchief, meanwhile the bellows laid still, and he wiped off that fly. Then the smith came and said that nearly now all was made most useless, and he took out of the forge a hammer.
              He fetched then all the grasping-treasures in the hands of Shoo and bade him fare with him to Asgard and redeem the wager.
              "About Loki," spoke the dwarf. "It is said that when Skadi, daughter of the giant Thiazi, took helmet and mail and all her weapons and fared to Asgard to avenge her father, the vital-ones bade her settle for wergild compensation. To this she consented, but part of the settlement was what she thought they must never be able to do: the vital-ones must make her laugh out loud. But Loki did so: he bound a rope around the beard of a goat and the other end around his scrotum, and they set to pulling to and fro and one shrieked higher than the other. Then Loki let himself fall on Skadi's knee, and then she roared. That was part of the settlement that the vital-ones handed over to her." The dwarf wrinkled his beetled brow. "But Lady Leafy's son is not a funny fellow. No, no. He's extremely dangerous."
              To Asgard Loki came bearing his treasures, where the vital-ones sat on the council-stools, and that pronouncement must stand the same as Woden, Thor, and Freyr's final decision. Then Loki gave the spear Quailer to Woden, but to Thor the locks which Sib must have, and to Freyr Stickblades, and he said the sense of all these grasping- treasures. The spear always laid steady; the curly locks were flesh- sprouting as soon as they came on Sib's head; Stickblade had a breeze as soon as the sail was hoisted wherever it must fare, and it had the power to fold the same as cloth to have in a pouch, if that was wanted.
              Then Shoo carried forward the graspings of the dwarven smith, who gave to Woden the ring and said that every ninth night it meant to drop off eight rings just as heavy as itself. To Freyr he gave the hog and said its power was to run in air and in water, night and day, faster than any horse, and if ever was such a murk of night or in murkhome be that there was not sufficient light where-ever he might fare, such illumination burst from him. To Thor he gave the hammer and said its power was to aim and strike as hard as he would whatever was in front of him, that the hammer meant not to fail, and that when he threw it, it meant never to miss and ever fly so long to seek its owner's hand. And if he wanted, it could be so little to be able to carry it in a shirt. But it had one flaw: the fore-haft was rather short.
              It was deemed then that the hammer was best of all grasping-treasures to ward off most of the mountain risis and rime thurses, and they deemed that the dwarf should own the bet fee. Loki tried to ransom his head, but the dwarf said this was no-one's wont.
              ~"You better take me then," quoth Loki.
              But when he would take him, he was already far and wide, because Loki owned shoes with the power to run in air as well as water. Then the dwarf bade Thor that he must take him and Thor did just that. The dwarf would hew off his head, but Loki said that he owned the head but not the neck. The dwarf then took a thong and a knife and would sew closed his mouth, but the knife would not bite. Then he spoke that his brother had a better awl, and the instant he named it, there that awl was, and it bit the lips. Then he sewed the lips together, and he ripped out of the vital-one the thong that had sewn closed Loki's mouth.

['Skaldskaparmal', Snorra Edda]

              "I am that Snorri, Sturla's son. I wrote the Skalds' Creative Manual, in praise of the skill and craft, the lore and learning of thulur songsmiths of old. History and myth are my province, the old beliefs my seat of power, I over-ride it on the poetry of the skalds.
              "Alliteration is the essence of the metrical structure, bound by pairs of words with heavily stressed syllables in two short lines to make four in the longline. In the first short line either or both may alliterate, but in the second short line only the first stressed syllable must. These syllables are the pillars of poetry, the stead of the song, and the headpost is the most stressed syllable of the second short line. It is an accentual, not syllabic, meter, for it depends upon the number, position, strength, and grouping of stressed and unstressed, long and short syllables. Each regular short line is of even measure, each has two bars of even measure, regardless the number of syllables. Each bar is divided in four, and begins with a fully stressed syllable. The headpost syllable is to be recited with most emphasis, for these are spoken songs with the melody in alliteration and rhythm. The meter may be in fours, sometimes fives, sixes, even sevens. We skalds call these Old Story Rhythm, Speech Meter, Song Meter, Quote Meter, Master Quotes, Streaming, and so on. The Song Meter generally has strophes of six lines with a half-strophe of three; the third is the full line that may take more syllables and is not bound to alliterate with other lines. The half-strophe is always metrically complete. The number of lines may vary ~ even within one verse, but most often there are four lines to a strophe.
              "I cannot speak but am reminded of an ancient verse, Balder's Dreams:

              Once the aesir all were met and asa-ladies all in speech, and about this the shining rulers counselled: how Balder was having bad dreams.
              Up rose Odin, the old Goth, and he laid the saddle on Sleipnir. Down he rode from there to the lady at Niflhel. A whelp he met, which out from hel had come.
              It was blooded on the front of its breast, and barked long at the father of chants. Forward rode Odin, dallying on the ways of the fields, until he came to the high abodes of Hel's ladies.
              Then rode Odin before the eastern door, which he knew led to a volva. Witty vala-chants he took to quoth until needful rose the corpse to speak.
              "Who is the person unknown to me, who will have me eke and work my senses? I was buried in snow, driven by rain, drenched with dew, long was I dead."
              Quoth Odin: "Vegtamur is my name, a son I am of Valtams; tell me what of hel, and I shall of my home: for whom did I see the benches set, and the rooms fairly flooded with gold?"               Quoth the volva: "Here stands the mead for Balder brewed, shields lie over the purified whiskey, but the mighty aesir are overly hopeful. Needful said, now I shall be silent."
              Quoth Odin: "Be not silent, you volva, I yet will ask until I know all there is to know: whoever shall become Balder's bane and destroy forever Odin's son?"
              Quoth the volva: "Hoder borne high in thine praiseworthy bosom, he shall become Balder's bane and destroy forever Odin's son. Needful said, now I shall be silent."
              Quoth Odin: "Be not silent, you volva, I yet will ask until I know all there is to know: who shall have on Hoder vengeance and work to bring Balder's bane to the pyre?"
              Quoth the volva: "Rindur births Vali in the western chambers. When Odin's son is aged but one night, shall he, with hands unwashed and head uncombed, to the pyre bring Balder's attacker. Needful said, now I shall be silent."
              Quoth Odin: "Be not silent, you volva, I yet will ask until I know all there is to know: whoever are those maidens, who shall cry and throw neck scarves up to heaven?"
              Quoth the volva: "Thou art not Vegtamur as I thought, rather art thou Odin, the ancient Goth."
              Quoth Odin: "Thou art not volva nor wise woman, rather art thou thrice a thurs' mother."
              Quoth the volva: "Home ride you, Odin, and be praised. This will people come to know when Loki's limbs are loosed from the bonds and the cursed judgement breaks over them".

['Baldurs draumar', Eddukvaedi in alternate writings]

              "I warn you," Snorri said. "Do not attempt to fare to hel," Snorri said to Shoo. "Everything on the way is fraught with danger, and you'll not like what you'll find if you get there."

              Let me say to you these tidings, that were thought more of by the aesir. The start of that saga is this, that Balder the good dreamed disturbing dreams of a serious threat to his life. When he told the aesir of his dreams, they took it to counsel and decided to ask a pardon for Balder from all kinds of dangers. Frig took oaths that Balder must be spared from fire, water, iron and all kinds of metal, stone, earth, wood, sickness, animals, birds, poisons, worms.
              When these were made and vetted, Balder and the aesir had a pastime in which he must stand up at the meetings, and of all the others some must shoot at him, some hew, some throw stones. But whatever was done to him, he remained unscathed, and they all thought this mighty fair.
              When Loki Laufeyjarson saw this, he liked it ill with Balder, and went to Fensolum to see Lady Frig but his brow was that of a woman. Frig asked if the woman knew what the aesir were doing at the meeting. She said that they all were shooting at Balder and that he remained unscathed.
              Then spoke Frig: "No weapon or wood may hurt Balder. Oaths I have taken from all of them."
              The woman asked: "Have all lots granted oaths to spare Balder?"
              Answered Frig: "A woody twig grows only at the west of Valhall, that is called Mistletoe. This I thought too young to demand an oath from."
              Next the woman hied away, but Loki took the Mistletoe and sidled up to go to the meeting. Hoder stood outside the ring of people because he was blind. Loki spoke with him: "Why don't you shoot at Balder?"
              He answered: "Because I can't see where Balder is, and also I don't have a weapon."
              Then Loki spoke: "You can do as the other people and give Balder honor like other people. I shall show where to he stands. Shoot this twig at him."
              Hoder took the Mistletoe and shot it at Balder where Loki showed him, the shot struck Balder, and he fell dead to earth. This was to be the most unhappy event of gods and people.
              After Balder had fallen, words failed all the aesir, and there were such hands to take him, and they looked at one another and were all of one mind as to who had willed this to happen. But no-one might have such a thing in this mighty sanctuary. The aesir tried to speak then, but before they could there arose such a weeping, that no-one could utter the words of his harm to another. But Odin bore worst this destruction, the sense of which he knew most, wherein the aesir were to have many deaths and losses from the falling of Balder.
              When the gods acknowledged this, Frig spoke and asked where was that aesir who would ride the helway to try, if he found the image of Balder, and bid him loose from out of Hel, and let Balder fare home to Asgard. And he who was named Hermod, he hastened, Odin's son, who went to do that errand. Then they took Sleipnir, Odin's horse was led there, Hermod mounted onto the horse and galloped away.
              The aesir took Balder's corpse to float out to sea. Hringhorni was the name of Balder's ship, it was the best of all ships. The gods would push it off and have Balder's balefire on it, but the ship went nowhere. Then they sent to Jotunheim for an ogress of theirs who was named Hyrokin. She came riding a wolf that had serpents for reins. When she jumped off the steed, Odin called four berserkers to watch over it, but they could not catch a hold until they knocked it down. Hyrokin went to the cock-boat's fo'c'sle and shoved it ahead in an instant, so that fire flew from the launching rollers and the land shook. Thor was wroth and grabbed for his hammer and meant to break her head, until the gods bade him to peace.
              Balder's corpse was carried out to the ship then. When this was seen by his woman, Nanna Nepsdottir, the shock was too much and she fell dead, and she was borne to the bier and laid in the fire. Thor stood then to beatify with Mjolnir, but a certain dwarf by the name of Litur ran under his feet. Thor tripped him and he staggered into the fire and he burned there.
              To this burning sought many kinds of nations. First, of course, was Odin, with him fared Frig and the valkyrie ladies and their ravens. Freyr in a cart yoked to the snorting one whose name is Gullinbursti, but Heimdal rode his horse named Gulltoppur, and Freyja yoked her cats. Mighty folk came there, rime thurses and mountain risis. Odin laid on the bier his golden band with the name Draupnir. Balder's horse was led to the bier in all its tack.
              Meanwhile, Hermod had ridden for nine nights through dales so deep he saw nothing, until he came to the river Gjallarar and rode to Gjallarbridge that was thatched with light gold. Modgunnur is named the maid who guards that bridge. She asked him for the name of his family and said that earlier that day five ranks of dead people rode over the bridge, "but the bridge's din was not even as much as under only you. You don't have the look of dead people. Why do you ride here on hel's way?"
              He said this: "I must ride to Lady Hel to search for Balder, or have you seen a certain Balder anywhere on the helways?"
              But she said that Balder had ridden over Gjallarbridge, "but downward and north lie the helways."
              Then Hermod rode there until he came to the helgates. He dismounted the horse and girdled it firm, mounted up its side and drove his spurs. With that the horse jumped so high over the gate, that he came down nowhere near it. Then he rode to the halls of that home, dismounted, went into the hall, and saw his brother Balder sit there in the highest seat. Hermod spent the night there, but in the morning he bade Hel to let him off, that Balder must ride home with him where, he said, there was much weeping with the aesir.
              But Hel said that it must be tested whether Balder was so beloved as was said, and if all lots in the homes, alive and dead, weep for him, after that he must fare to the aesir, but held by Hel if any speak against him or will not weep. Hermod stood up, Balder led him out of the hall and took the ring Draupnir to send Odin in testament. And Nanna sent Frig linens and one other gift, Fullu fingergold. Then Hermod rode his track to return to Asgard and related all the tidings of which he had seen or heard.
              The aesir sent a brisk-dragon then about all the homes, that Balder be wept out of hel. And everything did so, people and the living beasts, earth and stone, trees and metals, which as shall readily be seen do weep when they come out of frost into the heat. The messengers fared home and considered their errand well reckoned, when they found some hole where an ogress sat. She was named Thok, and they bade her weep.
              She answered: "Thok shall weep dry tears because of Balder's funeral. Alive nor dead do I need any commoner's son. Let Hel hold what she has."
              And this is why people hold that it is Loki Laufeyjarson who has made the most evils with the aesir.


              Some say Loki was that ogress Thok. And Loki had been the fly that stung. Shoo knew it with certainty ~ all the long and painful way of the rough roads to the cold, dark regions of River Gjal. Over it was laid the bridge of crystal arched with gold and hung by a single hair. It was guarded by a grim skeleton that made Shoo pay a toll in blood and vitality before it would let him pass. Across, on the other shore stretched Ironwood, where stood only bare or iron-leaved trees. Coming through it at last, he reached the Gates of Hel where the fierce, blooded hound kept watch. It was cowering in a dark hole, but it charged Shoo like the raging monster it was. He could not venture near the gate at risk of life and limb, and finally returned to the horrible skeleton at the bridge. If once it was a maid, perhaps that is why she told him the monster's rage could be appeased by offering it helcake, and for another toll of blood, she gave him a piece the size of a saucer.
              Again Shoo toiled through Ironwood. Weak from the blood-toll, he stumbled. After he had stumbled three times he stopped to rest, and because he was hungry ate some of the helcake. By the Gates of Hel he saw the Lady ride forth from her halls on a three-legged, white charger, on its back her tools of broom and rake, and saddlebags packed full with pestilence and famine. The blooded hound charged, and he threw the cake. The monster stopped, sniffed, then in one great bound was upon Shoo, the slavering jaws on his body, the gashing fangs in his flesh.

              All this time I was with Shoo, and Jaine beside me. All went amiss, it seemed, within the vital-ones' halls: given drink and wise bench-mates, but the power of saga he would not have. When he meant to go into the elflight, he could not pass, nor return without a sacrifice. Who helped him step out from the elven ring? Who taught him the truth of names? Who sent him seeking the light into the very fire of yore? Shoo walked the myth, lived to see Master's service, Allfather's gifts, Loki's wiles, and learned the evil fraud that Lady Leafy's son had done.

              From this i gibed most fearfully, loth to speak, this telling of griefs so great, when with hard mind and grim words I sharpened my own daughter to fight. "Why do you stay? Why sleep in death? Why do you not grieve, but cheerily speak? Bear forward the ornaments of Heathen Kings; have us sharpen a meeting of swords."
              Weeping, full of her grief, she went to sit at a bypath, and told with tearful cheeks the many ways of her sad tales: "Thrice i knew fires, thrice i knew hearths, i was in three men's houses weighed. Heavy troubles i was to see and much methought of strife.
              "Heathen sharper i named myself to the runes; so that i might work about a better curse. I went to the shore, grim was i to the norns and i would throw off the strife of their abode. But they stayed me, drowned not, but was borne high and i rebounded onto land, to live on duty-bound.
              "I went to bed~each time thinking it would be better~, thrice with nations' kings; i strapped babies to me, inheriting heirs. But when Jaine sat in the round of girls, it was her i cherished most of my children, for Jaine's countenance was like a sunbeam in my rooms. Endowed with gold and woven finery i've given her to the Good Nation.
              "A multitude shall i curse. You remember, Shoo, what was spoken between us, when we were abed to both of us sate, that you would for me, and i would for you, move heaven and earth.
              "Lade up, gentle-folk, the oaken pyre, let it become the highest under the helm of sky; may this full-cursed fire burn the breast and thaw about the heart these sorrows."


              "Mother," then said Jaine, "understand that Shoo cannot forgive me reminding him that shameful act of mine own murder. But I forgave him. Why cannot thee?"
              My mouth was bitter. I could not forgive.

              Two ride with three eyes between them, ten feet, and one tail. The Wild Host following snorts and bays in the rush and roar of the wind. A phantom hunt for the white-breasted maidens ~ where Le An, as in volva seidr, stands with one leg. She watches a mouse, Harrison, creep in and out the open mouth of a corpse: his own.
              From far, far off, the Great Mothers tend and nurture the holy disir Sisters of the Earth, and all that is female in every realm: valkyrie virgins, wish maidens, shield girls, in swan-plumaged flight; and the women's evil of who sank to the rank of witch and plunged naked arms to the shoulder into great tubs of blood.
              A woman, old and decrepit, has waded far out in the western sea. Another, young and fearless, stands on the highest eastern peak. Between them a shuttle flashes to and fro. They weave a web: a woof that uses now, across a warp of what is to come, in a weft of the past. They do not seem to spin of their own intent, but blindly, within the bounds of yore-law. There is a third, closely veiled. She holds an unopened book. Relentlessly, she undoes the work, and often tears the weavings angrily to shreds, scattering remnants to the winds of heaven.
              "Early begun," says the old one.
              "Further spun," who is young.
              "One day done," she with veils.
              They chant a solemn song:

              "Hail days. Hail days' sons. Hail nights and nieces. Hail vital-ones. Hail asa-ladies. Hail that one of full-used fields.
              "Of yore were ages when the eagles screamed, and holy water softly showered from Heaven's Fells [Himinfjollum].
              "The night it warded when the norns came to shape the rights of land in ages past.
              "They have the means to snare the yore-law strands. They gather the golden cords to fasten midway under the chamber of the moon.
              "To the east and to the west the ends fall, and praiseworthy families between. The bright niece at the northern-way fastens only what she bids be held forever."

              There are norns as many as guard all the spirits' lavish gifts at births, marriages, deaths. Among these hordes, Le An finds Harrison's Skin Lady ~ his protective spirit of good fortune, the physical hamingja; and Harrison's Follower ~ his spirit double and guardian wraith, the fylgja wolfen.
              "It was trusted in antiquity that people were reborn, but this is now called an old-wives-tale," the Skin Lady says. "This is not Harrison's corpse, but an image that the fylgja wills. The body burned in Gimle's hearth-fire." She bends down, the mouse runs up her sleeve, and she walks away into the crowds of women around them.
              The wolfen sits on her haunches and drools. "No kin has Harrison," she growls. "No relations for the fylgja Follower, and none to wait for. A fetch empty as this corpse I am. It was you who struck the knife and drove me off, your doing left Harrison to be taken by another. You stand here only with one leg, for you are bound yet to your own world. One hand I see is empty here, but what is that you hold in the other?"
              A great tree towers high and massive over where a deep pool wells. Within the bosom of arbor and spring live the norns who dole out what they know of yore-law at each new human birth: time they give, to become what must; debt they give, of cause and effect; weird they give, that power to shape lots. Three portions make up Le An's life ~ that flowing time of her perception, her lot she forces where she wills, but of her debt she does not know. Then, for the flash of a moment only, she steps wholly within the fylgja's realm ~ two legs, two arms, and from that other hand falls the charred stub of elfin staff, glyphs ablazing.
              A dark dragon raises itself with a roar. Fire jumps from mountain to mountain, plunges into the sea. Great columns of steam come bursting from its depths, flames licking through it as they rise. Lightning flashes within the clouds of steam. In the sharp-blue flickers of light, Radendr experiences the sense of the cosmos beyond the consciousness of the human self.
              "Know you this: Our material bodies, by passing through living crucibles, are by Nature's alchemical transmutations transformed. Plants and creatures all have been consolidated in their structures by the dross of living and dead human matter on which they feed. Our outer bodies are made of the cast-off dust of minerals ~ which is crystalized and immetalized LIGHT. This is the means by which intellect and spirit evolve in physical humanity, from the astral shadows of the forms of divine-human, semi-divine, and divine MIND; which Mind emanates essences and intelligences into the Rounds of BEING that reflect in the LIGHT of visible Nature ~ what esoteric allegory shows as the Unknowing Darkness of the Body of the Night of BE-NESS. In the Secret Doctrine, the immutable PRINCIPLE ~ unthinkable and unspeakable ~ that incessantly manifests and disappears numberless periodic universes. Know the fundamental identity with BE-NESS and Being of all whose human souls are on a pilgrimage obliged by Need to pass through every elemental form of the physical plane.
              "Know you this: All things have their origin in spirit."
              I know what he says but I cannot hear him. Things outside of speech, when spoken of, the words are misunderstood. But when known, the mind comprehends itself in an eternity not of time. Radendr owns a pearl for which the wise willingly offer all they have. Because of this, the dragon cannot rend him for it finds no place to fix a claw, because there is in him no place of death.
              But now the wolfen lives in me.

              When the gods had become as wrathful as might be expected, Loki leaped away and sheltered himself by a certain waterfall, where he built a house with four doors so that he might see out of the house to all quarters. But often during the day his brow was like unto a salmon and he sheltered himself there, which had the name of Flashing Falls [Farangursfoss]. He thought to himself what craft the vital-ones meant to find to take him out of the falls. He sat in the house and took a little yarn and knitted it into a mesh, such as nets have since been made. A fire burned in front of him, when he saw the vital-ones come in his direction, because from the Open Shelf Woden had seen where he was. He leapt forthwith into the river, but not before casting the net into the fire. When the vital-ones came to the house, the wisest of them, whose name was Quasher, went in first. He saw in the fire the pale ashes to which the net had burned, and he considered in his mind that this had been crafted to take fish, and he said so to the vital-ones. So next they made themselves a net like that they saw in the pale ashes that Loki had made.
              When the net was made, the vital-ones went to the river and cast the net into the falls. Thor held one side of the net's throat, and all the vital-ones the other and then they dragged the net. But Loki stayed ahead of it and lay beneath two mill-stones. They dragged the net over him but knew there was something alive there, so they went once more to the falls to cast out the net, bound with such weights that nothing might slip under it. Loki stayed ahead of the net, but when he saw that soon he would be in the sea, he leaped up over the net-lines and ran up the falls.
              Now the vital-ones saw where he went. Then they went up the cliff and divided their members in two groups. Thor waded into the middle of the river, and walked out towards the sea. Then Loki saw two choices: to leap out into the sea at life's peril, or to seek a way over the net. The last he did. He leapt with a twitch over the net- twines. Thor groped for him and got a hold of him, but he wiggled out of his hands, until he took a steady hand to the tail. It is for this sake that later the salmon's tail was tapered.
              Now Loki was taken without pardon and they fared with him to a certain cave. They took three rocks, set them on edge and cudgeled holes in each of the rocks. Then they took Loki's sons, Vali and Narfi. The vital-ones braided Vali into a wolf's likeness, and he ripped asunder his brother Narfi. Then the vital-ones took his guts to bind Loki over the three cave-stones. One edge stood under the shoulders, another under the loins, a third under the knee-bones, and those bindings became iron.
              Then Skadi took a poisonous worm and fastened it up over him, so that the poison must drop from the worm into his face. Sigyn, his woman, sat beside him there and held a wash-basin under the poison-drops. But when this hand-basin is full, then she's gone to slop out this poison. Meanwhile the poison drips into his face. Then his struggles are so hard and strained, all the earth shakes. There he lies in bonds all ages until the cursed judgement.

              No tale is so grim it cannot teach;
              no life so cruel it cannot learn.

              My conscious aim is to create art. In a mysterious, intuitive way, art relates to the soul directly. And it relates through the emotions which largely rule the senses by which we experience life. This art, when sanctified in myth, revealed in ritual, and buttressed by tradition, sets the psychic reality that is the most vital factor in life. It is my tale has spellbound Shoo.
              From the slavering jaws of hel's monster I snatched Shoo. The cake still where the hound had sniffed, but not eaten. Hel's cake failed who never did give bread to the needy. Ah, but countered Shoo, that is not so. Once I gave all, and when I needed, no-one had. But truly have I fed the hungry and soothed the sick. But no! It must be him and him alone ~ and that I tell is true. Nothing just happens, and everything that does, happens not just to anyone but to who started it. Our every breath and thought have cosmic consequences.
              It cannot be that I love Shoo but in the basest lust, and as the instrument of my shame I cannot forgive him. Forgiveness or revenge: I know one but not the other. In the spirit is expressed a reality of idealism, lawfulness, beauty, truth, goodness, that is also expressed in the world of appearance where the same principles govern ~ for they are one and the same. But I know one, not the other.
              What madness is it I have wrought? This frightening proposition that as the creator of my life, I make my universe, my world ~ with time and events of my own making; my own personal world (in which 'Shoo was a scrupulously honest man and an accomplished liar').

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