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Norse stories

Forums ► Norse Paganism ► Norse stories

Norse stories
Post # 1

This ones yggdrassil and how odin became the wisest of all.

The great ash tree yggdrassil made far spreading shade in the summer, protection from the rain in spring, and a great wind block in the frozen winters. No man could ever remember when it was young. Children would plau under its branches, then grow strong adults and then would become old and weary and die. But it showed no signs of decay. It would preserve its beauty and freshness for as long as there were men to gaze upon it. The great tree touched and connected all the realms, one branch went down to the unseeable depths of hel, The dwelling place of the dead, another stretched to jotunheim, the dreary dwelling of the frost giants, The third grasped midgard. The home of men. Serpents worms and insects would always be gnawing on its branches, but they would never weaken. And its top boughs held up asgard itself. Rustling against valhalla, the resting place of the heroes. Who had done great deeds in battle and who shall always be honored. And at the foot Of the great tree sat the norns, the weavers of the web of fate. Every day the norns would sprinkle the tree with the water of life, and keep it forever green.In the top branch sat an eagle singing strange songs about the birth of the worlds , its decay and then its death.
The giants were older than the gods, so the gods often had to go to them for wisdom.. But then the gods became wiser than the giants, or else they would have ceased to be gods and would have been wiped out by the giants long ago.
When the world was young and odin was anxious for knowledge he went to yggdrassil itself, and the keeper of the well was a very old and wise giant named mimer, and he gave no drinks ou until he was well paid. The well was full of the water of wisdom and whoever drank it became instantly, insanely wise. ''give me a drink of this water'' odin said, gazing into its clear, fathomless depths. Mimer could remember everything that ever happened and his eyes were calm as the stars. His face was Noble and restful, and his long white beard flowed down to his waist. This water is only to be had at a great price," he said in a wonderfully sweet, majestic tone. "I cannot give to all who ask, but only to those who are able and willing to give greatly in return," he continued. If odin had been less of a god he would have bargained but he was so godlike he cared morefor wisdom than anything else. "i will give anything you ask" he said. Mimer replied "you must leave behind an eye" odin had a great draught of water and left rejoicing. But he left behind an eye. But even the gods cant become wise without sacrifice. So Odin became the wisest in all the worlds, and there was no god or giant that could contend with him. There was one giant, however, who was called all-wise in Jotunheim, with whom many had contended in knowledge, with curious and difficult questions, and had always been silenced and killed, for then, as now, a man's life often depended on his wisdom. Of this giant, Vafthrudner, and his wisdom many wonderful stories were told, and even among the gods his fame was great. One day as Odin sat thinking of many strange things in the worlds, and many mysterious things in the future, he thought of Vafthrudner. "I will go to Jotunheim and measure wisdom with Vafthrudner, the wisest of the giants," said he to Frigg, his wife, who was sitting by. Then Frigg remembered those who had gone to contend with the all-wise giant and had never come back, and a fear came over her that the same fate might befall Odin. "You are wisest in all the worlds, All-Father," she said; "why should you seek a treacherous giant who knows not half so much as you?" But Odin, who feared nothing, could not be persuaded to stay, and Frigg sadly said good-by as he passed out of Asgard on his journey to Jotunheim. His blue mantle set with stars and his golden helmet he left behind him, and as he journeyed swiftly those who met him saw nothing godlike in him; nor did Vafthrudner when at last he stood at the giant's door. "I am a simple traveller, Gangraad by name," he said, as Vafthrudner came gruffly toward him. "I ask your hospitality and a chance to strive with you in wisdom." The giant laughed scornfully at the thought of a man coming to contend with him for mastery in knowledge.
"You shall have all you want of it," he growled, "and if you cannot answer my questions you shall never go hence alive."
He did not even ask Odin to sit down, but let him stand in the hall, despising him too much to show him courtesy. After a time he began to ask questions.
"Tell me, if you can, O wise Gangraad, the name of the river which divides Asgard from Jotunheim."
"The river Ifing, which never freezes over," answered Odin quickly, as if it were the easiest question in the world; and indeed it was to him, although no man could have answered it. Vafthrudner looked up in great surprise when he heard the reply.
"Good," he said, "you have answered rightly. Tell me, now, the names of the horses that carry day and night across the sky."
Before the words were fairly spoken Odin replied, "Skinfaxe and Hrimfaxe." The giant could not conceal his surprise that a man should know these things.
"Once more," he said quickly, as if he were risking everything on one question; "tell me the name of the plain where the Last Battle will be fought."
This was a terrible question, for the Last Battle was still far off in the future, and only the gods and the greatest of the giants knew where and when it would come. Odin bowed his head when he heard the words, for to be ready for that battle was the divine work of his life, and then said, slowly and solemnly, "On the plain of Vigrid, which is one hundred miles on each side."
Vafthrudner rose trembling from his seat. He knew now that Gangraad was some great one in disguise, and that his own life hung on the answers he himself would soon be forced to make.
"Sit here beside me," he said, "for, whoever you are, worthier antagonist has never entered these walls."
Then they sat down together in the rude stone hall, the mightiest of the gods and the wisest of the giants, and the great contest in wisdom, with a life hanging in either scale, went on between them. Wonderful secrets of the time when no man was and the time when no man will be, those silent walls listened to as Vafthrudner asked Odin one deep question after another, the answer coming swiftly and surely.
After a time the giant could ask no more, for he had exhausted his wisdom.
"It is my turn now," said Odin, and one after another he drew out from Vafthrudner the events of the past, then the wonderful things of the race of giants, and finally he began to question him of that dim, mysterious future whose secrets only the gods know; and as he touched these wonderful things Odin's eyes began to flash, and his form began to grow larger and nobler until he seemed no longer the humble Gangraad, but the mighty god [35] he was, and Vafthrudner trembled as he felt the coming doom nearing him with every question.
So hours went by, until at last Odin paused in his swift questioning, stooped down and asked the giant, "What did Odin whisper in the ear of Balder as he ascended the funeral pile?"
Only Odin himself could answer this question, and Vafthrudner replied humbly and with awe, "Who but thyself, All-father, knoweth the words thou didst say to thy son in the days of old? I have brought my doom upon myself, for in my ignorance I have contended with wisdom itself. Thou art ever the wisest of all."
So Odin conquered, and Wisdom was victorious, as she always has been even when she has contended with giants.

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Re: Norse stories
Post # 2

Absolutely splendid post and fantastic reading. I would love to hear more like this in the future.

Amazing work, Thanks Cviss


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Re: Norse stories
Post # 3
Thanks illy :D i have ragnarok as a note on my ipod ill put it up later
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Re: Norse stories
Post # 4
-ragnarök. I took this out of a site cuz i didnt really feel like reading it all and typing it in my own words.. In my opinion it was a bit better when i told it :P

Although Loki was bound, (cuz he killed baldr, god of the sunrise and thors son) and could do no more harm, Baldr could not come back; and so Asgard was no longer the heaven it used to be. The gods were there, but the sunshine and the summer had somehow lost their glory, and were thenceforth pale and faint. At last there came a winter such as neither man nor god had ever seen before. The days were short and dark, blinding storms followed fast upon each other and left mountains of snow behind, fierce winds swept the sky and troubled the sea, and the bitter air froze the very hearts of men into sullen despair. The deep- est rivers were fast bound, the fiercest animals died in their lairs, there was no warmth in the sun, and even the icy brightness of the stars was dimmed by drifting snow. The whole earth was buried in a winter so bitter that the gods shivered in Asgard.
The long nights and the short, dark days followed fast upon each other, and as the time drew near when summer would come again men's hearts grew light with hope once more. Each day they looked into the sullen skies, through which clouds of snow were whirling, and said to each other, "To-morrow the summer will come;" but when the morrow came no summer came with it. And all through the months that in other days had been beautiful with flowers the snow fell steadily, and the cold winds blew fiercely, while eyes grew sad and hearts heavy with waiting for a summer that did not come. And it never came again; for this was the terrible Fimbul-winter, long foretold, from which even the gods could not escape. In Jotunheim there was joy among the frost-giants as they shouted to each other through the howling storms, "The Fimbul-winter has come at last." At first men shuddered as they whispered, "Can it be the Fimbul-winter?" But when they knew it beyond all doubting a blind despair filled them, and they were reckless alike of good or evil. Over the whole earth war followed fast upon war, and everywhere there were wrangling and fighting and murder. It hardly snowed fast enough to cover the blood-stains. Mothers forgot to love their little children, and brothers struck each other down as if they were the bitterest enemies.
Three years passed without one breath of the warm south wind or the blossoming of a single flower, and three other years darker and colder succeeded them. A savage joy filled the hearts of the frost-giants, and they shook their clenched hands at Asgard as if they had mastered the gods at last. On the earth there was nothing but silence and despair, and among the gods only patient waiting for the end. One day, as the sun rose dim and cold, a deep howl echoed through the sky, and a great wolf sprang up from the underworld and leaped vainly after it. All day long, through the frosty air, that terrible cry was heard, and all day the giant wolf ran close behind, slowly gaining in the chase. At last, as the sun went down over the snow-covered mountains, the wolf, with a mighty spring, reached and devoured it. The glow upon the hills went out in blackness; it was the last sunset. Faint and colourless the moon rose, and another howl filled the heavens as a second wolf sprang upon her track, ran swiftly behind, and devoured her also. Then came an awful darkness over all as, one by one, the stars fell from heaven, and blackness and whirling snow wrapped all things in their folds. The end had come; the last great battle was to be fought; Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods, was at hand.
Suddenly a strange sound broke in upon the darkness and was heard throughout all the worlds; on a lofty height the eagle Egder struck his prophetic harp. The earth shook, mountains crumbled, rocks were rent, and all fetters were broken. Loke shook off his chains and rushed out of his cavern, his heart hot with hate and burning with revenge, the terrible Fenris-wolf broke loose, and out of the deep sea the Midgard-serpent drew his long folds toward the land, lashing the water into foam as he passed. From every quarter the enemies of the gods gathered for the last great battle on the plain of Vigrid, which was a hundred miles wide on each side. Thither came the Fenris-wolf, his hungry jaws stretched so far apart that they reached from earth to heaven; the Midgard-serpent, with fiery eyes and pouring out floods of venom; the awful host of Hel with Loke at their head; the grim ranks of the frost- giants marching behind Hrym; and, last of all, the glittering fire-giants of Muspelheim, the fire-world, with Surt at the front.
The long line of enemies already stretched across the plain when Heimdal, standing on the rainbow bridge, blew the Gjallar-horn to call the gods. No sooner had Odin heard the terrible call to arms than he mounted and rode swiftly to Mimer's fountain, that he might know how to lead the gods into battle. When he came, the Norns sat veiled beneath the tree, silent and idle, for their work was done, and Ygdrasil began to quiver as if its very roots had been loosened. What Odin said to Mimer no one will ever know. He had no sooner finished speaking than Heimdal blew a second blast, and out of Asgard the gods rode forth to the last great battle, the golden helmet and shining armour of Odin leading the way. There was a momentary hush as the two armies confronted each other, and then the awful fight began. Shouts of rage rose from the frost-giants, and the armour of the fire-giants fairly broke into blaze as they rushed forward. The Fenris-wolf howled wildly, the hosts of Hel grew dark and horrible with rage, and the Midgard-serpent coiled its scaly length to strike. But before a blow had been struck the shining forms of the gods were seen advancing, and their battle-cry rang strong and clear across the field. Odin and Thor started side by side, but were soon separated. Odin sprang upon the wolf, and after a terrible struggle was devoured. Thor singled out his [242] old enemy, the Midgard-serpent, and in a furious combat slew him; but as the monster died it drew its folds together with a mighty effort and poured upon Thor such a deadly flood of venom that he fell back nine paces, sank down and died. Frey encountered Surt, and because he had not the sword he had given long before to Skirner, could not defend himself, and he too was slain. The dog Garm rushed upon Tyr, the sword-god, and both were killed, Tyr missing the arm which he lost when the Fenris-wolf was bound.

And now the battle was at its height, and over the whole field gods, monsters, and giants were fighting with the energy of despair. Heimdal and Loke met, struggled, and fell together, and Vidar rushed upon the wolf which had devoured Odin, and tore him limb from limb. Then Surt strode into the middle of the armies, and in an awful pause flung a flaming firebrand among the worlds. There was a breathless hush, a sudden rush of air, a deadly heat, and the whole universe burst into blaze. A roaring flame filled all space and devoured all worlds, Ygdrasil fell in ashes, the earth sank beneath the sea. No sun, no moon, no stars, no earth, no Asgard, no Hel, no Jotunheim; gods, giants, monsters, and men all dead! Nothing remained but a vast abyss filled with the moaning seas, and brooded over by a pale, colourless light. Ragnarok, the end of all things, the Twilight of the Gods, had come.
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Re: Norse stories
Post # 5
Gah, it doesnt let me dk the wierd o on here, ragnarok***
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Re: Norse stories
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 6
Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Norse stories
By: / Beginner
Post # 7
I just want to point out that not everything dies. Several gods survive and baldr will be the new leader for them.
Also the story dosent mention anything about the world that the vanir lives in.
Also, two humans will survive named Lif and Lifthrasir.
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Re: Norse stories
Post # 8
I know but i think its just baldr and another goddess come back
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Re: Norse stories
By: / Beginner
Post # 9
Or read the Eddas instead. So you dont need to find dodgy sites. I think am pretty sure a libary in the nearest city got them. Or you maybe can order them on internet.
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Re: Norse stories
Post # 10
I would recommend reading the Eddas anyway. Good stories.
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