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Thread: The Child of the All-Mother - A Norse Fairy Tale

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    The Child of the All-Mother - A Norse Fairy Tale

    The Child of the All-Mother (1)
    A Norse Fairy Tale


    Hard by a great forest dwelt a wood-cutter with his wife, who had an only child, a little girl three (2) years old. They were so poor, however, that they no longer had daily bread, and did not know how to get food for her.

    One morning the wood-cutter went out sorrowfully to his work in the forest, and while he was cutting wood, suddenly there stood before him a tall and beautiful woman with a crown of shining stars on her head, who said to him:

    'I am the goddess Frija, all-mother to the race of northmen. You are poor and needy. Bring your child to me. I will take her with me and be her mother, and care for her.'

    The wood-cutter obeyed, brought his child, and gave her to the all-mother, who took her to Fensalir (3), her stead amongst the Flax Fens, high in the branches of Yggdrasil. There the child fared well, ate honey-cakes, and drank sweet milk from Audumla, the primeval cow, and her clothes were of gold, and the flaxen dolls (4) from the constellation known as Frija's Distaff (5) came down and played with her. And when she was eighteen (6) years of age, the goddess Frija called her one day, and said:

    'Dear child, I am about to make a long journey, so take into your keeping the keys of the ten doors of Fensalir. Nine (7) of these you may open, and behold the treasure which is within them, but the tenth, to which this little key belongs, is forbidden you. Take care not to open it, or you will be unhappy.'

    The girl promised to be obedient, and when the goddess Frija was gone, she began to examine the dwellings of the Fensalir. Each day she opened one of them, until she had made the round of the nine. In each of them sat one of the treasures of the Aesir (8) in the midst of a great light, and she rejoiced in all the magnificence and splendor, and the little dolls of flax who always accompanied her rejoiced with her. Then the forbidden door alone remained, and she felt a great desire to know what could be hidden behind it, and said to the dolls of flax, 'I will not open it entirely, and I will not go inside, but I will unlock it so that we can see just a little through the opening.'

    'Oh, no,' said the little dolls of flax, 'that would be oath-breaking. The goddess Frija has forbidden it, and it might easily cause your unhappiness.'

    Then she was silent, but the desire in her heart was not stilled, but gnawed there and tormented her, and let her have no rest. And once when the dolls of flax had all gone out, she thought:

    'Now I am quite alone, and I could peep in. If I do, no one will ever know.'

    She sought out the key, and when she had got it in her hand, she put it in the lock, and when she had put it in, she turned it round as well. Then the door sprang open, and she saw there Mundilfari (9), the man who turns the cosmic mill, the father of the sun and the moon, sitting in fire and splendor. She stayed there awhile, and looked at everything in amazement, then she touched the light a little with her finger, and her finger became quite golden. Immediately a great fear fell on her. She shut the door violently, and ran from there.

    It was not long before the goddess Frija came back from her journey. She called the girl before her, and asked for the keys of Fensalir. When the maiden gave her the bunch, the goddess looked into her eyes and said:

    'Have you not opened the tenth door also?'

    'No,' she replied.

    Then the goddess Frija laid her hand on the girl's heart, and felt how it beat and beat, and saw right well that she had disobeyed her order and had opened the door. Then she said, 'Are you certain that you have not done it?'

    'Yes, I am sure,' said the girl. But her terror would not quit her, let her do what she might, and her heart beat continually and would not be still, the gold too stayed on her finger, and would not go away, let her rub it and wash it never so much.

    Then the goddess Frija said once again, 'Are you certain that you have not done it?'

    'Yes,' said the girl, for the second time.

    Then the goddess Frija perceived the finger which had become golden from touching the fire of Mundilfari, and saw well that the child had sinned, and said for the third time:

    'Have you not done it?'

    'No,' said the girl for the third time.

    Then said the goddess Frija: 'You have not obeyed me, and besides that you have lied, you are no longer worthy to be in Fensalir.'

    Then the girl fell into a deep sleep, and when she awoke she lay on Midgard below, and in the midst of a fell wilderness. She wanted to cry out, but she could bring forth no sound. She sprang up and wanted to run away, but wherever she turned, she was continually held back by thick hedges of thorns through which she could not break.

    In this wilderness there stood an old hollow tree, and this had to be her dwelling-place. Into this she crept when night came, and here she slept. Here, too, she found a shelter from storm and rain, but it was a miserable life, and bitterly did she weep when she remembered how happy she had been in Fensalir, and how the flax dolls had played with her.

    Roots and wild berries were her only food, and for these she sought as far as she could go. In the autumn she picked up the fallen nuts and leaves, and carried them into the hole. The nuts were her food in winter, and when snow and ice came, she crept amongst the leaves like a poor little animal that she might not freeze.

    Before long her clothes were all torn, and one bit of them after another fell off her. As soon, however, as the sun shone warm again, she went out and sat in front of the tree, and her long golden hair covered her on all sides like a mantle. Thus she sat for three years, and felt the pain and the misery of the world.

    One day, when the trees were once more clothed in fresh green, the king of the country was hunting in the forest, and followed a roe, and as it had fled into the thicket which shut in this part of the forest, he got off his horse, tore the bushes asunder, and cut himself a path with his sword. When he had at last forced his way through, he saw a wonderfully beautiful maiden sitting under the tree, and she sat there and was entirely covered with her golden hair down to her very feet.

    He stood still and looked at her full of surprise, then he spoke to her and said:

    'Who are you? Why are you sitting here in the wilderness?' But she gave no answer, for she could not open her mouth.

    The king continued: 'Will you go with me to my Halls?'

    Then she nodded her head - just a little.

    The king took her in his arms, carried her to his horse, and rode home with her, and when he reached the royal Halls he caused her to be dressed in beautiful garments, and gave her all things in abundance.

    Although she could not speak, she was still so beautiful and charming that he began to love her with all his heart, and it was not long before he married her.

    After a year or so had passed, the queen brought a son into the world. Thereupon the goddess Frija appeared to her in the night when she lay in her bed alone, and said:

    'If you will tell the truth and confess that you did unlock the forbidden door, I will open your mouth and give you back your speech; but if you persevere in your obstinate denial, I will take your new-born child away with me.'

    Then the queen was permitted to answer, but she remained hard, and said, 'No, I did not open the forbidden door!'

    So the goddess Frija took the new-born child from her arms, and vanished with it. Next morning when the child was not to be found, it was whispered among the people that the queen was a man-eater, and had put her own child to death. She heard all this and could say nothing to the contrary, but the king would not believe it, for he loved her so much.

    When a year had gone by the queen again bore a son, and in the night the goddess Frija again came to her, and said: 'If you will confess that you opened the forbidden door, I will give you your child back and untie your tongue; but if you continue to deny it, I will take away with me this new child also.'

    Then the queen again said: 'No, I did not open the forbidden door.' And the goddess took the child out of her arms, and away with her to Fensalir.

    Next morning, when this child also had disappeared, the people declared quite loudly that the queen had devoured it, and the king's earls demanded that she should be brought to justice. The king, however, loved her so dearly that he would not believe it, and commanded the earls under pain of death not to say any more about it.

    The following year the queen gave birth to a beautiful little daughter, and for the third time the goddess Frija appeared to her in the night and said: 'Follow me.'

    She took the queen by the hand and led her to Fensalir, and showed her there her two eldest children, who smiled at her, and were playing with the ball of the world.

    When the queen rejoiced to see them, the goddess Frija said, 'Is your heart not yet softened? If you will own that you opened the forbidden door, I will give you back your two little sons.' But for the third time the queen answered, 'No, I did not open the forbidden door.'

    Then the goddess let her sink down to Midgard once more, and took from her likewise her third child.

    Next morning, when the loss was reported abroad, all the people cried loudly:

    'The queen is a man-eater! She must be judged!'

    The king was no longer able to restrain his earls. A trial was held, and as the queen could not answer to defend herself, she was condemned to be burnt at the stake. The wood was got together, and when she was fast bound to the stake, and the fire began to burn round about her, the hard ice of pride melted, her heart was moved by repentance, and she thought:

    'If I could but admit before my death that I opened the door...'

    Then her voice came back to her, and she cried out loudly: 'Yes, Frija! I did it!'

    Straight away, rain fell from the sky and extinguished the flames of fire, and a light broke forth above her, and the goddess Frija appeared with the two little sons by her side, and the new-born daughter in her arms. The goddess Frija spoke kindly to her, and said:

    'He who disavows dishonour and acknowledges it, is worthy.'

    Then she gave her the three children, untied her tongue, and granted her happiness for her whole life.

    Based on Our Lady's Child

    ENDNOTES:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1. Of all the goddesses, Frija is the most motherly. In his lament "Sonatorrek", Egill Skalla-GrÌmsson uses the kenning "Frigg's descendants" as a general term for all the dwellers in the Ases' Garth; she is the closest thing to an All-Mother the Northern folk know. [Back]

    2. The first of many threes in this tale. [Back]

    3. Frija's own dwelling-place is called "Fensalir", "Fen-Halls" or "Water-Halls". This hints that she may be one of the goddesses who was worshipped in the boggy and marshy places of the northlands, and that gifts to her should be cast into the waters. H.R. Ellis-Davidson mentions that "In Scandinavia, locks of hair, gold rings, and various women's ornaments have been found at offering places in use before the Viking Age, and also traces of flax, together with instruments for beating it... but... such objects as cheese or bread would leave little trace in earth and water" (Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe, p. 117). [Back]

    4. This is an invention, because the angels are relatively unimportant, except as inner voices of conscience. I could have made them into disir, but I felt at least 'flaxen dolls' tie in with Frija's attribute as goddess of spinning. [Back]

    5. Today, we would call this Orion's belt. [Back]

    6. Two times nine seems more useful, since she is going to grow up anyway before she meets her future marriage mate. [Back]

    7. Twelve is a Biblical number, too common to reiterate. Nine is number encountered most often in northern tales. [Back]

    8. These nine might well be: 1, Gleipnir, the slender silken ribbon that bound Fenris-wolf; 2, a lock of Sif's golden hair; 3, Skidbladnir, the ship forged for Freyr; 4, Gungnir, the spear of Odin; 5, Gullinbursti, the golden boar; 6, Mjollnir, the iron hammer of Thor; 7, Draupnir, the ring of Odin that drops nine gold rings every ninth night; 8, a golden apple belonging to Idun; 9, the cauldron Odrorir. [Back]

    9. Mundilfoeri = 'The Mover of the Handle' Old Norse; the mundil refers to 'the revolution of the heavens' [Back]


    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Fenris Wolf and the Seven Goats (Northern Fairy-Tale)

    That version of the fairy tale is actual *damn* cute...

    Fenris Wolf and the Seven Goats


    Long before the gods of Asgard thought of binding Fenris Wolf, Tyr was given the task of keeping an eye on this offspring of Loki. Although Fenris had the run of the green glens of Asgard, often he would journey to Midgard to avoid the eyes of Tyr and see what destruction he might wreak.

    At that time there was a grove dedicated to Thor, where goats were raised. Every year, the best of the flock would be selected and trained to pull the thunder-waggon.

    The she-goat who reigned over the grove had seven little kids, and loved them with all the love of a mother for her children. One day she wanted to go into the forest and fetch some food. So she called all seven to her and said:

    'Dear children, I have to go into the forest. I want you all to be on your guard against the Fenris Wolf, for I have heard that he has given Tyr the slip again. If he manages to get in, he will devour you all - skin, hair, and everything. The wretch often tries to disguise himself in imitation of his shape-shifting father, Loki, but you will know him at once by his rough voice and his black feet.'

    The kids said, 'Dear mother, we will take good care of ourselves. You may go away without any anxiety.'

    Then the old one bleated, and went on her way with an easy mind.

    It was not long before someone knocked at the house-door and called:

    'Open the door, dear children. Your mother is here, and has brought something back with her for each of you.'

    But the little kids knew by his rough voice that it was Fenris Wolf.

    'We will not open the door,' they cried, 'you are not our mother. She has a soft, pleasant voice, but your voice is rough. You are Fenris Wolf!'

    Then Fenris went away to a narby quarry and got himself a great lump of chalk. He ate this up and it made his voice soft. Then he came back, knocked at the door of the house, and called:

    'Open the door, dear children, your mother is here and has brought something back with her for each of you.'

    But Fenris had laid his black paws against the window, and the children saw them and cried:

    'We will not open the door! Our mother has not black feet like yours. You are Fenris Wolf!'

    Then Fenris ran to a baker and said: 'I have hurt my feet. Rub some dough over them for me.' And when the baker had rubbed his feet over, Fenris ran to a miller and said: 'Strew some white meal over my feet for me.'

    The miller thought to himself 'This wolf wants to deceive someone' and refused.

    But Fenris Wolf yawned and showed him his great teeth, of which he was very proud, saying:

    'If you will not do it, I will devour you.'

    Then the miller was afraid, and made Fenris's paws white for him.

    Truly, this is the way of mankind.

    So now Fenris went for the third time to the house-door, knocked at it and said:

    'Open the door for me, children, your dear little mother has come home, and has brought every one of you something back from the forest with her.'

    The little kids cried, 'First show us your paws that we may know if you are our dear little mother.'

    Then Fenris put his paws in through the window, and when the kids saw that they were white, they believed that all he said was true, and unlatched the door.

    No sooner was the door unlatched than who should spring in than Fenris Wolf!

    The kid-goats were terrified and tried to hide. One sprang under the table, the second into the bed, the third into the stove, the fourth into the kitchen, the fifth into the cupboard, the sixth under the washing-bowl, and the seventh into the flour-basket.

    Fenris Wolf, however, sniffed out all their hiding-places, and without further ado, one after the other, he swallowed them down.

    The youngest, who was in the flour-basket, was the only one he did not find. When Fenris Wolf had satisfied his appetite he took himself off, laid himself down under a tree in the green meadow outside, and fell asleep.

    Soon afterwards the old she-goat came home again from the forest.

    'Ah!' What a sight she saw there!

    The house-door was flung wide open. The table, chairs, and benches were thrown down, the washing-bowl lay broken to pieces, and the quilts and pillows were pulled off the bed. She sought her children, but they were nowhere to be found. She called them one after another by name, but no one answered.

    At last, when she came to the youngest, a soft voice cried:

    'Dear mother, I am in the flour-basket.'

    She took the kid out, and it told her that Fenris Wolf had come and had eaten all the others. How she wept over her poor children!

    At length in her grief she went out, and the youngest kid ran with her. When they came to the meadow, there lay Fenris by the tree. He was snoring so loud that the branches shook.

    The she-goat looked at him on every side and saw that something was moving and struggling in his bloated belly.

    'Ah, by the Fates,' she breathed, 'is it possible that my poor children can be still alive?'

    Then the kid had to run home and fetch scissors, and a needle and thread and the goat cut open the monster's stomach. Hardly had she made one cut, than one little kid-goat thrust its head out, and when she cut farther, all six sprang out one after another, and were all still alive, and had suffered no injury, for in his greediness the monster had swallowed them down whole.

    What rejoicing there was! They embraced their dear mother, and jumped like a sailor at his wedding.

    The mother, however, said, 'Now go and look for some big stones, and we will fill the wicked beast's stomach with them while he is still asleep.'

    Then the seven kid-goats dragged the stones back with all speed, and put as many of them into his stomach as could fit, and the mother sewed him up again in the greatest haste, so that he was not aware of anything and never once stirred.

    When Fenris Wolf at length had had his fill of sleep, he got on his legs, and as the stones in his stomach made him very thirsty, he wanted to go to a well to drink. But when he began to walk and move about, the stones in his stomach knocked against each other and rattled. Then he cried:

    'What rumbles and tumbles against my poor bones? I thought it might be six kids, but it feels like big stones.' And when he got to the well and stooped over the water to drink, the heavy stones made him fall in, and he drowned miserably.

    When the seven kids saw that, they came running to the spot and cried aloud 'The wolf is dead! The wolf is dead!' and danced for joy round about the well with their mother.

    Well, well, well, that was the end of that tale with the seven kid-goats, but Fenris, being the son of Loki and the daughter of the she-jotun Angrboda, cannot be truly drowned.

    Tyr finally caught up with him and fished him out and haled him back to Asgard. Eventually his mother, the she-jotun, Angrboda, belied her name 'Distress-Bringer' and slapped Fenris on the back so heartily that he coughed up the boulders.

    Tyr used these boulders to build a cairn and wrote this tale upon them in man-runes that those who read them might know of the treachery of Fenris Wolf, who can soften his voice to sound reasonable and modest and change his black paws into the white hands of apparent kindliness.

    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Lustig the Godhi


    There was once upon a time a great war, and when it came to an end, many soldiers were discharged. Among them was a Godhi by the name of Lustig. Along with his dismissal, he also received - for the privilege of risking his life - a small loaf of bread, and four coins in money.


    As Godhi Lustig set out upon the road, One-eyed Odin placed himself in his way in the form of a poor beggar, and when Godhi Lustig came up, Odin begged alms of him.


    Godhi Lustig replied, "Dear beggar-man, what am I to give you? I have been a soldier, and have received my dismissal, and have nothing but this little loaf of bread, and four coins of money. When that is gone, I shall have to beg as well as you. Still, I will give you something."


    Lustig divided the loaf into four parts, and gave the wanderer one of them, and a coin to go along with it.


    Odin thanked him, went onwards, and threw himself again in the soldier's way as another beggar, this time in another guise. When Godhi Lustig came up, Odin begged a gift of him as before.


    Godhi Lustig spoke as he had done before, and again gave him a quarter of the loaf and one coin. Odin thanked him, and went onwards, but for the third time placed himself in another shape as a beggar in the road, and spoke to Godhi Lustig.


    Godhi Lustig gave him also the third quarter of bread and the third coin. Odin thanked him, and Godhi Lustig went onwards, and had but a quarter of the loaf, and one coin.


    With that he went into an inn, ate the bread, and ordered one coin's worth of beer. His repast complete, he journeyed onwards, and then Odin, who had assumed the appearance of a discharged soldier, met and spoke to him thus:


    "Good day, comrade. Can you not give me a bit of bread, and a coin to get a drink?"


    "Where am I to get it?" answered Godhi Lustig. "I have been discharged, and I got nothing but a loaf of bread and four coins in money. I met three beggars on the road, and I gave each of them a quarter of my bread, and one coin. The last quarter I ate in the inn, and had a drink with the last coin. Now my pockets are empty, and if you also have nothing we can go a-begging together."


    "No," answered Odin, "we need not quite do that. I know a little about healing, and I will soon earn as much as I require by that."


    "Indeed, said Godhi Lustig, "I know nothing of that, so I must go and beg alone."


    "Why don't you come with me?" said Odin;" and if I earn anything, you shall have half of it."


    "All right," said Godhi Lustig, and they went away together.


    Soon they came to a peasant's house inside which they heard loud lamentations and cries. So they went in, and there the husband was lying sick unto death, and very near his end, and his wife was crying and weeping quite loudly.


    "Stop that howling and crying!" said Odin. "I will make the man well again," and he took a salve out of his pocket, and healed the sick man in a moment, so that he could get up, and was in perfect health.


    In great delight the man and his wife said, "How can we reward you? What shall we give you?"


    But Odin would take nothing, and the more the peasant folks offered him, the more he refused. Godhi Lustig, however, nudged Odin, and said, "Take something. Sure enough we are in need of it."


    At length the woman brought a goat-kid and said to Odin that he really must take that, but he would not. Then Godhi Lustig gave him a poke in the side, and said, "Do take it, you stupid fool. We are in great want of it."


    Then Odin said at last, "Well, I will take the goat-kid, but I won't carry it. If you insist on having it, you must carry it."


    "That is nothing," said Godhi Lustig. "I will easily carry it," and he took it on his shoulder.


    Then they departed and came to a wood, but Godhi Lustig had begun to feel the goat-kid heavy, and he was hungry, so he said to Odin:


    "Look, that's a good place. We might cook the goat-kid there, and eat it."


    "As you like," answered Odin, "but I can't have anything to do with the cooking. If you will cook, there is a kettle for you, and in the meantime I will walk about a little until it is ready. But you must not begin to eat until I have come back. I will come at the right time."


    "Well, go, then," said Godhi Lustig. "I understand cookery, I will manage it."


    Then Odin went away, and Godhi Lustig killed the goat-kid, lighted a fire, threw the meat into the kettle, and boiled it. When the goat-kid, however, was quite ready, and Odin had not come back, Godhi Lustig took it out of the kettle, cut it up, and found the heart.


    "That is said to be the best part," said he, and tasted it, but at last he ate it all up.


    At length Odin returned and said, "You may eat the whole of the goat-kid yourself, I will only have the heart. Give me that."


    Then Godhi Lustig took a knife and fork, and pretended to look anxiously about amongst the goat-kid's flesh, but not to be able to find the heart, and at last he said abruptly, "There is none here."


    "But where can it be?" said the one-eyed wanderer.


    "I don't know," replied Godhi Lustig, "but look, what fools we both are, to seek for the goat-kid's heart, and neither of us to remember that a goat-kid has no heart."


    "Oh," said Odin, "that is something quite new. Every animal has a heart, why is a goat-kid to have none?"


    "No, be assured, my brother," said Godhi Lustig, "that a goat-kid has no heart. Just consider it seriously, and then you will see that it really has none."


    "Well, it is all right," said Odin. "If there is no heart, then I want none of the goat-kid. You may eat it alone."


    "What I can't eat now, I will carry away in my knapsack," said Godhi Lustig, and he ate half the goat-kid, and put the rest in his knapsack.


    They went farther, and then Odin caused a great stream of water to flow right across their path, and they were obliged to pass through it.


    Odin said, "You go first."


    "No," answered Godhi Lustig, "you must go first." He thought, "If the water is too deep I will stay behind."


    Then Odin strode through it, and the water just reached to his knee. So Godhi Lustig began to go through also, but the water grew deeper and reached to his throat. Then he cried, "Brother, help me!"


    Odin said, "Then will you confess that you have eaten the goat-kid's heart?"


    "No," said he, "I have not eaten it."


    Then the water grew deeper still and rose to his mouth. "Help me, friend," cried the Godhi.


    Odin said, "Then will you confess that you have eaten the goat-kid's heart?"


    "No," he replied, "I have not eaten it."


    Odin, however, would not let him be drowned, but made the water sink and helped him through it.


    Then they journeyed onwards, and came to a kingdom where they heard that the king's daughter lay sick unto death.


    "Hi, there, brother," said Godhi Lustig to Odin, "this is a chance for us. If we can heal her we shall be provided for life."


    But Odin began to dawdle on the road.


    "Come, lift your legs, my dear brother," said Lustig, "that we may get there in time."


    Still Odin walked slower and slower, though Godhi Lustig did all he could to drive and push him on, and at last they heard that the princess was dead.


    "Now we are done for," said Godhi Lustig. "That comes of your sleepy way of walking."


    "Just be quiet," answered Odin, "I can do more than cure sick people. I can bring dead ones to life again."


    "Well, if you can do that," said Godhi Lustig, "it's all right, but you should earn at least half the kingdom for us by that."


    Then they went to the royal palace, where everyone was in great grief, but Odin told the king that he would restore his daughter to life.


    When he was taken to her, he said, "Bring me a kettle and some water," and when that was brought, he bade everyone go out, and allowed no one to remain with him but Godhi Lustig. Then he cut off all the dead girl's limbs, and threw them in the water, lighted a fire beneath the kettle, and boiled them. And when the flesh had fallen away from the bones, he took out the beautiful white bones, and laid them on a table, and arranged them together in their natural order.


    When he had done that, he stepped forward and said three times:


    "In the name of the Fateful Norns, dead woman, arise!"


    At the third time, the princess arose, living, healthy and beautiful.


    Then the king was in the greatest joy, and said to Odin:


    "Ask for your reward. Even if it were half my kingdom, I would give it."


    Odin said, "I want nothing for it."


    "Oh, you tomfool!" thought Godhi Lustig to himself, and nudged his comrade's side, and whispered, "Don't be so stupid! If you have no need of anything, I have!"


    Odin, however, would have nothing, but as the king saw that the other would very much like to have something, he ordered his treasurer to fill Godhi Lustig's knapsack with gold.


    Then they went on their way, and when they came to a forest, Odin said to Godhi Lustig:


    "Now, we will divide the gold."


    "Yes," he replied, "we will."


    So Odin divided the gold into three heaps.


    Godhi Lustig thought to himself, "What crazy idea has he got in his head now? He is making three shares, and there are only two of us."


    But Odin said, "I have divided it exactly. There is one share for me, one for you and one for him who ate the goat-kid's heart."


    "Oh, I ate that," replied Godhi Lustig, and hastily swept up the gold. "You may trust what I say."


    "But how can that be true," said Odin, "when a goat-kid has no heart?"


    "Eh, what, brother? What can you be thinking of? Goat-kids have hearts like other animals. Why should only they have none?"


    "Well, so be it," said Odin, "keep the gold to yourself, but I will stay with you no longer. I will go my way alone."


    "As you like, my dear fellow," answered Godhi Lustig. "Farewell."


    Then Odin went a different road, but Godhi Lustig thought: "It is a good thing that he has taken himself off. He is certainly a strange character."


    For a while Lustig had money enough, but did not know how to manage it. Instead he squandered it, gave it away, and soon once more he had nothing. By this time he had arrived in a certain country where he heard that a king's daughter was dead.


    "Oh, ho," thought he, "that may be a good thing for me. I will bring her to life again, and see that I am paid as I ought to be."


    So he went to the king, and offered to raise the dead girl to life again. Now the king had heard that a discharged soldier was travelling about and bringing dead persons to life again, and thought that Godhi Lustig was the man. But as he had no confidence in him, he consulted his earls first, who said that he might give it a trial as his daughter was dead.


    Then Godhi Lustig ordered water to be brought to him in a kettle, and made every one go out. Once alone, he cut the limbs off, threw them in the water and lighted a fire beneath, just as he had seen Odin do. The water began to boil, the flesh fell off, and then he took the bones out and laid them on the table, but he did not know the order in which to lay them, and placed them all wrong and in confusion.


    Then he stood before them and said: "In the name of the Fateful Norns, dead maiden, I bid you arise!" and he said this thrice, but the bones did not stir. So he said it three times more, but also in vain. "Confounded girl that you are, get up!" cried he. "Get up, or it shall be the worse for you!"


    When he had said that, Odin suddenly appeared in his former shape as the discharged soldier. He entered by the window and said:


    "Senseless man, what are you doing? How can the dead maiden arise, when you have thrown about her bones in such confusion."


    "Dear brother, I have done everything to the best of my ability," Lustig answered.


    "This once," replied Odin, "I will help you out of your difficulty, but one thing I tell you, and that is: if ever you undertake anything of the kind again, it will be the worse for you. I also insist that you must neither demand nor accept the smallest thing from the king for this."


    Thereupon Odin laid the bones in their right order, said to the maiden three times:


    "In the name of the Fateful Norns, dead maiden, arise!"


    The king's daughter arose, healthy and beautiful as before.


    Then Odin went away again by the window, and Godhi Lustig rejoiced to find that all had passed off so well, but he was very much vexed to think that - after all - he was not to take anything for it.


    "I should just like to know," thought he, "what fancy that fellow has got in his head, for what he gives with one hand he takes away with the other - there is no sense in it."


    Then the king offered Godhi Lustig whatever he wished to have, but Lustig did not dare to take anything. However, by hints and cunning, he contrived to make the king order his knapsack to be filled with gold for him, and with that he departed.


    When he got out, Odin was standing by the door.


    "Just look what a man you are. Did I not forbid you to take anything, and there you have your knapsack full of gold."


    "How can I help that," answered Godhi Lustig, "if people will put it in for me?"


    "Well, I tell you this: that if ever you set about anything of this kind again you shall suffer for it."


    "All right, brother, have no fear. Now I have money, why should I trouble myself with washing bones?"


    "By the hair of Sif," said Odin, "a long time that gold will last. In order that after this you may never tread in forbidden paths, I will bestow on your knapsack this property, namely, that whatsoever you wish to have inside it, shall be there. Farewell, you will now never see me more."


    "Good-bye," said Godhi Lustig, and thought to himself: "I am very glad that you have taken yourself off, you strange fellow. I shall certainly not follow you."


    As for the magical power which had been bestowed on his knapsack, Lustig thought no more about it, that's if he even believed the odd fellow's words.


    Godhi Lustig travelled about with his money, and squandered and wasted it as before. When at last he had no more than four coins, he passed by an inn and thought:


    "The money must go."


    He went in and ordered three coins' worth of wine and one coin's worth of bread for himself. As he was sitting there drinking, the smell of roast goose made its way to his nose.


    Godhi Lustig looked about saw that the host had two geese roasting in the oven. Then he remembered his knapsack's new untried, magical properties.


    "Oh, ho! I must try that with the geese."


    So he went out, and when he was outside the door, he said: "I wish those two roasted geese out of the oven and in my knapsack!"


    When he had said that, he unbuckled it and looked in, and there they were - inside.


    "Ah, that's right," said he, "now I am a made man."


    Off he went to a meadow and took out the roast fowl.


    When he was in the midst of his meal, two journeymen came up and looked at the second goose, which was not yet touched, with hungry eyes.


    Godhi Lustig thought to himself: "One is enough for me."


    He called the two men up and said, "Take the goose, and eat it to my health."


    They thanked him, and went with it to the inn, ordered themselves a half bottle of wine and a loaf, took out the goose which had been given them, and began to eat.


    The hostess saw them and said to her husband: "Those two are eating a goose. Just look and see if it is not one of ours, out of the oven."


    The landlord ran thither, and behold! - the oven was empty.


    "What!" cried he. "You thievish crew! You want to eat goose as cheap as that! Pay for it this moment, or I will wash you well with green hazel-sap."


    The two said, "We are no thieves. A discharged soldier gave us the goose, outside there in the meadow."


    "You shall not throw dust in my eyes that way! The soldier was here, but he went out by the door, like an honest fellow. I looked after him myself. You are the thieves and shall pay."


    Since they could not pay, he took a stick, and cudgeled them out of the house.


    Meanwhile, Godhi Lustig went on his way and soon came to a place where there was a magnificent hall, and not far from it a wretched inn. He went to the inn and asked for a night's lodging, but the landlord turned him away, saying:


    "There is no more room here. My house is full of noble guests."


    "It surprises me that they should come to you and not go to those splendid halls," said Godhi Lustig.


    "Ah, indeed," replied the host, "but it is no slight matter to sleep there for a night. No one who has tried it so far, has ever come out of it alive."


    "If others have tried it," said Godhi Lustig, "I will try it, too."


    "Leave it alone," said the host, "it will cost you your neck."


    "It won't kill me at once," said Godhi Lustig, "just give me the key, and some good food and wine."


    So the host gave him the key, and food and wine, and with this Godhi Lustig went into the halls, enjoyed his supper, and at length, as he was sleepy, he lay down on the ground, for there was no bed.


    He soon fell asleep, but during the night a great noise disturbed him. He awoke to see nine ugly trolls in the room, dancing around him in a circle.


    Godhi Lustig said, "Well, dance as long as you like, but none of you must come too close."


    The trolls pressed continually nearer to him, and almost stepped on his face with their hideous feet.


    "Stop, you trolls, you etins!" he bellowed, but they behaved still worse.


    Then he grew angry. "Stop! You'll soon see how I can make you quiet!"


    He took the leg of a chair and struck out into the midst of the trolls with it. The odds, however, of nine against one were too many. When he struck those in front of him, the others seized him behind by the hair, and tore it unmercifully.


    "Trolls," he cried, "this is too much, but just you wait!" He seized his knapsack and raised it up over his head.


    "Into my knapsack, all nine of you!"


    In an instant they were in it, and then he buckled it up and threw it into a corner.


    After this all was suddenly quiet, and Godhi Lustig lay down again, and slept till it was bright day.


    Then came the inn-keeper, and the nobleman to whom the halls belonged, to see how he had fared. When they discovered Lustig merry and well they were astonished.


    "Have the trolls done you no harm, then?"


    "The reason why they have not," answered Godhi Lustig, "is because I have got the whole nine of them in my knapsack. You may once more inhabit your halls quite tranquilly, none of them will ever haunt it again."


    The nobleman thanked him, presented him with rich gifts, and begged him to remain in his service, offering to provide for him as long as he lived.


    "No," replied Godhi Lustig, "I am used to wandering about. I will be on my way, I think."


    Taking his leave, Lustig entered into the first smithy he came to, laid the knapsack on the anvil, and asked the smith and his apprentices to strike it.


    They smote with their great hammers with all their strength, and the trolls uttered howls which were quite pitiable. When he opened the knapsack after this, eight of them were dead, but one which had been lying in a fold of it, was still alive. It slipped out, and went back again to Muspellheim.


    Thereupon Godhi Lustig traveled a long time about the world, and those who know, can tell many a story about him.


    At last Lustig grew old, and thought of his end, so he went to a hermit who was known to be a man wise in the ways of the gods, and said to him:


    "I am tired of wandering about, and want now to behave in such a manner that I shall enter into the presence of the gods."


    The hermit replied, "There are two roads: one is broad and pleasant, and leads to Muspellheim; the other is narrow and rough, and leads to Brimir, in the future-land of Okolnir, after the scorching fire of Ragnarok has abated."


    "I should be a fool," thought Godhi Lustig, "if I were to take the narrow, rough road."


    So Godhi Lustig set out and took the broad and pleasant road, and at length came to a great black door, which was the door of Muspellheim. He knocked, and the door-keeper peeped out to see who was there.


    This door-keeper happened to be the very same ninth troll who had been shut up in the knapsack, and had escaped from it with a black eye. When he saw Godhi Lustig, he was terrified.


    So he pushed the bolt in again as quickly as he could, ran to the highest troll, and said:


    "There is a fellow outside with a knapsack, who wants to come in, but as you value your lives don't allow him to enter, or he will wish the whole of Muspellheim into his knapsack. He once gave me a frightful hammering when I was inside it."


    So they called out to Godhi Lustig that he was to go away again, for he should not get in there.


    "If they won't have me here," thought he, "I will see if I can find a place for myself in Brimir, for I must stay somewhere."


    So he turned about and went onwards until he came to the door of Brimir, where he knocked.


    Odin was sitting hard by as door-keeper. Godhi Lustig recognised him at once, and thought:


    "Here I find an old friend, I shall get on better."


    Odin said, "I can hardly believe that you want to come into Brimir."


    "Let me in, brother. I must get in somewhere. If they would have taken me into Muspellheim, I should not have come here."


    "No," said Odin, "you shall not enter."


    "Then if you will not let me in, take your knapsack back, for I will have nothing at all from you."


    "Give it here, then," said Odin. Then Godhi Lustig gave him the knapsack into Brimir through the bars, and Odin took it, and hung it beside his seat.


    Then said Godhi Lustig: "And now I wish myself inside my knapsack!"


    In a second he was in the knapsack, and within the golden walls of Brimir, and Odin was forced to let him stay there.


    Based on Brother Lustig


    ENDNOTES:


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There are elements of a faery-land or otherworld aspect within this tale which have been Christianised into heaven and hell. To remove them altogether would have unravelled the ending too much, so I have given them a (hopefully) Nordic gloss. And since Godhi Lustig didn't appear to have any desire to die with sword in hand, I thought it inappropriate to make him one of the einherjar in Valhalla.


    The fact that Godhi Lustig is able to meet Odin, after Odin's apparent death in Ragnarok, is quite in keeping with the a-temporal nature of fairy-tales. It's interesting that Lustig recognises Odin: does he recognise him as Odin or as his road-companion? Perhaps the wind changed and Odin's shape was trapped in the form he had. I also think it quite in keeping with Odin's nature that he survives Ragnarok and is content to be the door-keeper in Brimir. He may well have learned the hardest lesson of all of rulership: it's better to watch someone else make a horlicks of it than to be a ruler. Odin has had his day as leader of the Aesir; now it's time for somebody else to jump through the hoops of people's expectations.


    In the original tale from Grimm, Lustig is a friar. Making him a godhi reminds us all that wisdom in one field does not necessarily confer wisdom in every field of endeavour.


    Re-writing this tale reminds me of the exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin, and I believe that the concept of a 'holy fool', a disreputable fellow, a roguish priest is part of the human experience, no matter which culture we look at.
    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Surtr's Three Golden Hairs




    There was once a poor woman who gave birth to a little son, and as he came into the world with a caul on, it was predicted that in his eighteenth year he would have the king's daughter for his wife.


    It happened that soon afterwards the king came into the village, and no one knew that he was the king, and when he asked the people what news there was, they answered:


    "A child has just been born with a caul. Whenever such a one is born whatever they undertake turns out well. It is prophesied, too, that in his eighteenth year he will have the king's daughter for his wife."


    The king, who was a man bad at heart, was angry about the prophecy. He went to the parents, and, putting on a front of friendship, said:


    "You are poor people. Let me have your child, and I will take care of him."


    At first they refused, but when the king offered them a large amount of gold for their son, they thought:


    "He is a child of good fortune, and everything must turn out well for him." For this reason, they at last consented, and gave him the child.


    The king put the boy in a box and rode away with him until he came to a deep fjord, with treacherous currents.


    He threw the box into it, thinking:


    "I have freed my daughter from her undesired suitor."


    The box, however, did not sink, but floated like a boat, and not a drop of water leaked in. It floated to within two miles of the king's chief city, where there was a mill, and it came to a halt at the mill dam.


    A miller's boy, who by good luck was standing there, noticed it and pulled it out with a hook, thinking that he had found a great treasure. When he opened it there lay a fine-looking boy inside, quite fresh and lively.


    He took him to the miller and his wife, and as they had no children they were glad, and said:


    "Frigga has heard our prayers and has given him to us."


    They took great care of the foundling, and he grew up in all goodness.


    It happened that some eighteen years later, in a storm, the king went into the mill, and asked the mill-folk if the tall youth were their son.


    "No," answered they, "he's a foundling. Eighteen years ago he floated down to the mill dam in a box, and the mill-boy pulled him out of the water."


    Then the king knew that it was none other than the child of good fortune that he had thrown into the water. After a moment of thought, he said:


    "My good people, could not the youth take a letter to the queen? I will give him two gold pieces as a reward."


    "Just as the king commands," answered they, and they told the boy to hold himself in readiness. Then the king wrote a letter to the queen, wherein he said:


    "As soon as the boy arrives with this letter, let him be killed and buried, and all must be done before I come home."


    The boy set out with this letter, but he lost his way, and in the evening came to a large forest. In the darkness he saw a small light. He went towards it and reached a cottage. When he went in, an old woman was sitting by the fire quite alone. She started when she saw the boy, and said:


    "Whence do you come? Whither are you going?"


    "I come from the mill," he answered, "and wish to go to the queen, to whom I am taking a letter. Since I have lost my way in the forest, I should like to stay here overnight."


    "You poor boy," said the woman, "you have come into a den of thieves, and when they come home they will kill you."


    "Let them come," said the boy, "I am not afraid. But I am so tired that I cannot go any farther."


    And he stretched himself upon a bench and fell asleep.


    Soon afterwards the robbers came, and angrily asked:


    "What strange boy is this, lying here?"


    "Ah," said the old woman, "it is an innocent child who has lost himself in the forest, and out of pity I have let him come in. He has to take a letter to the queen."


    The robbers opened the letter and read that the boy should be put to death.


    Then the hardhearted robbers felt pity, and their leader tore up the letter and wrote another, saying:


    "As soon as the boy comes, he should be married at once to the king's daughter."


    Then they let him lie quietly on the bench until the next morning. When he awoke they gave him the letter, and showed him the right way.


    Soon he reached the court and gave the letter to the queen. The queen, when she read it, did as was written, and had a splendid wedding-feast prepared, and the king's daughter was married to the child of good fortune. As the youth was handsome and friendly she lived with him in joy and contentment.


    After some time the king returned to his palace and saw that the prophecy was fulfilled, and the youth was married to his daughter.


    "How has that come to pass?" said he. "I gave quite another order in my letter."


    So the queen gave him the letter, so that he might see for himself. The king read the letter and saw quite well that it had been exchanged for the other. He asked the youth what had become of the letter entrusted to him, and why he had brought another instead of it.


    "I know nothing about it," answered he. "It must have been changed in the night, when I slept in the forest."


    The king said in a passion, "You shall not have everything quite so much your own way! Whosoever marries my daughter must fetch me from Muspell three golden hairs from the head of Surtr! Bring me what I want, and you shall keep my daughter."


    In this way the king hoped to be rid of him forever. But the child of good fortune answered:


    "I will fetch the golden hairs. I am not afraid of Surtr."


    He took leave of them and began his journey.


    The road led him to a large town, where the watchman by the gates asked him:


    "What is your trade, and what do you know?"


    "I know everything," answered the child of good fortune.


    "Then you can do us a favour," said the watchman, "if you will tell us why our market fountain, which once flowed with wine has become dry, and no longer gives even water."


    "That you shall know," answered he, "only wait until I come back."


    Then he went farther and came to another town, and there also the gatekeeper asked him:


    "What is your trade, and what do you know?"


    "I know everything," answered the child of good fortune.


    "Then you can do us a favour and tell us why a tree in our town which once bore golden apples now does not even put forth leaves."


    "You shall know that," answered he, "only wait until I come back."


    Then he went on and came to a wide river over which he had to cross. The ferryman asked him:


    "What is your trade, and what do you know?"


    "I know everything," answered the child of good fortune.


    "Then you can do me a favour", said the ferryman, "and tell me why I must always be rowing backwards and forwards, and am never set free."


    "You shall know that," answered he, "only wait until I come back."


    When he had crossed the water he found the entrance to Muspell. It was craggy and rocky within, and Surtr was not at home, but his grandmother was sitting in a large armchair.


    "What do you want?" said she to him, but she did not look so very wicked.


    "I should like to have three golden hairs from Surtr's head," answered he, "else I cannot keep my wife."


    "That is a good deal to ask for," said she, "if Surtr comes home and finds you, it will cost you your life. But there's something about you that makes me pity you, I will see if I cannot help you."


    She changed him into an ant and said, "Creep into the folds of my dress - you will be safe there."


    "Yes," answered he, "so far, so good, but there are three things besides that I want to know. The first one is this: why a fountain that once flowed with wine has become dry, and no longer gives even water. The second question is this: why a tree that once bore golden apples does not even put forth leaves? The third piece of knowledge is this: why a ferryman must always be going backwards and forwards, and is never set free?"


    "Those are difficult questions," answered she, "but just be silent and quiet and pay attention to what Surtr says when I pull out the three golden hairs."


    As the evening came on, Surtr returned home. No sooner had he entered than he noticed that the air was not pure.


    "I smell man's flesh," said he, "all is not right here."


    Then he pried into every corner, and searched, but could not find anything. His grandmother scolded him.


    "It has just been swept," said she, "and everything put in order, and now you are upsetting it again. You have always got man's flesh in your nose. Sit down and eat your supper."


    When he had eaten and drunk he was tired, and laid his head in his grandmother's lap, and told her she should louse him a little. It was not long before he was fast asleep, snoring and breathing heavily.


    Then Surtr's granny took hold of a golden hair, pulled it out, and laid it down beside her.


    "Ow!" cried Surtr. "What are you doing?"


    "I have had a bad dream," answered Surtr's granny, "so I seized hold of your hair."


    "What did you dream then?" said Surtr.


    "I dreamt that a fountain in a market-place from which wine once flowed was dried up, and not even water would flow out of it - what is the cause of it?"


    "Oh, ho, if they did but know it," answered Surtr, "there is a toad sitting under a stone in the well - if they kill it, the wine will flow again."


    Surtr's granny loused him again until he went to sleep and snored so that the windows shook. Then she pulled the second hair out.


    "Yeowch! What are you doing!" cried Surtr angrily.


    "Do not take it badly," said she. "I did it in a dream."


    "What have you dreamt this time?" asked he.


    "I dreamt that in a certain kingdom there stands an apple-tree which once bore golden apples, but now will not even bear leaves. What do you think is the reason?"


    "Oh, if they but know," answered Surtr. "A mouse is gnawing at the root - if they kill it they will have golden apples again, but if it gnaws much longer the tree will wither altogether. But I have had enough of your dreams, if you disturb me in my sleep again you will get a box on the ear."


    Surtr's granny spoke gently to him and picked his lice once more until he fell asleep and snored. Then she took hold of the third golden hair and pulled it out.


    Surtr jumped up, roared out, and would have treated her roughly if she had not quieted him again and said:


    "Who can help bad dreams?"


    "What was the dream, then?" asked he, quite curious.


    "I dreamt of a ferryman who complains that he must always ferry from one side to the other, and never be released. What is the cause of it?"


    "Ah, the fool," answered Surtr, "when anyone comes and wants to go across he must put the oar in his hand, and the other man will have to ferry and he will be free."


    As Surtr's granny had plucked out the three golden hairs, and the three questions were answered, she let Surtr alone, and he slept until daybreak.


    When Surtr had gone out again his granny took the ant out of the folds of her dress, and gave the child of good fortune his human shape again.


    "There are the three golden hairs for you," said she. "What Surtr said to your three questions, I suppose you heard."


    "Yes," answered he, "I heard, and will take care to remember."


    "You have what you want," said she, "and now you can go your way."


    He thanked Surtr's granny for helping him in his need, and left Muspell well content that everything had turned out so fine.


    When he came to the ferryman, he was reminded of his promise to give the answer.


    "Ferry me across first," said the child of good fortune, "and then I will tell you how you can be set free."


    When he reached the opposite shore he gave him Surtr's advice. "Next time anyone comes who wants to be ferried over, just put the oar in his hand."


    He went on and came to the town wherein stood the unfruitful tree, and there too the watchman wanted an answer.


    So he told him what he had heard from Surtr: "Kill the mouse that is gnawing at its root, and it will again bear golden apples."


    Then the watchman thanked him, and gave him as a reward two oxen hauling carts laden with gold, which followed him.


    Finally, he came to the town whose well was dry. He told the watchman what Surtr had said: "A toad is in the well beneath a stone. You must find it and kill it. The well will again give wine in plenty."


    The watchman thanked him, and also gave him two oxen hauling carts laden with gold.


    At last the child of good fortune got home to his wife, who was heartily glad to see him again, and to hear how well he had prospered in everything. To the king he took what he had asked for, Surtr's three golden hairs, and when the king saw the four oxen hauling carts laden with gold he was quite content, and said:


    "Now all the conditions are fulfilled, and you can keep my daughter. But tell me, dear son-in-law, where did all that gold come from - this is tremendous wealth."


    "I was rowed across a river," answered he, "and got it there, it lies on the shore instead of sand."


    "Can I too fetch some of it?" said the king, and he was quite eager about it.


    "As much as you like," answered he. "There is a ferryman on the river. Let him ferry you over, and you can fill your sacks on the other side."


    The greedy king set out in all haste, and when he came to the river he beckoned to the ferryman to put him across. The ferryman came and bade him get in, and when they got to the other shore he put the oar in the king's hand and sprang over.


    From this time forth the king has had to ferry, as a punishment for his evil deeds. Perhaps he is ferrying still. If he is, it is because no one has taken the oar from his hand.


    Based on The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs

    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    The Jotun and the Tailor



    A certain tailor, named Adalbert, who was great at boasting but ill at doing, took it into his head to go and look about the world. As soon as he could manage it, he left his work-shop, and wandered on his way, over hill and dale, sometimes hither, sometimes, thither, but ever on and on.


    Once on his way he perceived in the blue distance a steep hill, and behind it a tower reaching to the clouds, which rose up out of a wild dark forest.


    "Thunder and lightning!" cried Adalbert. "What is that?"


    As he was strongly goaded by curiosity, he went boldly towards it.


    To Adalbert's surprise, however, when he came near the tower, he saw that it had legs. It leapt in one bound over the steep hill, and was now standing as an all-powerful jotun before him.


    "What do you want here, you tiny fly's leg? I am Rock-Beard, the jotun," cried the jotun, with a voice as if it were thundering on every side.
    Adalbert whimpered, "I want just to look about and see if I can earn a bit of bread for myself, in this forest."


    "If that is what you are after," said the jotun, "you may have a place with me."


    "If it must be, why not? What wages shall I receive?"


    "You shall hear what wages you shall have. Every year three hundred and sixty-five days, and when it is leap-year, one more into the bargain. Does that suit you?"


    "All right," replied Adalbert, and thought:


    "A man must cut his coat according to his cloth. I will try to get away as fast as I can."


    At this the jotun said to him, "Go, little ragamuffin, and fetch me a jug of water."


    "Had I not better bring the well itself at once, and the spring too?" asked the boastful tailor, and went with the pitcher to the water.


    "What, the well and the spring too?" growled the jotun in his beard, for he was somewhat of a silly dolt, and began to be afraid. "That knave is not a fool, he has a mandrake in his body. Be on your guard, old Rock-Beard, this is no serving-man for you."


    When Adalbert had brought the water, the jotun bade him go into the forest, and cut a couple of blocks of wood and bring them back.
    "Why not the whole forest, at once, with one stroke!"


    "The whole forest, young and old, with all that is there, both gnarled and smooth, and the well and its spring too," growled the credulous jotun in his beard, and was still more terrified. "The knave can do much more than bake apples, and has a mandrake in his body. Be on your guard, old Rock-Beard, this is no serving-man for you."


    When Adalbert had brought the wood, the jotun commanded him to shoot two or three wild boars for supper.


    "Why not rather a thousand at one shot, and bring them all here?" inquired the insolent tailor.


    "What?" cried the timid jotun in great terror. "Let well alone to-night, and lie down to rest."


    The jotun was so terribly alarmed that he could not close an eye all night long for thinking what would be the best way to get rid of this accursed sorcerer of a servant.


    Time brings counsel. Next morning Rock-Beard, the jotun, and Adalbert, the tailor, went to a marsh, round which stood a number of willow-trees.


    Then said the jotun, "Listen, tailor, seat yourself on one of the willow-branches. I long of all things to see if you are big enough to bend it down."


    All at once Adalbert was sitting on it, holding his breath, and making himself heavy, so heavy that the bough bent down. When, however, he was compelled to draw breath, it hurled him - for unfortunately he had not put his goose in his pocket - so high into the air that he never was seen again, and this to the great delight of Rock-Beard, the jotun.


    If Adalbert, the tailor, has not fallen down again, he must still be hovering about in the air.


    Based on The Giant and the Tailor

    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Dummling and the Golden Goose


    There was a man who had three sons, the youngest of whom was called Dummling. Poor Dummling was despised, mocked, and sneered at on every occasion.

    It happened that the eldest wanted to go into the forest to hew wood, and before he went his mother gave him a beautiful sweet cake and a bottle of fine wine in order that he might not suffer from hunger or thirst.

    When he entered the forest he met a little grey-haired old man who bade him good-day, and said, "Give me a piece of cake from your pocket. Give me a draught of your wine. I am so hungry and thirsty!"

    But the clever son answered, "If I give you my cake and wine, I shall have none for myself. Be off with you!"

    And he left the little man standing and went on.

    Later, when he started work and he was chopping down a tree, it was not long before he made a false stroke, and the axe cut him in the arm. It was so bad that he had to go home and have it bound up.

    "I wonder," murmured the clever son, "if this was the little grey man's doing?"

    After this the second son went into the forest. His mother gave him, like the eldest, a cake and a bottle of wine. The little old grey man met him likewise, and asked him for a piece of cake and a drink of wine. But the second son, too, said sensibly enough, "What I give you will be taken away from myself! Be off!" - and he left the little man standing and went on.

    His punishment, however, was not delayed. When he had made a few blows at the tree he struck himself in the leg, so that he had to be carried home.

    Then Dummling said, "Father, let me go and cut wood."

    His father answered, "Your brothers have hurt themselves with it all - leave it alone. You don't understand anything about it."

    But Dummling begged so long that at last his father said, "Just go, then. You will get wiser by hurting yourself."

    Dummling's mother gave him a cake made with water and baked in the cinders, and with it a bottle of sour beer.

    When he came to the forest the little old grey man met him likewise, and after greeting him, said, "Give me a piece of your cake and a drink out of your bottle, I am so hungry and thirsty."

    Dummling answered, "I have only cinder-cake and sour beer. If that pleases you, we will sit down and eat."

    So they sat down, and when Dummling pulled out his cinder-cake, it was a fine sweet cake, and the sour beer had become good wine. So they ate and drank, and after that the little man said, "Since you have a good heart, and are willing to divide what you have, I will give you good luck. There stands an old tree in a certain clearing. Cut it down, and you will find something at the roots."

    Then the little man took leave of him.

    Dummling went and cut down the tree, and when it fell there was a goose sitting in the roots with feathers of pure gold. He lifted her up, and took her with him. He went to an inn where he thought he would stay the night. The inn had a 'No Pets' policy, so he had to keep the goose in the stable.

    Now the host had three daughters, who saw the goose and were curious to know what such a wonderful bird might be, and would have liked to have one of its golden feathers.

    The eldest thought, "I shall soon find an opportunity of pulling out a feather." As soon as Dummling the stable she seized the goose by the wing, but her finger and hand remained sticking fast to it.

    The second daughter came soon afterwards, thinking only of how she might get a feather for herself, but she had scarcely touched her sister than she was held fast.

    At last the third daughter also came, with the same intent, and the other sisters screamed out:

    "Keep away, for dear sake, keep away!"

    But she did not understand why she was to keep away.

    "The others are there," she thought. "I may as well be there, too."

    She ran to them, but as soon as she had touched a sister, she remained sticking fast to her. So they had to spend the night with the goose.

    The next morning Dummling took the goose under his arm and set out, without troubling himself about the three girls who were hanging on to it. They were obliged to run after him continually, now left, now right, wherever his legs took him.

    In the middle of the road the godhi met them, and when he saw the procession he said:

    "In the name of Odin! You are good-for-nothing girls! Why are you running down the road after this young man? Is that seemly?"

    At the same time he seized the youngest by the hand in order to pull her away, but as soon as he touched her he likewise stuck fast, and was obliged to run behind.

    Before long the gydhja came by and saw her colleague, the godhi, running behind three girls. She was astonished at this and called out, "Hej! Where you off to? Don't forget we have a naming-rite today!"

    Running after the godhi the gydhja took him by the sleeve, but was also held fast to it. Whilst the five were trotting thus one behind the other, two labourers came with their hoes from the fields. The godhi called out to them and begged that they set him and the gydhja free. No sooner had the labourers touched the gydhja but they too were held fast!

    Now there were seven of them running behind Dummling and the goose.

    Soon afterwards Dummling came to a rich port.

    In this town a king ruled who had a daughter who was so serious that no one could make her laugh. He put forth a decree that whosoever should be able to make her laugh should marry her.

    When Dummling heard this, he went with his goose and all her train before the king's daughter, and as soon as she saw the seven people running on and on, one behind the other, she began to laugh loudly, as if she would never stop. She laughed so much she rolled on the floor.

    Dummling saw this, and thought she would be a cheerful sort to have around. He asked:

    "Can I marry her?"

    The king did not like the look of this potential son-in-law. He made all sorts of excuses and then he had a brilliant idea.

    "You can marry her, Dummling," said the king, "if you can find me a man who can drink a cellar full of wine."

    Dummling grinned. "I know just the very person!"

    Dummling thought of the little grey man - surely he could help him! So he went to the forest, and in the same place where he had felled the tree, he saw a man sitting, who had a very sorrowful face.

    Dummling said: "I hope it never happens!"

    The man sighed, and said, "What never happens?"

    "Whatever it is that's making your face look so long! I wouldn't take it to heart if I were you!"

    "You don't have my problem," replied the long-faced man.

    "And just what is your problem?" demanded Dummling.

    "I have such a great thirst! I can't find a way to quench it! I don't like cold water - it makes my teeth chatter and gives me a sharp pain right between my eyes. I have just emptied a barrel of wine into me but with this thirst, that's like a single drop on a hot stone."

    "Well, I'm very glad I ran into you," said Dummling. "I have a wine cellar that needs emptying. If you come with me, you shall be satisfied."

    "I don't believe it!" exclaimed the man with the long face, but he allowed Dummling to lead to the king's cellar.

    There the man bent over the huge barrels, and drank and drank till his loins hurt, and before the day was out he had emptied all the barrels.

    Then Dummling asked once more for his bride, but the king was vexed that such an ugly fellow, whom everyone called Dummling, should take away his daughter, and he made a new condition.

    The king said, "I forgot to tell you about a second condition. I need a man who can eat a whole mountain of bread."

    Dummling did not think long. He went straight to the forest, back to the felled tree. There in the same place sat a man who was tying up his body with a strap, and making an awful face.

    Dummling stopped beside the man and looked up at the sky with a fearful expression on his face.

    The man grumbled and said, "What's the matter with you?"

    "I was just looking up to see if the world was about to end. You have the sort of look on your face so bad that only Ragnarok could bake it in."

    "You don't have my problem," replied the awful-faced man.

    "And just what is your problem?" demanded Dummling.

    "I have eaten a whole oven full of rolls, but what good is that when you're as hungry as I! My stomach remains empty, and I must tie myself up if I am not to die of hunger."

    "Well, I'm very glad I ran into you," said Dummling. "I have a mountain of bread that needs clearing. Do you think that would fill up your empty stomach and your hollow legs?"

    "A mountain of bread?" complained the awful-faced man. "I would need to see it to believe it."

    "If you come with me, you shall believe it."

    Dummling led him to the king's palace, where all the flour in the whole kingdom was collected, and from it he caused a huge mountain of bread to be baked. The man from the forest stood before it, began to eat, and by the end of one day the whole mountain had vanished.

    Then Dummling for the third time asked for his bride, but the king again sought a way out.

    The king snapped his fingers, as if something had just come back into his mind. "You know, there's something been bothering me, and it only came back to me this very minute. There's a third condition."

    "Oh?" replied Dummling. "Why am I not surprised?"

    The king ignored his sarcasm. "There's a ship required."

    "A ship? Right." Dummling turned to go, but the king called him back.

    "Not just any ship."

    "A special ship?" asked Dummling.

    "Very special," confirmed the king. "It has to be able to sail on land and on water. As soon as you come sailing back in it," said the king, dismissing Dummling from his sight, "you shall have my daughter for wife."

    Dummling went straight to the forest, and there sat the little grey man to whom he had given his cake.

    The little grey man said, "What a terrible face, Dummling! You look as if somebody has broken your crayons!"

    "Wait till you hear this request from my future father-in-law," said Dummling

    When he heard what Dummling wanted, he said, "Since you have given me bread to eat and beer to drink, I will give you the ship. I do all this because you once were kind to me."

    Then he gave him the ship that could sail on land and water, and when the king saw that, he could no longer prevent Dummling from having his daughter.

    The wedding was celebrated, and after the king's death, Dummling inherited his kingdom and lived for a long time contentedly with his wife.


    Based on The Golden Goose

    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    The She-Wolf and the Fox


    Once upon a time there was she-wolf who had brought into the world a young cub, and because she was feeling very pleased with herself, she decided to invite the fox to be godfather. There had always been a split between their two families, and she thought that at long last, this might be the opportunity to heal it.

    "After all, he is a near relative of ours," said she, "he has a good understanding, and much talent, he can instruct my little son, and help him forward in the world."

    "Those Foxes are good-for-nothings," opined an old aunt wolf. "No good will come of it, you mark my words."

    "All I’m doing is extending the paw of friendship," replied the she-wolf. "It’s about time we got over our differences."

    "There was a reason for the split in the first place," warned the old aunt, "but I can see that nothing will turn you from your own way of going."

    The fox, when he received his invitation, appeared very pleased.

    "Worthy Mrs. Wolf, I thank you for the honour which you are doing me. I will, however, conduct myself in such a way that you shall be repaid for it."

    At the feast the fox enjoyed himself, and made merry. Afterwards he said, "Dear Mrs. Wolf, it is our duty to take care of the child. It must have good food that it may be strong. I know a sheep-fold from which we might fetch a nice morsel."

    Mrs. Wolf was pleased with the idea, and she left her cub in the care of his auntie, and went out with the fox to the farmyard. The fox pointed out the fold from afar, and said, "You will be able to creep in there without being seen. In the meantime I will look about on the other side to see if I can pick up a chicken."

    The fox, however, did not go there, but sat down at the entrance to the forest, stretched his legs and rested. Smiling to himself, he waited to see what would happen.

    The she-wolf went into the farmyard and crept into the stable where a dog was lying. The dog set up such a racket that the farmer and his family came running out. When the she-wolf saw them, she made a serious attempt to escape. She ducked around a barn - and ran into a net.

    As she struggled in the net, the farmer came up and looked down at her:

    "We won’t kill, she-wolf, because we have been warned by dreams that a werewolf is abroad. If we kill you, then that would be a matter of weregild. Instead, we are going to teach you a lesson you’ll never forget!"

    The farmer’s big, strapping, corn-fed sons pulled the she-wolf from the net, and poured a strong burning mixture of lye, which had been prepared for washing, over her skin. The pain was so frightful that the she-wolf thought she would die. The farmer’s sons wore gloves to protect their hands and as she writhed in pain, they kicked her about the farmyard until they grew bored with this sport. With one last kick to the ribs, the farmer turned his back on her and called his sons back to their work.

    The poor she-wolf dragged herself outside, where she met up with the fox.

    The fox, who pretended to have gone through the same experience, was full of complaints, saying, "Ah, dear Mrs. Wolf, how ill I have fared! The farmer’s sons have fallen on me, and have kicked me about their yard. If you do not want me to lie where I am and perish, you must carry me away."

    The she-wolf herself was only able to walk slowly, but she was so concerned about the fox that she took him on her back, and slowly carried him (who was perfectly safe and sound!) to her house.

    Half-fainting the she-wolf dropped the fox gently at her door, then struggled into her den, there to lick her bruises.

    The fox jumped up, its bushy tail in the air like a flag.

    The she-wolf looked at him in surprise. "Goodness, how can you feel so perky after the experience we have both gone through?"

    The fox smiled slyly, "But, don’t you feel it? What they did was kick some sense into me!"

    Then the fox added, "Farewell, dear Mrs. Wolf, may the kicking you have had do the same!"

    The fox laughed heartily at her, and bounded off

    The poor she-wolf lay down with her muzzle on her paws and waited for her sensible old aunt to come around from looking after her little wolf-cub, and tell her "I told you so!"


    Based on Gossip Wolf and the Fox


    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    The Goose-Girl



    There was once upon a time an old queen whose husband had been dead for many years, and she had a beautiful daughter. When the princess grew up she was betrothed to a prince who lived at a great distance.

    When the time came for her to be married, and she had to journey forth into the distant kingdom, the aged queen packed up for her many costly vessels of silver and gold, and trinkets also of gold and silver, and cups and jewels, in short, everything which appertained to a royal dowry, for she loved her child with all her heart.

    She likewise sent her maid-in-waiting, who was to ride with her, and hand her over to the bridegroom. The maid-in-waiting was a she-jotun, by the name of Malice, and there will be more to tell of this later.

    Each had a horse for the journey, but the horse of the king's daughter was called Falada , and could speak. So when the hour of parting had come, the aged mother went into her bedroom, took a small knife and cut her finger with it until it bled. Then she held a white handkerchief to it into which she let three drops of blood fall, gave it to her daughter and said:

    "Dear child, preserve this carefully. It will be of service to you on your way."

    So they took a sorrowful leave of each other, the princess put the piece of cloth in her bosom, mounted her horse, and then went away to her bridegroom.

    After she had ridden for a while she felt a burning thirst, and said to her waiting-maid:

    "Dismount, and take my cup which you have brought with you for me, and get me some water from the stream, for I should like to drink."

    "If you are thirsty," said the waiting-maid, "get off your horse yourself, and lie down and drink out of the water. I don't choose to be your servant."

    So in her great thirst the princess alighted, bent down over the water in the stream and drank, and was not allowed to drink out of the golden cup.

    Then she said, "Ah, heaven!"

    The three drops of blood answered:

    "If this your mother knew, her beating heart would break in two!"

    The king's daughter was humble, said nothing, and mounted her horse again.

    She rode some miles further, but the day was warm, the sun scorched her, and she was thirsty once more, and when they came to a stream of water. She forgotten the waiting-maid's ill words, and again she cried to her waiting-maid:

    "Dismount, and give me some water in my golden cup."

    The waiting-maid said still more haughtily:

    "If you wish to drink, get it yourself. I don't choose to be your maid."

    Then in her great thirst the king's daughter alighted, bent over the flowing stream, wept and said: "Ah, heaven!"

    The drops of blood again replied:

    "If this your mother knew, her beating heart would break in two!"

    As she was thus drinking and leaning right over the stream, the handkerchief with the three drops of blood fell out of her bosom, and floated away on the stream without her observing it, so great was her trouble.

    The waiting-maid, however, had seen it, and she rejoiced to think that she had now power over the bride, for since the princess had lost the drops of blood, she had become weak and powerless.

    So now when the princess wanted to mount her horse again, the one that was called Falada, the waiting-maid said:

    "Falada is more suitable for me, and my nag will do for you!

    The princess had to be content with that. Then the waiting-maid, with many hard words, bade the princess exchange her royal apparel for her own shabby clothes, and at length the waiting-maid said:

    "You must swear by the clear sky above us both, that you will not say one word of this to anyone at the royal court."

    "You can't make me swear a thing like that!" replied the princess.

    "Oh, can't I?" The waiting-maid drew out a sword and held it against the princess's neck. 'Now, what were you saying?"

    Reluctantly, with the cold blade at her throat, the princess swore the oath, not to tell any at the royal court.

    Falada, the horse, saw all this, and observed it well.

    The waiting-maid now mounted Falada, and the true bride the bad horse, and thus they traveled onwards, until at length they entered the royal palace.

    There were great rejoicings over her arrival, and the prince sprang forward to meet her, lifted the waiting-maid from her horse, and thought she was his consort.

    She was conducted upstairs, but the real princess was left standing below. Then the old king looked out of the window and saw her standing in the courtyard, and noticed how dainty and delicate and beautiful she was, and instantly went to the royal apartment, and asked the bride about the girl she had with her who was standing down below in the courtyard, and who she was. I picked her up on my way for a companion, give the girl something to work at, that she may not stand idle.

    But the old king had no work for her, and knew of none, so he said, I have a little boy who tends the geese, she may help him. The boy was called Conjarad, and the true bride had to help him to tend the geese. Soon afterwards the false bride said to the young king, dearest husband, I beg you to do me a favor. He answered, I will do so most willingly. Then send for the knacker, and have the head of the horse on which I rode here cut off, for it vexed me on the way. In reality, she was afraid that the horse might tell how she had behaved to the king's daughter.

    Then she succeeded in making the king promise that it should be done, and the faithful Falada was to die, this came to the ears of the real princess, and she secretly promised to pay the knacker a piece of gold if he would perform a small service for her. There was a great dark-looking gateway in the town, through which morning and evening she had to pass with the geese, would he be so good as to nail up Falada's head on it, so that she might see him again, more than once. The knacker's man promised to do that, and cut off the head, and nailed it fast beneath the dark gateway.

    Early in the morning, when she and Conjarad drove out their flock beneath this gateway, she said in passing,

    alas, Falada, hanging there.
    Then the head answered,
    alas, young queen, how ill you fare.
    If only this your mother knew,
    her heart would simply break in two.

    Then they went still further out of the town, and drove their geese into the country. And when they had come to the meadow, she sat down and unbound her hair which was like pure gold, and Conjarad saw it and delighted in its brightness, and wanted to pluck out a few hairs. Then she said,

    blow, blow, thou gentle wind, I say,
    blow Conjarad's little hat away,
    and make him chase it here and there,
    until I have braided all my hair,
    and bound it up again.

    And there came such a violent wind that it blew Conjarad's hat far away across country, and he was forced to run after it. When he came back she had finished combing her hair and was putting it up again, and he could not get any of it. Then Conjarad was angry, and would not speak to her, and thus they watched the geese until the evening, and then they went home. Next day when they were driving the geese out through the dark gateway, the maiden said,

    alas, Falada, hanging there.
    Falada answered,
    alas, young queen, how ill you fare.
    If this your mother knew,
    her heart would break in two.

    And she sat down again in the field and began to comb out her hair, and Conjarad ran and tried to clutch it, so she said in haste,

    blow, blow, thou gentle wind, I say,
    blow Conjarad's little hat away,
    and make him chase it here and there,
    until I have braided all my hair,
    and bound it up again.

    Then the wind blew, and blew his little hat off his head and far away, and Conjarad was forced to run after it, and when he came back, her hair had been put up a long time, and he could get none of it, and so they looked after their geese till evening came. But in the evening after they had got home, Conrad went to the old king, and said, I won't tend the geese with that girl any longer. Why not, inquired the aged king. Oh, because she vexes me the whole day long. Then the aged king commanded him to relate what it was that she did to him. And Conrad said, in the morning when we pass beneath the dark gateway with the block, there is a horse's head on the wall, and she says to it,

    alas, Falada, hanging there.
    And the head replies,
    alas, young queen how ill you fare.
    If only this your mother knew,
    her heart would simply break in two.

    And Conjarad went on to relate what happened on the goose pasture, and how when there he had to chase his hat. The aged king commanded him to drive his flock out again next day, and as soon as morning came, he placed himself behind the dark gateway, and heard how the maiden spoke to the head of Falada, and then he too went into the country, and hid himself in the thicket in the meadow. There he soon saw with his own eyes the goose-girl and the goose-boy bringing their flock, and how after a while she sat down and unplaited her hair, which shone with radiance. And soon she said,

    blow, blow, thou gentle wind, I say,
    blow Conrad's little hat away,
    and make him chase it here and there,
    until I have braided all my hair,
    and bound it up again.

    Then came a blast of wind and carried off Conjarad's hat, so that he had to run far away, while the maiden quietly went on combing and plaiting her hair, all of which the king observed. Then, quite unseen, he went away, and when the goose-girl came home in the evening, he called her aside, and asked why she did all these things. I may not tell that, and I dare not lament my sorrows to any human being, for I have sworn not to do so by the heaven which is above me, if I had not done that, I should have lost my life.

    He urged her and left her no peace, but he could draw nothing from her. Then said he, if you will not tell me anything, tell your sorrows to the iron-stove there, and he went away. Then she crept into the iron-stove, and began to weep and lament, and emptied her whole heart, and said, here am I deserted by the whole world, and yet I am a king's daughter, and a false waiting-maid has by force brought me to such a pass that I have been compelled to put off my royal apparel, and she has taken my place with my bridegroom, and I have to perform menial service as a goose-girl if this my mother knew, her heart would break in two.

    The aged king, however, was standing outside by the pipe of the stove, and was listening to what she said, and heard it. Then he came back again, and bade her come out of the stove. And royal garments were placed on her, and it was marvellous how beautiful she was. The aged king summoned his son, and revealed to him that he had got the false bride who was only a waiting-maid, but that the true one was standing there, as the former goose-girl. The young king rejoiced with all his heart when he saw her beauty and youth, and a great feast was made ready to which all the people and all good friends were invited.

    At the head of the table sat the bridegroom with the king's daughter at one side of him, and the waiting-maid on the other, but the waiting-maid was blinded, and did not recognize the princess in her dazzling array. When they had eaten and drunk, and were merry, the aged king asked the waiting-maid as a riddle, what punishment a person deserved who had behaved in such and such a way to her master, and at the same time related the whole story, and asked what sentence such a person merited. Then the false bride said, she deserves no better fate than to be stripped entirely naked, and put in a barrel which is studded inside with pointed nails, and two white horses should be harnessed to it, which will drag her along through one street after another, till she is dead.

    It is you, said the aged king, and you have pronounced your own sentence, and thus shall it be done unto you. And when the sentence had been carried out, the young king married his true bride, and both of them reigned over their kingdom in peace and happiness.

    Based on The Goose-Girl


    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Howard and the Gnome


    There was once upon a time a rich king who had three daughters, who daily went to walk in the palace garden, and the king was a great lover of all kinds of fine trees. There was one, however, for which he had such an affection, that if anyone gathered an apple from it the King wished that person a hundred fathoms underground. Then harvest time rolled around, and the apples on this tree were all as red as blood.

    The three daughters went every day beneath the tree, and looked to see if the wind had blown down an apple, but they never found one, and the tree was so loaded with them that it was almost breaking, and the branches hung down to the ground.

    Then the king's youngest child had a great desire for an apple, and said to her sisters:

    "Our father loves us far too much to wish us a hundred fathoms underground," and while she spoke, she plucked off quite a large apple. "It is my belief that he would only do that to people who were strangers."

    With this blood-red apple in her hand, she ran to her sisters, saying:

    "Just taste, my dear little sisters, for never in my life have I tasted anything so delightful."

    Then the two other sisters also ate some of the apple, whereupon all three sank deep down, a hundred fathoms into the earth, where they could hear no cock crow.

    When mid-day came, the king wished to call them to come to dinner, but they were nowhere to be found. He sought them everywhere in his halls and garden, but could not find them. Then he was much troubled, and made known to the whole land that whoever brought his daughters back again should have one of them to wife.

    So many young men went about the country in search, that there was no counting them, for everyone loved the three children because they were so kind to all, and so fair of face.

    Three young huntsmen also went out, and when they had travelled about for eight days, they arrived at a great Hall, in which were beautiful apartments, and in one room a table was laid on which were delicate dishes which were still so warm that they were smoking, but in the whole of the castle no human being was either to be seen or heard.

    They waited there for half a day, and the food still remained warm and smoking, and at length they were so hungry that they sat down and ate, and agreed with each other that they would stay and live in that Hall, and that one of them, who should be chosen by casting lots, should remain in the house, and the two others seek the king's daughters.

    They cast lots, and the lot fell on the eldest.

    Next day the two younger brothers went out to seek, and the eldest had to stay home.

    In the middle of the day there came a tiny gnome who begged the eldest brother for a piece of bread. The brother took some of the bread which he had found there, and cut a round off the loaf and handed it to him. While he was in the act of giving it over, the gnome let it fall, and asked the huntsman to be so good as to give him that piece again.

    The huntsman, who usually asked his youngest brother to perform any menial acts there was to be done, was so surprised at this request that - quite without thinking - he stooped to comply. As soon as he bent down, the gnome took a stick, seized him by the hair, and gave him a good beating.

    That evening, the oldest brother confided in the middle brother as to what had happened. "Make sure it doesn't happen to you," warned the eldest. The youngest came up and asked them what they were whispering about but they just said that they were deciding in which direction they should search for the princesses.

    Next day, the second brother stayed at home, and he fared no better.

    When the two others returned in the evening, the eldest said:

    "Well, how did you get on?"

    "Oh, very badly," said the middle brother, "it happened just exactly as you said it would."

    Then they compared bruises together, but still they said nothing about it to the youngest, for they did not like him at all, and always called him stupid Howard, because he did not know the ways of the world.

    On the third day, Howard, the youngest stayed at home, and again the little gnome came and begged for a piece of bread.

    When Howard gave it to him, the gnome let it fall as before, and asked him to be so good as to give him that piece again. Then Howard said to the gnome:

    "What? Can you not pick it up for yourself? If you won't take as much trouble as that for your daily bread, you don't deserve to have it."

    Then the gnome grew very angry:

    'You must bend over and pick up the bread!"

    Howard replied, "That's gratitude for you!"

    Again the gnome cried:

    'You must bend over and pick up the bread!"

    Howard didn't like his good-nature being abused. He picked up the gnome and gave him a thorough beating.

    Then the gnome screamed terribly, and cried:

    "Stop, stop! Let me go! I will tell you where the king's daughters are."

    When Howard heard that, he left off thrashing him and the gnome said:

    "I am a gnome, sir, a gnome, and there are more than a thousand like me. If you will only come with me, I will show you where the king's daughters are."

    Howard thought he had nothing to lose, so he said, "Show me."

    The gnome led him through the vast halls until they came to a deep well.

    Howard picked up a stone and dropped it down, but there came no splash of water.

    "There's no water in it," said Howard suspiciously.

    The Gnome said: "That's not important. What is important is that your two brothers don't want you to be around when they find the missing princesses. Or, if you do happen to be out on the expedition that finds the princesses, then they plan to do you out of your just reward. They would rather split the reward two ways rather than three."

    "In other words," said Howard, "you want me to go in with you on my own."

    "That's right," said the gnome with a sly smile.

    "Why should I trust you?" asked Howard.

    "You can trust me, because you know how to handle me. You know how to hammer the truth out of me - unlike your two older brothers."

    Howard thought for a moment and realised that the gnome was right. His two brothers would be very glad to recover the king's daughters - preferably without any trouble or danger.

    "All right, Mr Gnome-it-all, how do I get to the princesses?"

    "Well," replied the gnome, "you are going to need the help of your brothers. But, don't worry, if you can handle me, you can handle those two."

    The gnome then explained the set-up at the bottom of the well, and before Howard could stop him, the gnome swiftly vanished.

    Howard spent the rest of the day thinking things over. He knew he had a reputation for being the youngest and therefore the simplest of the family, but although he knew he would always be the youngest, it didn't have to follow that he always had to be the simplest.

    When it was evening the two brothers came and asked Howard how he had got on.

    Howard replied, "Pretty well so far. Funny thing happened at mid-day, though."

    The two older brothers exchanged secret smiles and looked interested. "Oh? What happened?"

    "This gnome appeared from out of nowhere and begged for a piece of bread. He belly-ached so much about it, that in the end I gave him some just to shut him up. And then, what did the little jerk go and do? He dropped the bread, and then had the nerve to ask me to bend down and pick it up for him."

    "And did you?" asked the two brothers.

    "You cannot be serious. I picked the gnome up instead and gave him a good thumping. And then, guess what happened?"

    The two brothers eyed each other suspiciously, then said, "We give up. What happened?"

    "I hammered the truth out of him. He only told me where the king's daughters were."

    Howard watched his two brothers closely. Instead of smiling and congratulating him for achieving this breakthrough, he saw that they were so angry and envious that they turned several shades of green and yellow.

    "Y'know," he thought to himself, "that gnome was telling me the truth, after all."

    Next morning Howard brought them to the well.

    "How are we going to get down there?" asked the two older brothers.

    "I thought about that," replied Howard. He showed them a basket, large enough to hold a man, and a coil of rope, a hundred fathoms long.

    "Since you found it," said the eldest brother, "why don't you go down?"

    "All right," said Howard and he climbed into the basket.

    When the middle brother saw how ready Howard was to go down, he said quickly:

    "Let's draw straws for the privilege. The first one who sees the princesses is bound to be the one who gets to marry the king's youngest daughter."

    They drew straws and the eldest brother got to go. As he climbed into the basket, he said:

    "Y'know, it's just occurred to me that we might not be prepared for what's at the bottom."

    Howard handed him a bell and said, "If you get into trouble, ring this bell and we'll drag you up."

    So there was nothing else for it, but the eldest brother had to be lowered down, and as he went over the side, his teeth were chattering with fear.

    As the basket went lower and lower, the darkness around him became greater and greater, and finally, about fifty fathoms down, he could stand it no longer. He rang the bell, and they drew him up again.

    "What's the matter?" asked Howard.

    'There are things down there that would make your hair turn white! I saw them looking at me out of the walls of the well, and my blood froze in horror. I drew my knife to fight them off, but I forgot I had my bell in that hand so when I struck out at these undead horrors, the bell rang and you drew me up."

    The middle brother scoffed: "Well, you've had your chance to marry the youngest princess. Let me go down now."

    So he took the bell and climbed into the basket and was lowered down.

    He went down further than the first, but the words of his brother preyed on his mind and soon he began to imagine the faces peering out at him, and to see the gleam of eyes in the darkness, and very soon - about eighty fathoms down - his nerve broke also and before he could stop himself, he was ringing the bell and demanding to be brought back up.

    Howard said nothing when the brother showed up, but merely climbed into the basket and allowed himself to be lowered right down the well to the very bottom.

    At the bottom of the well it was all in darkness, except for the flickering firelight shining out from beneath three doorways.

    He got out of the basket, drew his knife, and went and stood outside the first door and listened. The gnome had warned him what to expect, so he wasn't too surprised when he heard something snoring on the other side. The noise sounded like thunder, and came from the chest of something extremely large and fierce.

    Cautiously, he opened the door, and one of the princesses was sitting there. On her lap were the nine heads of a gigantic dragon.

    The princess looked surprised to see him, but Howard held a finger to his lips and signalled for her to keep silent.

    Then he took out his knife and tiptoed over to the princess. He hewed at the dragon's heads, and the nine of them fell off.

    The princess sprang up, threw her arms round his neck, embraced and kissed him repeatedly.

    "Oh, how can I ever repay you?" she gasped.

    Howard was pleased with what he saw of the princess and he looked her up and down. She wore a pectoral over her breasts, which was made of pure gold. She took it off and hung it round his neck.

    Then he went to the second princess, who had a dragon with five heads, and delivered her also, and to the youngest, who had a dragon with four heads, he went likewise.

    They both also rejoiced, and embraced him and kissed him without stopping. Then he rang very loud, so that those above heard him, and he placed the princesses one after the other in the basket, and had them all drawn up, but when it came to his own turn he remembered the words of the gnome, who had told him that his brothers did not mean well by him.

    So he took a great stone which was lying there, and placed it in the basket, and when it was about half way up, his false brothers above cut the rope, so that the basket with the stone fell to the ground, and they thought that he was dead, and ran away with the three princesses.

    "Thank you for rescuing us," said the youngest princess, "but why did you leave your brother behind?"

    "That was no brother of ours," replied the eldest, "but it was the faithless gnome who had imprisoned you in the first place. We beat him black and blue until he told us where he had imprisoned you. Then he told us that he would return you to the outer world only on the promise that you never tell another living, breathing thing about who really rescued you."

    There were holes in the story, but the princesses knew better than to do anything about it here, out in the wilderness, so they acquiesced and followed the two brothers.

    Soon they returned to the Hall of the king, and the two brothers each demanded a princess in marriage.

    In the meantime Howard was wandering about the three chambers in great trouble, fully expecting to have to end his days there, when he saw, hanging on the wall, a flute.

    "Why do you hang there? No one can be merry here."

    He looked at the dragons' heads likewise and said, "You too cannot help me now."

    He walked to and fro for such a long time that he made the surface of the ground quite smooth. At last other thoughts came to his mind, and he took the flute from the wall, and played a few notes on it, and suddenly a number of gnomes appeared, and with every note that he sounded one more came. Then he played until the room was entirely filled.

    They all asked what he desired, so he said he wished to get above ground back to daylight. As soon as they heard this, they seized him by every hair that grew on his head, and thus they flew with him onto the earth again.

    When he was above ground, he at once went to the king's hall, just as the wedding of one princess was about to be celebrated, and he went to the room where the king and his three daughters were. When the princesses saw him they fainted.

    The king was angry, because he thought Howard must have done some injury to his daughters, and ordered him to be put in prison at once. When the princesses came to themselves, however, they entreated the king to set him free again.

    The king asked why, and they said,

    "We have given solemn oaths that forbid us to tell a living, breathing thing."

    Their father thought, "So, they cannot tell a living, breathing thing, eh?"

    He then said to his daughters, "Why don't you tell it to the stove? It's not living and it doesn't breathe."

    Out he went, only to listen at the door, and as the princesses confessed to the stove, the King heard everything.

    Then he caused the two brothers to be hanged on the gallows, and to Howard he gave his youngest daughter, and on that occasion I wore a pair of glass shoes, and I struck them against a stone, and they said "Clink" and were broken.

    Based on The (Earth) Elves


    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

  10. #10
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    The Troll and Farmer Brown


    Farmer Brown was working in his field one day. He worked all day until the evening began to draw on.

    'Time to head home,' he told himself, and stepped out for his stead.

    On his way home, he saw a heap of burning coals in the middle of one of his fields. Surprised, he went over to investigate further.

    As he arrived up at the heap of coals, he discovered a figure sitting on it. The figure was all in black, a lean character, his hair glimmering red in the last light of the setting sun.

    The farmer sensed something uncanny about him. He suspected this chap might be a troll – and he knew there was no love lost between trolls and men.

    He glanced about, looking for other trolls in mischief, but there was nobody else.

    Clearing his throat, Farmer Brown said, 'Are you comfortable there?'

    'To tell you the truth, I am,' replied the troll, smoothly, examining his nails.

    'But how can you be sitting there in comfort? Those coals look red hot to me!'

    'These aren't red-hot coals,' replied the troll. 'Look again.'

    Farmer Brown blinked and rubbed his eyes. Sure, enough, they weren't red-hot coals, but instead the troll sat on a shining spider's web, glistening with drops of dew, glimmering like a net of stars in the gloaming.

    'That's very curious,' said Farmer Brown. 'What's it all mean?'

    'It means that I am sitting on a treasure,' replied the troll, smiling and showing his square, misshapen teeth.

    'You are sitting on a treasure?' repeated Farmer Brown.

    'Yes, sir, you better believe it,' replied the troll. 'Here lies the ancient treasure of Loki. Just like him it's of a shape-shifty character. This is the treasure which Loki conned from the Nibelungs, and it contains more gold and silver than you have ever seen in your life.'

    'The treasure lies in my field,' said Farmer Brown, 'and by the laws of treasure trove, that means it belongs to me.'

    'It can be yours,' answered the troll, 'if you can find it.'

    Farmer Brown blinked again and there was nothing there, except a great big hole in the ground. When he peered down into it he could hear serpents hissing at the bottom.

    'It changes shape when it feels like it,' explained the troll. 'Naturally, it's only worth anything when it's gold and silver. I, however, know the secret of keeping it gold and gemstones. Which I might be prepared to tell you.'

    'For a consideration, no doubt,' said Farmer Brown, frowning darkly, edging back from the snake pit.

    The troll smiled and tried to look business-like and reasonable. 'All you have to do, Farmer Brown, is – for the next two years, you have to give me one half of everything your field produces. I am quite well fixed as far as money goes. I have always had a hankering to be a farmer, a tiller of the soil, but being a troll, I can't show myself in daylight.'

    Farmer Brown stroked his beard. 'One half of everything this field produces, you say?'

    The troll nodded and glanced at the snake pit – it was no longer a hole in the ground filled with venomous reptiles. It was now a mound of precious stones and gold coins, twinkling like a veritable mountain of heaped up stars.

    Farmer Brown gulped on a dry throat. 'It's a deal.'

    They shook hands solemnly on their business venture.

    Then Farmer Brown added: 'I hope we don't fall out over this. I think we should split the produce in this manner: everything that is above ground will go to you, and everything under the earth goes to me.'

    The troll scratched his head. 'Well, I'm new to this farming lark, and I'm prepared to accept advice. If you were me would you take this deal?'

    'There's no way you can lose,' said Farmer Brown, smiling amiably.

    The troll nodded. 'All right. When do we divide the harvest?'

    'Come back in six months' time,' replied Farmer Brown, 'and you can have all the turnips you can eat.'

    'Oh, turnips,' cooed the troll. 'I like the sound of this already.'

    With that, the troll walked off into the darkness and the treasure of Loki turned into a big rock of granite. Farmer Brown touched it – it was quite as hard and gritty as he expected it to be. He patted it fondly and said, 'Don't go away now, y'hear?'

    When planting time came, Farmer Brown sowed the field with turnips as he had promised.

    Harvest time came, the troll appeared and wanted to take away his crop.

    'What's all this!' he cried, full of dismay.

    He discovered that his bargain meant that all he was going to get were the yellow withered leaves – the only part of a turnip that shows above the ground!

    Farmer Brown chuckled in delight, for he was digging up his lovely plump, round turnips.

    The troll narrowed his eyes in suspicion. 'You have had the best of it for once, but the next time that won't do. What grows above ground shall be yours, and what is under it, mine.'

    'That suits me,' replied Farmer Brown with a merry twinkle.

    When the time came to sow, Farmer Brown did not sow turnips. This time he put in wheat. The grain ripened, and Farmer Brown went out and cut the golden stalks down to the ground.

    When the troll came, he found nothing but the stubble, and went away in a fury down into a cleft in the rocks.

    'That is the way to cheat a troll!' exclaimed Farmer Brown. He glanced over at the granite boulder and it had changed into a mass of gold and jewels.

    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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