GekuiJW4gkuFuLWuKO9izQ Prose Edda - Skáldskaparmál

Prose Edda - Skáldskaparmál

The Prose Edda translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur, from 1916

Section Reference 5


The origin of the mead of Suttungr


And again said Ægir: "Whence did this art, which ye call poesy, derive its beginnings?" Bragi answered: "These were the beginnings thereof. The gods had a dispute with the folk which are called Vanir, and they appointed a peace-meeting between them and established peace in this way: they each went to a vat and spat their spittle therein. Then at parting the gods took that peace-token and would not let it perish, but shaped thereof a man. This man is called Kvasir, and he was so wise that none could question him concerning anything but that he knew the solution. He went up and down the earth to give instruction to men; and when he came upon invitation to the abode of certain dwarves, Fjalar and Galarr, they called him into privy converse with them, and killed him, letting his blood run into two vats and a kettle. The kettle is named Ódrerir, and the vats Són and Bodn; they blended honey with the blood, and the outcome was that mead by the virtue of which he who drinks becomes a skald or scholar. The dwarves reported to the Æsir that Kvasir had choked on his own shrewdness, since there was none so wise there as to be able to question his wisdom.

"Then these dwarves invited the giant who is called Gillingr to visit them, and his wife with him. Next the dwarves invited Gillingr to row upon the sea with them; but when they had gone out from the land, the dwarves rowed into the breakers and capsized the boat. Gillingr was unable to swim, and he perished; but the dwarves righted their boat and rowed to land. They reported this accident to his wife, but she took it grievously and wept aloud. Then Fjalar asked her whether it would ease her heart if she should look out upon the sea at the spot where he had perished; and she desired it. Then he spoke softly to Galarr his brother, bidding him go up over the doorway, when she should go out, and let a mill-stone fall on her head, saying that her weeping grew wearisome to him; and even so he did.

"Now when the giant Suttungr, Gillingr's son, learned of this, he went over and took the dwarves and carried them out to sea, and set them on a reef which was covered at high tide. They besought Suttungr to grant them respite of their lives, and as the price of reconciliation offered him the precious mead in satisfaction of his father's death. And that became a means of reconciliation between them. Suttungr carried the mead home and concealed it in the place called Hnitbjörg, placing his daughter Gunnlöd there to watch over it. Because of this we call poesy Kvasir's Blood or Dwarves' Drink, or Fill, or any kind of liquid of Ódrerir, or of Bodn, or of Són, or Ferry-Boat of Dwarves--since this mead brought them life--ransom from the reef--or Suttungr's Mead, or Liquor of Hnitbjörg."

Then Ægir said: "These seem to me dark sayings, to call poesy by these names. But how did ye Æsir come at Suttungr's Mead?"

03 January 2020 Skaldskaparmal, prose, edda, translated, english Read Book