Synopsis / Prose Edda


The Delusion of Gylfi

To King Gylfi of Sweden comes a vagrant woman to sing for him. Pleased, he grants her a piece of his land so large as four oxens can plow in a day. Cue the woman, who is actually Gefjon of the Aesir, return with four giant oxen from Jotunheim which rip out a whole province of Sweden and tow it westward into the sea, where it becomes the island of Zealand. The hole left in Sweden fills with water and becomes Lake Mälaren.note 

King Gylfi concludes these Aesir wiseguys are definitely worth checking out. Donning a disguise, he sets out to look for Asgard, the homeland of the Aesir. He succeeds and arrives at a huge hall thatched with golden shields. A man juggling knives leads him to the chiefs of the place, three men sitting in three high seats of different heights; their names are Har (the High One), Jafnhar (Just-as-High) and Thridi (the Third One). Har offers Gylfi food and drink and declares they are ready to answer Gylfi's questions, but also ominously threatens him in case Gylfi won't prove himself to be as smart as them.

Skáldskaparmál (Poetic Diction)

Bragi's Talk

Thor and Hrungnir

Thor's Journey to Geirrod

Loki's Wager with the Dwarfs

The Niflungs and Gjukungs

Menja and Fenja

When Augustus ruled and Jesus was born, Frode was king of Denmark. At that time there was neither war nor crime in the whole world, and the Northmen called it the peace of Frode. Frodi owned Grotti, a magical mill made from two enormous millstones which made anything one wanted. To turn the mill, Frode bought from Sweden two enslaved giantesses, Menja and Fenja, and made them grind gold, peace, and happiness all day. Frode gave them no rest, and so the giantesses got angry and one night ground out an army of vikings, which fell on Frode and killed him, ending Frodi's peace. The vikings loaded the mill Grotti onto their ship, and their chief, Mysingr, commands Menja and Fenja to grind salt. The weight of the salt starts to press the ship under, but Mysingr still wants more until the ship sinks.The vikings all drown, but Menja and Fenja are still turning the mill on the sea-bottom. Since then, the sea is salt, and gold is called "Frode's meal".

Hrolf Kraki

King Hrolf Kraki of Denmark was the most famous of all the kings in the old times. He was brave, mild, and generous, but not very tall. Once, a poor man called Vogg saw Hrolf for the first time and called out in surprise that the king was a kraki (a short pole ladder), which became the king's nickname. Hrolf gave Vogg a gold ring as a sign of his goodwill, whereupon Vogg swore he would avenge Hrolf should the need arise.

Hrolf's mother, Queen Yrsa, married King Adils of Sweden in her second marriage. Adils had a war with King Ale of Norway and asked King Hrolf to help him. Hrolf sent his twelve berserks to assist Adils. When the war had ended with Ale's death and the defeat of his army, King Adils broke his promises and refused to give the berserks anything in reward. King Hrolf was angry, sailed to Sweden and rode to Uppsala with only his twelve berserks with him. King Adils' men tried to trap them, but they killed them, and Queen Yrsa gave them all of Adils' gold. While they returned to their ships, Adils pursued them with the entire Swedish army, but Hrolf spilled the gold on the Fyris plain, and all of Adil's warriors stopped to pick up the gold. Hrolf taunted Adils and escaped. This is why gold is called "seed of the Fyris plain".

Hogni and Hild (a.k.a. The Battle of the Hjadnings or The Everlasting Battle)

By a fatal combination of a dwarf-forged sword's curse, resurrective magic, and pathological stubbornness, kings Hedin and Hogni and their armies get caught in an infinite loop of events in which they fight and kill each other every day, only to be revived during the night and repeat the loop the next day.