Baldr’s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fire was kindled. Then Thor stood by and hallowed the pyre with Mjollnir; and before his feet ran a certain dwarf which was named Litr; Thor kicked at him with his foot and thrust him into the fire, and he burned. People of many races visited this burning:

First is to be told of Odin, how Frigg and the Valkyrs went with him, and his ravens; but Freyr drove in his chariot with the boar called Gold-mane, or Fearful-Tusk, and Heimdallr rode the horse called Gold-Top, and Freyja drove her cats. Thither came also much people of the Rime-Giants and the Hill- Giants. Odin laid on the pyre that gold ring which is called Draupnir; this quality attended it, that every ninth night there dropped from it eight gold rings of equal weight. Baldr’s horse was led to the bale-fire with all his trappings.

Now this is to be told concerning Hermodr, that he rode nine nights through dark dales and deep, so that he saw not before he was come to the river Gjoll and rode onto the Gjoll-Bridge; which bridge is thatched with glittering gold. Mddgudr is the maiden called who guards the bridge; she asked him his name and race, saying that the day before there had ridden over the bridge five companies of dead men; “but the bridge thunders no less under thee alone, and thou hast not the color of dead men. Why ridest thou hither on Hel-way?” He answered: “I am appointed to ride to Hel to seek out Baldr. Hast thou perchance seen Baldr on Hel-way?” She said that Baldr had ridden there over Gjoll’s Bridge,—“but down and north lieth Hel-way.”

Then Hermddr rode on till he came to Hel-gate; he dismounted from his steed and made his girths fast, mounted and pricked him with his spurs; and the steed leaped so hard over the gate that he came nowise near to it. Then Hermodr rode home to the hall and dismounted from his steed, went into the hall, and saw sitting there in the high-seat Baldr, his brother; and Hermodr tarried there overnight. At mom Hermodr prayed Hel that Baldr might ride home with him, and told how great weeping was among the disir.

All beloved

But Hel said that in this wise it should be put to the test, whether Baldr were so all-beloved as had been said: “If all things in the world, quick and dead, weep for him, then he shall go back to the disir; but he shall remain with Hel if any gainsay it or will not weep.” Then Hermodr arose; but Baldr led him out of the hall, and took the ring Draupnir and sent it to Odin for a remembrance. And Nanna sent Frigg a linen smock, and yet more gifts, and to Fulla a golden fingerring.

Then Hermodr rode his way back, and came into Asgard, and told all those tidings which he had seen and heard. Thereupon the .Esir sent over all the world messengers to pray that Baldr be wept out of Hel; and all men did this, and quick things, and the earth, and stones, and trees, and all metals,—even as thou must have seen that these things weep when they come out of frost and into the heat. Then, when the messengers went home, having well wrought their errand, they found, in a certain cave, where a giantess sat: she called herself Thokk. They prayed her to weep Baldr out of Hel; she answered:

“Thokk will weep waterless tears For Baldr’s bale-fare;

Living or dead, I loved not the churl’s son;

Let Hel hold to that she hath!”

And men deem that she who was there was Loki Laufeyarson, who hath wrought most ill among the Tesir.

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