the dictionary of norse mythology


VAFTHRUDNISMAL Vafthmdnir Lay ofVaf-thrudnir A 10th-century poem from the poetic edda. Vafthrudnir is described as a wise giant and riddle master. odin, using the name Gagnrad, visits the giant to test his knowledge and to obtain some wisdom. The poem takes the form of a question-and-answer game between Odin and the giant. This format was common in the Eddic poems.First Odin answers Vafthrudnir's questions. The giant is impressed by his guest's knowledge and in turn answers Odin's questions about the Sun and the Moon, day and night, winter and summer, the first giants, the vanir gods, the hall of dead heroes, and the fate of the gods. Finally Odin asks about the end of the world and the world thereafter. Odin in turn is impressed by the giant's knowledge and asks him how he acquired it. Vafthrudnir says that he has roamed far and wide, even to the home of the dead in nifl-heim, and can also read the runes.The Lay of Vafthrudnir is a valuable source of information about the Norse myths. All of it appears in the codex regius and some of it in the Arnamag-nean Codex of the Poetic Edda. snorri sturluson draws upon it extensively in the prose edda.

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