Page images

made themselves amends for this of diseases. The evils and the rem forced state of quisi, and the God medies were most conimonly nothof war was only ferved with the ing else but lots, poffefTions, conmore activity during the rest of jurations and enchantments. And the year. I have nothing to re-- the mountaineers in many parts mark concerning the other God- of Furope, know of no other at defics, who are only known to us this day. The fuperftition of thepby the EDDA, and who, for the herds and such like people, in this most part, seem to have sprung respect, is well know. The prefrom the brains of the northern judices of these poor people, are SCALDS.

only reliques of what all heads

were once full of. After this, re(B) “ Erra performs the func- gret who will, the loss of ancient hi tion of Physician to the Gods.”] times ! Tacitus informs us that the Germans had no other Physicians but (c) “ She hath a horse, which their women. They followed the “ runs over the air.”] The traarmies to stanch and suck the vels of Goddesses and Fairies wounds of their husbands. In like through the air, are very coinmon manner, all the histories and ro

in all the poems and fables of the manccs of the north always repre- ancient inhabitants of the north, fent the females, and often prin- and most of the nations in Europe çesies, charged with this care. The have thought in this refpect along fame thing inay be observed of ale with them. When in process of most all nations in their infancy. time Christianity became prevabut no people had ever a stronger lent, what had been formerly lookconfidence in the women's skill in ed upon as a precious gift and figmedicine, than cur Celtic • and nal mark of divine favour, was • Gotlic' ancestors. “ Persuaded, now regarded as the effect only of

fays. Tacitus, that there was diabolical arts. The affemblies of something divine in that sex,

ecclesiastics made very severe prothey subunitted, when fick, to their hibitions, and denounced theraopinion and di cilion with that in- nathemas against all thole who plicit confidence, which is due to should travel through the air in fupernatural knowledge. Indeed the night-time. In the ancient law all the science of medicine that was of Norway, called “ Guluthings employed in those times, was little os Lagen," c. I. we find this reguelle but magic a; plied to the cure lation. " Let the king and the


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

bishop, with all pollible care, midit of the air, on horseback, “ make inquiry after those who or at least riding altride certain “ exercise Pagan superstitions ; • animals. '(Vid. Keyfler. Antiq. " who make use of magic arts; Sept. p. 88, 89.) There are few " who adore the Genii of particu- of our popular superstitions, but " lar places, or of tombs, or what may be traced up to some “ rivers; and who by a diabolical opinion, which was consecrated by

manner of travelling, are trans- the ancient religion of the Goths " ported from place to place, and Celts. Nor need we al" through the air,” &c. A coun- ways except those, which seem in cil held at Rouen, and cited in some respect to hold a conformity Burchard, contains a prohibition to doctrines or practices, which of the same nature. (Conc. Ro- the Christian religion alone could tom. L. I. c. 94. sect. 44.) In have taught us. One name substi. some places the people are still of tuted for another, and an outside opinion, even in our own days, varnish of devotion cannot so difthat witches are carried to their guise their original, but that it is internal Sabbaths through the easily discovered by a skilful cye.





Of Frey and Gerde.


SHERE was a man named Gimer, one of the race

of the Giants of the mountains; who had had by his wife Orboda, a daughter named Gerde, the most beautiful of her sex. One day Frey having ascended the throne of the Universal Father, in order to take a view of the whole world from thence ; perceived towards the north a magnificent palace in the middle of a city, and a woman come out it, whose hair was so bright, that it gaye luftre to the air and the waters. At that fight Frey, in just punishment of his audacity in mounting that sacred throne, was struck with sud'den sadness, insomuch thät, upon his return home, he could neither speak, nor sleep, nor drink; nor did any body dare so much as to inquire into the cause. However, NIord ordered Skirner, the confident of Frey, to come to him, and charged him to demand of his master what sworn enemy he had, that thus he renounced all converse with mankind. Skirner promised to do this, and going to Frey, asked him boldly why he was so sad and filent. Frey answered, That he had seen a young woman so beautiful and finely Ihaped, that if he could not possess her, he should not long survive it ; and that this was what rendered him so thoughtful. Go therefore (adds he), obtain her

for me in marriage, if you bring her to me, you * Thall have in recompence whatever you desire."


Skirner undertook to do this, if Frey would make him a present of his Sword, which was so good, that it would of itself struw a field with its carnage, whenever the owner ordered it. Frey, impatient of delay, immediately made him a present of the sword; and Skirner setting out, obtained the young woman of her relations, who promised that she should follow him within nine nights after his departure, and that the nuptials should be folemnized in a place called Barey. Skirner having reported to Frey the success of his embafly; that god, full of impatience, pronounced these verses : « One night is very long ; two nights

are still longer; How then shall I pass the third ? “ Many a time hath a whole month appeared to me • shorter than the half of such a night.” Frey having thus given away his sword, found himself without arms when he fought againft Bela ; and hence it was, that he flew him with the horn of a ftag. Then, said Gangler, it seems to me very aftonishing, that so brave a hero as Frey should give his sword away to another, without keeping one equally good for himself. He must have been in very bad plight, when he encountered with Bela; and I'll be sworn, he repented him heartily. That conflict was trifling, replied Har: Frey could have slain Bela with a blow of his fift, had he had a mind to it. But when the fons of Mufpell, those wicked Genii, shall come to fight with the Gods, then he will have reason to be sorry indeed that he parted with his sword.


Of the Food of the Godi.


UT, says Gangler, if every man who has been

flain in battle fince the beginning of the world, iepairs to the palace of Odin, what food does that God affign to fo valt a multitude? Har answered hin, You have reason to fry it iš a vast multitude ;. yet will it still increase ad infinitum; nay, the Gods themselves thall defire, that it were still much more considerable, when the wolf FENRIS arrives at the laft day (A!. The number, however, never-can be fo. great, but the flesh of the wild boar Serimner will suffice to sustain them; which, though dreffed every morning, becomes entire again every night, 1 believe there are but few who are able to explain this matter to you, as it is described in those verses ; the fense of which is to this effect : « The-cook, Andrimner, dresses the wild boar incessantly in his pot :. “ the heroes are fed with lard or fat of this animal, “ which exceeds every thing in the world (B)." But, says Gangler, does Odin eat at the same table with the heroes? Har answered, The meat that is set before him, ODIN diftributes to two wolves, known by the names of Geri and Freki : for as to himself, he stands in no need of food : wine is to him instead of every other aliment; according to what is faid in these verses ; « The illustrious father of armies, with his own hands fattens his two wolves ;


« PreviousContinue »