XLVII. Folkwanderung

1. Miðgarðr was being ravaged by the terrible cold Völundr produced. The destinctions between summer and winter disappeared altogether, and it seemed as if winter would reign every month of the year. The land closest to the southern shore of the Élivágar, where Egill’s fortress stood, became covered with glaciers and sheets of ice, which the rays of the summer sun did not melt. The Álfar that lived there, who had been Völundr’s assistants and Egill’s and Þjalfi’s comrades migrated, proceeding south toward the Svíar. The Jötnar then set out across the Élivágar in boats and settled on the abandoned meadows. There they made their homes beneath the roofs of glacier-covered mountains. Here, where Miðgarðr’s herds had died of hunger, their black oxen and gold-horned cattle grazed well, because, like Auðhumla, they licked sustenance from the rime-frost and scratched up nourishing mosses from drifts that covered the valley- paths.

2. In Svíþjóð, whose southernmost tip was called Aurvangaland, now dwelt many ættar, descended from Askr and Embla, all speaking the same language and following the same customs. South of the Svíar and by Jöruvellir, which stretches along Aurvangaland’s southern coast, lived the Gotar, Danir, Herulir, Gepidir, Vinili, also called Langbarðar, Anglir, Týringar, Vandalar, and other ættar. Until then they had all lived in harmony, regarding themselves as what they were: branches of one and the same family tree. As long as they had been spread out over the north, the land had been good, beautiful, and plentiful.

3. But with the Fimbulvetr came need, first for the Svíar, who lived farther north than the others. Freyr and Freyja no longer promoted fruitfulness and fertility. The Svanmeyjar no longer provided the fields and meadows with Yggdrasill’s fructifying honeydew. Herds decreased, while bear and wolf packs grew, and worst of all, the wolves, in need of food, closed their jaws on the folk.1 There came poverty and want in through the windows; hunger spread his wings and struck down upon the land; strife leapt proudly over the street and onward into the houses.2

4. Dvergar, led by Sindri, came forth from Svarinshaugr3 and conferred with the jarlar of the Svíar. All the Svíar took part in their deliberation, and so resolved to leave the land of their forefathers and go south. If they could not win better fields through peaceful agreements, they would take them by the sword, and thus they often entered into battle.4 The Skandiar who were desirous after the land of their forebears, came to Danmörk. Upon a bright night they all came. Now they said that they had a right upon the land, and fought over this.5 The Svíar pushed down against the Gotar, and they against the Danir, and they against the Herulir, and the other ættar. The push from the north to the south became greater every year, for every year the Fimbulvetr and the unmelting ice-fields consumed a greater portion of the inhabitable country.6 The Dvergar in Sindri’s band, who came forth from Svarinshaugr, attacked and took Aurvangaland, as far as Jöruvellir. Jötnar, including Fjalarr and Frosti, also joined in this battle to aid Ívaldi’s sons in bringing ruin to Miðgarðr.7

5. At this time, Jarl lived in Aurvangaland, reigning as its jarl and judge. He was the son of Heimdallr, who as a child had come to the land bringing holy fire, beneficial rúnar, a sheaf of grain, as well as tools and weapons. Jarl had now grown old. After a long and commendable service, he had gained much experience. He recalled from his childhood and youth the happy times of the Gullaldr, free from vice, strife, crime, and need. His adult years had witnessed humanity’s Siflr Aldr, and the moral decline of his people. In his later days, he experienced the onset of the Fimbulvetr and the beginning of the Koppar Aldr, which reminded him of the prophecy spoken by ravens at his son’s birth. When they saw the newborn Konr, they declared that the age of peace was over.8

6. Konr was held in such high esteem that he was thought to also be the son of great Þórr.9 When the sons of Ívaldi had ceased watching the Élivágar, many Jötnar had crossed over into the northernmost parts of Miðgarðr and settled there. Þórr went to drive off or slay these dangerous newcomers, and Konr accompanied his divine father on the trip. They made many excursions against the Jötnar who had taken the land in northern Miðgarðr. Many Jötnar and warring Gýgur met their deaths, but as a whole, this mattered little, since others took their place. As good as Þórr’s iron hammer was, with it he could not hinder the ever-advancing sheets of ice that covered the mountain-plains. Even in the summertime, the valleys were covered in snow.

7. And now the great Folkwanderung happened, after the Svíar had begun to push southward, Konr had something to do other than follow Þórr on excursions against the Jötnar. The first wave of folk that flowed from the north had set another in motion, and the second a third, and so on, so that wave after wave surged against Aurvangaland, the cradle of our people, where Jarl had lived for so long and had happily been the law-giver and judge of the folk.

8. Now, on the border of Aurvangaland, mighty battles were fought in which Konr and Hamall performed many feats. But the old Jarl saw that resistance was futile in the long run, as long as the powers of Fimbulvetr raged behind the more northerly ættar and compelled them to push onward. They had to do this, or die of starvation. And since all these ættar were related and traced their pedigree from Aurvangaland, Jarl did not want to see them destroy one another in this brotherly feud. Thus, he decided to proceed south with his people as well.

9. So it happened, and many ættar united under him to win land on the other side of the North Sea. Konr commanded all these ættar; their jarlar raised him on their shoulders and elected him king. Nothing was able to withstand them. Beneath them, south of the sea, they placed the extensive land, where sailable rivers sought paths between deep, lush forests, and rich pasture lands.

10. They won, and divided among themselves, a kingdom, which in the west had the mighty Rín river as its border, and in the south a wooded highland, which lay in the shade of one of the higest mountains in Miðgarðr, now called Mont Blanc. In the east, the realm stretched far into an unending tableland with many rivers that make their way down to the Black Sea. Thus was fulfilled the Nornir’s prophecy that Konr would have a kingdom, extending in the east and west, as far in these directions as they had stretched the golden threads in the warp of his weave; but to the north there extended only a single thread, and if it did not hold, the cradle of the Teutonic people and the holy graves of the forefathers would forever remain in the power of the forces of frost and the enemies of the Goðin.10

-The Asatru Edda, Chapter XLVII


Footnotes


1) Our Father’s Godsaga ch. 27, Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 7-19, 28 B, 111-112, 117.

2) Œra Linda Bók pg. 50.

3) Völuspá 14, Gylfaginning 14.

4) Our Father’s Godsaga ch. 27, Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 28 B.

5) Paraphrase of Œra Linda Bók pg. 50.

6) Our Father’s Godsaga ch. 27, Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 7-19, 28 B.

7) Völuspá 14, 16; Gylfaginning 14, Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 32,35.

8) Based on Our Father’s Godsaga ch. 27, Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 21-3, Helgakviða Hundingsbana II str. 6.

9) Based on Gesta Danorum bk. 7.10) Our Father’s Godsaga ch. 27, Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 7-19, 22-3, 28 B-30.

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