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Norse Myths (The World’s Greatest Myths and Legends) by Flame Tree Studio

Author:Flame Tree Studio

Language: eng

Format: azw3

Publisher: Flame Tree Publishing

Published: 2018-12-14T16:00:00+00:00

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Norse Myths (The World’s Greatest Myths and Legends) by Flame Tree Studio

Giants, Dwarfs and Elves

Master Olof rode forth ere dawn of the day

And came where the Elf-folk were dancing away.

 

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Norse Myths (The World’s Greatest Myths and Legends) by Flame Tree Studio

 

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Norse Myths (The World’s Greatest Myths and Legends) by Flame Tree Studio

Author:Flame Tree Studio , Date: June 6, 2019

,Views: 20

Author:Flame Tree Studio

Language: eng

Format: azw3

Publisher: Flame Tree Publishing

Published: 2018-12-14T16:00:00+00:00
Giants, Dwarfs and Elves

Master Olof rode forth ere dawn of the day

And came where the Elf-folk were dancing away.

The dance is so merry,

So merry in the greenwood.

W. and M. Howitt, Master Olof at the Elfin Dance

As well as men and Gods, the Norse universe was also populated by such creatures as giants, dwarfs and elves. Dwarfs and elves in particular were occasionally interchangeable with each other, with dwarfs being seen as ‘black elves’ as opposed to the light or white elves, but on the whole throughout the different stories we can trace three different races.

The Gods often found themselves in opposition to the giants in particular – and therefore they were represented as paragons of evil to be overcome. However they also played an integral part in the lives of the Gods, for example the dwarfs made many magic items which the Gods come to obtain.

The Giants

Miserable Senjemand—ugly and grey!

Thou win the maid of Kvedfiord!

No—a churl thou art and shalt ever remain.

Charles Loring Brace, Ballad

As we have already seen, the Northern races imagined that the giants were the first creatures who came to life among the icebergs which filled the vast abyss of Ginnunga-gap. These giants were from the very beginning the opponents and rivals of the gods, and as the latter were the personifications of all that is good and lovely, the former were representative of all that was ugly and evil.

When Ymir, the first giant, fell lifeless on the ice, slain by the gods, his progeny were drowned in his blood. One couple only, Bergelmir and his wife, effected their escape to Jötun-heim, where they took up their abode and became the parents of all the giant race. In the North the giants were called by various names, each having a particular meaning. Jötun, for instance, meant “the great eater,” for the giants were noted for their enormous appetites as well as for their uncommon size. They were fond of drinking as well as of eating, wherefore they were also called Thurses, a word which some writers claim had the same meaning as thirst; but others think they owed this name to the high towers (“turseis”) which they were supposed to have built. As the giants were antagonistic to the gods, the latter always strove to force them to remain in Jötun-heim, which was situated in the cold regions of the Pole. The giants were almost invariably worsted in their encounters with the gods, for they were heavy and slow-witted, and had nothing but stone weapons to oppose to the Aesir’s bronze. In spite of this inequality, however, they were sometimes greatly envied by the gods, for they were thoroughly conversant with all knowledge relating to the past. Even Odin was envious of this attribute, and no sooner had he secured it by a draught from Mimir’s spring than he hastened to Jötun-heim to measure himself against Vafthrudnir, the most learned of the giant brood. But he might never have succeeded in defeating his antagonist in this strange

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