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Njǫrðr and Skaði
English
Old Norse
Runes

ᚽᛁᚿ ᚦᚱᛁᚦᛁ ᚭᛌ ᛁᚱ ᛌᛆ ᛁᛧ ᚴᛆᛚᛆᚦᛧ ᛁᛧ ᚿᛁᚭᚱᚦᛧ᛫ ᚽᚭᚿ ᛓᚢᛧ ᚭ ᚽᛁᛙᚿᛁ ᚦᛆᚱ ᛌᛁᛙ ᚽᛆᛁᛐᛁᛧ ᚿᚢᛆᛐᚢᚿ᛬ ᚽᚭᚿ ᚱᛆᚦᛧ ᚠᚢᚱᛁᚱ ᚴᚭᚴᚢ ᚢᛁᛐᛌ ᚢᚴ ᛌᛐᛁᛚᛁᛧ ᛌᛁᛆ ᚢᚴ ᛁᛚᛐ᛬ ᛆ ᚽᚭᚿ ᛌᚴᛆᛚ ᚽᛆᛁᛐᚭ ᛐᛁᛚ ᛌᛆᚠᛆᚱᚭ ᚢᚴ ᛐᛁᛚ ᚢᛆᛁᚦᚭ᛬ ᚽᚭᚿ ᛁᛧ ᛌᚢᛆ ᚭᚢᚦᛁᚽᛧ ᚢᚴ ᚠᛁᛌᛆᛚ ᛆᛐ ᚽᚭᚿ ᛙᛆ ᚴᛁᚠᚭ ᚦᛆᛁᛙ ᚭᚢᚦ ᛚᚭᛐᛆ ᛁᚦᛆ ᛚᚭᚢᛌᛆᚠᛁᛆᛧ ᛁᛧ ᛆ ᚽᚭᚿ ᚽᛆᛁᛐᚭ ᛐᛁᛚ ᚦᛁᛌ᛬ ᛆᛁᚽᛁ ᛁᛧ ᚿᛁᚭᚱᚦᚱ ᚭᛌᛆ ᛆᛐᛆᛧ᛬ ᚽᚭᚿ ᚢᛆᛧ ᚢᛓ ᚠᚢᛐᛧ ᛁ ᚢᚭᚿᛆᚽᛆᛁᛙᚢᛙ᛫ ᛁᚿ ᚢᚭᚿᛁᛧ ᚴᛁᛌᛚᚢᚦᚢ ᚽᚭᚿ ᚴᚢᚦᚢᚿᚢᛙ ᚢᚴ ᛐᚢᚴᚢ ᛁ ᛙᚢᛐ ᛆᛐ ᚭᛌᛆ ᚴᛁᛌᛚᛁᚴᚢ ᚦᚭᚿ ᛁᛧ ᚽᚢᚿᛁᛧ ᚽᛆᛁᛐᛁᛧ᛬ ᚽᚭᚿ ᚢᛆᚱᚦ ᛆᛐ ᛌᛆᛐ ᛙᛁᚦ ᚴᚢᚦᚢᚿᚢᛙ ᚢᚴ ᚢᚭᚿᚢᛙ᛬
Hinn þriði áss er sá er kallaðr er Njǫrðr, hann býr á himni þar sem heitir Nóatún. Hann ræðr fyrir gǫngu vinds ok stillir sjá ok eld. Á hann skal heita til sæfara ok til veiða. Hann er svá auðigr ok fésæll at hann má gefa þeim auð landa eða lausafjár er á hann heita til þess. Eigi er Njǫrðr ása ættar. Hann var upp fœddr í Vanaheimum, en vanir gísluðu hann goðunum ok tóku í mót at ása gíslingu þann er Hœnir heitir. Hann varð at sætt með goðunum ok vǫnum.
The third among the Æsir is he that is called Njǫrðr: he dwells in heaven, in the abode called Nóatún. He rules the course of the wind, and stills sea and fire; on him shall men call for voyages and for hunting. He is so prosperous and abounding in wealth, that he may give them great plenty of lands or of gear; and him shall men invoke for such things. Njǫrðr is not of the race of the Æsir: he was reared in the land of the Vanir, but the Vanir delivered him as hostage to the gods, and took for hostage in exchange him that men call Hœnir; he became an atonement between the gods and the Vanir.
ᚿᛁᚭᚱᚦᛧ ᛆ ᚦᛆ ᚴᚢᚿᚢ᛫ ᛁᛧ ᛌᚴᛆᚦᛁ ᚽᛆᛁᛐᛁᛧ᛫ ᛐᚢᛐᛁᛧ ᚦᛁᛆᛐᛌᛆ ᛁᚭᛐᚢᚿᛌ᛬ ᛌᚴᛆᚦᛁ ᚢᛁᛚ ᚽᛆᚠᚭ ᛓᚢᛌᛐᛆᚦ ᚦᚭᚿ᛫ ᛁᛧ ᛆᛐ ᚽᛆᚠᚦᛁ ᚠᛆᚦᛁᚱ ᚽᛁᚿᛆᛧ᛫ ᚦᛆᛐ ᛁᛧ ᚭ ᚠᛁᚭᛚᚢᛙ ᚿᚭᚴᚢᛧᚢᛙ᛫ ᚦᛆᚱ ᛌᛁᛙ ᚽᛆᛁᛐᛁᛧ ᚦᚱᚢᛙᚽᛆᛁᛙᛧ᛫ ᛁᚿ ᚿᛁᚭᚱᚦᛧ ᚢᛁᛚ ᚢᛁᛧᚭ ᚿᛆᚱ ᛌᛆ᛬ ᚦᚭᚢ ᛌᛆᛐᚢᛌᛐ ᚭ ᚦᛆᛐ᛫ ᛆᛐ ᚦᚭᚢ ᛌᚴᚢᛚᛐᚢ ᚢᛁᛧᚭ ᚿᛁᚢ ᚿᛆᛐᛧ ᛁ ᚦᚱᚢᛙᚽᛆᛁᛙᛁ᛫ ᛁᚿ ᚦᛆ ᛆᚦᚱᛆᛧ ᚦᚱᛁᛆᛧ ᛆᛐ ᚿᚢᛆᛐᚢᚿᚢᛙ᛬ ᛁᚿ ᛁᛧ ᚿᛁᚭᚱᚦᛧ ᚴᚢᛙ ᛆᚠᛐᛧ ᛐᛁᛚ ᚿᚢᛆᛐᚢᚿᛆ ᛆᚠ ᚠᛁᛆᛚᛁᚿᚢ᛫ ᚦᛆ ᚴᚢᛆᚦ ᚽᚭᚿ ᚦᛁᛐᛆ᛬
Njǫrðr á þá konu, er Skaði heitir, dóttir Þjaza jǫtuns. Skaði vill hafa bústað þann, er átt hafði faðir hennar, þat er á fjǫllum nǫkkurum, þar sem heitir Þrymheimr, en Njǫrðr vill vera nær sæ. Þau sættust á þat, at þau skyldu vera níu nætr í Þrymheimi, en þá aðrar þrjár at Nóatúnum. En er Njǫrðr kom aptr til Nóatúna af fjallinu, þá kvað hann þetta:
Njǫrðr has to wife the woman called Skaði, daughter of Þjazi the giant. Skaði would fain dwell in the abode which her father had had, which is on certain mountains, in the place called Þrymheimr; but Njǫrðr would be near the sea. They made a compact on these terms: they should be nine nights in Þrymheimr, but the second nine at Nóatún. But when Njǫrðr came down from the mountain back to Nóatún, he sang this lay:
ᛚᛆᛁᚦ ᛁᛧᚢᛙᚴ ᚠᛁᚭᛚ᛫
ᚢᛆᚱᚴᛆ ᛁᚴ ᛚᛁᚴᛁ ᚭ᛫
ᚿᛆᛐᛧ ᛆᛁᚿᛆᛧ ᚿᛁᚢ᛫
ᚢᛚᚠᛆ ᚦᚢᛐᛧ
ᛙᛁᛧ ᚦᚢᛐᛁ ᛁᛚᛧ ᚢᛁᛧᚭ
ᚽᛁᛆ ᛌᚭᚴᚢᛁ ᛌᚢᚭᚿᛆ᛬
Leið erumk fjǫll,
varka ek lengi á,
nætr einar níu;
ulfa þytr
mér þótti illr vera
hjá sǫngvi svana.
Loath were the hills to me,
I was not long in them,
nights only nine;
to me the wailing of wolves
seemed ill,
after the song of swans.
ᚦᚭ ᚴᚢᛆᚦ ᛌᚴᛆᚦᛁ ᚦᛁᛐᛆ᛬
Þá kvað Skaði þetta:
Then Skaði sang this:
ᛌᚢᚠᚭ ᛁᚴ ᚿᛁ ᛙᛆᛐᛆᚴ
ᛌᛆᚢᛆᛧ ᛓᛁᚦᛁᚢᛙ ᚭ
ᚠᚢᚽᛚᛌ ᛁᛆᚱᛙᛁ ᚠᚢᚱᛁᚱ᛫
ᛌᛆ ᛙᛁᚴ ᚢᛁᚴᛧ᛫
ᛁᛧ ᛆᚠ ᚢᛁᚦᛁ ᚴᛁᛙᛧ᛫
ᛙᚢᚱᚽᚢᚿ ᚽᚢᛁᚱᛁᚭᚿ ᛙᛆᛧ᛬
Sofa ek né máttak
sævar beðjum á
fugls jarmi fyrir;
sá mik vekr,
er af víði kemr,
morgun hverjan már.
Sleep could I never
on the sea-beds,
for the wailing of waterfowl;
he wakens me,
who comes from the deep –
the sea-mew every morn.
ᚦᚭ ᚠᚢᚱ ᛌᚴᛆᚦᛁ ᚢᛓ ᚭ ᚠᛁᛆᛚᛁᛐ ᚢᚴ ᛓᚢᚽᚦᛁ ᛁ ᚦᚱᚢᛙᚽᛆᛁᛙᛁ᛫ ᚢᚴ ᚠᛁᚱ ᚽᚢᚿ ᛙᛁᚭᚴ ᚭ ᛌᚴᛁᚦᚢᛙ ᚢᚴ ᛙᛁᚦ ᛓᚢᚽᚭ ᚢᚴ ᛌᚴᚢᛐᛧ ᛐᚢᛧ᛬ ᚽᚢᚿ ᚽᛆᛁᛐᛁᛧ ᚭᛐᚢᛧᚽᚢᚦ ᛁᚦᛆ ᚭᛐᚢᛧᛐᛁᛌ᛬ ᛌᚢᛆ ᛁᛧ ᛌᛆᚽᛐ᛬
Þá fór Skaði upp á fjallit ok bygði í Þrymheimi, ok ferr hon mjǫk á skíðum ok með boga ok skýtr dýr. Hon heitir Ǫndurguð eða Ǫndurdís. Svá er sagt:
Then Skaði went up onto the mountain, and dwelt in Þrymheimr. And she goes for the more part on snowshoes and with a bow and arrow, and shoots beasts; she is called Snowshoe-Goddess or Lady of the Snowshoes. So it is said:
ᚦᚱᚢᛙᚽᛆᛁᛙᛧ ᚽᛆᛁᛐᛁᛧ
ᛁᚱ ᚦᛁᛆᛐᛌᛁ ᛓᛁᚢ᛫
ᛌᛆ ᚽᛁᚿ ᚭᛙᛆᛐᚴᛁ ᛁᚭᛐᚢᚿ᛫
ᛁᚿ ᚿᚢ ᛌᚴᛆᚦᛁ ᛓᚢᚴᚢᛁᛧ
ᛌᚴᛁᚱ ᛓᚱᚢᚦᛧ ᚴᚢᚦᛆ
ᚠᚢᚱᚿᛆᛧ ᛐᚢᚠᛐᛁᛧ ᚠᚭᚦᚢᚱ᛬
Þrymheimr heitir
er Þjazi bjó,
sá hinn ámátki jǫtunn,
en nú Skaði byggvir
skír brúðr guða
fornar toptir fǫður.
Þrymheimr ’t is called,
where Þjazi dwelt,
He the hideous giant;
But now Skaði abides,
pure bride of the gods,
In her father’s ancient freehold.

Commentary
The Prose Edda or Younger Edda was composed around 1220 by Snorri Sturluson, the greatest Icelandic writer of the Middle Ages. It is both a poetics treaty designed to preserve the art of the skalds and a digest of Northern mythology. It is made of three great parts: the Gylfaginning (“Beguiling of Gylfi”) that sums up of the great Scandinavian myths, the Skáldskaparmál (“Poesy of Skalds”) that lists names and kennings in use in skaldic poetry and explains them, and the Háttatal (“Enumeration of Metres”) that displays and illustrates its different metres.

We offer here the chapter 23 of the Gylfaginning. The mood incompatibility between Njǫrðr and Skaði and their unavoidable separation certainly inspired Tolkien for the story of Aldarion and Erendis published in Unfinished Tales. Thanks to Anouck Faure for the record of Skaði’s stanza!

The Prose Edda has come to us through four manuscripts. The text given here mostly follows the version of the Codex Regius. The translation is by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur and was made in 1916. We slightly edited it to put the Old Norse names into their normalized spelling.

The text is transcribed in Gemanic runes or futhark, from the series called Younger Futhark, used in Scandinavia from the 9th to the 12th century. The runes are of the “short-twig” variety, also called “Rök runes” or (rather improperly) “Swedish” or “Norwegian runes”. We made use of Robert Pfeffer’s typeface Pfeffer Mediæval.

References
Jörmungrund. 🌍 Háskóli Íslands, Reykjavík.
Sturluson, Snorri. The Prose Edda. Translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur. 🌍 Internet Sacred Text Archive.
Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth. Edited by Christopher Tolkien. London: HarperCollins, 1998. 611 p. ISBN 0-261-10362-8.

The works of John Ronald Reuel and Christopher Tolkien are under the copyright of their authors and/or rights holders, including their publishers and the Tolkien Estate.
Quotations from other authors, editors and translators mentioned in the bibliography are under the copyright of their publishers, except for those whose copyright term has ended.
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