Monday, December 26, 2005

The Story Of Riger

The Story Of Riger Cover One day Heimdall left his place in Asgard to wander down upon the earth as the Gods were wont to do. He had not gone very far ere he came to a poor hut on the seashore, where he found Ai (great grandfather) and Edda (great grandmother), a poor but worthy couple, who hospitably invited him to share their meager meal of porridge. Heimdall, who gave his name as Riger, gladly accepted this invitation, and remained with them three whole days, teaching them many things. At the end of that time he left them to resume his journey. Some time after his visit, Edda bore a dark-skinned, thickset male child, whom she called Thrall.

Thrall soon showed uncommon physical strength and a great aptitude for all heavy work; and having attained marriageable age, he took to wife Thyr, a heavily built girl with sunburnt hands and flat feet, who labored early and late, and bore him many children, from whom all the Northern serfs or thralls are descended.

“They had children,
Lived and were happy;
. . . .
They laid fences,
Enriched the plow-land,
Tended swine,
Herded goats,
Dug peat.” - RIGSMAL (Du Chaillu’s version)

Riger, in the mean while, had pursued his journey, and leaving the barren seacoast had pushed inland, where ere long he came to cultivated fields and a thrifty farmhouse. He entered, and found Afi (grandfather) and Amma (grandmother), who hospitably invited him to sit down and share their plain but bountiful fare.

Riger accepted this invitation also, remained three days with them, and imparted all manner of useful knowledge to his hosts. After his departure from their house, Amma gave birth to a blue-eyed sturdy boy, whom she called Karl. He soon revealed great skill in all agricultural pursuits, and married a buxom and thrifty wife named Snor, who bore him many children, from whom all husbandmen are descended.

“He did grow
And thrive well;
He broke oxen,
Made plows;
Timbered houses,
Made barns,
Made carts,
And drove the plow.” - RIGSMAL (Du Chaillu’s version)

After leaving the house of this second couple, Riger went on until he came to a hill, upon which a stately castle was perched, and here he was received by Fadir (father) and Modir (mother), who, delicately nurtured and luxuriously clad, received him cordially, and set before him dainty meats and rich wines.

Riger tarried three days with them ere he returned to Himinbiorg to resume his post as guardian of the Asa-bridge; and the lady of the castle bore a handsome, slenderly built little son, whom she called Jarl. This child early showed a great taste for the hunt and all manner of martial exercises, learned to understand runes, and lived to do great deeds of valor which brought added glory to his name and race. Having attained manhood, Jarl married Erna, an aristocratic, slender-waisted maiden, who ruled his household wisely and bore him many children, all born to rule, the youngest of which, Konur, became the first king of Denmark according to this tale, which is illustrative of the marked sense of classes among the Northern races.

“Up grew
The sons of Jarl;
They brake horses,
Bent shields,
Smoothed shafts,
Shook ash spears.
But Kon, the young,
Knew runes,
Everlasting runes
And life runes.” - RIGSMAL (Du Chaillu’s version)

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