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become of the city. And the Lord God And God said unto Jonah, “Doest thou prepared a gourd, and made it to come well to be angry for the gourd ?” up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow And he said, "I do well to be angry, over his head, to deliver him from his even unto death." grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of Then said the Lord, “Thou hast had the gourd. But God prepared a worm pity on the gourd, for which thou hast when the morning rose the next day, and not laboured, neither madest it grow it smote the gourd that it withered. And which came up in a night, and perished it came to pass, when the sun did arise, in a night. And should not I spare that God prepared a vehement east wind; Nineveh, that great city, wherein are and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, more than six score thousand persons that that he fainted, and wished in himself to cannot discern between their right hand die, and said, “It is better for me to die and their left hand; and also much cat than to live."
THE BINDING OF FENRIS-WOLFI
SNORRI STURLUSON Two of the earliest pieces of Norse literature are the Elder or Poetic Edda of unknowo authorship, and the Younger or Prose Edda, usually ascribed to Snorri Sturluson, an Icelander of the twelfth century. While the latter was originally intended as a handbook for poets, in which are given stories of Norse mythology and cosmogony, along with certain instructions on the art of composition, the concise style and imaginative conceptions have intrinsic literary value. The Prose Edda properly belongs to the ancestry of the short story since it was from these early myths and legends that the first tales developed. In the story is a tone of sadness and sacrifice that reflects the grayness of northern skies.
"Yet more children had Loki. Angr- land; and this serpent grew so greatly boda was the name of a certain giantess that he lies in the midst of the ocean enin Jötunheim, with whom Loki? gat compassing all the land, and bites upon three children: one was Fenris-Wolf, the his own tail. Hel he cast into Niflheim, second Jörmungandr—that is the Mid- and gave to her power over nine worlds, gard Serpent,-the third is Hel. But to apportion all abodes among those that when the gods learned that this kindred were sent to her: that is, men dead of was nourished in Jötunheim, and when sickness or of old age.
She has great the gods perceived by prophecy that from possessions there; her walls are exceedthis kindred great misfortune should be- ing high and her gates great. Her hall is fall them; and since it seemed to all that called Sleet-Cold; her dish, Hunger; there was great prospect of ill—(first Famine is her knife; Idler, her thrall; from the mother's blood, and yet worse Sloven, her maid-servant; Pit of Stumbfrom the the father's) then Allfather
Allfather ling, her threshold, by which one enters; sent gods thither to take the children and Disease, her bed; Gleaming Bale, her bring them to him. When they came to bed-hangings. She is half blue-black and him, straightway he cast the serpent into half flesh-color (by which she is easily the deep sea, where he lies about all the recognized), and very lowering and
fierce. 1 From the Prose Edda translated by "The Wolf the Æsirs brought up at Arthur G. Brodeur. Published by The American-Scandinavian Foundation. Reprint
home, and Tyr alone dared to go to ed by permission.
him to give him meat. But when the 2 Incarnation of evil in Norse mythology.
5 Collective term, designating the Norse 3A region of cold and darkness, the abode gods. of the frost giants.
God of war, corresponding to the Latin Odin, corresponding to the Latin Jupiter. Mars.
gods saw how much he grew every day, roots under a rock; and by my troth, all ind when all prophecies declared that he that I have told thee is equally true, vas fated to be their destruction, then though there be some things which thou he Æsir seized upon this way of escape; canst not put to the test.” they made a very strong fetter, which Then said Gangleri: "This they called Lædingr, and brought it be- tainly I can perceive to be true: these fore the Wolf, bidding him to try his things which thou hast taken for proo, strength against the fetter. The Wolf I can see; but how was the fetter fashthought that no overwhelming odds, and ioned ?" Harr answered: “That I am let them do with him as they would. The well able to tell thee. The fetter was first time the Wolf lashed out against soft and smooth as a silken ribbon, but as it, the fetter broke; so he was loosed out sure and strong as thou shalt now hear. of Liedingr. After this, the Æsir made Then, when the fetter was brought to a second fetter, stronger by half, which the Æsir, they thanked the messenger they called Dromi, and bade the Wolf well for his errand. Then the Æsir went try that fetter, saying he would become out upon the lake called Amsvartnir, to very famous for strength, if such huge the island called Lyngvi, and summoning workmanship should not suffice to hold the Wolf with them, they showed him the him. But the Wolf thought that this silken ribbon and bade him burst it, sayfetter was very strong; he considered that ing that it was somewhat stouter than also strength had increased in him since appeared from its thickness. And each the time he broke Lædingr: it came into passed it to the others, and tested it with his mind, that he must expose himself to the strength of their hands and it did not danger, if he would become famous. So
snap; yet they said the Wolf could break he let the fetter be laid upon him. Now it. Then the Wolf answered: "Touchwhen the Æsir declared themselves ready, ing this matter of the ribbon, it seems to the Wolf shook himself, dashed the fet- me that I shall get no glory of it, though ter against the earth and struggled | I snap asunder so slender a band; but if fiercely with it, spurned against it, arid it be made with cunning and wiles, then, broke the fetter, so that the fragments though it seem little, that band shall flew far. So he dashed himself out of never come upon my feet. Then the Dromi. Since then it passes as a pro
Æsir answered that he could easily snap verb, 'to loose out of Lædingr,' or 'to apart a slight silken band, he who had bedash out of Dromi,' when anything is fore broken great fetters of iron,-'but if exceeding hard.
thou shalt not be able to burst this band, "After that the Æsir feared that they then thou wilt not be able to frighten the should never be able to get the Wolf gods; and then we shall unloose thee. bound. Then Allfather sent him who is The Wolf said: 'If ye bind me so that called Skirnir, Freyr's messenger, down I shall not get free again, then ye will into the region of the Black Elves, to cer- act in such a way that it will be late ere tain dwarves, and caused to be made the I receive help from you; I am unwilling fetter named Gleipnir. It was made of that this band should be laid upon me. six things: the noise a cat makes in foot- Yet rather than that ye should impugn fall, the beard of a woman, the roots of a my courage, let some one of you lay his rock, the sinews of a bear, the breath of a hand in my mouth, for a pledge that this fish, and the spittle of a bird. And is done in good faith. Each of the Æsir though thou understand not these matters looked at his neighbor, and none was willalready, yet now thou mayest speedily ing to part with his hand, until Tyr find certain proof herein, that no lie is stretched out his right hand and laid it in told thee: thou must have seen that a the Wolf's mouth. But when the Wolf woman has no beard, and no sound comes
Hart is relating the story of Fenrisfrom the leap of a cat, and there are no Wolf to Gangleri.
lashed out, the fetter became hardened; sword: the guards caught in his lower and the more he struggled against it, the jaw, and the point in the upper; that is tighter the band was. Then all laughed his gag. He howls hideously, and slaver except Tyr: he lost his hand.
runs out of his mouth: that is the river "When the Æsir saw that the Wolf called Van; there he lies till the Weird was fully bound, they took the chain that of the Gods.” Then said Gangleri: was fast to the fetter, and which is called “Marvellous ill children did Loki beget, Gelgja, and passed it through a great
but all these brethren are of great might. rock-it is called Gjöll--and fixed the Yet why did not the Æsir kill the Wolf, rock deep down into the earth. Then
Then seeing they had expectation of evil from they took a great stone and drove it yet him?” Harr
Harr answered: “So greatly deeper into the earth—it was called did the gods esteem their holy place and Thviti-and used the stone for a fasten- sanctuary, that they would not stain it ing-pin. The Wolf gaped terribly, and with the Wolf's blood; though (so say thrashed about and strove to bite them; the prophecies) he shall be the slayer of they thrust into his mouth a certain | Odin.”
THE NIX OF THE MILL-POND'
(THE BROTHERS GRIMM) The brothers Jakob Ludwig Karl Grimm (1785-1863) and Wilhelm Karl Grimm (17861859) were philologists, but they are popularly known for the volume of fairy tales that they compiled from oral tradition, books, and manuscripts. In The Nix of the Mill-Pond, indwelling spirits in tree and stream, witches and their spells, love, separation, and reunion—familiar elements of folklore-are arranged in a pattern of romantic beauty.
There was once upon a time a milier with her soft hands, fell down on both who lived with his wife in great content- sides, and covered her white body. He ment. They had money and land, and soon saw that she was the Nix of the their property increased year by year | Mill-pond, and in his fright did not know more and more. But ill-luck comes like whether he should run away or stay a thief in the night, as their wealth had where he was. But the nix made her increased so did it again decrease, year by sweet voice heard, called him by his name, year, and at last the miller could hardly and asked him why he was so sad? The call the mill in which he lived, his own. miller was at first struck dumb, but when He was in great distress, and when he lay he heard her speak so kindly, he took down after his day's work, found no rest, heart, and told her how he had formerly but tossed about in his bed, full of care. lived in wealth and happiness, but that One morning he rose before daybreak now he was so poor that he did not know and went out into the open air, thinking what to do. “Be easy,” answered the that perhaps there his heart might be- nix, “I will make thee richer and happier come lighter. As he was stepping over than thou hast even been before, only the mill-dam the first sunbeam was just thou must promise to give me the young breaking forth, and he heard a rippling thing which has just been born in thy sound in the pond. He turned round house." "What else can that be," thought and perceived a beautiful woman, rising the miller, “but a young puppy or kitslowly out of the water. Her long hair, ten?” and he promised her what she dewhich she was holding off her shoulders sired. The nix descended into the water
again, and he hurried back to his mill, 1From Grimm's Household Tales trans- consoled and in good spirits. He had lated and edited by Margaret Hunt, Vol. II., tale 181. Published by G. Bell and Sons,
not yet reached it, when the maid-servant London. Reprinted by permission.
came out of the house, and cried to him
o rejoice, for his wife had given birth to stag, to the water, in order to wash his 1 little boy. The miller stood as if blood-stained hands. Scarcely, however, struck by lightning; he saw very well that had he dipped them in than the nix asthe cunning nix had been aware of it, and cended, smilingly wound her dripping had cheated him. Hanging his head, he arms around him, and drew him quickly went up to his wife's bedside and when down under the waves, which closed she said, “Why dost thou not rejoice over over him. When it was evening, and the the fine boy?” he told her what had be- huntsman did not return home, his wife fallen him, and what kind of a promise he became alarmed. She went out to seek had given to the nix. "Of what use to him, and as he had often told her that he me are riches and prosperity ?” he added, had to be on his guard against the snares "if I am to lose my child; but what can of the nix, and dared not venture into I do?” Even the relations, who had the neighborhood of the millpond, she come thither to wish them joy, did not already suspected what had happened. know what to say. In the meantime pros- She hastened to the water, and when she perity again returned to the miller's found his hunting-pouch lying on the house. All that he undertook succeeded, shore, she could no longer have any doubt it was as if presses and coffers filled them- of the misfortune. Lamenting her scrselves of their own accord, and as if row, and wringing her hands, she called money multiplied nightly in the cup- on her beloved by name, but in vain. She boards. It was not long before his hurried across to the other side of the wealth was greater than it had ever been pond, and called him anew; she reviled before. But he could not rejoice over it the nix with harsh words, but no answer untroubled, the bargain which he had followed. The surface of the water remade with the nix tormented his soul. mained calm, only the crescent moon Whenever he passed the mill-pond, he stared steadily back at her. The poor feared she might ascend and remind him woman did not leave the pond. With of his debt. He never let the boy himself hasty steps she paced round and round it, go near the water. “Beware," he said without resting a moment, sometimes in to him, “if thou dost but touch the water, silence, sometimes uttering a loud cry, a hand will rise, seize thee, and draw sometimes softly sobbing. At last lier thee down." But as year after year went strength came to an end, she sank down by and the nix did not show herself to the ground and fell into a heavy sleep. again, the miller began to feel at ease. Presently a dream took possession of her. The boy grew up to be a youth and was She was anxiously climbing upwards beapprenticed to a huntsman. When he
tween great masses of rock; thorns and had learnt everything, and had become an briars caught her feet, the rain beat in her excellent huntsman, the lord of the vil- face, and the wind tossed her long hair lage took him into his service. In the vil about. When she had reached the sumlage lived a beautiful and true-hearted mit, quite a different sight presented itself maiden, who pleased the huntsman, and to her; the sky was blue, the air soft, the when his master perceived that, he gave ground sloped gently downwards, and on him a little house, the two were married, a green meadow, gay with flowers of lived peacefully and happily, and loved every color, stood a pretty cottage. She each other with all their hearts.
went up to it and opened the door; there One day the huntsman was chasing a sat an old woman with white hair, who roe; and when the animal turned aside beckoned to her kindly. At that very from the forest into the open country. he moment, the poor woman awoke, day had pursued it and at last shot it. He did not already dawned, and she at once resolved notice that he was now in the neighbor- to act in accordance with her dreams. hood of the dangerous millpond, and She laboriously climbed the mountain; went, after he had disembowelled the everything was exactly as she had seen it in the night. The old woman received ately afterwards the water parted and not her kindly, and pointed out a chair on only the head of the man, but half of his which she might sit. “Thou must have body also arose. He stretched out his met with a misfortune," she said, "since arms longingly towards her, but a second thou hast sought out my lonely cottage." wave came up, covered him, and drew With tears, the woman related what had him down again. "Alas, what does it befallen her. “Be comforted,” said the profit me?" said the unhappy woman, old woman, “I will help thee. Here is that I should see my beloved, only to golden comb for thee. Tarry till the lose him again!" Despair filled her heart full moon has risen, then go to the mill- anew, but the dream led her a third time pond, seat thyself on the shore, and comb to the house of the old woman. She set thy long black hair with this comb. When out, and the wise woman gave her a thou hast done, lay it down on the bank, golden spinning-wheel, consoled her and and thou wilt see what will happen." said, “All is not yet fulfilled, tarry until The woman returned home, but the time the time of the full moon, then take the till the full moon came, passed slowly. spinning-wheel, seat thyself on the shore, At last the shining disc appeared in the and spin the spool full, and when thcu heavens, then she went out to the mill-hast done that, place the spinning-wheel pond, sat down and combed her long near the water, and thou wilt see what black hair with the golden comb, and will happen.” The woman obeyed all when she had finished, she laid it down at she said exactly; as soon as the full moon the water's edge. It was not long before showed itself, she carried the golden spinthere was a movement in the depths: a ning-wheel to the shore, and span induswave rose, rolled to the shore, and bore triously until the flax came to an end, and the comb away with it. In not more the spool was quite filled with the threads. than the time necessary for the comb to No sooner was the wheel standing on the sink to the bottom, the surface of the shore than there was a more violent movewater parted, and the head of the hunts- ment than before in the depths of the man arose. He did not speak, but looked pond, and a mighty wave rushed up, and at his wife with sorrowful glances. At bore the wheel away with it. Immedithe same instant, a second wave ately the head and the whole body of the rushing up, and covered the man's head. man rose into the air, in a water-spout. All had vanished, the mill-pond lay peace- He quickly sprang to the shore, caught ful as before, and nothing but the face of his wife by the hand and fled. But they the full moon shone on it.
had scarcely gone a very little distance, Full of sorrow, the woman went back, when the whole pond rose with a frightbut again the dream showed her the cot- ful roar, and streamed out over the open tage of the old woman. Next morning country. The fugitives already saw she again set out and complained of her death before their eyes, when the woman woes to the wise woman.' The old in her terror implored the help of the old woman gave her a golden Aute, and said, woman, and in an instant they were trans"Tarry till the full moon comes again, formed, she into a toad, he into a freg. then take this Aute; play a beautiful air 'The food which had overtaken them on it, and when thou hast finished, lay it could not destroy them, but it tore them on the sand; then thou wilt see what will apart and carried them far away. When happen.” The wife did as the old woman the water had dispersed and they both told her. No sooner was the Aute lying touched dry land again, they regained on the sand than there was a stirring in their human form, but neither knew the depths, and a wave rushed up and where the other was; they found thembore the Aute away with it. Immedi- selves among strange people, who did not
know their native land. High moun1One who deals in black magic, a witch.
tains and deep valleys lay between them.