Fridthjof's Saga, by Esaias Tegnér


For such explanations as are not found in the original notes we are chiefly indebted to Prof. R. B. Anderson, of the University of Wisconsin, and to his valuable work, NORSE MYTHOLOGY. We are also under obligations to Mrs. E. Hasselqvist, of the Augustana College of Rock Island, Illinois.

AEGER. The god of the stormy sea.


ALFHEIM (elf-home). Frig’s dwelling.

ANGANTYR. A champion who was slain in a duel hy Hjalmar the vigilant, and was buried with his sword Tirfing. His daughter Hervar called upon her dead father for the sword, and, according to the story, was answered. See Canto XXIII.

ANGERVADIL (grief-wader). Fridthjof’s sword.

ASA. God. It is used as a prefix, as Asa–Thor, Asa–Loke. etc.

ASA-SONS. A people who came from Asia and. settled the North, and who claimed descent from the gods.

ASGARD. Home of the gods.

ASK. The first man.


BALDER (the best). The mildest, the wisest and the most eloquent of the gods. He is the god of innocence, the White God. “Balder dies in nature when the woods are stripped of their foliage, when the flowers fade and the storms of winter howl. Balder dies in the spiritual world when the good are led away from the paths of virtue, when the soul becomes dark and gloomy, forgetting its heavenly origin. Balder returns in nature when the gentle winds of spring stir the air, when the nightingale’s high note is heard in the heavens, and the flowers are unlocked to paint the laughing soil, when light takes the place of gloom and darkness. Balder returns in the spiritual world when the lost soul finds itself again, throws off tho mantle of darkness, and like the shining spirit soars on wings of light to heaven, to God who mgve it.” See NORSE MYTHOLOGY, p. 294.

BAUTA-STONE. A rough stone set up at warriors’ graves, and having no inscription.

BERSERK (bear-coat). The old Northern athletes or champions wore the skins of bears, wolves or reindeer, and went into battle with loud cries, wearing no armor.

BERSERK-GANG. The onset of the berserks.

BIFROST (the trembling way). The rainbow, the bridge of the gods.

BJORN (a bear). Notice the play upon this word in Canto X, p. 94: “Bjorn attend the rudder, Grip it with a bear’s paw.”

BLOOD-EAGLE. When a foe deserved especial cruelty, he was put to death by carving the picture of an eagle on his back. see Canto XVI, p. 150.

BRAGE. God of poesy: a son of Odin.

BRAN. Fridthjof’s dog.

BREIDABLIK (broad-gleaming). Balder’s abode.

BURN SALT. A common expression for making salt.

DELLING (day-spring). Dawn.


DISARSAL. The temple of the goddesses.

DRAGON. A war vessel. See description of Ellide, Canto III, p. 3O.

DRAPA. A funeral hymn, reciting the virtues of the deceased.

EFJE-SOUND. A sound in the Orkney Islands.

FAFNER. A son of Hreidmar and brother of Regin and Otter. Fafner and Regin demanded of their father a share of the gold obtained of Odin as Otter’s ransom. Hreidmar refused, and Fafner slew his father, and, taking all the gold. assumed the form of a dragon and fled. He concealed tho gold on Gnita heath, where he was found by Sigurd, who, at the instigation of Regin, slew Fafner. He accomplished this by digging a pit in Fafner’s path and concealing himself therein until the dragon passed over him, when he thrust his sword through Fafner’s heart. See NORSE MYTHOLOGY, p. 377; also the story of the Volsungs and Niblungs, translated by Magnusson and Morris. Sweden, 1870.

FAFNER’S BANE. The slayer of Fafner; Sigurd.

FENRIS. A wolf, and one of Loke’s children. Chained by the gods until Ragnarok, he gets loose and conquers Odin, but is himself slain hy Vidar.

FOLKVANG (the folk-field). Freyja’s dwelling.

FORSETE (the presider). Son of Balder and Nanna. The god of justice.

FOSTER-BROTHER. It was customary in the North, when two persons entered into friendship for life and death, or, as it was called, foster-brothership, that each wounded himself and allowed his blood to mingle with the other’s. See, concerning Fridthjof and Bjorn, Canto III, p. 34.

FREY (a lord). The god of harvests: the dispenser of wealth.

FREYJA. Frey’s soster, and goddess of love.

FRIGG. The wife of Odin and mother of Balder.

FUTHORC. The runes taken collectively are properly called the futhorc, the word being made up of the names of the first of the runes. Compare “alphabet”.

GEFJUN. The goddess of maids.

GEIRS-ODD (spear-death). Death by the spear, self-inflicted. See Valhal.

GERD. Frey’s wife, and very beautiful.

GIMLE. The heaven of heavens, where dwell the righteous after Ragnarok.

GJALLARHORN. The horn of Heimdal, the Saint Peter of the old mythology. It was heard all over the world.

GLITNER (the glittering). Forsete’s golden dwelling.

GRONING-SOUND. A sound between the Danish Islands.

GUDBRAND’S DALE. Canto XIV, p. 138. in the diocese of Aggerhus, celebrated afterward (1612) for a battle in which the Norwegians slaughtered the forces of Col. St. Clair, the Scotch ally of Christian IV, of Denmark.

HAGBART. the sea-king, who became secretly betrothed to Signe, of Princess, thereby gaining the enmity of her father, who captured and hung him. Signe, unwilling to survive her betrothed, set fire to her dwelling and was burned to death. — See Cantos XVI and XVII.

HAGRING. Fata morgana.

HA’VAMA’L. The high song of Odin, containing many wise precepts for the government of men.

HEL. The goddess of death.

HILDER. The goddess of war.

HODER. The blind god; brother of Balder. Tempted by Loke, he slew Balder with the mistletoe.

IDA’S PLAIN. Where the gods assemble after Ragnarok.

IDUN. Wife of Brage. She is the rejuvenating goddess, the “ever-renovating spring,” and hence she is dressed in green. — See Canto I, p. 5. She keeps the apples of immortality.

JOTUNHEIM. The abode of the Giants.

LOKE. The evil one. “He is the sly treacherous father of lies. In appearance he is beautiful and fair, but in his mind he is evil, and in his inclinations he is inconstant. Notwithstanding his being ranked among the gods, he is the slanderer of the gods, the grand contriver of deceit and fraud, the reproach of gods and men. Nobody renders him divine honors. He surpasses all mortals in the arts of perfidy and craft.” — See NORSE MYTHOLOGY, page 373.

MIDGARD. The earth; the abode of man.

MIDGARD-SERPENT. A child of Loke. It was cast into the sea by Odin, and it grew till it reached around the whole world.

MIMER. The wise giant keeper of the holy well of wisdom.

MORVEN’S HILLS. Hills in the north of Scotland.

MUSPELHEIM. The abode of fire.


NANNA. Balder’s wife; goddess of flowers. She died heartbroken at Balder’s death.

NASTRAND (the shore of corpses). Where the wicked are punished after Ragnarok.

NIDHUG. The dragon which lives in the fountain Hvergelmar and gnaws the root of Ygdrasil.

NIFLHEIM. The world of mists; the lower world; the place of punishment.

NORNS. The Fates. They are three: Urd, the past; Verdande, the present, and Skuld, the future. They control the destinies of gods and men.

ODER. Freyja’s husband.

ODIN. The chief of the gods. He is the all-pervading spirit of the world, the governor of the universe, the author of war and the inventor of runes and of poetry. In appearance he is old, tall, one-eyed and long-bearded. He wears a broad-brimmed hat and a many-colored coat, and carries a spear called Gungner.

ODIN’S BIRDS. Odin has two ravens, Hugin and Munin (reflection and memory), which every day fly around the world and return to him with intelligence of all that happens.

PEASANT. The piece of lowest rank in chess; a pawn.

RAGNAROK (the twilight of the gods). The day of the destruction of the world, and of the regeneration of gods and men. See Canto XXIV.

RAN (the robber). Goddess of the sea; wife of AEger.

ROTA. One of Valhal’s maidens; a valkyrie.

RUNES. The letters of the ancient Scandinavian alphabet were called runes (secrets). The runes were sixteen in number, and previous to the introduction of Christianity they were supposed to have been invented by Odin himself. A knowledge of them was for a long time confined to a few, who use them for the purposes of sorcery.

RUNE-STONE. A stone inscribed with runes, and set up at graves or elsewhere as a monument.

SAGA. Goddess of history; hence a history.

SEMING. A son of Odin. The early kings of Norway traced their lineage directly to Seming.

SIGNE. See Hagbart

SKINFAXE (shining mane). The horse of Day.

SKOAL. A health.

SKULD. The future. See Norns.

SLEIPNER (the slipper). Odin’s course with eight feet.

SOKVABEK. Dwelling of Saga.

SURT. God of fire.

THING (pronounced ting). A deliberative assemblage of Norsemen, composed of all who were capable of bearing arms. It was held in the open air. The thingsmen expressed approval of any measure by striking the shield with the sword.

THOR. The second of the gods; the thunderer; the subduer of the frost giants. He has a red beard; his weapon is a short-handled hammer called Mjolner. He is girt with a belt of strength, and wears iron gloves. His sons are Magne and Mode, strength and courage.

URD. The past. See Norns.

URD’S FOUNT. The fountain from which the norns sprinkled the tree Ygdrasil.

UTGARD-LOKE. The Loke of the Giants, — called Utgard, because he dwelt in the uttermost parts of the world, Jotunheim.

VALA. A prophetess.

VALASKJALF. Odin’s dwelling.

VALHAL (the hall of the slain). Only those who fell by wounds received in battle, or self-inflicted, were entitled to the joys of Valhal, where they were feasted by Odin and attended by the valkyries.

VALKYRIES (choosers of the slain). Goddesses who serve in Valhal and go on Odin’s errands.

VAR. The goddess who presides over marriages.

VEGTAM. A name assumed by Odin when he went to consult the vala concerning the fate of Balder. — See NORSE MYTHOLOGY, page 281.

VIDAR (forest). The silent god; a son of Odin. He slays the Fenris-wolf at Ragnarok.

VINGOLF (floor of friends). Freyja’s dwelling.

VOLUND. A renowned smith corresponding to Vulcan.

YGDRASIL. An ash tree; the tree of the world. The norns sprinkled the top with water from Urd’s fountain and thus kept it alive, although Nidhug gnawed its roots.

YMER. An enormous giant slain by the gods, and of whose body they created the world.

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Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00