YOUNGER EDDAS OF SNORRE STURLESON.
Translated from the Original Old Norse Text into English BY I.A. BLACKWELL.
21. "I must now ask thee," said Gangler, "who are the gods that men are bound to believe in?"
"There are twelve gods," replied Har, "to whom divine honours ought to be rendered."
"Nor are the goddesses," added Jafnhar, "less divine and mighty."
"The first and eldest of the Æsir," continued Thridi, "is Odin. He governs all things, and, although the other deities are powerful, they all serve and obey him as children do their father. Frigga is his wife. She foresees the destinies of men, but never reveals what is to come. For thus it is said that Odin himself told Loki, 'Senseless Loki, why wilt thou pry into futurity, Frigga alone knoweth the destinies of all, though she telleth them never?'
"Odin is named Alfadir (All-father), because he is the father of all the gods, and also Valfadir (Choosing Father), because he chooses for his sons all of those who fall in combat. For their abode he has prepared Valhalla and Vingolf, where they are called Einherjar (Heroes or Champions). Odin is also called Hangagud, Haptagud, and Farmagud, and, besides these, was named in many ways when he went to King Geirraudr," forty-nine names in all.
"A great many names, indeed!" exclaimed Gangler; "surely that man must be very wise who knows them all distinctly, and can tell on what occasions they were given."
"It requires, no doubt," replied Har, "a good memory to recollect readily all these names, but I will tell thee in a few words what principally contributed to confer them upon him. It was the great variety of languages; for the various nations were obliged to translate his name into their respective tongues, in order that they might supplicate and worship him. Some of his names, however, have been owing to adventures that happened to him on his journeys, and which are related in old stories. Nor canst thou ever pass for a wise man if thou are not able to give an account of these wonderful adventures."