THE ALL-FATHER'S FOREBODINGS: HOW HE LEAVES ASGARD
WO ravens had Odin All-Father; Hugin and Munin were their
names; they flew through all the worlds every day, and
coming back to Asgard they would light on Odin's
shoulders and tell him of all the things they had seen
and heard. And once a day passed without the ravens
coming back. Then Odin, standing on the Watch-Tower
Hlidskjalf, said to himself:
I fear me for Hugin,
Lest he not come back,
But I watch more for Munin.
A day passed and the ravens flew back. They sat, one on
each of his shoulders. Then did the All-Father go into
the Council Hall
 that was beside Glasir, the wood that
had leaves of gold, and harken to what Hugin and Munin
had to tell him.
They told him only of shadows and forebodings. Odin
All-Father did not speak to the Dwellers in Asgard of
the things they told him. But Frigga, his Queen, saw in
his eyes the shadows and forebodings of things to come.
And when he spoke to her about these things she said,
"Do not strive against what must take place. Let us go
to the holy Norns who sit by Urda's Well and see if the
shadows and the forebodings will remain when you have
looked into their eyes.
And so it came that Odin and the Gods left Asgard and
came to Urda's Well, where, under the great root of
Ygdrassil, the three Norns sat, with the two fair swans
below them. Odin went, and Tyr, the great swordsman,
and Baldur, the most beautiful and the Best-Beloved of
the Gods, and Thor, with his hammer.
A Rainbow Bridge went from Asgard, the City of the
Gods, to Midgard, the World of Men. But another Rainbow
Bridge, more beautiful and more tremulous still, went
from Asgard to that root of Ygdrassil under which was
Urda's Well. This Rainbow Bridge was seldom seen by
men. And where the ends of the two rainbows came
together Heimdall stood, Heimdall with the Golden
Teeth, the Watcher for the Gods, and the Keeper of the
Way to Urda's Well.
"Open the gate, Heimdall," said the All-Father, "open
the gate, for today the Gods would visit the holy
 Without a word Heimdall opened wide the gate that led
to that bridge more colored and more tremulous than any
rainbow seen from earth. Then did Odin and Tyr and
Baldur step out on the bridge. Thor followed, but
before his foot was placed on the bridge, Heimdall laid
his hand upon him.
"The others may go, but you may not go that way, Thor,"
"What? Would you, Heimdall, hold me back?" said Thor.
"Yes, for I am Keeper of the Way to the Norns," said
Heimdall. "You with the mighty hammer you carry are
too weighty for this way. The bridge I guard would
break under you, Thor with the hammer."
"Nevertheless I will go visit the Norns with Odin and
my comrades," said Thor.
"But not this way, Thor," said Heimdall. "I will not
let the bridge be broken under the weight of you and
your hammer. Leave your hammer here with me if you
would go this way."
"No, no," said Thor. "I will not leave in any one's
charge the hammer that defends Asgard. And I may not be
turned back from going with Odin and my comrades."
"There is another way to Urda's Well," said Heimdall.
"Behold these two great Cloud Rivers, Körmt and
Ermt. Canst thou wade through them? They care cold and
suffocating, but they will bring thee to Urda's Well,
where sit the three holy Norns."
 Thor looked out on the two great rolling rivers of
cloud. It was a bad way for one to go, cold and
suffocating. Yet if he went that way he could keep on
his shoulder the hammer which he would not leave in
another's charge. He stept out into the Cloud River
that flowed by the Rainbow Bridge, and with his hammer
upon his shoulder he went struggling on to the other
Odin, Tyr, and Baldur were beside Urda's Well when Thor
came struggling out of the Cloud River, wet and
choking, but with his hammer still upon his shoulder.
There stood Tyr, upright and handsome, leaning on his
sword that was inscribed all over with magic runes;
there stood Baldur, smiling, with his head bent as he
listened to the murmur of the two fair swans; and there
stood Odin All-Father, clad in his blue cloak fringed
with golden stars, without the eagle-helmet upon his
head, and with no spear in his hands.
The three Norns, Urda, Verdandi, and Skulda, sat beside
the well that was in the hollow of the great root of
Ygdrassil. Urda was ancient and with white hair, and
Verdandi was beautiful, while Skulda could hardly be
seen, for she sat far back, and her hair fell over her
face and eyes. Urda, Verdandi, and Skulda; they knew
the whole of the Past, the whole of the Present, and
the whole of the Future. Odin, looking on them, saw
into the eyes of Skulda even. Long, long he stood
looking on the Norns with the eyes of a God, while the
others listened to the murmur of the swans and the
falling of the leaves of Ygdrassil into Urda's Well.
 Looking into their eyes, Odin saw the shadows and
forebodings that Hugin and Munin told him of take shape
and substance. And now others came across the Rainbow
Bridge. They were Frigga and Sif and Nanna, the wives
of Odin and Thor and Baldur. Frigga looked upon the
Norns. As she did, she turned a glance of love and
sadness upon Baldur, her son, and then she drew back
and placed her hand upon Nanna's head.
Odin turned from gazing on the Norns, and looked upon
Frigga, his queenly wife. "I would leave Asgard for a
while, wife of Odin," he said.
"Yea," said Frigga. "Much has to be done in Midgard,
the World of Men."
"I would change what knowledge I have into wisdom,"
said Odin, "so that the things that are to happen will
be changed into the best that they may be."
"You would go to Mimir's Well," said Frigga.
"I would go to Mimir's Well," said Odin.
"My husband, go," said Frigga.
Then they went back over that Rainbow Bridge that is
more beautiful and more tremulous than the one that men
see from the earth; they went back over the Rainbow
Bridge, the Æsir and the Asyniur, Odin and Frigga,
Baldur and Nanna, Tyr, with his sword, and Sif beside
Tyr. As for Thor, he went struggling through the Cloud
Rivers Kömt and Ermt, his hammer Miölnir upon
Little Hnossa, the youngest of the Dwellers in Asgard,
 there, standing beside Heimdall, the Watcher for
the Gods and the Keeper of the Bridge to Urda's Well,
when Odin All-Father and Frigga, his Queen, went
through the great gate with heads bent. "Tomorrow,"
Hnossa heard Odin say, "tomorrow I shall be Vegtam the
Wanderer upon the ways of Midgard and Jötunheim."
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