THE TWILIGHT OF THE GODS
NOW fell on the four quarters of the world; icy winds
blew from every side; the sun and the moon were hidden
by storms. It was the Fimbul Winter: no spring came
and no summer; no autumn brought harvest or fruit, and
winter grew into winter again
There was three years' winter. The first was called
the Winter of Winds: storms blew and snows drove down
and frosts were mighty. The children of men might
hardly keep alive in that dread winter.
 The second winter was called the Winter of the Sword:
those who were left alive amongst men robbed and slew
for what was left to feed on; brother fell on brother
and slew him, and over all the world there were mighty
And the third winter was called the Winter of the Wolf.
Then the ancient witch who lived in Jarnvid, the Iron
Wood, fed the Wolf Managarm on unburied men and on the
corpses of those who fell in battle. Mightily grew and
flourished the Wolf that was to be the devourer of
Mani, the Moon. The Champions in Valhalla would find
their seats splashed with the blood that Managarm
dashed from his jaws; this was a sign to the Gods that
the time of the last battle was approaching.
COCK crew; far down in the bowels of the earth he was
and beside Hela's habitation: the rust-red cock of Hel
crew, and his crowing made a stir in the lower worlds
In Jötunheim a cock crew, Fialar, the crimson cock, and
at his crowing the Giants aroused themselves. High up
in Asgard a cock crew, the golden cock Gullinkambir,
and at his crowing the Champions in Valhalla bestirred
A dog barked; deep down in the earth a dog barked; it
was Garm, the hound with bloody mouth, barking in
Gnipa's Cave. The Dwarfs who heard groaned before
their doors of stone. The tree Ygdrassil moaned in all
its branches. There was a rending noise as the Giants
moved their ship; there was a trampling sound as the
hosts of Muspelheim gathered their horses.
 But Jötunheim and Muspelheim and Hel waited
tremblingly; it might be that Fenrir the Wolf might not
burst the bonds where-with the Gods had bound him.
Without his being loosed the Gods might not be
destroyed. And then was heard the rending of the rock
as Fenrir broke loose. For the second time the Hound
Garm barked in Gnipa's Cave.
Then was heard the galloping of the horses of the
riders of Muspelheim; then was heard the laughter of
Loki; then was heard the blowing of Heimdall's horn;
then was heard the opening of Valhall's five hundred
and forty doors, as eight hundred Champions made ready
to pass through each door.
Odin took council with Mimir's head. Up From the
waters of the Well of Wisdom he drew it, and by the
power of the runes he knew he made the head speak to
him Where best might the Aesir and the Vanir and the
Einherjar, who were the Champions of Midgard, meet, and
how best might they strive with the forces of
Muspelheim and Jötunheim and Hel? The head of Mimir
counseled Odin to meet them on Vigard Plain to wage
there such ware that the powers of evil would be
destroyed for ever, even though his own world should be
destroyed with them.
The riders of Muspelheim reached Bifröst, the Rainbow
Bridge. Now would they storm the City of the Gods and
fill it with flame. But Bifröst broke under the weight
of the riders of Muspelheim, and they came not to the
City of the Gods.
Jörmungand, the serpent that encircles the world,
reared itself up from the sea. The waters flooded the
lands, and the remnant
 of the world's inhabitants was
swept away. That mighty flood floated Naglfar, the
Ship of Nails that the Giants were so long building,
and floated the ship of Hel also. With Hrymer the
Giant steering it, Naglfar sailed against the Gods,
with all the powers of Jötunheim aboard. And Loki
steered the ship of Hel with the Wolf Fenrir upon it
for the place of the last battle.
Since Bifröst was broken, the Aesir and the Vanir, the
Asyniur and the Vana, the Einherjar and the Valkyries
rode downward to Vigard through the waters of Thund.
Odin rode at the head of his Champions. His helmet was
of gold and in his hand was his spear Gunfnir. Thor
and Tyr were in his company.
In Mirkvid, the Dark Forest, the Vanir stood against
the host of Muspelheim. From the broken end of the
Rainbow Bridge the riders came, all flashing and
flaming, with fire before them and after them. Niord
was there with Skadi, his Giant wife, fierce in her
war-dress; Freya was there also, and Frey had Gerda
beside him as a battle-maiden. Terribly bright flashed
Surtur's sword. No sword ever owned was as bright as
his except the sword that Frey had given to Skirnir.
Frey and Surtur fought; he perished, Frey perished in
that battle, but he would not have perished if he had
had in his hand his own magic sword.
And now, for the third time, Garm, the hound with blood
upon his jaws, barked. He had broken loose on the
world, and with fierce bounds he rushed towards Vigard
Plain, where the Gods had assembled their powers. Loud
barked Garm. The Eagle
 Hræsvelgur screamed on the
edge of heaven. Then the skies were cloven, and the
tree Ygdrassil was shaken in all its roots.
To the place where the Gods had drawn up their ranks
came the ship of Jötunheim and the ship of Hel, came
the riders of Muspelheim, and Garm, the hound with
blood upon his jaws. And out of the sea that now
surrounded the plain of Vigard the serpent Jörmungand
What said Odin to the Gods and to the Champions who
surround him? “We will give our lives and let our
world be destroyed, but we will battle so that these
evil powers will not live after us.” Out of Hel's ship
sprang Fenrir the Wolf. His mouth gaped; his lower jaw
hung against the earth, and his upper jaw scraped the
sky. Against the Wolf Odin All-Father fought. Thor
might not aid him, for Thor had now to encounter
Jörmungand, the monstrous serpent.
By Fenrir the Wolf Odin was slain. But the younger
Gods were now advancing to the battle; and Vidar, the
Silent God, came face to face with Fenrir. He laid his
foot on the Wolf's lower jaw, that foot that had on the
sandal made of all the scraps of leather that
shoemakers had laid by for him, and with his hands he
seized the upper jaw and tore his gullet. Thus died
Fenfir, the fiercest of all the enemies of the Gods.
Jörmungand, the monstrous serpent, would have
overwhelmed all with the venom he was ready to pour
forth. But Thor sprang forward and crushed him with a
stroke of his hammer Hiolnir. Then Thor stepped back
nine paces. But the serpent blew his
 venom over him,
and blinded and choked and burnt, Thor, the World's
Loki sprang from his ship and strove with Heimdall, the
Warder of the Rainbow Bridge and the Watcher for the
Gods. Loki slew Heimdall and was slain by him.
Bravely fought Tyr, the God who had sacrificed his
sword hand for the binding of the Wolf Bravely he
fought, and many of the powers of evil perished by his
strong left hand. But Garm, the hound with bloody
jaws, slew Tyr.
And now the riders of Muspelheim came down on the
field. Bright and gleaming were all their weapons.
Before them and behind them went wasting forest.
Surtur cast fire upon the earth; the tree Ygdrassil
took fire and burned in all its great branches; the
World Tree was wasted in the blaze. But the fearful
fire that Surtur brought on the earth destroyed him and
all his host.
The Wolf Hati caught up on Sol, the Sun; the Wolf
Managarm seized on Mani, the Moon; they devoured them;
stars fell, and darkness came down on the world.
HE seas flowed over the burnt and wasted earth and the
skies were dark above the sea, for Sol and Mani were no
more. But at last the seas drew back and earth
appeared again, green and beautiful. A new Sun and a
new Moon appeared in the heaves, one a daughter of Sol
and the other a daughter of Mani. No grim wolves kept
them in pursuit
Four of the younger Gods stood on the highest of the
 peaks; they were Vidar and Vali, the sons of
Odin, and Modi and Magni, the sons of Thor. Modi and
Magni found Miolnir, Thor's hammer, and with it they
slew the monsters that still raged through the world,
the Hound Garm and the Wolf Managarm.
Vidar and Vali found in the grass the golden tablets on
which were inscribed the runes of wisdom of the elder
Gods. The runes told them of a heave that was above
Asgard, of Gimli, that was untouched by Surtur's fire.
Vili and Ve, Will and Holiness, ruled in it. Baldur
and Hodur came from Hela's habitation, and the Gods sat
on the peak together held speech with each other,
calling to mind the secrets and the happenings they had
known before Tagnarok, the Twilight of the Gods.
Deep in a wood two of human kind were left; the fire of
Surtur did not touch them; they slept, and when they
wakened the world was green and beautiful again. These
two fed on the dews of the morning; a woman and a man
they were, Lif and Lifthrasir They walked abroad in
the world, and from them and from their children came
the men and women who spread themselves over the earth.
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