"WELL, Hermod, what did she say?" asked the Æsir from
the top of the hill, as they saw him coming; "make
haste and tell us what she said." And Hermod came up.
"Oh! is that all?" they cried, as soon as he had
delivered his message. "Nothing can be more easy;" and
then they all hurried off to tell Frigga. She was
weeping already, and in five minutes there was not a
tearless eye in Asgard.
"But this is not enough," said Odin; "the whole earth
must know of our grief that it may weep with us."
 Then the father of the Æsir called to him his messenger
maidens—the beautiful Valkyrior—and sent them out into
all worlds with these three words on their lips,
"Baldur is dead!" But the words were so dreadful that
at first the messenger maidens could only whisper them
in low tones as they went along, "Baldur is dead!" The
dull, sad sounds flowed back on Asgard like a new river
of grief, and it seemed to the Æsir as if they now wept
for the first time—"Baldur is dead!"
"What is that the Valkyrior are saying?" asked the men
and women in all the country round, and when they heard
rightly, men left their labour and lay down to
weep—women dropped the buckets they were carrying to
the well, and, leaning their faces over them, filled
them with tears. The children crowded upon the
doorsteps, or sat down at the corners of the streets,
crying as if their own mothers were dead.
The Valkyrior passed on. "Baldur is dead!" they said
to the empty fields; and straightway the grass and the
wild field-flowers shed tears. "Baldur is dead!" said
the messenger maidens
 to the rocks and the stones; and the very stones began
to weep. "Baldur is dead!" the Valkyrior cried; and
even the old mammoth's bones, which had lain for
centuries under the hills, burst into tears, so that
small rivers gushed forth from every mountain's side.
"Baldur is dead!" said the messenger maidens as they
swept over silent sands; and all the shells wept
pearls. "Baldur is dead!" they cried to the sea, and
to Jötunheim across the sea; and when the giants
understood it, even they wept, whilst the sea rained
spray to heaven. After this the Valkyrior stepped from
one stone to another until they reached a rock that
stood alone in the middle of the sea; then, all
together, they bent forward over the edge of it,
stooped down and peeped over, that they might tell the
monsters of the deep. "Baldur is dead!" they said;
and, the sea monsters and the fish wept. Then the
messenger maidens looked at one another, and said,
"Surely our work is done." So they twined their arms
round one another's waists, and set forth on the
downward road to Helheim, there to claim Baldur from
among the dead.
 Now after he had sent forth his messenger maidens, Odin
had seated himself on the top of Air Throne that he
might see how the earth received his message. At first
he watched the Valkyrior as they stepped forth north
and south, and east and west; but soon the whole
earth's steaming tears rose up like a great cloud, and
hid everything from him. Then he looked down through
the cloud, and said, "Are you all weeping?" The
Valkyrior heard the sound of his voice as they went all
together down the slippery road, and they turned round,
stretching out their arms towards Air Throne, their
long hair falling back, whilst, with choked voices and
streaming eyes, they answered, "The world weeps, Father
Odin; the world and we."
After this they went on their way until they came to
the end of the cave Gnipa, where Garm was chained, and
which yawned over Niflheim. "The world weeps," they
said one to another by way of encouragement, for here
the road was so dreadful; but just as they were about
to pass through the mouth of Gnipa they came upon a
 haggard witch named Thaukt, who sat in the entrance
with her back to them, and her face towards the abyss.
"Baldur is dead! Weep, weep!" said the messenger
maidens, as they tried to pass her; but Thaukt made
"What she doth hold,
Let Hela keep;
For naught care I,
Though the world weep,
O'er Baldur's bale.
Live he or die
With tearless eye,
Old Thaukt shall wail."
And with these words leaped into Nilfheim with a yell
"Surely that cry was the cry of Loki," said one of the
maidens; but another pointed towards the city of
Helheim, and there they saw the stern face of Hela
looking over the wall.
"One has not wept," said the grim Queen, "and Helheim
holds its own." So saying she motioned the maidens
away with her long, cold hand.
Then the Valkyrior turned and fled up the
 steep way to the foot of Odin's throne, like a pale
snow-drift that flies before the storm.
After this a strong child, called Vali, was born in the
city of Asgard. He was the youngest of Odin's
sons—strong and cold as the icy January blast; but
full, also, as it is of the hope of the new year. When
only a day old he slew the blind Hödur by a single
blow, and then spent the rest of his life in trying to
lift the shadow of death from the face of the weeping
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