The Dwarfs and the Dark-Elves, between whom a sharp distinction
was not always drawn, lived far beneath the surface of the earth or else
made their habitat within great rocks or mounds. They were small of stature
and ill-favored; the Dark-Elves were commonly reputed to be blacker than
pitch. A large number of Dwarfs are mentioned by name in ancient
literature; an interpolated passage in the Voluspá lists a long array of them,
among others their chief Modsognir (or Motsognir?), and next in order after
him, Durin. Other Dwarfs were Brokk, Dvalin, and the four whom Odin
appointed to hold up the vault of the heavens, namely North, East, South,
and West. The chief occupation of the Dwarfs was that of smith, in which
they had no rivals. All the most notable weapons and all the precious gems
mentioned in the oldest myths were the work of cunning Dwarfs. The
Dwarfs hated both gods and men and were unwilling to do them service; if
nevertheless they were compelled to do so, they strove to give their
handiwork some magic quality of evil omen so that it brought little joy to any
one who came into possession of it.
Peter Andreas Munch: Norse Mythology: Legends of Gods and Heroes. The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York. 1926, pp. 41.
Rasmus B. Anderson (Ed.): The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson. Norræna Society, London-New York. 1906.
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