Haenir and Lodur
Hœenir and Lodur are also reckoned, though very infrequently,
among the gods. Hœnir’s name is found in the Prose Edda among the
major divinities, and he appears besides as the companion of Odin.
According to the Voluspį, Lodur takes part with Odin and Hœnir
in the creation of man. These three “mighty and benevolent Ęsir” once
came down to the seashore, where they found Ask and Embla lying
lifeless, without breath, without soul, and without blood; Odin gave them
breath, Hœnir gave them soul, and Lodur gave them blood and bodily
color. According to the Prose Edda, however, it was the sons of Borr,
namely Odin, Vili, and Ve, who created Ask and Embla. Odin, Hœnir, and
Lodur, or Odin, Vili, and Ve thus function as a sort of trinity of the Ęsir. In
the Gylfaginning something of the kind is to be found in Snorri’s formulation
of the ancient mythology, namely, the trinity Hįr (The High), Jafnhįr (The
Equally High), and priši (The Third). At the end of the war between the Ęsir
and the Vanir, Hœnir was delivered over to the Vanir as a hostage. As the
more complete account runs in Snorri’s Ynglinga Saga: Hœnir was a tall
and handsome man, whom the Ęsir declared to be well fitted to be made a
chieftain; but for fuller security they sent the wise Mimir with him. Hœnir
was at once given leadership in Vanaheim, and all went well so long as
Mimir remained at his side; but when Hœnir, in the absence of Mimir, had
to make difficult decisions, he invariably declared that “others must
determine that.” Whereupon the Vanir at length lost patience, killed Mimir,
and sent his head back to the Ęsir. On the evidence of Snorri’s Edda,
Hœnir was also called The Fleet God or The Long-Footed God or The King
of Eld (aurkonungr, Snorri’s Edda I, 168). In the “Saga Fragment”
mentioned below, Rœrek Slœngvandbaugi — brother of king Helgi and
son-in-law of Ivar Vidfadmir — is compared with Hœnir, who here is called
the most timorous of the Ęsir. Possibly other myths having to do with him have
failed to survive.
Peter Andreas Munch: Norse Mythology: Legends of Gods and Heroes. The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York. 1926, pp. 19-21.
Rasmus B. Anderson (Ed.): The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson. Norręna Society, London-New York. 1906.
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