Njord (Njorðr, originally Nerpuz) guides the course of the winds and
governs sea and fire; he grants to those who call upon him good fortune at
sea and in the chase, and he dispenses wealth, whether of lands or of
chattels. Of old he came from Vanaheim. It so befell that when the Æsir
and the Vanir were engaged in concluding a treaty of peace, each race
gave hostages to the other, the Æsir designating Hœnir and the Vanir,
Njord; they all spat in a crock, and from the spittle they made a man, the
sapient Kvasir. From that time forth Njord was reckoned among the Æsir
and took rank with the foremost of them. His dwelling, called Noatun, is
near the sea; outside the walls swim swans and water fowl of all sorts.
Njord’s children are the god Frey and the goddess Freyja; his wife, their
stepmother, is Skadi, a Giantess. The Æsir having brought about the death
of her father Thjazi, Skadi went in arms to Asgard to demand recompense.
In order to pacify her, the Æsir permitted
her to choose a husband from their number, but she was to see only their
feet and to make her choice in this way. She fixed her eyes on a pair of
shapely feet and, supposing them to be Balder’s, chose accordingly. But
her choice fell on Njord, with whom she did not live on the very best of
terms; Skadi wished to make her abode in Thrymheim, her old home, but
Njord wished to remain in Noatun. So they agreed to live by turns nine
nights in Thrymheim and three nights in Noatun. When they had stayed the
first nine nights in Thrymheim, Njord said that he was utterly weary of the
mountains; the howling of the wolves seemed to him most lugubrious as
compared with the singing of the swans. Skadi found herself disappointed
likewise; when she had remained three nights in Noatun, she was no less
weary of the screaming of the birds and the roaring of the sea, which broke
her repose. Thus perforce they went their own ways; Skadi returned to
Thrymheim, where she disported herself in skiing and hunting and so
earned the sobriquet of the Ski-Deity or the Ski-Goddess (ondurdís).
Njord was called the Scion of the Vanir, the Vanir-God, the God
Without Blemish. According to the testimony of place names, his cult was
widespread throughout the North. At the ancient sacrificial feasts, men
drank to Njord and Frey next after Odin; and from an early formulary for
taking oaths it is manifest that oaths were sworn by Njord and Frey and by
the “almighty god” (presumably Thor).
Peter Andreas Munch: Norse Mythology: Legends of Gods and Heroes. The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York. 1926, pp. 13-14
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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