The Heroes and Life in Valhalla

Concerning the mighty deeds and the destinies of the gods much has
here been recounted; much less concerning their daily life in Asgard with
those of mankind who came into their fellowship. Both Freyja and Odin
made the Heroes welcome: Freyja in Folkvang, and Odin in Vingolf and
Valhalla. We learn nothing, however, as to which of these domains was to
be preferred; we have evidence only as to the manner in which Odin and


the Heroes fleeted the time in Valhalla. It would seem that men generally
thought of Valhalla as the resort of the fallen Heroes; there they passed
their days in mirth and gladness. Odin himself chose them through the
Valkyries; and the foremost among them were welcomed by certain Æsir or
by doughty elder Heroes who went forth to meet them. In Valhalla the
Heroes amuse themselves day by day with battles and banquets. In the
morning, donning their armor they sally upon the field to fight and kill one
another; yet they rise again unharmed, sit down to eat and drink, and
remain the best of comrades. The Heroes are a great company, constantly
increasing; but their number is never so great that they do not have enough
to eat from the flesh of the boar Sæhrimnir. The cook, named Andhrimnir,
each day boils the boar in a kettle called Eldhrimnir; but at evening the
beast is lust as much alive and unhurt as before. The Heroes drink ale and
mead poured out for them by the Valkyries; Odin alone and those whom he
desires to honor drink wine. All the mead they drink runs from
the udder of Heidrun, a goat that stands on the roof of Valhalla cropping the
branches of a tree called Lærad. The mead fills a great drinking-crock in
the hall, enough of it to make all the Heroes drunken. Lærad possesses not
only the inherent virtue of producing all the mead; on the roof of Valhalla
there stands also a hart named Eikthyrnir, who gnaws at the tree and from
whose antlers drops fall down into Vergelmir; thence flow forth twelve rivers
that water the domain of the Æsir, and in addition thirteen other rivers.


Sources:

Peter Andreas Munch: Norse Mythology: Legends of Gods and Heroes. The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York. 1926, pp. 48-49.
Rasmus B. Anderson (Ed.): The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson. Norræna Society, London-New York. 1906, pp. 293ff.


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