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The End of Ages

"I see Earth rising a second time
Out of the foam, fair and green;
Down from the fells fish to capture,
Wings the eagle; waters flow.

At lda's Field the Aesir meet:
They remember the worm of Middle-Earth,
Ponder again the great twilight
And the ancient runes of the high god

Boards shall be found of a beauty to wonder at,
Boards of gold in the grass long after,
The chess boards they owned in the olden days,
Unsown acres shall harvests bear,
Evil be abolished, Baldur return
And Hropt's hall with Hod rebuild,
Wise gods. Well, would you know more?

Haenir shall wield the wand of prophecy,
The sons two brothers set up their dwelling
In wide Windhome. Well, would you know more?

Fairer than sunlight, I see a hall
A hall thatched with gold in Gimle:
Kind Lords shall live there in delight for ever."
                                                                   (The Voluspa)

31. The New Earth

 The world-tree—the representative of the physical and moral laws of the world—grew in time's morning gloriously out of the fields of the three world-fountains, and during the first epochs of the mythological events (ár alda) it stood fresh and green, cared for by the subterranean guardians of these fountains. But the times became worse. The feminine counterpart of Loki, GulveigHeid, spreads evil runes in Asgard amid Midgard, and he and she cause disputes and war between those god-clans whose task it is to watch over and sustain the order of the world in harmony. In the feud between the Asas and Vans, the middle and most important world-fountain - the fountain of wisdom, the one from which the good runes were fetched - became robbed of its watchman. Mimir was slain, and his seven sons, the superintendents of the seven seasons, who saw to it that these season-changes followed each other within the limits prescribed by the world-laws, were put to sleep, and fell into a stupor, which continues throughout the historical time until Ragnarok. Consequently the world-tree cannot help withering and growing old during the historical age.

 Still it is not to perish. Neither fire nor sword can harm it; and when evil has reached its climax, and when the present world is ended in the Ragnarok conflict and in Surt's flames, then it is to regain that freshness and splendour which it had in time's morning.

 The world-tree survives the conflagration, for it defies both edge and fire. The Ida-plains are not annihilated. After Ragnarok, as in the beginning of time, they are the scene of the assemblings of the gods. Vanaheim is not affected by the destruction, for Njord shall return thither "to wise Vans". Odin's dwellings of victory remain, and are inhabited after regeneration by Balder and Hödr. The new sun is the daughter of the old one, and was born before Ragnarok, which she passes through unscathed. The ocean does not disappear in Ragnarok, for the present earth sinks beneath its surface, and the new earth after regeneration rises from its deep. Gods survive. Human beings survive, for Lif and Leifthraser are destined to become the connecting link between the present human race and the better race which is to spring therefrom.

 Animals and plants survive—though the animals and plants on the surface of the earth perish; but the earth risen from the sea was decorated with green, and there is not the slightest reference to a new act of creation to produce the green vegetation. Its cascades contain living beings, and over them flies the eagle in search of his prey. A work of art from antiquity is also preserved in the new world. The game of dice, with which the gods played in their youth while they were yet free from care, is found again among the flowers on the new earth.

 That the ásmegir in the lower world are permitted to enjoy the society of Balder is explained by the fact that Lif and Liefthraser and their offspring are after Ragnarok to accompany Balder to dwell under his sceptre, and live a blameless life corresponding to his wishes. They are to be his disciples, knowing their master's commandments and having them written in their hearts.

 Hoenir is now the chief of the Vans again, and he is permitted to determine and indicate the fortunes of those consulting the oracle; in other words, then he is again able to exercise the rights of a god.

 At a hall thatched with gold in Gimle, the Kind Lords, Baldur and Hod, rule over the new earth and shall live there in delight for ever.

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