The Religion of the Northmen
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE GODS AND THE WORLD
Upon a time the world shall be convulsed, and the Æsir destroyed in Ragnarökk, or the Twilight of the Gods. The growing depravity and strife in the world proclaim the approach of this great event. Winters rage without any intervening summer, with furious storms, with snows and darkness. The sun and moon are swallowed by the pursuing Jötun-wolves, and heaven is sprinkled with blood. The bright stars vanish, the earth shakes, and the mountains are hurled together with a crash. Then all bonds and chains are broken, and the Fenris-wolf runs loose. The Miðgarð-serpent writhes in Jötun-rage, and seeks the land across the tumultuous waves. The ship Naglfár flies and bears over the sea the Frost-giant's hosts, led on by the Jötun Hrym. The loosened Loki also comes at the head of the troops of Hel. The Fenris-wolf rushes forth with outstretched jaws, which fill the space between heaven and earth; the Miðgarð-serpent on its side blows out venom over air and sea. In the midst of this confusion the heavens are rent asunder, and through the opening the sons of Muspell ride forth in radiant array. At their head is Surtur, surrounded with flames; his fire-sword flashes brighter than the sun. They all haste on toward the battlefield, the immense plains of Vígríð.
Heimdall now arises and
blows with all his strength in Gjallar-horn. The gods all assemble together.
Yggdrasill's ash is shaken, and everything in heaven and earth is filled
with terror. The Æsir and Einherjar arm themselves and rush forth to battle.
Odin rides at their head and meets the Fenris-wolf; Thor fights at his
side against the Miðgarð-serpent. Freyr combats with Surtur, but falls,
for he has no sword. Loki and Heimdall slay each other. Thor kills the
Miðgarð-serpent, but it vomits forth upon him a flood of venom. He gives
way nine steps backwards, but falls dead to the ground. The Fenris-wolf
swallows Odin, but falls in turn before the strong Viðarr, who splits
its jaws asunder. Then Surtur slings his fire over the world. Smoke wreathes
up around the all-nourishing tree, the high flames play against the heavens,
and earth, consumed, sinks down beneath the sea.