Contributions to the Study of Othin Especially in His Relation to Agricultural Practices in Modern Popular Lore, By Jan de Vries | Germanic Paganism | Folklore


BY JAN DE VRIES -----------------------------------


----------------------------------------------Haminassa 1931 Haminan Lehil Osskeyhtiön Kirjapaino If we wish to establish the real significance of a heathen Teutonic deity and the way in which it has developed in the course of the ages, we can not restrict ourselves to the study of literary documents, such as the Icelandic poems of the Edda or the sagas, but we have to look for information from other sources also. Scholars have been accustomed to draw for this purpose largely on folkloristic sources such as popular customs and superstitions. This method, indispensable as it may be for the reconstruction of the early Germanic religion, about which the extant sources have practically nothing to say, is open to serious objections. As long as we might consider popular traditions as genuine modern representatives of original heathen religious practices, we seemed justified in using these folkloristic materials with as much confidence as the literary traditions of pagan times. They could even yield something more which the latter only gave by way of exception: some insight into the rites and practices of the heathen religion. A well known example of this kind is to be found in the study of modern agricultural customs, which threw an unexpected light both upon the cult of Nerthus, as Tacitus has ascribed it in his Germania, and even upon the scanty information about the Scandinavian Freyr-cult. The value of folkloristic material, however, has been seriously weakened in late years, by the ever increasing amount of proofs that a great deal of popular tradition is nothing but products of higher civilisation, debased to the level of the common people. So it is quite obvious that a popular tradition, which was once considered as a valuable remnant of [4] old heathen lore, may be of much later origin, even of quite modern extraction. Now, of course, we should not be too sceptical. Although a great deal of present-day popular lore may be of a very problematic origin, it is still possible that ever and anon very interesting specimens of the highest antiquity may be found among the flotsam and jetsam of historical evolution. Only a careful study of popular traditions can enable us to make any definite conclusion. The vestiges of the cult of Othin, in popular traditions, as we find them now-a-days in different parts of the Scandinavian territory, are a case in point.

1. Modern harvest customs in Scandinavia and Germany In his interesting book “Wärend och Wirdarne” the Swedish scholar Hyltén-Cavallius has collected a great many instances of the survival of pagan deities in modern folklore. Among several traditions about Othin he gives the following important information: Some generations ago (i. e. in the latter half of the 18th century) the people of Wärend still had the custom of sacrificing something to the horses of Othin. They usually did it in the following way: people left untouched, when mowing a meadow, a 'few green blades of grass which were bent down and covered with moss, so as to prevent them from being damaged by cattle. The peasant said while doing so: “Othin shall have this for his horses” or “This is for the horses of Othin”. If any one should neglect to make this sacrifice to Othin's horses, he was supposed to be punished the following year by a bad hay-crop I). In this custom we find a connection between the religious conceptions of Othin's horses and the rites of fertility. Before entering upon a discussion of the question as [5] to whether this piece of popular lore may be considered as a valuable proof for the theory, that Othin was originally a deity of fertility, we had better ask first: “Can we rely upon the trustworthiness of this Swedish tradition?” We find the same belief as far as Finland, where it has been taken down from the mouth of the Swedish speaking peasant Gabriel Raf, a man of about eighty years 2). He also said that it had been the custom in former days to leave a few blades of grass for Othin. - But the way in which this information was obtained is significant; the collector asked the man: “Have you ever heard anything about Othin?” Then he answered: “Certainly, old people sometimes mentioned Othin and when they were mowing the corn, they used to leave some straws for Othin, but whether it was a human being or an animal I never asked”. When collectors of folkloristic material put their questions in this way, they may be fairly sure of gleaning as many notes about old heathen deities as they like. The peasant is often inclined to answer in the affirmative either simply to show his good will or because he does not like to admit that he does not know about what his interrogator expects him to have heard 3). Fortunately we may dismiss all doubts about the reliability of this information. Hyltén-Cavallius himself gives many instances of Othin's name having been known to Swedish peasants of the 19th century. Moreover we have the unquestionable testimony of later folklorists, who collected their material in a thoroughly scientific way. So we possess a much later communication from the same district, Wärend, about a peasant who said: “This year the rye grows badly, for Othin or his servant has taken something from every ear” 4). But the same custom has been noted down in other parts of Sweden also, as e.g. in Blekinge 5) and Skåne. It is even known in the Danish islands, where the last [6] sheaf of corn is sacrificed to the horses of Jon Opsal, according to the tradition of Meen 6), while in the islands of Lolland and Falster this is done to the horses of Goen or to Goen himself 7). So it is beyond all doubt that in a well-confined part of Scandinavia (i.e. in Southern Sweden 8) and in the Danish islands) this custom has been practiced. As these parts of Sweden belong to the territory, which was once united with Denmark, we may surmise that this custom is possibly of Danish origin andthat it has spread to Sweden in the course of the Middle Ages. Beyond this region we find the custom of making a sacrifice of the last sheaf as well as the popular belief about Othin and his horse. But now, they are quite distinct from one another. The corn is not sacrificed to Othin but to other mythical beings, partly in human, partly in animal shape. Moreover, even in the districts where the last sheaf is dedicated to Othin's horses, it is also said that the sacrifice is made to other supernatural beings. So the Swedish peasant leaves to the Gloso or Glosuggan, probably a vegetation-spirit in the form of a sow, not only three corn-ears or some straws on the field, but even a few apples on the tree and when he is threshing in the barn, he leaves some grains in the cornbox. The same custom is found in Norway, but the intention is here only to procure abundant harvest for the following year 9). Elsewhere the sacrifice is made to the underground-people or to the old man of the

field, the åkergubben 1o). So the custom to sacrifice the last sheaf to Othin seems to be a peculiar form of a much more common sacrifice to other mythical beings. It is then possible that from the beginning this practice has nothing to do with the heathen god Othin. Here, however, a serious objection to this reasoning may arise from those cases where the last sheaf is sacrificed to a being, whose name if not identical with Othin at least has a very close resemblance to it. [7] In Northern Germany the peasants left some balms of corn on the field for a demon, which was called by different names, such as W ô d or W ô l d and with another vowel W a u l or W a u d l and many forms more II). As early as 1593 a certain Nicolaus Gryse mentions in his book “Spegel des antichristlichen Pawestdoms vnd Lutherischen Christendorns” 12) this same custom and quotes even a small rhyme which the peasants sang while dancing round the corn-sheaf: Wode, hale dynern Rosse nu Voder, Nu Distel vnde Dorn, Thom andren Jhar beter Korn. In a modern variant from Saxony, in stead of Wode we read Frû Gaue; possibly this is a misinterpretation of Fra Gaue and whereas frô is an old word for “lord”,' its meaning may be “the Lord Gode(n);” it is generally assumed that we find the same name in the word Vergôdêndl,' which is the name for the last sheaf in Lower Germany. Gryse firmly believes that this Wode is the same as the pagan deity Wodan. The German folklorist U. Jahn, after discussing a great many similar practices in which the corn-demon has the same name or is simply called “the Old One”, comes to the conclusion that there can be no doubt whatever about the identity of the corn-sacrifice to this “Old One” and that to “Wuotan” 13). In course of time the heathen god has been degraded to a simple spirit (Elementargeist) and he traces the line of development downwards through several intermediary stages where the last sheaf is not sacrificed to the “Old One”, but to other mythical beings, such as the Wichtelmann or Feldmann (Thuringia) or even the Erdmännchen and Erdbiberli (Aargau 14). [8] In other parts of Germany we meet with the same practices. In Hessia and Schaumburg-Lippe a round piece of the rye-field was left unmown and had the name of Waulroggen; a stick with flowers set in the middle of it was called the Waulstab and the labourers shouted thrice: “Waul, waul, waul!" Again in Bavaria a sheaf of corn was left on the field for the Waudlgaul; beer, milk and bread were sacrificed to the Waudlhunde. In the 18th century there had been a harvest ceremony, called the Waudismähe. Jahn 15) adduces some sources from the Middle-Ages which confirm this custom: the town of Presburg had to pay every year a sum of money “an dem newen iare, daz man heyst dy Wud” and the church of Passau got, according to a charter of the 13th century, a contribution of oats, which was called “Wutfuter”. Here again it might be argued that this South-German Waudi is identical with the LowGerman Wold or Wôde and hence may be considered also as representing the heathen god Wodan or Othin. The harvest customs have been studied in later years with much care, especially by Mannhardt 16), Sir Frazer 17), Rantasalo 18) and Nils Lid 19). We are able on the ground of these investigations to form a fairly good idea of these practices, which are to be found in all parts of the world. Everywhere do we hear of a sacrifice to mythical beings, most commonly of a lower order than the gods and often called in ethnological treatises by the name of “corn-spirits”. The sacrifice to a demon with a special name is a higher developed form of a much more primitive custom. When we wish to know the exact relation between the original notion of the corn-spirit and the later individualised form of Wode or Wodan, we have to give an answer to the following questions: What is the original notion of the corn-spirit and along what way does its development go? [9]

What is the original significance of the mythical being Wôde, Wold, Wauld and what is its relation to the harvest customs? Finally, what is the relation between this Wode and the pagan god Wodan-Othin? 2. Original conceptions of the corn-spirit The harvest customs in which a sacrifice is made to a corn-spirit are of a singularly complicated nature. The supernatural being, which we may call for convenience sake by the name of the corn-spirit, proves to be of a very different kind; in fact all sorts of mythical beings may occasionally be considered as connected with the prosperity of the crops. We have mentioned already the old man of the field and the people which live beneath the earth (underjordiske, undibyggarna; in Germany the Erdmännchen or the Wichtelmann); we may add: the spirits of the dead, the e l v e s (in some parts of Denmark Ellekongen 20) and furthermore in several parts of Scandinavia, the domestic spirit or tomten 21). The corn-spirit is often represented as a female being, known in Germany by very different names such as die gute Frau, die Braut, das Holzfräulein, die Kornjungfer and many more 22). Finally its animal form is not less frequent; the usual names are those of the horse, the dog, the pig, the cat, the hare, the fox, the goat, the bull and the cock. This variety is already bewildering enough. But besides this the singular fact strikes us, that this vegetation demon may be considered not only as a benevolent but also as a malignant spirit; supposed to reside in the last sheaf itself, it is brought to the home of the peasant in order to be made use of for the crop of the following year, [10] but people try as well to get rid of it by throwing it on to the ground of a neighbour. So in the island of Langeland 23) the labourers dress up the last sheaf as an old woman and throw it into the yard of a neighbour who has not yet finished mowing his field; it is considered to be a great dishonour to become the last owner of this sheaf. The same customs are connected not only with the cutting of the last corn-stalks but also with the threshing of the last sheaf. Even during Yuletide, when the dead ancestors are commemorated, the last sheaf sometimes forms a prominent part of the ceremonial practices. Here the corn-spirit seems to be confused with the spirits of the dead. So we get the strong impression, that a great many different observances have been mixed up into a series of popular customs, the real meaning of which has been lost in the course of ages. Thus it seems to be rather dangerous to connect one of the particular forms of these practices with an ancient heathen sacrifice, before we have tried to establish if the present popular custom may be considered as the direct descendant of a pagan rite. The practices connected with the last sheaf are not only the result of a long development, but even go back to a very different origin. Without making any attempt to give them in the order, corresponding with the possible successive stages of evolution, we may notice the following conceptions. The sheaf is left on the field, simply because it is the last one of the harvest, It seems to be a very wide spread custom not to take all the profit one can obtain 24). If the fruits of a tree are gathered, usually some are left on the branches; the reason for this custom is often quite unknown and it is done because' people are used to doing it; sometimes they are a kind of sacrifice, so in Sjælland to “nissen” 25), in Sweden even to Fröa 26). When sheep are sheared some wool remains untouched between the ears; [11] it is called, “the crown of the sheep” and the meaning is that the force by which the wool will grow again, can stay here 27). In Finland and Esthland the corn-box may never be emptied wholly; if this were done, the farm would lose its “cornluck” and gradually become impoverished 28). Likewise the Cheremiss think it necessary always to leave three unthreshed sheafs on the floor of the barn or else the guardian spirit would not stay here 29). The same idea lies at the bottom of a curious custom in Savolax: when drawing water from a well you must pour back some drops in order that the well may not be killed 30). It is evident from these examples that the part which is left untouched is considered to contain the very essence of the things people want for their every-day life; the sheaf left on the field, the grains in the corn-box, contain the vivifying power which the peasant wishes to preserve for the

crops of the following year; necessarily this small portion embodies the totality, the fertilizing force is here present in a condensed form; we may express it also in this way: this last remnant is loaded with a high potency of growing power. Ears of corn, showing particular signs of abundant fertility, might be considered as the special residence of the growing power; hence the numerous practices and superstitions referring to the so called double fruit, as e.g. corn-stalks with two ears 31). Of course people still continue these practices without knowing their purpose; the explanations they themselves try to give of them may be simply guesswork. So in Denmark it is said that there were left some corn-ears for the poor; elsewhere again for the mice or for the birds. A communication from Bornholm says that it had formerly been a sacrifice 'to the underground people, but afterwards to the birds. Likewise in the island of Fyn people did not rake too closely for there must be something left for the “usynlige”. So a custom, emptied of its original meaning, [12] is maintained in use by 'the conservatism of the peasantry, who do not like to abolish a practice inherited from their ancestors; the folklorist can not be too cautious when making use of information of this kind, for such customs are dead survivals liable to the most arbitrary, combinations. When people leave a small part of the harvest on the field the reason may be that in this part the quintessence of the prosperity of the field is supposed to reside. But in this case it is but natural that man 'wants to” take hold of this blessing power. When the bushel of corn-stalks remains standing on the field, the birds will very soon have emptied it of its valuable contents; might it not be better to take the corn stalks' home and lay them up for the following year? So the last sheaf is no longer left on the stubblefield, but during the winter stored up in the barn. It is to be noted, that we have no reason to consider this sheaf as the incorporation of a corn-spirit, still less as a spirit crudely personified (in human or animal form), but simply as the mystical representative of the impersonal fertilizing power residing in the corn-field. This is clearly shown by the well-known custom of keeping the sheaf till the following spring and then threshing the grains out of it and mixing them up with the seed in order to get an abundant crop in the autumn. The idea of the blessing residing in this sheaf is naively illustrated by a Danish superstition: Efforts were made to cure sick cattle by giving them a few bushels of hay containing grains of the "fok" or last sheaf. Besides this belief in an impersonal growing power there exist many others of very different origin. The corn-spirit often appears in animal form and these animals may belong partly to the domestic animals (cow, horse, pig, goat) and partly to the wild animals of the wood (wolf, fox, hare). The customs are moreover exceedingly different and it is a fruitless task to try to reconcile the numerous contradictory [13] forms and to reduce them to one single original belief. Without entering into details and repeating the examples well known from the books of Sir Frazer and Mannhardt, I may state the very important difference between corn-spirits in animal form, which are considered as propitious, and those which are dangerous and malevolent. The former are brought home with joy and reverence, the latter thrown away into the neighbour's field or even killed. The animal-spirit of the corn may be thought obnoxious without taking the corresponding form of a savage beast. In Lesbos, according to Frazer 32) when the reapers are at work in two neighbouring fields each party tries to finish first in order to drive the hare into their neighbour's field. On the contrary in Galloway, the hare is brought home and sometimes even kept till the next harvest. Moreover in the same district the corn-spirit may take several animal forms 33); are we entitled to suppose that only one animal belongs to the original customs of a definite region and that the other coexisting forms have been introduced from elsewhere? Has each kind of crop its own special animal spirit? Does, for instance, the cock belong to rye, the goat to oats, the hare to flax? This does not seem very probable as in the same region one single animal may stand for all sorts of plants; in Esthland the peasants speak as well of the corn-wolf, as of the pea-wolf or the bean-wolf 34). What is the reason that the corn-spirit in Mecklenburg takes the form of a wolf and of a cock, while in Sweden it takes even as many forms as those of a goat, a hare, a cat (logkatten) and a pig (gloso)? In some cases a special animal-form seems to be typical for a distinct geographical area, e.g. the bull in

Prussia and on the other hand in Bavaria and the adjoining parts of Bohemia, Switzerland and France. But these are questions to which it is as yet impossible to give any definite answer; they de-[14]serve a minute investigation, taking into account all available information about these customs and confining itself to a vast territory with a rather homogeneous population. The idea of an obnoxious animal residing in the cornfield could arise from several observations of every-day life. In former times, when the corn-fields lay in the immediate vicinity of the uncultivated woods and deserts —which is still the case in more remote districts — it naturally often happened that wolves, foxes, hares “and other wild beasts damaged the ripening harvest. When the wind passes over the corn-field, ploughing long furrows through the stalks, the Dutch peasant still says: “The rye-dog runs through the field” or “The rye-sow (roggemeuje) has let loose her pigs” 35). When after a hailstorm the corn is beaten down to the ground, it often gives the 'impression as if a drove of cattle or other animals had trampled down the stalks. If the idea had arisen that in the corn-field there was present a spirit which had the power to damage and to destroy, the form of an obnoxious animal being hidden between the corn-halms lay very near at hand. But how came man to imagine that the corn-spirit could be of a hostile nature? The mowing of the field is the appropriation of a crop which properly speaking belongs to the power which is supposed to reside in the soil. This spirit necessarily considers the harvesting peasant as a despoiler of its possessions as it is driven back by the ever advancing sickles into the remotest corner of its territory. The man, who has to mow the last sheaf is sure to reach the corn-spirit itself, which will now be compelled to surrender. But it may then be particularly dangerous and very often the man is clearly supposed to fight and destroy the spirit. In Lorraine it is said of the man who cuts the last corn: “He is killing the Dog of the Harvest”. [15] A corn-spirit that has in the end to be killed can not be taken home to secure the crops of the following year. But what then is man's attitude with regard to the benevolent demon which he wants to get into his possession? It may be supposed that even this spirit will not surrender so very easily. When the last sheaf of corn is mowed' down the spirit must be captured and kept by force. Sometimes the labourers make an effigy of the animal spirit which they catch in a mock-chase and afterwards present to the farmer. Very interesting is a Dutch custom preserved in the province of Groningen when threshing the last load of cole-seed. The plants after being cut are collected in a piece of canvas and then brought together on to a huge canvas-cloth where they are immediately threshed. Now, when the last load is made ready by the bearers, a boy of about fifteen hastily gathers some grass and flowers from the edge of the ditch and plaits these into a figure which may be considered as the effigy of a hare. Then he suddenly jumps on to the canvas where his appearance causes great excitement among the labourers, who after having taken a dram to raise their courage, lift, with much apparent difficulty, this load and bring it to the threshing place where the contents are shaken out on to the huge cloth. But it betrays by its convulsive movements that a living being is hidden in it and indeed presently the boy appears out of the pile of plants completely covered with the pericarps of the cole-seed and creeps to the feet of the farmer to whom he gives the bundle of grass representing the cole-seed hare. At once the labourers begin to thresh as they say, “to beat the hare blood out of it” 36). This custom is a very clear example of the catching of the vegetation-spirit and it is found elsewhere also in a slightly different form 37). It takes some trouble to catch, but in the end the peasant comes into possession of it, thereby securing the prosperity of the next harvest. But at [16] the same time the spirit is killed and its blood beaten out of it, this being a conception which it is hard to reconcile with the former one. This seems to me a very instructive example of the co-existence of two contrary opinions in the mind of the same people, being engaged in the same agricultural act. It would be quite wrong to imagine that these different conceptions represent the successive 'stages of a rectilinear development; they are only the result of the different attitudes of man with regard to natural phenomena that excite his highest interest 38).

The influence of originally quite foreign conceptions may also account for the dual character of the corn-spirit. The rye-mother that lives in the cornfield is sometimes a very dangerous being by which children are frightened from going into the field. The German Roggenmuhme, the Danish Rugkjælling, the Lithuanian Rugiu-boba, the Polish Rzanamatka all have the same bad reputation. This is a curious instance of such a contamination of different conceptions, for the corn-mother, has been turned into a malignant spirit by the influence of the “demon meridianus”, which about noon is supposed to wander through the fields and to cause disease and even death 39). It will be superfluous to add that a popular belief that considers mythical beings as bogeys is far from being reliable material for the student of religion. 3. The Corn-Spirit in human shape In the agricultural practices we have treated hitherto the last sheaf is not to be considered as a sacrifice. The sheaf is the corn-spirit itself, killed or done away with if it is to be feared, caught and carefully stored up if it is friendly. But besides these practices there are in modern tradition the survivals of harvest-customs which suppose [17] quite a different conception of the corn-spirit. It is regarded as a supernatural being in human shape and it is identified with a real person at the moment of the cutting of the last sheaf. This person may be the labourer who wields the last stroke of the sickle, or the woman who binds the last sheaf, a stranger accidentally passing by, or even the landlord himself. Sir Frazer has made a thorough study of these various forms, to which I refer the reader who wants to enter into the details 40); here he has given examples of the different ways in which this person may be treated: he may be killed as a representative of the corn-spirit or as a sacrifice to it; he may be dressed as if he were the corn-spirit itself and brought home with much fun and frolic. He may even be supposed to be married to the corn-spirit and these customs, though in modern times debased to an almost meaningless mockery, may be a late remembrance of religious rites of a sacred marriage by which a successor to the decrepit vegetation-spirit will be engendered. In several parts of Germany where similar practices are still to be found, the corn-spirit is accordingly called the Old Man or the Old Woman 41). The Danish material which Mr. Ellekilde has kindly placed at my disposal, furnishes a series of very interesting examples. A communication from Hjörring district in Jutland tells that the people make for the last cartload of corn a balm figure in the likeness of a man; the girl that has bound the last sheaf is obliged to dance with the “stodder”, who is called her husband. In the neighbourhood of Viborg this girl is likewise married to “the Old One”; she weeps bitter tears on account of this shameful misfortune. The same custom prevails in other parts of Jutland also (districts of Aarhus and Vejle). Sometimes the unfortunate girl is called a “widow”; this name reveals to us the real meaning of this custom; the girl who was to be married to the corn-spirit, was for-[17]merly killed, this being the only way to achieve the union with this non-human spirit. An attenuated form was the prohibition to marry in the future any mortal man; she was tabooed by virtue of her spiritual relation to the corn-demon and consequently treated as a widow. In later days people did not understand this name and then arose the queer notion that the unlucky girl should be condemned to get a widower as her future husband, or if it was a man who had cut the last corn-sheaf to marry a widow. This is a very common belief in Jutland; but the original meaning of it is revealed by the conception, that she will never marry; in the province of Ringkjøbing this is expressed by the following pretty lines: Pigen som binder den sidste neg skal lægges som jomfru paa baaren bleg or: Den der snører den sidste neg naar aldrig at dele med brudgommen steg.

Less cruel is the popular belief in Aarhus amt and elsewhere: she will not marry before the end of the next year, while information from Tisted amt has turned it into its opposite: the girl will become a wife before the year is out. Finally there are a couple of diverging communications which again point to the original belief: the girl will die in the course of the year (Aarhus amt), or she will get a child in the same lapse of time (Ringkjobing amt). These various superstitions show the gradual debasement of a belief which was once filled with sense and religious feeling. Only by means of a comparative study can we glimpse the original meaning of it; as we find it now-a-days it has become obscured by misinterpretation or defective recollection, it has even been transposed into its contrary. We easily understand that popular traditions, [19] worn out in this way, lose their hold on the mind of the people; they are liable to every modification which fancy may suggest and so they become in course of time destitute of all clear meaning 42). The student of these popular customs can not be too careful in using this material, for it may be compared with the lifeless body of the popular tale, into which a cunning magician can introduce whatever soul he likes. Another danger lies moreover in the well known fact, that the notions of popular belief generally show a very vague and hazy character. The ideas of primitive man have this in common with those of the lower classes of modern society, that they are constantly shifting in form and content, according to the circumstances; so it is often very difficult to say which is the original character of a supernatural being that manifests itself at one and the same time in very different forms, e. g. as a protecting spirit of the house (hustomt), but also as a chthonic being (underbyggarna), as a spirit of mountain, water, wood or field, as a dead ancestor, a dwarf or an elf 43). So not only a historical development, which confounded conceptions of quite different origin, may account for the bewildering complexity of popular belief, but even the vague nature of popular conceptions themselves. 4. The Corn-spirit and the spirits of the dead These considerations of a more general order will, as I hope, not be considered out of place; they will prove useful when we now again continue our survey of the different forms which the corn-spirit may invest. In the mind of primitive man there is a close connection between the fertility of the soil and the spirits of the dead ancestors that reside in the family ground. These are the real possessors of the field and consequently of all that is grown [20] upon it; they may be called in a rather summary way “the underground people", as we already have had the opportunity to observe in Scandinavian tradition; they may be represented as well by one single ancestor, who is regarded as the most distinguished of all, the founder of the family who first took possession of the soil and who remains the very owner of the family-property. He may be called “the Old One” or “the Grandfather” 44). Of course this mythical forefather is supposed to be kind and helpful ; if the new crop is the result of his tender care for the family, he intends to give it up to its living members. But he may expect a token of gratitude, a sacrifice intended to recall and reward his beneficial activity. The bundle of corn-balms left on the field might accordingly be considered as such an offering to the guardian-spirit of the soil. It has been a custom, known in Germany as well as in Finland 45), to sacrifice a part of the harvest when bringing it into the barn to the mice with the intention of keeping them from eating the grain. But a sacrifice to the dead has been practised too and sometimes it seems that the offering to the mice has a close relation with an original sacrifice to the dead. Among the Swedes in Finland the following information has been noted down: at the door of the barn the peasant throws some grains of corn across the left shoulder — a very characteristic act for entering into relation with the world of the dead 46). The influence of the cult of the dead ancestors upon the original agricultural rites has had very interesting consequences. The last sheaf which was not originally a sacrifice at all 47), was now considered to be such an offering. If at the same, time there existed the conception of a corn-spirit

embodied in the last sheaf and of the last sheaf as a sacrifice to a supernatural power the result must inevitably have been that there arose the new idea of its being an offering to the corn-spirit itself. This seems to [21] be the case when in Sweden the last blades of grass are left on the field not for the horses of Othin but for the gloson; now-a-days people even do not know to which power they make the sacrifice, which nevertheless is still strictly observed 48). At Yule-tide the dead ancestors are commemorated by different sacrifices; Yule is especially a feast of the dead. But very often the last sheaf plays a prominent part in it; in Sweden a corn-sheaf, often called “the old man of Yule” (Julgubben) is brought into the room and even twisted together so as to form the effigy of a man or a woman, elsewhere of a goat, a cock or other animal The close connection with the last sheaf brought to the farm in harvest time and these straw figures of the Yule festival is sometimes expressly stated: Celander who has given many examples of these remarkable customs 50), has been led to the conviction that in many respects the Yule feast had an agrarian significance. It must be granted that the last sheaf plays a prominent part on several occasions of the Yule festival: in the Scandinavian countries the floor was strewn with a thick layer of straw and a communication from Uppland adds that it was customary to use the first sheaf which had been threshed. Now the first sheaf to be threshed is of course the last sheaf which has been brought into the barn at the harvest. In this case this particular sheaf was possibly chosen as the bearer of the fertility power as Celander suggests 51). In connection with the custom, which forms the subject of this paper, it is interesting to be reminded of the practice, which is found in a part of Skâne, of setling down a Yule sheaf for Noens horse 52). There is still another curious instance to be mentioned. The Yule festal dish was a pig fattened during the autumn with special care. The bones were kept till the following spring and then together with the seed scattered on the [22] corn-field. The intention was to get an abundant crop. This was a custom in the Swedish province of Småland. Now in the Norwegian district of Setesdal the Yule goat was fattened by giving to it the goat-figure made of the last sheaf. By combining this information Celander ventures to draw the conclusion that here may have been originally a series of practices having the purpose of establishing a circulation of fertility-essence; the last sheaf contains the growing power of the harvest, by giving it to the goat it enters this animal, by mixing its bones with the seed it is. again restored to the soil. This is of course a purely hypothetical construction which Von Sydow has rightly judged unacceptable 53). It seems to me open to serious objection to combine a Norwegian and a Swedish custom which may be only local developments. Moreover the particular practice of Setesdal appears to be the result of the rather curious fact that the same animal that is eaten at the Yule feast is represented by the last sheaf. Still the fact, that the same custom is found in other parts of Norway as, well, makes it probable that it belongs to the long series of practices by which the corn-spirit is killed in full vigour in order to prevent it from becoming weaker and losing its magical forces during the winter-time 54). But these coincidences, however accidental and fortuitous, are still a remarkable proof for the constant interrelation between the practices at Yule-tide and the fertility rites. It has often been observed that the different customs of the Yule festival show the double character of a commemoration of the dead and a fertility ceremony 55). On the other hand when discussing agrarian rites relating to the harvest it must be borne in mind that the cult of the dead has exerted a strong influence upon them. The present form of popular rites and practices is always the result of a long development during which several influences have [23] been continually intermingling. So the same custom may have very different meanings 56). When people during Yule set aside food and drink for the supernatural powers, the idea of a sacrifice is obvious; still it makes a great difference whether it is given to the dead ancestors, to the “underbyggarna” or to the house spirit (hustomten), although even these mythical beings have many points in common. When the floor is thickly covered with fresh straw, this may be a way of adorning the room; at the same time it serves as a resting place for the family, the bedsteads being left to the spirits of the dead, who will be present during the Yule-nights. Finally if for

this straw the last sheaf is to be used the custom conveys still another idea: that of bringing the fertility power into the farm. If a custom that is practised now-a-days has still any significance, then it may be connected with very different conceptions in the minds of different people; it may even have several meanings at the same time in the mind of the same person 57). In Northern countries the corn-harvest is also the beginning of the winter, which holds sway during an interminable series of months. The field lies hidden under a thick covering of snow waiting for the coming of the new spring. The days of the winter-solstice are a period of utter darkness, but at the same time a turning-point of high importance. The forces of fertility will from this day onwards slowly awaken to new life and the thoughts of the peasant are constantly turning towards the crop of the coming year. Here is a meeting-point between the waning growing-power of the former year and the waxing one of the following. Now, by any small inadvertency, this essence of fertility, being in the weakest possible condition, may be lost altogether. Hence it is necessary to secure its continuation and it is only natural that the last sheaf, containing this very 'fertilizing power, plays a prominent part in the ceremonial festivals of this time. [24] But in these days the dead forefathers are commemorated. The reason of their being honoured especially at Yule-tide is not sufficiently clear; the influence of the Christian church may have caused considerable changes in the original state of things. At any rate, autumn seems to be very appropriate for a sacrifice to the dead. All kinds of spirits are then freely moving through the upper-world 57); the darkness and the storms are peopled with a host of mythical beings by the terrified imagination of man. Feasts of the dead and rites of fertility took place in the same months, occasionally even during the same weeks. A mutual influence was inevitable. As soon as the power of fertility had been developed into a personal being and on the other hand the dead ancestors were considered to be responsible for the fertility of the soil, it would be quite impossible to make any clear distinction between the two categories of mythical beings. The gradual change of the impersonal growing essence into a definite animal or human shape seems to me mainly due to the influence exerted by the conception of the relation between the dead ancestors and the fertility of the soil. So in a general way we may be convinced of a constant interrelation between both series of religious practices and representations. Are there, moreover, any special motives to account for their being so inextricably commingled? 5. The Wild Hunt and Othin The animal forms of the vegetation spirit are in many respects the same as those of the souls of the dead. So the dog, the horse, the hare, the pig are likewise known as belonging to the realm of death as well as to the mysterious powers of fertility. It is difficult to decide in which [25] connection each animal has originated. The pig, as the animal of astonishing fecundity seems exceedingly appropriate for the theriomorphic representation of the fertility spirit; on the other hand it may easily be brought into close connection with the inhabitants of the underworld because it likes to root in the ground with its snout. Why should it not be possible that it has been applied to two different religious conceptions from the very beginning? Of course it must be borne in mind that the intimate relations between the religious representations of the powers of fertility and the spirits of the dead belong to the very essence of these notions. But they are so very complicated that they have, each separately, their domain as well. The idea of the last sheaf as the residence of the growing power of the corn-field has nothing to do with spirits of the dead; so the Wild Hunt has no connection whatever with agricultural practices. Still during the long ages of development even in such originally widely separated domains, mutual influences have been at work and these influences were not only the result of similitudes in the religious attitude towards the powers of death and of fertility, but even of fortuitous and superficial points of contact. The ideas of the Wild Hunt are a case in point. In large parts of the Germanic world we meet with the

belief in a ferocious spirit riding about during the stormy nights of autumn and winter. In the southern parts of Germany, as well as on the borders of the Lower Rhine and in Thuringia people believe that a host of raging spirits (das Wütende Heer) is sweeping along in the gales; these spirits are commonly considered to be damned souls, who must restlessly wander till the Day of Judgment. But we find also another conception: a spectral huntsman is careering along on his horse, pursuing a naked female whom he finally catches and throws in front of him across the back of his steed. This is the popular belief in the-plains [26] of Northern Germany and in the Scandinavian countries, but it is deeply rooted also in England and in Northern France 58). A treatment of this belief in its details lies beyond the scope of this paper; moreover we have an excellent monograph on the subject by Axel Olrik in Dania. VIII entitled “Odinsjægeren i Jylland”. In contiguous and even partly overlapping regions of the Scandinavian territory where the custom of sacrificing the last sheaf or bundle of grass 'to the horse of Othin is known, the Wild Huntsman is identified with the same god. And we are justified in concluding that in both cases the name of Othin has been introduced into a mythical conception which originally perhaps had nothing to do with this heathen deity. Still it seems natural that Othin was not brought into connection with these spheres of religious belief quite independently; it is more likely that he has first been adopted in one of them and afterwards transferred to the other. Which of them has to be considered as the first stage of this development, does not seem difficult to say. The close connection of Othin and his horse makes it clear that it is as Lord of the Dead he started on this new career. This is too the opinion of Olrik, who says on p. 162 of the above mentioned paper, that the transition of the Wild Huntsman to a deity, a supernatural being of a friendly character, is very abrupt and fanciful, neither is it the logical result of the original animistic belief, nor does it belong to the same development as the local traditions. The Wild Huntsman shows the tendency to grow into a god of the cattle, a god of the corn or a god of the homestead 59). There is then, besides the problem of the relation between Othin and modern agricultural practices, still another question: the connection between the leader of the Wild Hunt in popular belief and the heathen divinity. It is again Axel Olrik who has formulated this problem with his [27] usual acumen. The Wild Huntsman is named Othin only in a very limited territory, especially in Southern Sweden and the Juttish peninsula; we may perhaps add Westphalia, where we find the names as Woenjäger, Hodenjäger and Bodenjäger, furthermore the coast of the North Sea, where he is called Woiinjäger, and Holstein with the name of the Wohljäger. But besides these regions we find him called simply the Wild Huntsman, “Der Wilde Jäger”. Have we to consider these last regions as having forgotten his original divine name, or must we suppose on the other hand that we find here the primitive conception of a nameless spirit which has afterwards developed into a personal god and has been confounded with Otbin? Olrik does not venture to come to a conclusion before entering upon a more elaborate investigation of the various forms of this popular belief; still it seems necessary to me to make at any rate some observations of a more theoretical character and to come to a provisional conclusion, although the attempt is not likely to yield an entirely satisfactory result. The choice must be made not between two, but between three possibilities: for we have not only a Wild Huntsman with no name whatever and a god Othin, but we have also this same mythical being with a name that, although bearing some resemblance with that of the pagan deity, still shows signs of a more original form and of a higher antiquity. Just as the last sheaf is sacrificed not only to the horse of Othin, but also to a demon Wode, Wold, Waul, so the Wild Huntsman is called in one region Un or Wåjen, in another Woejäger, or Wohljäger. I do not agree with Olrik that these latter names should be explained as later modifications of an original name Wodan. At any rate we have to consider the striking fact that the corn-spirit too has the same shorter names which may be after all a more original form than the divine name Wodan 60). [28] It is indeed hard to say of how many different religious conceptions the present popular superstitions

about the Wild Hunt are the result. When we say that during the storms of winter the damned souls are racing along through the sky, we give by such a sentence the result of a historical development in which at least three different layers may be distinguished. The most primitive is the effect of natural phenomena upon human mind; the roaring and whistling of a furious storm, dashing through the trees of the forest or sweeping across the farm-yard, makes man shudder with the impression of frightful supernatural forces. The weird cries of birds of passage flying through the sky in the dark of the night can make a deep impression upon the imagination. The Danish folklorist Feilberg has had the following experience in the neighbourhood of Odense 61): as he once came home in the evening, he heard just at the moment of opening the house-door, a buzzing noise far away but rapidly approaching. Presently the barking and howling of dogs was heard and when it was right over him it seemed as if all the dogs of Odense were engaged in a most desperate fight. Feilberg, however, was a clear-minded young man; he at once remembered the traditions of the Wild Hunter who sweeps along with his dogs through the sky and the next day he asked his teacher what kind of migratory birds he might have heard 62). Primitive man, naturally, was only struck with awe by such a strange phenomenon. The idea of spirits moving invisibly through the sky lay near at hand as an explanation of such terrifying cries and noises; at all events they could not be explained otherwise than as a manifestation of living beings. These spirits may have been considered simply as the representations of natural phenomena such as the stormwind, the roaring forest, in a human form, or else as mortal souls freed from the [29] body by death. The fact that the furious storms are much more frequent in autumn and winter and that the long dark winter nights are especially favourable for such conceptions coming into being, and that the birds of passage are going southwards during this part of the year, may account for the belief that the spirits of the dead are hovering about at this same time and are then particularly dangerous. Modern superstition regards them as damned souls; here we meet the third, the Christian layer. According to Christian belief these souls obviously have this dreadful fate as a punishment for actions by which they transgressed the divine laws 63). But the germ of this conception certainly lies already in heathen times, when the dead ancestors were supposed to reside in the burial mound of the family, while those, feared by man for their cruelty, their witchcraft or other uncommon mental qualities, might leave their graves to worry the living. Especially those who had fallen in battle and whose corpses were left to the wolf and the raven, could find no rest after death; they formed an army of spirits continuously fighting on with the fury of their supreme battle. The Old Norse traditions about the battle of the Hjaðningar as well as the religious conceptions of the einherjar, are offsprings of this same root. But the South Scandinavian tradition does not know the conception of a raging host of spirits (das wütende Heer), but of a Wild Huntsman. So here the idea of Othin as the lord of the warriors fallen in battle probably does not lie at the bottom of this superstition. The Wild Huntsman is not necessarily a lonely wanderer through the darkness for he may be followed by a train of other huntsmen, just like any real hunting-party; and so both notions are imperceptably flowing into each other. The Aasgaardsrei or in a more phonetic form, the Oskorei, of Norwegian folklore seems to me more like a spiritual host than a Wild Hunt. But in Danish tradition the idea of a [30] solitary huntsman prevails, pursuing the female spirits of the forest. And it is as “Odinsjægeren” that he constantly appears to the Juttish peasants. The ties that bind this figure of lower mythology with the heathen god Othin, seem to me rather weak. 6. The meaning of the word Wöd Besides the name of Othin which lingered on in popular tradition we find a shorter form Wöde or Wöd. If we reject the opinion that it is only a defective form of Wödan, worn out during so many ages, we are necessarily driven to the conclusion that Wöde is the more original, Wödan the more developed

form. A bit of etymology may elucidate the real character of the relation between these two words. In great parts of Germany people speak of “Das wütende Heer". The leader of this host of spirits must be inspired especially by this fury or “Wut”. He is the furious one in the most absolute sense. The connection between this “Wut” and the racial element of the name Wöde and Wödan is of great importance and to determine it we must study the exact meaning of these words. The proper meaning of the word Wut is, as far as the extant documents are concerned, exclusively that of a high mental excitement. The Gothic translation of the Gospel uses the word woþs in the story of the possessed man cured by Jesus (St. Mark. V, 15 and 18); here it renders the Greek words daimonizomenos and daimonistheis. The Old German translation of Tatian has for the Latin words: demonium habet et insanit the translation “er habet diuual inti vvuotit” 64). Mental derangement is the common idea this word conveys. Isidor renders the sentence Quod ita existimare magnae dementiae est with “dhazs so zi chilaubanne mihhil uuootnissa [31] ist.” As a translation of freneticus, furiosus, lyphaticus 65) it does not mean a violent movement, a rushing onward in blind fury, but the being possessed by a spiritual force, being in the state of a daimonios. The Old Norse language has three different words óðr: n. a noun meaning “intellect” or “poetic genius”, 2. an adjective “raging, furious, terrible”, 3. a proper name Óðr as the name of a god. The adjective is used in many cases, where the meaning is only “furious, in a highly excited movement”, as when the storm, the sea or the fire are called óðr. The adverb ótt often means simply “quick, swift”. In str. 43 of Atlakviða we read the words: óvarr hafðe Atle óðan sik drukkit; óðr is here the mental state of drunkenness, which, however, according to the heathen conceptions, in many cases does not simply mean a kind of bewilderment, but the being possessed by a divine force. The noun óðr clearly has the same meaning. Its use as a word for the poetic genius is very significant; this is always considered as the result of the spiritual force entering the human mind 66). In the myth of man's creation, as it is told in the Völuspá, we read: önd gaf Óðenn, óð gaf Hœnir (St. 18); usually rendered as “Othin gave breath, Hœnir intellect” and this is certainly substantially correct. But óðr is not the sedate use of one's mental qualities as distinguishing it from animal 67); it is a god who inspired the first man and accordingly it is the same divine spirit,, that manifests itself most perfectly in a state of high excitement 68). For the poet of the Völuspa the gift of this god is not common sense but the ecstatic state of mind when by the inspiration of a god, man sees visions, creates poetry and grasps new ideas. 7. Óðr and Óðinn The third meaning of the Old Norse óðr is the name a god. Here we are placed before a double problem: [32] what is the relation between this Óðr and the Wöde of popular lore, what between Óðr and Óðinn? The question is a difficult one, because the original meaning of Óðr does not become clear from extant literary tradition. In the Snorra Edda (c. .34) it is told that Freyja was married to Óðr and that their daughter was Hnoss (= jewel). But Óðr went away on a far journey and Freyja wept golden tears. Under many different names she travelled from people to people in search of her husband who had disappeared. This myth is alluded to in a skaldic verse of about 1020, Skuli þorsteinsson using the kenning Freyju tör for gold 69). And more than a century later Einarr Skulason calls gold augna regn Óðs bevinu 70). If Snorri's myth of the wandering Óðr is more than a mere conclusion from this kenning of Einarr Skulason which he quotes in his chapter on the kenningar for gold 71), then it has a very singular resemblance with a myth of Othin who too is said to have been absent from his home for a long time. But his wife Frigg was not faithful to him, according to the account in the Ynglingasaga and in the first book of Saxo Grammaticus. If the only myth which is told of Óðr is found also among the many traditions about Othin, then we may ask if the relation between Óðr and Freyja is not of the same nature as that between Othin and Frigg. Now these female deities are difficult to distinguish from one another; both names, alliterating with each other, are appellatives, one meaning “the mistress”, the other “the beloved one”. Frigg is

known all over the Teutonic world, as is proved already by the name of the Friday; Freyja however is particularly Scandinavian and the name is obviously formed after the example of Freyr; most scholars hold her to be the same deity as the Nerthus about whom Tacitus speaks in his Germania. The scanty information we possess admits of many explanations, because if Freyja is a later form of Nerthus, [33] she is also an offshoot of Frigg. The occidental Germanic tribes in the first centuries of our era knew both Frigg (here called Frija) and Nerthus (or at least a goddess corresponding with this deity); may we conclude that they are originally the same goddess? As Friday is a translation of dies Veneris, we may assume that the divinity whose name has the meaning “the beloved one” was a goddess of love. More than ten centuries later the poet of the Lokasenna says of her: þú hefir vergiörn verit. But this conception is not incompatible with the character of Nerthus who as a goddess of the fertilizing powers in the earth might be considered as giving fertility to mankind also. As a chthonic force she was considered with awe and might be called Freyja, just as Persephone had the name Despoina. And Frija or Frigg might be a kind of noa-name used to avert the danger which the invocation of this terrible goddess might produce. The connection of the goddess Frija of the continental Germans with the fertility of the soil and the agricultural rites seems moreover to be proved by the fact that Friday is still considered to he a propitious day for the sowing 72). 8. Some observations on the names of Othin and of other Scandinavian deities It seems to me that we are entitled to consider Óðr and Óðinn as two different forms of the same divine power. As Óðr can only be glimpsed very vaguely in the background of the heathen pantheon and as Othin on the contrary is seen in his full vigour and glory, it is obvious that the latter deity is a later and more developed specimen of the former. Even the name points in this same direction; compared with the short form Óðr, the name Óðinn is a derivative. [34] Nouns in -ina, -ana are rather rare in the Germanic languages; they belong to an early stratum of derivations and are used to denote persons of high rank or condition. The Gothic word þiudans is the same as O. E. ðeoden, O. N. þjóðann and means “the king, as the chief of the þiuda or the people”. O. E. dryhten, O. N. dróttinn is “the leader of the host, the comitatus". Gothic kindins used to translate “hègemon” originally denotes the chief of the *kind or clan (cf. Latin gens). To the same group of words belong the Burgundian title hendinos for the king and the word thunginus in the Lex Salica, meaning “centenarius”. As these words occur in all three groups of the Teutonic languages we may surmise that they are of the highest antiquity; the formation with this suffix itself reaches back into the Indo-European period as is proved by such words as Skr. karana, janana, Gr. koiranos and Lat. dominus, tribunus, patronus 73). The name Óðbinn, Wuotan, in its Old Germanic form * Woþanaz denotes this divine power as a being in anthropomorphic form, moreover as a manlike being of high rank and power. The shorter word Óðr, Wod(e) does not convey this same meaning; its older form *Woþuz, which is found in the proper name Woþuriþe on the runic stone of Tune, shows its derivation by means of the Indo-European suffix -tu, which usually forms abstract nouns made from verbal roots, in some instances however also nomina agentis, such as Gothic hliftus “thief” belonging to hlifan “to steal” or Old Norse smiðr from the verbal root *smi-, *smi- 74). So etymological evidence makes it possible that the name Óðr means “the fury” as well as “the furious one”. The Old Norse pantheon has more instances of gods with names in -ina, —ana 75). So Óðinn is called þjóðann as the supreme chief of the people (or perhaps as the king of the gods) or Herjan which is related to the [35] Gothic word harjis and accordingly has the meaning of “the leader of the host”. The comparison with the Gr. koiranos makes the formation of this word particularly clear. Perhaps we may add the name Leudanus, used as a surname of Mercury on a Latin inscription (CIL XIII 7859) as it has been suggested by Marstrander 76), who connects this word with O. N. lýðr, 0. H. G. liut “people''.

The female form of this suffix would be -ano, which we find in the names of some female deities mentioned by classical authors, such as Tanfana and Hludana (with a latinized ending -ana for original ano). These names, however, are despairingly obscure. Marstrander tries to explain the former as a mistake for *tafnana, which might be brought into connection with Old Teutonic *tafna-'“sacrificial animal, sacrifice” (cf. O. N. tafn). No more satisfactory is the explanation of Hludana which may be derived from a Germanic *hluþa, “of unknown origin”, as Marstrander avows. So he does not venture to connect it with the word *hluþa, *hluða to be found in proper names such as Chlotharius, Chiodavichus, as has been done already by Müllcnhoff 77), nor does he accept an identification with the Old Norse Hlóðyn as has been proposed by several scholars 78), although the forms of the two words do not fully agree. Of more importance are the following names of Old Norse tradition. The study of place names, which is carried to a high perfection by Magnus Olsen 79), has led to the result that people used divine names which do not occur in our literary sources and formed in the same way with the suffix -inn. Magnus Olsen has discovered the otherwise unknown divinities Fillinn and Ullinn. Fillinn is the protector of the field and the word goes back to an older form *Felþanaz. Ullinn, according to the evidence given by the place names, stands in close connection with this god of the cultivated earth ; it corresponds with the [36] name, well known from Eddic mythology, Ullr, developed from an original form *Wulþuz. Here we have the same relation between the names Ullr and Ullinn, as between Óðr and Óðinn, the shorter forms are Ullr and Óðr, both stems in -þu; the longer ones are Ullinn and Óðinn, both derived by means of the suffix -ana 8o). The name Ullr corresponds with the Gothic wulþus, an abstract noun meaning “glory, magnificence", and it is often explained as “god of the brilliant heaven” 81); so it may have had as its original meaning “a divine person, whose activity consists in cosmical brilliancy”. Finally the same word-formation is found in the name Nerthus which Tacitus in his Germania mentions as a female deity of fertility. Nerthus, the Old Norse Njörðr, is consequently derived from a root *nerwhich may have had the meaning “force, vigour", 82). If the formation with the suffix -þu has in this case the same meaning as in Óðr and Ullr, then Nerthus might be “the divinity who gives this fertilizing power”. If we take into account that this root ner- is used as a word for “man” (Skr. nara, Gr. anèr), then it seems probable that the original meaning was “virile power, especially in the sense of procreative power”. We find quite the same idea in the Latin word Nerio Martis which means “the virile force of Mars” and as this god originally was a deity of fertility, this nerio may distinquish him not as the valiant warrior, but as the god of procreation. The Scandinavian peoples venerated a male god Njörðr, which is according to the soundlaws the same word as Nerthus and it agrees quite well with the original significance of the root *ner- that he was a god, not a goddess. Usually scholars consider him to be a later form of the female divinity mentioned by Tacitus, the reason of the changing of sex being the fact, that stems in -u most commonly had a masculine gender 83). I think it altogether [37] improbable that a deity should have changed its sex only because the form of the word could favour such a change and I am inclined, on the contrary, to suppose, that this deity Njörðr has been from the very outset a male god; what must be explained is not the male gender of Njörðr but the female sex of Nerthus. It seems to me quite possible that Tacitus has misunderstood the exact meaning of the rite he heard something about and which he himself never saw practised. He identifies this goddess with Terra Mater and indeed the cult with the cart drawn by cows and the bathing of the divine image in a river or a lake is the same for both the Roman and the German goddess. The conformity may indeed have been strong; still it is possible that Tacitus has lent some details from the Roman cult to the German one. Then Nerthus may have been a male deity whose cult was celebrated by solemnities of which a female divinity had her share too; if this goddess was the Earth, then a name as f. i. *Erþö could very easily have been confused with the name *Neru- of her male counterpart, who in consequence was considered as a female divinity by the informants of Tacitus 84).

But I will not insist upon this side of the problem. For my purpose it is enough to point out the existence of a god Nerthus or Njörðr whose name is formed in quite the same way as Óðr and Ullr. If there had existed a longer name of this god, just as Óðinn corresponds to Óðr and Ullinn to Ulir, then we might expect a word *Nerþanaz which would have been in Old Norse * Nirðinn. This name, however, is unknown; but there is the name of a female deity which seems to belong to this same group of words. The skalds use in the kennings for “woman” sometimes the name Njörun which presupposes an older form *Neranö, a form related to the root * ner- (or even neru-) in the same way as the masculine word Ullinn to [38] *wulþu-. Then Njorun is derived from the originally shorter form *neruand it is quite probable that it is a name for the earthgoddess; we may even add: here we possibly have the Scandinavian form of the goddess that Tacitus compared with the Terra Mater 85). I wish to leave this dangerous province of mythological etymology and return to a more solid basis. The importance of the names Óðr, Ullr and Njorðr with regard to their form seems to me not fully appreciated by scholars of Teutonic mythology. The correspondence between them in having the same suffix -tu can not be fortuitous; on the contrary it is a strong proof in favour of the opinion that these three divine names belong together and that the divinities, who bear these names, were of the same kind in their relation to man. It is here not the place to discuss, the startling fact, that these divinities have names of such an abstract character; it will now be sufficient to consider the formation with the suffix –þu and the interrelation between the names Oðr, Ullr and Njörðr as a proof of the high antiquity of the figure of Oðr and as the formation of Oðinn belongs to a period which lies before the historical times as well, I see no reason why this god should have been a later development in the Old Norse religious system. 9. The myth of the temporal disappearance of Othin After this rather long but indispensable digression I wish to return to the subject of this paper: the relation between the Wodan-like deity of popular lore and the heathen god. We have found the belief in a demoniac leader of the Wild Hunt who in the Western part of Denmark is usually called by the name of Othin and on the other hand we have met with a demon of fertility, to whom offerings were made at harvest-time and who is named [39] after Othin in the Eastern part of Denmark and in the Southern districts of Sweden. So we have to distinguish between two different conceptions of the god Othin in popular tradition: between a god of the dead and a god of fertility. Of course we might solve this question in a very easy way by referring to the well established fact that a god of the underworld in many religions is at the same time connected with the fertilizing powers of the soil; we might even consider the horse, to whom the Swedish peasant sacrifices the last sheaf, as a typical form of the infernal spirits 86), but it seems to me that this is not the right way to arrive at a clear understanding of the original belief. We want to know why in one part of Scandinavia Othin has been especially a god of the restless dead and in another part a god of fertility. So we are obliged to enter again upon a discussion of the original character of the old Teutonic god Wodan. The discussion of the names Óðr and Óðinn has led us to the conclusion that both words are used for the same divine power although at different stages of its religious development, Óðr being certainly the older form. The identity of these divinities was furthermore proved by their relation to a curious myth according to which they had disappeared for a certain period. Gustav Neckel has said in his interesting book on Balder that the prototype of the weeping Frigg is the moaning Ishtar; although I can not accept Neckels view of the character of the resemblance between the Scandinavian and the Babylonian goddesses, I fully agree with him as to the fact that we have in both cases before us the same religious phenomenon. According to the Völuspá, Frigg weeps about the death of her son Balder and this is a myth which may be compared with those of Ishtar and Tamuz, Isis and Osiris, Aphrodite and Adonis, Cybele and Attis; it belongs to the wide-spread rites of vegetation-divinities. To these same notions we may [40] reckon the myth of the weeping Frigg in search of her beloved Óðr; consequently Óðr is at all

events according to the meaning of this myth a god of fertility who represents the vegetation which during winter disappears from earth 87). A similar story is told about Othin. He too disappeared for some time; the reason of his going away is however not sufficiently clear. The Ynglingasaga c. 3 says that he was in the habitude of travelling about and once having been from home during a very long period, his brothers appropriated his goods and at the same time his wife Frigg. When Othin returned he entered again into the possession of both. This tale is extremely vague: Snorri himself seems not to have understood the meaning of it. In the Danish history of Saxo Grammaticus the myth of Othin's disappearance is told twice; in the first book of the Gesta Danorum, Othinus goes away because his wife Frigga has been unfaithful and another divinity, called Mithotyn, takes his place. The other story is much more interesting, because it is connected with the death of Balder and Othin's wooing of Rinda to beget an avenger for him. Then Saxo continues in his third book the story of Othinus with his expulsion by the gods, on account of his infamous conduct. The god Ollerus was put in his place and reigned during a period of ten years, bearing however also the name of Othinus; but then he was in his turn driven away by the right Othinus and forced to take refuge in Sweden where be was soon afterwards killed by the Danes. Without being aware of it, Saxo has inserted in his history two variants of the same myth, the meaning of which obviously is the disappearing of the vegetation in winter and its reappearing in spring. The figure of Othin is divided into two different divinities: an aestival god who freely reigns in heaven and a [41] winter-Othin who comes in stead of the former one. Saxo says in his second story that the substitute god, although being in fact Ollerus, was also called Othinus. So in reality he was Ollerus, the same as the Old Norse Ullr; perhaps this is a fortuitous combination of Saxo himself; if this is not the case, however, it seems hard to account for the conception that a god, whose name means “brilliancy, glory” should be the representative of the barrenness of winter. He is called Mithotyn in the first variant, a name which may be explained as a bungled rendering of the Old Norse in jötuðr, a word meaning “lord, ruler” but also “fate, death”; this name also does not carry us any farther. These curious tales, the mythological value of which is rather doubtful, as Saxo Grammaticus is inaccurate in his renderings of the traditions he has collected, bring us to the very core of the difficulties. For if it may be supposed that they reveal the character of Othin as a god of vegetation, there seems to be a contradiction in his name, as it means "the furious one" or "the god who gives mental excitement". There are in this case at least three different spheres of activity to which Othin is bound, one of agricultural rites, another as god of the dead and a third as the bestower of intellectual qualities. As the name Wodan was already used in the tracts of the Lower Rhine during the first centuries of our era, as is proved by the name of Wednesday, we are forced to the rather startling conclusion, that in those very early times his character as the furious one was clearly predominating. 10. Othin as a God of the Dead The only way to know something about the real nature of the god Wodan in the Roman period is by his identification with Mercury. As a rule scholars are prone to regard it with some distrust and to explain it by assu-[42]ming that there has been some resemblance between these gods as to their attributes, Othin with his broad-brimmed hat resembling the classic god with his petasos. Now it was the Romans who made the comparison and they had certainly no opportunity to compare Germanic idols with the sumptuous statues of their gods, as according to Tacitus no images were to be seen in the Germanic fanes. So it is altogether improbable that the identification of Othin and Mercury has come about in this way. The Romans were excellent observers and in this case too they hit the mark, which is proved sufficiently by the fact that the conception of Mercury 88) in many respects has a very close affinity with that of Othin. Both are gods of the dead, leading the crowds of spirits, both wander restlessly through the world, Mercury as the protector of merchants and travellers, Othin as the visitor of his elected heroes; both are

gods of magic craft, both are the inventors of the arts of writing and of poetry. There seems then to be reason enough for an identification of these deities and I think we may venture to conclude that these similarities, at any rate most of them, existed in the period when the Romans made acquaintance with the Germanic tribes. And so I quite agree with H. M. Chadwick who says 89), that the identification of Wodan and Mercury would be inexplicable unless the higher idea of the god's character was already to some extent developed. So the earliest attainable form of Wödan is that of a god of the dead having his abode in the realms of the underworld. By his relations with the secret powers of the earth he is in possession of the great mysteries of the fructifying and vivifying powers; he knows the secret of life which is entrusted to the Lord of Death; he is the inventor of magic arts 90) including those of poetry and of writing, both intimately connected with these religious [43] conceptions. Here at the very dawn of history we find a god whose character is already very complicated, who in fact may have shown the three different religious conceptions, which we have enumerated above 91). Are we justified in applying these conclusions to the Scandinavian Othin? This god known to us from sources that are nearly a thousand years later may show a quite different character. In fact he does, for if the connection with rites of fertility is hardly visible, he has become the supreme lord of battle, which the German Wödan certainly was not, as the god of war whose name the Romans rendered by Mars has been identical with the Scandinavian Týr. This must be the result of a later development during the long ages of warfare which are commonly called by the name of the Migration of Peoples 92). The paramount importance of the chieftains and their warriors raised the god of the dead to the divine protector of the heroes and made him the glorious king of the heavenly Walhalla, in stead of the gloomy ruler of a subterranean cave of death 93). II. The place of Othin in the Scandinavian religion There is a strong tendency among modern scholars to consider the Old-Norse Othin as a divinity of a rather late date and even of a foreign origin. His worship is supposed to have started among the tribes of the Lower Rhine and in the first centuries of our era to have been adopted by other Teutonic peoples as well, till at last he had culminated into the supreme god of the Icelandic mythology 94). This view was first developed by the Danish scholar Henry Petersen, who adduced a mass of evidence which did not fail to make a profound impression upon the learned world, scholars being particularly inclined to [44] any hypothesis which attacked the originality of heathen deities. New facts were adduced in course of time and so gradually a common opinion began to prevail of the foreign and even rather late origin of Othin in the Scandinavian mythology. It is an incontestable fact that there are abundant proofs of the worship of Wödan among the continental Teutons 95). But, of course, his being venerated in Germany does not exclude his worship in Scandinavia. Now the evidence of his being more a continental than a Scandinavian deity seemed to be corroborated by some singular facts which could be explained as indications of the rather small importance of Othin in the original religion of the Northern peoples. The study of the place-names containing the name of a heathen god, has led to the result that the name of Othin is very seldom found in topographical names of Western Scandinavia. The Icelandic tradition is remarkably bare of any indication of an actual worship of him. More evidence has come forth with regard to Sweden and Denmark; Adam of Bremen tells us that in the famous temple of Upsala a statue of Othin was erected and the sanctuary of Odense (= Oðinsvé) proves by its name the worship of this god in the Danish islands. Even as a god of runic art which is so remarkable a characteristic of the Old-Norse Othin, he seems to have been an usurper of the fame which belonged properly to other deities. On the bracteates we often find a couple of runes which according to Sophus Bugge possibly denote the old war-god Týr 96), but

we never meet with the name of Othin. Even in the runic inscriptions on tombstones the name of Othin is never found whilst that of Thór occurs in a couple of these monuments 97). We seem to be justified in surmising that the cult of Othin has come from the South, establishing itself firmly in Denmark and being readily accepted by the Swedes [45] who, however, worshipped as their chief god Freyr. The German scholar F. R. Schröder 98) is of opinion that the cult of Othin has spread to the North in connection with the art of runic writing and he thinks that it was the people of the Herules who carried this current of civilisation to the North 99). Karl Helm goes even so far as to say 1oo) that the principal gods of the Scandinavians viz. Týr, Thór, Othin and the Vanir have all been introduced into the pantheon of the Northern peoples as a result of cultural influences from different parts of Europe. But religious conceptions and the cult of gods do not travel so easily as coins, utensils and ornaments 101). What conclusive force have the arguments produced in favour of this hypothesis that Othin is a late intruder upon the domain of the Scandinavian religion or at any rate that a great many of his most interesting qualities are a later accretion as the result of foreign influence? I am of course quite prepared to admit that the importance of Othin in the Scandinavian pantheon increased in the course of so many ages and that he may have been a rather obscure god in the beginning. Some scholars have put forth the view that it was only the development of Othin to the chief god of the Old-Norse pantheon, with his extraordinary mental and spiritual qualities, that should be attributed to this foreign influence. But then this more primitive Scandinavian god must have borne the same name Óðr or Óðinn, for if he had not, it would be impossible for us to arrive at any idea about his original significance. A god who misses the most characteristic qualities of Othin and who has not even his name, is a conception too vague to lend itself to discussion. If, however, this more primitive deity has already been called Óðr (or perhaps Othin) then we may be fairly sure that one of his prominent characteristics was the fury or mental excitement, which is intimately connected with his [46] intellectual quality as shown by the Old-Norse traditions 102). So, though his importance in the religious representations of the Viking Age or in the mythological speculations may have increased considerably, yet his character was, as far back as we can show, the same, and his later complicated figure was the result of a natural development from this original conception. To account for the remarkable fact that there are so very few place-names and even personal names containing the name of Othin, I wish to draw the attention to a side of this divinity which I have not yet mentioned. The oath which had to be taken before entering a law-suit at the Icelandic allthing was pronounced in the name of Freyr, Njord and “hinn allmátki Ass” 103). To the question which god is meant by this circumlocution, the answer is generally that it is Thor, because he is invoked whenever a private or public ceremony is celebrated. It is, however, more probable that it is Othin. Generally oaths are placed under the awful protection of the Lord of Death 104); for such a solemn affirmation usually has the form of a self-curse, by which the oath-taker gives himself into the power of the god of the dead should he be a perjurer. Moreover at the great sacrifices in Norway three cups were drunk in honour of three different gods viz. Othin as the first and then Njord and Freyr 105). This in my opinion tends to prove that the allmighty Áss of the oath is no other than Othin. Why should the genial protector of mankind, Thor, if he were meant in this formula, be invoked as though it were dangerous to pronounce his real name? This fear on the other hand is very natural with regard to Othin. Then the oath formula proves the great importance of Othin in the social institutions of the Scandinavians. A remarkable feature is the fear to use his name; this can account for the almost total absence of proper names containing it as [47] one of the elements. But then we may ask: is the Áss, occurring in numerous names, as Ásvaldr, Ásgeirr, Ásbjçrn, Ásmundr etc. not really the same as Othin, who in this disguise may enter into proper-names 106)? Othin is the principal Áss. In the curious magical stanza, which Egill pronounces when laying his curse upon the Norwegian king Eiríkr, he invokes besides Freyr and Njörðr the landáss, who in the light of

what we have said above can be none other than Othin. If this be the case then we may expect to learn something more about his original character, when we know what is meant by the word áss. In the mythological poetry of the Viking Age it is a name for the gods in general — sometimes Freyr and Njord however are treated separately as Vanir. But this was not the original meaning of the name. An Icelandic saga tells about a man who is venerated after his death as Bárðr Snæfellsáss; surely here the word means something more simple and primitive: i. e. the dead ancestor who has become an object of veneration. This is, moreover, corroborated by the belief of the Goths, which Jordanes 107) mentions: “Gothi proceres suos quorum quasi fortuna vincebant, non puros homines, sed semideos id est Ansis vocaverunt” 1o8). Godlike beings, not yet gods, that was the' original meaning and the etymology which connects the word áss or óss, in its older Scandinavian form *ansuR with the same root as Lat. anima, Gr. anemos, Skr. aniti, Goth usanan, strengthens this conclusion. 12. Conceptions of the spirits of the dead So áas surely means the spirit of a dead man but at the same time as an object of veneration 109). It is not those miserable ghosts roaming about restlessly in the wailing storms of the winter, but the protector and benefactor of [48] the family who is buried in the neighbourhood of the dwelling, which the descendants continue to inhabit. In the course of many generations he gathers here the deceased members of his clan and in a wider scope the glorious chieftain of a tribe becomes after his death the venerated protector of the people, such as the king Oláfr Geirstaðaálfr according to the Norwegian tradition 110). This is one side of the relation between the living and the dead; the other is that of awe and fear. Othin as the lord of Walhall is the god of the dead warriors who have fallen on the battlefield and are assembled in a subterranean cave where they are often supposed to continue their fierce struggle. Still Walhall seems to me a specialized form of a more general conception: the Germanic peoples knew a realm of death, which they called hell, whither all people were believed to descend after death. Here again, as we find so often in the religious beliefs of primitive as well as of civilized peoples, different conceptions, which seem to exclude one another, are current at the same time. The dead are gathered in a common underworld, the warriors fallen in battle dwell in a cave or a mountain in the neighbourhood of the battlefield, the members of the family live on in their grave-mound, drowned men go down to the bottom of the sea. The conception of the god of death may be coloured by these various beliefs; he is at the same time the ruler of the underworld, the deified ancestor of the clan, the ghostly leader of the wandering spirits. Besides these conceptions, there lingered on into the last days of heathendom other beliefs of an even more primitive nature. The spirits of the dead manifest themselves also in the shape of animals; so we hear about the eagle Hræsvelgr, and the infernal dog Garmr, about ravens and wolves as particularly connected with Othin and of very great importance: the horse. Modern popular belief [49] still knows a great deal about the hell-horse; in heathen times the horse of Othin played a prominent part in the myths of this deity. If it may be accepted as a general rule that theriomorphic divinities are older than anthropomorphic gods and that the latter in many instances are developed from the former than we could infer that the conception of Othin with his horse was a later form of the much more primitive idea of a death-spirit in the shape of a horse 111). Still this view 112) is in my opinion not in accordance with the facts and only the result of the adaptation of general principles of comparative religion to the facts of the mythological traditions of the Teutonic peoples; I think it much more probable that the conceptions of the horse of death and of an anthropomorphic death-spirit have existed at the same time and naturally in the course of many ages have been combined. In my opinion the character of Othin is much too complicated to exhaust its meaning by the simple

formula of an original death-spirit; there are some peculiar facts in the traditions about him which point rather in the direction of a divine creator of the universe, a conception we meet with in several primitive religions. But as this belongs to quite a different order of things from that I am discussing in this paper, I will limit myself to this provisional remark, the more so as I hope to treat of this question elsewhere at full length. 13. The relation between Wöd and Othin I have now paved the way for a discussion of the relation between the pagan god Othin and his namesake in modern popular traditions. The god Othin, in his older form Óðr, is of so high an antiquity, that it is altogether impossible to arrive at a period within the limits of his-[50]tory, when he did not exist. Especially in Denmark we have no reason whatever to assume that in the beginning of our era his cult was either unknown or hardly developed and that it first came to a noteworthy development through the influence of tribes along the Lower Rhine. I agree with Chadwick who makes the following statement 113): “Moreover we can hardly doubt that Woden, the god who gives victory and treasure and who rewards his votaries with a future life spent in fighting and feasting, was the deity par excellence of the Migration period; especially among the Angli whose princes claimed to he descended from him”. If, however, in the fourth and fifth centuries the Germanic tribes who invaded Great Britain already venerated Wodan in such a highly developed form, the continental stock in Jutland whence they started must have known him as no less a complicated deity. So we are obliged to conclude that since highest antiquity the Germanic peoples have known the idea of a corn-spirit, to which the last sheaf was dedicated, as well as the conception of the god Othin. But we may safely contend that they belong to two different spheres of religious representations and that in the case of the harvest-sacrifice the figure of Wodan or Othin is of a relatively late origin. Neither as lord of the dead spirits in their ghostly form of the Wild Hunt, nor as a god of fertility, does Othin belong to the agrarian customs of the last sheaf. The way, however, in which the connection of this divinity with these rites has come about is not clear and many possibilities may be taken into consideration, the more so, because we do not know when the connection took place. It may have been already in heathen times, it may also have been after the coming of Christianity and as the result of the unfavourable conception of Othin as an infernal demon. [51] So if some straws of grass are left to the horse of Othin, this may have been connected with Othin in many different ways. The grass or the corn-sheaf, left on the field disappeared in the course of winter; it was eaten by the birds, the mice, the rabbits or other wild animals. So the spiritual beings to whom this sacrifice was made, accepted it: if the corn-spirit was supposed to be a horse, as it is still now-adays in different parts of Germany, England and France 114), then it lay near at hand to think, that these last blades of grass or stalks of corn not only represented the vegetation-spirit in its horse-shape, but that they were at the same time an offering to the horse. As soon as there existed also the belief in a supernatural being which was thought active during winter and was connected with a horse, this last sheaf could be considered as a sacrifice to it 115). There is no certainty that the popular custom of leaving the last blades of grass, as found now-a-days in Denmark and Sweden, belongs originally to the cult of Othin ; and we have no right whatever to make use of this piece of modern lore for the reconstruction of the old pagan belief. From time immemorial Othin was known to the people as the god of the dead; as a leader of the Wild Hunt in winter he belongs as well to a very high antiquity, if not to the heathen period proper, at any rate to the first centuries after Christianisation; at any time harvest rites of this kind might have been brought into connection with him. I should even venture to say that this was more probable after Othin had been debased to a demon rather than in the heathen period when Othin was gradually rising to a divinity of high importance. But if we reject the opinion that Othin originally belonged to the harvest-customs of Southern

Scandinavia then might it not be possible that this divinity in an older and more primitive form had been connected with these agri-[52]cultural customs? If not Wodan, could it not have been Wöd(e)? In this case it would be necessary to know exactly what is the meaning of Wöd(e). There are three opinions possible: 1. according to the evidence of modern folklore, Wöd(e) is a demon who is at the same time the leader of the Wild Hunt and an object of veneration in harvest-cults, 2. according to the literary traditions about heathen mythology, he is a god who seems to be closely connected with Othin and possibly has had some importance in rites of fertility, 3. according to etymology as it is commonly accepted, Wöd(e) means “the raging, furious one” and is a name for the Wild Hunt itself or for its leader, properly speaking, as Much puts it, the air in movement, “die bewegte Luft”. 14. The etymology of the words Othin and Wode We may begin with a discussion of the last point. Formerly it was deemed possible to arrive at the original meaning of a religious phenomenon by trying to solve the problem of the etymology of the word by which it was called; now-a-days we are more cautious in our conclusions and prefer to consider the etymology as a way of enforcing a view which is the result of considerations based on a study of the phenomenon itself. It is especially dangerous to extract from a group of cognate words a root, the meaning of which is often only a colourless abstraction from them all 116). When scholars consider the word Wöde, Wödan to belong to a root *ue- “to blow” (cf. Lat. ventus, Sky. vata) and consequently consider him to be an original wind-god 117), this etymology has some probability only in the case that his character as wind-god is incontestible. The only argument, however, which can be adduced in [53] favour of this hypothesis — the popular belief of the raging, ghostly army (das wütende Heer) —- is too weak, as I shall show presently. The Germanic words belonging to this group, are German Wut, Dutch woede (furor), Goth. wöþs, Old Norse óðr, Old English wöd. They lead us to an original stem *wöþ- with the meaning “furious'' especially “in a high mental excitement”. Of course it is possible that the mental condition is a later more specialised form of a more general meaning “in violent movement, excited”; but this can not be settled only by an abstract argument. If we seek for related words in the Indo-European languages we find: Lat. vates “prophet”, Gall ouáteis, Old-Irish faith “prophet, poet” 118). I see no reason whatever why the Latin word should be a borrowing from the Gallic, nor why the Gem-manic word should be considered as derived from a Celtic language. The fact that it is found in these three languages which also in many other respects show a close affinity, is satisfactorily explained by assuming that it belongs to the original fund of the Indo-European dialect from which Latin, Germanic and Celtic are the historical developments. As in these languages the meaning of the word-group is “prophet, poet” or “in a state of mental excitement”, we must content ourselves with this original sense. When K. Helm 119) pretends that the sense of a mental state is based on a rather late development of this god, when he became more spiritualized, he underrates the value of the cognate words in Latin and Celtic. When he futhermore continues in this way: “any probability of a certain understanding can only be arrived at when we try to go back to the original concrete meaning of the word, which may he “a violent, stormy movement”, he makes in my opinion two mistakes: 1. there is no reason to assert why this should be the only possible way to arrive at a [54] clear understanding of the word-group and 2. he strangely undervalues the mind of so-called “primitive” peoples as if they were unable to express abstract ideas in their language 120). Moreover the idea of mental excitement must be very familiar to primitive man, as an ecstatic state of mind is the typical expression of his religious feelings. The shamanistic sorcerer, the medicine-man, on a somewhat higher level the prophet and the poet, are examples of this mental excitement which it is often difficult to distinguish from mental derangement. So etymology does not bring us further than this conception. Now, of course, the figure of Wöde in popular lore is the reason of the hypothesis about the connection

between Wödan and the wind. But the name “Wütendes Heer” as it is found in the Southern parts of Germany 121) only means “the raging host”. The verb “wüten” has the significance of “to rage” which in course of time was applied not only to mental fury, but to any possible fury. The concrete meaning, “die sinnliche Bedeutung", is not original, but on the contrary secondary. The spirit Waul, Waudl, the leader of the ghostly army and to whom the last sheaf is sometimes sacrificed, does not necessarily belong to this same word-group. In the Swabian dialect we find the words Waude “terrifying spirit” and Waudel “spectre, phantom', and even Wau-wau or Wauzel, both meaning “terrifying ghost'' 22); they seem to be derivations from a word wau and in my opinion are not connected at all with the root *woþ but are more likely to be anonomatopoetic formation. This does not mean that at the bottom of these names for the Wild Hunt there may not lie the word Wöde which we find elsewhere medieval sources cited above show the contrary — and the modern forms Waudl, Waude may consequently be later modifications. But then the difficulty remains that we have no certainty whatever as to the date [55] when the host of spirits was first called “wütendes Heer" and consequently as to the exact meaning of the word “wüten” in that period. I consider the name to be certainly of a date later than the introduction of Christianity, but in this case it seems wellnigh a hopeless task to determine what could have been the meaning of this Wode in heathen times. 15. The relation of Othin to the harvest customs So for our knowledge of the original meaning of Othin modern popular traditions are without any value whatever. If now-a-days a peasant sacrifices a sheaf of corn to the horse of Othin, this does not imply that his heathen ancestor did the same, for he may have intended the sacrifice to a corn-spirit in an animal form or he may even have intended no sacrifice at all. The word Wode, Othin and its corresponding forms 123:) are more probably one of the many instances of the phenomenon that elements of a higher civilisation have sunk down to a lower level of the population, the reason being in this case that the heathen gods had been degraded into demoniac beings. The problem then is not what kind of god the Wode of modern popular tradition represents, but if at the time when the debased Othin was assimilated to the harvest-customs of the peasantry, he was accepted as a leader of the ghostly army or as a vegetation-god. And that question can only be answered by a study of the old literary sources treating of the heathen religion. These, however, make it fairly sure that he was originally a god of the dead, not exclusively of the restless spirits, but in the general sense of the Lord of Death. His name characterizes him as intimately connected with the magical to procure secret wisdom, which very often is supposed [56] to be in the possession of the dead. The identity of Wodan and Mercury proves this conception to have existed as early as the beginning of our era. Perhaps a bit of popular lore gives an analogous evidence; Wednesday is supposed to be highly favourable for magical practices 124); might this not be explained as a remembrance of the magical virtues which the god of this day, Wodan, possessed in pagan times? The god of the dead has developed in times of war, such as in the Migration and the Viking Period into a protector of the brave warriors, who collects them in his splendid heavenly abode. I consider it to be quite improbable that this important god has at the same time been a leader of restless, wandering spirits; but as soon as after the introduction of Christianity the terror for the spirits in midwinter had become greater, the old god of the dead, now debased into a dangerous demon, was naturally combined with the Wild Hunt. If the Norwegian word Oskorei originally means “the ride of the Áss-god” 125), it is indeed a remarkable proof for the conception of the Æsir as spirits of the dead, but the idea that this Áss-god was the chief of the Wild Hunt is not necessarily heathen: it may have arisen in the period after Christianisation. The famous description of the Wild Hunt in the Njálssaga mentions at the head of it a man on a grey horse, bearing in his hand a burning torch and being himself as black as pitch. I fully agree with F. Jónsson that we may not see in this infernal being the god Othin 126). It is a “gandreið”, says the saga itself, which belongs to quite a different order of religious phenomena 127).

In course of time the idea of sin, which had to be expiated in this fearful way, became predominating and fettered the ghostly army and its demoniac leader still more closely together. But that this connection is not at all original, is proved by the Norwegian belief of the Oskorei; [57] for this host of furious spirits is led by Guro Rysserova, the famous Gudrun of the Nibelungen-story. In Norway it was a woman and a person belonging to heroic legend, who having fallen to the state of a diabolocal being led the Wild Hunt. Even elsewhere in the Teutonic world we find a woman as the leader of the Wild Hunt; Burckhard of Worms already speaks about a female, whom people call Holda, being at the head of the army of ghosts. In modern times this same belief has been noted down in different parts of Germany 128). Of course there has been for the religious mind of the heathen Germans the idea of a strong connection between the storm of winter and the spirits of the dead. The double sense of the Latin word anima is an eloquent testimony for this world-wide belief. The winged Harpies who, according to old Greek belief, hurried along like the storm-wind were demons of death. The soul leaving the dead body as a wind is a very common conception. The Permian peoples for example believed that on the death of a shaman a storm was sure to arise 129) and likewise it is believed that there always blows a violent wind on All Souls Day 130). Sacrifices to the wind were in Ancient Greece black animals immolated in the night; the cult of the winds has an unmistakebly chthonic character on account of their relation to the spirits of the dead 131). Now the wind was often conceived in the form of a horse; I agree with Karl Helm 1 32) that this is a very old belief reaching back to prehistoiric ages; that it is the swiftness of the horse which lies at the bottom of the comparison between it and the wind, is although by no means sure, at all events not improbable. So the horse of the wind and the horse of death may be two religious conceptions of different origin; they could not help becoming inseparably commingled with each other in the course of later development, if the German peasant [58] now-a-days throws some straws of hay or some flowers into the air as food for the wind 133), he intends to appease the dangerous storm-demon; if the Swedish peasant on the other hand leaves somc cornstalks for the horse of Othin he only intends to secure a good harvest for the next year. These practices are absolutely different. The contamination of unrelated religious spheres may be shown by another example relating to the mythical conceptions of the horse. Its importance in rites of vegetation is well-known, it may suffice to mention the asvamedha of the Indians, the ritual of the October-horse with the Romans and the curious Norwegian cult of Völsi, I dare not follow F. R. SchrOder in his conclusion 134) that Othin's horse Sleipnir has been at the same time a deathhorse and a vegetation-spirit, but that in later times these two conceptions have melted into one is shown by the curious custom in Norway which Storaker mentions: in Telemarken on Yule-eve a cake is baked which was called “Helhesten” (the hell-horse) and it was eaten on Candlemas Day. So it may be tempting to consider the custom of the last sheaf for Othin's horse as a typical form of a vegetation rite, none the less this seems open to serious doubt, when we consider the custom which is found in Halland: the last sheaf which is left standing on the field is given as fodder for the hests of the Lusselärs-family. Here the peasant tries to appease the army of ghosts which, in the same district of Sweden, is called not only by the name of Lusse-fär 135) but also of Hoajakten (the hunt of Othin or of a chthonic spirit) 136). It is quite obvious that a modern peasant who has only the wish to avert the evils of malicious beings, the number of which has been sadly increased after Christianisation, may very easily confuse different practices into one. [59] 16. Othin as a god of fertility After such reflections we shall be rather sceptical as to the possibility of answering the question whether the Swedish harvest-custom has anything to do with an original conception of Othin as a god of fertility. The student of the religion of the Teutons will not expect any light from this modern custom which is limited to a small part of the Germanic peoples; on the other hand the student of modern

agricultural rites can only explain the Othin of Swedish folklore as a god of fertility, if he is able to find reliable evidence in the historical monuments of the heathen period. In his interesting paper on “Julkärve och Odinskult” the Swedish folklorist Hilding Celander 137) has tried to collect some material which might point in this direction. The most important fact, in my opinion, the temporary disappearing of Óðr or Othin, has been left out of the discussion and the facts he himself adduces are far from convincing. So the belief that Othin during Yule-tide visits the earth does not prove at all that he does so in his character of a vegetation god. At the heathen Yule-sacrifice, the first cup was proffered to Othin ; this certainly proves the close connection of Othin and the feast of the dead, but in no way any relation between him and the blessings of fertility: this cup, as is stated expressly by Snorri should be drunk 'till sigrs ok ríkis konungi sinum” and not “til árs ok friðar"; for this was the special domain of Njord and Freyr in whose names the two following cups were drunk. Celander tries to gather new evidence from modern popular lore when he reminds us of the Swedish belief that Othin was the giver of wealth. How could a god who gave wealth to the peasants of Värend have done it in heathen times but by bestowing abundant harvest and cattle? The answer upon this question of Celander, however, lies already in the words he himself quotes from his [6o] source, the well-known book of Hyltén-Cavallius “Värend och Virdarna”: Othin was “den landskunnige runokarlen och afguden”. The popular tradition does not mention cattle and harvest, but on the contrary riches and money 138); if people thought that it was Othin who could procure them it certainly was as god of the runes and of all magic practices, not as a divinity of vegetation. No, conclusive proofs for a belief that Othin was a god who bestowed the blessings of fertility are to be found neither in modern folklore, nor in the Old-Norse traditions. Even a place-name Odinsakr of which a few instances are found in Norway and Sweden does not prove much for the conception of Othin as a god of fertility, although the word akr of course has a strictly agrarian meaning. Magnus Olsen 139) makes it very probable that these names belong to the latest layer of akr-names; if, however, he brings this into connection with the late arrival of the Othin—cult in Norway, I do not consider it to be the only way of explaining this singular fact, for the rather late development of Othin into a vegetationgod might just as well account for it. So we are only justified in saying that such a belief is possible, because a god of the dead is very often thought to possess the power of fertility and because there exists a rather obscure myth of his disappearance during a part of the year, which might be interpreted in this way. 17. Othin in modern Scandinavian tradition Finally, does the custom which I have been discussing in this paper prove by its being limited to some regions of Denmark and Sweden, that Othin had been more venerated there than elsewhere in the Scandinavian countries? The study of place-names and the literary traditions agree in giving indications for the spread of the cult of Othin [61] from the Eastern parts of Scandinavia Westwards. To account for the fact by the theory about the Herulian people who had introduced the runic art and the cult of Othin, as Celander proposes to do, is a baseless hypothesis. There are so many reasons possible for the explanation of this curious fact. If we take into consideration that this harvest custom is found in such parts of Scandinavia, where from time immemorial the tilling of the soil was the chief means of subsistence, we may conclude that a people of peasants very naturally ascribes to its most important god the blessings of fertility. While in Norway and Iceland, Othin was lifted up to the chief god of an aristocratic society, who became the protector of warriors and poets, in other parts of the North, where the bulk of the nation consisted of peasants, he became a god appropriate for the needs of an agricultural society. The harvest customs connected with Othin are found in those parts of Sweden which belonged formerly to Denmark; so they are most probably of Danish origin. Here too we find in the cult-centre of Odense the proof for his great importance. This makes it probable that he even won a place in the harvest customs of this people.

The conception of Othin as the Wild Huntsman (or more exactly: the identification of the Wild Huntsman with Othin) prevails in the Western parts of Denmark; would it be by mere chance that this characteristic of Othin is bound to the barren heaths of Jutland, while in the fertile Danish islands his relation to the rites of vegetation has become predominant 140)? Still we should not press the argument. In Sweden also the heathen god has been debased into the leader of the army of ghosts: he is said to have resided on a large farm in the neighbourhood of Röstanga and it was as a punishment for his sins that this farm was sunk on the very spot where we now find Odensjö, "the Lake of Othin" 141). [62] Here clearly the name of this place has kept alive the remembrance of the god. But in several popular traditions his name has been handed down in the course of ages, especially in such a semi-literary character. In the popular ballad "Stolt Herr Alf" st. 8 we read the line "hielp nu Oden Asagrim" 142). It is probably of more importance that Othin is mentioned in a couple of charms. Well known are the Swedish variants of the so-called charm of Merseburg of which a form current in Småland begins with the line "Oden rider öfver sten och bärg", another one from the same district with the opening line "Oden star på berget" 143). But we find quite the same in other charms as well; so an incantation against thieves runs as follows 144): Jag manar dig väder i vård Jag manar dig jord i vård Jag manar dig Oden of Adersgård att du tar mina håfvor tillbaka a.s.o. If we take then into consideration the rather numerous instances of popular belief about Othin, which Hyltén-Cavallius has collected, we get the impression that the people down to modern days have known Othin as the great magician, a mighty "runokarl", whose demoniac character was quite familiar to them. So, when we find his name connected with agrarian customs in this part of Scandinavia, it may be of rather late origin and need not at any rate go back at all to a heathen period, when this god might have been an important divinity in rural life 145). 18. Conclusion It has for a long time been a favourite method in the study of the old Teutonic religion to complement the scanty information of the extant literary monuments by the popular [63] traditions of modern times. The purpose of this paper is to show the danger of such a method. Folklore gives us valuable material in as much we may learn from it how complicated modern conceptions are; in fact they contain at the same time relics of the highest antiquity and elements of much more recent origin. Here the drags of all bygone ages are massed together but at the same time these elements are constantly shifting their form and character. If we find a name which reminds us of the heathen religion it may still be that it is a name without any content. A custom which now seems to be exclusively agrarian may have originated in quite another sphere of religious rites. When we possess an accurate knowledge of the origin of a modern popular tradition we may trace the line of development downwards, but to seek from modern folklore the way to a source which is only superficially known to us, seems to me a fruitless task. The clue of the problems of the heathen Teutonic religion is to be found almost exclusively in the ancient literary monuments and we may expect only in a very few cases that the light which modern folklore throws upon the past, is something better than a will-o'-the-wisp. Notes and Additional Remarks 1) Cf. new edition I, p. 159. 2) G. Landtman, Folktro och Trolldom I, Övernaturliga väsen (Finlands svenska Folkdiktning VII, i,

Helsingfors 1919) P. 8. 3) Cf. Kaarle Krohn, Skandinavisk Mytologi p. 87-88, who however seems to me to be too sceptical on this subject. The same observation has been made with regard to "primitive" man who also answers according to the wish of his interlocutor, he very shrewdly guesses cf. H. Basedow, The Australian Aboriginal p. 228. 4) E. Elgqvist, Folkminnen och Folktankar XVI (1929) p. 91. 5) In Gärds herad the sheaf was sacrificed to Noen and his dogs cf. A. Helgesson, Folkminnen och Folktankar IV (1917) p. 145. 6) See about these traditions the excellent study of Hans Ellekilde, Odinsjægeren paa Møn, in the Nordiskt Folkeminne p. 85-1 16 ; he mentions all known forms of the name, which are besides Jøden and Jætten (the Jew and the Giant) such as Gjøjen, Joing, which may be the same word as Goden (Góinn). The name Opsal does not mean the Swedish town Upsala, but is rather a circumlocution for Møns Klint (the elevated hall). 7) See Axel Olrik, Danske Studier 1904 p. 35-38. - According to a communication from Bornholm the [65] last sheaf was left on the field for "Landkongens hest", cf. Skattegraveren III, p. 25 8) With regard to its possibly being known in Eastgötland too cf. M. Pn. Nilsson, Folkminnen och Folktankar VIII (1921) p. 69. - See also H. Celander, Rig 1920 p. 171. 9) J. Th. Storaker, Elementerne in den Norske Folketro (Norsk Folkeminnelag X) p. 135 ff. 10) Cf. Landtman o. c. II, Växtlighetsriter (Helsingfors 1925) p. 111 11) Cf. Pfannenschmid, Germanische Erntefeste p. 409. 12) Cf. U. Jahn, Die deutschen Opferbräuche p. 163. 13) U. Jahn o. c. p. 173. Cf. also Mannhardt, Die Korndämonen (Berlin 1868) p. VII. 14) For another and sounder interpretation see the excellent monography of Nils Lid, Joleband og vegetationsguddom (Skrifter utgitt av Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo II, Hist.-Filos. Klasse 1928 Nr. 4) p. 270 f. 15) Jahn. o. c. p. 165. 16) Wald- and Feldkulte (Berlin 1875-1877). 17) Spirits of the Corn and the Wild (The Golden Bough V). 18) Der Ackerbau im Volksaberglauben der Finnen and Esten mit entsprechenden Gebräuchen der Germanen verglichen (FF Communications Nrs. 30, 31, 32, 55 and 62). 19) See the title of the book in note 14. 201) Cf. H. Ellekilde, Ellekongen i Stevns, Danske Studier 1929 p. 10-39. His conclusion that this king of the elves really should be the old stormgod Othin, is not borne out by the facts ; the elves of the heathen period certainly were spirits of the dead (cf. Oláfr Geirstaða-álfr), especially connected with the [66] prosperity of the soil (álfablót). So a sacrifice to them in harvest time does not necessarily imply and relation with Othin. 21) Cf. G. Landtman, Hustomtens förvantskap och härstamning in Folkloristiska och etnografiska Studier III, p. 12. 22) Cf. Jahn o. c. p. 182 ff and Frazer, The Spirits of the Corn and the Wild I, p. 131 ff. 23) This Danish information, as well as most of the references to Danish customs in this paper are taken from the abundant material in the Danish Folkeminde Samling, which Mr. H. Ellekilde has been so kind as to place at my disposal. 24) Johannes Skar, Gamalt or Sætesdal I (first edition.), p. 8 says, that people formerly always left something in the barn, the porridge-bowl, the bread-tray, the purse etc. "de var a fatigt Hus, sopar an ut alt Bosi". And on p. 7o he tells about a man, who was always in the habit of cutting the corn very carelessly "so hadde han langt Hoy til kvart Aar". See moreover for the idea of the first and the last in popular belief Von Sydow in Folkminnen och Folktankar XIII (1926) P- 53 f and esp. p. 68. 25) See Axel Olrik, Danske Studier 1904, p. 38 26) See Elgqvist, Folkminnen och Folktankar XVI (1929) p. 94.

27) Cf. Nikander, Fruktbarhetsriter hos svenskarna i Finland (Folkloristiska och etnografiska Studier I) p. 259 and J. Th. Storaker, Naturrigerne i den norske folketro (Norsk Folkeminnelag XVIII) p. 70-71. For more examples see Frazer, The Golden Bough (abridged edition) p. 232-233. 28) Cf. Rantasalo o. c. 111, p. 79. Also the superstitions about the lykkebiten of a cake in Norway or the maktbiten in Sweden (Nils Lid 0. C. P. 215). [67] 29) Cf. U. Holmberg, Die Religion der Tscheremissen, FFComm Nr. 61 p. 88. 30) Cf. U. Holmberg, Die Wassergottheiten der finnischugrischen Völker (Mémoires de la Société FinnoOugrienne XXXIII Helsingfors 1913, p. 6. 31) Cf. U. Holmberg, Doppelfrucht im Aberglauben (Suomalais-ugrilaisen Seuran toimituksia LII, p. 48-66. - Perhaps we may compare the curious custom in Kragelund, Viborg amt, Jutland of binding the last sheaf so as to divide the top into two parts and to call it "tvillingneget". 32) The Golden Bough (Abridged edition) p. 453. 33) The last sheaf is called fox in the Danish Islands of Sjælland and Fyn; in the latter it has too the name of sow ; but it is called hare in Lolland, Falster and the Juttish peninsula. 34) Cf. U. Holmberg, Finno-Ugric Mythology p. 247. 35) Cf. J. Schrijnen, Nederlandsche Volkskunde 1, p. 280. 36) The idea of the "blood of the hare" is also found in Norwegian popular customs, cf. Nils Lid o. c. p. 22. 37) Cf. f. i. Kr. Bugge in Festskrift Feilberg p. 170 who gives an example from the Trondhjem district. 38) There are more instances of a spirit who is at first in a hostile mood and refuses to submit to man, but after being, subdued gives all desired help and information. So is the Greek Proteus and the merman of popular belief. But it seems to me that in the case of the spirit of vegetation the explanation of its double attitude towards man is more complicated. 39) Cf. U. Holmberg, Virolaiset viljaneitsyt (Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Toimituksia XXXV, 3) p. 10. 40) Cf. Frazer, o. c. p. 399 ff. 41) Cf. Frazer, o. c. p. 402 ff. 42) Cf. M. Pn. Nilsson, Aarets folkelige Fester (Religions-historiske Smaaskrifter, Anden Række VI) p. 9. [68] 43) I take this very illustrative example from the interesting paper of G. Landtman about "Hustomtens förvantskap and härstamning" in Folkloristiska och Etnografiska Studier III (Helsingfors 1922). 44) The reader will observe that the name of "the Old One" serves also to denote the corn-spirit in its human form (vide supra); this is not of course a mere coincidence. 45) Cf. Rantasalo o. c. V, p. 198. 46) Cf. Uno Holmberg, Vänster Hand och motsols in Rig 1925, p. 23 ff. 47) Cf. M. Pn. Nilsson, Folkminnen och Folktankar VIII (1921) p. 59. 48) Cf. E. Elgqvist, Folkminnen och Folktankar XVI (1929) p. 91. 49) Hilding Celander, Nordisk Jul 1, p. 147. 50) o. c. p. 193 ff. 51) o. c. p. 149.52) o. c. p. 86. 51) o. c. p. 149. 52) o. c. p. 86. 53) Cf. Skånska Folkminnen, Årsbok 1929, p. 151. 54) Cf. Nils Lid o. c. p. 138. 55) Wegelius and Wikman, Folkloristiska och Etnografiska Studier I (Helsingfors 1916) p. 161. 56) The Karelians kill on St. Olav's day a lamb without a knife; the bones may not be broken. A part of the flesh is put in a corner of the room for the housespirits, another part on the field, a third part under the birch-trees which they intend to use as May-poles (H. Celander, Folkminnen och Folktankar XII,

1925, 4, p. 5). 57) Cf. M. Pn. Nilsson, Aarets folkelige fester p. 50 f. 58) Cf. P. Sébillot, Le Folklore de France 1, p. 166 ff and J. P. Jacobsen, Harlekin og den vilde Jæger in Dania IX (1902) p. I ff. [69] 59) This is again an instance of the vague character of popular ideas as mentioned above. 60) The name Óðr, the relation of which to Óðinn will be discussed presently, gives strong support to this opinion. 61) Cf. Dania 11, p. 121. 62) Cf. Grundtvig, Danmarks gamle Folkeviser III, p. 909 b: in some parts of Denmark the migratory birds are called dogs of heaven (himmelhunde). In Sweden people say when they are passing by: they are the dogs og Othin (Hyltén-Cavallius I, p. 1621. Likewise in some parts of Holland the Wild Hunt, the "Berndekesjacht" is supposed to pass by when the wild geese are heard in the sky, cf. Driemaandelÿksche Bladen II (1903) p. 5 and III (1904) p. 3. 63) Cf. the words of Geiler von Kaisersberg (quoted by L. Weniger, Feralis Exercitus in the Archiv für Religionswissenschaft IX, 19o6, p. 22o): Also redt der gemeine Man von dem Wütischen Heer dass die, die vor den Zeiten sterben, ee denn dass inen Got hat uffgesetzet, als die, die in die Reis laufen and erstochen werden, oder gehenkt and ertrenkt werden, die müssen also lang nach irem todt laufen, bis das zil kumpt, das inen Got gesetzet hat and darn so würkt Got mit inen, was sein götlicher Wil ist. 64) Cf. ed. Sievers 133, 16. 65) Cf. Graff, Althochdeutscher Sprachschatz I, p. 767. 66) This agrees also with the most probable etymology of the Germanic word-group, see p. 53 67) Gislason, Efterladte Skrifter I, p. 187 : de sjæleevner der udmærke mennesket fremfor dyret. 68) Cf. the Old-Norse gyzki "insanity'', derived from Germ. adj. "gudisk- "possessed by a god". 69) F. Jónsson, Skjaldedigtning I, p. 284. 70) See idem p. 449. [70] 71) See Jónsson's edition p. 1oo. 72) See Rantasalo o. c. II, p. 47. 73) See F. Kluge, Nominale Stammbildungslehre der, altgermanischen Dialekte § 2o and C. J. S. Marstrander, Norsk Tidsskrift for Sprogvidenskap I (1928) p. 158 ff. 74) See Kluge o. c. § 29. 75) For the different forms in -ann, -inn see R. C. Boer, Oudnoorsch Handboek § 138 note 2. 76) See o. c. p. 159. Riese, however, in his book Das rheinische Germanien in den antiken Inschriften, Nr. 3357, supposes the name to have been Leudicianus. 77) Schmidt's Zeitschrift f. Geschichte VIII, p. 264 note. 78) Mogk, Grundriss (2) III, p. 358 ff; Kauffmann, PBB XVIII, p. 140 ff; Helm, Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte I, p. 381. 79) Hedenske Kultminder i norske Stedsnavne I (Oslo 1915) and Ættegard og Helligdom, Norske Stedsnavn sosialt og religionshistorisk belyst (Oslo 1926). 8o) This and other examples adduced below show that K. Helm o. c. I, p. 264 wrongly denies the possibility of the derivation of a personal name from another one by the suffix -no. 81) Cf. M. Olsen, Stedsnavn og Gudenavn i Land (Avh. Norske Vid. Akad. Oslo, II 1929, Nr. 3) p. 77. The same root occurs in the name of the Indian god Vrtra, who, according to K. F. Johansson, Über die altindische Göttin Dhisana and Verwandtes in the Skrifter utgifna of Kungl. Hum. Vet. Samf i Uppsala XX, I, p. 137, may be compared with the Scandinavian Ullr in many respects. - Cf. also Johan Palmér in Acta Philologica Scandinavica V, p. 290-291. 82) Then we accept the etymology which combines this word with Gr. anèr Skr. nara, Old-Irish nert and [71] we reject the hypothesis of F. R. Schröder, Germanentum and Hellenismus p. 51, who

compares the Skr, root nrt "to dance". Sten Konow, who in the same year as Schröder proposed this etymology (Festskrift Kjær p. 53-60) insists upon *Nerþu- being an -u-stem, not a -tu-stem, but I do not see the reason of this opinion. The analogy of Óðr and Ullr points at any rate in an other direction. 83) This is the explanation of Axel Kock in ZfdPhil. XXVIII, p. 289 ff. 84) The problem of the different sex may also be solved in another way, as indicated by Edv. Lehmann in Maal og Minne 1919 p. I ff: Nerthus could have been a hermaphroditical divinity, of which Tacitus' Nerthus forms the female and the Old-Norse Njord the male counterpart. Still I should be inclined to think even when accepting this hypothesis, that the form of the name more particularly denotes the god of fertility, not the goddess. 85) In this connection the Old Norse divinities Fjörgyn and Fjörgynn deserve to be mentioned; I may refer the reader to my paper in the Dutch Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsche Taal- en Letterkunde L (1931) p. 1-25 86) Cf. L. Malten, Das Pferd im Totenglauben, Jahrbuch des Kais. d. Arch. Instituts XXIX (1914). 87) At any rate I consider this to be a much more satisfactory explanation than that which is commonly found in the handbooks, that the relation between Óðr and Frigg is in some way connected with the popular belief of the Wild Huntsman who pursues a nymph of the forest (Cf. W. Golther, Handbuch der germanischen Mythologie p. 288). 88) For a discussion of the meaning of the classical god Mercurius-Hermes see the following recent papers: W. B. Kristensen, De goddelijke bedrieger (Mede-[72] deelingen der Kon. Acad van Wetenschappen, Afd. Letterk. 66 B, Nr. 3) and J. P. B. de Josselin de Jong, De oorsprong van den goddelijken bedrieger (ibidem 68 B, Nr. I). 89) See The Cult of Othin p. 67. 90) According to Gregory of Tours (Historia Francorum II, p. 29) the gods Mars and Mercury of the Franks were magicis artibus praediti. 91) Cf. Alex. Haggarty Krappe, Etudes de mythologie et de folklore germaniques p. 38: the reason for Othin's being identified with Mercury is that he was . . . . un intellectuel, qu'il l'était déjá au premier siécle de notre ère. 92) This may have taken place in some parts of the Germanic world already in an earlier period; when according to Tacitus Ann. XIII, 57 in the war between the Chatti and the Hermunduri the defeated army was devoted to Mars and Mercury, the god of death is so closely associated with the war-god that in course of time a fusion into each other seems inevitable. The same holds good with regard to the information of Gregory of Tours cited above. If the supreme hero of the Goths whom Jordanes, Get. XIV, 79 calls Gapt, possibly a mistake for Gaut, really should be the same as Wödan, he could have been conceived as such in his character of god of the dead and it is not at all necessary to suppose him to have been a god of war; the same may be said with regard to the Anglo-Saxon belief that Wödan was the god de cujus stirpe multarum provinciarum regium genus originem duxit, as Bede styles it (Hist. Eccl. I, 15). 93) See G. Neckel, Walhall, Studien fiber germanischen Jenseitsglauben (Dortmund 1913). [73] 94) As early as 1822 a German scholar H. Leo wrote a very confused paper "Über Odins Verehrung in Deutschland", in which he tried to prove that the tribes of Alemans, Franks and Burgundians had never worshipped Othin, but that he had been introduced into the Teutonic world by an invading people come from Eastern Europe and influencing particularly Saxons, Goths and Langobards. This is a quite opposite view from that accepted by modern scholars. 95) See Chantepie de la Saussaye, The Religion of the Teutons p. 222 ff. 96) See S. Bugge, Aarbøger etc. 1905 p. 318 where he mentions the word ti, tiu explained as the vocative for the name Týr. This is an assertion which it is difficult to prove. More important is the fact that the runic character T, called Týr in the runic alphabets is sometimes used in a magical sense; on

bracteate Nr. 57 from Sjælland even in the significant form explained by M. Olsen as a threefold invocation of the god (o. c. p. 286), by Marstrander however as a crystalized cornear (hesitatingly in Norsk Tidsskrift for Sprogvidenskap III, p. 137). 97) The runic stones of Glavendrup (þur uiki þasi runaR), of Virring (þur uiki þisi kuml) and of S. Kirkeby (þur uiki runaR), all belonging to the 10th century. This is, however, in my opinion no genuine heathen custom. Just as the hammertoken of Thor is put on the stones in imitation of the Christian cross-symbol, so too the name of this god was sometimes added under the same Christian influence. 98) Altgermanische Kukturprobleme p. 59. 99) He follows in this the hypothesis of Von Friesen, Röstenen i Bohuslän p. 45 ff, which has been accepted by several scholars, recently even by S. Agrell, Rökstenens chiffergåttor p. 98 although it seems [74] hard to reconcile it with his own theories about the origin of the runic art. It seems, however, to me that the hypothesis of the Herules rests upon rather shaky foundations as we know too little about this tribe to ascribe to it the spreading of such cultural goods as the runic art. 1oo) Spaltung, Schichtung and Mischung im germanischen Heidentum (Ehrismann-Festschrift 1925) p. 15 ff. 101) After having written this passage I read the paper of Carl Clemen, Südöstliche Einflüsse auf die nordische Tradition? in the ZfdPhil. LV (193o) p. 148 ff and cannot but approve of this sound criticism with regard to the above named far reaching hypotheses, in the upbuilding of which the way from the possible to the probable and thence to the certain is a rather short one. 102) The reasons, why I reject the opinion that Wodan is the leader of the Wode, this word being the name for the furious host of spirits, will be given below. 103) Cf. Flateyjarbók 1, p. 249. - The question as to whether this oathformula is really genuinely heathen (as it was generally accepted, cf. Heusler, Das Strafrecht der Isländersagas p. 34) has lately peen raised by Helmut de boor in Deutsche Island-Forschung 1930 p. 137 note 9o; he thinks it probable that this formula is a learned invention and that the adjective allmáttugr betrays Christian influence. In my opinion the argument of the lack of evidence for this formula in sources older than the thirteenth century, has but little value, as it is merely ex silentio. The correspondence between the heathen and the Christian oath-formulas may be explained by the Christianization of a pagan example. How can we be sure that the heathen Teutons did not know a god, who punished a broken oath, as Von Amira [75] (Grundriss des germanische Rechts 3, p. 270) asserts? And finally as in the meaning of the word allmáttugr that of máttr "magic power" is the original one, I do not believe that it is only to be restricted to the sphere of giants and demons (as De boor o. c. p. 98 says), but that it belongs as well to the god of all magic arts, i. e. Othin. So I consider this to be again a proof for my conception that hinn allmátki 'ass is not Thor but Othin. 104) This is a well-known fact; for the classical peoples see S. Eitrem. Opferritus and Voropfer der Griechen and Römer (Videnskapsselskabets Skrifter 1914, Nr. 1 p. 422) and R. Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States I, p. 69 and III, p. 74. Cf. also Helgakv. Hundingsbana II, 31, where an oath is made at inoliósa Leiptrar vatni, and as Leiptr is a river in the underworld this may be compared with the Greek oath by the Styx. 105) See Snorri's Heimskringla (ed. F. Jónsson) I, p. 187 106) So I do not agree with E. Wessén, Nordiska Namnstudier (Uppsala Univers. Årsskrift 1927) p. 81 who considers Thor to be the real 'ass. I lack here the space to criticise all his arguments, but I may make a choice. In the mythological poems all gods are called Æsir; so it is not strange that the vigour and the anger of Thor, by which the Æsir are defended, are called ásmegin and ásmóðr. If Thor bears the name ásabragr, Othin does so likewise. If Ásgarðr is found only in two poems (Hymiskviða and Þrymskviða) treating about Thor, this may be explained by the late origin of this name for the heavenly abode of the gods. (See moreover for the the young character of the Þrymskviða my paper in the Tijdschrift voor Nederl. Taal- en Letterkunde XLVII (1928) p. 251-322). - On the other hand in [76]

many poems Othin is represented as the chief of the Æsir. 107) Get. XIII, 78. 108) C. J. S. Marstrander has in the Norsk Tidsskrift for Sprogvidenskap IV, p. 321 asserted that the latinized form ansis can not denote a Gothic word ansus but must be a rendering for *anseis, nom sg. of a wordstem *ansija- which means "born from the Æsir". This opinion is based on, the supposition that ansis is a singular, which it clearly is not, if we have to take Jordanes' text as it stands. For then it is only to be taken as a plural, and may be as well a rendering of *ansius as of *ansios, in my opinion even more likely the former than the latter. 109) If this conception is right, then the word ásmegir for the inhabitants of Hell is easy to understand and we need not recur to Falk's explanation of this use (Festskrift Kjær p. 6-7). 110) Heimskringla I, p. 81. 111) For the well established fact of a close connection between Othin and the horse, it is superfluous to give further evidence, cf. S. Agrell, Rökstenens Chiffergåtor, Vetensk. Samf. i Lund Årsberattelse 1929-1930 p. 22. 112) See f. e. W. Steller, Zeitschrift fir Volkskunde, Neue Folge II, p. 64 ff. 113) The Origin of the English Nation p. 178. 114) Cf. Frazer, The Golden Bough V, p. 292 ff. 115) Mannhardt strongly affirms (Mythologische Forschungen p. 165) that the horse which appears in different agricultural rites (Schimmel, Fastnachtspferd, Wooden horse, Hobbyhorse) is nothing but the vegetationhorse and not a representation of Wodan. Celander, Folkminnen och Folktankar VII (1920) p. 99 is of the same opinion. [77] 116) Cf. my paper on "Hunebedden en Hunen" in the Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsche Taal- en Letterkunde XLIX (1930), especially on p. 91. 117) Cf. K. Helm, Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte I, p. 261 note 47 1 18) Cf. S. Feist, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der gotischen Sprache p. 436. C. C. Uhlenbeck, Theologisch Tijdschrift XXXVII (1903) p. 252 accepts the same etymology; his conclusion that Wodan must have been a windgod although the word has nothing to do with "wind" seems to be under the impression of the general opinion about the character of this pagan deity, which prevailed in the beginning of our century. 119) o. c. p. 261. 120) Against this opinion of Lévy-Bruhl, Les Fonctions mentales dans les sociétés inferieures serious objections may be raised both on an ethnological (cf. O. Leroy, La Raison primitive) and on a linguistic basis (Cf. A. Trombetti, Introduzione agli Elementi di Glottologia). 121.) See Schmeller, Bayerisches Wörterbuch II, p. 861: wâdeshêr, p. 1056: wüethes hör (ms. of the 16th century) ; Martin-Lienhart, Wörterbuch der elsässischen Mundarten I, p. 367: wüetig heer. 122) H. Fischer, Schwäbisches Wörterbuch VI, p. 506. Cf. the word waüdi "märchenhaftes Ungetüm (Martin-Lienhart II, p. 790) and der woudi "der garstige, ungeschlachte" (Schmeller II, p. 861). In Mecklenburg he is sometimes called the Waur. 123) The names Frô Gôde, Ver Gode a. s. o. very likely have no connection with the name of Othin, as they belong to the same group as the Scandinavian names Góinn, Gói, Góa, Gjø, which Nils Lid has tried to explain in his book p. 271 as "spirits of the earth" (*go = Gr. chthon). [78] 124) Cf. the Dutch Tijdschrift voor Volkskunde XXXIV, p. 140. 125) Cf. Hægstad, Maal og Minne 1912 p. 80-85. 126) See his edition of the saga p. 293. 127) See my paper on Ginnungagap in Acta Philologica Scandinavica V, p. 41-66. 128) Cf. Mannhardt, Germanische Mythen p. 262.

129) Cf. U. Holmberg, Finno-Ugric Mythology p. 177. 130) Cf. Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens I, c. 588. 131) Cf. J. E. Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion (Cambridge 1908) p. 68. 132) o. c. p. 206. 133) Wuttke-Meyer, Deutscher Volksaberglaube (4) p. 294. 134) Cf. Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift XVII, p. 413. 135) Cf. Celander, Nordisk Jul I, p. 31 136) Cf. Celander, Nordisk Jul I, p. 32 -- Nils Lid p. 6o ff considers these Yule-spirits as a representation developed from original Yule processions, a view which I cannot fully approve. - The name Hoe may of course mean Gói, the vegetation-spirit. 137) In the periodical Rig 1920 p. 168-176. In this paper he tries to prove that the Yule-sheaf which is dedicated to the birds, was originally a sacrifice to Othin; the evidence, he adduces for his opinion, however, is very slight and questionable. At any rate the fact that with the same intention in some parts of Scandinavia corn is strewn for the geese, when they have alighted on the ground (Storaker, Naturrigerne p. 223) makes it probable that in these rites the birds represent the spirits of the dead. 138) Cf. the following sentence, quoted by Celander p. 175: och ther aff pläghar man än-nu seya at the tiena Odhenom, som många peningar och rijkedomar sammanslagga. [79] 139) Cf. Hedenske Kultminder i norske Stedsnavne 1, p. 234. 140) The Juttish popular belief is, however, under the strong suspicion of being mainly due to an influence from North Germany cf. Olrik, Dania VIII, p. 165. 141) E. Wigström, Folkdigtning p. 145. 142) Arwidsson Nr. 2. Cf. also the Faroese ballad CCF 14 where in st. C 64 appears Æsakongur and in D 62 Nasagrái. 143) Cf. S. Bugge, Studier over de nordiske Gude- og Heltesagns Oprindelse I, p. 287 and especially R. Th. Christiansen, Die finnischen and nordischen Varianten des zweiten Merseburgerspruches, FFComm. Nr. 18, who defends with great acumen the opinion that this charm really goes back to a Christian original. I do not accept, however, this conclusion, see my provisional remarks in Het Sprookje (Brussels 1929) P. 128. 144) Cf. Aminson, Bidrag etc. IV, p. 74 145) To an analogous conclusion Kaarle Krohn has come in his Skandinavisk Mytologi p. 87 ff; if he extends his doubt to the reliability of the Swedish popular traditions about Othin in general, he goes, in my opinion, too far (see note 3).

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