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Odin's advice to Loddfavner in The Song of the High One

Odin as a wanderer. Painting by Georg von Rosen 1886.
Odin as a wanderer. Painting by Georg von Rosen 1886.

Share on FacebookShare on WhatsAppShare on TelegramShare on X (Twitter)I fornnordiska eddadikten Den Höges sång, Hávamál, hittar man i den senare delen ett antal levnadsråd från Oden, den höge, riktat till personen Loddfavner, som alla inleds med samma diktstrof: Jag råder dig, Loddfavner, men råd må du […]

In the ancient Norse edad poem The Song of the High, Problems, one finds in the latter part a number of life advice from Oden, the tall, addressed to the person of Loddfavner, all of which begin with the same poem trope:

I advise you, Loddfavner, but advice you may take; you will benefit, if you follow them, they will be good to use.

The advice is about how to treat people, both friends and enemies. Those who take the advice will achieve success in life, both in family life and in battle.

According to research, the Song of the High One was recorded at the latest in the 8th or 9th century, probably in Norway. So these councils are at least 1100 years old. If you ask me, most of them still make sense today. The only surviving source material is Codex Regius from around 1270.

Here is the advice, from Erik Brates' translation of the Eddan:

  • 112. Do not get up at night,

    if you're not out scouting
    or have to go out in the yard!

  • 113. Do not sleep with woman,

    who is skilled in sorcery,
    so that in her arms she captivates you!

  • 115. Another man's wife

    you never curl
    to speak to you in confidence!

  • 116. If on mountain or fjord

    you go luster
    get yourself plenty of travel fare!

  • 117. A bad man

    you never lied
    hear what bad luck has befallen you;
    for by a wicked man
    you never get
    for left trust salary.

  • 119. Know, about a friend you have,

    as you well believe,
    father slow to meet him;
    for of rice are wrapped
    and tall grass
    the road that no one walks.

  • 120. A good man you curl

    to the vulture and familiarity;
    learn to trick people into keeping you in love!

  • 121. When you make a friend,

    the first was never
    to violently tear the friendship;
    grief corrodes the heart,
    when you say not allowed
    for someone all their hug.

  • 122. Words change,

    never you shall
    with foolish fool.

  • 125. Three words do not change
    in a fight with a scum;
    the better is often flexible,
    when the worse one strikes.

  • 126. Skomakare was not

    or shank maker
    other than for yourself;
    if the shoe is badly made
    or the shaft oblique,
    then be wished upon you evil.

  • 127. If hurt you notice,

    say, how evil it is,
    and give not thy enemy peace.

  • 128. To evil happy
    never was,
    but rejoice in the good!

  • 129. In the tumult of the hit

    do not look up
    - mortal fear
    affects the men -
    that not enchantment strikes you.

  • 130. If with good woman

    you want to come in grace
    and have fun,
    gladly, I promise
    and firm promise keep;
    it will be happy, who gets something good.

  • 131. I ask you to be careful,

    but not too carefully.
    Be careful with the beer
    and with another's wife,
    and with the third,
    to not you top ride thieves.

  • 132. To scorn and ridicule
    never have
    guest or stranger, who travels!

  • 134. To an aged speaker

    you must never laugh;
    often good is, what the old say.
    Often from shrivelled skin
    sharp words come,
    things that hang among hides
    and tosses among the small skins
    and dangles lightly among the carpets.

  • 135. A guest you shall not abuse

    or chasing at the gate;
    take care of the poor well!

  • 137. Then beer you drink, seek help

    of the earth's power,
    for earth against beer rush helps
    and fire against diseases,
    oak gives stools,
    ax protects for witchcraft,
    ergot against hernia,
    the moon against the raging,
    biting sickness bait,
    cure for evil are runes,
    towards the river is solid ground.

Image: Odin as a wanderer. Painting of George of Rosen 1886.

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