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Early Indo-European Texts

Old Norse

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Old Norse with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old Norse Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old Norse language and its speakers' culture.

from the Prologue of Snorra Edda

Almttigr gu skapai himin ok jr ok alla hluti er eim fylgja, ok sarst menn tv er ttir eru fr komnar, Adam ok Evu, ok fjlgaisk eira kynsl ok dreifisk um heim allan. En er fram liu stundir, jafnaisk mannflkit: vru sumir gir ok rtt trair, en myklu fleiri snerusk eptir girndum heimsins ok rktu gus boor, ok fyrir v drekti gu heiminum sjvargangi ok llum kvikvendum heimsins nema eim er rkinni vru me Na. Eptir Na fl lifu tta menn eir er heiminn bygu ok kmu fr eim ttir, ok var enn sem fyrr at er fjlmentisk ok bygisk verldin var at allr fjli mannflksins er elskai girni fja/r ok metnaar en afrktusk gus hlni, ok sv mikit gerisk af v at eir vildu eigi nefna gu. En hverr mundi segja sonum eira fr gus strmerkjum? Sv kom at eir tndu gus nafni ok vast um verldina fansk eigi s mar er deili kunni skapara snum. En eigi at sr veitti gu eim jarligar giptir, f ok slu, er eir skyldu vi vera heiminum. Milai hann ok spekina sv at eir skilu alla jarliga hluti ok allar greinir r er sj mtti loptsins ok jararinnar. at hugsuu eir ok undruusk hverju at mundi gegna at jrin ok drin ok fuglarnir hfu saman eli sumum hlutum ok var lkt at htti. at var eitt eli at jrin var grafin hm fjalltindum ok spratt ar vatn upp ok urfti ar eigi lengra at grafa til vaz en djpum dlum. Sv eru ok dr ok fuglar, at jafnlangt er til bls hfi ok ftum. nnur nttra er s jarar at hverju ri vex jrunni gras ok blm ok sama ri fellr at allt ok flnar. Sv eru ok dr ok fuglar, at eim vex hr ok fjarar ok fellr af hverju ri. at er hin rija nttra jarar er hon er opnu ok grafin grr gras eiri moldu er efst er jrunni. Bjrg ok steina ddu eir mti tnnum ok beinum kvikvenda. Af essu skilu eir sv at jrin vri kyk ok hefi lf me nokkurum htti, ok at vissu eir at hon var furuliga gmul at aldartali ok mttug eli. Hon fddi ll kvikvendi ok hon eignaisk allt at er d. Fyrir sk gfu eir henni nafn ok tlu ttir snar til hennar.

Translation

Almighty God created heaven and earth and all the things which belong to them, and finally two people from whom races descended, Adam and Eve, and their progeny multiplied and dispersed across all the land. But as time went by, the people diversified: some were good and very faithful, but far more took to the pleasures of the land and spurned God's command, and therefore God submerged the land in a flood, as well as all the creatures of the land, save those which were with Noah in the ark. After Noah's flood, eight men lived who settled the land and races descended from them, and just as before it happened that when the world was populated and settled, it occurred that the majority of the population preferred hunger for wealth and glory and set aside obedience to God, and this went so far that they no longer desired to speak the name of God. But who then could tell their children about God's great works? So it came about that they forgot God's name and in most places around the world a man could not be found who knew the details of his creator. But nonetheless God gave them earthly gifts, property and prosperity, which they should possess on the land. He also distributed wisdom so that they distinguished all the earthly things and all the details of the air and the earth which one could discern. They contemplated this and wondered what it might mean that the earth and the animals and the birds had the same nature in certain respects and nevertheless there was dissimilarity in type. One characteristic was that the earth was piled up in high mountaintops and there water sprang forth and there was no need to dig further for water than in deep valleys. And such are the animals and birds, so that it is equally far for the blood to the head or feet. Another feature of the earth is that each year greenery grows on the earth, and flowers, and in the same year it all falls and fades. And such are the animals and birds, so that hair and feathers grow upon them and fall off each year. The third characteristic of the earth is when it is opened and dug up, then the grass grows in the soil which is topmost on the earth. They likened the rocks and stones to the teeth and bones of living creatures. From this they reasoned that the earth could be living and have life of a certain sort, and they understood this, that she was exceedingly old in years and rich in character. She fed all the living creatures and took to herself all that died. For that reason they gave her a name and traced their ancestry to her.