Herman and Thusnelda - George Upton

Odin, Thor, and Tyr

The Prince and his sons left the grove, and when crossing its limits took off their manacles. The priest, who accompanied them, turning to the youths, said: "I leave you these parting words: Honor all the gods, but pay special reverence to these three.

"Forget not Odin. He is greatest of all the gods and the All-Father. His power is absolute, and from him all gifts proceed. You have heard his ravens' cry;! also has two wolves, Geri and Freki, who attack the bodies of enemies in battle and devour them. He has appeared to the earth-born from the earliest times. A broad cloak covers his giant figure and a great helmet his noble head. When he hears the swords clash in battle he mounts his white steed, Sleipnir, which has eight feet and runs swifter than thought.

"Also forget not Thor, the mighty. He rules the flying clouds, which were made from the giant Ymir's mottled brow. His voice is the thunder, and his thought the lightning, with which he blesses or destroys. When he overspreads us with his windy garment, and darkness covers the earth; when the lightnings blaze in the pitchy darkness, let your hearts rejoice, for he is near you. When he speaks the earth shakes, cowards and evil-doers tremble; but the upright of heart rejoice at the manifestations of his power.

"Also forget not the third god, Tyr. He is the storming, fiery, sword-god, favorite son of Odin. Our youths execute the sword dance in his honor. Where the tumult of battle rages most fiercely and where the earth is fertilized by streams of blood, thither Odin sends Tyr.

"Honor the gods, who look down upon us from their golden seats and who sometimes appear among us in human semblance to test us, and sometimes watch our actions, disguised as birds.

"Honor all the gods, but honor these three above all the others. Pray to them; make offerings unto them."

The neighing of the white steed which was kept in the sacred grove for the service of the gods was heard. "The divine ones would acquaint me with their wishes," said the priest. "I go to receive their message."

Thereupon he returned to the grove, and the prince and his sons went to the offering-feast.