RSDRPA 6:5-8

Codex RegiusCodex TrajectinusCodex WormianusEmended & Modernized
6 : 5-8 VariantsVariants 
knatti hreggi ha/ggviNknatt Kntti, hreggi hggvin,
hlyml vi ma/l glymia  hlyml vi ml glymja,
en felli hryn fiallahrynfialla en fellihryn fjalla
feiv a/ut me steia.stediœ Feju aut me steja.

This half-stanza consists of two clauses, which basically restate the content of the last half-stanza:

hlyml kntti glymja vi ml, en fellihryn fjalla aut, hreggi hggvin, me Feju steja, i.e. "the banging files [spears] jangled against the pebbles, while the mountains' falling-roar [cascade] rushed, beaten by an ice-storm, along Feja's anvil".

hlyml ] Literally "clanging file", i.e. "clanging iron" = spear. See skotnar in the previous half-stanza.

kntti glymja ] Kntti is an auxillary verb, kntti glymja = glumdi.

fellihryn fjalla ] Literally "falling-noise of the mountains", i.e. a waterfall, cascade.

Feju steja ] is problematic. The "anvil of Feja" is usually interpreted as "stone, rock". This is barely possible, and as Finnur Jnsson noted, Feja would then have to be the name of a river. In such a case we would have to understand (like Plsson): in ruddi fram grjti "the river carried rocks in its flood".

Egilsson saw Feja as a variant form of Fenja, a giantess, and interpreted "anvil of the giantess" as "stone, rock" (which is difficult to accept). However, if we accept that Feja is identical with Fenja, a new possibility arises. Fenja is one of two giantesses, who operate the Grtti-quern in the Grttasngur. This quern (mill) was thought to stand on the bottom of the ocean, causing the great whirlpool or maelstrom of medieval fame, mentioned by Adam of Bremen and others. The ocean's tides were believed to be caused by the action of this mill, which alternatively sucks the ocean waters down through the eye of the millstone, and then spouts them out again. This great maelstrom was extremely dangerous to seafarers, whose ships could be sucked down into the gigantic whirlpool (and sometimes spat out again), according to Adam.

The smith labours at his anvil. The two giantesses, Fenja and Menja, labour at the quern. Thus the great quern could indeed be called Fenju (Feju) stei. It may be suspected that Thor is approaching the great maelstrom of the Northern Ocean, where he is in danger of being sucked into the terrible whirlpool of Grtti. He therefore thrusts his spear into the bottom of the ocean, in order to have something to hold on to.

The verb mala (grind), the nouns mjl (meal) and ml (pebbles) are all related etymologically to the English mill, meal, and maelstrom. Eilfur's use of the word ml in line 6 indicates that his Feju stei was meant as a circumlocution for the Grtti-mill, the great "grinder" which could turn rocks into pebbles (ml).

The evidence for the importance of the great world-mill to the cosmology of Old Norse heathendom has been treated in great detail by Viktor Rydberg (Teutonic Mythology, Chapters 79-82), and more recently in Hamlet's Mill (de Santillana/von Dechend, 1969).

PREVIOUS [6:1-4] TOP [6:5-8] NEXT [7:1-4]