Quotes Tagged "legends"
In the legendary shape which the myths took on when they were reduced to stories by the philosophy of a new religion, it would seem as if the fateful trial of strength took place between gods and giants, while the dwellers on earth were left to look on with bated breath. The poet gives his narrative in the past form as if it were something over and done with; from the form of the words it might seem as if the listeners enjoyed an enhanced sense of security by calling up the memory of a moment when the fate of the world hung in the balance and then swung over to the proper side. But the literary form which the myths acquired in the hands of the poets during the Viking age and later obscures the actual meaning that was plain to the listeners, when the legends were recited at the feast and illustrated, or rather supplemented, by rites and ceremonial observances. The fight is waged from day to day in the midst of the human world, no one is sure of keeping the light and the warmth, unless he and his fellows by some ceremony or other are ever strengthening the bond between themselves and the high-faring lights. If the alliance fail but for a moment, then the heavenly bodies will lose their way, and then sets in the state which the poet of the Voluspá still knew, and could describe.