Kvasir

Soon after the great Aesir and Vanir war, as part of thier truce, they (The Aesir and Vanir) all spit into a giant bowel, and from this bowel, created the god Kvasir. (Pretty nasty if you ask me!)"... 

 

Kvasir was a being born of the saliva of the Æsir and the Vanir, two groups of gods. Extremely wise, Kvasir traveled far and wide, teaching and spreading knowledge. This continued until the dwarfs Fjalar and Galar killed Kvasir and drained him of his blood. The two mixed his blood with honey, resulting in the Mead of Poetry, a mead which imbues the drinker with skaldship and wisdom, and the spread of which eventually resulted in the introduction of poetry to mankind.

 

Kvasir is attested in the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, both written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century, and in the poetry of skalds. According to the Prose Edda, Kvasir was instrumental in the capture and binding of Loki, and an euhemerized account of the god appears in Heimskringla, where he is attested as the wisest among

the Vanir." (1)

Another version of the tail: "In Norse mythology, Kvasir was the wisest of the Vanir, fashioned from the spittle of all the gods. Two brothers, the dwarves Fjalar and Galar, invited him to a feast in their dismal cavern and killed him. The dwarves mixed his blood with honey and preserved it in two jars and a cauldron. The mixture fermented, creating the mead of poetry. Those who drink it become inspired poets. Some time later, the brothers murdered the giant Gilling and his wife. Gilling's son, Suttung, came looking for his parents and threatened to kill the dwarves. The brothers gave the mead to Suttung in return for sparing their lives. Suttung hid the mead in the center of a mountain and ordered his daughter Gunnlod to guard it.

Suttung boasted of his treasure, and when the god Odin learned of it he went to Jotunheim to obtain the mead. Disguised as a farmhand, Odin worked for Suttung's brother, Baugi, all summer. When the work was done, Odin asked Baugi to give him a drink of the mead. Reluctantly, Baugi drilled a small hole through the side of the mountain and into the chamber where the mead was kept.

 

Odin changed himself into a snake and slithered through the hole into the chamber where Gunnlod guarded the mead. Resuming the form of a giant man, he persuaded Gunnlod to give him three sips of the mead. Odin drained all three vessels, changed himself into an eagle, and flew back to Asgard.

 

According to Kevin Crossley-Holland's book The Norse Myths, the name Kvasir is derived from the Russian word kvas which denotes a type of fermented drink similar to beer but stronger (page 191)." (2)

And once again, I know it is repetitive, but I feel that giving different versions and tellings of the story provides the best info!

"The story of Kvasir and the Mead of Poetic Inspiration comes from the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson [SKÁLDSKAPARMAL THE POESY OF SKALDS.]

The fighting Norse Vanir and the Aesir gods decided to make a truce, so each side spat in a vat to seal their peace.

 

The gods removed the spittle from the vat to keep the compact safe, then shaped the spittle into the form of a man, whom they named Kvasir. Kvasir was the wisest man on earth. He spent his days instructing humans and answering every question posed to him. In one particularly brilliant display of his intellect Kvasir helped the gods, who were hunting Loki, because he could even read ash residue.

 

One day, Kvasir received an invitation from Fjalar and Galarr, a couple of dwarves, so he visited them. Being evil dwarves, they, of course, killed Kvasir, but being practical dwarves, they then preserved his precious blood in two vats (Són and Bodn) and a kettle (Ódrerir). Then they mixed honey with the blood and so produced mead, which would keep better than plain blood.

 

Not yet finished with their mischief, the dwarves invited over the giant Gillingr and his wife. They took Gillingr out in a boat, deliberately capsized it, and then left Gillingr to drown, which he could easily do since he didn't know how to swim. The two dwarves straightened their boat, rowed back home, and reported to the giantess widow. She wailed until they offered to take her to see where her husband had drowned. On her way out, Fjalar let a millstone fall and crush the poor widow.

 

The dwarves were not to get away scot-free. The giant pair had a grown son named Suttungr who heard what had happened. He lifted and carried the dwarves out to sea and set them on a reef where they frantically begged for their lives. They offered the giant the poetic mead as a price for his father's death. Suttungr accepted the retribution." (3)

 

 

 

 

Hail Kvasir!

 

Sources:

1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kvasir

2: http://www.pantheon.org/articles/k/kvasir.html

3: http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/kgodsandgoddesses/a/111310-Kvasir.htm

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