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Icelandic Sources In Regard To Gudmund King On The Glittering Plains


Source: Teutonic Mythology

In the saga of Hervor, Odainsaker is mentioned, and there without any
visible addition of Christian elements. Gudmund (Godmundr) was the
name of a king in Jotunheim. His home was called Grund, but the
district in which it was situated was called the Glittering Plains
(Glaesisvellir). He was wise and mighty, and in a heathen sense pious,
and he and his men became so old that they lived many generations.
Therefore, the story continues, the heathens believed that Odainsaker
was situated in his country. "That place (Odainsaker) is for everyone
who comes there so healthy that sickness and age depart, and no one ever
dies there."

According to the saga-author, Jotunheim is situated north from
Halogaland, along the shores of Gandvik. The wise and mighty Gudmund
died after he had lived half a thousand years. After his death the
people worshipped him as a god, and offered sacrifices to him.

The same Gudmund is mentioned in Herrod's and Bose's saga as a ruler of
the Glittering Plains, who was very skilful in the magic arts. The
Glittering Plains are here said to be situated near Bjarmaland, just as
in Thorstein Baearmagn's saga, in which king Gudmund's kingdom,
Glittering Plains, is a country tributary to Jotunheim, whose ruler is

In the history of Olaf Trygveson, as it is given in Flateybook, the
following episode is incorporated. The Northman Helge Thoreson was sent
on a commercial journey to the far North on the coast of Finmark, but he
got lost in a great forest. There he met twelve red-clad young maidens
on horseback, and the horses' trappings shone like gold. The chief one
of the maidens was Ingeborg, the daughter of Gudmund on the Glittering
Plains. The young maidens raised a splendid tent and set a table with
dishes of silver and gold. Helge was invited to remain, and he stayed
three days with Ingeborg. Then Gudmund's daughters got ready to leave;
but before they parted Helge received from Ingeborg two chests full of
gold and silver. With these he returned to his father, but mentioned to
nobody how he had obtained them. The next Yule night there came a great
storm, during which two men carried Helge away, none knew whither. His
sorrowing father reported this to Olaf Trygveson. The year passed. Then
it happened at Yule that Helge came in to the king in the hall, and with
him two strangers, who handed Olaf two gold-plated horns. They said they
were gifts from Gudmund on the Glittering Plains. Olaf filled the horns
with good drink and handed them to the messengers. Meanwhile he had
commanded the bishop who was present to bless the drink. The result was
that the heathen beings, who were Gudmund's messengers, cast the horns
away, and at the same time there was great noise and confusion in the
hall. The fire was extinguished, and Gudmund's men disappeared with
Helge, after having slain three of King Olaf's men. Another year passed.
Then there came to the king two men, who brought Helge with them, and
disappeared again. Helge was at that time blind. The king asked him many
questions, and Helge explained that he had spent most happy days at
Gudmund's; but King Olaf's prayers had at length made it difficult for
Gudmund and his daughter to retain him, and before his departure
Ingeborg picked his eyes out, in order that Norway's daughters should
not fall in love with them. With his gifts Gudmund had intended to
deceive King Olaf; but upon the whole Helge had nothing but good to
report about this heathen.

Next: Saxo Concerning This Same Gudmund Ruler Of The Lower World

Previous: Middle Age Sagas With Roots In The Myth Concerning The Lower World Erik Vidforle's Saga

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