Hymn to Máni the Sweller

For Sparrow

To Máni the Sweller

I hail Máni, Mundilferi’s brilliant son and the brother
of flame-haired Sunna, who together were placed
in the heavens by the kindly Æsir
that men might have a means for the telling of time;
the Sun who oversees the everyday business of life
and the seasons which chase each other round the year
like four hungry wolves, and the Moon
which determines the best times
for planting and harvesting, births and slaughters,
when to celebrate the festivals of the Vanir,
assists in unspeakable sorcerous workings,
and serves as witness to the pledges of lovers.
Once Máni did more than that, helping
to bring together the star-crossed pair,
the mad Bear King Óðr and Freyja who won
by precious labor the indescribably beautiful
Brísingamen. But back then she was the mistress
of Óðinn whose spear never misses its mark,
and he kept her in a bower which no man,
no God and no Dwarf could ever reach
or hope to breach if they did, for he wove
powerful magic into its defenses.
And what was Óðr at that time?
A no account fosterling of Njörðr’s
whose true name and history
were unknown to all,
including himself.
But what was known is that
he was a dear companion of Máni
and the Moon God is good to his friends.
So he picked Óðr up, shrunk him down
to the size of a speck of dust in a moonbeam,
and slipped unnoticed through a window
in the high tower which none other could enter,
and then made Óðr swell large again
like fruit on the vine so that he and Freyja
could properly enjoy their beautiful reunion.
I will save the rest of the tale for another time
since it is known by one and all,
and practically every skáld of any worth
has composed verse on the theme
as if it was part of the matter of Troy,
but I will end by saying
that Óðr and his girl never forgot
this boon done them by Máni
and until the final day will not cease
singing his praises;
nor should we.

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