Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/161

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153
THE PHILOSOPHY OF RUMPELSTILTSKIN.

any yet seen, but lacked the treasure withal. As he walked 'twixt hill and dale he met a troll, who, when he heard the king's wish, offered to build the church for him within a given time; stipulating that he was to have the sun and moon, or Olaf himself, in payment. The king agreed; the church was to be large enough to allow seven priests to preach in it at the same time without disturbing one another; and erelong the structure was finished, except the roof and spire. Perplexed at the terms he had acceded to, Olaf once more wandered over hill and dale, when suddenly he heard a child cry from within a mountain, while a giant-woman quieted it with these words, "Hush, hush, to-morrow comes thy father, Wind and Weather, home, bringing both sun and moon or saintly Olaf's self." Overjoyed at this discovery, Olaf turned home. Seeing that the spire was just fixed, he cried, "Wind and Weather, thou hast set the spire askew," when instantly the giant fell off the ridge of the roof with a fearful crash and burst into a thousand pieces, which were nothing but flintstones,[1] In Swedish legend a giant promises to build a church for the White Christ if Laurentius can find out his name, otherwise he must forfeit his eyes. As in the Olaf legend, the giantess is overheard hushing her crying child and uttering the giant's name.[2]

Then there are the questions, partaking more or less of the nature of riddles, with penalties attaching to failure, which are a prominent feature of old northern poetry. Of these we may cite examples from the "Alviss-mal" and the "Wafthrudnis-mal," adopting the versions given in Vigfusson and Powell's Corpus Foeticum Boreale, the one and unsurpassable authority upon Icelandic Sagas.

AUwise the Dwarf, having entrapped the gods into a promise of giving him Freya to wife, comes to claim her, but one of the Anses (probably Wingi, i. e., Woden, for the frank, blunt, character of Thor would by no means suit the part, though Wingthor is found in the MS.) contrives, by playing on his philological vanity, to keep him

  1. Grimm, T. M. 547, 548.
  2. Cf. Arnason's Icelandic Legends, p. 49, where the story hinges on the name of the builder in "Who built Reynir Church"?