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Myths of the Norsemen by H. A. Guerber

There Forseti dwells Throughout all time


style="text-align: justify;">Worship of Uller

Numerous temples were dedicated to Uller in the North, and on his altars, as well as on those of all the other gods, lay a sacred ring upon which oaths were sworn. This ring was said to have the power of shrinking so violently as to sever the finger of any premeditated perjurer. The people visited Uller's shrine, especially during the months of November and December, to entreat him to send a thick covering of snow over their lands, as earnest of a good harvest; and as he was supposed to send out the glorious flashes of the aurora borealis, which illumine the Northern sky during its long night, he was considered nearly akin to Balder, the personification of light.

According to other authorities, Uller was Balder's special friend, principally because he too spent part of the year in the dismal depths of Nifl-heim, with Hel, the goddess of death. Uller was supposed to endure a yearly banishment thither, during the summer months, when he was forced to resign his sway over the earth to Odin, the summer god, and there Balder came to join him at Midsummer, the date of his disappearance from Asgard, for then the days began to grow shorter, and the rule of light (Balder) gradually yielded to the ever encroaching power of darkness (Hodur).

CHAPTER XII: FORSETI

style="text-align: justify;"> The God of Justice and Truth

Son of Balder, god of light, and of Nanna, goddess of immaculate purity, Forseti was the wisest, most eloquent, and most gentle of all the gods. When his presence in Asgard became known, the gods awarded him a seat in the council hall, decreed that he should be patron of justice and righteousness, and gave him as abode the radiant palace Glitnir. This dwelling had a silver roof, supported on pillars of gold, and it shone so brightly that it could be seen from a great distance.

"Glitner is the tenth; It is on gold sustained, And also with silver decked. There Forseti dwells Throughout all time, And every strife allays."

Saemund's Edda (Thorpe's tr.).

Here, upon an exalted throne, Forseti, the lawgiver, sat day after day, settling the differences of gods and men, patiently listening to both sides of every question, and finally pronouncing sentences so equitable that none ever found fault with his decrees. Such were this god's eloquence and power of persuasion that he always succeeded in touching his hearers' hearts, and never failed to reconcile even the most bitter foes. All who left his presence were thereafter sure to live in peace, for none dared break a vow once made to him, lest they should incur his just anger and be smitten immediately unto death.

"Forsete, Balder's high-born son, Hath heard mine oath; Strike dead, Forset', if e'er I'm won To break my troth."

Viking Tales of the North (R. B. Anderson).

As god of justice and eternal law, Forseti was supposed to preside over every judicial assembly; he was invariably appealed to by all who were about to undergo a trial, and it was said that he rarely failed to help the deserving.

The Story of Heligoland

In order to facilitate the administration of justice throughout their land it is related that the Frisians commissioned twelve of their wisest men, the Asegeir, or elders, to collect the laws of the various families and tribes composing their nation, and to compile from them a code which should be the basis of uniform laws. The elders, having painstakingly finished their task of collecting this miscellaneous information, embarked upon a small vessel, to seek some secluded spot where they might conduct their deliberations in peace. But no sooner had they pushed away from shore than a tempest arose, which drove their vessel far out to sea, first on this course and then on that, until they entirely lost their bearings. In their distress the twelve jurists called upon Forseti, begging him to help them to reach land once again, and the prayer was scarcely ended when they perceived, to their utter surprise, that the vessel contained a thirteenth passenger.


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