Heather Heyser wrote:
> Last night, whilst reading to my four year old,
> stories from the sagas
Hail the preservers of the heritage!
> I started to wonder about
> the Nine Virtues. Correct me if I am wrong, but
> is not one of the virtues that of Truth and
> The reason why I ask, is while reading the story
> of Fenris and Tyr,
A bit of a nit - This is about the Eddas not the
sagas. Why bring this point up? Relative age and
so relative degree of symbolic encoding.
The NNV come from the modern age since 1970 CE. I've
seen discussion that they are cited from some ancient
source but the citations don't seem to work well.
Being so modern, the NNV are explicit statements with
little attempt at poetic imagery.
The sagas come from the Icelandic settlement era.
They predate the invention of the novel, but they
are approximately novelizations of Icelandic history.
They have points exaggerated, plot lines reordered,
historical tales mixed in order to tell a lively
entertaining tale. Even though they are "based on a
true story" as the modern expression goes they are
old enough and retold enough that they are no longer
accurate depictions of events. They have lessons
within them. Burnt Njal is a huge lesson about what
happens when families dishonor themselves by accepted
wereguild and then restarting a feud for example.
The Eddas were ancient in the Icelandic settlement
era. They encode lessons about live in a very
> I noticed that even though the Gods promised
> Fenris that if the binding was too tight, they
> would remove it at once. Fenris, still not
> feeling comfortable with this idea refused; so
> then Tyr stepped in and offered to put his hand
> into Fenris' mouth, as a promise to Fenris that
> nothing would happen to him. Well we all know
> what happened then; Fenris finding that he could
> not remove the bindings bite off Tyr's hand.
> My question is this
how do I explain that even
> though the NVN are rules,
Modern rules even though they are good ones.
> and we should follow them, the Gods didn't?
Exactly. And they paid the price of failing to be
> I would like to be able to answer him with a clear
> answer, and so I ask all of you for your opinions.
It's an Eddic tale so it's ancient Lore. It would
be very poor ancient lore if it only had one lesson.
Paying the price of lying barely even scratches the
surface of the layers of the onion in this tale.
> The list goes on...
Odin giving up his honor for the runes, too. That
one shows that is not just mightier than the sword,
writing systems are mightier than the truth itself.
and their ability to preserve ancient lore is so
great that even though no one ever recites the Eddas
any more, many of us still read them and remember
> Or is it more in the light of even the God/dess'
> are continually learning?
That's another layer.
Why was Fenris bound not killed? Maybe killing him
would destroy the universe. Maybe his violence will
be needed at Ragnarok to power the creation of the
next cycle. Maybe entropy CAN NOT be killed and even
though the ancients didn't have the concept of
entropy they sure would have understood the concept
if it were presented to them.
Why was Tyr willing to sacrafice his hand? Because
he was willing to redeem the other wights and that
has made him a hero.
Why was it his right hand? Tyr Blotar are used to
bless weapons and tools. It's symbolic that he has
progressed from fighting soldier to leading general
or king who no longer goes to the front of the melee.
Note that I can think of at least two other tales in
the lore that are symbolic of this transition from
the front of conflict to a supporting and leading
Why were the other god(desse)s unwilling to offer
themselves? Because they weren't willing to lie
because they understood the principles from which
the NNV were so recently derived.
Why was it necessary to lie? Because the suvival of
the universe is more important than any notion of
personal honor and every being is subject to events
within the universe. Except Fenris who's suvject to
events both within and without.
Why did Loki bear Fenris in the first place? The
tale of each of Loki's three well known children
contains its own sequence of lessons just like the
list I've suggested above.