name = Monica McKirdy
email =
publish = yes
title = Norse Mythology
papers = The book entitled "Norse

Mythology" by Karl

Mortensen, is the book I chose to read for my first
book report for this semester. The book was
translated from the Danish
by A. Clinton Crowell.

Karl Mortensen was a doctor of philosophy whom
attended the University of Copenhagen.

The first part of the book is
the general
introduction. Here, you find the author\'s meaning
of "Norse
mythology" and where he got his
information. He says,

By "Norse mythology" we mean the
we have concerning the
religious conceptions and usages
of our
heathen forefathers, their faith and
manner of worshipping the gods, and also
their legends and songs
about the gods
and heroes. The importation of

Christianity drove out the old heathen
faith, but
remnants or memories of it
long endured in the superstitious
of the common people, and can even be
in our own day.

In the general introduction, the author tells
us why we teach Norse mythology. He tells us that
for us, Norse mythology
has in any case the
advantage of being the religion of our own
and through it we learn to know that
religion. This is necessary if we
wish to
understand the history and poetry of our antiquity
and to comprehend
what good characteristics and
what faults Christianity encountered when
it was
proclaimed in the North. Finally, it is necessary
to know the
most important points of the heathen
faith of our fathers in order to appreciate
enjoy many of the words of our best poets.

"Norse Mythology"
is comprised of four main
sections. The first section contains the creation
myth, which is extremely confusing because it talks
about brother\'s
aunt\'s cousin\'s children from
second marriages and what importance they
were in
those golden times. It\'s quite hard to understand,
and I had
to read it over twice to make sure I
understood. The second part of the
first section
discusses the creation of the gods and the stories
their lives. And the last part is entitled

Ragnorak, which stands for the
enemies of the gods.

All of this was quite interesting to read.

The second section of the book talks about
common popular belief. It says
that our
forefathers, like other heathen people, found one
of the plainest
proofs of the soul\'s independence
of the body and its ability to take a
hand in the
affairs of living men in the nightmare and dream,
as they
lacked all other means of explaining those
things. They therefore took
it for granted that
they were spirits, usually in the form of animals
or men. Through the smallest crack or crevice the
nightmare slips to the
sleeping one, and torments
and troubles him so sadly that he becomes ill
that it causes his death. It is felt as an
oppressing weight upon
the breast or throat; the
mare "treads" or "rides" the sleeping one from
legs up to his body and thrusts his tongue into the
victim\'s throat
to hinder him from crying out. The

Northern people have clung this very
day to their
belief in the "mare" as a supernatural female
being, and
many legends about it have arisen. A

"mare" can slip out only by the same
way that it
came in; if one stops up the opening, it is caught.

same thing happens if one names its name.

In the Ynglinga Saga
it is told of

King Vanlandi, who had betrayed his

Finnish bride, Drifa, that he in
for that had been killed by a\'mare\' with which the magic arts
of the

Finns had tormented him. He became
suddenly sleepy and lay down to rest,
but when he had slept
a little he cried
that a \'mare\' was treading him. The
king\'s men hastened to his assistance,
but when they
turned to his head, the\'mare\' trod upon his legs so that they
were nearly broken, and if they went to
the legs,
she was directly occupied at
the head; and so the king was actually
tortured to death.

Also found in the second section
are chief gods
and myths of the gods. Here, there are stories told
of Thor, Odin, Frey and Njorth, Heimdall and

Baldur, and Loki. It comments
on the various
thresholds crossed by these great gods, and the
that they accomplished.

The third section is rather short, but it is
solely focused on the forms of worship and
religious life. It tells
of the Norse temples, or

Hofs, which means in general "a holy place." The

Hofs were large square, occasionally round, houses,
built in the same
style and of the same kind