"The giving one." A minor goddess associated with plowing, foreknowledge, and virginity. She is listed among the Ásynjur by Snorri Sturluson. In Gylfaginning (35) he says that she is a virgin, and they that die maidens attend her, although in Ynglinga saga he claims that she was married to the hero Skjöldr, a son of Odin, and that they dwelt at Leidre. In Lokasenna, Loki accuses her of having once given her body to fair lad in exchange for a necklace.
In Gylfaginning, and echoed in Ynglinga saga, the legendary Swedish king Gylfi granted a certain wandering woman, in return for her merry-making, some plow land in his realm, as much as four oxen might turn up in a day and a night. But this woman was of the Æsir, and her name was Gefjon. She took four oxen from Jötunheimr — her sons by some unnamed giant — and her plow cut so hard and deep that it loosened up the land; and the oxen drew the land out into the sea and to the west, away from Sweden. There Gefjon set the land and named it Zealand (Sjælland). The ninth-century skald Bragi Boddason says:
- Gefjun drew from Gylfi
- gladly the wave-trove's free-hold,
- Till from the running beasts
- sweat reeked, to Denmark's increase;
- The oxen bore, moreover,
- eight eyes, gleaming brow-lights,
- O'er the field's wide: booty,
- and four heads in their plowing.
- Gylfaginning, 1, 35.
- Lokasenna, 20.
- Skáldskaparmál, 1, 33.
- Ynglinga saga, 5.