"Mighty weaver." In the eddic poem Vafþrúðnismál, Odin undertakes a trip to the hall of the wise jötunn Vafþrúðnir, for the purpose of proving his knowledge, although his wife Frigg implores him not to go. Odin assumes the name Gagnráðr and arrives at the giant's hall.

The giant immediately insists that they shall demonstrate which is the wiser of the two, and propounds four questions, each of which Odin answers. It is then Odin's turn to ask, and he begins with a series of twelve numbered questions regarding the origins and past history of life. These the giant answers, and Odin asks five more questions, this time referring to what is to follow the destruction of the gods, the last one asking the name of his own slayer. Again Vafþrúðnir answers, and Odin propounds a final, unanswerable question: What said Odin in his son's ear, ere he on the pile was laid? Vafþrúðnir, who now realizes his guest's identity, has to concede defeat:

That no one knoweth,
what thou in days of old
saidst in thy son's ear.
With dying mouth
my ancient saws I have said,
and the gods' destruction.
With Odin I have contended
in wise utterances:
of men thou ever art the wisest!

The giant presumably lost his life, as, in stanza 19, he was rash enough wager his head against that of his guest. Nothing is known of this giant beyond what is told in the poem. His name is found among the jötnar in the Nafnaþulur.



  • Vafþrúðnismál.