SkirnismalSkirnismal ("The Lay of Skirni"), also known as "Skirni's Ride" is a poem in the Elder Edda.
In the poem, the god Freyr, the son of Niord, surreptitiously sits in Odin's throne, Hlidskjalf. From the throne, it is possible to see the whole world. On looking to the north, in Jotunheim, the land of the giants, Freyr espied a beautiful girl and was immediately seized by love. Fearing that the object of his heart's desire was unattainable, gloom settled upon him. Niord asked Freyr's servant Skirni to ascertain the cause of his son's misery.
The poem starts with Skadi, the wife of Niord bidding Skirni to ask of Freyr why he is so sad.
Skirni, fearing his master's wrath, nevertheless does as he is bidden. Freyr's response is sullen, yet he pours his heart out; Skirni offers to unite him with his loved one, and Freyr furnishes him with a magical steed and sword.
Skirni duly fetches up in Jotunheim, at the hall of the giant Gymir. Gerdur, the daughter of Gymir bids him enter the hall; without further ado, Skirni begins to woo Gerdur on Freyr's behalf, offering first gifts (amongst them Draupnir, the ring placed by Odin on the funeral pyre of his son, the slain god Baldur), then threats. Eventually, Gerdur succumbs. Skirnir reports to Freyr, who asks him:
- “Tell me, Skirnir, before unsaddling
- Or stepping forth another pace
- Is the news you bring from Jotunheim
- For better or for worse?
- In the woods of Barri, which know we both so well,
- A quiet still and tranquil place
- In nine nights time to Njord's son
- Will Gerdur give herself.
- One night is long enough, yet longer still are two;
- How then shall I contend with three?
- For months have passed more quickly
- Than half a bridal eve.