THERE is in the legends of the Scandinavians a marvelous record of the coming of the Comet. It has been repeated generation after generation, translated into all languages, commented on, criticised, but never understood. It has been regarded as a wild, unmeaning rhapsody of words, or as a premonition of some future earth catastrophe. But look at it! The very name is significant. According to Professor Anderson's etymology of the word, it means "the darkness of the gods"; from regin, gods, and rökr, darkness; but it may, more properly, be derived from the Icelandic, Danish, and Swedish regn, a rain, and rök, smoke, or dust; and it may mean the rain of dust, for the clay came first as dust; it is described in some Indian legends as ashes. First, there is, as in the tradition of the Druids, page 135, ante, the story of an age of crime. The Vala looks upon the world, and, as the "Elder Edda" tells us-- There saw she wade In the heavy streams, Men--foul murderers And perjurers, And them who others' wives Seduce to sin. Brothers slay brothers Sisters' children Shed each other's blood. Hard is the world! Sensual sin grows huge. There are sword-ages, axe-ages; Shields are cleft in twain; Storm-ages, murder ages; Till the world falls dead, And men no longer spare Or pity one another." The world has ripened for destruction; and "Ragnarok," the darkness of the gods, or the rain of dust and ashes, comes to complete the work.
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