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King Frodë from Sweden
Two giant maidens brought:
With many a shining gulden
From King Fjolnir bought;
For in all the realm of Gotland
No hand was to be found
To grasp the huge quern-handle
And turn the mill-stones round,--


The wonderful grey quern-stones,
Of his treasures best by far,
Once wrested from the giants
By his great ancestor Thor;
Now whoso turned them roundabout
Could grind good luck or ill,
Gold and jewels, joy and plenty,
Could summon at his will.


"Grind, grind for me!" cried Frodë,
"Beneath your mighty hold
These magical grey quern-stones
Shall grind me gems and gold."
Then Menja and Fenja
They stood up at the quern,
And slowly, so slowly,
The stones began to turn,


Then swifter, and swifter,
Until through all the land
The gold and silver money
Was plentiful as sand.
"We grind good luck to Gotland,
Rich harvest-fields of grain;
No vessel sails from harbor
That comes not back again."


"Grind, grind for me!" cried Frodë,
"Grind love and joy and peace,
Till Gotland is the richest realm,
Your grinding shall not cease!"
"There is no beggar in the land,
Each peasant has his hoard,
And nowhere in the kingdom
Does the warrior draw his sword.


"Now give us rest, O Frodë!"
"Then rest ye," said the king,
"But only while the cuckoo's note
Is silent in the spring."
"O never in the springtime
Does the cuckoo's calling cease,
So bid us somewhat longer
From labor find release."


"Then rest ye while a verse
Of my minstrel's song is sung."--
Upon the handle of the quern
The sinewy hands are flung.
"We grind good luck to Gotland;
To Frodë quiet sleep;
Be heard no sound of wrangling,
No eye be seen to weep!


"Now give us rest, O Frodë;
Have you not had your fill?"
"Rest only while a verse is sung,
Or the cuckoo's note is still."
"Black are the skies above us,
The cold winds beat our breast,
The frost is keen and biting;
O Frodë, give us rest!"


"Revenge! Revenge, O Menja!
We are of giant's blood.
Grind, grind, O sister, swiftly--
Bring ruin, fire, and flood!
A ship comes sailing, sailing,
With valiant warriors manned;
We grind them near and nearer,
Say, Frodë, shall they land?"


"A ship comes sailing, sailing!
To Gotland hastening.
Awake, awake, O Frodë,
Or be no more a king!
'Tis Mysingr the viking;
Thee sleeping shall he find?
Grind faster, grind harder,--
To Frodë death we grind!"


The quern-stones and the giant maids
The vikings bear on board,
With Frodë's crown and jewels,
And all his shining hoard.
"Of golden store we need no more;
But here no salt we find:
Ho Menja! Ho Fenja!
Grind salt, weird sisters, grind!"


"From noon of day till noon of night
We labor at the quern!
Ho, viking, hast thou salt enough?"
But still he bade them turn.
"The ship is filled with salt, O king,
So well thy slaves have ground!"
Beneath the weight the vessel sinks,
And all the host are drowned.


"Grind, Menja! Grind, Fenja!
The quern-stones shall not halt
Till all the waters of the sea
Are filled with shining salt!"
Unto this day the quern-stones whirl,
And still the salt out-pours,
And where they sank off Norway's coast,
The Maelstrom seethes and roars!