Náströnd

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An illustration of Náströnd (1895) by Lorenz Frølich.

In Norse mythology, Náströnd (Corpse Shore) is a place in Hel where Níðhöggr lives and chews on corpses. It is the afterlife for those guilty of murder, adultery and oath-breaking (which the Norsemen considered the worst possible crimes).

Poetic Edda[edit]

The Völuspá says:

Sal sá hón standa
sólo fiarri,
Nástrǫndu á,
norðr horfa dyrr.
Fello eitrdropar
inn um lióra.
Sá er undinn salr
orma hryggiom.
Sá hón þar vaða
þunga strauma
menn meinsvara
ok morðvarga
ok þannz annars glepr
eyrarúno.
Þar saug Níðhǫggr
nái framgengna,
sleit vargr vera.
Vitoð ér enn, eða hvat?
Völuspá 38-39, Dronke's edition
A hall she saw standing
remote from the sun
on Dead Body Shore.
Its door looks north.
There fell drops of venom
in through the roof vent.
That hall is woven
of serpents’ spines.
She saw there wading
onerous streams
men perjured
and wolfish murderers
and the one who seduces
another’s close-trusted wife.
There Malice Striker sucked
corpses of the dead,
the wolf tore men.
Do you still seek to know? And what?
Völuspá 38-39, Dronke's translation

Prose Edda[edit]

Snorri Sturluson quotes this part of Völuspá in the Gylfaginning section of his Prose Edda. He uses the plural of the word: Nástrandir (Corpse Shores).

Á Náströndum er mikill salr ok illr, ok horfa í norðr dyrr, hann er ok ofinn allr ormahryggjum sem vandahús, en ormahöfuð öll vitu inn í húsit ok blása eitri, svá at eptir salnum renna eitrár, ok vaða þær ár eiðrofar ok morðvargar, svá sem hér segir:
Sal veit ek standa
sólu fjarri
Náströndu á,
norðr horfa dyrr.
Falla eitrdropar
inn of ljóra.
Sá er undinn salr
orma hryggjum.
Skulu þar vaða
þunga strauma
menn meinsvara
ok morðvargar.
En í Hvergelmi er verst:
Þar kvelr Níðhöggr
nái framgengna. Gylfaginning 52, EB's edition
On Nástrand [Strand of the Dead] is a great hall and evil, and its doors face to the north: it is all woven of serpent-backs like a wattle-house; and all the snake-heads turn into the house and blow venom, so that along the hall run rivers of venom; and they who have broken oaths, and murderers, wade those rivers, even as it says here:
I know a hall standing
far from the sun,
In Nástrand:
the doors to northward are turned;
Venom-drops falls
down from the roof-holes;
That hall is bordered
with backs of serpents.
There are doomed to wade
the weltering streams
Men that are mansworn,
and they that murderers are.
But it is worst in Hvergelmir:
There the cursed snake tears
dead men's corpses. Gylfaginning 52, Brodeur's translation

See also[edit]

References[edit]