The journey to Hel by the hero Hadding from the Gesta Danorum (History of the Danes)


While he was living with Ragnhild, Hadding had another mysterious experience. A woman appeared bearing some herbs. Wishing to know where such herbs grew in winter, Hadding went with this woman under the earth. They passed through mists, and then through sunny, fertile regions, where the herbs had grown. Then they came to a raging torrent, flowing with weapons. Crossing by a bridge, they came upon armies of fallen warriors, locked in eternal battle. As they pressed forward, a wall stood in their way; they could go no further, but the woman tore off the head of a cock, which she happened to have with her, and flung it over the wall. Immediately the cock came to life and crowed.

In that way, the hero realized that he was facing Helgrindr, the gates of Hel itself, and that the herbs carried by his companion actually came from Hel.


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