Oithin went to Mimir to get a draught from the Well of Wisdom--the well that Mimir guarded. He knew well what price Mimir would ask for a draught from his well--he would ask for Oithin's right eye. It was a terrible price; very troubled was All-Father when the price that Mimir would ask was revealed to him.
To be without the sight of his right eye! For all time to be with. out the sight of his right eye! Almost Oithin would have turned back to Asgarth, giving up his quest for wisdom.
But when he turned to the south he saw towards Muspellsheim: there stood Surt with the Flaming Sword, a terrible figure, who would one day join with the Giants in their war against the Gods. He turned to the north and he saw that place of darkness and dread, Niflheim. Oithin knew that the world was between Surt, who would destroy it with fire, and Niflheim, out of which would come that which would gather the world back to Darkness and Nothingness. He, the eldest of the Gods, would have to win the wisdom that would help to save the world.
And so, facing loss and pain, Oithin All-Father turned and went towards Mimir's Well. It was under the root of Yggdrasil that grew in Jotunheim. There sat Mimir, the Guardian of the Well of Wisdom,
his deep eyes bent upon the deep water. Mimir, who had drunk every day from the Well of Wisdom, knew who it was that stood before him.
"Hail, Oithin, eldest of the Gods," he said.
Then Oithin made reverence to Mimir, the wisest of the world's beings. "I would drink from your well, Mimir," he said.
"'There is a price to be paid. All who have come here to drink have shrunk from paying that price. Will you, eldest of the Gods, pay it?"
"I will not shrink from the price that has to be paid, Mimir," said Oithin All-Father.
"Then drink," said Mimir. He took the horn that was by the root of Yggdrasil; he filled it up, and he gave it to Oithin to drink from.
Oithin took the horn in both his hands and drank and drank from it. And as he drank all the future became clear to him. He saw all the sorrows and troubles that would fall upon men and Gods. But he saw, too, why the sorrows and troubles had to fall, and he saw how they might be borne so that Gods and men, by being noble in the days of sorrow and trouble, would leave in the world a force that one day, a day that was far off indeed, would destroy the evil that brought terror and sorrow and despair into the world.
Then, when he had drunk out of the great horn that Mimir had given him, Oithin put his hand to his face and plucked out his right eye. Terrible was the pain that he suffered. But he made no groan nor moan. He bowed his head and put his cloak before his face. Mimir took the eye and let it sink deep, deep into the water of the Well of Wisdom. The Eye of Oithin shone up through the water, a sign to all who came to that place of the price that the eldest of the Gods had paid for his wisdom. Mimir took water in the vessel that is that Eye. He watered the root of Yggdrasil from that vessel.