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GRIM'', CROSS, MICHAEL.
THE WIND-GIANT, HRÆ-SVELGR, CARRION-SWALLOWER.
Before taking leave of the Giants I submit an illustration (pl. VII.) which puzzled me much. A cross-slab at Michael has on one face, and above the right arm of the cross, the figure of a man and a great bird. At first I thought of Loki seized by the giant Thiazzi in eagle form in the story of the Rape of Idwyn, 1 but as was pointed out to me at the time by Dr. York Powell, the man is not holding on either to a stick or to the bird, but seems rather to
be attacked by it. I think now there can be little doubt it refers to the fall of some hero unknown, such, for example, as Ottar the Doughty, of whom we read in "Ynlinga-Tal," 93-96: "Ottarr the Doughty fell by the weapons of the Danes, under the talons of the Eagle, when the war-vulture spurned him, the reason-endowed, with its brute carrion feet at Wendle."
Is not this Hræ-svelgr? As in Vafthruðnis-mal--"Hræ-svelgr (Carrion-gulper) is he called, a giant in eagle's shape,. that sits at the end of heaven; from under his wings the wind that blows over all men is said to come." So in the Edda (Gylfi's mocking). And in "Volu-spa"--"But the Eagle screams. Pale-beak tear corpses."
The other face of this stone is shown on pl. IV.
27:1 Saga Book, 1895-6.