Gnomic Verses of Garm

If at Ragnarok you’re fated to die,
No manner of sin do you dare not try.

There ain’t nothing that’s more a bitch
Than not being able to reach the itch.

Cast on the evil side of existence
Means never worrying about your conscience.

In the lands of snow, far from clover
Hell is always frozen over.

A flea drinks from beggar or King of France
And never knows the difference

Pick and choose thy supper well,
But stay away from Taco Bell
For even the greatest hound of hell
Can’t put up with that foul smell.

Get it straight—you damn inbreds
I’m not the one what’s got three heads.

Garm or Garmr (“Best of Hounds”): A great monstrous dog of Norse myths that is chained in the cavern of Gripa, the entrance to Niflheim (the entrance is also known as Gnipahelli). He especially torments the souls who were unkind to the poor. One day Gram will leave his cave, throw his head back, and howl, sparking Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods. He and his nemesis the god Tyr shall be the last two combatants to die.

Snorri Sturluson names Managarm (“Moon-dog”) as the canine at Ragnarok that swallows the moon. Other writers claim it will be a wolf.

Some descriptions of Garm give him four eyes, similar to the dogs of Yama, the Brahman god of death, but the most obvious analogy is the Greek’s Cerebus.

The Celts warned mourners that if they grieved too long, “You are waking the dog that watches to devour the souls of the dead.” Arawn, the Celtic god of the underworld, owned a pack of white hunting dogs with red ears which factored in several of his myths. The Maori of New Zealand feared Kopuwai, the king of the two-headed demon dogs. The Aztec dog-god Xolotl accompanied the sun in its nightly death and resurrection. The Tarascan (Meso-American) god Uizimengari gathered the souls of drowned men to bring to the afterlife. Old Arabian legends spoke of the Beni-Kelb, “the Sons of the Dog,” whose women are beautiful but men are human-eating monsters.

The Egyptians also believed in an animal that guarded the souls of the dead but saw their guardian, Ammit, as a creature with the body of a hippopotamus and the head of a crocodile. According to Plutarch, the jackal-headed god Anubis, “guarded the gods as dogs do men.”

A trinity of Slavic goddesses called the Zorya, ruled over twilight, night, and morning, but their primary task was guarding the celestial dog chained the North Star. If she falters, the dog will break free and the world will die.

Gnomic verse:  verse that tells a pithy saying or proverb. Gnomic verse is associated with the ancient Greeks but is found in many cultures. The most famous English example is “He that is in battle slain/Will never rise to fight again/But he who fights and runs away/Will live to fight another day.”

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