Monday, 13 June 2016


Currently, our parallel texts are not alternative American future history series but Poul Anderson's heroic fantasies, the Eddas and the Bible. How many cocks crow in mythology? I know of four:

one might be something else;
two crow in different worlds on the same morning;
the fourth I have read about only in a work by Anderson.

A cock crows after Peter denies Christ but would a cock have crowed in the city center or was it a Roman morning trumpet blast called "cockcrow"?

On Ragnarok morning:

"'Away in Jotunheim the red cock Fialar crows loudly; and another cock with golden crest crows over Asgard.'"
-Roger Lancelyn Green, Tales Of Asgard (Puffin/Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1960), p. 250.

It seems a shame not to continue quoting this account:

"'Then all bonds are loosened: the Fenris Wolf breaks free; the sea gushes over the land as Jormungand the Midgard Serpent swims ashore. Then the ship Naglfar is loosened: it is made of dead men's nails...Fenris advances with open mouth, and Jormungand blows venom over sea and air...
"'Then the sky splits open and the Sons of Muspell come in fire: Surtur leads them with his flaming sword, and when they ride over Bifrost the Bridge breaks behind them and falls in pieces to the earth.'" (pp. 250-251)

Armageddon writ large.

In Anderson's War Of The Gods, when a mysterious supernatural woman kills a cock and throws its severed body over an impassable underworld wall, it is heard to crow on the other side...

Make of that what you can. It reads like a surreal dream.

Addendum: Voluspa has three cocks crowing before the Ragnarok.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Interesting! That the "cock" heard by St. Peter was a Roman musical instrument used by the Legions. I had thought, along with almost everybody else, that it was the BIRD Peter heard.