There was a great King of Denmark named Frodi. Peace reigned over all the world in his time, and his people called it Frodi’s peace, because he seemed to them all-powerful, and they thought that everything good and great was due to him. But in truth, this world-peace had been proclaimed by another mighty monarch, the Emperor Augustus.

And great wealth had King Frodi and right generous was he with his wealth, and ever ready to add to it. And it befell at this time that two mill-stones were found in Denmark, and so huge were they that no one could drag them or grind them. And Frodi was very anxious to find someone to grind them for they were magic stones, possessing the power of grinding out whatsoever the grinder wished.

And King Frodi fared to Sweden to visit the King of that land, and it chanced that he saw there two female slaves, of great strength and stature. And he bought them that they might work at his mill-stones. And the names of the two slaves were Fenja and Menja.

And Frodi took them back with him to Denmark, and set them to grind. And he commanded them to grind for him gold and peace and prosperity. And all the day they ground, and all the night when everyone


slept. And right willingly they worked, and as they worked they sang this song:

“Riches we find for Frodi,
All happiness we grind,
Wealth in abundance
In gladness’ mill.
On riches may he sit,
On down may he sleep,
To joy may he wake!
Then ‘tis well ground.
Here shall no man
Hurt another,
Prepare evil,
Nor occasion death,
Nor yet strike
With the keen sword,
Though his brother’s slayer
He find bound.”

Now when at last they had wearied of their toil, they besought King Frodi that they might rest, but he commanded them to grind on, saying: “Ye shall rest no longer than the cuckoo is silent, or while I speak one stave.” And Fenja and Menja were full of wrath at his words. And now as they ground, they sang another song. And this was what they sang

“Thou wert not wise, Frodi, in buying thy handmaids,
Thou didst choose us for our strength and size,
But thou asked not of our race.
Bold and mighty were our fathers,
Bold and mighty were our ancestors,
Sprung are we from the mountain giants.
Mighty deeds have we maidens wrought,
Moved have we the mountains from their places,
Rolled rocks so that the earth trembled.
Princes have sought our aid,
Many have we aided and many overthrown,
Now are we come to Frodi’s house,
Meeting no mercy, and held in bondage,
Mud beneath our feet, and cold above our heads.”


And as the giant-maidens sang of their wrongs, they grew angrier and angrier and angrier against Frodi for his cruelty and greed, and they ground no more for gold and peace and prosperity, but for war and fire and sword.

“Let us grind on! Let us grind on!” they sang in giant wrath as they toiled throughout the night.

And a great sea-king named Mysing came with his host, and fell upon the land of Frodi. And Frodi was slain, and his hall burnt, and Mysing took all his treasures. Then sang the giant-maidens again:

“We have ground long, O Frodi;
We have ground to our pleasure.”

And the sea-king, Mysing, took the great magic


mill-stones and the bond-maids and put them aboard his ship, and he bade them grind salt. And Fenja and Menja ground on till there was so much salt that the ship sank beneath its weight. And down it went to the bottom of the sea, which has ever since been salt. And the mill is grinding still, and will grind on for ever. And it is this grinding which we call the roaring of the sea.