This post has been taken from the Pagan Dawn website and the full posting can be found here.
“ The chosen text [selected from Havamal] echoes exactly the same teaching but comes from an age much nearer to our own in space and time. These verses are the words of Odin, the High One, who like Zeus is also a god of wanderers…
The essence of the selection is that generosity is its own reward as it destroys anxiety and faint-heartedness. Practical courtesy to strangers is advised, for any of us may have bad luck, but every refugee comes with their own back story of accomplishments, which may be of use or interest to us now or which may be turned to account for them as they find their feet. And the guest/ refugee has obligations too. This is a relationship of equals, one of whom is temporarily in need, not a paternalistic relationship of dependence… ”
48 Generous and brave men live the best,
they seldom harbour anxiety;
but the cowardly man is afraid of everything,
the miser even sighs when he gets gifts!
37 Even a small home is better than none;
everyone’s someone at home;
[but] a man’s heart bleeds when he has to beg
for every single meal.
2 Blessed be the givers! A guest has come in,
where is he going to sit?
3 Fire is needful for someone who’s come in
and who’s chilled up to the knees;
food and clothing are needed for the man
who’s journeyed over the mountains.
4 Water is needful for someone who comes to a meal,
a towel and a warm welcome …
135 I advise you, Loddfáfnir, [naïve lad]
to take advice;
you would benefit, if you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
do not scorn a guest
nor drive him away from your gates;
treat the homeless well.
132 …never hold up to scorn or mockery
a guest or a wanderer.
133 Often those who sit in hall do not really know
whose kin those newcomers are;
no man is so good that he has no blemish,
nor so bad that he can’t succeed in something.
69 No man is completely wretched, even if he has bad luck;
one man has been blessed with sons,
another with kinsmen, another has enough money,
another has done great deeds.
35 A man must go, he must not remain a guest
always in the same place;
the loved man is loathed if he sits too long
in someone else’s hall.
(With adaptations, from the translation by Carolyne Larrington 1996)