Havamal – Stanza 3
Havamal – Stanza 3

Old Norse

Elds er þörf
þeim er inn er kominn
og á kné kalinn.
Matar og voða
er manni þörf,
þeim er hefir um fjall farið.

English Translations

Fire is needed by the newcomer
Whose knees are frozen numb;
Meat and clean linen a man needs
Who has fared across the fells,

-Auden & Taylor

He hath need of fire, who now is come,
numbed with cold to the knee;
food and clothing the wanderer craves
who has fared o’er the rimy fell.


Fire is needful
to him who is come in,
and whose knees are frozen;
food and raiment
a man requires,
who o’er the fell has traveled.


My Understanding

This is referring to the treatment of a guest, particularly, according to the last line, one that has traveled over the mountains. This Stanza advises the host to care for the newcomer by offering fire to warm their frozen limbs. Then offering good food and clean, dry clothes.

In modern times, this is important hospitality that is observed regularly. Helping someone out of their wet coat and offering hot coffee or tea to warm up. Or even offering warm dry clothes while you offer to dry theirs.

Following this advice builds and strengthens bonds. A very important thing in a harsh cold climate. 

Basic Lessons

– Be hospitable to newcomers –

– Offer Comfort –

– Show empathy for their discomfort –

Have Questions?

13 + 1 =