The Mythological Gefion

The Gefion Fountain never stops to fascinate me. I came here as a child with my mother. Now I’m back as an adult being a tourist in my home town.



The fountain depicts the mythical story of the creation of the island of Zealand on which Copenhagen is located. The legend appears in Ragnarsdrápa, a 9th-century Skaldic poem recorded in the 13th century Prose Edda, and in Ynglinga saga as recorded in Snorri Sturluson’s 13th century Heimskringla.

According to Ynglinga saga, the Swedish king Gylfi promised Gefjun the territory she could plow in a night. She turned her four sons into oxen, and the territory they plowed out of the earth was then thrown into the Danish sea between Scania and the island of Fyn. The hole became a lake called Lögrinn and Leginum (locative). Snorri identifies the lake Löginn, as the lake of Old Sigtuna west of Stockholm, i.e., Lake Mälaren, an identification that he returns to later in the Saga of Olaf the Holy. The same identification of Löginn/Leginum as Mälaren appears in Ásmundar saga kappabana, where it is the lake by Agnafit (modern Stockholm), and also in Knýtlinga saga.

In spite of Snorri’s identification, tourist information about the fountain identifies the resultant lake as Vänern[1] ,[2][3][4] Sweden’s largest lake, citing the fact that modern maps show that Zealand and the lake resemble each other in size and shape.

Snorri, however, was well acquainted with Vänern as he had visited Västergötland in 1219. When he referred to this lake he called it Vænir[5] Wikipedia

7 Comments on “The Mythological Gefion

  1. Interesting that, Hanna. Snorri Sturluson was quite a guy. I read some of his other works a lot of years ago, but not this you have referred to here.
    Cheers, Alen

    • It is a divine gift when sculptors manage to create works of art that always gives great experiences. The dramatic composition with the goddess Gefion who whip of the oxen, and the powerful fountain enhances the dramatic effect.
      If Hans Christian Andersen, had written the story Gefion, I would never have seen the sight of the sculpture due to flocks of tourists. Now it’s ‘just’ a fantastic defunct Icelandic chieftain who committed the scriptures.
      Glory to Island!! 🙂

  2. I like this statue 🙂 A Danish friend of mine had told me the story, but not with so many details. Tak!

  3. Great reading about our cultural heritage, Hanna and what a lovely capture of the Gefion Fountain!
    God helg til deg!

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