Author: Norman (Page 1 of 8)
Loki knew that his days in Asgard had come to an end. He knew how soon anguish can give way to anger and was sure the gods would avenge Balder’s death and detention in Hel.
He ran away. He made for a deserted part of Midgard, a remote place in the mountains at the head of a steep valley that fell into the sea. He found a hollow near Franang’s Falls and, using the rock and rubble lying all around, built a low house that no man was likely to see until he had stumbled into it. It had four doors so that Loki could keep watch in every direction.
On one occasion some while after Balder’s death, when they could think about him quietly and talk about him calmly for all their foreboding, many of the gods went over to the island of Hlesey for a feast.
Aegir received them in his gleaming hall under the waves. And since Thor and Tyr had secured Hymir’s mighty cauldron for him, he had no choice but to keep his promise, brew a welter of ale and entertain his guests.
Thor himself was away on another foray into Jotunheim, but Odin and Frigg led the way; Thor’s wife, Sif, and Bragi and his wife Idun, accompanied them. So did Tyr who had left one hand in the mouth of the wolf Fenrir and to him the gods renewed their thanks for the part he had played in wresting the cauldron five miles deep from his father Hymir. Njord and his wife Skadi made the journey; so did Freyr and Freyja with Freyr’s two servants Byggvir and Beyla. Odin’s son Vidar, went with them. And Loki was there.
The gods and goddesses gathered in the shadow of Balder’s terrible dreams, dreams that threatened to pitch him into the darkness for ever. Not one of them doubted his life was in danger and for a long time they discussed how to protect him.
The gods and goddesses thought of all the ways in which one can die; they named each earth-thing, sea-thing and sky-thing that can cause sudden death. Then Balder’s mother, Frigg, began to travel through the nine worlds and get each and every substance to swear an oath that it would not harm Balder.
THE GOD MOANED.
He twisted and writhed as he tried to escape the dark shapes. He panted and moaned again, and then he woke. For a long while the fairest of the gods lay in the half light, his brow gleaming as white as the whitest flower, his hair shining, and he tried to snare his dream — to name each form and dismiss it. But the shapes skulked in the shadows, shapeless now that he was awake. And in time his fear lapsed into a dull foreboding; he closed his eyes and began to drift.
ALVIS TRAMPED ALL THE WAY from the world of the dark elves to Asgard. He hurried towards Bilskirnir and in that hall he saw the god he was looking for, but he did not recognize him. “I’ve come for my bride,” the dwarf said bluntly. “It’s taken long enough to get here, I must say, and now it’s high time that Thrud graced her new home. Everyone will say I can’t wait for my wedding night, but I don’t mean to hang around here any longer than I have to.”
WINTER HAD LOST ITS HEART.
Every day the stallions Arvak and Alsvid rose earlier to haul the Sun’s chariot across the sky, and quietly the snow pulled back from the valleys and plains of Midgard. Small choirs of birds sang and Odin, Loki and Honir were to leave Asgard and resume their exploration of the worlds.
IN A FARMHOUSE IN MIDGARD, a gathering of men and women whiled away a winter evening; they talked and drank, they sewed and gossiped and sang. Then one of their number got up from his place and stepped across to the flickering fire.
“It’s time I took the chanter’s stool,” Loddfafnir said. “I’ve stood and stared into the Well of Urd, stared in silence, wondered and pondered. For a long while I listened at the door of the High One’s hall, and inside the High One’s hall. This is what I heard.
“Listen, Loddfafnir, and listen carefully! My advice will help you if you heed it; you will prosper if You set proper store by it: never get up at night except to guard your house or relieve yourself in the outhouse.
LEND ME YOUR FALCON SKIN,’ Loki said.
Frigg smiled and nodded; then her maidservant Fulla fetched the feather coat and draped it over Loki’s shoulders. “That’s the trouble,” said Loki, leering at Frigg and then at Fulla. “These things so easily won, barely worth winning…” With that he tied on the skin, and flew round Fensalir and out of the door.