Thursday, 1 March 2012
One of Loki's Best Gigs
An inspiration from my favourite Norse ‘God’ who apparently inspired and motivated me. One of my favourite Norse Myths:
Norse Myth (and Loki) enthusiasts and never to ignore those followers of Joanne Harris’ Runemarks and Runelight, the following is one of my favourite tales:
THJAZI, LOKI, SKADI AND A GOAT
According to Bragi:
Odin, Loki and Hoenir once travelled from home (Asgard). They crossed the mountains and deserts beyond. They found very little food and were hungry.
They came to a field of oxen and killing one, they cooked it. Although they continually broke open the cooking pit the oxen never seemed to properly cook and the meat was raw. After discussing the cause, they heard a voice coming from a nearby oak tree. A large eagle perched there.
The eagle said: “If you will give me my fill of the meat, it will cook.”
It was agreed and the eagle ate more than its fill.
However Loki took exception to this and picking up a large stick, with all of his strength, he struck the Eagle.
Unfortunately for Loki, the stick stuck firmly in the eagle’s body and it bore him away. Terrified, Loki’s feet hung at times hundreds of feet over the ground but worse, brushed the ground, the rocks and the sharp stumps and branches of trees. Loki held on but realised this was certainly not a good position to be in. He feared his arms would be pulled from their sockets or he would be torn apart by the rocks and trees… He dared not let go of the stick.
Loki finally cried out to the eagle and begged for mercy. The eagle in reply said that Loki would face an unfortunate situation or death unless he gave an oath that he would deliver the goddess Idun, out of Asgard, with her apples of youth, to the eagle.
An oath was unbreakable. The consequences would be extreme if an oath was broken.
Loki was set free and returned to his companions, but kept his secret.
Shortly after he enticed Idun into leaving Asgard and going into the forests in order, as he said, to procure apples rarer and more worthy then the apples of youth she collected. He cajoled Idun into following him.
The eagle returned immediately in the form of Thjazi (a Jotun or giant) who seized Idun and bore her away.
When Idun was seen as missing, and obvious culprit was Loki, (as always right or wrong) the gods seized Loki. They attacked Loki and threatened him with torture, dismemberment and death. Idun’s presence was cherished. not only as a beloved goddess but also as the one who kept the gods from old age with her apples. was invaluable.
Loki knew that this was no bluff and had no desire for the consequences the Gods promised him. He therefore took a falcon shape (being a shape shifter, and in some versions having borrowed Freya's falcon cloak) and flew into the Giant’s (Jotunheim) land. The Jotun, Thjazi was away at sea and Loki was able to find Idun and transform her into a nut, and therefore within his talons, Loki bore Idun back to Asgard.
Upon returning Thjazi immediately noted the disappearance of Idun. In fury, he transformed once again into an eagle and flew to Asgard.
The Aesir, knowing Loki’s success in saving Idun, saw Thjazi in his guise of an eagle and had prepared. Wood shavings lined the walls of the fortress and were lit. The eagle, Thjazi, dived and could not stop before he met with the flames which ignited his falcon feathers. Therefore, although there was great peril for the Aesir, Thjazi was consumed by the flames and died.
Of course Thjazi’s daughter Skadi was overwhelmed with grief and vengeance, and donned her mail. She approached the Aesir and demanded an apology and compensation. The Aesir offered Skadi reconciliation and compensation. They told her to choose from amongst the Aesir a husband. Skadi’s fault, despite being a warrior and a hunter, was that like most women, she desired Baldr – son of Frigg, Odin’s wife. Baldr was considered the fairest of men. Skadi faced the line up. Nothing but the feet of the men was exposed. Skadi thought Baldr MUST have the fairest feet of all.
Skadi was mistaken. Njord (or Noatun), god of the sea, an old man, had the fairest of feet from his continual walking in the salt water and sand. Thus she chose Njord without knowing and thus was her fate. She was married to Njord - a union which did not survive.
As a concession, the Aesir took Thjazi's eyes and threw them into the heavens thus creating two new stars in the firmament.
The second condition was that the Aesir must make Skadi laugh.
Skadi? Laugh? Skadi was stern. She did not laugh.
Of course Loki was put into play. Loki was charming, Loki was clever, Loki didn’t worry much about the opinion of others (particularly if he was proving a point – he already knew that no matter what he did or said to benefit the gods, their opinion of him would remain the same). So Loki took the situation into his own hands. He felt a bit of humour at his own personal expense would certainly fix the situation.
Loki found a goat. He tied a cord to the goat’s beard. The other end, he tied to his own testicles. (Give him credit for this!) Thus, ensued a sort of ‘tug of war’. Of course the goat protested and Loki squealed. Eventually the cord loosened and Loki fell into Skadi’s lap. How couldn’t she laugh? Though distressed, Loki looked up and started to (albeit painfully) laugh and thus Skadi also began to laugh.
Thus the conditions were sealed.
Though Skadi and Njord’s marriage failed (another story) she lived amongst the Vanir and the Aesir in relative peace.
Loki? Well…he still managed to father children and brushed the whole affair off…
Though I believe he must have limped for a long time.