The Frog and the Beaver grew up together in the same pond and were the best of friends. They had a real fondness for each other, spoke often, and visited each other's homes. They knew each other so long, that they even shared many mutual friends in and around the pond. Many an evening you would find the Frog and the Beaver sitting side by side on the Beaver's dam talking and laughing and watching the sun set.
One day, the Beaver was visited by a Ringed Snake, and he found the Snake to be interesting, and funny, and a pleasure to be around. He knew that many of his friends in the pond were scared of the Snake, but the Beaver wasn't scared, because Ringed Snakes don't hunt or eat Beavers. A friendship began between the Beaver and the Ringed Snake and they began to visit each other frequently.
Days and weeks had gone by, and the Beaver realized that his friend the Frog had stopped visiting him. The more the Beaver thought about it, all of his friends in the pond except the Snake had stopped visiting him. The Beaver missed the Frog, so he looked around the pond for him and found him swimming with their friend the Water Rat. The Beaver waddled over and asked, "Where have you been my friend?"
In an angry voice, Frog croaked out, "You've become friends with my enemy the Ringed Snake. The Snake hunts and eats Frogs like me, and you know it. I've seen many tadpoles and frogs become the Snake's dinner, and yet he is now your friend."
The Beaver shrugged, "Frog, I don't see how my friendship with the Snake has anything to do with the friendship you and I share. It is two different things."
The Water Rat sneered at the Beaver, and said, "You should never be friends with the enemy of a friend. We've all seen your lack of loyalty to Frog, and none of us trust you anymore. Go away."
The Beaver swam home and thought, "Well I've lost all my old friends, but at least the Ringed Snake is still my friend." When the Beaver arrived home, the Ringed Snake was waiting for him. The Beaver smiled, "Hello, my Friend."
The Ring Snake laughed. "I'm not your friend. I've been visiting you these past few weeks because I saw you had friends that I could eat. I've eaten a belly-full of your little friends, but the one's that remain have stopped visiting you...and so shall I."
(Hávamál Stanza 43)
Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods