Sunday, December 4, 2011

Frigga's Sorrow

The beginning of this story is that Baldr the Good had some terrible dreams that threatened his life. When he told the Æsir these dreams, they took counsel together and it was decided to seek protection for Baldr from every kind of peril. Frigg exacted an oath from fire and water, iron and all kinds of metals, stones, earth, trees, ailments, beasts, birds, poison and serpents, that they would not harm Baldr. And when this had been done and put to the test, Baldr and the Æsir used to amuse themselves by making him stand up at their assemblies for some of them to throw darts at, others to strike and the rest to throw stones at. No matter what was done he was never hurt, and everyone thought that a fine thing. When Loki, Laufey's son, saw that, however, he was annoyed that Baldr was not hurt and he went disguised as a woman to Fensalir to visit Frigg. Frigg asked this woman if she knew what the Æsir were doing at the assembly. She answered that they were all throwing things at Baldr, moreover that he was not being hurt.

Frigg remarked: "Neither weapons nor trees will injure Baldr; I have taken an oath from them all."

The woman asked: "Has everything sworn you an oath to spare Baldr?"

Frigg replied: "West of Valhalla grows a little bush called mistletoe, I did not exact an oath from it; I thought it too young." Thereupon the woman disappeared.

Loki took hold of the mistletoe, pulled it up and went to the assembly. Now Höð was standing on the outer edge of the circle of men because he was blind. Loki asked him: "Why aren't you throwing darts at Baldr?"

He replied: "Because I can't see where Baldr is, and, another thing, I have no weapon."

Then Loki said: "You go and do as the others are doing and show Baldr honour like other men. I will show you where he is standing: throw this twig at him." Höð took the mistletoe and aimed at Baldr as directed by Loki.

The dart went right through him and he fell dead to the ground. This was the greatest misfortune ever to befall gods and men.


So worried was Frigg for her son's life, that she elicited oaths from everything not to harm her son, but tragically underestimated Mistletoe. This story underlines the lengths to which parents will go to safeguard their children, and the lengths to which we all go to safeguard our loved ones (among other lessons).

Click on the image above to see a full-sized version of it.

Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods

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