Mistletoe and Whine

balder-must-die

This is about the Old Norse myth of the god Baldur; meaning ‘The Shining One’. He was possibly a sun god as his twin brother Hodur is both dark and blind.

Baldur was Odin’s wife, Frig’s favourite son.

Yes, you heard it right! Frig!

Frig; Frig; Frig; Frig; Frig! Great isn’t it! And it ain’t even swearing!

Actually it’s not. Linguists think there is no relationship between the name of the Norse goddess and the Middle English word ‘to rub’, except for the fact that this F-word and the other F-word, along with the C-word, all come from good old fashioned Anglo-Saxon. A language that gave rise to the family group that includes English, German, Swedish and Dutch. As does Hell – she was Loki’s daughter.

Knowing he was fated to be mortally wounded Frig (and there it is again) made every living thing swear not to harm her beloved son. However she overlooked the mistletoe because it was small, soft and insignificant.

As Baldur was now invulnerable, the other gods took great delight at throwing all sorts of sharp objects at him and watching them bounce off. Cunning old Loki knowing Frig had overlooked the mistletoe fashioned a dart from it, which he hardened with his breath. As Hodur was blind and could not throw things at his glorious brother, he was feeling a little left out. Obligingly Loki gave him the dart and guided his hand.

Loki_and_Hod

Naughty, Loki!

Loki was eventually punished by for Baldur’s murder by being chained for eternity under a monstrous serpent whose fangs dripped burning venom into his face. Loki’s faithful wife took it on herself to hold a bowl over her husband to catch the venom. But every so often, when she has to empty the bowl, the venom drips into Loki’s eyes causing such agony his tormented writhing makes the whole world shake – and that my friends is how earthquakes are made.

Loki,_by_Mårten_Eskil_Winge_1890

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