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LOKI THE TRICKSTER

Loki was a god in Valhalla. He was a trickster, a shapechanger and he enjoyed playing tricks. This often got him into trouble. There are many stories told about his tricks. Here are two.


THE DEATH OF BALDER.

Balder was Odin and Frigg's son. He was loved by all but he had nightmares. He feared that he was about to be killed. His mother, Frigg, asked everything to swear not to kill him, so the water, the animals and even the stones swore not to kill him.

Balder seemed to be safe. The gods thought of a new game to play. This was that they threw deadly things at Balder. They all laughed when Balder remained unhurt.

Loki the trickster was not amused. He discovered that every thing in the world had sworn not to hurt Balder except a young sprig of mistletoe. He immediately took the mistletoe and got the bling god Hoder to throw it at Balder. This killed him.

The other gods were stunned. Because they were on holy ground they let Loki go.

Balder's funeral pyre was organised. His brother Hermod went with the dead Balder to hell to plead for Balder's return.

The deal was made that everyone would have to weep for him. Everyone wept except a giant goddess who was actually Loki in disguise. The gods had had enough.

They searched Loki out and captured him. They left him with a serpent hanging above him dropping venom on his face. The death of Balder was avenged. It is said that after Ragnarok he will return to life.

by Orla Brady.


THE APPLES OF YOUTH.

One day Loki and Odan were travelling through the wilderness. They felt very hungry so they killed an ox. They tried to cook it but it would not cook. An eagle told them that they were to blame.

The eagle was actually a giant called Thiassi in disguise. So Loki in a temper picked up a pole from the ground and struck the eagle with it. The pole stuck to the eagle and to Loki. Loki asked him to let him go. The eagle would only let him down if he could have the godess Idun and the apples of youth.

Loki lured Idun out of Asguard, the home of the gods, so that Thiassi could catch her. Without Idun and her apples the gods became grey and old. So the gods brought Loki before them. Loki said that he would get the apples and Idun back. Loki changed into a bird and then changed Idun into a nut and holding her in his falcon's claws flew back to Asgard as fast as he could. Thassi followed him.

The gods saw Loki coming with Thassi behind him. They lit a fire. THassi flew into it and burned. Odin picked out his eyes and threw them into the sky. They are the stars in the sky today.

by Elizabeth Reilly


Updated June 1997 by the Viking Network
IRISH CO-ORDINATOR Michael Farry.

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