Friday, July 7, 2006

Loki And Freya

Loki And Freya Cover Owing to his extreme acuteness of hearing, Heimdall was greatly disturbed one night by hearing soft, catlike footsteps in the direction of Freya’s palace, Folkvang. Gazing fixedly towards that side with his eagle eyes, Heimdall soon perceived, in spite of the darkness, that the sound was produced by Loki, who stealthily entered the palace as a fly, stole to Freya’s bedside, and strove to purloin her shining golden necklace Brisinga-men, the emblem of the fruitfulness of the earth.

As it happened, however, the Goddess had turned in her sleep in such a way that he could not Possibly unclasp the necklace Without awaking her. Loki stood hesitatingly by the bedside for a few moments, and then rapidly began to mutter the runes which enabled the Gods to change their form at will. As he was doing this, Heimdall saw him shrivel up until he was changed to the size and form of a flea, when he crept under the bedclothes and bit Freya’s side, thus making her change her position without really rousing her.

The clasp was now free, and Loki, cautiously unfastening it, secured the coveted ornament, with which he proceeded to steal away. Heimdall immediately started out in pursuit of the Midnight thief, and drawing his sword from its scabbard, was about to cut off his head when the God suddenly transformed himself into a flickering blue flame. Quick as thought, Heimdall changed himself into a cloud and sent down a deluge of rain to quench the fire; but Loki as promptly altered his form to that of a huge polar bear, and opened wide his jaws to swallow the water. Heimdall, nothing daunted, then assumed the form of a bear also, and fought fiercely with him; but the combat threatening to end disastrously for Loki, he changed himself into a seal, and, Heimdall imitating him, a last struggle took place, at the end of which Loki, vanquished, was forced to give up the necklace, which was duly restored to Freya.

In this tale, Loki is an emblem of the drought, or of the baleful effects of the too ardent heat of the sun, which comes to rob the earth (Freya) of its most cherished ornament (Brisinga-men). Heimdall is a personification of the gentle rain and dew, which, after struggling for a while with his foe the drought, manages to conquer him and force him to relinquish his prize.

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