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Classic Myths

Page: 51

"'Adonis! Adonis!' cried Venus.

"There was nothing but drops of blood on the grass to tell her where he had been. It was all that was left of the handsome hunter.

"Venus sprinkled some of the nectar on these drops and, in an hour, tiny flower buds showed their heads. Then she drove sadly home. Soft winds blew the tiny buds open, and at night blew them away. So people called them wind-flowers, or anemones. And they believe that the pink and purple which colored them came from the heart of Adonis."

"But why didn't tiger-lilies or some other big and showy flowers come, not these pretty little things?"

"I don't know, John; go and ask Venus."


THE MISTLETOE

Norse

Baldur, the youngest brother of Thor, was called The Beautiful. His thoughts were so kind and his ways so pleasant that all who lived in Asgard, the home of the Norse gods, loved him.

Baldur's days were the happiest of all in Asgard, but when he slept his dreams were so strange that his nights were often unhappy.

He feared danger. So Frigga, his mother, who was the wife of Woden, went to the sea and made it promise that no water should drown Baldur.

She went to the stones and made them promise not to harm her son.

Everything promised to let no evil come upon Baldur the Beautiful.

Iron and all the other metals, rocks, and trees all promised. Birds, beasts, and creeping things all agreed to help and never to hurt Frigga's youngest son.

Woden, his father, went to ask a wise old woman what his son's dreams meant. She was dead, and Woden had to go to the center of the universe to find her. She gave him what help she could, and Woden and Frigga felt that now nothing could hurt their child.

The other gods that lived in Asgard knew that Baldur was safe from all harm. But to prove this and to have a little fun among themselves, they would sometimes use him as a mark at which to throw their spears or darts.

Setting Baldur in the middle of the ring, these gods of Asgard would each throw something at him.

If a stone struck him it would only glance off and never hurt. No arrow could pierce his skin. Nothing harmed him, and Baldur would smile as they played their rough play, for he knew that no one of them would work him any ill.

But Loki was different from all the others in Asgard. He could not endure to have Baldur so loved, and wished that some one could harm him. At last Loki dressed himself up as an old woman and went to Frigga's palace. Kind Frigga took the old woman by the hand and brought her into Fensalir.

Loki, in the shape of the old woman, pretended to be very friendly.

"Do you know what the gods are doing to Baldur when you are not by?" Loki asked.


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