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In The Days of Giants A Book of Norse Tales

Page: 48

Oh, marvelous, grand, and beautiful! He looked off into the heavens, and there he saw all the Æsir busy about their daily work. He looked above, into the shining realm of clear air. And there he saw his messengers, the pretty little Light-Elves, flying about upon their errands of help for men. Some were carrying seeds for the farmers to plant. Some were watering the fields with their little water-pots, making the summer showers.134 Some were pinching the cheeks of the apples to make them red, and others were reeling silk for the corn-tassels. Then Frey looked down upon the earth, where men were scurrying around like little ants, improving the blessings which his servants were sending, and often stopping their work to give thanks to their beloved Frey. And this made his kind heart glad.

Next he turned his gaze down into the depths of the blue ocean which flowed about Midgard like a great river. And down in the sea-caves he saw the mermaids playing, Queen Ran and her daughters the white-capped Waves, with their nets ready to catch the sailors who might be drowned at sea. And he saw King Œgir, among the whales and dolphins, with all the myriad wondrous creatures who lived in his watery empire. But Frey's father, old Niörd, lord of the ocean wind, would have been more interested than he in such a sight.

Last of all Frey bent his eyes upon the far, cold land of Jotunheim, beyond the ocean, where the giants lived; and as he did so, a beam of brightness dazzled him. He rubbed135 his eyes and looked again; and lo! the flash was from the bright arms of a beautiful maiden, who was passing from her father's hall to her own little bower. When she raised her arms to open the door, the air and water reflected their brightness so that the whole world was flooded with light, and one shaft shot straight into the heart of Frey, making him love her and long for her more than for anything he had ever seen. But because he knew that she must be a giant's daughter, how could he win her for his bride? Frey descended from Odin's throne very sadly, very hopelessly, and went home with a heavy heart which would let him neither eat nor sleep. This was the penalty which came for his disobedience in presuming to sit upon Odin's sacred throne.

For hours no one dared speak to Frey, he looked so gloomy and forbidding, quite unlike his own gay self. Niörd his father was greatly worried, and knew not what to do; at last he sent for Skirnir, who was Frey's favorite servant, and bade him find out what was the matter. Skirnir therefore went to his master, whom he found sitting all alone in his great136 hall, looking as if there were no more joy for him.

"What ails you, master?" asked Skirnir. "From the beginning of time when we were very young we two have lived together, and I have served you with loving care. You ought, then, to have confidence in me and tell me all your troubles."


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