Myths of the Norsemen From the Eddas and Sagas
Loki’s last Crime
Loki’s last crime, and the one which filled his measure of iniquity, was to induce Hodur to throw the fatal mistletoe at Balder, whom he hated merely on account of his immaculate purity. Perhaps even this crime might have been condoned had it not been for his obduracy when, in the disguise of the old woman Thok, he was called upon to shed a tear for Balder. His action on this occasion convinced the gods that nothing but evil remained within him, and they pronounced unanimously upon him the sentence of perpetual banishment from Asgard.
To divert the gods’ sadness and make them, for a short time, forget the treachery of Loki and the loss of Balder, Ægir, god of the sea, invited them to partake of a banquet in his coral caves at the bottom of the sea.
“Now, to assuage the high gods’ grief
And bring their mourning some relief,
From coral caves
’Neath ocean waves,
Mighty King Ægir
Invited the Æsir
In Hlesey’s hall;
That, tho’ for Baldur every guest
Was grieving yet,
He might forget
Awhile his woe in friendly feast.”
Valhalla (J. C. Jones).
The gods gladly accepted the invitation, and clad in their richest garb, and with festive smiles, they appeared in the coral caves at the appointed time. None were absent save the radiant Balder, for whom many a regretful sigh was heaved, and the evil Loki, whom none could regret. In the course of the feast, however, this last-named god appeared in their midst like a dark shadow, and when bidden to depart, he gave vent to his evil passions in a torrent of invective against the gods.
“Of the Æsir and the Alfar
That are here within
Not one has a friendly word for thee.”
Ægir’s Compotation, or Loki’s Altercation (Thorpe’s tr.).
Then, jealous of the praises which Funfeng, Ægir’s servant, had won for the dexterity with which he waited upon his master’s guests, Loki suddenly turned upon him and slew him. At this wanton crime, the gods in fierce wrath drove Loki away once more, threatening him with dire punishment should he ever appear before them again.
Scarcely had the Æsir recovered from this disagreeable interruption to their feast, and resumed their places at the board, when Loki came creeping in once more, resuming his slanders with venomous tongue, and taunting the gods with their weaknesses or shortcomings, dwelling maliciously upon their physical imperfections, and deriding them for their mistakes. In vain the gods tried to stem his abuse; his voice rose louder and louder, and he was just giving utterance to some base slander about Sif, when he was suddenly cut short by the sight of Thor’s hammer, angrily brandished by an arm whose power he knew full well, and he fled incontinently.
“Silence, thou impure being!
My mighty hammer, Miöllnir,
Shall stop thy prating.