The Children of Odin The Book of Northern Myths
Page: 22Freya had looked upon the wonders that Loki had brought into Asgard—the golden threads that were Sif's[Pg 45] hair, and Frey's boar that shed light from its bristles as it flew. The gleam of these golden things dazzled her, and made her dream in the day time and the night time of the wonders that she herself might possess. And often she thought, "What wonderful things the Three Giant Women would give me if I could bring myself to go to them on their mountaintop."
Long ere this, when the wall around their City was not yet built, and when the Gods had set up only the court with their twelve seats and the Hall that was for Odin and the Hall that was for the Goddesses, there had come into Asgard Three Giant Women.
They came after the Gods had set up a forge and had begun to work metal for their buildings. The metal they worked was pure gold. With gold they built Gladsheim, the Hall of Odin, and with gold they made all their dishes and household ware. Then was the Age of Gold, and the Gods did not grudge gold to anyone. Happy were the Gods then, and no shadow nor foreboding lay on Asgard.
But after the Three Giant Women came the Gods began to value gold and to hoard it. They played with it no more. And the happy innocence of their first days departed from them.
At last the Three were banished from Asgard. The Gods turned their thoughts from the hoarding of gold, and they built up their City, and they made themselves strong.
And now Freya, the lovely Vanir bride, thought upon the Giant Women and on the wonderful things of gold[Pg 46] they had flashed through their hands. But not to Odur, her husband, did she speak her thoughts; for Odur, more than any of the other dwellers in Asgard, was wont to think on the days of happy innocence, before gold came to be hoarded and valued. Odur would not have Freya go near the mountaintop where the Three had their high seat.
But Freya did not cease to think upon them and upon the things of gold they had. "Why should Odur know I went to them?" she said to herself. "No one will tell him. And what difference will it make if I go to them and gain some lovely thing for myself? I shall not love Odur the less because I go my own way for once."
Then one day she left their palace, leaving Odur, her husband, playing with their little child Hnossa. She left the palace and went down to the Earth. There she stayed for a while, tending the flowers that were her charge. After a while she asked the Elves to tell her where the mountain was on which the Three Giant Women stayed.
The Elves were frightened and would not tell her, although she was queen over them. She left them and stole down into the caves of the Dwarfs. It was they who showed her the way to the seat of the Giant Women, but before they showed her the way they made her feel shame and misery.