The Children of Odin The Book of Northern Myths

Page: 26

Frey sat on Odin's high seat for long. Then he went down the steps of the Tower and passed by the two wolves, Geri and Freki, that looked threateningly upon him. He went through Asgard, but he found no one to please him in the City of the Gods. That night sleep did not come to him, for his thoughts were fixed upon the loveliness of the Giant maid he had looked upon. And when morning came he was filled with loneliness because he thought himself so far from her. He went to Hlidskjalf again, thinking to climb the Tower and have sight of her once more. But now the two wolves, Geri and Freki, bared their teeth at him and would not let him pass, although he spoke to them again in the language of the Gods.

He went and spoke to wise Niörd, his father. "She whom you have seen, my son," said Niörd, "is Gerda, the daughter of the Giant Gymer. You must give over thinking of her. Your love for her would be an ill thing for you."

"Why should it be an ill thing for me?" Frey asked.

"Because you would have to give that which you prize most for the sake of coming to her."

"That which I prize most," said Frey, "is my magic sword."

"You will have to give your magic sword," said his father, the wise Niörd.

"I will give it," said Frey, loosening his magic sword from his belt.

"Bethink thee, my son," said Niörd. "If thou givest[Pg 54] thy sword, what weapon wilt thou have on the day of Ragnarök, when the Giants will make war upon the Gods?"

Frey did not speak, but he thought the day of Ragnarök was far off. "I cannot live without Gerda," he said, as he turned away.

There was one in Asgard who was called Skirnir. He was a venturesome being who never cared what he said or did. To no one else but Skirnir could Frey bring himself to tell of the trouble that had fallen on him—the trouble that was the punishment for his placing himself on the seat of the All-Father.

Skirnir laughed when he heard Frey's tale. "Thou, a Van, in love with a maid of Jötunheim! This is fun indeed! Will ye make a marriage of it?"

"Would that I might even speak to her or send a message of love to her," said Frey. "But I may not leave my watch over the Elves."

"And if I should take a message to Gerda," said Skirnir the Venturesome, "what would my reward be?"

"My boat Skidbladnir or my boar Golden Bristle," said Frey.

"No, no," said Skirnir. "I want something to go by my side. I want something to use in my hand. Give me the magic sword you own."

Frey thought upon what his father said, that he would be left weaponless on the day of Ragnarök, when the Giants would make war upon the Gods and when Asgard would be endangered. He thought upon this, and drew[Pg 55] back from Skirnir, and for a while he remained in thought. And all the time thick-set Skirnir was laughing at him out of his wide mouth and his blue eyes. Then Frey said to himself, "The day of Ragnarök is far off, and I cannot live without Gerda."