The Children of Odin The Book of Northern Myths

Page: 28

Then Skirnir the Venturesome, the heedless of his words, drew the magic sword from his belt and held it above her. "Give your love to Frey, who has given me this sword," he said, "or meet your death by the edge of it."

Gerda, Gymer's daughter, only laughed at the reckless Skirnir, "Make the daughters of men fearful by the sharpness of Frey's sword," she said, "but do not try to frighten a Giant's daughter with it."

Then Skirnir the Reckless, the heedless of his words, made the magic sword flash before her eyes, while he cried out in a terrible voice, saying a spell over her:

Gerda, I will curse thee;
Yes, with this magic
Blade I shall touch thee;
Such is its power
That, like a thistle,
Withered 'twill leave thee,
Like a thistle the wind
Strips from the roof.

Hearing these terrible words and the strange hissings of the magic sword, Gerda threw herself on the ground, crying out for pity. But Skirnir stood above her, and the magic sword flashed and hissed over her. Skirnir sang:[Pg 58]

More ugly I'll leave thee
Than maid ever was;
Thou wilt be mocked at
By men and by Giants;
A Dwarf only will wed thee;
Now on this instant
With this blade I shall touch thee,
And leave thee bespelled.

She lifted herself on her knees and cried out to Skirnir to spare her from the spell of the magic sword.

"Only if thou wilt give thy love to Frey," said Skirnir.

"I will give my love to him," said Gerda. "Now put up thy magic sword and drink a cup of mead and depart from Gymer's dwelling."

"I will not drink a cup of your mead nor shall I depart from Gymer's dwelling until you yourself say that you will meet and speak with Frey."

"I will meet and speak with him," said Gerda.

"When will you meet and speak with him?" asked Skirnir.

"In the wood of Barri nine nights from this. Let him come and meet me there."

Then Skirnir put up his magic sword and drank the cup of mead that Gerda gave him. He rode from Gymer's house, laughing aloud at having won Gerda for Frey, and so making the magic sword his own for ever.

Skirnir the Venturesome, the heedless of his words, riding across Bifröst on his mighty horse, found Frey standing[Pg 59] waiting for him beside Heimdall, the Warder of the Bridge to Asgard.

"What news dost thou bring me?" cried Frey. "Speak, Skirnir, before thou dost dismount from thine horse."

"In nine nights from this thou mayst meet Gerda in Barri Wood," said Skirnir. He looked at him, laughing out of his wide mouth and his blue eyes. But Frey turned away, saying to himself:

Long is one day;
Long, long two.
Can I live through
Nine long days?

Long indeed were these days for Frey. But the ninth day came, and in the evening Frey went to Barri Wood. And there he met Gerda, the Giant maid. She was as fair as when he had seen her before the door of Gymer's house. And when she saw Frey, so tall and noble looking, the Giant's daughter was glad that Skirnir the Venturesome had made her promise to come to Barri Wood. They gave each other rings of gold. It was settled that the Giant maid should come as a bride to Asgard.