The Children of Odin The Book of Northern Myths

Page: 11

"Oh, why have you carried me off from Asgard and brought me to this place?" Iduna cried.

"That I might eat your shining apples, Iduna," said Thiassi the Giant.

"That will never be, for I will not give them to you," said Iduna.

"Give me the apples to eat, and I shall carry you back to Asgard."

"No, no, that cannot be. I have been trusted with the shining apples that I might give them to the Gods only."

"Then I shall take the apples from you," said Thiassi the Giant.

He took the basket out of her hands and opened it. But when he touched the apples they shriveled under his hands. He left them in the basket and he set the basket down, for he knew now that the apples would be no good[Pg 22] to him unless Iduna gave them to him with her own hands.

"You must stay with me here until you give me the shining apples," he said to her.

Then was poor Iduna frightened: she was frightened of the strange cave and frightened of the fire that kept bursting up out of the earth and she was frightened of the terrible Giant. But above all she was frightened to think of the evil that would fall upon the Dwellers in Asgard if she were not there to give them the shining apples to eat.

The Giant came to her again. But still Iduna would not give him the shining apples. And there in the cave she stayed, the Giant troubling her every day. And she grew more and more fearful as she saw in her dreams the Dwellers in Asgard go to her garden—go there, and not being given the shining apples, feel and see a change coming over themselves and over each other.

It was as Iduna saw it in her dreams. Every day the Dwellers in Asgard went to her garden—Odin and Thor, Hödur and Baldur, Tyr and Heimdall, Vidar and Vali, with Frigga, Freya, Nanna, and Sif. There was no one to pluck the apples of their tree. And a change began to come over the Gods and Goddesses.

They no longer walked lightly; their shoulders became bent; their eyes no longer were as bright as dewdrops. And when they looked upon one another they saw the change. Age was coming upon the Dwellers in Asgard.

They knew that the time would come when Frigga would be gray and old; when Sif's golden hair would fade; when Odin would no longer have his clear wisdom, and[Pg 23] when Thor would not have strength enough to raise and fling his thunderbolts. And the Dwellers in Asgard were saddened by this knowledge, and it seemed to them that all brightness had gone from their shining City.

Where was Iduna whose apples would give back youth and strength and beauty to the Dwellers in Asgard? The Gods had searched for her through the World of Men. No trace of her did they find. But now Odin, searching through his wisdom, saw a means to get knowledge of where Iduna was hidden.