Contest Entry: Thokk Picture

Second entry for "Myths and Legends: An Illustration Contest".

"Then, when the messengers went home, having well wrought their errand, they found, in a certain cave, where a giantess sat: she called herself Thökk. They prayed her to weep Baldr out of Hel; she answered:

Thökk will weep
waterless tears
For Baldr's bale-fare;
Living or dead,
I loved not the churl's son;
Let Hel hold to that she hath!

And men deem that she who was there was Loki Laufeyarson, who hath wrought most ill among the Æsir."
-Gylfaginning, Brodeur's translation

When Baldur, god of light and spring, amongst other things, forsaw his death in a dream, his mother, Frigg, went out and exacted an oath from every person, creature, and thing to prevent anything from ever hurting her son. By the end of this excursion, not even water or fire would harm Baldur.

However, Frigg failed to make the young mistletoe plant swear any such oath, believing it was too small and young (or, in some versions, unimportant) to be capable of hurting Baldur, much less swear an oath.

Later on in the myth, Loki, in disguise, learned from Frigg that the mistletoe hadn't taken the oath.

Meanwhile, the other gods were having a competition of sorts, which is really to say that they were throwing various objects at Baldur for fun, as Baldur was now impervious to, they believed, everything. Only Hod (also written as Hodr), the blind twin brother of Baldur and god of darkness and suffering, was not participating. Loki, noticing this, asked Hod why. Hod replied that he was hampered by his blindness, which prevented him from (a) seeing where he was throwing, and (b) possessing a weapon.

Loki, claiming that Hod should not be left out, gave Hod a dart made from mistletoe and guided Hod's aim. When Hod threw the dart, it struck Baldur, and Baldur was killed instantly.

"Loki took the mistletoe and pulled it up and went to the Thing (a gathering or council). Hödr stood outside the ring of men, because he was blind. Then spake Loki to him: 'Why dost thou not shoot at Baldr?' He answered: 'Because I see not where Baldr is; and for this also, that I am weaponless.' Then said Loki: 'Do thou also after the manner of other men, and show Baldr honor as the other men do. I will direct thee where he stands; shoot at him with this wand.'

Hödr took mistletoe and shot at Baldr, being guided by Loki: the shaft flew through Baldr, and he fell dead to the earth; and that was the greatest mischance that has ever befallen among gods and men." - Brodeur's translation

As for Hod, he was killed by Vali, son of Odin and the giantess Rindr, to avenge Baldur.

When Baldur was killed by Loki (through Baldur's blind twin brother, Hod) Baldur's soul was sent to Hel, the goddess of the underworld, if you will. As Baldur was much loved by the Aesir -especially his mother, Frigg- a bargain was made between the Aesir and the goddess Hel, through the messenger Hermod (occasionally written as Hermiod), to bring Baldur back to life. The bargain was, essentially, if every creature in Midgard (Earth) would weep for Baldur, then Hel would give Baldur back.

The Aesir sent out messengers to ask everyone and everything all over the world to weep for Baldur -and they all wept. Except one. On the way back from their travels, the messengers discovered a giantess in a cave, called Thokk (sometimes written as Tokk), who was not weeping. When they asked her to and explained their reasons, she refused, and the bargain could not be completed.

Many speculate that Thokk was probably Loki in disguise.

Ironically, "Thokk" or "Tokk" means "Thanks".

I am the incarnation of all ages,
I've seen it all and of reason.
Some of you may trust in me,
And some of you may know that;
Stones and earth swore an oath
As did iron and all kinds of ore.
Some cried tears, but Tokk did not
She did what she could, why ask for more?

Hark! Is that the battle's horn?
Has Ragnarok been born?
Fire runs, my passion burns
Love cries as death comes.
Is that the frost and fire,
Giants of south and those up higher?
Fire runs my passion burns,
Fear breakes and chaos rules.

My children might be known to you,
Some might have even met them, too.
Guilt is mine in words not felt,
Wisdoms sons presence lack.
Mother, father, which am I?
Ask my sons, wolf or death?
I will guarantee,
This is not the last you've heard from me!

I've felt the taste of poison,
Water, wet, I breathe like air.
I caused the earth to rumble
And soon the end of all you know.
Some of you may recognize
My skills in lies and betrayal acts.
The very same might find it strange
My brother is the wisdom's face.

Hark! Is that the battle's horn?
Has Ragnarok been born?
Fire runs, my passion burns
Love cries as death comes.
Is that the frost and fire,
Giants of south and those up higher?
Fire runs my passion burns,
Fear breakes and chaos rules.

-Einherjer, "Remember Tokk"

(Some of the lyrics are a little odd -this is from a Norwegian band.)
Continue Reading: The Underworld