Tag Archives: Norse

“East of the Sun & West of the Moon”

9 Mar

Based upon the story of Cupid & Psyche, this wintery legend has been around for centuries. . . A Beautiful Tale, it suits the season ūüôā ¬†I got this particular version from Andrew Lang’s “The Blue Fairy Book” (1965)

“The Polar Bear King” by Hurricane Kerrie

“EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF THE MOON”

aka THE POLAR BEAR KING

Once upon a time there was a poor husbandman who had many children and little to give them in the way either of food or clothing. They were all pretty, but the prettiest of all was the youngest daughter, who was so beautiful that there were no bounds to her beauty.

So once–it was late on a Thursday evening in autumn, and wild weather outside, terribly dark, and raining so heavily and blowing so hard that the walls of the cottage shook again–they were all sitting together by the fireside, each of them busy with something or other, when suddenly some one rapped three times against the window- pane. The man went out to see what could be the matter, and when he got out there stood a great big white bear.

“Good-evening to you,” said the White Bear.

“Good-evening,” said the man.

“Will you give me your youngest daughter?” said the White Bear; “if you will, you shall be as rich as you are now poor.

Truly the man would have had no objection to be rich, but he thought to himself: “I must first ask my daughter about this,” so he went in and told them that there was a great white bear outside who had faithfully promised to make them all rich if he might but have the youngest daughter.

She said no, and would not hear of it; so the man went out again, and settled with the White Bear that he should come again next Thursday evening, and get her answer. Then the man persuaded her, and talked so much to her about the wealth that they would have, and what a good thing it would be for herself, that at last she made up her mind to go, and washed and mended all her rags, made herself as smart as she could, and held herself in readiness to set out. Little enough had she to take away with her.

Next Thursday evening the White Bear came to fetch her. She seated herself on his back with her bundle, and thus they departed. When they had gone a great part of the way, the White Bear said: “Are you afraid?” Continue reading

Art I Love — Wisdom for an Eye

22 Feb

WhatisThursday’s “Wisdom for an Eye”

The Avenging Loki: The Great Irony of the Nordic Ragnarok

21 Feb

The End

The end is nigh. At least according to the blowing of the Nordic trumpet in York, now heralded by the Jorvik Viking Centre¬†as the warning for the arrival of Ragnarok, the war of the gods. ¬† If their claims run true, we’ve got until tomorrow to wind up our affairs and party like there’s no tomorrow, viking-style. ¬†Luckily, I’ve got friends in Korea who say it’s already Saturday there and they’re keeping me updated on the status of our future. ¬†

With all the hype over the foretold end and my eternal love of Loki from¬†The Avengers, I’ve recently been looking into the Norse legends, but I was surprised at the great irony wrapped up in the myth (and happy that finally Loki gets some of his own back!). ¬†

Remember how the great Odin was sadly absent an eye in the film and the big question was whether he represented an alternative Fury? ¬† Well, the short answer is no–Odin lost his centuries before the story we saw began. ¬†You know the legends, of how Loki was born to two frost giants but grew into the feared god of mischief in Odin’s court. However, the story is much deeper than this. ¬†

The Story

According to legend, Odin ¬†was a wandering god, traveling high and low across the worlds in search of ever-greater knowledge. At last he came upon Mimir’s Well, also known as the Well of Wisdom. ¬†The well offered those who drank from it sight of the events in the past, the present and the future, attracting Odin’s interest. ¬†In exchange for Odin’s eye, he was permitted to drink the waters and so watched as all the sorrows of the world passed through his mind. ¬†One such sorrow was the coming of Ragnarok and the end of the gods. ¬†

Odin watched as the future children of Loki destroyed the world at their father’s side, killing the gods and burning the planet. ¬†Horrified, began to watch and wait. Why he failed to keep his counsel to himself, we don’t know, but apparently news of Odin’s vision spread for soon the other gods picked up on his fear. ¬†Angered at Loki’s apparent betrayal, they began to turn on him, casting his further aside with derisive comments about his future destructive behavior. ¬†Furious, they refused him entry into the feasting halls, even Thor joined in with the bullying tactics. ¬†Already derided for his questionable ancestry and love of practical jokes, Loki was titled “the Betrayer” before he ever made a move. ¬†

Tomzj1’s “LOKI–The hell’s children”

Then came the dark-fated children–Fenrir, the wolf; Hel, godess of the underworld; Jormungandr, the great serpent; Vali, the shapeshifter; Sleipnir, the horse; and Nari/Narfi, the boy. ¬†And if any creatures were ever to be pitied, it was them. ¬†Sadly, Sleipnir perhaps fared the best, forcibly claimed by Odin as his warhorse, bearing the god on long journeys. ¬†The others were less lucky. ¬†

The first to suffer were Vali and Nari/Narfi. ¬†When the other gods refused to give Loki a seat at a dinner because of the “threat” he posed, Loki grew enraged and started mocking them for their unwillingness to do something about him if he was truly such a great threat. ¬†Angered, Thor and the other gods caught Loki and his two sons, bringing them deep into a cave. There, they deliberately forced Vali to shift into his wolf form and set him upon his vulnerable brother. After ripping his brother apart, Vali was executed and Loki bound to the cavern rocks with Narfi’s guts. ¬†That would have been enough to drive anyone insane!

This seems to have been the beginning of the end. Not long afterwards, Odin had Fenrir, Hel, and Jormungandr brought before him under “peaceful” terms. ¬†Once trapped, he cast Jormungandr ocean. ¬†Hel, Odin sent to the underworld, forcing upon her the task of housing the dead. Out of sight, out of mind I suppose. ¬†Fenrir, who was prophesied to be Odin’s future killer, faced the most painful betrayal of all. At first, Odin’s guards simply kept his as a pet. But as he continued to grow, they tricked Fenrir into trying on a collar meant to control his fearsome power. ¬†Once he was bound, they chained him to the earth, forcing a sword into his tender gums to keep him from biting down.¬† Continue reading

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