Baldur and Loki
A lot has been said and written about Loki in research and writing. The greatest manipulator of all Nordic gods,
a semi-devil, a father of lies, a shame for gods and humans alike. He was bad tempered and of bad character,
as Snorri Sturluson wrote.
But at the same time he was far more intelligent and much more clever than all the other gods, even though he
pursued his aims usually with rather unfair means. And he was a coward, however also the only inhabitant of
Asgard - the abode of the gods on a rock in the middle of Midgard, the habitat of humans - who could be said
to be witty, humorous and with a presence of mind. And above all he proved again and again to be a very
valuable assistant to the gods when they were in trouble, which indeed happened quite often. Because of this,
his weakness of character, his lies and his treacherous behaviour were again and again patiently overlooked.
Only once did he go too far, with disastrous results, when he participated in the murder of Baldur, the most
beloved son of Odin. This act of infamy should be his undoing and at the same time the beginning of the
end of the world, Ragnarök.
About Baldur the sagas tell us only positive things. So white and shining he was, radiating beauty and
goodness, that even a flower was named after him, the lovely chamomile, the . He was
also the most beautiful of the gods, honest, charming and intelligent and no wrong could be found in either
his words or deeds. The gods just simply adored him.
One day Baldur had a dream, in which he foresaw danger to his life. Odin, his father was worried and went
into the underworld in order to force an already dead seeress to forecast Baldur's future. Here he was told,
that Baldur would one day be killed in a devious way, thus triggering the events which would lead to
the end of the world, Ragnarök.
In an attempt to prevent this disaster the gods decided to force all existing things and creatures to vow not ever
to hurt Baldur. Frigg, Baldur's mother, went to everybody and everything, fire and water, metals and stones,
the soil, plants, poisons and animals, etc. etc., and made them swear not to hurt or wound her son.
Thus Baldur became invulnerable and the gods entertained themselves hence, to shoot at Baldur with arrows,
cast stones and spears at him or hit him with swords, since they knew he could not be wounded or killed.
There was, however, one living thing, which Frigg had not approached, since she considered it to be too weak,
the mistletoe, which lived on the oak tree. And Loki knew about this. In his jealousy against Baldur he
concocted an extraordinary sinister plan.
He cut a branch of the mistletoe in the form of a spear and gave it to Höd, another of Odin's sons, who was blind,
but very strong. Höd usually did not participate in the gods fun to shoot and throw at Baldur. But in this
case, unaware of the kind of weapon he held, he let his arm be guided by Loki, threw the spear ... and killed
The fury of the gods about this vile deed knew no bounds. They took Loki, tied him with the intestines of his
own son and dumped him into a cave, in which poison from snakes hanging from the ceiling dripped
continously on to the face of Loki, hurting him immensly and making him writhe with pain so much, that
earthquakes shook the earth and volcanoes started to erupt.
Ragnarök begins and in the final battle between the gods and the giants from the east, from Muspell,
everybody dies, gods and humans alike. The world breaks apart and the earth disappears in a maelstrom
of fire and steam into the ocean.
But the tree of the world, Yggdrasill, remains, shaken but intact and in its branches two humans survive,
a man and a woman, the forefathers of a new, better world, into which Baldur also returns, leading a new
generation of gods.