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BALDUR DEAD

from Types Of Children's Literature - Myths And Legends





One after another they turned and left the Peacestead, those
friends and brothers of the slain. One after another they turned
and went towards the city; crushed hearts, heavy footsteps, no word
amongst them, a shadow upon all. The shadow was in Asgard, too
--had walked through Frigga's hall and seated itself upon the
threshold of Gladsheim. Odin had just come out to look at it, and
Frigga stood by in mute despair as the Ăsir came up.

"Loki did it! Loki did it!" they said at last in confused, hoarse
whispers, and they looked from one to another,--upon Odin, upon
Frigga, upon the shadow which they saw before them, and which
they felt within. "Loki did it! Loki, Loki!" they went on saying;
but it was no use repeating the name of Loki over and over
again when there was another name they were too sad to utter
which yet filled all their hearts--Baldur. Frigga said it first,
and then they all went to look at him lying down so peacefully on the
grass--dead, dead.

"Carry him to the funeral pyre!" said Odin, at length; and four
of the Ăsir stooped down and lifted their dead brother.

With scarcely any sound they carried the body tenderly to the
seashore and laid it upon the deck of that majestic ship called
Ringhorn, which had been _his_. Then they stood round waiting to
see who would come to the funeral. Odin came, and on his shoulder?
sat his two ravens, whose croaking drew clouds down over the
Asa's face, for Thought and Memory sang one sad song that day.
Frigga came,--Frey, Gerda, Freyja, Thor, Hťnir, Bragi, and
Iduna. Heimdall came sweeping over the tops of the mountains on
Golden Mane, his swift, bright steed. Ăgir the Old groaned from
under the deep, and sent his daughters up to mourn around the
dead. Frost-giants and mountain-giants came crowding round the
rimy shores of Jotunheim to look across the sea upon the funeral
of an Asa. Nanna came, Baldur's fair young wife; but when she
saw the dead body of her husband, her own heart broke with grief,
and the Ăsir laid her beside him on the stately ship. After this
Odin stepped forward and placed a ring on the breast of his son,
whispering something at the same time in his ear; but when he and
the rest of the Ăsir tried to push Ringhorn into the sea before
setting fire to it, they found that their hearts were so heavy they
could lift nothing. So they beckoned to the giantess Hyrrokin to
come over from J÷tunheim and help them. She, with a single
push, set the ship floating, and then, whilst Thor stood up holding
Mi÷lnir high in the air, Odin lighted the funeral pile of Baldur and
of Nanna.

So Ringhorn went out floating towards the deep, and the funeral
fire burnt on. Its broad red flame burst forth towards heaven; but
when the smoke would have gone upward too, the winds came
sobbing and carried it away.





Next: HELHEIM

Previous: THE PEACESTEAD



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