the dictionary of norse mythology


FREY FREYR Lord One of the great gods of the Norse. His name means lord as his sister freya's means lady. Frey was the lord of the Sun, rain, and harvests. He was a shining god, bringing fertility and prosperity to all. Son of the vanir god niord, Frey was one of the hostages asked to live in asgard after the war between the aesir and the vanir. His home was alfheim elfland, and he was sometimes known as Lord of the Elves. Among the treasures of the dwarfs that went to Frey were the ship skidbladnir, which could carry all the gods and their horses and armor and yet be folded small enough to fit in a pouch the golden boar gullinbursti, which plowed the earth and made it green and a magic sword that struck out at jotuns and trolls of its own accord. Frey gave this sword as a bride price to gerda's father, gymir. He would regret its loss at ragnarok, when he battled with the fire demon surt and lost his life.Frey wed Gerda after his servant skirnir had wooed her for him. Many scholars interpret the story Frey and Gerda as a legend about the wooing of the frozen Earth Gerda by the warm Sun Frey.Historically, the worship of Frey was widespread and persistent, especially among the people of swe-den. Around the year 1200 there was a magnificent statue of Frey called there Fricco, the Lover along-side the two other great gods odin and thor in Uppsala, Sweden.Frey and Gerda One myth has it that Frey dared to climb onto the Odin's high seat, hlidskialf, where no one but the great god and sometimes his wife, frigg, were allowed to sit. From this vantage point Odin could see all the nine worlds.Frey looked about him, and his gaze was trans-fixed by a dazzling vision. He saw gerda, the fair daughter of the giant Gymir. As she opened the gates to her palace, her shapely arms shone with such radiance that the Earth and the sky around her shimmered.Frey left Odin's palace feeling sad and desolate. He knew that because Gerda was a Jotun, a daughter Frey astride his golden boar, Gullinbursti Anthony Mercatante of one of the hated giants, and he, Frey, was Lord of the Elves, he could never win her. Besides, it was said that her heart was as frozen as a seed in the hard winter earth.Frey was so unhappy that he could not eat, sleep, or speak. Everyone was troubled for him. Trees lost their leaves, and flowers faded. All nature mourned for Frey. At last Frey's father, Niord, sent Skirnir to speak to his son.Skirnir was Frey's friend and trusted servant. It did not take him long to find out what troubled Frey. Skirnir said that he would go to woo the maiden for Frey if Frey would lend him blodighofi, the won-drous horse that could leap through fire unharmed, and Frey's magic sword that struck giants and trolls of its own accord.Frey agreed, and Skirnir set off to jotunheim, the land of the giants. When he came to a wall of fire, Blodighofi leaped with Skirnir through the flames. They both came out unscathed.Outside Gymir's hall huge hounds set up a fear-some barking, howling like the winds of winter. Skirnir asked an old shepherd for advice but the man offered no help. Instead he told Skirnir that he had no hope of winning Gerda, for her heart was made of ice. He said that Frey was doomed to failure and death.

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