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the dictionary of norse mythology

FREYA


FREYA Skirnir knew that the norns had decided his fate and when he should die. There was nothing he could do except to go about his duty with hope and courage.Inside her hall, Gerda looked coldly at Skirnir. First he offered her golden apples if she would give her love to Frey, but Gerda had plenty of gold. Then he offered her Odin's magic ring, draupnir, but Gerda had plenty of jewels.Next Skirnir tried threats He would cut off her head with the magic sword. Gerda replied that her father would kill Skirnir first and keep the magic sword for himself. Skirnir followed by drawing from his belt a wand and a knife. He said he would carve the most terrifying magic runes upon the wand and strike her with it. The runes would be curses that doomed her to be forever lonely and filled with long-ing. She would have no friends, no husband, no chil-dren. Only the horrible frost giant hrimgrimnir would pursue her with foul corpses for companions. Food and drink would taste loathsome to her. She would always be cold and miserable and would slowly dry up like a dying thistle, trampled underfoot and forgotten by all.At this dreadful threat Gerda at last promised to marry Frey. Skirnir left Frey's magic sword behind as a bride price for Gymir and rode back to Frey with the happy news that Gerda would wed him in nine days at the sacred barley patch, barri. In Norse mythology nine days symbolize the nine months of a northern winter. The long delay dismayed Frey until he should meet his bride.It is said that after they were married Frey and Gerda were the happiest couple in the world, for the warmth of Frey's love had melted Gerda's icy heart, just as the sun of spring thaws the frozen earth and brings forth the plants from seeds hidden inside it.The story of Frey and Gerda is a moving love poem. It exemplifies the deep longing the Norse had for the sunshine and warmth of spring after the long, frozen winters of their native lands.

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