the dictionary of norse mythology


IDUNN mid-nineth- to early-10th-century Norwegian poet Thiodor of Hvini. Idunn's Apples The goddess Idunn supplied the gods with the apples that kept them forever young. One day Idunn and her apples were stolen away. According to Snorri, the great god odin, his brother hoenir, and loki, the sly one, went exploring. When they became hungry they killed an ox, built a fire, and started to cook the meat. But no matter what they did, the meat remained raw and inedible. A huge eagle landed on a tree nearby and said that he would make their fire burn like a furnace to cook the meat if only he could have a share of the food. The hungry travelers agreed to the bargain, the fire burned bright, the meat cooked, and the eagle ate almost all of it in a gulp. Loki, quick to anger, swiped at the eagle but got carried away in its talons. The eagle dragged Loki over rocks and thorns until he begged for mercy. The eagle would not let Loki go until he promised to deliver to him Idunn and her apples of youth. Loki agreed at once and the eagle dropped him back to Earth. After Loki limped back to his companions, he did not tell them of his promise to the eagle, who he had realized was the giant Thiazzi in disguise. Back in asgard, Loki wasted no time, for he was terrified of the fierce Thiazzi and knew he must some-how keep his promise. Loki ran to the peaceful orchard that Idunn tended with her husband, Bragi. He told her that he had found some apples in midgard that looked just like hers. He urged her to bring her basket of apples and accompany him to Midgard, so that they might compare apples. Sweet Idunn was glad to follow Loki. She would be very happy to find more apples for the gods to eat. Idunn's magic apples promise eternal youth to the gods and goddesses. Historical Picture Service-Chicago

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