Balder the Bright and beautiful

In the Land of Asgard, the God Balder the Bright and Beautiful felt the shadow of death in his heart. His mother Frigga was alarmed, but she promised him that he would not die.


Frigga made everything in the world promise not to hurt her son, but she forgot one thing, the mistletoe that grows high in the big apple tree outside the palace.


The evil God Loki discovered the secret. He made his way to the apple tree and climbed it. He broke off a piece of the mistletoe and fashioned it into a short but strong stave. Loki disguised himself and gave the mistletoe stave to Balder's blind twin brother Hödur while they were playing a game.


Hödur hurled the stave by Loki's guide, and the stave struck Balder on the heart and pierced it.


King Odin sent Hermod down to the Helheim, and beg Hela, Queen of the Dead, to give up Balder.


Hela said, "Let everything sheds tears for Balder, he shall return."


So Hermod rod swiftly back to Asgard, and told everyone to weep, so everything in the world wept bitterly, even a stone ooze out a tear for the dead god.


Then King Odin went himself to fetch Balder. On the way down, he came to a dark and noisome cave. At the entrance sat an evil-looking crone, who was the disguise of the evil god Loki, he cackled when he peered at Odin as he came, and laughed even louder when Odin ordered him to weep.


Odin knew that he had lost his son forever, and turn back when he heard Hela's voice came to him from the walls of Helheim.


"One has not wept, " she said mockingly. " Helheim must keep its own, for my wishes have not been obeyed. Return whence you came, Odin, and mourn for Balder."

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