Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The StoryTellers Asbjørnsen and Moe

The storytellers

Peter Christen Asbjørnsen was a Norwegian writer and scholar. He and Jørgen Moe were collectors of Norwegian folklore. They were so closely united in their lives' work that their folk tale collections are commonly mentioned only as "Asbjørnsen and Moe"

Asbjørnsen as early as 1832, in his twentieth year, began to collect and write down fairy tales and legends. He later walked on foot the length and breadth of Norway, adding to his stories. Moe first met Asbjørnsen when he was fourteen years old, while they were both attending high school at Norderhov rectory. They developed a life-long friendship. In 1834 Asbjørnsen discovered that Moe had started independently on a search for national folklore; the friends eagerly compared their results, and determined for the future to work together. Moe traveled almost every summer through the southern parts of Norway, collecting traditions and folklore in the mountains. Often Asbjørnsen and Moe traveled together. In 1842-1843 the first installment of their work appeared, under the title of Norske Folkeeventyr (Norwegian Folk Tales), which was received at once all over Europe as a most valuable contribution to comparative mythology as well as literature.  

Asbjørnsen, and Moe had an enormous impact on Norwegian culture. They became synonymous with traditional folk tales, the way the name Brothers Grimm is associated with German tales. Not only did they collect and secure parts of the wealth of Norwegian fairy tales and edit them for common readers, but in doing this, they also contributed to the development of the Norwegian language.

Tomorrow, I start telling their stories.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Magic of Norway

There is magic in Norway. Some say that it is in the water that trickles down from the mountains, and into the streams and forest lakes, until finally the magic rolls into the sea. You can feel the magic, taste it, see it, and hear it all around you. Sit back and let me show you some magic.

Hopefully this has put you in the mood for my next series on Norwegian Fairytales and Folklore. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fairytale Time Machine

How would you like to be transformed for a few minutes a day into a small child? Well, you are in luck because I have in my possession a Fairytale time machine that is guaranteed to do the trick. My next series on Norwegian culture is based on the stories of Norwegian folklore, which have been transformed into wonderful fairytales for your enjoyment.

For the next month I will be on a writing mission. BuNoWriMo 
(Burrow Novel Writing Month) is starting on the 1st of June and I have committed myself to writing 50,000 words in 30 days. During this time I will be working on my first adult fantasy book. I have absolutely no idea what I am doing so this should be very exciting. It is not too late to join, so if you want some group support and some time on “speed” writing join the fun.

In the mean time I have prepared these stories about Askeladden (Ash Lad) and other Norwegian tales for all of you to enjoy. One of my favorites, Askeladden is the main character in many Norwegian folktales. Askeladden represents the small man who succeeds where all others fail. He always wins in the end, often winning the princess and half the kingdom as well.

In many folk tales, Askeladden is portrayed as the youngest of three brothers. Early in a typical tale, the older brothers appear to have much greater chances of success in life. For example, one brother might be extremely well read in books and newspapers. Another brother might be extremely competent in another area. In contrast, Askeladden is looked down upon as a loner or misunderstood eccentric, who spends too much time sitting by the fireplace lost in thought as he is poking the ashes, hence his name.

The "heroic" traits of Askeladden are most prominent in the stories told by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe. The tales they collected present the "classical" Ash Lad. These are some of the stories I will be sharing with you. There may be some deviation from the original stories because I have had to translate them to English. Not an easy task I assure you.

I hope you enjoy these tales as much as I do. What I find so interesting is that even though these tales come from old folklore you can still place Askeladden in modern times as an individualist, free-thinker, and nonconformist. He is capable of thinking "outside the box", and is a true visionary. In contrast, the older brothers are more conformist and conventional. I was very lucky and have found a few video clips to go with some of these tales.

Before I start spinning my stories, I am going to share with you some of Norway to put you in the mood. Tomorrow I will take you on a little trip around Norway in my time machine.  Hope you decide to come along.

Nowitch and Her Search for Pickles

As promised here is the CPSWA's latest Gibberish tale. 

Nowitch had 27 brothers and none of them could fly because they had bare-feet and no pickles. So one day Nowitch decided to...........

use a frying pan and scisser up some sausage, while the cat played with a doormat. Then they could get their galoshes on and go for an evening zoom.....

around the mayer's chimney, where pickles grew in abundance from interlacing bricks. Those pickles mad her ears water just at the thought of them....

They landed as the Mayer’s guard dogs snarled from behind the fence. "What do we do know?" brother number one asked Nowitch....

"Do? Why we do not. We absolutely don't. Have you got the do-nothing-umbrella handy?" Norwich asked while teaching the alpha dog how to play Parcheesi....

Decide to cut off her brother's toes since they were full of lard. Her brother's knarly toes weighted down her broom no more.....

Fat drops of oil spattered from the sky, ruining the soft pastels of the bumblebee tree. "Now where am I going to find a good platypus?" wondered Nowitch's sister, Yeswitch.....

"Platypus?" One of the twenty-seven asked. "All I need is a good pickle." "Then we must get your toes back and there's only one person who can do that. The witch of Podiatry!"....

but Yeswitch was a clever one and turned her broom into pond scum. Up from the pond scum there arose such a clatter Yeswitch chopped off her hair to see what was the matter...

It was the Mad Hatter to invite her to tea, but she took to long to say anything so he turned into a bee. He tried to fly away, but a giant frog appeared and ate him. Yeswitch freaked and tripped on her flippered boots, trying to get away....

The witch of Podiatry flew out of her flippered boots, carrying pickles for everyone as well as spare toes. Yeswitch and the frog ran away together and to this day live with the bee in Madhatter town. As for Nowitch and her brothers, they play Parcheesi every night with the mayor and his dogs. Sometimes they even let the dogs win, for an extra pickle....

Here we have our creative Gibberish Team and members of CPSWA ( controlled patriots of standard word abuse) there will be advantages to being a member, just haven’t figured it out yet, lol! All of you can take the sign and post it on your side bar, or not, its up to you. Thanks for playing, I have decided to make this a once of month thing. What do you guys think, do you want to play again?

Members as of May 29,2011

Emily Rose  member since April 8, 2011
Craziness abounds Member since April 8,2011
Elisabeth Hirsch member since April 8, 2011
Previous members since April 8, 2011:

Friday, May 27, 2011


Do you want to play a game?

"Lets break all rules and use some of that brain mass for a little fun. It is Friday and you are now entering the Gibberish Zone!"

Remember back in April when we played a game called Gibberish? Today I thought it might be fun to take a little break, and play. The rules are easy. Minnie starts a story line written in Gibberish and those that want to play continue on the storyline from the last comment posted, in the same style. If you decide to play along there is a certificate at the end as well as membership to my elite group called the Controlled Patriots of Standard Word Abuse. (CPSWA) If you don't understand or have not played this before you can click on the following link to see more about how the game is played.

GIBBERISH a game for silly fun.

Nowitch had 27 brothers and none of them could fly because they had bare-feet and no pickles. So one day Nowitch decided to...........

(Your turn)
I am so looking forward to seeing what kind of a story develops from my creative friends. I will be posting the whole story on Sunday, as well as a revised link of CPSWA members, so don't miss your chance.

Note: If you're having problems commenting on mine or any blogs, I have heard one way to fix it is to completely clear your cookies and cache and then restart your computer. Also make sure the "keep me signed in" box is NOT checked. If you're having problems, then maybe this would help to fix it. 

Happy Memorial week-end to all my American friends

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Winter in May

So my friends, as you know I have been very busy these past weeks with renovations, holidays and family. Sometimes it seems that I  can't catch my breath, and the hours in the day just do not stretch far enough. You probably know the feeling. Things can be overwhelming at times and it is important that we stop, step back and take a long breath. That is what I am doing. For the rest of this month while I prepare for my next series on Norwegian Folklore I will be posting some of my poetry and observations. Hope you enjoy.  Since it snowed today this one is fitting:

Winter in May

This snow that falls upon my face
cold and bitter,  there is no taste.
My hair is scattered, my skin is bare
I turn and turn but you're still there.

Why fall so white in Mays disguise
your breath so cold it burns my eyes.

The summer sun still plays the fool
This bitter wind is just her tool.

I wait, I watch, I turn and turn
This wind won't stop, the sun won't learn.

Tomorrows sun will be more sweet
while winds embrace the summers heat.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lokis Last Fishing Trip

To divert the gods’ sadness and make them for a short time, forget the treachery of Loki and the loss of Balder, Ægir god of the sea invited them to partake of a banquet in his coral caves at the bottom of the sea.

The gods gladly accepted the invitation, and clad in their richest garb and with festive smiles, they appeared in the coral caves at the appointed time. None were absent save the radiant Balder, and the evil Loki. In the course of the feast however Loki appeared in their midsts like a dark shadow, and when bidden to depart he ranted his evil passions in a torrent of vindictive lies towards the gods.Then without reason, Loki suddenly turned upon Ægirs servant and slew him. At this wanton crime the gods in fierce wrath drove Loki away once more, and threatened him with dire punishment should he ever appear before them again.

Scarcely had the Æsir recovered from this disagreeable interruption to their feast, when Loki came creeping in once more, resuming his slanders with venomous tongue. He taunted the gods about their weaknesses and shortcomings, dwelling maliciously upon their physical imperfections, and deriding them for their mistakes. In vain the gods tried to silence his abuse but Lokis voice rose louder and louder, and he was just giving utterance to some slander about Sif, when he was suddenly cut short by the sight of Thor’s hammer angrily raised in the air by an arm whose power he knew full well, and he swiftly fled away.

Knowing that he could now never have any hope of being admitted into Åsgard again, and that sooner or later the gods seeing the effect of his evil deeds would regret having permitted him to roam the world, and would try either to bind or slay him, Loki withdrew to the mountains. There he built himself a hut with four doors which he always left wide open to permit a hasty escape if so needed. Carefully laying his plans he decided that if the gods should come in search of him he would rush down to the neighboring stream and change himself into a salmon, thus evading his pursuers. He reasoned however, that although he could easily avoid any hook, it might be difficult for him to affect his escape if the gods should fashion a net like that of the sea-goddess Ran.

Haunted by this fear, he decided to test the possibility of making such a mesh, and started to make one out of twine. He was still engaged upon the task when Odin, Kvasir, and Thor suddenly appeared in the distance. Knowing that they had discovered his retreat Loki threw his half-finished net into the fire, and rushing through one of his ever-open doors he leaped into the waterfall. So in the shape of a salmon he hid among some stones in the bed of the stream.

The gods finding the hut empty were about to depart, when Kvasir perceived the remains of the burnt net on the hearth. After some thought an idea came to him, and he advised the gods to weave a similar net and use it in searching for their foe in the neighboring stream. It would be like Loki to choose such a method of baffling their pursuit. This advice seemed good and the gods quickly made such a net. Once the net was finished the gods proceeded to drag the stream. Loki eluded the net at its first cast by hiding at the bottom of the river between two stones and when the gods weighted the mesh and tried a second time, he escaped by jumping up stream. A third attempt to catch him proved successful, but as he once more tried to get away by a sudden leap, Thor caught him in mid-air and held him so fast that he could not escape. The salmon whose slipperiness is well known in the North, is noted for its remarkably slim tail and Norsemen attribute this to Thor’s tight grasp upon his foe Loki.

Loki now sullenly resumed his normal shape, and his captors dragged him down into a cavern where they bound him fast. They used as bonds the entrails of his son Narve, who had been torn to pieces by his brother Vali, whom the gods had changed into a wolf for the purpose. One of these fetters was passed under Loki’s shoulders, and one under his loins, thereby securing him firmly hand and foot. Yet the gods not feeling quite satisfied that the strips would not give way so they changed them into iron.

Skadi, the giantess, who had joyfully watched the fettering of her foe now fastened a serpent directly over his head so that its venom would fall drop by drop upon his upturned face. But Sigyn, Loki’s faithful wife hurried with a cup to his side, and until the day of Ragnarok she remained by him, catching the drops as they fell and never leaving her post except when her vessel was full and she was obliged to empty it. Only during her short absences could the drops of venom fall upon Loki’s face, and then they caused such intense pain that he writhed with anguish, his efforts to get free shaking the earth and producing the earthquakes which so frighten mortals.

“Ere they left him in his anguish,
O’er his treacherous brow, ungrateful,
Skadi hung a serpent hateful,
Venom drops for aye distilling,
Every nerve with torment filling;
Thus shall he in horror languish.
By him, still unwearied kneeling,
Sigyn at his tortured side,—
Faithful wife! with beaker stealing
Drops of venom as they fall,—
Agonising poison all!
Sleepless, changeless, ever dealing
Comfort, will she still abide;
Only when the cup’s o’erflowing
Must fresh pain and smarting cause,
Swift, to void the beaker going,
Shall she in her watching pause.
Then doth Loki
Loudly cry;
Shrieks of terror,
Groans of horror,
Breaking forth in thunder peals
With his writhings scared Earth reels.
Trembling and quaking,
E’en high Heav’n shaking!
So wears he out his awful doom,
Until dread Ragnarok be come.”
Valhalla (J. C. Jones).

In this painful position Loki was destined to remain until the twilight of the gods, when his bonds would be loosed, and he would take part in the fatal conflict on the battlefield of Vigrid. There he would fall at last by the hand of Heimdall, who would be slain at the same time.

When the gods were reduced to the rank of demons by the introduction of Christianity, Loki was associated with Saturn, who had also been shorn of his divine attributes, and both were considered the prototypes of Satan. The last day of the week, which was held sacred to Loki, was known in the Norse as Laugardag, or wash-day, but in English it was changed to Saturday, and was said to owe its name not to Saturn but to Sataere, the thief in ambush, and the Teutonic god of agriculture, who is supposed to be merely another personification of Loki.

Such ends my tale of Balder and Loki. I hope that you have enjoyed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Power of Tension Blogfest

Why another Blogfest? The answer is quite simple, I saw this blogfest and I had to. 

“We want to see how tense your fiction can be. Give us an excerpt (up to 300 words) from your manuscript or recently completed work (or just a random scene) that drips with tension and will tie us in knots wanting to know more. It doesn’t matter what the piece is about, as long as it screams tension.”

If you want to enter you will find the link on my sidebar. So here is my entry, an excerpt  from a short fiction I am writing called:

"The Green Smasher"

One day my little brother and I were playing marbles. Willie, that was my brothers name, had this beautiful green marble that I had my eyes on and wanted really bad. The problem was that Willie never would trade it. I had tried everything I could think of to win that marble and Willie knew it. He just sat there and smiled at me for the longest time and then he said, “There is one way that maybe you can win the green smasher. That is if you dare.” I could tell by the look on his face that he was up to something and that something was not going to be good. As soon as the words came out, I wished that I could take them back.

“Ok smarty-pants, whatever it is, let’s make it a double dare! If I win the green smasher than you have to be my slave for a day.” Willie looked at me and said, “What if you lose, what do I get?” I really didn’t think that Willie was that smart and I guess I was right because he agreed when I said that he could keep the green smasher if I lost.
Willie climbed up onto one of fathers bar stools and took down his favorite shot glass. He sat it on the floor between us and said, “If you can throw a marble into fathers glass then you can have the green smasher.” I took a deep breath, picked up the biggest marble I had, took careful aim and made my toss. We both just stared at each other and at the broken glass on the floor.

Finally Willie said almost in a whisper, “Oh, oh. You are so going to get the paddle.” “No way, it was all your idea!” I screamed back at him. and then I cleaned up the broken glass as best as I could while my stupid brother just stood there with a terrified look on his face.

Between half muffled sobs he said, “Maybe he won’t notice.” We knew that he would be coming home soon so we quickly packed away our marbles, scattered into our room and for some reason decided it was best to hide under the bed. It didn’t take long before we heard father scream out the names he always gave us which  meant big trouble, “Sister… Brother! Get your scrawny behinds out here RIGHT NOW!”

We crawled out from under the bed, took each other by the hand and slowly made our way down the hall to where our father stood.  The closer we got the more terrified we were. He stood there like an evil giant holding the paddle like a weapon ready to spring into action.

The Funeral of Balder

 Through all of Åsgard their was grief in every corner. All that is but one...

Odin removed the body of Balder to Breidablik, and he directed the gods to go to the forest and cut down huge pines with which to build a worthy pyre. (A pyre is a structure made of wood used for burning a body as part of a funeral rite. As a form of cremation, a body is placed upon the pyre, which is then set on fire.)

While Hermod was speeding along the cheerless road which led to Nifl-heim, the gods carried down to the shore a vast amount of fuel which they piled upon the deck of Balders dragon-ship Ringhorn. They then proceeded in constructing an elaborate funeral pyre for Balder. According to custom, this was decorated with tapestry hangings, garlands of flowers, vessels and weapons of all kinds, golden rings, and countless objects of value. After this was completed the immaculate corpse, richly attired, was brought and laid upon it.

One by one, the gods now drew near to take a last farewell of their beloved companion and as Balders wife Nanna bent over him, her loving heart broke and she fell lifeless by his side. The gods reverently laid her beside her husband so that she might accompany him even in death.
Odin in token of affection for the dead and of sorrow for his loss, bent down before the body of Baldir and places his most precious possession upon his pyre. His offering to Balder was his magic ring Draupnir. It was noted by the assembled gods that he was whispering in his dead son’s ear, but none were near enough to hear what words he whispered.

The gods prepared to launch the ship, but found that the heavy load of fuel and treasures resisted their combined efforts and they could not make the vessel stir an inch. The mountain giants witnessed the scene from afar, and noticing their quandary drew near and said that they knew of a giantess called Hyrrokin who dwelt in Jötun-heim and was strong enough to launch the vessel without any other aid. The gods therefore bade one of the storm giants hasten off to summon Hyrrokin. She soon appeared mounted upon a gigantic wolf, which she guided by a bridle made of writhing snakes. Riding down to the shore the giantess dismounted and volunteered s to give her aid. She reached Balder’s mighty ship Ringhorn into and setting her shoulder against its stern she sent it with a rush into the water. Such was the weight of the mass, however, and the rapidity with which it shot down into the sea, that the earth shook as if from an earthquake, and the rollers on which the ship glided caught fire from the friction. The unexpected shock almost caused the gods to lose their balance, and this so angered Thor that he raised his hammer and would have slain the giantess had he not been restrained by his companions. Thor boarded the vessel once more to consecrate the funeral pyre with his sacred hammer. As he was performing this ceremony the dwarf Lit stumbled into his way. Thor, who had not entirely recovered his temper, kicked him into the fire which he had just kindled with a thorn, and the dwarf was burned to ashes with the bodies of the divine pair.

The great ship now drifted out to sea, and the flames from the pyre presented a magnificent spectacle which assumed a greater glory with every passing moment. When the vessel neared the western horizon, it seemed as if sea and sky were on fire. Sadly the gods watched the glowing ship and its precious freight until suddenly it plunged into the waves and disappeared.

Sadly the gods returned to Åsgard. No sounds of merriment or feasting greeted the ear, for all hearts were filled with anxious concern for the end of all things which was felt to be imminent. Frigg alone cherished hope and she watched anxiously for the return of her messenger Hermod. 

Meanwhile Hermod had ridden over the bridge and along the dark Hel-way, and then on the tenth night he had crossed the rushing tide of the river Giöll. Here he was challenged by Mödgud who inquired why the Giallar-bridge trembled more beneath his horse’s tread than when a whole army passed. He also asked why he, a living rider was attempting to penetrate into the dreaded realm of Hel.

Hermod explained to Mödgud the reason of his coming, and having ascertained that Balder and Nanna had ridden over the bridge before him, he hastened on until he came to the gate which rose forbiddingly before him.

Hermod came at last to Hel’s banqueting-hall. Here he found Balder, pale and dejected, lying upon a couch, his wife Nanna beside him. Balder gazed fixedly at a beaker of mead, which apparently he had no heart to drink.
In vain Hermod informed his brother that he had come to redeem him. Balder shook his head sadly, saying that he knew he must remain in his cheerless abode until the last day should come, but he implored Hermod to take Nanna back with him. When Nanna heard this request she clung more closely to her husband’s side, vowing that nothing would ever induce her to part from him, and that she would stay with him forever, even in Nifl-heim.

The long night was spent in close conversation, and Hermod sought Hel and implored her to release Balder. The churlish goddess listened in silence to his request, and declared finally that she would allow her victim to depart provided that all things animate and inanimate would show their sorrow for his loss by shedding tears.

This answer was full of encouragement, for all Nature mourned the loss of Balder, and surely there was nothing in all creation which would withhold the tribute of a tear. Hermod cheerfully made his way out of Hel’s dark realm, carrying with him the ring Draupnir, which Balder sent back to Odin.

The assembled gods crowded anxiously round Hermod as soon as he returned, and when he had delivered his messages the Æsir sent heralds to every part of the world to bid all things animate and inanimate weep for Balder.
North, South, East and West rode the heralds, and as they passed tears fell from every plant and tree so that the ground was saturated with moisture, and metals and stones despite their hard hearts, wept as well.

The way at last led back to Åsgard. By the road-side was a dark cave in which the messengers saw crouching the form of a giantess named Thok, whom was actually Loki in disguise. When she was called upon to shed a tear she mocked the heralds, and fleeing into the dark recesses of her cave she declared that no tear should fall from her eyes, and that for all she cared, Hel might retain her prey forever.

As soon as the returning messengers arrived in Åsgard, the gods crowded round them to the result of their mission. Their faces, all aglow with the joy of anticipation grew dark with despair when they heard that one creature had refused the tribute of tears, Therefor they would never behold Balder in Åsgard again.

It did not take long for the gods to discover Lokis treachery. This was Lokis last crime. His actions convinced the gods that nothing but evil remained within him, and they pronounced unanimously upon him the sentence of perpetual banishment from Åsgard.

Come back tomorrow to see what happens to Loki…

Monday, May 23, 2011

Try Not To Trip!

 So you wanna play a game, do ya?

Mr. Magic himself, aka. Michael Di Gesu from In Time….caught me off guard. Yes, that’s right, he snuck up behind me when I least expected it and tagged me. I can still hear him laughing as he ran away yelling, “Tag, you’re it!” My little brother in Chicago has the cutest laugh, so even when he is trying to be a little devil it is impossible to see him as anything else but the cute, sweet and romantic little prince you will ever find in this make-believe world of blogging fun. If you have never visited his realm than put on a happy face and click your heals (oops, I mean finger) on the button that will get you there. MICHAELS MAGIC BUTTON
So before I can run off with my evil grin and wicked laugh I have to answer a few questions. If I tag you that means you have to do the same thing….hence, evil grin and wicked laugh….

So here are the questions.

Do you think you're hot?

At least a couple times a day, menopause will do that.

Upload a picture or wall paper that you are using at the moment.

You see the cat on the left side of my blog? Pet him and he will purr.

When was the last time you ate chicken?
The other day, “Chicken Little” ran up to me and asked me if I could kindly just eat him. He preferred being eaten to having the sky fall on top of him. I kindly granted his request, yet the sky is still there. Poor Chicken Little, I ate him for nothing.

The song/songs you listened to recently.

In a painting frenzy there is only one friend I need with me. Paint brush in hand, walls waiting to be stroked and with me, Pink Floyd learning to fly.

What were you thinking while doing this?

Will it rain, sure looks like it and the wind sounds like banshees outside my window.

Do you have any nicknames? What are they?
Who needs a nickname with a name like Siv? Although I have been called Steve by accident many times, yes my name rhymes with Steve.

Tag eight blogger friends...

Melynda Fleury  Crazy world   
Nadia Dreaming in Pixels
Renate The project

Who's listed as number one?

Melynda is like my twin, we have so much in common and have become great friends. I cannot go a day without reading her blog and I am always amazed at the crazy things that happen to her. She is funny, honest and completely lovable.

Say something about number five?
 Betty is the teacher I would have liked to have had in school. She is amusing, a great writer and a cat lover like me who often comes to my blog just to play with my cat.

How did you get to know number three?
Eliza I found by chance through Melyndas blog. She has me laughing so hard sometimes that my husband on the other side of the house has to rush over to see what is so funny. She is not only very funny but also extremely heartwarming.

How about number four?
Roland is such a talented writer and he is becoming a valued friend. I always look forward to reading his blog and I love getting mail from him…I have a small crush on him, that’s true.

Leave a message for number six?
Shelly when running around in Central Park a GPS is a good idea. Shelly is my number one Mythology fan and I am quickly becoming a big fan of hers as well. So Shelly, what is a frag Queen?

Leave a lovey- dovey message for number two?
Jeff you are my “cutie guy boy toy,” but don’t tell Mrs. C. You are constantly cracking me up with your crazy sense of humor. Us girls like that honest sense of humor, we find it very sexy.

Do number seven and number eight have similarities? Nadia and Renate are both about the same age and are both Scandinavians. Renate is from Norway and Nadias mother is from Finland. Both are very sweet girls that put their hearts out there. Nadia is a new friend and almost daughter in law. Both these wonderful women and their blogs are well worth checking out!

So here I go running away, screaming and laughing, “TAG YOUR IT!”

Balder in Hel

 Of all the dastardly things Loki could have done, this was to become the beginning of his downfall.

 The playground of the gods was situated on the green plain of Ida, and was called Idavold. Here the gods would play games when they were in sportive mood, and their favorite game was to throw their golden disks, which they could cast with great skill. They had returned to this pastime with added zest since the cloud which had oppressed their spirits had been dispersed by the precautions of Frigg. Finally bored with their old games, they sought out a new game to play. They had learned that Balder could not be harmed by any missile, and so they amused themselves by casting all manner of weapons, stones, etc., at him. They need not have feared because they were certain that no matter how cleverly they tried and how accurately they aimed, the objects having sworn not to injure him would either miss him or fall short. This new amusement proved to be so fascinating that soon all the gods gathered around Balder, greeting each new failure to hurt him with prolonged shouts of laughter. 

These bursts of merriment excited the curiosity of Frigg, who sat spinning in Fensalir, and seeing an old woman pass by her dwelling, she asked her to tell her what the gods were doing to cause so much fun and laughter. Little did she know that the old woman was none other than Loki in disguise. He answered Frigg that the gods were throwing stones and other missiles, blunt and sharp at Balder who stood smiling and unharmed in their midst challenging them to touch him.

The goddess smiled and resumed her work, saying that it was quite natural that nothing should harm Balder. After all, there was not a thing that loved the light of Balder that would injure him. Loki was greatly vexed upon hearing this. He was jealous of Balder who like the sun, entirely outshone him and was generally loved by all. Loki on the other hand was feared and avoided as much as possible. He cleverly concealed his vexation, and inquired of Frigg whether she was quite sure that all objects had joined the league to protect Balder. Frigg proudly answered that she had received the solemn oath of all things except a harmless little parasite called mistletoe, which grew on the oak near Valhalla’s gate. Mistletoe was too small and weak to be feared so Frigg assured the “old woman” that this was no threat.

This information was all that Loki wanted so bidding adieu to Frigg he hobbled off. As soon as he was safely out of sight he resumed his true form and hastened to Valhalla. At the gate he found the oak and mistletoe as indicated by Frigg, then using his knowledge of the magic arts he imparted to the parasite a size and hardness quite unnatural to it. From the wooden stem Loki fashioned a sharpened spear and then he hastened back to Idavold where the gods were still playing and hurling missiles at Balder.

Balders twin Hodur stood alone leaning mournfully against a tree taking no part in the games. Carelessly Loki approached the blind god, and inquired the cause of his melancholy. Hodur answered that only his blindness deterred him from taking part in the new game so Loki put the mistletoe-shaft in his hand and led him into the midst of the circle. He indicated the direction of the target and Hodur threw his shaft boldly, but to his dismay instead of the loud laughter which he expected a shuddering cry of horror fell upon his ears. Balder the beautiful had fallen to the ground, pierced by the fatal mistletoe.

“So on the floor lay Balder dead; and round
Lay thickly strewn swords, axes, darts, and spears,
Which all the Gods in sport had idly thrown
At Balder, whom no weapon pierced or clove;
But in his breast stood fixed the fatal bough
Of mistletoe, which Loki, the Accuser, gave
To Hoder, and unwitting Hoder threw—
’Gainst that alone had Balder’s life no charm.”

Balder Dead (Matthew Arnold).

In dire anxiety the gods crowded around their beloved friend, but Balder lay lifeless before them. All their efforts to revive the fallen sun-god were to no avail. Inconsolable at their loss they turned angrily upon Hodur, whom they would have slain had they not been restrained by the law of the gods that no willful act of violence should desecrate their grounds of peace. The sound of their loud lamentation brought the goddesses in haste to the dreadful scene. When Frigg saw that her darling son was dead she implored the gods to go to Nifl-heim and enter Hel to release her victim, for the earth could not exist happily without him.

As the road was rough and painful in the extreme, none of the gods would volunteer at first to go. Frigg then promised that she and Odin would reward the messenger by loving him above all in the Æsir. Hermod then volunteered to complete the dangerous mission to return their beloved Baldir from Hel. To enable him to travel Odin lent him Sleipnir, and the noble steed who usually would not allow any but Odin upon his back, set off without a second thought upon the dark road.

Will Hermond succeed? Read the final part tomorrow…

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Balder: Norse God of Peace.

The story of Balder is a rather sad one and it is quite long so I will be telling this story in 3 parts. There are some interesting comparisons in the story of Balder and it has been said that after Ragnarok it will be Balder who returns to rule the world. Once you have read all three parts of this story, let me know what you think, and who Balder reminds you of.
Balder was a champion of goodness, innocence and forgiveness, he was loved by everybody. 

To Odin and Frigg were born twin sons as dissimilar in character and physical appearance as it was possible for two children to be. Hodur the god of darkness was somber, taciturn, and blind like the obscurity of sin which he was supposed to symbolize. His brother Balder “the beautiful” was worshipped as the pure and radiant god of innocence and light. From his snowy brow and golden locks seemed to radiate beams of sunshine which gladdened the hearts of gods and men by whom he was equally loved.

“Of all the twelve round Odin’s throne,
Balder, the Beautiful, alone,
The Sun-god, good, and pure, and bright,
Was loved by all, as all love light.”

Valhalla (J. C. Jones).

The youthful Balder attained his full growth with amazing speed and was early admitted to the council of the gods. He lived in the palace of Breidablik, whose silver roof rested upon golden pillars, and whose purity was such that nothing common or unclean was ever allowed within its boundries. Here he lived in perfect unity with his young wife Nanna. 

The god of light was well versed in the science of runes, which were carved on his tongue. He also knew the various virtues of plants and herbs. Chamomile, was called “Balder’s brow,” because its flower was as immaculately pure as his forehead. The only thing hidden from Balder’s radiant eyes was the perception of his own ultimate fate.

As it was so natural for Balder to be smiling and happy, the gods were greatly troubled when they began to notice a change in his bearing. Gradually the light died out of his blue eyes, a careworn look came into his face, and his brow grew heavy. Odin and Frigg, seeing their beloved son’s depression implored him to reveal the cause of his silent grief. Balder confessed that his sleep instead of being peaceful and restful as it usually was had been strangely troubled by dark and oppressive dreams. Although he could not clearly remember the dreams when he awoke, he was constantly haunted with a vague feeling of fear.

When Odin and Frigg heard this they were very uneasy, but declared that nothing would harm their beloved son. When the anxious parents further talked the matter over they confessed that they also were plagued by strange forebodings. They came at last to believe that Balder’s life was really threatened so they proceeded to take measures to avert the danger. 

Frigg sent her servants in every direction with strict charge to prevail upon all living creatures, all plants, metals, stones, every animate and inanimate thing to register a solemn vow not to harm Balder. All creation readily took the oath, for there was nothing on earth which did not love the radiant god. So the servants returned to Frigg, telling her that all had been duly sworn save the mistletoe, growing upon the oak stem at the gate of Valhalla. This they said was such a puny inoffensive thing that no harm could be feared from it.

Frigg now resumed her spinning in great content; for she felt assured that no harm could come to the child she loved above all. No one thought further of the Mistletoe, save one.

The fate of Balder continues tomorrow…

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Frigg: The Queen of the Gods

Frigg, was the daughter of Fiorgyn and the sister of Jörd. She was also the wife of Odin. Friggs wedding to Odin caused great rejoicing in Åsgard, where the goddess was dearly loved. After her wedding it was customary to celebrate all anniversaries with feast and song, and Frigg was declared the patroness of marriage as well as motherhood. Her health was always proposed with that of Odin and Thor at wedding or birthing feasts.

Frigg was also goddess of the clouds, and as such was represented as wearing snow-white garments. She was queen of the gods, and she alone had the privilege of sitting on the throne Hlidskialf, beside her husband Odin. From there she too could look over the entire world and see what was happening. She possessed the knowledge of the future, which no one could ever prevail upon her to reveal. She was good at keeping secrets.

Frigg was as a tall beautiful woman, crowned with heron plumes, and clothed in pure white robes which were secured at the waist by a golden girdle. On this girdle hung a bunch of keys, the distinctive sign of the Northern housewife. 

Although she often appeared beside her husband, Frigg preferred to remain in her own palace called Fensalir. This was the hall of mists or of the sea, where she plied her wheel spinning golden thread or weaving long webs of bright colored clouds. In   order to perform this work she made use of a marvelous jeweled spinning wheel which at night shone brightly in the sky as a constellation. This was known in the North as Friggas Spinning Wheel, while the inhabitants of the South called the same stars Orion’s Belt.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Movie Review: THOR

As an avid reader of Norse Mythology , the Gods and Goddesses of this world totally fascinate me. Yet I must admit that I have never in my life read a comic book.

I have however been introduced to  Spiderman, Batman and Superman through TV and films. The legends of superheroes continue to spin our dreams, fill us with hope and throw us into a world of fantasy, action and adventure. Now that’s entertainment. Unfortunately in my opinion this movie fell short. I realize that I have not read the marvel comic books and for those of you that have, this movie might very well have been entertaining enough. But for those of us that prefer our superheroes which are based on mythological fact, this movie is more than disappointing. The irritating costumes in the movie reminded me of Battlestar Galactica meets The Jetsons. The characters were false, the storyline ridiculous and watered down. What could have been a fantastic movie was turned into nothing but a chapter from a cheap animated cartoon comic book with nothing more substantial than the film it was printed on.  If I were one of those Gods I would have sued the responsible parties for misrepresentation. 

On the plus side, ladies you will certainly enjoy some of the exposure to male beauty. Chris Hemsworth who  played Thor might have been good to look at but Tom Hiddleston as Loki definitely stole the show. His portrayal as a betrayed son with a secret heritage was memorable. As to the rest, there is none. Big names like Antony Hopkins, Renee Russo and Natalie Portman couldn’t even save this movie. My recommendations, stick to the comics or better yet, buy a good book.

A few facts:

  • ·        Loki was not a frost Giant. According to Norse Mythology Laufey was Lokis Mother. Marvil Comics depicted Laufey as Lokis father and a  frost giant. Lokis father is Fárbauti who is a Jøtunn Giant.

  • ·        Loki is not Thors brother. Lokis brothers are: Helblindi and Býleistr. Thor and Loki were merely at times just friends in crime.

  • ·        Heimdall was not black. Heimdall was referred to as "the whitest of the gods" and a golden boy.

  • ·        Sif was born with golden hair. Hers, however, was turned black after Loki jealously cut it and replaced it with enchanted hair made by dwarves. This is Marvel fiction.

  • ·        Sif is the wife of the god Thor and is known for her golden hair. The Prose Edda also recounts that Sif once had her hair shorn by Loki, and that Thor forced Loki to have a golden headpiece made for Sif, resulting in not only Sif's golden tresses but also five other objects for other gods. Her hair was never black.

  • ·        Hogun, a Japanese God complete with accent, Fandral and Volstagg have no basis in Norse Mythology and are complete creations of Marvel Comics. 


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thors Missing Hammer

You have heard a  part of this tale from me before. Today I thought I would tell you the whole tale.

One day Thor woke up to find that his hammer Mjøllnir was missing. In a panic Thor turned to his friend Loki, and told him about the stolen hammer. Thor suspected the giants in Jøtunheimr, so devising a plan the two then went to Freyja. They asked her if they could borrow her feather cloak in order to find Mjøllnir. Freyja, still mourning the loss of her beloved agreed, and Loki flew off in Freyjas feather cloak in search of Mjøllnir.

Minnie-ism for today: 
 "Give me Thor with a hammer in a dress any day!"

In Jøtunheimr, theJøtunn king Thrymr sat on a burial mound, plaiting golden collars for his female dogs. Thrymr seeing Loki asked him why Loki was traveling alone in the Jøtunheimr. Suspecting that he would get an answer, Loki told him about Thor's missing hammer. Thrymr said to Loki that he should return to the Gods with the following message, that he had hidden Mjøllnir eight leagues beneath the earth, and that it would be returned only if Freyja was brought before him to become his wife.

When Loki returned he found Thor and gave him Thrymrs message. The two then went to Freyja, and told her to dress herself in a bridal head dress, so they could drive her to Jøtunheimr and collect Mjøllnir. Freyja, indignant and angry, went into a rage, causing all of the halls of the Æsir to tremble in her anger, she refused which should not have come as any surprise.

As a result, the gods held a meeting to discuss and debate the matter. The god Heimdallr came up with a genius suggestion putting forth the idea that, in place of Freyja, Thor could be dressed as the bride, complete with jewels, women's clothing, a bridal head-dress, and the necklace Brísingamen. Thor rejected the idea, but Loki reminded him that this would be the only way to get back Mjøllnir, and pointed out that without Mjøllnir, the jøtnar would be able to invade and settle in Åsgard. The gods dressed Thor as a bride, and Loki went with Thor as his maid to Jøtunheimr.

The two disguised bandits arrive in Jøtunheimr. Thrymr commanded the jøtnar in his hall to spread straw on the benches, for Freyja had arrived to be his wife. Thrymr recounted his treasured animals and objects, stating that Freyja was all that he was missing in his wealth.

Early in the evening, the disguised Loki and Thor met in the hall with Thrymr and the assembled jøtnar. Thor ate and drank ferociously, he consumed entire animals and three casks of mead. Thrymr thought the behavior was at odds with his impression of Freyja, and Loki, sitting before Thrymr and appearing as a "very shrewd maid", made the excuse that "Freyja's" behaviour was due to the fact that she had not eaten anything for the eight days before arriving due to her eagerness. Thrymr then lifted "Freyja's" veil to kiss  "her" until he caught the terrifyed eyes that stared back at him, burning with fire. Loki stated that this was because "Freyja" had not slept for eight nights in her eagerness.

The sister of the jøtnar appeared,  and asked for   "Freyjas" bridal gift, and then the jøtnar brought out Mjøllnir to "sanctify the bride."  Thor laughed inside when he saw the hammer, he took hold of it, striked Thrymr down, and killed all of the jøtnar. Taking his mighty hammer in hand he returned home in his chariot. It was quite a site to see him as he rode back into Åsgard still dressed as Freyja and by his side Loki as his maid. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Norwegian National Day


 All the children dress up in their fancy clothes . If they are lucky, and many are, they dress up in their national costumes. Shoes are shined, hair slicked back, ribbons in place and most important a small Norwegian flag to carry. The marching bands have been practicing all year for this event and their shiny instruments and drums are ready to set the streets alive with music.

All over Norway, bells chime, guns sound of several solutes and children line up behind the music to start the parade. In Oslo the Royal family stands on the terrace of the palace and greets the thousands of children that pass below them. For Norwegians there is a special meaning behind this day, one that is separate from a declaration of independence. During WW2 Norwegians were not allowed by the Germans which occupied this country to celebrate their national holiday or to honor their flag. Norwegians would have to celebrate in secret among friends and family. Today on the 17th of May this beautiful country and its people celebrate in extra glory knowing full well what it is like not being able to do so.

For all my Norwegian friends and family around the world, may your day be full of laughter, love and pride for who you are.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Loki and Freyja

One day Freyja was out walking along the border of the kingdom of the Black Dwarfs. 
As she walked she noticed some of the dwarfs making a beautiful necklace. It glistened as golden as the bright sun and Freyja just had to stop and admire it. "Oh, you must sell me the necklace. I will give a treasure of silver for I cannot live without it. I have never seen one as beautiful." 

The dwarfs told her that all the silver in the world could not purchase the Brisingamen. Believing she could not endure without owning the necklace she asked, "Is there any treasure in the world for which you would sell me the necklace?"

The dwarfs talked among themselves and answered "Yes, you must buy it from each of us, for it is the treasure of your love. If you sleep with each one of us for a day and a night, Brisingamen shall be yours."
Special Guest Appearance, yes you guessed it Minnie has something to say
Minnieism for today:

"Whats a girl gotta do to get a little sparkle in her life, sleep with a dwarf ?"

Bewitched by the sparkle of the beautiful necklace, Freyja was overcome with desire. She forgot her husband Odur, and she agreed to the pact. No one in Aesir knew about this arrangement except the mischief-maker Loki, who seemed to always be around when trouble was brewing.

After four days and nights of these unions, Freyja returned home wearing the necklace as if nothing had happened. Loki seeking favor from Odur informed him of what had taken place in the land of the dwarfs and furiously Odur demanded proof of Freyjas adventures. To provide evidence, Loki set out to steal the necklace. Turning himself into a flea, he flew into Freya's chambers and bit her on the cheek while she slept. The bite caused Freya to turn so he was able to remove the necklace.

Loki went to Odur and showed him the evidence of her infidelity with dwarfs. Odur tossed the necklace aside, left the kingdom of Åsgard, and traveled to far distant lands so that he could cool off. Sleeping with dwarfs was the one thing he could not forgive her. Freyja woke the next morning to find both her necklace and husband gone. 

Weeping, she went to Valhalla to confess to Odin that she had slept with dwarfs in order to gain the beautiful necklace of Brisingamen. The kindly Odin forgave Freyja for her once again proven wicked ways, but demanded a penance. Taking the Brisingamen from Loki, he commanded Freyja to wear the necklace for eternity and sometimes Freyja can be seen wandering the world in her golden chariot searchng for Odur. As Freyja weeps, the teardrops that land on soil turn to gold in the rocks, those that fall in the sea turn to amber.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Romantic Warriors

If you have been following my blog than you know why I have not been posting much lately. Life has been keeping me busy with its twists and turns and constant surprises. This post is for all my friends and family. It is a reminder that every day is your birthday. So Happy Birthday!

Outside a small town a young boy plowed his way through the deep snow and hesitated at the edge of an old and raggedy bridge.
He asked himself, “Is it safe to cross?”  Deciding that it was he slowly made his way across the bridge safely to the other side.
It never occurred to the boy to walk across the frozen water below the bridge, but he was in a hurry as most young boys are and bridges were meant to be crossed.

Each year of our lives pass, and the bridges we cross are either many or few but we do cross. Once on the other side we should never look back to consider the alternatives. We are romantic warriors armed with the hope that on the other side of each bridge is a field of yellow sunshine.