Running Up the World Tree : Gefjon’s Story part 2

Posted: July 16, 2013 in Deities & Wights, Gefjon, Jotnar, Stories
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Part 2: The Interview

 Finally, I saw King Odin approaching. He’s easy to recognize due to the eye patch, though I suppose someone else could put a patch over an eye to make me think they were Odin. Still, I had to treat the man as if he were my new boss, whether he was or not, so I strode toward him with a big smile. Smiling is  important when you meet people. Men in green laced shirts moved in front of him with swords drawn, so I stopped and waited for the chief to come to me. I did my best to look proper and Goddess-like, but frowned upon realizing I’d forgotten to wash my feet. Too late for that now. The king came right up to me, dressed in a dark blue cloak, his gaze making me feel was peering into my very spirit.

Expressionless, he eventually spoke: “You want to be a Goddess of Asgard and swear obedience to me?”

“Yes sir, I do.”

“And what is your name, girl?”

“I’m called Gefjon sir, and I’m very pleased to meet you,” I said looking down.

“I’m sure you are. We don’t get a lot of your kind visiting with such… good manners as yours. So what are you offering us?” Don’t stare at your feet, look him in the eye, I told myself. “Sir, I’m ready to do anything short of attacking my people or spying on them to be of use to you.” He nodded and said: “Perhaps you are. But how can I trust you? In any case, I don’t see what’s so special about you that would make you worthy of being a Goddess. Tell me now, honestly, why did you come here? And if I don’t like your answer, you’re going right back on that ship!”

I gulped and scratched my head. “Sir… my people used to be Gods to the humans, but now they only pray to the Gods of Asgard. They don’t even pray much to the Gods of Vanaheim anymore, except the ones who live here in Asgard. This is the top of the world, where things happen. This is where I want to be, doing my part with the movers and shakers of worlds.”

Odin shook his head and looked up at me when he said: “Go home little girl. We have no use for you here.” That stung, I was a grown woman, and determined to do whatever it took to get where I wanted to be.

“Please sir!” I pleaded with open arms, “My family’s promised I would bear four sons to a man I barely know! I can’t go back! I don’t want to go back! Can’t I just… live here? Even if I’m not a Goddess, I can do some good work here!” If you want to go somewhere you’re not wanted, I’d been taught, you have to get your foot in the door. I just needed a little time to show King Odin how valuable I could be.

“There is no place for an unmarried Giantess in Asgard, and I doubt any of the men here would want a farm girl for a wife. You simply do not have the qualifications to be one of us.”

I thought hard and had an idea: “How about if I bought some land here in Asgard? Could I stay then?”

He just laughed, “Buy land in Asgard? What could you possibly offer me that would be worth land in Asgard? You have nothing of value, no impressive powers and no secret knowledge I could wish to learn.”

It was crunch time, like my uncle used to say, though he usually meant broken bones by that. When you’re at market and a buyer is about to walk away, you have to offer them what they want most, whether you have it or not. You can always get it later. What you need to do is make them believe you have what no one else can get them. So I said with false confidence: “What is it you really want? I bet I can get it for you. What do you need right now King Odin?”

He took a step back, surprised, and furrowed his brow in thought. Then slowly, a smile crept upon his face. I’d seen that kind of greasy smile before, it was the smile of someone who was going to ask the impossible.

“I want land.”

“I can get you land,” I nodded.

“I want land in Midgard. Enough land that it would take a day and night to cross it on a fast horse. Those are my terms, take them or leave them.” My stomach lurched and blood drained from my face. How was I going to find him that much land? Nevertheless,  I nodded, and said: “I will find you that land.”

___________________________

After he left, I sat on the pier once more, staring at the sea for a long time. I had no idea how to accomplish this. My goal was so close yet out of my grasp. I turned to take one last long look at the Golden Realm before admitting defeat and going home. Njord was standing there, watching me, and I blushed. “You must think me a fool to have come here with such hopes.”

Thumbs hooked in his belt, he sighed and said: “No, I think you are young, ambitious, and a dreamer. But you are something more, something I overlooked when we met. You are a peacemaker.”

“How am I a peacemaker? I’m just trying to find the best position I can for myself.”

He nodded, “You are, but the way you do it is much like mine. You are putting aside rivalries, placing yourself at the mercy of an enemy, and trying to prosper. When I first came here full of dreams of peace, you and I were not so different. You came without weapons, to offer yourself without threats or anger, and you offered a hand in peace. I respect that, and I will help you.” He gave me a hand up, and we walked together along the shore, leaving footprints in the wet sand. “Your name Gefjon means ‘giver’, does it not?” I nodded. “You are an attractive young woman with much to offer. It is now a matter of finding who has what you need, and whether you can give them what they want.”

I turned and saw in him the face of a father with advice for his daughter. It melted my despair and gave me hope. We continued in silence while I thought. Eventually I asked what he knew of the human Midgard kings.

What scheme is Gefjon planning? Find out in part 3!

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Comments
  1. […] Running Up the World Tree : Gefjon’s Story part 2 […]

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  2. This made me laugh, “It was crunch time, like my uncle used to say, though he usually meant broken bones by that.”

    I also am appreciating the Njord in this story. I still haven’t introduced myself to him, though he’s been on the edge of my awareness, probably my Matron’s doing. This has been a good reminder that I should.

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    • lofnbard says:

      Yeah, Gefjon is funny and quirky. She has that endearing naive optimism of someone coming from the country to the big city, or to a new country full of opportunities. This chapter is particularly short, yet I’m still enjoying reading it again. I don’t know why but the deity stories I write feel dense, like there’s so much more that could be unpacked, explained — but shouldn’t. Still, I give them more breathing room than they get in the Eddas, and through a modern fantasy style telling I make sure to hint at how they relate to current issues. I hope people will indulge in doing “commentary on the scriptures” here with me, as we’re doing now.

      I’m glad Njord is in this one. He isn’t mentioned in the Gylfaginning version of this story, but it felt natural to have him here as the supportive father figure — opposite to Odin’s impossibly demanding standards of excellence. My own father is a Njord type, but my girlfriend’s is more an Odin — nothing was ever good enough, and the goalposts kept shifting such that she could never get praised for doing well. This can cause so many problems. If your best is never good enough, why bother trying? You either get total slackers, or perfectionists that are never happy with their work. If your father was an Odin type, then a relationship with Njord would certainly be beneficial in balancing that.

      Men and gods get minor coverage in my stories — about as much as women and goddesses get in the lore, which isn’t a lot. They’re often lovers or father figures. As I wrote stories for the twelve ladies I was struck by the “OMG! Daddy issues!” that kept popping up. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

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