Posts Tagged ‘Jotunheim’

Part 5: Four Oxen for Land

Morning air was chilly and made fog of my breath. I chose my path along the budding birches to let Sunna light caress me, sensually letting fingers trail on the smooth bark of these White Ladies. The invigorating scent of nearby spruce and pine reached my nostrils, along with the pleasing scent of decaying leaves. They crunched underfoot with the melting snow as I crossed the forest.

Nights and days were equal when I reached the homestead of my promised man in Jotunheim. You’d think it was just a moss covered hill, were not for a leather flap over the doorway and smoke rising from its summit. I took one last pure breath before lifting the skin, then wrinkled my nose at the far less appealing smell of too many sweaty furs and skins locked away for a season.

“Grimr!” [1] I called out within his cavernous hall, “It is Spring and you’re in luck. It is time for us to flock, as I have come to fulfill my father’s pledge.” Various couples littered the earthen floor, stirring slightly as I bellowed, though most just rolled over and snuggled under their smelly pelt blankets.

Eagerly he came from his private room to the fire warmed hall, in only a skin loincloth and cloak, to greet me thus: “So, lass, you’ve finally come to your senses. I am glad to hear you are done with your silly wandering. Now we marry!” His legs were strong but it was his shoulders and head that were massive above all. He towered over me by two heads, with shaggy dark hair a mess that hid most of his face. It was how he got his name.

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Part 4: The Mound of Memory

I went back to Jotunheim on foot across the snowy hills, once more in furs and brown buckskin dress for a final visit to my family – before attending the man they promised me to as baby-maker. On the way I chided myself in spite of success. I’d felt so good dancing for the crowd and seducing the king that I’d almost forgotten to claim a promise – until he asked – so caught up was I in enjoying the moment. Silly girl! You spent a year working hard for that goal, now is not the time to get distracted, I thought. This is just the beginning, and there is much yet to do before I can be a Goddess. As for Gylfi… not a bad lover. Not great, fair I suppose, but then I’m not settling down with him so it doesn’t matter. I do hope Odin doesn’t evict him when I give away the land he lives on. It certainly wouldn’t make me a very popular Goddess if I became known as a land thief. Hmm, ‘Goddess of land theft’, I smiled as I rolled the idea around in my head, kicking up snow as I went. Not the worst job a Goddess could have I guess, laying claim to territories for the Gods. ‘You! Out! Some lesser God wants your land so you’re out of luck.’  I laughed at my own wit, chuckling off and on for the rest of the day’s travels. That night I dreamed of mortals praising my name, dragging sharp tools in the ground, tracing boundaries around land given to their favorite Goddess. “No, not stolen,” I told myself softly in the morning, waking under my furs, “given. And that is my name, is it not?” The king had chosen to give me that land, though he knew not how much I could plough. (more…)

Part 3: Dancing For King and Land

 Njord’s ship brought me back, once my plan was made, to the lush world of Vanaheim. He’d asked for no fee, thus making me blush, “Gift for a good cause”  he’d said on the pier. Not used to free rides, not even from kin – what I had I earned with my sweat.

There in the fields I worked over summer, to buy me a green linen gown – fit for a princess, embroidered in gold, and also I gathered some herbs. That fertile land walked I barefoot across, with my precious package in hand, till Billing’s Harbor I reached late in Fall; paid passage with work as before. Last of the harvests were ready to load; a month of toil they made for me.

One of his workers gave me a fur coat to cross Jotunheim’s snowy paths. I quite was grateful, for it took some weeks to reach Midgard’s small mountain pass. I barely fit through, which is why only small Giants are seen by humans. From there to Hleiðra[1] where king Gylfi ruled, just in time for Midwinter’s feast![2]  I made sure to wash my feet in the lake before putting on the fine dress. T’was easy to kick through a foot of ice to get to the water below, so for fun I splashed around for a while, and so washed the rest of my skin. (more…)