AEGIR’S JOURNEY TO ASGARD.
68. AEgir, who was well skilled in magic, once went to Asgard, where he met with a very good reception. Supper time being come, the twelve mighty AEsir,—Odin, Thor, Njord, Frey, Tyr, Heimdall, Bragi, Vidar, Vali, Ullur, Hoenir and Forseti, together with the Asynjor,—Frigga, Freyja, Gefjon, Iduna, Gerda, Siguna, Fulla and Nanna, seated themselves on their lofty doom seats, in a hall around which were ranged swords of such surpassing brilliancy that no other light was requisite. They continued long at table, drinking mead of a very superior quality. While they were emptying their capacious drinking horns, AEgir, who sat next to Bragi, requested him to relate something concerning the AEsir. Bragi instantly complied with his request, by informing him of what had happened to Iduna.
IDUNA AND HER APPLES.
69. “Once,” he said, “when Odin, Loki, and Hoenir went on a journey, they came to a valley where a herd of oxen were grazing, and being sadly in want of provisions did not scruple to kill one for their supper. Vain, however, were their efforts to boil the flesh; they found it, every time they took off the lid of the kettle, as raw as when first put in. While they were endeavouring to account for this singular circumstance a noise was heard above them, and on looking up they beheld an enormous eagle perched on the branch of an oak tree. ‘If ye are willing to let me have my share of the flesh,’ said the eagle, ‘it shall soon be boiled;’ and on their assenting to this proposal, it flew down and snatched up a leg and two shoulders of the ox—a proceeding which so incensed Loki, that he laid hold of a large stock, and made it fall pretty heavily on the eagle’s back. It was, however, not an eagle that Loki struck, but the renowned giant Thjassi, clad in his eagle plumage. Loki soon found this out to his cost, for while one end of the stock stuck fast to the eagle’s back, he was unable to let go his hold of the other end, and was consequently trailed by the eagle-clad giant over rocks and forests, until he was almost torn to pieces. Loki in this predicament began to sue for peace, but Thjassi told him that he should never be released from his hold until he bound himself by a solemn oath to bring Iduna and her apples out of Asgard. Loki very willingly gave his oath to effect this object, and went back in a piteous plight to his companions.
70. “On his return to Asgard, Loki told Iduna that, in a forest at a short distance from the celestial residence, he had found apples growing which he thought were of a much better quality than her own, and that at all events it was worth while making a comparison between them. Iduna, deceived by his words, took her apples, and went with him into the forest, but they had no sooner entered it than Thjassi, clad in his eagle-plumage, flew rapidly towards them,