The Story of Balder Part I
The Story of Balder
From Viking Mythology
Balder was the most beautiful of all the gods; he was the son of Odin and Frigga. He was also the god of light. Balder had a twin brother named Hoder and he was the god of darkness. Hoder was not like his brother; being the god of darkness he was gloomy and blind. Nevertheless the two brothers were deeply devoted to each other. They lived together in Balder’s hall Breidablik, with Balder’s wife Nanna.
Balder had many talents, he could read all runes, was a master of herbal medicine and could see the future. however one thing Balder could not see in the future was his own fate. He walked through Asgard on most days telling fascinating stories of his dreams, and the gods and mortals loved him alike and he was always happy until one day his demeanour changed and he moped around looking defeated.
The gods and mortals asked him what was wrong and he told them that now instead of dreams he was having nightmares about his own demise. His mother and father were both extremely worried as they took his fears seriously. Frigga was determined to do something about it so she elected everything in the world; animals, insects, stones, trees, rivers and made them promise that they would not harm Balder. The only thing that did not give its promise was the mistletoe, but Frigga and her minions all agreed that the mistletoe was not of great concern in regard to her son’s wellbeing.
The gods then, on several occasions, made a game in Gladsheim of hurling different objects at Balder to test his invulnerability. They threw rocks at him, fired arrows, truck at him with axes and swards and nothing had any effect. This was rather amusing for the gods.
One god though, who was not so pleased was Loki, who for a long time had been jealous of Balder’s popularity. He disliked Balder so much that he schemed the radiant god’s downfall. Knowing what Frigga had done to protect her son he figured there must be a loophole, so he disguised himself as an old lady and came to her in her hall where she sat spinning. It didn’t take him long to find out that the mistletoe had failed to be enlisted to her cause.
Loki was thrilled with this information and hurried off to find some mistletoe. He striped off all the foliage, berries and branches so he had one long straight stick and proceeded to sharpen the end. He then went to the place where the gods were throwing objects harmlessly at Balder. Loki’s eyes fixed on Hoder, who was doing his best to join in the fun but was hardly succeeding on account of his blindness.
Loki went up to Hoder and offered to help him by guiding his hand if he wanted to throw and o
bject. Hoder agreed to this like a fool and Loki placed the sharpened stick in Hoder’s hand, Hoder threw the stick and killed his brother.
This is only the start of the story, to see more go to part two.
Brad and Saskia