~ Heathen Stories and New Myths ~
Freyja' s Journey
Freyja sat in her beautiful hall, her head bowed in anguish. Tears of red - gold gently trickled down her face and rolled off onto the table, adding to the fortune that was her sorrow. Freyr sat down next to her, and lifting her chin asked, " What vexes you so my sister ? Why does one so beautiful as you cry this way ?" Freyja, choking back the tears, answered, " My husband has gone off again on another of his journeys, and our children miss him so. Hnoss and little Gersemi are so sad without their father, and I too miss him so very much ! " Freyr responded in a harsh whisper, " Do not let father hear you say such things. He is already not fond of Od. Besides , you know that everywhere Od travels he spreads love and joy. It is his passion, and his purpose. " Freyja shot back angrily, " Yes, but we need him too ! " Suddenly she looked up from the table, and with a look of determination that wiped the tears from her eyes said, " I will sit here waiting no longer. I will go out and find my husband and bring him home." Freyr shook his head but said nothing. He knew that when his sister had made up her mind nothing, or no one, was going to change it.
Njord, who was resting in the flower garden, saw his daughter stride towards him with Hnoss and Gersemi in tow. When she reached his side, Freyja asked, " Father, will you look after my daughters while I go and search for my husband ? " Njord answered with a bellowing laugh that could stop the wind itself : " I came to visit you to see my grandaughters ! Of course I will ! I would love to spend time with my two little magical Valkyries. They are such little treasures ! " Hearing this Hnoss and Gersemi ran to their grandfather and jumped up onto his lap. Freyja put her hand on her father's shoulder and thanked him. Njord grabbed her hand, looked Freyja in the eyes and said, " Be careful my daughter, and may luck be with you. " Freyja gave him a little frown and replied, " I have no need for luck father, I have magic. " As Freyja left she could hear her father's laughter mixed with the high pitched giggling of her daughters. For the first time in a while a faint smile crossed her face. It did not remain long though, and quickly turned back into a look of focused determination.
Freyja decided to start her search in the lands of Midgard. Od often spoke of his love of moving amongst the children of Odin, and how much he enjoyed the company of these simple people. She knew, of course, that she would have to travel in disguise in this realm, so she summoned her magic and changed her cats into beautiful stallions to pull her golden cart across the winding dirt roads of Midgard. She was, however, to vain to change her appearance. Odin may hide in disguises in the land of humans, but Freyja wanted all to see and appreciate her beauty.
Along the way she stopped at every farm to ask if the farmers had seen her husband, who she described in great detail. All shook their heads, and said that no one by that description had passed this way. The farmer' s wives had to restrain their husbands from making fools of themselves, which gave Freyja much amusement. She then thanked them and went on her way. She had little time for conversation. She had a husband to find !
She came next to a small town, and stopped at the market square. A crowd gathered around her as she stepped down from her cart. They were amazed by this beautiful woman, dressed in the finest clothing they had ever seen. They whispered to each other that surely she must be a queen, or at the very least a princess. They brought her to a small eatery, and treated her according to her status. They gave her the best food and drink they had, and everyone spoke to her with respect and reverence. They dressed her as, "My lady". They took turns asking her questions, and were delighted by her answers. Freyja simply adored the attention, and was amazed at their generous hospitality, and quickly saw why it was that Od liked these Midgardians so much. She asked them why the market seemed so empty of fresh fruits and vegetables. The tavern owner explained that the rains had not come this year, as in years past, and the early harvest had not been very productive. He went on to say that if they did not receive rain soon the late harvest could be a total loss. Freyja told them how sorry she was to hear of their misfortune, and that she hoped the rains would come to make their fall harvest more abundant. Then she asked if anyone had seen her husband, who she again described in great detail. Every man and woman in the square said that they had not seen him. The tavern owner even remarked that he would have remembered a man who was that splendid. With a look of sadness she said her goodbyes, and thanked them for their kindness. As she reached her cart, every man near her pushed and shoved each other to be the one to help her up onto the padded seat of her cart. Two men won the honor, and received cold stares from their wives, as they gently helped Freyja into her seat. All bid her farewell and good luck. As she rode away she could hear them cheering her, wishing her well, and asking her to come back soon.
She was touched by their heartfelt treatment of her, and true concern for her welfare. She felt sorry for the misfortune they were having with their crops, and decided she would help her new friends. Within her mind she reached out to her brother Freyr, and asked him if there was not something he could do to help these kind - hearted people. In Asgard, Freyr nodded his head, and slowly Sunna disappeared from the sky. Dark clouds covered her once shining face throughout the valley where the town lay. As Freyja reached a hill overlooking the town, she stopped her cart, and looked back over her shoulder. A gentle rain had started to fall over the valley below, onto the farms, and the parched ground their crops were planted in. The tavern owner had noticed that her cart had stopped on the hill, and as his eyes met Freyja's he realized that she was not a queen at all, but someone very special. He had tears in his eyes as he waved to her. With a smile on her face she turned around and bid her stallions to take her to the next village along the way.
And so she went from farm to farm, village to village, looking for her beloved husband. Everyone she spoke to had the same answer to her often repeated question. Od had not been this way. Finally after a long and exhaustive search she decided she needed to look elsewhere. So she turned her horses back into cats, and headed into the mountains to find the cave that leads to the dark lands where the Dwarves reside. She would continue her search there.
Deeper and deeper into the earth the rock trail lead. Though she was miles underground Freyja could see surprisingly well in this dark, damp, and cold world. The walls of rock along the road gave off a luminescence that was not as bright as daylight, but that dull light you see at dusk and dawn. Up ahead Freyja saw three rock dwarves waddling along the side of the path. She decided to stop and ask them if they had seen her husband. Dolgthvari, Haur, and Hugstari, were on their way to see their friends, who lived in the granite fields, when they heard a cart coming up from behind them on the road. As they turned to see who it was, they were surprised to see a Goddess steering two cats, on a golden cart ! They each looked at each other, and frowned as she stopped. Freyja asked them if they had seen her husband, who she described once again in great detail. Haur shook his head no, and Dolgthvari just shrugged his shoulders. Hugstari, however, told her in a gravely voice, " The Gods and Goddesses seldom come to visit us in our realm of rock and stone. You should look elsewhere, fair one, for your missing spouse. " Haur added, with a scowl upon his face, " You are not welcome here Goddess of the Vanir race ! " With a sarcastic laugh they turned their backs on her, and went back on their way. Freyja did not even look at these vile creatures as she passed them, she had no interest in these pale, rude little rock dwellers.
She traveled for another day, with no luck, before the trail opened up into a huge underground world. This was the land of the Dark Dwarfs. She slowly passed by earthen huts, each lit with a torch, and each with smoke billowing up from their chimneys. The roof of this land was covered with long roots which grew down like upside down branches on a tree. But these were ugly twisted trees, and had no greenery attached. To Freyja they looked like giant misshapened hands reaching out to grab her. Water dripped from this strange ceiling like rain from dark clouds. She stopped at several dwellings along the way, but was told at each that they had not seen her husband. At least they were somewhat kinder than the Rock Dwarfs had been to her, she thought as she moved to the next hut. Then she saw the blacksmith shop of Eitri and Brokk, and stopped her cart. She dismounted her carriage and went inside to see the talented smiths, and ask them if they had seen her husband. Freyja greeted them warmly, and asked how they were this day. Brokk responded in a hoarse voice, " I have made the Gods a boar with bristles of gold, the ring called Draupnir, and the hammer Mjolinir. What do the Gods of Asgard want of me now ?" Freyja, offended by his tone, replied, " We of Asgard are very appreciative of the wonderful gifts you have made for us. I will ask of you only one question. Has my husband Od been this way by chance ?" Eitri looked at Brokk with an evil smile, then turned back to Freyja, and said, " Why yes, and he is still here !" He is looking at our goods in our back storeroom. If you will be so kind as to follow me I will take you to him. " Freyja followed with great expectation and a broad smile on her face. When they reached the back of the shop, Eitri opened a large door, then stopped as Brokk said, " After you great Goddess. " As soon as Freyja had stepped inside Eitri slammed the door shut, and bolted it ! The two Dwarfs danced a little dance to celebrate their good fortune. They had captured the most beautiful Goddess in all of Asgard ! The rest of the day Eitri and Brokk argued as to what they should do with her. Should they ransom her back to the Aesir, or sell her to the highest bidding Jotun ?
The next day they went back to the storeroom to ask Freyja how much she thought she was worth to the Gods and the Jotuns. Freyja, with a pretty little smile upon her face, reached down and picked up three pieces of coal from a bin, and said in a calm voice, " Not as much as these diamonds !" Before she showed them to the Dwarfs she ran her hand over the lumps of coal and they transformed into the largest diamonds in all the nine worlds. Impatient, the Dwarfs shouted, " Let us see, let us see !" Freyja then opened up her hand and displayed the sparkling gems to them. " Will these buy my freedom ?", asked Freyja. Eitri and Brokk were amazed at the size and beauty of these huge diamonds. Even in their low lit world they shone like a beacon in the dark. Brokk finally spoke and said, " We will have the diamonds and you as well my dear ! " To answer this, Freyja simply smirked and ran her hand back over the diamonds, turning them back into worthless pieces of coal. She then said, " My freedom for the diamonds. That is my offer ! " Eitri looked at Brokk and said, " How do we know that you will not make them disappear after we release you ?" Freyja smiled pleasantly and replied, " You have my word that they will remain in your hands even after I am free. " She then passed her hand over the coal again turning them back into diamonds to give the brothers one last look at them.
The Dwarfs discussed it for a few minutes together, and then agreed to the
bargain. They escorted her safely back to her cart, and even helped her up into
her seat. After she was safely behind the reins of her cats she handed over the
diamonds to Brokk. As soon as the diamonds were securely in his hands he yelled
to Eitri to grab her. Freyja, however, had anticipated treachery and was too
fast for them. The cats bolted and the cart was safely on its way, and out of
the Dwarf's reach within seconds. The Dwarfs cursed their luck and were
disappointed that they could not have both prizes. They were however, ecstatic
that they now possessed these very valuable diamonds.
That night Brokk and Eitri decided to show off their prize gems to the whole village. Everyone gathered round as Brokk and Eitri took turns telling the story of how they captured the Great Goddess Freyja, and then lied that they had forced the Great Gods of Asgard to pay a huge ransom in diamonds to gain her release. Then Eitri pulled the huge diamonds out of his pocket and held them up high so the entire crowd could see their triumph. The onlookers looked hard at Eitri's hand, and then started laughing one by one at what they saw. Eitri pulled the diamonds back down, and was shocked to see only three lumps of coal. Brokk was so angry he took off his hat and started to beat Eitri with it. This made the crowd laugh even louder ! Freyja had paid the Dwarfs a lie for a lie !
As Freyja rode out of the cave entrance, and back into the world of sunshine, she decided it was best for her to give up her search for her beloved husband, and just go home. She had failed in her journey, and was tired, and very disappointed. With a heavy heart, and tear - filled eyes, she headed back home through the dirt roads of Midgard, and across the rainbow bridge to the shining realm of Asgard.
As she stood outside the massive doors of her great hall Sessrumnir, she felt only loneliness and sadness. As she slowly opened the heavy golden doors, she saw to her amazement, Od sitting on the golden benches, with Hnoss on one knee, and Gersemi on the other. Od turned to her with a frown and shouted, " Where have you been my wife ? I have been waiting for you for days !" Freyja's sorrow turned to anger, and then to fury ! She clenched her fists and strode foward towards him. Then she saw Od bouncing Hnoss and Gersemi up and down on his knees, and heard them giggling joyfully. The anger drained away just as quickly as it had appeared. Her husband had come home at last, and her family was re - united. Freyja walked over to Od, shook her finger at him, then gave him a little kiss and a hug. All was well at last. At least for the time being.
As Heimdall watched over the massive rainbow bridge he heard the giggling of children, and laughter of adults coming from the direction of Sessrumnir. He smiled as he watched over the gate to Asgard. There would be no shedding of red - gold tears this night.
© Glenn Bergen, 2011
A Follower Of The Old Ways