Tooth Gift of Frey
days after the most terrible war between the Aesir and the Vanir, the Frost
Jottun of Thrymsfell pressed hard into the lands of man and elf. It fell to the
strong sons of earth to drive them back. In the lands of man stood Thor, and in
the lands of Alfs stood Frey.
Arriving in Skidbladnir, his magic cloud ship, the
fairest amongst the Vanir was well looked upon by the Alfar, the wights and
faeries of the mystic Alfheim. Alone save for his golden boar Gullinbursti, he
strode into the mountain passes to defend against the Frost Jottun, and the
killing cold they brought into the verdant forests of the Alf. While the mighty
elven hosts drew up at the forests edge in the hopes that Freyr’s mighty spear
and shining sword would carry the day, there was one alfar who could not wait.
Young was Freyr, though mighty. Born of Nerthus the earth by mighty Njord of the
waves, Frey was young and golden as the dawn, with the coltish grace of a young
stallion, and the mischief of a kit fox. Unlike the sombre Uller and stern Tyr,
the nature of Freyr was wild, passionate, and laughing. As he passed overhead in
his cloudship Skidbladnir, the Faeries of the air gathered at his golden voice,
taken by his boyish charm and long golden hair. Although Vanir and not Alf, his
beauty touched them as no mortal could, for his was the strength of the earth,
and the beauty of the shining sun. Alone among the Faeries and Sylphs of the air
was one who heard his laughter, and the lusty challenges he sang to the Jottun
guarded mountains, and was taken whole-heartedly with love. When Frey strode
forth in his armed glory, this smallest of faery flew with him.
While the equal
of Thor in battle skill, Freyr was young yet, and as the young often do, was
driven by his passions beyond reason. As the Jottun strode in their icy mail
down from the high mountains, ice axes and stone tipped spears in their huge
fists, Gullinbursti the boar gave a grunting roar of rage and stormed into them.
Laughing astride his raging boar, Freyr plied his spear with joy amongst the
Jottun foe. Blow after blow he traded, but his joy overtook him, and he cast
aside his stout shield to ply sword and spear together. Laughing in the wild joy
of battle, Freyr was struck hard upon his cheek by a Jottun axe helve, and
spilled from his golden steed.
The little faery’s heart nigh stopped to see the
golden youth struck down, and she saw a tooth struck from his mouth to spill
upon the stones and moss of the valley. Sweeping down in a blur of wings, she
took up the tooth and hurled it in the Jottun’s eye. Frey rose roaring from the
earth to ply his mighty spear, and laughed to see the Jottun so beset by the wee
faery and his tooth. Laying the last of the Jottuns low, he bowed to the Faery
and named her thus:
“Tooth Faery you are, and my tooth I give you. A gift for a
gift is our way, so for this first of my teeth I will claim a kiss.”
the faery kissed Freyr, and flew swift away to her kindred. High in the sky
circled Hunnin and Munnin, watching what happened, and what was to come. As Frey
set sail again for Asgard, the little Tooth Faery used the magic that was hers
to weave of this tooth a hall for Freyr, that he would return to
Alfheim and live among the Alf as their fair lord.
Weeping, the Tooth Faery fell,
her magic spent, for only a sword-length of one wall formed no higher than
Frey’s high boot top. As she lay spent and tired upon the ground, she swore to
the gods that if she only had more teeth, she could make a hall fit for the
golden Freyr, that he would dwell forever happily amongst the shining Alfs. The
ravens Hunnin and Munnin heard the words, and wind-swift carried them back to
their master Odin.
When Freyr returned to the halls of Asgard, he heard Thor
boasting of his victory, of the Jottuns slain to defend the world of men. Aesir
and Vanir pounded the table and shouted their praise at Thor’s victory. Baldur
the blessed rose from his seat by Odin, and called out to Frey to tell his tale
of battle and glory, Nanna his good wife swiftly charged Freyr’s horn with
golden mead to loosen his tongue and speed his thoughts.
Freyr spoke of the
victory, and laughed with the hall at his own foolishness at being felled by
axe-helve in his haste. As he spoke of the Faery and her well struck tooth, Thor
roared and raised his horn laughing at the bravery of the little alf. Upon his
high seat did Odin brooding feed scraps to his ravens. In a voice cold as ice
and deep as thunder he spoke.
“Lost you a tooth, the first of your life upon
Alfheims field”, he spoke.
“Gift for a gift, did you tell your alf-friend, and a
gift for a gift is my way. As you have given your tooth for the land, take this
land as tooth-fee for your loss. Henceforth let Alfheim know Freyr as lord!”
Thus did Odin ward Alfheim’s north borders, thus did Odin bind Freyr to his
cause. Thus did the peace between Alf, Aesir and Van be sealed with the fee of a
tooth. Returning to Alfheim Freyr sought out his new friend, and saw the start
of a hall. When he heard the wee Faery had spelled it from his tooth, the golden
lord shouted his mirth.
“A hall raised for me from one little tooth? A hall from the Tooth Faery´s gift? If you would do this, first tooth of youth, then accept
as a gift all such teeth.”
Lord of the growing and renewing earth, his gift
reached the whole of nine worlds. To this day the Tooth Faery gathers her teeth,
raising her hall for bright Freyr. A gift for a gift is the way of god and of
alf, so a tooth-fee for all will she leave.
© John T Mainer
This work by John T Mainer is licensed
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License.
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