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~ By Courtesy of Others ~


Loki's Wedding-Gift

Skadhi came, seeking a settlement, to Asgard,
Thiassi's daughter: two were the things she sought
For her father's life, fire-fled: first of all, demanded
Not hard, a husband she should have of the Aesir;
Njordh she chose, not a bad bargain,
Though by her belief, it was Baldur fair-footed.

Harder by far was the healing she asked them:
No mirth had that maid since the murder of Thiassi.
Hard-faced she was, heart-heavy in grieving,
Cold as the hearth-stone in house roof-ruined,
Empty within as its walls sky-thatched.
Laughter she asked, to lighten her woe-load.

God after god then gave of his best,
Mirth to make at the marrying of Skadhi,
Tales were told - tiresome to her hearing.
No song that was sung for her, sweetened that giant-maid;
Tried were all tricks: the task was hopeless.
No work could outweigh her woe for her father.

Last of all, Loki leaped to the hall-floor,
Brought in a billy-goat, beard-bound by a tether
To the balls of Byleistr’s brother knotted.
Wherever the goat went, that god went, tackle-tied,
Stumbling, stone-fast, striving to keep
His poke from parting with his prick every instant.

All the hall howled, helpless with laughter,
Tears trickled down cheeks at the trick, seeing Loki
Joke as he jerked by the jewel-bag everywhere,
Hauled by that horny goat‚s hunting what pleased him.
If under table, it took Loki with him,
Or bounding on board, bound Loki following.

When the goat turned, then tighter the leash grew,
Caught in its legs, so Loki must waddle,
When the goat had a mind to mate with a bitch,
Astride the goat's back on the bitch as a threesome.
Then it head-charged a horn-bearer, hoping to butt
The As in the arse - after rushed Loki!

Breathless became the beholders: they hooted
Till hurting their sides were: they held them in mirth-pangs.
When tired was the goat of the game, Loki looked
Sidelong at Skadhi, stole a sly glance
And saw that a smile had sweetened her face;
Saw her lips parting, and laughter escape them.

As from their roost doves from rafters flutter,
As the new-kindled fire feeds on the kindling,
So were the sounds of her sorrow‚s departing,
Loki so blithe, Njordh's bride had made.
Loki shouted and pointed: 'She is paid! Skadhi laughs!'
Glee-filled, he fell backward, with fooling worn weary.

That was his gift, with the goat and his ballock-bag,
And the face of each wight was wet that was there.
All laughed at Loki, at lightest their mood;
But whose poke was it, paid the price of the joking?
Loki laughed little, unloosing the goat -
Knowing each laugher should look to himself.

Take warning by Loki, when he's most mirthful:
When a wight beard bears, waxes his manhood
Bold as a billy-goat, bound by that weird
To wander wherever his beard and balls lead him.
His seed-striving stirs him up, summons him always;
He is bound to his beast, at his best but a fool.

Whoever has ballocks is bound without respite,
And the poor fool is pulled by the purse-strings who marries!
No female either is free from the plight:
Once wedded, her fate is to follow her house-bond..
All who at Loki laugh, loudest they mock themselves.
Loki then smiled at those smirkers, not with them,
And this little gift-joke he gave to himself that day.

© 2001 Nick Ford

Poetic form: Fornyrđislag (Old Meter)

Image: "
Skadi choosing her husband", Louis Huard (1813-1874). Public Domain.
in The Heroes of Asgard : Tales from Scandinavian Mythology / by A. & E. Keary (1893

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