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An explanation of the Norse myth of Ragnarok.

The origin of this saga was that Baldr the Good had a series of ominous dreams; he saw his life threatened. When he told the Aesir about his dreams, they took council and decided to seek a truce for Baldr, protecting him from all dangers. Frigg took oaths that Baldr would not be harmed by fire and water, iron and all kinds of metal, stones, the earth, trees, diseases, animals, birds, poisons, and snakes. When this was done and became known, Baldr and the Aesir took to amusing themselves by having Baldr stand in front of all the others at the assembly while some would shoot at him, some would strike blows, and some would hit him with stones. Whatever was done caused him no injury, and all thought this remarkable.

But when Loki, son of Laufey, saw this, it angered him that Baldr was uninjured. After changing himself into the likeness of a woman, he went to Frigg at Fensalir. Frigg asked this woman if she knew what the Aesir were doing at the assembly. The woman replied that everyone was shooting at Baldr, yet he suffered no injury. Then Frigg said, “Neither weapons nor wood will harm Baldr. I have received oaths from all of them.”

Then the woman asked, “Have all things given their oath not to harm Baldr?”

Frigg answered, “A shoot of wood grows to the west of Valhalla. It is called mistletoe, and it seemed too young for me to demand its oath.” Immediately afterwards, the woman disappeared. Loki got hold of the mistletoe. He broke it off and went to the assembly.

Hodr, because he was blind, stood at the edge of the circle of people. Loki spoke to him, asking: “Why aren’t you shooting at Baldr?”

Hodr replied, “Because I can’t see where Baldr is, and also I have no weapon.”

Then Loki said, “You should be behaving like the others, honoring Baldr as they do. I will direct you to where he is standing. Shoot this twig at him.”

Hodr took the mistletoe and, following Loki’s directions, shot at Baldr. The shot went right through Baldr, who fell to the ground dead. This misfortune was the worst that had been worked against the Gods and men. Baldr’s death left the Gods speechless and so weak that they were unable to muster the strength to lift him up in their arms. They all looked at one another, and all were of a single mind against the one who had done the killing.

But no one could take vengeance because the place was deeply revered as a sanctuary. When the Aesir first tried to speak, all they could do was weep, and no one could form words to tell the others of his grief. Odin suffered the most from this misfortune. This was because he understood most clearly how grievous was the loss, and that the death of Baldr was ruin for the Aesir.

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