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Viking Sagas. 7: Apples of Iduna - part 1

Viking Sagas. 7: Apples of Iduna - part 1

Loki begins a new story by introducing us to another character - Iduna, the goddess of youth and immortality.

The gods remain forever young by eating the magic apples that only she can pick.

One day Odin sets out on a trip to Midgard and takes Loki with him.

After a day's journey they stop for something to eat. Loki prepares a fire and makes an ox stew while Odin reads his book of spells.

Two hours later the stew should be ready to eat - but when they try it they discover the meat is still raw. A great eagle in a nearby tree tells them that he's put a spell on the stew: it won't cook unless they share it with him. They invite the eagle to take a share but the eagle starts to eat it all and Loki picks up a nearby stick and starts to beat the eagle.

The eagle suddenly grabs the stick in its beak and takes flight - with Loki still holding on to the other end of the stick.

The eagle refuses to put Loki down unless he agrees to help him with something. Loki agrees - and is promptly dropped down again. On the ground the eagle demands that Loki should help him get revenge on the gods. Loki is confused... until the eagle reveals he is in fact Thiassi, king of the giants of Jotunheim, in disguise.

Viking Sagas - supporting resources:

  1. Viking Sagas - text of Part 7 to print

Viking Sagas - text of Part 7

7. Apples of Iduna: part 1

Story by Nigel Bryant

Loki: Remember me Loki by name, jokey by nature? Today I'm going to tell you another story that the Vikings told long ago. This one's about a Viking goddess. She's called Iduna...and she really gets up my nose! All the other gods think she's the bee's knees, you know what I mean? They think she's little miss prefect. And all because of the magic apples that she grows in her garden...

You see her apples hold the secret to everlasting youth. If the gods and goddess eat one of Iduna's apples everyday they stay young and beautiful for ever.

I expect you're wondering how could I possibly have a story about Iduna. After all, a good story needs surprises, interesting twists and turns. But here, everything seems so perfect: we all live young and beautiful forever. What could there possibly be to make the story interesting..?

Ha-ha. Well I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I, Loki, did something to complicate Iduna's prefect life and cause tremendous trouble.

Now then: one day Odin decided to go on a trip to Midgard, home of you humans and what do you know he took me with him. He said it was because he liked my company. But I reckon it was so I could do the cooking.

Odin: Woo there woo. Don't know about you Loki, but I could do with a bite to eat. Could you rustle up a meal?

Loki: See what I mean? But I couldn't very well say no to Odin. So put on my nicest smile and said:

Of course, my lord. A spot of ox stew?

Odin: That will do nicely

Loki: Right then, stand back.

Sometimes it's handy being the god of fire. Starting a fire by clicking my fingers is a special trick of mine.

There we are.

Odin: Oh, very impressive. Keep an eye on the stew. I'm going to go study my book of spells.

Loki: Yeah, wasn't going to strain himself was he? He had his nose stuck in that book for the next two hours. Just long enough for me to do all the cooking. So two hours later I was feeling really cheesed off and something happened.

Noise: Argh!

Loki: It didn't seem much at first - just a bird in the trees - but you wait. Odin lifted his nose from his book and said:

Odin: I say, Loki, what's that up there?

Loki: What - you mean that feathery thing with two wings and a beak? I think you'll find it's a bird, my lord.

Odin: It's jolly big.

Loki: It would be if it was a sparrow - but it's an eagle.

Odin: It's landed in that tree.

Loki: They do tend to do that birds - they build things in them called nests.

Odin: Loki, are you being cheeky?

Loki: Cheeky, me? Course not - I'm just trying to be helpful, my lord.

Odin: Doesn't look friendly - quite threatening, in fact.

Loki: Right, stew up! Oh!

Odin: What's the matter?

Loki: It's the stew, it's raw. It hasn't cooked at all.

Odin: What? But it's been going for two hours!

Loki: I know.

Odin: And the fire is blazing away.

Loki: I know, but the stew is stone cold.

Eagle: It's magic.

Loki: Who said that?

Eagle: I did.

Loki: What on earth?

Odin: It's the bird.

Eagle: Give me some of the meat in your stew will cook.

Odin: What?

Eagle: I said, give me some of your meat and then it will cook.

Odin: Well I never. Er...what shall we do?

Loki: You're in charge. But I'd say we better give it some or we'll never eat.

Odin: Come then, great eagle. Come and take your share.

Eagle: Good. I will.

Loki: 'ere. 'ere, steady on. Don't take it all.

Eagle: Clear off - it's good!

Odin: Oh, I say!

Loki: 'ere that's enough, there'll be nothing left. Eh, give me that stick Odin, I'll show it.

Loki: I went for the bird with a heavy stick.

Go on, clear of out of it.

But it was a big mistake. Because it grabbed the other end of the stick in its beak and whisked me off the ground.

Argh! Argh! Argh!

Odin just stood there like a lemon and shouted:

Odin: LOKI!!!

Loki: Before I knew it, my feet left the ground and I was holding on to the stick for dear life. The speed of the bird, zooming along like an arrow it was.

You're flying too low.

It was as well. First he dragged me through a freezing river...and then it dragged me through a thorn bush.


Bottom first!

No...ow! Ow! Stop! Put me down!

Eagle: I'll land on one condition.

Loki: Anything!

Eagle: Anything?

Loki: Anything at all!

Eagle: You must help me to get something I want.

Loki: It's a deal, it's a deal. Just put me down!

Eagle: Ok...

Loki: Argggghh!

And at last the great bird dropped me in a gibbering heap. I ached all over. But I was so relived to be back on the ground.

Thank you, thank you. Now...what is it you want?

Eagle: Revenge on the gods.

Loki: What? How? Why?

Eagle: How? I don't know yet - that's where i need your help. Why? Because the gods are my enemies...for I am no ordinary eagle but a giant in disguise. I my friend am Thiassi, king of the giants of Jotunheim.

Loki: Well I'll be blowed!

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