Norse God Balder

The Norse god Balder is the son of Odin and Frigg. His wife’s name is Nanna Nepsdaughter and their son is named Forseti. His home is called Breidablik (Far shining) and is in heaven. Nothing unclean can come up there. He also owns a ship called Hringhorn, the greatest of all ships.

Snorri Sturluson describes the Norse god Balder as “being the greatest of all. Everyone loves him. He is so beautiful and fair that he glows. A flower exits that can be compared to him. It is the whitest of all flower and from it you can judge Balder’s beauty, both hair and body. He is the wisest of all the Viking gods, well spoken of and the most gentle. But he is plagued by bad dreams that mustn’t come true.

Balder’s Death

The only story that exists about Balder is the story of his death. Balder’s horrible dreams haunted him so that he told the other gods about them. They interpreted them as foretelling the death of Balder. Since all the gods loved him so much they couldn’t bear the thought of him dying.

They decided to make arrangements to protect Balder from any harm. His mother Frigg went to all corners of the world to take oaths from everything in the world to the effect that nothing would or could harm him. Nothing on earth was to be able to harm him.

Now the gods were more at ease knowing that Balder was protected. However, his dreams continued but Balder spoke not of it.

It now became the most popular entertainment among the gods to throw things at Balder. They would have him stand up when they met and then attack him. Some would strike him with a sword or axe. Others would shoot arrows at him and even throw rocks. Nothing harmed him as promised and Balder’s fame grew.

One god was not happy with this however. Loki didn’t like Balder and began to really hate him. He used his abilities to turn himself into an old woman. He went to Frigg to talk to her.

The old woman asked Frigg if there really was nothing in the world that could hurt Balder. Frigg replied that only one little plant, called mistletoe, found to the west of Valhalla that wasn’t asked to make an oath since it was considered too young and small to do so.

The old woman went away and Loki returned to his shape. He went to find the plant, tore it up and headed to the field where the gods were throwing things at Balder. Not far away stood Balder’s brother Hod who was blind.

“Why aren’t you throwing things at your brother”, asked Loki. “That’s because I’m blind and also I don’t have any weapon.”, answered Hod. “That’s no excuse, here’s a stick of wood. I’ll guide your throw” said Loki. With Loki’s guidance Hod threw the mistletoe with all his might at Balder. It struck him in the chest and he fell immediately dead to the ground.

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