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dread. “Let me hide myself till it is over.” And changing himself into a fish, he dived deep into the great seething mass of angry waters.

But Thor and Odin were close upon him. The fiery eye 5 of Thor had caught the sparkle of its shiny coat as the great fish shot down from the mountain side into the sea. Then, too, of what use was it to hide from the great all-seeing eye of Odin? Did he not see and hear all sights and sounds?

And, more than that, did he not know all things even from 10 the beginning?

“We will take a great net, and we will drag the sea,” said Odin quietly.

Loke heard these words and trembled. He hid himself beneath the sea-weed; but so muddy were the waters that 15 he was driven out to breathe. The great net was spread.

Held by the hands of Odin and of Thor, there was no escape for Loke. Sullenly he allowed the net to close over him. There was no other way; for it stretched from shore to shore, and from above the waters even to the ocean bed.

And so, at last, because it was to be, the fish held; and Loke was in the power of the angry Thor.

“Come back," commanded Odin, "to your own shape and size.” Loke obeyed; and in his own form was borne

to Asgard. The angry gods fell, one and all, upon him. 25 Not one showed pity for him. They hated him. And well

they might; for had he not slain Baldur, and so loosed the power of the Frost Giants upon their shining city?

“Let him be bound! Let him be bound!” they cried.
“Let him be bound even as the Fenriswolf is bound!”
“Let him be bound with iron fetters!”
“Let him be nailed to the great rocks in the sea!”

“Let a poisonous serpent hang over him; and let the serpent drop, moment by moment, through all the time to

come, his burning poison upon him! Let him lie there, 35 chained and suffering till the last great day!”

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"All this shall be," thundered Thor. And thus it was that the cruel, evil-hearted, peace-destroyer, Loke, suffered ages upon ages of punishment for his malice and his crime.

The gods had avenged themselves upon the cruel Peace5 destroyer, and he lay suffering the tortures they had put

upon him.

But even this could not bring back the sunny god, the happy, cheerful, life-giving Baldur. Bragi had gone, and

there was no sound of music in Asgard; Idun had gone 10 and signs of age were again creeping over the faces of the

gods; now Baldur was gone, and with him the long light and warm softness of the summer time.

“He may come back,” Frigg would say; and every morning she strained her eyes to see if he had risen from behind 15 the far-off hills with the soft light she had learned to know so well. “Baldur is late,” she would say, as the days rolled on.

But all this time, from the cold northland, the Frost Giants, triumphant, were drawing near. Their chill breath

was in the air. The days grew short; the nights grew long. 20 The rivers were locked in ice. Great drifts of snow were

everywhere. The sky was gray; and there were no stars. The sun shone pale and white through the dull clouds and the blinding drifts of snow. It grew bitter, bitter cold.

“The Fimbul-winter!” whispered the earth-people. 25"Has the Fimbul-winter come?" And Odin answered,

“Yes; it is true. The Fimbul-winter, foretold by the Norns, even from the beginning of time, has come. Soon the great wolf will spring forth from the underworld, and he

will seize upon the sun and devour it. Then dense dark30 ness will fall upon us; and Ragnarok the end of all things

ngs - will be upon us."

And it came to pass as Odin said. One day there was heard a mighty rumbling. This time it was not the thunder

from the mighty hammer of great Thor. His hands were 35 frozen; nor had he heart to try to wield his hammer.

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The thunder and the rumble came this time from within the earth. The great earth trembled and shook. Great gaping mouths opened and swallowed up the children; the mountains crumbled and fell; the great serpent lashed the 5 sea; the great rocks rocked and swayed and tore themselves apart. Loke and the Fenris-wolf, freed from their fetters, sprang forth, burning with hate and wild for vengeance. The Frost Giants already were upon the rainbow bridge. A terrible battle followed.

The gods fell, one by one: Thor, by the deadly flood of poison from the Midgard serpent; Tyr, in the great jaws of the Fenris-wolf who, ages before, had torn from him his strong right hand.

And now the battle was over. The gods lay dead 15 even Odin. The shining city of Asgard was a blackened,

smoking ruin; the rainbow bridge was gone. The Giants sent forth their cold winds, howling with cruel glee. Loke's evil heart was glad; the great serpent lashed the waters

mountain high; and the earth-people perished in the 20 flood. The Fenris-wolf stretched its great jaw from heaven to earth and shook the skies.

There was a strange hush! A great ball of fire had fallen upon the battlefield. There was a sudden rush of air!

A great wave of heat spread out across all space! A burst 25 of thunder! A crackling as of fire! Then one hiss, and the whole earth was one great scorching blaze.

One second — a fierce red tongue of flame had shot up the trunk of Ygdrasil, and it fell, a mass of blackened ashes.

The sea hissed and steamed. The earth melted. The 30 Frost Giants, Loke, the serpent, the Fenris-wolf — all, all,

were wrapped in flame. A second more, and there was no living thing in all the earth. For Ragnarok, the Reign of Fire, had come; and with it came an end to Life

end alike to gods and giants; an end to all creatures of the 35 land and sea; an end even to the great earth itself.

an HELPS FOR STUDY

What people believed in the Norse myths?
Why was Odin sad?

Why would the light and warmth disappear when Baldur should go down into the dash valley?

How were the gods affected by what Baldur told them?

What did Frigg do to try to prevent Baldur's light from going out? Did she succeed? What did she overlook?

Where was the “pale valley”?
What was the rainbow bridge of mythology?
What great change came over the world at Baldur's death?
What were some of the evil things Loke had done?
How did the grief of Thor affect the earth?
In what way did Loke try to escape the wrath of Thor?
How did the gods avenge themselves upon Loke?

Why did Idun's disappearance cause the signs of age to creep over the faces of the gods?

What was Ragnarok?

NOTES

249: 4 God of song. Bragi was the Norse god of music, poetry, and eloquence.

249:5 Idun. The goddess who had in her keeping, in Asgard, the apples eaten by the gods to preserve eternal youth.

253: 20 Sif. The wife of Thor, who was robbed of her golden hair by Loke. He was compelled to obtain new hair for her made by the dwarfs out of gold.

254: 29 Fenris-wolf. A water-demon in the form of a gigantic wolf. He was fettered by the gods, but freed himself at Ragnarok, and slew Odin. He was, in turn, slain by Vidar, one of Odin's sons.

255: 27 Norns. The Fates of Norse mythology. Their names were Urd, Verdandi and Skuld.

VOCABULARY

Baldur (bal'dur)
Bragi (brä'gē)
Freyja (fri'yä)
Idun (ē'dön)
Loke (lo'kē)

Ragnarök (rag'nä-rerk')
Sif (sēf)
Thor (thôr or tör)
Tyr (tir)
Ygdrasil (ig'drä-sil)

GRECIAN AND ROMAN MYTHS

ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE

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Orpheus was the son of the god Apollo; and Apollo, proud of his beautiful son, gave him his own mellow-stringed lyre, and taught him to play so sweetly upon it, that not only men and women, but even the beasts of the field 5 stopped to listen; and, listening, forgot their wicked,

, savage passions and became, one and all, gentle and loving as the lambs on the sunny hillside. Even the trees quivered and sighed, and the rocks melted before his tender strains.

When Orpheus became a man, he won, with his sweet music, the beautiful Eurydice for his wife; but alas, very happy though they were, they were subject to an evil fate, and soon their joy was at an end. For one day, when

Eurydice was wandering with her nymphs in the fields, 15 she stepped upon a poisonous snake, which turned and bit her, poisoning her so that she died from the cruel wound.

Poor Orpheus! For a time he had no heart to touch the lyre, and all the earth was sad and still. But one day he

went out into the streets with it in his hand, and sang his 20 grief out into the summer air.

Brave men wept great tears of sympathy, so tender and so touching was his music, and even the gods on Mount Olympus looked softly down upon him.

“Go thou down into Hades,” said Jupiter to Orpheus, and thou shalt find thy wife; bring her back with thee up into the light of day.”

Gladly Orpheus obeyed. Down through the great cave,

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