|Goddess of Love, Beauty, and War|
|Original Stories about Freya||Myths about Freya||Fairy Tales||Humor|
"Why must you go, Od?" Freyja's voice was plaintive as, hugging her knees, she sat up on the bearskin rug where they had spent the night. Her golden hair, usually braided, hung free -- partially framing, yet partially concealing, her lovely face. Her rosy cheeks were pale now and her light blue eyes glistened with barely suppressed tears. "We've been together less than a fortnight. Surely you have not tired of me already?"
Odin's voice was tender as he tied the drawstring of his trousers and prepared to pull the tunic over his broad bare torso, unmarked save for a long spear-scar lying beneath his rib cage. "It has been nine days and nights, dearest Freyja, and each of them has been precious to me. So different from the nine I spent on the Tree, seeking the knowledge of the runes -- nothing then but the cold wind, driving rain, gnawing hunger, and unutterable loneliness... yet, in the end, I found that which I had sought," he added grimly. "Here with you there has been nothing but joy, yet I have gained great knowledge as well -- though it has come unbidden. In your blue eyes there are greater depths and more wondrous mysteries than any my lost eye beheld in Mimir's Well."
Freyja rose to her feet and softly kissed the lidded socket that once contained the price Mimir had demanded for a single draught from the Well of Wisdom. "Poor, dear man," she murmured. Odin embraced her lithe golden-tan form like a drowning man clasps a fortune-brought tree trunk drifting by. Holding her thus he could sense her inner being, which reflected the essence of the living, fertile earth -- all browns, and greens, and gold.
"You aren't going to make this easy for me, are you?" He whispered huskily in her ear. "Listen well, my love. Had I a choice, we would never part for so much as a day. Over the years I have loved many a maid and loved each of them truly-even poor Gunnlod, though it was my intention at first just to trick her into letting me drink the Mead of Poetry she guarded beneath Suttung's gloomy mountain... but then her loneliness touched my heart."
Odin sighed and rubbed his grizzled beard. "But none have I loved as I love you. There are times when you fill my soul like a bracing wind sweeping down off a glacier, and I could cry out for the sheer exhilaration of being alive. At other times, holding your hand in silence, I can feel the gentle rhythms that ebb and flow throughout the Nine Worlds -- and I'm content with the stillness. Moreover, you have helped me find the one thing that the runes could not, and the waters of Mimir's Well could not, and the Mead of Poetry could not. You have helped me to find myself. Whenever I look into your eyes or hold you in my arms, I forget that I am Odin Allfather, King of the Gods, Ruler of the Nine Worlds, whom all respect, fear, or hate because of my power."
Odin's voice shook with exultation, "All I see is an ordinary, weather-beaten old man who is himself -- nothing more, nor less -- and who was loved by Freyja. What greater knowledge does one need, or better fortune hope to gain? Though," he added ruefully, "it is quite beyond my comprehension what a beautiful woman like you -- who is neither awed by my power nor seeking my favor -- sees in an old gaffer like me."
"Oh, Od," she laughed throatily. "There really are some things you don't understand for all your hard-earned wisdom. You can look beyond my outer appearance -- though not entirely, I'm happy to say --" and she grinned mischievously, "so why shouldn't I be able to do likewise? I love you for your boyish curiosity as much is for your mature wisdom, for your gentle compassion as much as for your fierce strength, and for reasons that even I don't fully understand. Besides, I think it is wiser to simply accept and enjoy our love rather than question the 'why' of it." Freyja frowned. "Anyway, if my love means so much to you, why must you leave me now and cause us both so much pain?"
Odin pulled his dark blue traveling cloak around his shoulders and secured it with an enameled dragon brooch. "It is because I do love you so much, darling Freyja, that I must go. In your arms I can forget my cares and responsibilities for a time, but they are a burden I cannot lay aside for long lest the Nine Worlds suffer -- including our homeland, fabled Asgard. I fear that Loki or the giants would do some mighty mischief if I did not keep a close eye on them. The giants fear me, and I must keep that fear alive by appearing among them from time to time just so they don't start to wonder if I haven't forgotten them. Even the thought that I might be wandering about in disguise helps to curb their ambitions."
Odin paused, pensive. "And I must watch the warriors of Midgard, too, to see which promising heroes are worthy of joining the ranks of the Einherjar in Valhalla. When Ragnarok comes, and the forces of Order and Chaos clash, we must have the best army I can assemble -- we must!"
Freyja bowed her head in sad resignation as Odin placed his hands on her shoulders and said, "So you see, beloved, why I cannot tarry here. But know with a certainty that I shall return to you whenever I can." Freyja's shoulders shook as she sobbed quietly, and Odin continued. "Now I will leave you with something tangible to serve as a symbol of my pledge. Henceforth, when you cry for me, your tears will turn into drops of gold. When enough have fallen, carry them to those dwarves whom men call the Brisings and they will fashion a necklace for you. Whenever you wear it, you will think of me and know that a part of us can never truly be separated."
Taking Freyja's face in his hands and closing each eyelid with a forefinger, Odin gifted her with a poem:
"Though space and time forbid our touch,
I hold thee close within my heart;
And while I wander far from thee,
My feet tread gently through thy soul."
Lightly tracing a love rune on each of her eyelids, Odin kissing them in turn, then stepping back he simply disappeared. Not a sound followed his abrupt departure, save for Freyja's quiet sobbing -- and a muted clinking as a pile of golden tears slowly grew upon the rug at her feet.