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Young Folks' Treasury: Myths and Legendary Heroes

The Punishment Of Loki
ADAPTED FROM A. AND E. KEARY'S VERSION
After the death of Baldur, Loki never again ventured to intrude himself into the presence
of the gods. He knew well enough that he had now done what could never be forgiven
him, and that, for the future, he must bend all his cunning and vigilance to the task of
hiding himself from the [pg 92] gaze of those whom he had so injured, and escaping the just
punishment he had brought upon himself.
"The world is large, and I am very clever," said Loki to himself, as he turned his back
upon Asgard, and wandered out into Manheim; "there is no end to the thick woods, and
no measure for the deep waters; neither is there any possibility of counting the various
forms under which I shall disguise myself. Odin will never be able to find me; I have no
cause to fear." But though Loki repeated this over and over again to himself, he was
afraid.
He wandered far into the thick woods, and covered himself with the deep waters; he
climbed to the tops of misty hills, and crouched in the dark of hollow caves; but above
the wood, and through the water, and down into the darkness, a single ray of calm, clear
light seemed always to follow him, and he knew that it came from the eye of Odin who
was watching him from Air Throne.
Then he tried to escape the watchful eye by disguising himself under various shapes.
Sometimes he was an eagle on a lonely mountain-crag; sometimes he hid himself as one
among a troop of timid reindeer; sometimes he lay in the nest of a wood-pigeon;
sometimes he swam, a bright-spotted fish, in the sea; but, wherever he was, among living
creatures, or alone with dead nature, everything seemed to know him, and to find a voice
in which to say to him, "You are Loki, and you have killed Baldur." Air, earth, or water,
there was no rest for him anywhere.
Tired at last of seeking what he could nowhere find, Loki built himself a house near a
narrow, glittering river which, lower down flashed from a high rock into the sea below.
He took care that his house should have four doors in it, that he might look out on every
side and catch the first glimpse of the gods when they came, as he knew they would
come, to take him away. Here his wife, Siguna, and his two sons, Ali and Nari, came to
live with him.
Siguna was a kind woman, far too good and kind for Loki. She felt sorry for him now that
she saw he was in great fear, and that every living thing had turned against him, and she
would [pg 93] have hidden him from the just anger of the gods if she could; but the two sons
cared little about their father's dread and danger; they spent all their time in quarreling
with each other; and their loud, angry voices, sounding above the waterfall, would
speedily have betrayed the hiding-place, even if Odin's piercing eye had not already
found it out.
 
 
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