The Spring Troll
The Tale Of The Gods
Alffina woke up early and started her chores without having to be told. Although this was rather unusual behavior for her young daughter, Elina decided that she was being so helpful this morning because it was looking to be another sunny, and fairly warm day. Being a child once herself, of course, Elina assumed that Alffina wanted to finish her chores early to give her more time to play outside. She was so surprised, and pleased by her daughter's eagerness to work, that she decided to reward Alffina by finishing the cleaning and cutting of the vegetables for the stew herself to give her daughter more time to play. Elina could not help but laugh as Alffina rushed out the door when she was relieved of her last duties. As a mother she was happy for her daughter, but as she began to ready the vegetables for their dinner she also envied Alffina for being able to live such a carefree life.
Alffina had been careful not to mention that she had met a Troll down by the river, or that her new friend Sirik had told her wonderful stories of how the worlds were created. She was cautious about revealing her meeting with the Troll for two reasons : First of all she was concerned that her mother would ask too many questions about her new friend, and possibly even stop her from seeing him again. And the second, of course, was that her mother might become angry that these tales Sirik told her were different from the stories that Father Lefvini preached about during the Sunday Mass.
With the never ending energy of a small child Alffina ran as fast as she could through the town, across the meadow, and down to the bridge. To her surprise, and delight, Sirik was sitting outside of the turf entrance to his underground home waiting for her. She smiled happily from ear to ear when she saw the tray on the ground next to him. For on it sat two cups of root tea, and a plate full of those delicious honey biscuits that she had enjoyed the day before.
Sirik's lips parted into a broad smile, showing his large yellow uneven teeth, as she approached.
" Come quickly ! Sit ! Sit ! For I have much to tell you today ! " he told the human child as he patted the ground next to him.
Before beginning Sirik offered a cup of tea and a biscuit to Alffina, which she eagerly accepted.
" Now let me see,.... where was I,..... oh, yes,...." he began and then paused for a moment.
" The cow Audhumla had just licked the human form out of the block of salty ice. Buri was his name,.... a handsome creature was he,...and he had a son named Bor, who married a female called Bestla. This Giantess was the daughter of a Jotun named Bolthorn. They,... Bor and Bestla, in turn had three sons. The first was called Odin, the second Ve, while the last was known as Vili. Now,.... Odin became the most notable of the three, and it was he who became the ruler of the heavens and the Earth. " he told Alffina before pausing to scratch his scruffy beard while in deep thought.
" Actually I am getting ahead of myself slightly, because you see, it was Odin in conjunction with his brothers who created the heavens and Midgard,.... what you now call Earth." he told his attentive little friend.
Alffina stopped nibbling on her biscuit just long enough to ask a question.
" Our God took six days to create heaven and Earth, .... at least that is what Father Lefvini tells us. How long did it take Odin and his brothers ? " she asked innocently.
Sirik laughed !
" The Gods have no concept of time little one ! What is a millennium to humans goes by in a mere blink of an eye to the almighty Gods ! " he explained.
" Oh ! " Alffina replied, not really knowing what a millennium was.
" To create the heavens and Midgard the sons of Bor killed the Giant Ymir, stabbing him many times with sharp pointed weapons. From his many wounds a torrent of salty blood poured out which drowned almost all of the Frost Giants. Only a Jotun named Bergelmir survived the deluge,.... and he did this by climbing onto a ludr along with his wife. In this way the Frost Giants were saved as a race of beings, and all families of Jotuns come from them. " Sirik continued.
Alffina frowned, and this time she did not let her confusion go unanswered.
" What is a ' ludr ' ? " she inquired.
Sirik smiled as he answered.
" Well,.... there is actually some confusion about that. Some believe it was a box, or chest, that he floated to safety upon, while others believe it was a wooden trough that was used to mill flower. " he told her.
Once again Alffina answered the Troll with a simple , " Oh ", before allowing him to continue.
" The Gods then took the lifeless body of Ymir and placed it into the middle of Ginnungagap. Ymir's flesh was used to form the Earth. From his still bleeding wounds lakes were formed. Odin and his brothers used the Giant's bones, that were whole, to make the mountains, and the broken bones were used to make rocks and pebbles. The lakes, that overflowed into rivers, poured their waters out into great oceans which now cover most of Midgard. " Sirik explained to her before pausing to take a bite of his cookie.
" But the Gods had just begun to create ! " he suddenly burst out with a dramatic flair.
" From Ymir's skull they formed the sky. They made four Dwarves named Nordri, Sudri, Austri, and Vestri, hold the four corners of the Giant's skull in place, .... and now we now know their positions as the points of direction,... north, south, east and west. " he told her with a huge smile.
After a sip of tea Sirik looked over at the wide - eyed little girl and continued.
" The Gods, realizing they had much more to do, continued in their great endeavor. Odin and his brothers took the embers that were blowing out from Muspell and set them over Midgard,... high up above in Ginnungagap,...to give light to this new world below. Some they fixed in the heavens, while to others they appointed a path for them to follow . And from the travels of these heavenly bodies came the realization of days and years. " he revealed.
" These Gods were very generous . They gave a large strand of land to the descendants of Bergelmir, but further inland they built a stronghold around Midgard out of Ymir's eyebrows. They did this because they knew that the Giants would be hostile toward the beings who would eventually inhabit this world made from their first ancestor. To allow the nourishing rains to fall, and make Midgard green with plant life, they flung Ymir's brains into the sky to form the heavy storm clouds. " Sirik told his young student with a yawn.
" But the Gods saw that the world of Midgard was empty and devoid of intelligent life. Then, one day, when the brothers were walking along the shore they spotted two feeble trees. With mighty arms Bor's sons plucked them out of the earth. The first son gave them life and a soul. The second movement and the power to think for themselves. Finally, the third son gave them form, speech and hearing. They called these new , " Humans " , Ask and Embla, and gave them Midgard to live in, and bade them to proliferate. " the Troll explained as he stretched his arms out.
Alffina had become aware that Sirik seemed to be rather uncomfortable.
" Are you alright Sirik ? " she asked in a concerned tone.
" I am not used to being out in this warmth and sunshine for such a long time. It makes me rather tired, and lethargic. " he explained to her.
Then he quickly added :
" But I will tell you one more thing before retiring back into the cool sanctity of my underground home. "
Alffina was a little disappointed, but the biscuits were almost all gone anyway.
" That's Alright . I am getting a little sleepy also. " she informed her odd friend.
Sirik thought for a moment to remember where he had left off before continuing.
" After the Gods had done so much for the other inhabitants of Gunnungagap, they built a stronghold for themselves in the center of the cosmos called Asgard. Here they made a realm of pure gold, and this is where Great Odin, the one now known as the All- Father, sits on a great high - seat in a place called Hlidskjalf, and watches over the worlds he helped to create. " he told Alffina.
Sirik picked up the tray, which now only held an empty plate, and two empty cups, and carefully stood up.
" I am afraid that I must rest now . Run home to your parents, but remember what I have told you ! " he commanded of his student.
Alffina thanked her Troll friend, and as he had ordered, she ran home. On the way she realized something very strange. Despite paying more attention to the delicious biscuits, than to the stories he was telling, she remembered every single word he had said. And then something popped into her thoughts that she could not remember the Troll telling her,..... and yet she could hear his words in her head :
" And the Gods enthroned themselves and held counsel. They remembered how the Dwarfs had multiplied in the cold earth like maggots in dead flesh. These beings had first come to be in Ymir's rotting flesh, and were in resemblance to maggots, but by the mighty command of the Gods they were given human form and understanding. This is the might and charity of the Almighty Gods of Asgard ! "
Alffina stopped running, thought hard, and then shook her head.
" I am sure that he did not tell me that ! " she whispered to herself .
Then she heard Sirik speaking in her head, despite him not being there. He told her of Sunna and Mani, and of Bil and Sol, and Dagr and Nott, and Delling, Dag's father. Tears filled her eyes as she whispered into the wind :
" Thank you Sirik ! "
- End Chapter 5
- Next : Chapter 6 : A Concerned Parent
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.