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Balder or Baldur

The ancient Scandinavian or older German divinity. The hero of one of the most beautiful aud interesting of the myths of the Edda; the second son of Odin and Frigga, and the husband of the maiden Nanna. In brief, the myth recites that Balder dreamed that his life was threatened, which being told to the gods, a council was held by them to secure his safety.

The mother proceeded to demand and receive assurances from everything, iron and all metals, fire and water, stones, earth, plants, beasts, birds, reptiles, poisons, and diseases, that they would not injure Balder. Balder then became the subject of sport with the gods, who wrestled, cast darts, and in innumerable ways playfully tested his invulnerability. This finally displeased the mischievous, cunning Loki, the Spirit of Evil, who, in the form of an old woman, sought out the mother, Frigga, and ascertained from her that there had been excepted or omitted from the oath the little shrub Mistletoe. in haste Loki carried some of this shrub to the assembly of the gods, and gave to the blind Hoder, the god of war, selected slips, and directing his aim, Balder fell pierced to the heart. Sorrow among the gods was unutterable, and Frigga inquired who, to win her favor, would journey to Hades and obtain from the goddess Hel the release of Balder. The heroic Helmod or Hermoder, son of Odin, offered to undertake the journey. Hel consented to permit the return if all things animate and inanimate should weep for Balder.

All living beings and all things wept, save the witch or giantess Thock, the stepdaughter of Loki, who refused to sympathize in the general mourning.

Balder was therefore obliged to linger in the kingdom of Hel until the end of the world.

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