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the stillness of the fields; and no ringing of metal on the smith's firm anvil was heard throughout the silent earth.
Then the gods took some of the earth mold and made of it a host of tiny creatures which they called Dwarfs, or Gnomes; but when Odin saw how ugly they 5 were, with their misshapen bodies and great heads, he condemned them to live underground and never to come up into the light of day. So the dwarfs spent their time delving into the heart of the earth for gold and silver and precious stones; and they became the 10 cleverest workmen at their tiny forges, making wonderful things of every kind of metal. They were cunning, too, and kept their secrets well, so that neither gods nor men knew the hiding-place of their treasures.
Besides the dwarfs, the gods made the Fairies, or 15 Elves, but these were so airily and daintily fashioned that they seemed to belong to the sky instead of the earth. So the gods built the fairy folk a home between Midgard and Asgard, a beautiful place called Elfland, all made of rainbow colors and moonbeams, and 20 gossamer silks and delicate spiders' webs. The gods also gave these little people gauzy wings so that they could fly down to earth and play with the butterflies, and make caps of harebells, and dance in the moonlight round a fairy ring. They were never wicked and spite- 25 ful like the Gnomes, though they sometimes liked to play good-natured tricks on stupid people; and for
tunate indeed was the child who won a fairy for a friend.
One day Odin and Hoenir and Loki were walking about on the earth; and as they drew near to the sea5 shore they saw two stately trees, an ash and an elm, standing side by side. Then Odin took the trees, and out of them he made two living beings that resembled the gods themselves in form and feature. Hoenir
touched their foreheads that they might have sight and 10 wisdom, and Loki gave them warm blood, with the
power to speak and hear and feel. Thus man and woman were created; and the gods called the man Ask, and the woman Embla, from the names of the trees from which they were made.
EMILIE KIP BAKER: Stories of Northern Myths.
HELPS TO STUDY 1. Where was the dwelling place of the gods of the northland ? 2. What was the name of their city? 3. What was the bridge Bifrost? 4. How were the gnomes made? 5. How did they spend their time? 6. Where was the home of the elves? 7. What three gods are mentioned? 8. According to the myth, how did they create the first man and first woman? 9. What names did they receive? 10. What was the dwelling place of the Greek gods? 11. What resemblance is there between it and Asgard? 12. Who forged the weapons for the Greek gods? 13. Where did the northern gods have their smithy? 14. What peoples worshiped Odin ?
Odin, O'din. Hoenir, Hē'nir. Loki, Lo'ki.
SIF'S GOLDEN HAIR AND THE MAKING OF
Among the gods there was one who was really unfit to be a god and to live in the shining city of Asgard. He was the cause of much trouble and mischief in his frequent journeys to the earth, and he brought evil upon even the gods themselves. But as Loki was the 5 brother of Odin, he could not very well be banished from Asgard; so the gods endured his presence as best they could. Loki did many unkind things that the gods never heard of; but once he met with just punishment for his meanness. This was the time that he 10 robbed Sif of her golden hair.
Sif was the wife of Thor, the god of thunder. She had beautiful long hair that fell over her shoulders like a shower of gold, and of this she was very proud. One day Sif fell asleep on the steps of Thor's palace, and 16 while she lay there sleeping Loki came walking by. There was nothing so dear to Loki as a chance to do mischief, and he never saw anything beautiful without wishing to spoil it; so when he found Sif asleep, he stole up softly behind her and cut off her golden hair. 20
When Sif awoke at last and saw what had happened,
she began to cry bitterly, for her golden hair was the pride and joy of Thor, and she was afraid that he would never want to look at her again now that it was gone. So she got up from the steps where she was 5 sitting, and went away to hide in the garden. When Thor came home, he looked for her all through the palace, and went from room to room calling her name. Not finding her in the house, he went out into the
garden, and after searching for a long time finally 10 found poor Sif behind a stone, sobbing bitterly. When
he heard her story, he tried to comfort her the best he could, but Sif continued weeping and covered her shorn head with her arms.
“I know who did this shameful thing," cried Thor, 15 wrathfully; "it was that mischief-maker Loki, but this
time he shall pay dearly for his wickedness.And he strode out of the palace with a look so threatening that even the gods might have trembled before him. Now
Loki was not expecting to be caught so soon, and he 20 had not thought of seeking a hiding place; so when Thor came suddenly upon him he was too frightened to try to escape. He even forgot his ready lies, and when Thor shook him angrily and threatened to kill
him for his wicked act, he made no denial, only begged 25 for mercy and promised to restore to Sif the hair he
had cut off. Thor, therefore, released him, after binding him by a solemn oath to fulfill his promise.
The real hair which Loki had cut off he had already lost, so to keep his word to Thor he must find something else which would resemble it closely enough to make Sif believe she had indeed her own hair again. As there was only one place where skillful and cunning work 5 like this could be done, Loki crossed the rainbow bridge that spans the gulf between Asgard and the earth, and hurried to the tall mountain which hides, amid its rocks, the entrance to the lower world. No one but a god, or one of the swarthy elves themselves, could have 10 found this hidden opening, but Loki knew it well. He first looked for a tiny stream which flowed along at the foot of the mountain. This he followed to its source in a deep cave among the rocks; and, when he came to the spot where it bubbled up from the ground, he raised 15 a huge log that was lying, apparently by chance, close beside it. This disclosed a small passage leading down into the very center of the earth, and along this path Loki hastened, often stumbling about in the darkness, until he came to the underworld where lived the swarthy 20 elves. They were busily engaged in their wonderful workshop, which was lighted only by the fires from the forge, but when they saw Loki they laid down their tools and asked him how they could serve him.
“I have a task," answered Loki, “which requires such 25 great skill to perform that I hardly dare ask you to attempt it. It is nothing less than for you to make of