Idun

Image of Idun giving her golden apples of youth

In Norse mythology, Idun was a beautiful goddess with a long golden hair. She was the goddess of spring and eternal youth. She was the guardian of the apples of youth. Her main task was to supply the apples to the gods and goddesses, which helped them stay young and beautiful. Idun was the wife of Bragi – the god of poetry and music.

Image of Idun and Bragi
Idun and Bragi

Among the tales of Idun, the most famous one was her apples and kidnapping.

 


The Kidnap of Idun

Image of Odin, Loki, Honir, and eagle Thjazzi
Odin, Loki, and Hoenir

One day, Odin, Loki, and Hoenir set off their journey. As they traveled through a desert, they grew hungry and tired. They desperately found food and finally killed an ox for meat. But never had they been so unlucky. The fire they created could not cook the meat and it just stayed raw.

But there suddenly came the voice of an eagle on the branch of the tree. The eagle asked to help the gods cook the meat with a brighter fire only if they shared him some food. Three gods agreed with this offer, the brighter fire was created and the meat was successfully cooked. But the eagle ate almost all of their meal.

Loki was very angry trying to hit the eagle but the eagle caught him and carried him away with its talons. Desperately as he tried and struggled to free himself, he could not. Loki was carried through rocks and cliffs and he begged for mercy. The eagle still took the hold of Loki until the eagle made him promise to give him Idun and her apples of youth. Loki agreed at once and was dropped back to Earth. In fact, Loki realized the eagle was giant Thjazzi in disguise.

Image of Thjazzi holding Loki
Loki and giant Thjazzi

He traveled back to Asgard and quickly prepared his scheme for stealing Idun and her apples for he was afriad of the giant Thjazzi.

Loki came to see the Goddess guarding Youth Apples and tell her that there were some apples in Midgard that resembled hers. He advised Idun to visit Midgard with a view to comparing the apples. As she thought what Loki said was true, she was willing to accompany Loki to Midgard to fetch more apples for the gods.

As they were traveling on the Bifrost – the bridge connecting Midgard and Asgard, the giant dived down and seized Idun with her apples. Thjazzi brought his abductees to his fort and shut Idun within the highest tower.


The Rescue of Idun

The disappearance of Idun and youth apples worried the Aesir gods as their faces began to wrinkle, their glowing cheek paled, their hair greyed, and their health failed. They quickly assembled and argued what should be the next step. Everyone was there, except for Loki. The god constantly concluded that Loki was the culprit in the kidnap and quickly searched for him. Being found, Loki was asked to bring back Idun and the apples or else he would face death.

Loki then shapeshifted into a hawk with the falcon Freya lent him. Loki did not hesitate to fly to Jotunheim the land of the giant where Thjazzi’s fortress was located. Luckily, Thjazzi went fishing and left Idun alone in the tower. Loki used some magic to turn Idun and her basket of apples into a small nut which he held in his claw and flew back to Asgard. Odin saw the sight of the falcon and an enormous eagle coming behind them. The eagle was, of course, the giant Thjazzi.

Image of fire wall in Asgard blocking the giant Thjazzi
The Asgard fire wall

The gods quickly built the fire wall outside the Asgard gates under the command of Odin. And once Loki just made his way through the barrier, the eagle was caught in the flames ignited by the gods. The eagle fell to the ground and the gods slew it immediately.

The gods succeeded in rescuing Idun as well as their beauty. Once again, the gods became beautiful and young as they used to be. Their face finally was full of smile and happiness.

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