God Freyr

Njord, originally from the Vanir, had two children: his son, the god Frey, and his daughter, the goddess Freya, also Vanir. When Njord was sent to the Aesir as a hostage after the great war between the Aesir and the Vanir, the god Frey and the goddess Freya followed him to Asgard. But Frey also felt good in Asgard – the gods treated him well. Frey was a cheerful god of sunlight, fertility, and the summer breeze. Everyone loved Frey except the ice giants, whom he himself could not stand – sun and ice – were not first friends.

With the growth of Frey’s first tooth, he was given a great gift – to rule the kingdom of the light elves Alfheim. The elves loved him, but so did the people — Frey was a harbinger of the fertile seasons, and when he traveled with his ship Skidbladnir or the cart pulled by his boar Gulinbursti, it was always sunny and spring was everywhere.

God Freyr sees Gerd

One day god Frey sat on the throne of the god Odin – Hlidskjalf. No one was allowed to do so, but Frey began to gaze at the Nine Kingdoms out of curiosity. His gaze stopped on Jotunheim, and there he saw a beautiful palace – the giant Gumir and his wife Arboda. A beautiful woman came out of the palace – light illuminated her hands when she opened the gates, there was no such radiance in the sky or over the sea, and all kingdoms were illuminated by her. This was the lovely Gerd.

Frey fell in love so much. His father, the god Njord, was alarmed by his son’s unusual behavior and sent the servant Skirnir to check what was going on, and Skrinir asked him. Frey replied that he had seen the most beautiful woman and couldn’t sleep, eat or drink, nor did he want to talk to anyone.

“The Lovesickness of Freyr” , (1908) by W. G. Collingwood

Skirnir replied that if he gave him his magic sword, which it can fight alone, and his horse, he would bring Gerd after nine nights and it would be his. Frey sang:

“The night is long, the second is long, how can I endure three? Often for me a month seems shorter than this one night of waiting!”

Skirnir set off with Frey’s faithful horse, raced in the dark, the boatman led him across the river to Jotunheim, the Kingdom of the giants, through a fence of fire. He reached Gerd’s palace and the dogs barked. Gerd heard the noise and told the maid to check what was going on.

Skirnir confronted the beautiful giant Gerd. He introduced himself and explained that he came in the name of the beautiful god Frey, and that eleven of Idunn’s apples would be hers as a gift if he married Frey, immortality being the wedding gift. Gerd refused – he is a god living with the Aesir, a hated mortal enemy of the giants of Jotunheim.

Skirnir then offered the Draupnir ring, forged by the dwarf Brock for the Allfather Odin. This magic ring releases eight more rings like this every ninth night. Gerd refused this gift as well – she is the daughter of a giant and lives in a palace – she has enough riches.

Skirnir drew Frey’s sword and threatened – choose between marriage and beheading the gifts of Idunn’s apples and Draupnir ring. Gerd replied that her father would challenge Frey and win.

Skirnir raised his magic staff with unspeakable power and threatened: if she did not marry Frey, she would not marry anyone; to be left alone in the icy palace, rage and sorrow to overwhelm her; humiliated and whimpering to crawl around the palace, she would like to have a man next to her, but she will never have one; everything she drank would not be able to satisfy her, as if there would be sand in her mouth.

The curse and the threat were formidable – Gerd’s honor and her femininity were faced with the choice of marrying or losing her gifts as a woman forever. And the power of the staff was enormous – Gerd looked right into it. And in that moment, not because of threats, not because of gifts, she loved Frey. Yes, she loved Frey. A strong and powerful was the scepter of Skirnir. Where and how he possessed such power is unknown. In nine nights, Gerd would be Frey’s wife.

Skirnir returned to Frey and brought the good news: Gerd would be his in nine days. However, Skirnir did not return Frey’s magic sword, and this sword was so fateful for the final battle and the end of the worlds – Ragnarok. With this sword, Frey had to face the fiery giant Surt and defeat him. But alas, apparently this was the price of cunning with magic and servants, to win the love of the beautiful giant Gerd.

The Skog Church Tapestry portion possibly depicting Odin, Thor and Freyr