How I first heard about Odin.

I can’t have been a day over ten years old, maybe even younger. My family was one of those that actually made a point of having someone, usually Mom, read to my siblings and I every night. There was the usual mix of Mother Goose and Brothers Grimm and stories from the Bible, but mixed in with all that my mother used to love to read to us about ancient Gods and Hero’s.

At first it was mostly Greek, my earliest memories being learning about Hercules, Perseus, Theseus and Bellerophon. Later on though she picked up a book, Norse Gods & Giants by Ingri d’Aulaire and began to read to us from that as well. From there I first learned about the thundering God Thor who battled giants and monsters, Loki the trickster who was more often than not in the stories for making Thor’s life interesting. Those two, with their constant back and forth like a comedy duo and heroic quests, were the ones I most easily latched on to as a small boy.

One little snippet from there latched on at that time and never let me go though. In the descriptions of Odin the book talked about how sometimes He would disguise Himself and walk among men. Testing their hospitality and sharing wisdom with those He deemed worthy. That image is the one of the Old Man that has stuck with me the longest: The quiet stealthy God who doesn’t always warn you He’s coming. The one who leaves you always wondering if He might be the one outside the door, waiting with wisdom that might just be worth hearing.

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7 responses to “How I first heard about Odin.

  1. Side note: I really do recommend that book to anyone who is interested in learning more about Norse mythology. It isn’t the most scholarly source, for that you’d have to go to the original Eddas and other writings. It also has a slight Christian bias that shows up at the end (writes about a ‘New God’ leading men after Ragnarok, etc.). It does have some of the most reader friendly re-tellings of the most popular tales, along with some amazing artwork of the Gods and Goddesses and.

  2. I think it’s really weird, but I still don’t remember when I first heard of Loki. I read the Eddas as a kid, but all I remember was Hel (She only is mentioned like three times!?!?). In the world mythology book that I had, though, I was weirdly obsessed with Odin’s page. He had all the cool stuff: Draupnir, Sleipnir, Valkyries, ravens…

    My book, though, was kinda shitty. HEH. Although that book you mentioned is on my to-buy list!

    • Actually, here’s a thought: We should come up with a list of things that the Aseir would not have and/or would have had taken from Them, if not for Loki.

      It should be a pretty long list… Sleipnir, Gungir and Mjolnir are definitely up at the top. There’s also at least two separate occasions that He tricked a giant out of Freya’s promised hand in marriage, saved everyone from having to pay out the Sun and the Moon, and made sure that Asgard got free labor to build a great big nigh impenetrable wall.

      • Oh! That’d be fun to do. I’m recently reading some re-writes of the Eddas (“According to Uncle Einar” at the moment) and as I go through, I might write a few things down. The list could be quiet interesting!

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