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chasing each other over the rocks seemed desolate mother, whose son had already a mocking laugh to him.
gone so far that he would never come "Send to Jötunheim for Hyrroken,” back to her; there was Frey standing he said at last; and a messenger was
sad and stern in his chariot; there was soon flying for that mighty giantess. Freyja, the goddess of love, from whose
In a little time, Hyrroken came riding eyes fell a shining rain of tears; there, swiftly on a wolf so large and fierce that too, was Heimdal on his horse Goldtop; he made the gods think of Fenris. When and around all these glorious ones from the giantess had alighted, Odin ordered Asgard crowded the children of Jötunfour Berserkers of mighty strength to heim, grim mountain-giants seamed with hold the wolf, but he struggled so angrily scars from Thor's hammer, and frostthat they had to throw him on the giants who saw in the death of Balder ground before they could control him. the coming of that long winter in which Then Hyrroken went to the prow of the they should reign through all the ship and with one mighty effort sent it worlds. far into the sea, the rollers underneath A deep hush fell on all created things, bursting into flame, and the whole earth and every eye was fixed on the great trembling with the shock. Thor was so ship riding near the shore, and on the angry at the uproar that he would have funeral pyre rising from the deck crowned killed the giantess on the spot if he had with the forms of Balder and Nanna. not been held back by the other gods. Suddenly a gleam of light flashed over The great ship floated on the sea as she the water; the pile had been kindled, had often done before, when Balder, full and the flames, creeping slowly at first, of life and beauty, set all her sails and climbed faster and faster until they met was borne joyfully across the tossing seas. over the dead and rose skyward. A lurid Slowly and solemnly the dead god was light filled the heavens and shone on the carried on board, and as Nanna, his sea, and in the brightness of it the gods faithful wife, saw her husband borne for looked pale and sad, and the circle of the last time from the earth which he giants grew darker and more portentous. had made dear to her and beautiful to Thor struck the fast burning pyre with all men, her heart broke with sorrow, his consecrating hammer, and Odin cast and they laid her beside Balder on the into it the wonderful ring Draupner. funeral pyre.
Higher and higher leaped the flames, Since the world began no one had more and more desolate grew the scene; seen such a funeral. No . bell tolled, at last they began to sink, the funeral no long procession of mourners moved pyre was consumed. Balder had vanacross the hills, but all the worlds lay ished forever, the summer was ended, under a deep shadow, and from every and winter waited at the doors. quarter came those who had loved or Meanwhile Hermod was riding hard feared Balder. There at the very water's and fast on his gloomy errand. Nine edge stood Odin himself, the ravens fly- days and nights he rode through valleys ing about his head, and on his majestic so deep and dark that he could not see face a gloom that no sun would ever his horse. Stillness and blackness and lighten again, and there was Frigg, the solitude were his only companions until
he came to the golden bridge which stream among the happy days in Asgard crosses the river Gjol. The good horse when Balder's smile was morning over Sleipner, who had carried Odin on so the earth and the sight of his face the many strange journeys, had never trav summer of the world. eled such a road before, and his hoofs When the morning came, faint and rang drearily as he stopped short at the dim, through the dusky palace, Hermod bridge, for in front of him stood its sought Hel, who received him as cold porter, the gigantic Modgud.
and stern as fate. "Who are you?" she asked, fixing her "Your kingdom is full, O Hel!” he piercing eyes on Hermod. “What is
“What is said, “and without Balder, Asgard is your name and parentage? Yesterday empty. Send him back to us once five bands of dead men rode across the more, for there is sadness in every heart bridge, and beneath them all it did not and tears are in every eye. Through shake as under your single tread. There heaven and earth all things weep for is no color of death in your face. Why him.” ride you hither, the living among the “If that is true,” was the slow, icy dead?"
answer, “if every created thing weeps "I come,” said Hermod, "to seek for for Balder, he shall return to Asgard; Balder. Have you seen him pass this but if one eye is dry he remains henceway?"
forth in Helheim.” "He has already crossed the bridge Then Hermod rode swiftly away, and and taken his journey northward to Hel.” the decree of Hel was
soon told in Then Hermod rode slowly across the Asgard. Through all the worlds the bridge that spans the abyss between life gods sent messengers to say that all and death, and found his way at last to who loved Balder should weep for his the barred gates of Hel's dreadful home. return, and everywhere tears fell like There he sprang to the ground, tightened rain. There was weeping in Asgard, and the girths, remounted, drove the spurs in all the earth there was nothing that deep into the horse, and Sleipner, with did not weep. Men and women and a mighty leap, cleared the wall. Hermod little children, missing the light that had rode straight to the gloomy palace, dis nce fallen into their hearts and homes, mounted, entered, and in a moment was sobbed with bitter grief; the birds of face to face with the terrible queen of the air, who had sung carols of joy at the kingdom of the dead. Beside her, the gates of the morning since time began, on a beautiful throne, sat Balder, pale were full of sorrow; the beasts of the and wan, crowned with a withered wreath fields crouched and moaned in their of flowers, and close at hand was Nanna, desolation; the great trees, that had put pallid as her husband, for whom she had on their robes of green at Balder's comdied. And all night long, while ghostly mand, sighed as the wind wailed through forms wandered restless and sleepless them; and the sweet flowers, that waited through Helheim, Hermod talked with for Balder's footstep and sprang up in Balder and Nanna. There is no record all the fields to greet him, hung their of what they said, but the talk was sad frail blossoms and wept bitterly for the enough, doubtless, and ran like a still love and the warmth and the light that
had gone out. Throughout the whole “With dry eyes only will I weep for earth there was nothing but weeping, Balder,” she answered. “Dead or alive, and the sound of it was like the wailing he never gave me gladness. Let him of those storms in autumn that weep stay in Helheim.” for the dead summer as its withered When she had spoken these words a leaves drop one by one from the trees. terrible laugh broke from her lips, and
The messengers of the gods went gladly the messengers looked at each other with back to Asgard, for everything had wept pallid faces, for they knew it was the for Balder; but as they journeyed they voice of Loke. came upon a giantess, called Thok, and Balder never came back to Asgard, her eyes were dry.
and the shadows deepened over all things, “Weep for Balder," they said.
for the night of death was fast coming on.
Bryant, William Cullen, Library of Poetry and Song.
The finest single-volume general collection yet made. It runs to nearly 4,000 pages, but is
printed on thin paper so that the volume is not unwieldy. Stevenson, Burton E., Poems of American History.
COLLECTIONS FOR CHILDREN Chisholm, L., The Golden Staircase. Grahame, Kenneth, The Cambridge Book of Poetry for Children. Henley, William Ernest, Lyra Heroica. Ingpen, Roger, One Thousand Poems for Children. Lang, Andrew, The Blue Poetry Book. Lucas, Edward Verrall, A Book of Verses for Children. Another Book of Verses for Children. Olcott, Frances J., Story Telling Ballads. Story Telling Poems for Children. Palgrave, Francis T., The Children's Treasury of Poetry and Song. Repplier, Agnes, A Book of Famous Verse. Smith, J. C., A Book of Verse for Boys and Girls. Stevenson, Burton E., The Home Book of Verse for Young Folks. Thacher, Lucy W., The Listening Child. Whittier, John Greenleaf, Child Life in Poetry. Wiggin, K. D., and Smith, N. A., The Posy Ring. Golden Numbers.
Blake, William, Songs of Innocence.