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nearer

came

from the south a little fluttering answer came, sweet as the invitation itself, nearer and until the two sounds dropped into one another. Then through the clear sky two forms floating, wonderfully fair-a brother and sister their beautiful arms twined round one another, their golden hair bathed in sunlight, and supported by the wind.

“My son and daughter,” said Niörd, proudly, to the surrounding Æsir, "Frey and Freyja, Summer and Beauty, hand in hand."

When Frey and Freyja dropped upon the hill Niörd took his son by the hand, led him gracefully to the foot of the throne, and said, “Look here, dear brother Lord, what a fair young instructor I have brought for your pretty little elves.”

Odin was very much pleased with the appearance of Frey; but, before constituting him king and schoolmaster of the light elves, he desired to know what his accomplishments were, and what he considered himself competent to teach.

“I am the genius of clouds and sunshine," answered Frey; and as he spoke, the essences of

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a hundred perfumes were exhaled from his breath. I am the genius of clouds and sunshine, and if the light elves will have me for their king I can teach them how to burst the folded buds, to set the blossoms, to pour sweetness into the swelling fruit; to lead the bees through the honey-passages of the flowers, to make the single ear a stalk of wheat, to hatch birds' eggs, and teach the little ones to sing-all this, and much more," said Frey, “I know, and will teach them.”

Then answered Odin, “It is well;" and Frey took his scholars away with him to Alfheim, which is in every beautiful place under the sun.

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PART III.

NIFLHEIM.

Now, in the city of Asgard dwelt one called Loki, who, though amongst the Æsir, was not of the Æsir, but utterly unlike to them; for to do the wrong, and leave the right undone, was, night and day, this wicked Loki's one unwearied aim. How he came amongst the Æsir no one knew, nor even whence he came. Once, when Odin questioned him on the subject, Loki stoutly declared that there had been a time when he was innocent and noble-purposed like the Æsir themselves; but that, after many wanderings up and down the earth, it had been his misfortune, Loki said, to discover the half-burnt heart of a woman; “ since when," continued he, "I became what you now see me, Odin." As this was too fearful a story for any one to wish to hear twice over Odin never questioned him again.

Whilst the Æsir were building their city, Loki, instead of helping them, had been continually running over to Jötunheim to make friends amongst the giants and wicked witches of the place. Now, amongst the witches there was one so fearful to behold in her sin and her cruelty, that one would have thought it impossible even for such an one as Loki to find any pleasure in her companionship; nevertheless, so it was that he married her, and they lived together a long time, making each other worse and worse out of the abundance of their own wicked hearts, and bringing up their three children to be the plague, dread, and misery of mankind. These three children were just what they might have been expected to be from their parentage and education. The eldest was Jörmungand, a monstrous serpent; the second Fenrir, most ferocious of wolves; the third was Hela, half corpse, half queen. When Loki and his witchwife looked at their fearful progeny they thought within themselves, “What would the Æsir say if they could see?” “But they cannot see," said Loki; "and, lest they should suspect Witch-wife, I will

go back to Asgard for a little while, and salute old Father Odin bravely, as if I had no secret here.” So saying, Loki wished his wife good-morning, bade her hide the children securely in-doors, and set forth on the road to Asgard.

But all the time he was travelling Loki's children went on growing, and long before he had reached the lofty city Jörmungand had become so large, that his mother was obliged to open the door to let his tail out. At first it hung only a little way across the road; but he grew, Oh, how fearfully Jörmungand grew! Whether it was from sudden exposure to the air, I do not know; but, in a single day he grew from one end of Jötunheim to the other, and early next morning began to shoot out in the direction of Asgard. Luckily, however, just at that moment Odin caught sight of him, when, from the top of Air Throne, the eyes of this vigilant ruler were taking their morning walk. “Now,” said Odin, “it is quite clear, Frigga, that I must

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