«The Mistletoe's Secret» by Ivan Mulenkov


I want to tell you a very sad story. It’s also a very old story that can be found in Norse mythology. I want to tell you about the god of light Balder, who was the son of the chief god Odin and the goddess Frigg. It’s the story how the weakest thing destroyed the most noble of all gods.

 So Balder was the most noble of all gods. He was loved and admired by all, except the wicked god Loki. Loki was jealous of Balder’s popularity. And Loki plotted his death.

Balder’s mother, goddess Frigg, was extremely worried about her son. She made all things – living and not living – swear an oath that they would never harm her beloved Balder. Metals swore a holy oath, rocks swore a holy oath to never do harm to Balder. Frigg got the oath from fire and water, giants and dwarves, elves and human beings, animals and plants. As a result, every weapon directed at Balder, missed him. What’s more, one of the favorite pastimes among the gods was throwing all kinds of weapons at Balder. None could touch him.

But Loki, this mean-spirited one, managed to find out the secret. And listen carefully! This is the secret! On an oak-tree, outside the gates of Valhalla, grew a bush of mistletoe. This little tree seemed so harmless and worthless to Frigg that she didn’t bother to get any oath from such a meek plant.

Evil-wishing Loki cut a twig from the mistletoe and went to the meeting of gods. As usual, they were enjoying their game with Balder throwing different things at him. The only one standing aside was the blind god Hoder, Balder’s brother. Loki asked why he wasn’t hurling things at Balder like the others.

“How can I play when I can’t see what I’m doing?” he complained.

“Take your bow and get ready to shoot”, replied Loki. “And here is your arrow!” with these words Loki gave Hoder the twig of mistletoe. Then he guided Hoder’s hand.

Not suspecting anything, Hoder shot. Mortally wounded, Balder sank on the ground. He died because he was pieced with this good-for-nothing twig of mistletoe. That’s how the smallest can destroy the greatest.

By Ivan Mulenkov

School 1738



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