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Loke, the trickster

    Loke, the trickster, 2002

    Loke was a complex figure in Nordic mythology. He was born the son of a giant but used to hang around the gods in Asgård. He was beautiful to look at but he could never be trusted. Often he put the asagods in embarrassing situations although he could sometimes be helpful to them with his cunning schemes.

    Loke was married to Sigyn although it seems he had it going with lots of other women. With the giantess Angerboda (the one who causes fear) he got three horrible children, one worse than the other. They were Hel, The Midgårdssnake and the wolf Fenrir. From these three awful beings the asagods could only expect misery. To keep track on them they were taken from the giant world Jotunheim where they lived. The snake was thrown in the deep that surrounded the whole world. The girl, Hel, was sent down to the underworld with the dead. The wolf was kept in shackles in Asgård, where the gods themselves could keep an eye on him.

    Loke, the father of destructive forces, is complex in nature as most trickster figures are. He was the great joker amongst the gods, always with mischief in his mind. He is witty and obscene. He is not afraid of authorities and boldly insults the all the time, especially about their morally shortcomings.

    Lokes worst crime was his involvement in the gruesome murder of the noble, good god Balder, the son of Oden. Loke was severely punished for the deed. After the murder he fled from the gods and built himself a house near the river. In daytime he transformed himself to a salmon to elude his pursuers. But they tracked him down anyhow and captured him. Loke was put in a cave where he was tied firmly with the intestines of one of his own sons. A venomous snake was hanging down over him with its poison dripping in Lokes face. Lokes wife Sigyn held a bowl over his face to stop the poison from hurting her husband, but every now and then the bowl was full and had to be emptied. Then the poison hit Lokes face and the whole world quivered when Loke cried with pain.

    And there he had to remain until Ragnarök, the doom of gods.