Chapter 7: Idunn's Kidnap Reveals What Could Destroy Norse Gods
What do you often think about the gods? They must be idolized to the point of perfection that nothing could ever make them back down. But if any of us have finished reading the whole mythology, it will dawn on us that we have been creating the false image of the Norse gods. Because they were not that perfect and awesome. They had their shortcomings and there were things that could beat the gods.
THE KIDNAP OF IDUN
In Norse mythology, there was a beautiful god named Idun. She was not actually considered as a goddess. Rather, the myth mentioned Idun as the guardian of the youth fruits. She often appeared as a beautiful and tender woman with a basket of fruits.
Idun the Norse guardian of youth fruits in Norse mythology
The fruits Idun carried along herself were the youth fruits offering the Norse gods with youth, beauty, and longevity. Whenever Idun gave out the fruits to the gods, they merrily enjoyed the fruits feeling the youth back to themselves.
A problem only popped up when a giant took Idunn away from the Norse gods.
On one occasion, Odin, Thor, and Loki found themselves in the prank of the giant known as Thjazi. Loki the Norse trickster promised to do whatever the giant asked if the giant spared his life. The giant who had been falling in love with Idunn and her basket of youth fruits asked Loki to bring her to the giant or else he would kill Loki.
Travelling back to Asgard, Loki came to meet Idun telling her he had seen the Idun's youth fruits in Midgard. Immediately, Idun asked Loki to bring her there to take them. The innocence of Idun came at the cost of her freedom. Loki gave Idun to the giant Thjazi who kept her inside the thunder fort.
Loki and Idunn
The absence of Idun shook the Norse gods to the core. They often appeared to be a group of elite and youthful gods. Now they were just the elderly with wrinkles. The shining gods no longer shone when old age knocked at the door.
When searching for the reason why Idun was absent from Asgard, Norse gods found out that she was last seen with Loki. And without hesitation, Loki had to face the gods to tell the truth. Either he accepted the truth or he would face the death sentence immediately.
The confession of Loki finally made him go to Jotunheim to retrieve Idun back. With the falcon goddess Freya lent him, he travelled to Jotunheim to bring back Idunn. Luckily, the beautiful guardian was alone in the cattle and Loki quickly turned Idun into a seed to keep in her claws.
Thjazi the giant just arrived in time to see what was happening. He chased after Loki to take the guardian back. But the firing gate of Asgard just burnt Thjazi to dust when he attempted to enter Asgard.
Meeting Idun once again, the gods forgot to punish Loki for what he had done. When Idun was finally home, she started to give out the youth fruits for the gods. Everyone again merrily enjoyed the youth fruits. Their skin turned soft and perfect again. Their wrinkles disappeared and they became energetic and youthful again.
WHAT IS THE MESSAGE?
On the micro scale, we learn that no one is perfect. Gods had their way to make themselves look beautiful. They had the enemies (besides the giants) - old age. The kidnap of Idun made us realize that the gods, after all, were just as mortal as the humanity.
In Norse mythology, there was a tale about the wrestling battle between Thor and an old woman. The final result turned out to be that Thor lost the game to the old woman. Her name was Elli. In fact, the old woman presented the old age. And the tale suggested a similar message: old age could defeat the gods, let alone the humanity.
It is a natural selective process that we all have to accept. Old age never spares anyone and we must face the truth. Old age will deprive us of our health, the beauty, and the energy that we once had.
Even the gods felt confused and worried when the old age hit them, let alone us the mortal humanity.
On the macro scale, it is a life lesson or a warning to the Norse enthusiasts. The Norse mythology seems to be ahead of their time because they try to warn us what is coming in our life. Even the gods age, we are not able to escape it. We have to accept it. Every day we wake up means a chance to be grateful to be alive and to live our life to the fullest before we can no longer physically do it.
Because no one can rid the destructive power of time and ageing, we have to face reality. The moral message from the kidnapping of Idun turns out to motivate us to live our life to the fullest before we say "I regret I had not...".