All story: Idun and her Golden Apples
My Web page

Idun and her Golden Apples

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Idun and her Golden Apples

idun and her applesHow are the Norse gods able to remain wrinkle-free and forever young? This story explains how, and also tells us how they almost lost the secret of eternal youth.
Read by Elizabeth.
Adapted for Storynory by Charlotte Sebag-Montefiore.
Anyone lucky enough to go to Asgard, where the Norse gods
live, would see at once that all of them, with the exception of
Odin, are young, beautiful and handsome. Odin is the exception
as he does have such a long beard, and he would look much
younger if he shaved it off. But no-one shaves in Asgard, and
now I am thinking about it, this may be because the other male
gods look too young to grow a beard…. How do they manage
this, you might well ask, given that they’ve been up in Asgard
for quite a while? The answer lies in Idun, and her Golden
One day Odin, and Loki left Asgard to see what was
going on in Midgard, the Land of Men. You may know that
Odin is the father of the Norse gods, Loki is the god of fire and
mischief. Anyway, these two gods had been trekking all
day in the mountains, and come nightfall, they were definitely
hungry. They saw some cows grazing, and they decided to kill
one and have a few steaks. Odin jointed the beef,
while Loki got the fire going. This was the work of a moment
for him as he was the god of fire, even though the wood was
wet, – it would have taken you or me a lot longer. Soon the meat
was cooking over the fire. But there was a problem: the fire was
hot, the meat was there, -but for some reason, it would not cook.
Try as they would, and the three of them did try, their dinner
remained raw.
“Hmph” said Odin. “There’s trouble about.”
In the light of the fire, they saw a shadow of a huge bird. They
looked up and saw an an eagle perched on a branch, silhouetted against the night sky.
“That’s no eagle” said Odin. The bird laughed “No, I am no eagle and your meat will not cook
unless you agree to give me whatever I want.” The gods were tired,
cold and hungry so they agreed without inquiring as to the demands of the strange creature.
At once the meat began to
sizzle: how good it smelt! But just as they were about to help
themselves, the creature in the shape of an eagle, swooped down
and grabbed the best bit with his beak. He gulped it down – no
chewing for him – and took another piece. “No, you don’t “
said Loki, and he shoved a great log at the bird, trying to beat
him off. But instead, the eagle grabbed the log and Loki found
himself stuck fast on the other end of it. He could not let go!
Now the eagle flew low, so that Loki was dragged behind and
terribly bashed and bounced about by rocks and branches as
they flew over the ground. At last the eagle put him down. “I am
the Giant Thjasse” he said “and you’re not the only one who can
change shape. You will never be free unless you agree to get me
Idun’s golden apples. Do you?”
Loki hesitated: Thjasse wasn’t really asking for apples, he was
asking for what Asgard prized above all, eternal youth and
beauty. What would his punishment be if he stole that? But he
was tired of being bruised and dragged about, so he agreed.
Thjasse flew off screeching, “Keep your word or you’ll have me
to deal with!” and Loki, who didn’t want that, brushed himself
down thoughtfully. Then he rejoined Odin who
were already tucking into their steaks, and began to eat himself.
This expedition to Midgard had not been very successful and
soon the three gods returned to Asgard. Loki did intend to keep
his word, and he began by making friends with Idun, keeper
of the Golden Apples. This wasn’t hard, as Idun was as sweet
and good-natured as her lovely apples! Loki made a good start
by telling her about his travels: he had plenty of funny and
interesting tales to tell. Every time he went to get his own apple
– for all the gods ate them once a week – he took the chance to
tell Idun something or make her laugh. One day, he said:”You
know, Idun, these are wonderful apples, but they’re second best,
I have seen better”.
“I don’t believe you”.
“You don’t believe me? Come and see for yourself”.
“I think I will” said Idun.
“Why don’t you bring your own apples?” said the crafty
Loki. “Then you could really compare them”.
Idun went to fetch her wondrous apples. She kept them in the
sort of basket they deserved: it was made of purest gold, just
the right size, and the handle was studded with rubies. It was so
Loki and Idun made for the gates of Asgard. Loki looked up.
He saw a huge shadow in the sky – he knew what that meant.
All of a sudden, Idun shivered. “I’m not sure I want to go” she
said. “I’ll come another day”.
“A walk outside will do you good” said Loki and he took her by
the arm and they went through the gate.
Idun screamed, and no wonder. The eagle-Thjasse swooped
down for his prize, Idun and her apples. Poor Idun was flying
through the air, with Thjasse’s huge claws closed tightly round
her waist without scratching her. “Careful with those apples” he
screeched, and poor Idun screamed again. She was fated to be
held prisoner in Thjasse’s cold and gloomy castle.
Meanwhile, at first, no-one in Asgard noticed she had gone.
Then things changed. The goddesses ,complained to each other
of one or two grey hairs. Odin, who must have been the oldest
if he was the father of the gods, got backache. And one or two
little wrinkles, crow’s feet, smile lines, that sort of thing, began
to appear on the faces of the gods. They were not happy about it:
if they were gods, they had to be immortal. Besides who doesn’t
want to look young and beautiful?
They held a assembly of the gods. The number one suspect in the Case of
the Missing Apples was Loki, for suspicion always fall on him
when there is mischief afoot. It was an uproarious meeting with
all the gods demanding that Loki tell the truth, and all sorts of
threats and divine curses were banded about:
“Alright, alright, I did it” Loki, finally admitted. “I was forced
into it.”
Then Thor, the strongest of the gods, seized hold of Loki and
shook him terribly so that he was in fear of his life.
“Stop stop,” cried Loki,”I’ll get the apples back. If you kill me,
you will never eat those apples again, and you can all suffer the
aches and pains of old age.”
When things had calmed down, the gods helped Loki turn into
the shape of a falcon.
He flew and flew until he reached Thjasse’s castle. Idun was
walking on the ramparts, – with her jewelled
basket. Quickly, Loki turned her into a nut, clutched it tight
with his claws, and soared high towards Asgard. It was lucky he
had a good start, for soon Thjasse came home. How he roared
when he saw that Idun and her apples were gone! He guessed
what had happened, changed at once into an eagle, and flew off,
spurred on by anger and fury. Loki flew as quickly as he could, -
falcons fly very fast- , but it is the eagle that rules the skies, and
little by little Thjasse gained on him.
Everyone in Asgard was watching, fearful. Would Loki get back
in time? The gods rushed off and laid great fires on the walls.
Near fainting with exhaustion, the falcon flew over the wall and
fell to the ground exhausted. In an instant the flames leapt into the sky,
and Thjasse was burned. He fell, and died. Loki and her golden
apples were safely back home. Youth and beauty returned to
Asgard for evermore!
And that was the story of Idun and the golden apples, adapted for storynory by
Charlotte Seabag-Montefiore. We do hope you enjoyed it, and look out for more norse stories on


Post a Comment