That Wily Wotan…

*

…“I know where the Wild Wood comes from.”

“Go on.”

“Wodin, or Odin, or Wotan…”

“Wild Wodin, is Myrddin Wyllt! …The High One… So, just how wild is Odin?”

“Wild enough to steal back the mead of inspiration from the Jotunn.”

“That’s pretty wild, how did he do that?”

“By assuming a disguise.”

“What kind of disguise?”

“He pretended he was a giant himself.”

“Oh, Lordy.” …

*

… Odin called himself, ‘The Evil One’.

All the Jotunn have those sort of names… ‘Death by Envy’, ‘Judgements Thrall’, ‘Bluff’ and ‘Bluster’ etc.

Still, as the God of Gods you would want to outdo all that, so, the Evil One, is pretty much the last word in giant names…

He set off in giant form for the farm of the mead-keeper’s brother.

Clever that.

Thor would have just gone straight to the mountain and the mead-keeper himself but Odin, he is all about turning brother against brother.

Wily you see…wild and wily, probably the same word and only a wise god would know that…anyway, the mead-keeper’s brother has nine human thralls working his farm and when the Evil One strolls onto the land and takes a look around he immediately sees his chance.

The thralls are weary with still a good third of the field to harvest and from the time it is taking for the sheaves to fall their scythes look a tad on the blunt side.

The Evil One pulls a whetstone from his pouch, “Need an edge?” he says, all nonchalant like, to the nearest farm-hand and holds out the hone.

“Do I ever,” replies the farm-hand and when the others see what he is about they crowd around the God, disguised as a giant, in the hope of getting an edge too.

The Evil One duly obliges and as every last jack of them is impressed with their new edge they ask if the hone is for sale.

“I might consider selling it to the one man who can feast me tonight in the manner to which I have become accustomed,” says the Evil One.

Oh, they are all up for that, hell yes, falling over themselves they are to feast the Evil One that night.

Odin squints at them through his one eye and smiles grimly, then he tosses the whetstone high in the air.

Up into the summer sky it arches, glinting in the sunlight, like blue-silver.

Up go the heads of all the thralls to watch it, with not a thought for anything or anyone else, all hoping to be the one to catch it, which they all do actually, every last jack of them.

They jostle, and turn, and run backwards, and flail, and they all catch the edge real good.

Slice each others gullets they do…

The whetstone, when it finally falls to earth, lands in a field of nine dead bodies, and the Evil One, he stoops, and bends, and picks it up, places it back in his pouch and traipses off back down the road the same way he came…whistling… a somewhat plaintiff tune… it has to be admitted.

Excerpt from, ‘Giants Dance’ – Stuart France and Sue Vincent

 

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