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Adventure Fantasy

Many years ago, in the farmlands of Iceland, there lived a grandmother and her beautiful granddaughter, Frayja. 

Every day from dawn to dusk, Freyja worked cheerfully in the vast fields, sowing and harvesting rye. She always saved a handful for the chirruping birds, who became her dear friends. 

Inside the farmhouse, Grandmother gathered the grains with a smile to her face. She baked hearty loaves of bread, each one filled with the scent of the earth and the taste of honey. 

In the evening, Grandmother and granddaughter brought the bread to the village square, placing it on the tables piled high with crisp vegetables, savory lamb, and creamy Icelandic yogurt. The villagers laughed merrily as they ate. 

After the feast, all the villagers walked underneath the stars. When they got tired, the adults played cards over pieces of dark chocolate. The children sang songs and fabricated new lands by narrating the legends of the past. 

One day, Grandmother fell ill. She was ordered to rest in bed and drink medicine. Freyja worked hard to clean the cottage, tend the rye, and bake the bread. Every day, she brought some of it to the market, exchanging the sweet loaves for Grandmother’s remedy. It was back-breaking work. The villagers pitched in to help her. The chirruping birds cheered everyone up. 

The months passed. Grandmother became very weak and sick. One night, she called Freyja to her bedside. 

“My beautiful girl,” Grandmother said, “I am afraid we will not be together for much longer.”

“But there is something important I have to ask of you,” she urgently continued. And with that, Grandmother sang a song:

Go and seek The Seer of The Blessed,

Share your spirit and you’ll find the crest. 

Go and seek The Seer of The Blessed,

But only the right time will unlock the quest.

Grandmother herself did not know when the quest would begin. She did not know if Frayja would ever need it. Yet, in her being, she knew that someday, someone might. 

So she implored Frayja to seek The Seer of The Blessed. And although she had many questions, Freyja trusted her grandmother. She promised to do it. 

Grandmother was holding a necklace. The sides were embroidered with wooden pearls. The pearls led to the center, which held a small bronze artifact. 

“This necklace is for you,” Grandmother said. “You must keep it with you always. May it help you one day.”

Freyja took the necklace. She kissed Grandmother gently and thanked her. 

“Remember that I will be watching over you, elskan mín. You have my blessing.” 

With that, Grandmother closed her eyes, and there was a soft clasp of light. Freyja knew she was gone. 

Freyja was sent to live with her long-lost father, a wealthy man who adored the sea and its riches. He lived in a large palace at the southern coast, and took an instant liking to his daughter. He was also fair and generous, and had great empathy for those around him. 

When a butler broke his antique pocket watch, Father paid many krona for a new one; whenever the falcons landed on the perch, Father fed them fresh seeds; after the cook scorched his hand, Father took a turn making dinner for all his laborers. 

The years passed quickly, and Freyja grew up to be a beautiful young woman. Her father was very proud of her. But the one thing Freyja kept to herself was Grandmother’s song. She sang it softly every night:

Go and seek The Seer of The Blessed,

Share your spirit and you’ll find the crest. 

Go and seek The Seer of The Blessed,

But only the right time will unlock the quest.

Freya wondered when that time would come. She wondered why Grandmother wanted her to do this. She waited and waited. 

During the winter solstice, it was Freyja’s birthday. Her father gave her a boar he had raised for many years. It had beautiful golden bristles and a brilliant chestnut coat. Freyja named it Hildisvíni. 

One stormy night, a colossal hurricane struck the coast. It pounded against the brick walls and shattered the glass windows. The home shook and trembled with every breath. 

Next morning, everything was in ruins. The palace, once a beautiful sanctuary, had crumpled to the ground, beyond repair. Worse yet, Father was nowhere to be seen. All Freyja had were Hildisvíni and a jar of gold coins she had kept in her room.

So she climbed onto the enchanted Boar, and they traveled for one day and one night, running away from the sea and all its riches. 

It was the next dawn when they approached the New Town. A sea of people flooded the streets. The sounds of the market resembled waves crashing on the shore. The air smelled of salt and fish. 

Freyja was starved. With no food or water for several days, she could hardly stand. She needed to eat. 

Just then, Freyja noticed seven enormous statues of Norse deities, beautifully carved out of bronze. Together, they formed a circle of protection. Sitting in the midst of the circle was an old woman. Her head was buried in her hands. She was weeping. 

“Whatever is the matter, kæra frú?” Freyja asked, forgetting about her hunger. 

The woman pointed to the pedestals that supported the statues. Several of them were cracked; the rusted pieces about to break apart.  

“The deities have been standing upright for thousands of years, watching over us,” she explained. “It is my duty to see that they are protected. But now they are about to break, and there is no money to fix them.”

“Take my gold,” Freyja insisted. “We must ensure the statues remain standing.”

The woman dried her tears, stood up, and thanked Freyja, gratefully accepting the coins. Freyja had just started to leave when the old woman ran after her. 

“That piece,” she said, pointing to the artifact on Freyja’s necklace. “It belongs here.”

She led Freyja back to the statues, and stopped at one of the gods. 

“This is Odin,” she said. “The god of wisdom and protector of heroes.”

Freyja suddenly realized what she was looking at. There was a small raven sitting on Odin’s shoulder. But by looking closely, Freyja could see it was missing part of its crest. The other half—

It is on the necklace, Freyja realized. And the woman, she is The Seer of the Blessed!

Without another word, Freyja began to climb Odin’s statue. When she reached the raven, she placed the bronze crest directly onto the missing half. Like a magnet, it clicked perfectly into place.  

All seven statues suddenly began to rotate. Freyja leaped off, and to her relief, was caught by Hildisvíni, just in time to see the statues disappear into the earth. In their place, a small box rose into the air. 

Freyja and The Seer reached the box at the same time. They gently opened the lid together. It was filled to the brim with rye. 

“Those are the sacred grains,” The Seer gasped.

Freyja herself had heard the legend before. Long, long ago, a Norse goddess named Angrboda was in power. She was known by many to bring anguish to the world. One day, on a farm, she found a box filled with wondrous grains. The box could grant one wish a day — any wish on earth. 

But Angrboda greedily chose to use all the wishes for herself. The island was close to being destroyed. And so, in desperation, all the other deities grouped together. They created a power so blinding it confused Angrboda. They snatched the box from her and hid it away forever. 

“How did you manage to come here, of all places?” asked The Seer in amazement, interjecting Freyja's thoughts.

“I, too, am blessed,” replied Freyja. “My Grandmother is watching over me.”

“You must leave. For one who is blessed mustn’t be here.” said The Seer, handing Freyja the box of wondrous grains. “Now go home, wherever you came from.”

Freyja thanked her and climbed onto Hildisvíni. They rushed back to the coast without stopping. Freyja held tight to the box the whole way. 

When they arrived, her father was waiting there. Behind him, their palace had been rebuilt. Father and daughter embraced. And then a third pair of arms joined them. It was Grandmother. The wondrous grains had done the impossible.

Today, legend says that these wondrous grains of rye were used with great care, spreading light to the world and eradicating its darkness. Hence Freyja, the Norse goddess of love and everlasting beauty. 

January 29, 2022 04:42

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4 comments

K. Antonio
21:24 Feb 01, 2022

Deeply enjoyed how this story is told in a once-upon-a-time fashion. It reminded me a bit of "The Bear And The Nightingale. What I liked about this story was the use of myth, how it flowed into the story with the Seer and Loki's former wife, Angrboda. I would even say that this story fits the "Bedtime" tag very nicely, it totally reads like a fairytale.

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Anna Nonymous
23:16 Jan 31, 2022

Baimin, this is SO beautiful. Half fairytale, half myth, I was completely captivated front to back. Thank you so much for sharing this. Bravo.

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Benny Regalbuto
17:07 Jan 31, 2022

This reads like a fairy tale. Love it!

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Mae Stroshane
04:26 Jan 30, 2022

A lovely tale! I don't know if this is a real legend, but it seems like one. Your narrative and rich details are mesmerizing.

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