Frey

Njord’s son is Frey, who is fair to look upon, mightier and more
valorous than even his own father. He governs weather and tillage; in his
hand lie prosperity, joy, and peace. Like Njord, Frey is called Scion of the
Vanir, the Vanir-God; also, God of the Seasons and Giver of Riches. He
holds sway over Alfheim and the Bright-Elves.



Frey has certain priceless talismans that cunning Dwarfs have made
for him. First of these is the ship Skidbladnir, which sails over land and sea
alike; when its sails are hoisted the winds always favor its course, and it is
so devised that it can be folded together and kept in a pocket till the time
for its use has come. He has also a marvelous boar, named Gullinbusti or
Slidrugtanni, that races through the air and over the sea, throwing beams of
light from his golden bristles; Frey often hitches the boar to his chariot
when he wishes to drive abroad. Frey is wedded to Gerd, fair daughter of
the Giant Gymir. Her he caught sight of one day as he had taken his seat in
Lidskjalf to gaze out upon all the worlds; far to the north he saw her walking
across her father’s farmyard; air and sea shone with brightness as she
raised her white arm to close the door. Frey fell in love with her, and for
sorrow could neither sleep nor drink. His father Njord sent Skirnir, Frey’s
servant, to learn what was amiss with him; then Frey confessed his longing
and commanded Skirnir to run his errand and pay court on his behalf.
Skirnir promised to go if Frey would only
lend him his magic sword, whose blade, if need be, could strike of its own
power. Thus armed he went forth on his quest; and through sorcery he
constrained Gerd to promise a meeting with Frey; the appointed tryst was
to take place after the lapse of nine nights, and in the interval Frey was
beside himself with longing. Frey afterward missed his trusty sword; in a
duel with the Giant Beli he was compelled to use the antlers of a stag to kill
his opponent. When the end of the world comes, he will feel still more
keenly the want of his sword. Snorri relates that his violent love for Gerd
was a penalty laid upon him by Odin because Frey had ventured to sit in
Odin’s seat.

The worship of Frey was general throughout the North, and place
names demonstrate that many sanctuaries were dedicated to him. The
Swedes showed particular zeal in the cult of Frey; and from Yngvi-Frey
(Yngvi, Yngvifreyr, also Ing or Ingunar-freyr) in Uppsala, the family of the
Ynglings, Norway’s royal house, is said to have descended. There are
accounts of horses dedicated to Frey, the so-called Manes of Frey. In
Sweden a priestess of his cult was given to Frey for a wife, with whom he is
supposed to have lived in actual marriage.


Sources:

Peter Andreas Munch: Norse Mythology: Legends of Gods and Heroes. The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York. 1926, pp. 15-16.
Rasmus B. Anderson (Ed.): The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson. Norræna Society, London-New York. 1906.


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