Loke had many offspring, most of them with women giants. And except the horse of Odin, the eight-legged horse, called Sleipner, they were all monsters.
The best known of Lokes offspring is the Midgard snake, a snake bigger than a sea serpent. At first it was a little worm, but the gods threw it into the ocean, and it grew and grew, until it was so big, that it surrounded the whole world of gods and men. It is lying around the world and locking up gods and men, biting itself in its tail.
And the old Danish story tells, that the Midgard snake is still there - and shall be there, until Ragnarok, the Danish name of Armageddon.
And we all know it is true. There are many Midgard snakes. You can have one personally. You can have a personal Midgård snake, lying around you and locking you up in psychology and navel contemplating, not able to reach another human being.
And there are many political Midgard snakes, for example the common political thinking, biting itself in its tail, when it is said to be necessary to have more arms, before you are able to disarm.
But worst of all Loke offspring is the Fenris Wolf. At first of course it is a lovely little wolf cub, and the gods played games with it, especially the god Tyr. He is a horned god, and his name means Bull. A lot of villages in Denmark still bear his name. And the day Tuesday has its name from him. The same day in Danish is called Tirsdag. I Sweden they say Tisdag.
But the wolf cub grew and grew, until it was so big, that is was able to swallow the world of gods and men.
Of course the gods were very frightened, so they did exactly, what we should have done. They made a chain to hold the wolf. The gods went with the chain to the wolf and asked "Do you want to play a game?"
- Oh, yes, the wolf said. What is the idea?
- We simply put the chain around your neck, and you must try to break it.
- Okay, the wolf said, and the gods placed the chain around its neck.
Of course it was broken in a second. The gods now were trembling with fear, and although they didn't know the word measurable, because the word is connected with our modern world of science, they went round their world and collected all measurable materials and melted them to a new chain.
Everything, which you can measure and weigh, was in that chain.
Science divides the world in two parts. The first part they call "That, which is" and that is everything to be seen, with the eye or under microscope. And the other part is "That, which is not". And that part describes everything, science is not able to see - gods for example.
But the Danish gods didn't know anything about science.
- There must be a life before science, they simply thought and therefore they acted without any investigation. And they made the biggest chain ever seen from everything belonging to the science world of "That, which is".
With this second chain they went forward to the Fenris Wolf. It took days to drag the heavy chain, and far away the gods could hear the Fenris Wolf laughing and shouting: - If you once reach me, it will be an honor to break that chain.
After some days the gods succeeded and placed the chain around the neck of the wolf, but again the chain was broken in a second.
Now a cold sweat of fear hit the gods, and they went to a strange place, strange for gods.
They went to the dwarfs in the hills. Perhaps you know that the dwarfs at that time always were in the sanitary business as plumbers and blacksmiths.
So the gods asked the dwarfs to make a third chain, and they got the strangest chain you ever heard of.
It was soft and flabby and made from such strange raw materials as Women beard, Birds spittle, The breath of fish and The sound of cats paws. With this odd chain the gods for the third time went to the Fenris Wolf.
But this time it was not ready to play the game. - I think, there is magic power in this chain, the Fenris Wolf said.
But on one condition you can put it around my neck. One of you gods must put an arm into my mouth at the same time. As a matter of fact the wolf did not have a mouth, but a gap as big as an opening from a firth to the North Sea.
The gods didn't like the proposal. They looked at each other, and one could see from their faces, that they didn't want a group work on the subject.
But then the god Tyr, who had played with the wolf, when it was a cub, stepped forward and promised to put his arm into the mouth of the monster.
And so he did, while the gods placed the chain, made from Women beard, Birds spittle, The breath of fish and The sound of cats paws, around the wolf's neck.
Now the old Danish mythology says very beautifully: - The chain was not broken. That gave the gods a big laugh. But not Tyr. He was an arm shorter.
What the old Danish story says is an experience from life. Experiences just opposite modern science. The old Danish people knew, that the real strength in life does not come from the world of "That, which is", but from "That, which is not" - from what, you cannot measure or weigh. The real strength in life comes from, what you'll never find under a microscope, such as love, attitude, belief, feeling and hope.
Science has never made that discovery. But the old Norse people did it. They didn't use the words "That, which is not", but they found other words to explain their way of thinking.
Women beard, Birds spittle, The breath of fish and The sound of cats paws are other words for the same thinking, so strong that the old Danish people had to tell an unforgettable story about this truth of life.
You've just heard it.
Ó Poul Erik Søe 1 1977
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