Continuing where we left off, trickster god Loki has to find a way to lure Idun and her magical apples right into the enemy camp....
Loki, as we already know, didn’t have to wait too long to get a lone moment with Idun, the Spring Goddess. The very next day after he got back to Asgard he went to her orchard to get his weekly quota of the enchanted apples.
The gods at Asgard were eternally blessed with youthful beauty thanks to these apples. Loki got his weekly intake and lingered on in the orchard idly waiting for a chance to catch Idun alone. Finally, when the last of the gods had left, Loki walked across to where Idun was seated beside a pond abloom with water lilies.
“Hello Idun, all well in your orchard, I hope?” Loki was trying to sound unsuspectingly casual and friendly. He made small talk about father Odin and his journey down to Midgard and the wonderful sights he saw at the other land. Then he looked at her apple basket. “You know, your apples are really wonderful but I‘ve seen better.”
“What!” exclaimed Idun, “that can’t be... you know we’re the only ones with such apples.”
“You’ll only believe me when you see it with your own eyes,” said the sly Loki. “Come with me now... the apples I saw in the forests just outside Asgard are to die for! I’ll show them to you.” Idun shook her head. “No Loki! We will not leave the safety of Asgard. It’s too dangerous out there.“
“Don’t worry. It’s perfectly safe. Why worry when I’m with you? And take your apples along so that you can compare for yourself. Only then will you believe me.” Loki was at his persuasive best and poor Idun fell for it. Carrying her basket of enchanted apples she followed Loki outside the gates of Asgard. Just as they stepped out, a giant shadow darkened the sky over them and before Idun even saw it an eagle swooped down and carried her off!
As Idun began to struggle and shout out for Loki, the eagle clasped her gently with his claws careful not to hurt her. “Don’t drop your apple basket now, dear...,” he said as he flew away with her to his snow castle in the frost giant country.
Loki waited till the frost giant Thjazi had disappeared from sight. No one had seen this kidnapping. Good! He quietly made his way back home, pretending nothing had happened. But very soon a lot began happening.
The gods and goddesses of Asgard looked at themselves in the mirrors or at their reflections in pools and saw a wrinkle or two appear on their beautiful faces. Crow’s feet near the eyes? Ugh! Can’t be.... Hair began to turn grey and Odin, the father god, began to complain about his tired knees hurting him.
Are we growing old? asked the gods among themselves as each day brought more wrinkles, silver strands and fatigue.
And that was when they noticed the disappearance of Idun, the Spring Goddess. Where was she when they needed her magic apples?
When there was trouble in Asgard everybody pretty much knew who was the cause of it – Loki, the mischief maker! Odin called for a meet. Thor, the Storm God brandished his hammer threateningly. “Loki, tell us what you’ve done....” Thor was very certain his half brother was behind this.
“Umm... I didn’t have much choice you see....” Loki shrugged and went on to tell them how he allowed the frost giant to kidnap Idun. The gods were aghast, of course. Thor caught Loki by the scruff of his neck and began thrashing him mercilessly. “Stop, Please stop!” cried Loki. “What is the point in taking it out on me? You want to get her back? And, of course her apples? I’ll go find her... just let me go, Thor!”
When Thor’s anger was spent, the gods agreed to Loki’s plan. He turned himself into a falcon (he is a shape shifter, if you remember) and flew towards Jötunheimr, the land of the frost giants.
He knew where he would find her. And find her he did, walking up and down listlessly in a tower room in Thjazi’s castle, her basket of apples in hand.
“Idun... here I come to rescue you!” cried Loki, as she looked up to see him. “Sorry about this, but I was in a tight spot then. Quick, let’s escape before he returns home!”
Loki changed her into a nut that he could now hold in his falcon claws and swiftly flew out of Jötunheimr before Thjazi could return. When Thjazi came home, he found no trace of the Spring Goddess and her apples. He knew it was Loki who had come for her and raced towards Asgard.
Since he had quite a headstart, Loki had an advantage. He had updated Thor as he set out from the frost land and therefore Asgard was prepared for Thjazi, who they knew would follow. The gods quickly got fires going just below the walls of Asgard and waited anxiously for Loki and Idun. Will they make it?
Soon the falcon flew in with the tiny nut and the relieved gods welcomed their precious Idun back. Shortly after came the giant eagle, but as it crossed over the walls of Asgard great flames leapt up to the skies and engulfed Thjazi. That was the end of the frost giant! All of Asgard rejoiced and slowly the wrinkles faded away from their faces. The gods began to glow in youth and beauty again as spring returned to Asgard.