The goddess Iduna was the wife of the god Bragi. In her charge were the golden apples of youth, which she kept for security in a box. And when the gods felt old age approaching they had but to taste of the golden apples and their youth was renewed. Thus it was that the gods never grew old.

Now it happened on a day that Odin and Loki and Hœnir were on a journey. And they came to a place where some oxen were grazing. And the gods were hungry. So they killed one of the oxen. And lighting a fire, they put the flesh into a kettle and placed it over the fire to boil. But every time they looked into the kettle they found the flesh as raw- as when they put it in. And while they wondered over the strange occurrence, they heard a noise overhead, and, looking up, they saw a great eagle in the branches on an oak tree. “Give me my share of the meat and it shall be quickly boiled,” said the eagle. And as they were hungry the gods said yea to this. Then the eagle flew down and carried off a leg and two shoulders of the ox.

At this Loki waxed wroth, and seizing a large piece of wood he struck the eagle on the back as he was flying away. But the eagle was none other than the giant Thjassi, clad in his eagle plumage, and to


Loki’s horror he found that the one end of the piece of wood stuck to the eagle’s back, while of the other end he could not let go his hold.

And the giant flew on, carrying Loki with him over rocks and forests till he was nearly torn to pieces. Then did Loki pray for peace, and Thjassi told him he should be set at liberty if he would bind, himself by a solemn oath to return to Asgard and bring back to him the goddess Iduna and her golden apples.


And Loki bound himself by oath to do this. Thereupon the giant sent him free, and Loki, torn and bleeding, returned to his companions. But he told them nothing of his oath to Thjassi.

And when they had returned to Asgard, Loki sought out Iduna, and told her, that in a forest a little distance from Asgard, he had seen much better apples than those which she kept for the gods. And he persuaded her to fetch her apples, and to go with him to the forest so that she might compare the two qualities.

And the goddess, thinking no guile, fetched the precious apples, and set out with Loki. And directly they entered the forest Thjassi, the giant, in his eagle plumage, flew down and caught up Iduna and her apples and carried her off to Giantland.

And Loki returned to Asgard and nought said he of the occurrence to the gods. And the gods were sad at the strange disappearance of Iduna and her golden apples. And time passed on, and the gods began to grow old. The bloom of youth faded from their cheeks and wrinkles showed instead and their bright hair changed to grey. And just as they began to despair, they discovered that Loki, the guileful, the mischief-maker, was the cause of their disaster, as he had been, and would ever be, of other disasters to the gods. And with such grievous punishment did they threaten him in their wrath, if he did not restore Iduna and her youth-giving apples to Asgard, that Loki at once set about devising a scheme for taking her away from the giant.

Thjassi, the giant, in his eagle plumage flew down and caught up Iduna.


He borrowed from the goddess Freyja her falcon plumage, and flew away to Giantland.

And it happened that the giant Thjassi was out at sea fishing, so Loki quickly changed Iduna into a sparrow and flew off with her. And soon Thjassi returned and he saw what had


happened. So he clad himself in his eagle plumage and flew after them.

And the gods anxiously watched for the coming of Loki, and at last they saw him flying towards them with Iduna, in the shape of a sparrow, in his claws. Then they saw the giant Thjassi with his great eagle wings outspread, getting nearer and nearer to Loki and his precious burden.

And the gods hastened and brought bundles of chips and placed them on the walls of Asgard. And the moment that Loki had flown over the walls, they set fire to the chips, and Thjassi’s feathers were caught by the flames and he fell and was captured by the gods, who slew him.

Then did Loki transform the sparrow into the goddess Iduna, and he restored her and her golden apples to the gods. Joyful were they all at her return, and she gave them of her apples, and once more the gods became young and fair.