In Norse* mythology, Balder (or Baldur) was the son of Odin, king of the gods, and of Odin's wife, Frigg. Balder was the most beautiful of the gods and the one most beloved by Odin. As a youth, he led a happy life and eventually married Nanna. Soon, however, Balder began to suffer from terrible dreams that threatened him with death. Fearing for his safety, Frigg asked everything in creation, whether living or not—including animals, birds, stones, wood, and metal—to take an oath not to hurt Balder. There was only one thing that she did not ask to make such a promise: the mistletoe plant. Frigg thought that the mistletoe was too young to take an oath.
After everyone and everything had taken Frigg's oath, the gods would amuse themselves by throwing things at Balder because they knew nothing could harm him. However, the evil god Loki decided to find a way to hurt Balder. Loki transformed himself into an old woman and went to visit Frigg. The old woman asked if it was true that all things had taken an oath not to hurt Balder. Frigg admitted that she had not asked the mistletoe to take the oath. Loki then went to the place where the mistletoe grew and took a twig from it.
Next, Loki approached Balder's blind brother Höd (or Hodur) and asked why he was not throwing things at Balder like everyone else. Höd replied that he could not see Balder, and besides, he had nothing to throw. Loki then handed Höd a dart he had made from the mistletoe and offered to guide Höd's hand as he threw it. The dart struck Balder and killed him instantly. The gods were shocked and confused. Frigg begged someone to go to the underworld and pay a ransom to bring back her son. Hermod, another of Odin's sons, volunteered to go to recover Balder.
underworld land of the dead
Hermod journeyed to the underworld, where he stayed one night. Hel, the goddess of death, told him that if everything under heaven shed a tear for Balder, she would allow him to return. However, if even one thing—living or dead—spoke against Balder or refused to weep for him, he would have to remain in the underworld. The gods sent messengers to every part of world to ask everything to weep for Balder. They thought they had succeeded until they found an old hag named Thökk sitting in a cave. They asked her to weep for Balder, but she refused. Most accounts suggest that Thökk was none other than Loki, the god of evil, in disguise.