In Norse* mythology, Idun (Iduna) was the goddess of spring and rebirth. She and her husband, Bragi, the god of music and poetry, lived in Asgard, the home of the gods. Idun took care of the magic apples the gods ate to remain immortal.

The Prose Edda, a book of Norse legends written in the 1220s, contains a story about Idun and the magic apples. One day Loki, the trickster god, was captured by a giant named Thiassi. The giant refused to free Loki until he agreed to bring Idun and the apples to Thiassi's home. Loki gave his word and sped off to Asgard.

immortal able to live forever

trickster mischievous figure appearing in various forms in the folktales and mythology of many different peoples

* See Names and Places at the end of this volume for further information.

He invited Idun to bring her apples and walk into the forest, where he knew of some even more precious apples. Eager to compare her special fruit with that mentioned by Loki, Idun joined the trickster. But as soon as they reached the forest, Thiassi, in the form of an eagle, dove from the sky and seized the goddess and her apples.

Without Idun's apples, the gods in Asgard began to age. They became bent and feeble and demanded that Loki rescue Idun from Thiassi. Loki flew to the giant's home disguised as a falcon. He changed Idun into a nut and hid her in his claws. As he flew back to Asgard, Thiassi became an eagle again and followed him. However, as soon as Loki and Idun were inside Asgard, the gods lit a fire on the walls of Asgard. Thiassi's wings caught fire as he crossed the flames, and he dropped to the ground, where the gods killed him.

See also Birds in Mythology ; Bragi ; Fruit in Mythology ; Loki ; Norse Mythology .

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