THE KING OF THE SEA AND HIS DAUGHTERS
 AT last she came to the wide sea-coast, and there
everything was gloriously beautiful. It was evening,
and the western sky looked like a broad crimson flower.
No wind stirred the ocean, but the small waves rippled
in rose-coloured froth on the shore, like the smiles of
a giant at play.
Ægir, the old sea-king, supported himself on the sand,
whilst the cool waters were laving his breast, and his
ears drank their sweet murmur; for nine waves were his
beautiful daughters, and they and their father were
talking together. Now, though Ægir looked so stormy
and old, he was really as gentle as a child, and no
 ever have happened in his kingdom if he had been left
to himself. But he had a cruel wife, called Ran, who
was the daughter of a giant, and so eagerly fond of
fishing that, whenever any of the rough winds came to
call upon her husband, she used to steal out of the
deep sea-caves where she lived, and follow ships for
miles under the water, dragging her net after her, so
that she might catch any one who fell overboard.
Freyja wandered along the shore towards the place where
the Sea King was lying, and as she went she heard him
speaking to his daughters.
"What is the history of Freyja?" he asked.
And the first wave answered,—
"Freyja is a fair young Vana, who once was happy in
Then the second wave said,—
"But she left her fair palace there, and Odur, her
"She went down to the cavern of dwarfs."
 "She found Brisingamen there, and carried it away with
"But when she got back to Folkvang she found that Odur
"Because the Vana had loved herself more than Immortal
"Freyja will never be happy again, for Odur will never
"Odur will never come back as long as the world shall
"Odur will never return, nor Freyja forget to weep."
Freyja stood still, spell-bound, listening, and when
she heard the last words, that Odur would never come
back, she wrung her hands, and cried,—
"O, Father Ægir! trouble comes, comes surging up from a
wide sea, wave over wave, into my soul."
 And in truth it seemed as if her words had power to
change the whole surface of the ocean—wave over wave
rose higher and spoke louder—Ran was seen dragging her
net in the distance—old Ægir shouted, and dashed into
the deep—sea and sky mixed in confusion, and night fell
upon the storm. Then Freyja sank down exhausted on the
sand, where she lay until her kind daughter, the sleepy
little Siofna, came and carried her home again in her
arms. After this the beautiful Vana lived in her
palace of Folkvang, with friends and sisters, Æsir and
Asyniur, but Odur did not return, nor Freyja forget to
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics