Woden’s Day Wisdom: Odin’s brother was the mother of his horse

Wednesday was named for the father of the Germanic gods, Woden himself, so in honor of that mythic patriarch, every hump day a different myth, legend or history will be spotlighted. Why not kick it off with the story of Woden’s horse?
sleipnir
Woden, known as Odin to most, wasn’t the nicest guy in the nine worlds. Sure, his friend Loki (better known as his son Loki) was worse, but to be fair, Odin was pretty mean to the children of his supposed blood brother.


Odin and the rest of the Norse gods decided to kidnap some of Loki’s children and disemboweled one of Loki’s sons to make rope while another was turned into a wolf as a punishment for something Loki did. Meanwhile Loki is left alive and unchanged – in torturous pain sure, but alive.

Then there’s what happened to the son Loki gave birth to. Yes, he gave birth to one of his kids. To make matters worse, Odin took his son and decided to ride him until Ragnarök, kept around as a simple pet.

It all started when the walls of Asgard needed rebuilt. Odin hired a giant to do it, but didn’t want to pay him for the work (it probably didn’t help that the giant wanted Odin’s wife as payment). To get out of paying, the gods sent Loki (who they blamed for the giant’s success) to “take care of the problem.” The sly shape-shifter decided he’d distract the giant’s powerful horse, and thus prevent him from getting the work done on time. How else would he distract a male horse? He turned into a female horse.

As a mare, Loki “kept him busy” long enough to cause the giant to forfeit, but just to make sure they wouldn’t have to pay, the gods had Thor (better known as Thor) hammer his brains in.

Had they done that earlier, Loki probably wouldn’t have ended up pregnant. As it was, Loki gave birth to a healthy foal, albeit one with twice the proper number of legs.

Sleipnir (also known as Slippy the Eight-Legged Horse) was taken by Odin who claimed him for his own personal steed – never mind how mamma Loki felt about it.

And people call Loki evil.

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