Loki the Trickster
Updated: May 4, 2021
Loki was one of the three major gods in Norse mythology. He was popular before Marvel Studios made him cool. Loki was the god of mischief and chaos, some say of fire as well. That he gifted fire to humans when they first populated the earth. Unlike any of the other gods, Loki was able to shapeshift, not just into animals, but also changing his gender. It was his greatest weapon. But, more importantly, it was his greatest aid when causing trouble for absolutely everyone.
Family Tree Loki’s parentage has been debated by historians since it was first written down. Many sources say his father was a giant named Farbauti and his mother of unknown origin named Laurfey. The only flaw with that theory, is how was he welcomed amongst the gods and goddesses in Asgard, if he was a full fledged giant, or even half human half giant? He played many pranks on the gods, and would have been banished, long before he was finally exiled for a great crime he committed, if he was not really one of them. On the other hand, a few historians say that Loki was Odin’s younger brother Ve. That he changed his name sometime after the creation of the humans. Whichever was the case, his powers of shapeshifting is perplexing, because no other being had that ability, and there has not been found any explanation for it. Loki’s own family is also a messy situation. Because, he had two wives, and sired many children from many partners, most of whom were not humanoid. Loki’s first wife was kept a secret, because she was a frost giant named Angrboon. The two of them conceived three children, all of whom turned into powerful beings. Hel, who was half beauty, half death. Then there was Fenrir, a giant untamed wolf. Lastly, they had Jormungandr, a serpent that grew to be as large as the world. After that marriage was found out and dismissed by Odin. Loki married a minor goddess by the name of Sigyn. Little is known about her, except her loyalty and love for Loki. Despite his occasional infidelities and tricks against her people, she stayed by his side. The two of them bore a child by the name of Nari (or Narfi). Little is known about him as well.
What they all thought of him
Loki was not worshiped in shrines or prayed to by the Scandinavian people. Instead, they feared him, and used his stories as warnings and lessons. There are a lot of stories of Loki, alongside Thor and Odin. He was one of the well-known gods, for his cunning and back and forth loyalty. Whenever there was trouble in Asgard, Loki usually had a hand in it. Even when he was innocent of the crime, he was the first to be accused, and the first to figure out the real culprit. Even though the gods forgave Loki time and time again, he was never fully trusted by the gods. He was allowed to stay with them however, because he proved useful and had helped them out of scrapes more than once—even though half the scrapes were caused by him. Loki made friends with frost giants and dark elves alike. Except that he often times betrayed them as well, to get what he wanted, so they did not fully trust him either. The dwarves outright hated Loki, he played too many unfair tricks on them, and they often wished to avenge themselves on him.
There are many stories of Loki and his tricks and adventures. But, here’s a story of how Loki helped the gods of Asgard. How he used his ability for good… and became a mother while doing it.
Loki and the foul There was a time when Asgard was not protected against the giants. The palace was defenseless when Thor, and the other warriors were away. To remedy this, Odin commissioned for a tall and thick wall to be built around the capital, as speedily as possible. The answer to their prayers came in the form of a man from earth, along with his sturdy stallion. The stranger bragged that he could build the wall in three days, if he accomplished it, he would be gifted a bride. If he could not, he would leave with no pay for his work. Odin and the others laughed at such a ridiculous bargain, and agreed to it, thinking a mere mortal could not accomplish it in only three days. The bargain was struck, and the stranger began. Although he tried to keep his secret, it was soon discovered that the stranger was no human, but a frost giant in disguise. With his stallion’s help, he could pull mountainous blocks of stone across the land, and place them as the wall. He had most of the wall accomplished within two days. On the third day, the gods and goddesses became worried that he would win the wager. Desperate, the gods asked Loki the trickers to delay the frost giant by any means necessary. Loki, always ready to sabotage, gladly accepted the task. He transformed himself into an attractive mare, and flaunted himself in front of the stallion as it worked. So, attracted to the feminine horse. The work stallion bucked and kicked, until he broke from his wagon, to chase after the mare. The stranger was powerless to stop his hulking stallion, and could not catch him again. For the rest of the day Loki ran across fields and streams, distracting the stallion from his labor, halting the work on the wall. In the end the wall was not completed in time. The frost giant left without his prize, while the gods finished the work of the wall themselves, and were now secure behind their sturdy fortress. As for Loki, he was not seen for many months in Asgard. It was not unusual that he would disappear for long periods of time, except his friends wanted to congratulate his deed, and wondered why he did not come back for the praise. When Loki was eventually seen again, he was reluctant to tell anyone about where he was or what he was doing. It was not until stories of an eight-legged foul wandering the fields near Asgard, were things revealed. The foul was caught and brought to Odin. The wise king of the gods could perceive that the young horse belonged to Loki. The stallion must have caught up with the mare, resulting in a magical baby foul. Loki had carried, birthed and taken care of the foul until it could feed on its own. Odin named the horse Sleipnir, and raised it to be his best and most trusted stead.
By Billie Richard
Sources used Books: Norse myths and Tales, Epic Tales. By Flame Tree Publishing Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman Websites:
Loki | Mythology, Powers, & Facts | Britannica Loki - Norse Mythology for Smart People (norse-mythology.org) Sleipnir: Odin’s Eight-Legged Horse (mythologysource.com) Sleipnir the Eight Legged Horse in Norse Mythology (vkngjewelry.com) Loki – Mythopedia