Freyja was the most beautiful of all the gods and goddesses. She was very tall, with long, blonde hair and big, blue eyes. She was the goddess of love and beauty. People in the Viking world thought that Freyja helped their flowers and plants to grow in the summer.
Freyja was a good woman, but she had one problem — she was very greedy. She was not greedy for food, but for beautiful objects. She loved diamonds and pearls — all types of jewels. She loved rings and necklaces — all types of jewellery. Freyja loved anything gold or silver. She had hundreds of gold necklaces and diamond rings, but she always wanted more.
Freyja had all of the most beautiful jewellery in Asgard, but she knew that in the other worlds there was more jewellery. Sometimes she visited Midgard to see if the humans who lived there had any beautiful jewellery for her.
'More, more, more!' she thought one day. 'I'm going to go down to Midgard, to see if there's more jewellery for me!'
But Loki — who knew everything about all the gods and goddesses — was watching her. 'I know what Freyja is doing,' he thought. 'She's going down to Midgard to see if there's any beautiful jewellery for her there.'
Loki decided to put on his magic cloak and follow her to Midgard. When Loki put on his magic cloak he was invisible. No one could see him, not even another god. 'Perhaps I can play a trick on her!' he thought.
Freyja went out and crossed the Bifrost bridge into Midgard. She looked around all the towns and cities in Midgard, but she did not find anything she liked.
All the time, Loki was following her in his magic cloak, but she did not know.
'How disappointing!' thought Freyja. 'It's very late now — but… there's somewhere else I can go...'
Loki was interested. 'Where is Freyja going now?' he thought. 'It's dark, and everyone is asleep.'
Freyja walked and walked and walked. Loki followed her for a long way. She went away from all of the human towns and cities in Midgard, until she arrived in Svartalfheim, the place where the dark elves lived.
The dark elves were famous because they were very good at making swords and axes. They also made very beautiful jewellery. Freyja loved the dark elves' jewellery, but she did not like the dark elves. The dark elves were very greedy people. They were even more greedy than Freyja. The dark elves always wanted money, lots of money.
'Of course!' thought Loki as he followed Freyja into Svartalfheim. 'The dark elves only work at night. They can't come out in the light of the day.'
Freyja watched what the dark elves were making. It was a beautiful necklace. The necklace was made of silver — silver as bright as the moon. In the silver, the dark elves were putting lots of diamonds — diamonds as shiny as the stars at night.
'That is the most beautiful piece of jewellery I've ever seen,' thought Freyja. 'I want it!'
Loki, who was still invisible, watched Freyja. He saw her looking at the necklace. He knew she wanted it.
The dark elves were not surprised to see the goddess Freyja. They knew she liked their jewellery a lot.
'Ha!' they laughed at her. 'Do you want to take this beautiful necklace we've made,' they said.
'Well,' said Freyja. 'I might be interested...' Freyja thought that if the elves saw how much she wanted the necklace, they would ask a very high price.
'Let us tell you about this necklace,' said one of the elves. 'This is a very special necklace. Its name is Brisingamen.'
'It's made of the best silver in the world!' said another elf.
'Yes,' said the first elf. 'This silver is even better than the silver in Asgard!' He showed the necklace to Freyja. 'See?' he said. 'Look how it shines!'
'There are a hundred diamonds in this necklace,' said the other elf. 'It's very valuable!'
Freyja looked at the diamonds. Then she looked at the silver. She wanted the beautiful necklace very much. 'I must have it!' she thought.
'You say it's valuable,' she said to the elves. 'How much does it cost?'
'Cost?' asked the first elf, and then he laughed. 'My lady Freyja, this necklace has no cost.'
'What do you mean?' asked Freyja.
'This necklace is so valuable, it can't be sold for money,' he said.
'That's ridiculous!' said Freyja. 'I'm a goddess, and I can buy anything I want! I'll give you gold, silver...'
'We don't need gold,' said the elf.
'Or silver,' said the second elf.
'No,' said the first elf, 'We want something more valuable than gold or silver.'
'Oh?' said Freyja. 'What is more valuable than gold or silver?'
'My lady,' said the elf quietly. 'All we want, is one kiss, from you.'
'You want me to kiss you?' asked Freyja. She was very surprised. She was a goddess. A goddess did not kiss the ugly, greedy dark elves, especially Freyja, the most beautiful goddess.
Loki was watching everything happen. 'Now this is interesting!' he thought. 'Let's see if Freyja will kiss those elves! I know the other gods won't be happy if Freyja kisses an elf.'
Freyja thought hard for a long time. She did not want to kiss the elves, but she wanted the necklace very much. She thought some more. And then she decided.
'Very well,' she said. 'I'll give each of you one kiss, and one kiss only. Then you'll give me the Brisingamen necklace, and I'll return to Asgard. Yes?'
'Yes!' said the elves.
Freyja did not like it, but she closed her eyes and kissed each of the elves, just once, on their cheeks.
'Done!' she said. 'Now give me the necklace!'
The elves gave Freyja the necklace. She put it on, and it made her look even more beautiful. Before it was day, she left. She was very happy as she went back to Asgard.
Loki saw all this happen. 'I'm going to play a trick on her!' he thought, as he followed her home.
When Freyja returned to Asgard, she did not want to tell anyone about the necklace. She was worried Odin would know she kissed the dark elves. She wanted to show everyone the necklace, but knew it was better to hide it.
Loki wanted to make trouble, so he went to see Odin. 'Have you seen Freyja's beautiful new necklace?' he asked Odin.
'No!' said Odin. 'I'm surprised. I'm the chief god. Usually, Freyja shows me first when she has some new jewellery. It happens quite often...'
'Why do you think she hasn't shown you her new necklace?' asked Loki.
'I don't know,' said Odin. This made Odin angry. Odin was the most intelligent of the gods, but this time, he really did not know.
'Then let me tell you,' said Loki. 'Freyja got her new necklace from the dark elves!'
'What!' shouted Odin. Odin did not like the dark elves. They were good at making swords, but he thought they were bad, greedy people. 'How much did she pay the dark elves for this necklace?' he asked.
'Let me tell you,' said Loki again. 'She didn't give them any money.'
'What?' asked Odin. 'Was this necklace free? I don't believe it! I know how greedy the dark elves are!'
'No, it wasn't free,' said Loki. 'She paid a price more than money.'
'More than money? I don't understand. What are you talking about?' asked Odin.
'She gave the elves a kiss,' said Loki.
Odin was very angry. He did not want a goddess kissing the dark elves. 'How do you know this?' he asked Loki.
'I made myself invisible, and followed her,' said Loki. 'It's all true!'
'Well then,' said Odin. 'She can't have this necklace! It's not right. We must take it from her. Loki — I'm telling you to take the necklace away from Freyja!'
'Very well,' said Loki. 'I'll try.'
That night, while Freyja was asleep, Loki changed himself into a fly. He flew through the keyhole in Freyja's locked bedroom door and bit Freyja on the cheek. Freyja woke up. 'Oh! It's just a fly,' she said, then she turned and went back to sleep.
Now Loki could see the Brisingamen necklace. There it was, beautiful and shining, on the goddess's neck. He changed himself into a man again, and very quietly, without waking her, he took the necklace from Freyja. Then he took it to Odin.
When Freyja woke up the next morning, she was very surprised. 'Where is my necklace?' she shouted. 'Where is beautiful Brisingamen?' She started to cry. 'I've lost the most beautiful necklace!' Then she started to become angry. 'Loki has something to do with this,' she thought. 'He's playing a trick on me!'
She got up and went to look for Loki, but she could not find him. Instead, she met Odin.
'What's the matter, Freyja?' asked Odin. He could see she was angry.
'I'm looking for Loki,' she said.
'Why?' asked Odin.
'He's taken something from me,' she said. 'He's playing one of his tricks on me.'
'I see,' said Odin. 'Is it, perhaps, this that you are looking for?' And he held up the Brisingamen necklace.
'Oh!' said Freyja. She was happy to see her necklace again, but she was worried because now Odin had it. She knew Odin would be very angry. 'Yes! That's it. My beautiful new necklace!'
'Where did it come from?' asked Odin.
'Oh, well, erm...' said Freyja, because she knew she could not tell Odin that it came from the dark elves.
'Let me look at this necklace,' said Odin. 'It's very, very beautiful. Such shiny silver. Lots of diamonds! There's only one place this necklace has come from,' he said. 'The dark elves!'
'Yes,' said Freyja. 'It's true.' She knew she could not lie to Odin. 'It came from the dark elves.'
'And how much did you pay the dark elves for this beautiful necklace?' asked Odin. 'I know they're very greedy.'
'I didn't give them money,' she said.
'Oh no?' asked Odin slowly. 'Then how did you pay them?'
Freyja knew she had to tell the truth. 'I paid them with a kiss. Three kisses,' she said.
'I thought so,' said Odin. 'All the time, Loki was following you. He was invisible. He took the necklace and gave it to me.' Odin was very angry. 'We gods do not like the dark elves. They're greedy people.'
'That's true, I know,' said Freyja. 'But I wanted the necklace so much. Please let me have it!'
'I'm very angry about this,' said Odin. 'But I'll give you the necklace...'
'Yes!' said Freyja.
'But only if...' said Odin.
'If what?' she asked.
'If you start a war,' said Odin.
'Start a war?' asked Freyja. Why?'
'Because I'm the god of war and battles. And when I'm angry, I want to start a new war. You will start a war, in Midgard, between two kings. And every time a man dies in the war, you will make him live again. This way, the war will continue forever!' said Odin.
'But that's a terrible thing!' replied Freyja.
'Yes, it is,' said Odin. 'But you've done a terrible thing. Do you want the necklace? Will you start the war?'
Freyja thought very hard, but only for a moment. She was greedy too, and she knew what she wanted.
'Very well,' she said. 'Yes, I'll start a war in Midgard. Now give me Brisingamen!'
Odin gave Freyja the necklace, and then she went down to Midgard again. But this time, she was not looking for jewellery, she was going to start a terrible war.
Sometimes, when they were angry, the Viking gods did terrible things.
— THE END -