The Necklace of The Brisings or Brísingamen
Painting: Heimdall returns Brisingamen to Freyja, in an anachronistic painting centuries after the era of the myth’s popularity
Brísingamen: The necklace was forged in fire by the dwarfs Alfrigg, Dvalinn, Berlingr, and Grerr.
To attain it Freyja had to begrudgingly, sleep with each of them, Loki discovered this information and told it to Odin, who requested him to snatch and hand over the necklace to him.
Next, Odin returned it to Freyja on the terms she must start an eternal battle between two kings. Freyja agreed to honor his plan.
The night was about to change over into dawn. The sky was a greyish green in the east, while the snowflakes were ghosting around Asgard. Only Loki sighted Freyja leave Sessrumnir. Her cats slept quietly by the warm hearth. Her chariot lay unused; in the half light she set off towards the Bifrost. Next, the Wiley Loki wrapped his cloak around himself and followed Freyja. The goddess glided over the snow, passing by the sleeping Asgard, her lips as she made her way over the rainbow that glowed all around her. The snow veils of Midgard were beaming in the rising sun. Dreaming of gold, desiring gold, Freyja crossed a barren plain, Loki scurrying after her. She found her way across a winding river silenced by ice; she passed the base of a giant glacier, chopped and bluish. Very dangerous it was. Finding her way across the snow at the end of the short hours of daylight she came to a group of huge rounded boulders, jostling under the shoulder of an overhanging cliff. Freyja discovered the thin string narrow path that led in and down. Her eyes formed tears from the cold and her tears streamed over her cheeks as a shower of gold. She continued down the rocky path until it led into a huge dank cavern. There she stood very still; listening to the water dripping into rock pools and the motion of a tiny stream pulsing over the rock. Freyja began to hear a tapping in the distance. As the goddess sauntered through the bleak cave, the sound of the tapping grew stronger and louder. Freyja moving through a narrow crevice and stepped in the middle of a sweltering smithy of four dwarfs, named Alfrigg, Dvalin, Berling, and Grerr. Suddenly, Freyja spotted the golden necklace, a choker of gold incised with a fabulous pattern. It was “breathtaking,“ so thought the goddess. She desired this beautiful necklace and decided to do what it takes to attain it. The four dwarfs stared at the goddess – she shimmered in the warm light of the forge.
The dwarfs had never seen such a brilliant goddess. Freyja smiled at the little dwarfs. “I will purchase this necklace from you, she stated.
The four swarfs looked at one another. Three shook their heads and the fourth replied, ‘It’s not for sale.’ “I want it,’ said Freyja. The dwarfs grimaced.
I’ll pay you with silver and gold – a fair price,’ said Freyja. Her voice began to rise. Freyja sauntered over to the bench where the necklace was displayed on.
‘I’ll bring you other rewards,’ replied Freyja. ‘We have plenty of silver,’ said one of the dwarfs. ‘And we have enough gold!’, shouted another dwarf.
Freyjas kept staring at the necklace desiring even more now.
Alfrigg, Dvalin, Berling, and Grerr huddled in a corner of the forge. They quietly whispered to each other so that Freyja couldn’t hear what they were saying to each other.
‘What is your price?’ asked the goddess. ‘It belongs to all of us,’ meaning each dwarf. “ so we share everything,’ claimed one of the dwarfs.
‘There is only one price that will satisfy us,’ replied said the third dwarf.
The fourth dwarf gleaned at Freyja and said ‘you!’
The goddess flushed with embarrassment. The dwarfs cornered her and said, ‘Only if you will lie one night with each of us will this necklace ever grace your lovely neck.’
Freyja was horrified by the repulsive appearance of the dwarfs large noses and stature. Especially, their deep-set greedy eyes.
Unfortunately for her, was her desire to acquire the necklace was greater than the thought of sexual relations with each dwarf.
‘As you wish,’ murmured Freyja shamelessly.
Four days and nights crept by, the goddess kept her end of the bargain. The dwarfs too kept their word too. They presented Freyja with the necklace and even helped fasten it around her pretty neck.
Quickly, Freyja shot out of the cavern and over the plains of Midgard as if her life depended upon it. She crossed over the Bifrost bridge and returned in the dark to Sessrumnir. Under her cloak, she wore the necklace of Brisings.
The Wiley one made straight for Odin’s hall. He found Odin known also as the Terrible one.’ the father of battle, relaxing alone in Valaskjalf. His ravens, Hugin and Munin perched upon his shoulders as his loyal wolves lay at his feet.
‘Well,’ said Odin.
‘I can read your face…’
‘Ah!,’ interrupted Loki, his eyes gleaming mischievously. ‘but did you see hers?’
‘Whose?’ said Odin.
‘Did it escape you? Did you not see the events unfold from Hlidskjalf?
Loki sarcastically retorted, ‘ Where were you Odin, when the goddess you love, the goddess you lust for, slept with four dwarfs?’
‘Stop!’ shouted Odin.
Loki ignoring Odin’s warning and Odin quickly were turning into the green-eyed monster.
Loki was delighted to carry on his shaming of Freyja, just to watch Odin boil over like an erupting volcano.
‘Collect the necklace for me,’ said Odin rigidly, when Loki had gleefully, returned Freyja home to Asgard. Loki laughed in a sarcastic manner.
This enraged Odin even more. ‘You love to play the vile one!’ cried, Odin.
‘You set us all at each other’s throats. Now I see you flyte at her throat: get the necklace.’
The Wiley one replied, “ You know as well as I that Freyja will enter into that hall against her wishes.’
Odin now more angry than ever raises his voice and shouts to Loki, “ Fetch the necklace’! I don’t want the sight of your shadow until you bring the Brisings necklace to me.’
Loki now realized he had pushed the Allfather too far. Loki began to sweat and feeling a bit panicky walked quickly out of Odin’s hall.
Later that evening brave for the moment Loki glided across the sparkling snow to the hall Sessrumnir. He raced up the stairs twisting the doorknob only to discover it was locked.
Loki felt the blast of the winter wind up his back and tightly gathered his cloak around his body in the dark of the frosty night.
Suddenly, Loki remembered Sif being locked n her bedchamber, her silky, shining hair, his lips grimaced with a sigh. He then quietly morphed himself into a fly.
Sessrumnir was so craftily built that Loki couldn’t find a way into the hall.
He buzzed around the doorknob and door to find a way in but there was no way in even for a tiny fly.
He luckily found a way into the hall by flying up to the roof and sliding through a small opening under the roof.
Once Loki made his way into the hall he transformed back into his own image again.
Loki sleuthed inside making sure he didn’t disturb Freyja’s daughters and servants while they slept.
He snuck into Freyja’s bedchamber to find the goddess fast asleep still wearing the necklace. the clasp of the necklace was behind her neck and he couldn’t reach it without disturbing the goddess of love.
Loki decided to shape change into a flea and enjoyed crawling around her breasts and neck. he crawled onto her cheek and gave her a ravenous bite!
Freyja tossed and turned but didn’t wake up. She turned onto her side and Loki spotted the clasp. He quickly jumped off her onto the floor Loki morphed back into his own image.
He unclasped the clasp and quietly and swiftly snuck out of the hall disappearing into the cold, dark night.
The next morning Freyja woke up after scratching the side bitten by (flea Loki) on her itchy cheek she reached for the necklace that once graced her neck last night.
Freyja instantly jumped out of bed searching for her necklace. She spotted the opened doors of Sessrumnir hall and she knew this was the handy work of crafty Loki. Freyja realized only Odin would have ordered this theft job.
Freyja hadn’t figured out the fact that Odin and Loki knew how she had attained the Brisings necklace.
Freyja now quite angry rushed to Valaskjalf and challenged Odin on the theft of her brilliant necklace.
‘Where is my necklace, Odin?’ cried Freyja.
‘You have reached pretty low if you ordered my necklace to be stolen,’ snapped Freyja.
Odin snarled, ‘Who are you to accuse me when you are the one who has lowered her standards.’
‘Give me back my necklace Odin!’ cried Freyja streaming tears of gold.
‘You will never lay eyes upon it again, unless..’ Odin stated.
‘Unless what?’ mumbled, Freyja.
Odin said, ‘You must stir up dissent, stir up war.’
Your mission is to find two kings of Midgard (Midgard is the world of people) and pit them against each other to war. They must each have the support of twenty vassal kings.
Odin continued,” You must use your feminine wiles as to breathe new life into corpses.’ ‘They must do battle, shed blood, die and repeat this action every time.’
Freyja was perturbed with Odin that he would desire the world of folks that worship him would want to harm his own followers. However, Freyja’s desire for her necklace was much stronger than the welfare of the folk.
‘This is my terms,’ replied Odin.
Freyja had quite enough drama for one day and said, ‘ I Agree with your terms and will fulfill my side of the agreement.’
‘Now hand over my necklace!’
Source and References:
Bellows, Henry Adams (Trans.) The Poetic Edda, Princeton University Press, 1936.
This short story is also known as “The Saga of Högni and Hedinn”. English translation can be found at Northvegr: Three Northern Love Stories and Other Tales.