The Punishment of Loki: Norse Mythology

January 15, 2021 5 min read

The Feast of the Gods

The god Baldur was dead and there was no joy in the land. The gods were mourning his untimely demise. Loki was unrepentant for the role that he played in Baldur’s death. He had taken one of his long journeys and returned to find the gods holding a feast. The gods and the giants had gathered in the Aegir’s hall to drink the sea giant’s freshly brewed ale. Loki drank too much ale and moved from his usual trickery and humor into unchartered darkness. The gods heaved praise onto Aegir’s servant Fimafeng but Loki could not stand not being the center of attention. He sprang into action and stabbed Fimafeng with a knife killing him instantly. The gods were horrified by Loki’s action and decided to drive him out of the Hall. The feasting continued but at a subdued level. After sometime, Loki returned despite being informed that he was not welcome at the feast. Loki reminded Odin of an oath he had made that he would only drink at the banqueting table only if Loki was present. Odin honored this promise and allowed Loki to return to feast. Loki drank too much ale and he began to insult the gods one by one. When Thor arrived at the banquet, he threatened to use Mjolnir to shut Loki’s mouth forever. Before he left, Loki turned to Aegir and informed him that he had brewed a fine wine but this was the last banquet he will ever hold. The flames will burn the hall and everything Aegir had would be taken away from him.

Loki’s Escape Plan

Loki eventually sobered the following morning and realized what he had done. He felt no shame for his ways and actions were shameful. Loki realized that although he bore no regret for what he had done, he should prepare for the consequences of his actions. He had a home by the mountains near the sea, he decided to hide in the mountains until the gods had forgotten his misdeeds. From the mountain house, he could see danger approaching from any side. He would decide what to do. Loki hatched a plan where he would transform himself into a salmon and swim to the bottom of the Franang’s Falls. The falls were connected to a pool and the pool led to a river which in turn led to the ocean. Loki was confident that the gods would not catch a salmon in the water. Loki examined all the possible counterplans and only realized that he could only be caught with a fishing net. Loki made the net as a way of planning all the possible escape plans. If they tried to catch him, he would jump over the net just like Salmons do when going upstream.

Aesir the Wise

Loki realized that the gods were approaching his home from the mountainside. Loki threw the net that he had just made into the fire and watched it burn into ashes before transforming into a silver salmon and falling down the waterfall. The Aesir reached Loki’s house by the mountain and surrounded his house believing that he was still inside. Kvasir one of the wisest gods realized that Loki was inside the house momentarily. Kvasir examined the ashes and realized that the ash could only have been made from a cord. The gods realized that Loki had made the net and hid it because he did not want the gods to find it. Kvasir finally figured out Loki’s plan that he was hiding at the bottom of the pool in the shape of the fish. He instructed the gods to make a net similar to the one Loki had made just by observing the ashes.

They made a net and when they reached the bottom of the pool at the waterfalls, they unrolled it. The net they had weaved was heavy and it could roll from one end of the pool to the other. All the warriors of Aesir held it in one end and Thor held it on the other end. In the first try the gods waded from one end of the pool to the other and caught nothing. Thor explained that he felt the net go over something as it sunk deeper into the mud. Kvasir urged the gods to wade the pool again but this time with a weight weighing down on the net. This way nothing would escape.

Loki’s Capture

At the bottom of the Lake, Loki was worried about his situation, he realized that he could not swim to the lake and he could not transform into any other shape while he was in the water. He thought that the gods would not expect him to swim up the waterfall. The gods were surprised when a big silver fish bigger than any salmon they had seen began swimming upstream. When Loki leapt into the air for the second time, Thor was quick and he caught him by the tail. The salmon was gasping for air and soon the fish transformed into Loki. He began to ask the Aesir where they were taking him.

Soon the gods entered the mouth of a cave, the cave became narrower and narrower as the gods descended down to earth. At the bottom of the cave there were three people whom Loki did not recognize immediately. Thor informed him that they were his wife and two sons. Vali who was a wolf in human from lost his shape and turned into a wolf. He devoured Narfi one of Loki’s sons.

The Binding of Loki

The gods had vowed that they would not kill Loki and they decided that they would keep their promise. The gods forced Loki into three great stones. They took Narfi’s intestines and used them to permanently bind him to the stones. Sigyn, Loki’s wife saw the Loki being bound using the enthralls of their son and said nothing. Skadi, came with a snake and place it on top of the cave with its venom dripping directly into Loki’s head. The snake would hiss and its poison would drip into Loki’s face and burn. Loki screamed and contorted but the enthralls of his son bound him strongly to the stones. The gods began leaving one by one until only Kvasir was left. He looked at Loki’s wife and told her that she was not being punished, she had the freedom to do whatever she wanted. Sigyn took a bowl and placed it above Loki’s head each time catching the snake’s venom from its fangs. The bowl she holds fills slowly and slowly and it is only after it has filled that she would turn away from Loki to empty the bowl. At that point the poison would fall into Loki’s face and he would turn away in pain. Whenever Loki convulses and turns, there would be an earthquake. Loki’s punishment happened long time ago, in the time when the gods walked on earth. Loki remains trapped in the darkness of the earth until Ragnarok.