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~ By Courtesy of Others ~

 

Hel to Ullr

Oh, my light Ullr! Hel is writing to you this letter.
It is not a royal decree – it is a weak woman's plea.
Yes, I know that a queen may not be beseeching,
But love, like death, equalizes us all.
But not long ago, it seemed to me a fantasy of skalds.
I was wrong - Love is hotter than Surtr’s dagger!
I cannot tell anyone about my pathetic fate,
Because a mistress should not go crazy with passion.
In addition, our peoples fight among themselves cruelly.
To love a god is a great sin for a giantess,
Although it is not uncommon. As when, not long ago,
Odin raped unassailable Rind,
And brought her to Asgard with their young son!
Earlier he seduced Grid, and cruelly defiled Gunnlod.
Thor, your stepfather, loved Jarnsaxa passionately.
What can I say? I still remember the bitter fate of my mom –
It hurts me to talk about it.

My mother was not beautiful, and her name was Griefbringer,
And her house was always poor and empty.
Only once a weary traveler went to her home –
It was Loki. He knew how to conquer women!
He seduced my mom, and within three years
he lived with her as with his wife.
I was a consequence of this love.
But to me it would be better not to be born:
My face was so ugly that everyone looked at me with horror.
My brothers, Midgard serpent and wolf Fenris, were not afraid of me:
Of the three of us only I was a human.
Hard-hearted father left us when we were born,
And he returned to Asgard to the nice life of the gods.
He was free and did not think about us,
He had forgotten my mom in the passionate embrace of goddesses …

But soon the wise Odin knew about our birth,
And he invited us to Asgard, to decide our fate.
I remember with what terror I stood before the throne of the Lord,
I silently listened to his words, drooping my head,
But Odin did not cause us harm.
He released serpent Midgard in the sea,
And he allowed me and Fenris to live in the realm of the gods.

But in the bright Asgard I was not happy:
The gods could not forgive me my ugliness.
I remember the arrogant and hateful looks of beautiful goddesses.
Each of their looks, as though a thorn had wounded my heart.
I was so lonely and often wept furtively,
But I could not tell anyone about my grief.
Loki, my father, was ashamed of me –
I knew it, though I was a child. Anguish tormented my heart.
I've been for Asgard as an ugly and festering sore,
Equally unfortunate as the wound on a soldier's body.

And with tears in my eyes I begged the Lord of the Gods
That he immediately drove me out of Asgard.
He agreed and gave me possession of the land of the dead,
And there´s no one on earth who will not see me there.
The decision of the Lord, I confess, went to my heart.
I gave him my wise ravens;
I hastened to say goodbye forever to sunlight,
To live to descend into the gloomy realm of shadows...
Soon Fenris shared my fate, the gods captivated him deceptively
And forever imprisoned him in my dark country.
Since then, Ullr, I hate the treacherous Ases
And I dream of revenge…

Many years passed. I became a great queen.
My people love me. I inspire fear in my enemies.
I graced the dark Underworld:
There are many lush gardens, many wide valleys...
A lot of wealth, a lot of pearls and diamonds,
The bridge is paved with gold, a lot of beautiful palaces –
This is for good people; and sinners suffer very much:
They wander, having found no rest, and menacing dragon torments them.
I should be for all a fair and impartial judge.
The poor and the rich, young and old - all are to me on an equal position.
I got a lot of wonderful men,
But my blood remained cold, and love did not warm my soul.

What happened on that day when you came into Helheim
And your wondrous beauty eclipsed even Baldr?
But you came to us not by choice:
Odin punished you for your great insolence, and sent you in my kingdom.
And it is true. Because you tried to admire his power,
And while he traveled, you took his place without permission.
I wanted to be harsh with you, but you won me over:
Passion ignited my soul – you’re beautiful, as gentle day.
Looking at you, I remembered the sunlight
(Previously, I thought I had forgotten it forever),
I remembered the sky because it is blue, like your eyes.
You looked at me with disgust and horror… Darling!
How I cursed my ugliness at that moment!
But you’re polite to me (such is the fate of the exile!)
I brought you into my home as a host.
Ullr, do you remember how we were happy then?
Next to you I forgot my hatred of  the Ases.
But soon did you leave me
Because Odin had forgiven you, and he returned you to the light Asgard.
How can I live without you now? My heart yearns for your love,
But you have forgotten me, as a deceptive dream.
I repeated the fate of my poor mom,
But her happiness became her little children,
But I am deprived of even this. You're the only joy in my cruel life.
I implore you to come back to me!

But I know that not only feasting and fun attract you to Asgard,
But your hot passion: Skadi has captivated you ... Well, of course!
She is so beautiful, I'm so ugly! How could you love me!
But her wicked soul is horrible, like my body.
Skadi, more ruthless than our forefather Ymir!
If you could see her soul with your own eyes,
You would be horrified and immediately come back to me.
But the beauty covers sin and dominates the bustling world,
But tell me, in what else does Skadi surpass me?
She's not a goddess, she’s a giantess, as I,
How can she, daughter of ferocious Thiazi, love the As?
In addition, Skadi is dissolute, and I keep holy allegiance to you,
Although you do not love me (just a little too compassionate).
All your caresses and words were lie.
I know that you were with me just for the sake of my power.
Flattering (confess me, my Ullr!) to be a formidable queen's lover,
Play her heart, and be her lord!
No! You tell me that I was not right and that you do still love me!
Loving me you named me Under Moon
And you said that I lit up my dark kingdom!
But as soon as the moon would lose her light without the sun,
Be you my sun and I'll be your moon,
And in our Underworld we will transform the skies.
My kingdom is not Asgard, but you will not be lonely out there:
Baldr, your beloved friend, would be glad to meet you:
You will spend the days with feasts and pleasant conversations
Or stroll through the gardens with lush autumn foliage –
There are many different flowers and plants that I planted:
I was fond of flowers when I lived on earth.
When you come back to me, we will be happier than gods,
And this sweet moment I am looking forward to loving.
Let everyone think I'm cold, but you already know
The flame of my embrace that burns only for you.

But now I'm alone with my endless grief,
Faithful and devoted Garm is sleeping at my feet quietly.
Although he is a dog, he understands my suffering,
He is my only friend with whom I share my pain;
Sometimes, I confess, I dream about death,
It is a pity that in the country of dead men I cannot die!
My light, forgive me for this reproach. I know that I am not skillful in speeches,
But to express love, no pompous phrases are needed.
You know that water softens even sharp stones
And hot fire melts the ice. But should I think, Ullr,
You will be colder than ice and more unfeeling than a sharp stone
If my bitter tears will not touch you?
I understand that you will be hard put to say goodbye to Asgard,
But not for forever I call you to myself -
Only for half a year - then again you'll be able return to Skadi.
Live in Asgard in winter, and in summer - in my kingdom!
Let me, destined to suffer, wait for the welcome guest:
I believe that your tenderness will heal my soul.

© Cornelia Queen


Image:
Hel and Ullr by *feralkin. Licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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