Back From The Dead
23 March, 2008
The gods were worried. Their king had been gone for some time now, and it wasn’t clear if he was coming back. Already the murmuring was worrying the king’s sons. What if he never returned? How long before one of them would have to take up the position of King of the Gods? The noblest of the sons stood forward. “We cannot be sure our beloved Father will ever return. It is in all of our interests to agree on a new King.” A daughter spoke, “Beware though brother of mine, for if we cannot agree then it is sure that there will be war amongst the gods, and such a thing could tear reality apart.” The Queen of the gods spoke next. “This household waits for my husbands return. We do not know the hour that he will come back, it could be now, it could be a thousand years from now. No one knows, not any of the sons, only the Father. We must be prepared for his return as if it was about to walk through that door. Woe to he that takes my husbands place while he is away.”
The daughter spoke again. “We must wait then, unless we can be sure that he will not return. The only way Father will not return one day is if he is truly dead. None return from death. Old hag, you can see death and feel it’s icy hand. Has death claimed our Father?”
The hag peered out of an ancient shawl. Her faced was weathered and cruel. “Know this. Your Father is indeed dead. He has sacrificed himself.”
The oldest son looked shocked. “Sacrificed himself? But to whom? Surely as the humans sacrifice to us, and we sacrifice to our Father, there is no one left to sacrifice to?”
“He has sacrificed himself, to himself.” replied the hag.
“But that makes no sense whatsoever! Are you sure he didn’t just accidentally fall off of a cliff or something? Surely you cannot appease yourself by killing yourself.”
“No, he is indeed dead by his own design. He hangs from a tree, his side pierced with a spear. I shall say no more of it.”
The children of the King looked at each other. All were worried now. If no agreement could be reached then the whole world would shake with the armies of the gods. Death loomed for all now, chaos was near. They looked to the Queen of the gods, and asked for her council. “What fools you children are”, she said. “What the hag says changes nothing. Your Father may be dead, but I still say he will return when you least expect it.”
“No one can return from the dead.” said one son.
“If he is dead then he is a corpse.” said another.
“I don’t expect him to return ever, least of all right now.” said yet another.
“I have returned.” said the King of the Gods.
Everyone within the hall gasped. Standing in the doorway was the unmistakable outline of their Father. All bowed to him as he walked towards his vacant throne, dragging his spear with him. Two ravens circled the hall. The King of the Gods sat down on his throne and raised his head. His broad rimmed hat tipped back revealing his one good eye.
“We gods think we are blessed because we do not know death. Mortals have known death since I first breathed life into them, but we remain aloof from such things. No more. I have seen what it is to die. I have died and I have returned with much knowledge.”
“Tell us of this knowledge Father!” cried the gods children.
“I know that I hung on a windy tree for nine long nights. I was wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin, myself to myself, on that tree of which no man knows from where its roots run. No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn, downwards I peered; I took up the runes, screaming I took them, then I fell back from there.”
The gods looked upon the All Father and marvelled at his words. “I bring wisdom to you from death, and wisdom to the mortals as well. My death and return will bring hope to all. For it is I, Odin, the King of the Gods who is the first of all beings to return from the dead. This is why I shall be King until the end of the world.”