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In Norse Mythology, Baldur, the god of innocence, beauty, joy, purity and peace, is Odin's second son. His wife is called Nanna and his son was Brono. Baldur had a ship, the largest ever built, named Hringham, and a hall, called Breidablik.
Baldur, nicknamed "the beautiful", is known primarily for the myth surrounding his death; that tale is one of the most moving in all Norse literature. His death and the manner of it contribute to another kenning for Baldur, "the slain god". His death is seen as the first in the chain of events which will ultimately lead to the destruction of the gods at Ragnarok. Baldur, however, will, as foretold in the Voluspa, be reborn in the new world.
He had a dream of his own death (or his mother had the same dreams). Since the gods' dreams were usually prophetic, this depressed him, and his mother Frigg made every object on earth vow never to hurt Baldur. All but one, an insignificant weed called the mistletoe, made this vow. Friggr had thought it too unimportant and nonthreatening to bother asking it to make the vow. When Loki heard of this, he made a magical spear from this plant. He hurried to the place where the gods were indulging in their new pastime of hurling objects at Baldur, which would bounce off without harming him. Loki gave the spear to Baldur's brother, the blind god Hod, who then inadvertently killed his brother with it. For this act, Odin and Rind had a child named Vali, who was born solely to punish Hod, who was slain.
Baldur was ceremonially burnt upon his ship, Hringham. As he was carried to the ship, Odin whispered in his ear. This was to be a key riddle asked by Odin (in disguise) of the giant Vafthruthnir (and which was, of course, unanswerable) in the Vafthruthnismal. The dwarf Lit was kicked by Thor into the funeral fire and burnt alive. Nanna, Baldur's wife also threw herself on the funeral fire to await the end of Ragnarok when she would be reunited with her husband (alternatively, she died of grief). The ship was set to sea by Hyrrokin, a giantess.
Upon Frigg's entreaties, delivered through the messenger Hermod, Hel promised to release Baldur from the underworld if all objects alive and dead would weep for him. And all did, except a giantess, Thokk, who refused to mourn the slain god. And thus Baldur had to remain in the underworld, not to emerge until after Ragnarok, when he and his brother Hod would be reconciled and rule the new earth together.
When the gods discovered that the giantess had been Loki in disguise, they hunted him down and bound him to three rocks. Then they tied a serpent above him, the venom of which dripped onto his face. His wife Sigyn gathered the venom in a bowl, but from time to time she had to turn away to empty it, at which point the poison would drip onto Loki, who writhed in pain, thus causing earthquakes. He would free himself, however, in time to attack the gods at Ragnarok.
- Common Swedish form: Balder
- Old Icelandic: Baldr