It was one of those lazy days in Asgard, when nothing in particular was going on. I was in the kitchen baking some fine sweets for the Gods’ Yule party, when with very little warning the door flew open and in walked Loki.
Howdy Frigga, he said with that oh so cute little look on his face, a combination of a frightened mouse and a excited elf.
Hi Loki, I replied with my usual tone, what brings you to my hall this day?
Well, he said, I have a bit of a problem.
Odin’s not here right now, I said, rather abruptly.
Well, he is not the one I need at the moment, actually! I kind of need some advice ….
Advice? I curiously asked. What advice could I possible give you?
Well, he said again, you know that village down the road, the one with that big statue of you in it?
…. Yes, I replied with hesitation.
Well, Loki said, I kind of lost it in a poker game.
You did what? I said. How in the world could you have lost an entire village?
Well, he said, it’s not exactly my fault. You see …. I was just playing this friendly game with this giant, and well it was going well, until I started losing. I just could not seem to figure out his tell, and before you know it I ran out of things I could bet with.
Did it ever occur to you, he could have been cheating?
Well, I mean not at first, but now that you mention it, I did wonder why he always wanted to use a specific deck of cards.
Ugh … I sighed
Well, the good news is, we have time. He won’t come to devour this village for three days, so we have until then to figure out what to do.
What do you mean we? I asked.
Well, I really need your help, and I really don’t know where else to go, and I thought because you’re so smart and so pretty that I really thought you could help little old me .…
Damn those puppy dog eyes. I nearly heard the world’s smallest violin in my head as that little oaf pleaded for my help.
Alright, I said, I will help you, but you will have to pitch in, too.
Yeppy!! Oh thank you Frigga, you’re the best!
Oh brother! I said.
So, I went into the kitchen and thought and thought. The handmaidens were making the cookies for the feast, and one of them was making little balls of dough and the other cutting shapes and it occurred to me: we could make a whole village out of dough and then when the giant ate the village he would not actually be devouring our people, but just some dough.
The handmaidens and I put our heads together and came up with a recipe.
It will have to be slightly spicy, one said.
And some of them will have to look like people, said the other.
We will put some icing just to make it look like snow, said the third.
Let’s add licorice for hair, said the fourth.
And jelly beans for shoes, said the fifth.
Each handmaiden suggested an item until we had everything we needed!
Loki, I said, we will need the biggest rolling pin you can find and two people to pull it, and fast.
Loki brought a red wood pine and two goats to pull the pin.
For two nights, we stirred and mixed all the dough and took it out onto the back field, where we rolled each piece to make large sheets of dough until we had enough dough to make the village.
The dwarves came to help build all the structures, and the Vanir came and added green trees to the scenery.
Before you know it on the third night, the village was ready — and in came the giant.
All of us hid in the forest to watch.
The giant approached and picked up a house, crunch crunch …. Yummy, he said. These houses taste so sweet.
He picked up the dough people and crunch crunch …. Wow, humans are so sweet, he said.
He ate and ate the entire village and then headed home.
The real villagers came out and thanked Frigga — and that, dear children, is why we make gingerbread houses today: to fool the giants into eating those houses instead of ours.
[Mist, Gyðja of Kenaz Kindred was born Larisa Hunter in 1976. The oldest of three girls, Larisa spent most of her life living on the East Coast of Canada. Upon moving to Ontario, Larisa left home at 18 and began years of exploration before settling on Heathenry. Although her family were practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses, her two parents were very open minded and allowed her and her sisters to explore history and culture. After dedicating herself to the Heathen path in 2002, she created a kindred of her own. Kenaz Kindred incorporates both spiritual experiences and historical research into their practices, and strives to create a place for helping others find answers about Heathenry and the faith of Asatru. Mist has lectured at many Heathen and Pagan festivals in Canada. She has also written for several books. Most of her day is spent writing and caring for her toddler and running Kenaz Kindred. Her first book Fulltrui: Patrons in Asatru was recently published by Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press.]