Middelboe Chronicles, Part 11: Persephone

In yesterday’s installment, Das Rheingold, the result of the giants’ abducting Freya with her apples of youth is that old age begins to fall upon the Asgardian gods, and cannot be reversed until she is returned. (Wagner is here mashing together two different legends, that of Freya’s betrothal to the giant with that of Loki’s abduction of Idunn with her apples of youth.) Likewise in the Greek myth of “Persephone” (2002; “Animated Tales of the World”) the result of the god of the underworld’s abducting the daughter of the goddess of fertility is that winter falls upon the world, and likewise cannot be reversed until she is returned.

This version of the story incidentally makes Persephone rather more cheerful about her abduction than she is in the original myth, where she refrained from eating as long as possible in order not to be trapped in Hades’ realm, and succumbed to eating the pomegranate seeds only out of hunger.


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