In the Stars: The eyes of Thiazi
It seems that gods all over the world share a penchant for tossing things up into the sky. Beloved pets, lovers, siblings, even objects find themselves immortalized among the stars. Whether to honour a fallen lover or to create an eternal hunt, the gods, it seems, just can’t help themselves. The Norse gods are no exception and in this tale it is the eyes of a giant that find themselves immortalised in the heavens
Thiazi was a jötunn who had threatened Loki into kidnapping the goddess Idunn, delivering both her and her immortality-granting golden apples to Thiazi. Without Idunn, the gods soon lost their immortality, and began to grow old. When they learnt that it was Loki wo had stolen the goddess away, they were furious. Loki was told that he could either retrieve the goddess or pay with his life. Loki, naturally, chose life.
He borrowed a magical cloak from Freya and transformed into an eagle, flying away to Jotunheim and rescuing Idunn. He transformed the goddess into a nut, carrying her home in his claws. When Thiazi saw this he was furious and transformed himself into a mighty eagle, giving chase. When the gods saw both birds approaching Asgard, they set up a great pile of food and sat in wait. When the great eagle grew close, they lit the pyre. Thiazi had flown too close, and his feathers caught fire. The eagle plummeted to the ground, and the gods killed Thiazi.
That might have been the end of it, but Thiazi had a daughter, Skadi. And Skadi wanted revenge.
Skadi, Thiazi’s daughter was a mighty giantess, strong and good in battle. When she set off to avenge her fathers’ death, the gods of Asgard grew worried. They decided that, instead of battle, they would offer Skadi compensation for the loss of her father.
Skadi wanted two things in compensation – first, the ability to choose a husband from amongst the Asgardian gods. One of the gods, Baldur, son of Odin, was known to be the fairest of them all. Many women wished to marry him, and Skadi was no exception. Knowing this, the gods decided to allow Skadi a choice. She would have her pick of the gods, but she would choose based on their feet – that was all they would allow her to see of her potential husband.
Skadi agreed, and the gods hid themselves behind a curtain, only their feet showing. Skadi went down the line, examining them. Baldur, she thought, as the loveliest of the gods would have the smallest and smoothest feet. Eventually she made her choice, only to be disgusted when her husband was revealed – Njord, god of the sea.
Though not the bargain Skadi thought she was making, she did receive a husband from the Asgardians, and so her first condition was met. Her second condition was that the must make her laugh. This was a far harder one to meet. One by one the gods tried their very best to make Skadi laugh, but she did not so much as crack a smile. Finally, Loki took his turn. He tied on end of a rope to a nanny goat and tied the other end to his testicles. When the goat moved, Loki squealed with pain. This finally got Skadi to laugh.
As one final way to placate Skadi, Odin took Thiazi’s eyes and immortalized them in the sky, so they could look down forever as shining stars.
Sadly, the precise stars made from Thiazi’s eyes are unknown. However, some astrologers speculate that these are the two bright stars found in the Gemini constellation – stars that we would know as Castor and Pollux.