One of Odin the All-Father's sons was called Balder, he was one of the most beautiful gods. Although Balder knew he was loved by all at night he dreamed that he was about to be killed.
Odin worried about his son, so one day he set out to Hel to find out why his beloved son Balder was tormented by nightmares. Odin mounted his eight legged stead, Sleipnir, and road over Bifrost to The Land of The Dead. Odin the All-Father rode past the guardian of the entrance to Hel, a fearsome hound with a bloody chest from those who would dare to try and leave the darkness that is the Underworld. In the darkness that was Hel Odin searched for the grave of Volva the Seeress, using his magic Odin waked her from her eternal sleep.
"For age upon age I have drifted in my deathly sleep. What is it that you would ask?" said the seeress.
"Why are the hall of Hel decked with jewels and finery and laid out as is for a grand feast?"
"It has been set for none other than Balder the Good, son of Odin."
"Who shall be the one to slay him?" asked Odin
"Hoder, the blind god shall be the one to strike the fateful blow." replied the Seeress
"Who shall grieve for him?"
"You shall," replied Volva, "Ask no more of me."
With that Volva the Seeress returned to her sleep of death.
Odin sadly mounted Sleipnir and returned to Asgard. Odin called a council of the gods in which he told them of what he had learned, the news it was of no comfort to the gods, for Balder was well loved. There were long deliberation as to what could be done to save Balder's life. Finally none other than Frigg, wife of Odin and mother to Balder came up with the solution.
"I as Mother of All, need simply to extract promises from all that exists not to harm Balder." she said.
Frigg's suggestion was no sooner voiced than agreed upon. Frigg set upon her quest to save her son, fire, water, earth, iron, and every sort of metal, tree, disease, beast, bird, poison, serpent and even the very stones swore never to harm Balder until he was at last safe, for he was truly a well loved god. Soon after all had sworn it was discovered that there was a side-effect, nothing could harm Balder, he never cut himself with a knife, he never stumbled, he never hit his head or pricked his finger with a pin. When Balder's brothers discovered this they made it into a sport, at parties and feasts Balder would stand to one side as all would throw arrows, stones, knifes and whatever they could find at the young god, but whatever they threw at him nothing could harm him. Now, there was one who was not pleased, one who was jealous of Balder and he was none other than Loki, the Mischief Maker. Loki puzzled over how Balder's life could be undone. One day not long after Loki apperaed in Asgard in the disguise of an old woman. Approcing Frigg the old woman said, "It seems to me that those young'uns are trying to kill Balder."
Frigg smiled gently at the old woman, "Oh no, they would never harm him." she said.
"But I them them with me own eyes!" exclaimed the old woman drmataically cluching her chest, "He weren't even wearing a stich of arnour."
"Fear not," explained Frigg patiently, "All manner of things has sworn not to harm or even wound our dear Balder."
"Are you meaning to tell me, my lady, that every single thing has sworn?"
"To be truthfull," replied the trusting Frigg "All have sworn except that sprig of mistletoe behind the oak, for it is still to young for such oaths."
Upon hearing this the old woman left without even a passing farwell, for Loki's plan was coming together. Loki went straight away to the mistltoe and plucked a sharp stem and fastened it to the end of a spear where the iron point would normally go.
Loki approched the activties and general feasting that surounded the new sport of throwing things at Balder where he spied the blind god Hoder sitting to one side.
"Why do you look so desolute?" inquired Loki with a sneer Hoder could not see.
"I can hear the feastivities and laughter of those who throw things at my brother but I cannot join in, for I cannot see and I'm not even allowed by the other gods to carry a weapon for fear I may hurt myself."
"Come now Hoder," said Loki with a laugh, "If it truly means that much to I shall lend you this spear I found and shall even guide your hand."
The unsuspecting Hoder accepted Loki's offer and let him guide his hand, Hoder threw the spear and as the misltoe tipped spear struck Balder in his heart he died. Suddenly all laughter seeced and silence fell as all realized that Balder was dead. No one could speek or move as they saw their golden god lying on the ground, one hand curled around a bloody spear. The gods did not lift a hand against Loki for they were on hallowed ground, but as Loki took his leave of Asgard one could hear their terriable sobbing ringing throughout Asgard.
Once Balder's funeral was over Frigg turned to the gods and said," Is there not any amoung the gods that would ride to the depths of Hel to bargain with the Queen of the Underworld to let Balder be returned to us?"
And that was how Hermod, another of Odin's sons, rode on Sleipnir to the gates of Hel.
Hermod begged to be allowed to enter and within the depths of Hel he found his brother.
Hermod pleaded with the godess Hel to allow Balder to return.
"Everyone loves Balder, there is noone that does not weep for him."
"If that is so," replied Hel," he may return to life, but on condition that everything in the world weeps for him, if even one refuses Balder must remain with me forever."
Hermod took leave of Hell and upon his return Frigg once more set out upon the world.
And once more all that had sworn not to harm Balder wept for him, even the mistltoe who had unknowingly killed him. But at last near the end of her journey Frigg came across a giantess in a cave, the giant replied to Frigg's question,"I will weep no tears for Balder. I had no use for him whether alive or dead. Let the Queen of Hell keep what is hers by right." for the giantess was truly Loki yet again in disguise and Loki would not weep.
For longer than they could rember the gods had tolerated Loki's mischeif with as good a humor as possiable, but this time Loki had gone too far. Loki fled from the wrath of the gods to a small house in the mountains. The house itself had a door facing every direction so he would be able to see anyone who approced. During the day Loki hid in the form of a salmon under a waterfall. One twilight evening an idle Loki wonder if maybye the other gods might be able to catch him, even in his salmon from. So loki wove a net and cast it into the fire, suddenly Loki saw the gods approching his hide-away and threw himself into the waterfall turning himself into a salmon as he entered. The gods entered the empty house but could not fined Loki, then Odin spotted the half burnt net into the fire and realized that Loki must be diguised as a fish. The gods set about weaveing a net to the patteren Loki had himself devised. They captured Loki and carried him into a secluded cave, binding him across three stones with the entrails of one of his own sons. They left him there upon the stone, with a serpnat hanging above him, the bruning venom dripping on his face. It is said that his faithful wife, Sigyn, still sits beside him catching the burning venom in a cup, but as with all cups it eventually becomes full and as she turns away to empty it the venom drips onto Loki's face he writhes in agony and the earth shakes.
That is how Odin and Frigg's favorite son died and was avenged, but it is said that one day, after Ragnarok - the last battle of the gods, he will return to life again.