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Odin and Animals

By Beth Lynch

[Snip] Stephan asked: “Is Odin a man of nature and lover of animals? What are some of his favorite animals?”

Well, to begin with, Odin is not precisely a man. Oh, He wears that mask well–very, very well, in fact–but then, masks are sort of His thing. But I’ve glimpsed the absolutely feral, inhuman, alien being that lies beneath the mask of the urbane, sophisticated king, and He assures me that what I’ve seen is only the tip of the iceberg. He quite enjoys reminding me that He isn’t remotely human.

However, leaving that point to one side, I’m not sure I would describe Him as a “man of nature and lover of animals,” or not in the mundane context that wording seems to conjure in the mind. Is a god who has wandered the nine worlds with nothing to His name other than the clothes on His back and the wolves at His side—and who has learned from hard and bitter experience how to survive better than Tom Brown in any climate and any given situation–a man of nature and lover of animals? How about a god who leads the Wild Hunt–as unruly a band of monsters as you’d never want to encounter–through stormswept skies and ice-choked streams and snowdrift-buried forests, astride His faithful (and not a little frightening) eight-legged horse who is not a horse? Is such a god a man of nature and lover of animals?

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