The Norse Dandelion Story and Legend
We call this little yellow flower the dandelion, but long ago it was called by the Norse people "the sunshine of Balder." Do you know where the Norsemen lived? Could you find Norway on the map? Can you tell me about Balder? He was the god of light and peace. When he died the earth grieved. The flowers drooped their heads; the leaves fell; and the grasses grew dry and brown.
Down in the black mountains the gnomes dwelt. They were odd little men, but they were very skillful workmen. Odin, the chief of the Norse gods, and Thor, the god of war, often went down into the mountain to take them work to do. Even Balder did not forget them when he smiled upon the earth. Perhaps you think Balder's warm smile did not reach the home of the gnomes. Ah, but it did. The gnomes always knew when Balder was abroad in the land. They could feel his warmth down through the mountains.
And so, when Balder died, the gnomes were sorry. They were as sorry as the trees were. One day the gnomes went up into the home of Odin. "We are very sad down in our mountain," they said. "We are sad because Balder has gone away."
“Poor little gnomes,” said kind Odin. “I am sorry for you. I wish I could make you happy again. I know it must be very dark and cold in your home now. And you have been faithful always. I will reward you. I will give you a bit of Balder’s loving sunshine.”
How happy the little gnomes were then! They ran away with their gift to their home. It made their home beautiful again. They kept it there a long time, and it made them very happy.
But one day a little gnome said: “Perhaps we are selfish to keep Balder’s sunshine to ourselves. The people on the earth have been very sad since Balder went away. “I think we ought to share our gift with these sad people. It would help to make them happy again.”
So the little gnomes all sct to work. They made a hole up through the mountain. Then they carried their gift up and set it upon the mountain-side. It was like a bit of the sunlight. By and by the people saw it.
“How beautiful!" they said; and some of the people knelt clown and kissed it.
“It is Balder’s sunshine! Balder’s sunshine!” they cried, and their hearts were filled with joy again. —Adapted.