One morning Freya had been listening to a translation of the newly recovered Hamaval. In particular she was listening without amusement to Odin’s words on the fickleness of women. Her ire aroused, the passionate Vanir confronted the one-eyed wanderer and took him to task.
“Your one eye has blinded you, old fool” Freya shouted with her famous passion “It is the passion of love, not of gold that moves women. Perhaps in your dotage you meet only those women whose affections YOU must buy.”
As all of Asgard prepared for the second round of their most famous war, the Wise Counsellor laughed deeply and long, his great white beard shaking in mirth. Odin offered the golden goddess a challenge:
“I will wager a hundred heroes from my hall, that any woman we agree on will chose for gold over passion in the end.”
“Agreed!” Shouted Freya, “No magic from you or I shall sway this, let it only be mortal choice that holds the day. You may speak only to the couple, nor may you set any other against them, and I will agree to the same”
The couple they agreed upon was an uptight young English woman of good family. Her name was ancient, and her fortunes vast. Possessed of a rare beauty and poise, she was much sought after by suitors, as there was no family lord from whom her hand could be bartered, she was free to choose.
Odin the victory father was watching the young lass (Cassiopeia) carefully. She doted upon the cats that she kept, and once tossed out a young man for scaring one. She rode often to the hunt with flare, and kept only the finest blood stock, and mocked other riders who had lesser mounts or lesser skill. The suitors that surrounded her were the height of fashion, wearing only the best, eating only the rarest and most fashionable of dishes. Odin saw all of this, and cast his plan.
Freya goddess of passion and magic saw with other eyes a woman surrounded by men obsessed with petty pursuits, elaborately bored with life, and obsessed with the games of social status. She smiled casting her own plans.
Jonathan was the third son of an ancient family. Sent to the new world to pursue his fortune, it was expected that the eager but not overly bright lad would take his remittance and stay gone, but to everyone’s shock he succeeded in mining in the Yukon, winning for himself much gold and renown, and returning to a somewhat shocked and bemused family.
Lacking guile utterly, and with the friendly eagerness of a puppy rather than the elaborate courtesy of the court, he had been corrupted by the loose frontier ways and lost most of his early graces. His family despaired at finding a match for him, and so set for him the impossible task of Cassiopeia, whose wealth and grace were such that she would swiftly and gently send the half wild boy home to consider more modest prospects.
He began the courting journey sitting upon a well bred horse that he rode poorly; having spent the last years with mules and donkeys rather than high bred horses. Wrapped in the latest fashions, he held a roll of large nuggets from his claim tucked in belt, and a thick wad of paper money in his tunic.
As he rode, he came upon an old man at the side of the road leading two of the most beautiful donkeys he had ever seen. He stopped and asked the old man where he came by such beautiful beasts, and the old one eyed gent advised him:
“Only a fool would risk a great lady on a stupid and flighty horse, when a good solid donkey is available. These fine donkeys are the finest breeding pair in all of Britain, and I bring them to London to trade for a stallion.”
Jonathan saw his opportunity and offered to trade his flighty and overbred stallion for the two donkeys, and began his ride to London. Everywhere he rode, men and women pointed at him, and he just knew they wished they could be rid of the overbred horses and ride big eared sturdy donkey like he and his wife to be would.
As he rode further into town he saw an old man with selling meat pies. The smell made his mouth water, and he stopped to buy one. The taste was like nothing of this world! He begged of the old man what was this meat, and the old man swore it was cat. The old man said the Lady Cassiopeia was famed for her cat, but few enough men would eat it, let alone ask for it. Jonathan swore right then he would be the first! Riding away, he began to wonder what plague it was that left so many old men with but one eye!
Coming upon an old man standing bare chested in the street, giving his clothes to the poor, Jonathan asked what the old man did. The old man replied that Lady Cassiopeia had said no thing spoke better of a wealthy man than giving the shirt of his back to the poor, after all they were rich enough to replace it a hundred times! Jonathan thought Cassiopeia was the best among women, and right then gave his fine coat and shirt, and damnable riding breaches to the poor, determined to out do the other suitors. Besides, after years of working the gold fields, he was unused to tight clothes and heat, and his massive muscles did poorly in the tight clothes of modern England.
Sure that victory was his, Odin looked in to see how Freya fared.
Freya sat beside Cassiopeia, wearing the guise of a widowed aunt. Cassiopeia looked at the delicate men picking at the feast, sipping wine delicately while picking daintily at the food, each piece carved to be an artwork itself. The men talked of the hunt, politics, gossip, and ignored her completely when not competing with each other to out compliment her. With each she dueled with words and gestures, each weighed for effect in a play more elaborate than any stage, each calculated and bloodless as any card or board-game, with points won and lost in high societies game of status.
Freya whispered to Cassiopeia,
“Do you ever dream of the days when half naked barbarians would sweep in and sweep up a woman not because of her land, or horses, or wealth. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a man who wanted to spend the time with you, not riding to hunt, or playing at cards? The suitors here all seem soft of hands, without a drop of passion in them, hardly the sort to rip a bodice, nor strong enough to carry a woman off without at least two servants for lifting.” Cassiopeia just sighed deeply.
Jonathan approached the fine mannor and laughed to see the poor fools had all come in carriages, with not a single donkey among them! Lace and waist coats seemed the order of the day, and they seemed to be eating pastries. Clearly they knew nothing of women! Determined to make a good impression he rode his donkeys up the stairs and into the courtyard, hearing the amazed gasps at his entrance. Seeing Cassiopeia in all her loveliness standing proud and imperious at the head of the table, he slid off his donkey and spread his wide well muscled arms and smiled.
Cassiopeia stared transfixed as her suitors and guests gasped at the heavily muscled tanned gold bearded savage standing in a breach-cloth between the two snow white donkeys. Her eyes travelled his smiling face, down his tanned and sweaty rock hard chest and to his, frankly, hugely bulging breach clout and gasped.
Seeing she was taken by the obviously fine donkeys, he proclaimed their strength and endurance that she know they were not just pretty, for he was a fine judge of donkeys.
“I swear if you take me as husband, I will ride that ass all day, and still have strength to ride all night”
The men gasped, and some of the maidens swooned; Cassiopeia felt her heart beat faster
Gesturing to the pâté, goose, quail, and beef on the heavy tables, Jonathan remembered the old man’s words about her pride in the cat she served, and the generosity she sought in her men. Boasting proudly he proclaimed:
“Marry me, and I swear I will eat nothing buy your sweet pussy for the whole honey-moon. I have given my clothes to the beggars in the streets, for with you I will not need them!”
Knowing that women have practical needs, and well pleased with his success in the gold fields, he slapped his breach clout where his rolled up deer-hide held his heavy gold nuggets, and gave it a tug, as frankly the sight of Cassiopeia was making it a bit tight!
Pointing to his bulging underwear, he proudly boasted:
“With what I have in here, you will never want for anything again!”
The assembled suitors were shouting now, the maidens fanning their faces and swooning. More than a few of the servant girls were eyeing him openly and whispering, but the room grew still as stone when Cassiopeia leapt from her vantage point with a growl that could shame a leopard, tackling Jonathan to the ground in a confused kissing tangle.
One hundred heroes walked from Valhalla that evening, for all the tricks of the Evil-Worker are no match for the passion of youth. The couple lived long, passionately untidy lives littered with adventures and children. The gods blessed their union and line, for steadfast hearts are the gods true wealth.