For the dverse prompt, a poisonous plant haibun. Linguists might be interested in the wikipedia entry for Throstle.


He dipped the point in mistletoe and pressed blind Hodr to join the sport. A brutish game it seems to us, to beat and pound and stab and spear, but times were different then and life was harsh. So Baldr died, and all of Asgard wept and swept the world to find the fiend. (Did Loki ever do a bit of good?) Odin caught him in the end, devised a suitable unsubtle ending, long, drawn out and with plenty of collateral damage.

Times were different then. They didn’t know that one mistletoe berry never killed anybody.

Sticky moon berries,

winter harvest for throstles—

ancient rituals.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

29 thoughts on “Missel”

  1. Learn something new every day! Or this day, at least two things: that mistletoe isn’t nearly as poisonous as I’d been led to believe, and that such a thing as Scots Wikipedia exists.

  2. Is thought for a bit Wikipedia had slipped a cog, then the delightful brogue of Scotland swept over me. What fun. Great write!

  3. Your post was fun in more ways than one. A good tale and lovely haiku…then i look up ‘throstles’ and start shouting for someone to come get ‘English back on my mac!’

    1. I didn’t realise that Wikipedia allowed stuff like that. It was fun to read and to see that whoever did it had ‘translated’ all the side bar and the Latin descriptions into Scots too.

  4. Fascinating:

    “the goddess Frigg, Baldr’s mother, made everything in existence swear never to harm Baldr, except for the mistletoe, which she found too unimportant to ask (alternatively, which she found too young to demand an oath from)”

  5. very crafty Jane, mixing Greek mythology and poison berries, one gory and one delicate, showing me that brute force isn’t as sneaky as the innocent berry. I really enjoyed your take on the prompt and learnt something new about mistletoe too,

    1. Norse mythology, Gina 🙂 And in defence of the berry, it was the sneaky Loki who used it because that was the unpleasant kind of thing he did. When you read about the kind of gods the ancients worshiped it’s astonishing their ideas about morality had any similarities with our own at all!

      1. oops my bad, typing too fast and thinking too slow. they got away with everything including murder Jane! being immortal seemed to have their own set of moral codes.

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