I do recall her, the mother of Earth; not as a shadow of memory, but clear and free and very real, as I should say I recall my own hand as it pens these words, if I do not look at it a moment. Though it may not be said that I have seen her face or touched her hand and felt the warmth of her soft, firm skin, nor spoken with her and heard the rich, wild cadences of her voice in so many years that an empire might readily rise and fall - still, let it never be said that I do not feel her life like a heartbeat in my ear, like the warmth of skin that has almost brushed mine. Never let it be spoken that I have forgotten she who gave me birth.
She was like a sister to me, and so she wished it. It was never hers to be a mother; to raise and nurture, to tend and mend and hold. It was, and has always been and ever shall be, hers to create; to grow, to bear... and to let go. She neither was, nor is, nor ever shall be one to make pets. What she makes, she creates from her body, and her soul, and gives unto all the nine realms as her gift. And what glorious gifts they are!
Strong things. Beautiful. Powerful.
But she does not, will not raise them. She is neither wife nor nursemaid; she does not raise, and she does not cradle.
She does not spin.
It is not who she is, this mother who is no mother. This sister who is not my sister. She is free. She is wild. she cannot, shall not, and must not be tamed. For if you tame the wild Earth mother, she will cease to be, for she will not be herself. And that must never be.
So she is free. So she is alone. All of this, perhaps, was why he loved her; he, the father of all things; she the untamed mother of Earth. All of this was why he could not have her.
He found her in Midgard - tall and round, strong and wild - and he wanted her. Perhaps he needed her. She pulsed with life like the rain; coursing from earth to spring to river to sea to sky to tree to root to earth and all again. Her enormous heart beat lifeblood brighter and hotter than any I have ever known. And perhaps he needed to feel that heart beat against his own, the heat of her skin in the chill night to remember what it was to be so alive. He had lived so long.
Need, or want, or wish - He was the great king, the father of all things; no maiden would reject such a man. Nor have I ever known my mother and sister to spurn any suitor strong enough to hold her. She was his, and their passion burned the earth of midgard darker. They were happy. I am sure that they were happy.
But such things may be, and perhaps they must be - but they cannot stay. He is sovereign. She is wild. It is his to reign, to rule and to control; and it is hers to to be free, to be unruly, and she could not, cannot, and shall not be controlled. She may be had, but she cannot be owned. She shall not be kept, and she shall not keep.
There was no anger in their parting, nor was any tear shed; but each gave the other two gifts. He gave her liberty, though perhaps such a thing is never a gift; and he made her a promise that should the mother of Earth need him, the All Father would answer her call.
For her part, the Earth mother gave him a son; his own to raise and put some day upon his throne. A beautiful child, fair and gold and big and strong. The sun shone in his smile and the clouds darkened when he wept - and to hold him was to love him. He grew strong and tall and bold, noble and brash and bright. Such a man could fight an army alone. Such a warrior could reign over all the realms. Such a prince could woo any maiden for his own, and never let her go. Such a lover would some day be a father to children of his own - a daughter, strong and beautiful, and sons that would be powerful warriors when all that is now is no more. Such a father... But such a man was only a small child once. And children need a mother. And the father of all things needs a wife.
So she gave him me.