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ChristFührer

 

by Victor Noble

© Copyright 1998 by
Victor Noble

Part 1:
A Visitor in Valhalla

     As his third millennium approached on Earth, Jesus Christ sent a message from his throne in Heaven to Wotan in Valhalla. The angel was met at the Rainbow Bridge by a mounted Valkyrie, and escorted through the air to the great hall where the Norse Allfather held court amidst his pantheon.
     Upon being presented to Wotan, the angel donned the semblance of his Lord, and thus conjured the illusion of the message being spoken by Christ himself. “Hail, King of Thule,” he said. “I crave a favor, and will grant any blessing or gift of grace in return.”
     Now it cannot be denied that Wotan and his cronies still harbored ill will toward he whom they referred to privily as “that pale Galilean”, for usurping the allegiance of the Northern peoples some thousand years agone. Indeed, for several perilous centuries the worship of the Viking gods had almost ceased, and they therefore had all but expired, not in a glorious Gotterdammerung but only a shameful fading away into wispy nothing. It was just at the turn of the 20th century, in Germany, that a new phalanx of mortals had renewed the covenant of their ancestors, and thus new life had swept through the halls of Asgard. And one man above all had incarnated this spirit, and assured the life of these gods for eons yet to come.
     Therefore was Wotan wary, and a tad sarcastic, as he addressed the Christlike angel. “What could I possibly have,” he asked, “that would be of value to your master? Seeing, that is, how his resurgent Church spreads through all the world, far outshining our small domain here in the northern lands.”
     The angel’s face was an unblinking Jesus, who said: “I would speak with the Stark von Odin.”
A gasp went up from the godly throng. Even Wotan himself was for a moment speechless, allowing the angel to proceed with his transmitted message: “Yes, even he who went forth in Midgard as a warrior of Valhalla and noble Wotansson, and ripped the Earth asunder in his desire to win it all for Thule.”
     Wotan was abashed at this astute rejoinder, reminding him that he, too, when the opportunity opened, had sought to spread his empire through all the world of mortals; for truly he had given his godly fiat to the man called the Stark von Odin. But in a nonce he recovered himself, and said: “Never! It is a Christian trick to lure him from his refuge here, and force him to make atonement for what you perceive to be his misdeeds. You will take him as a prisoner of war and cast him into your sadistic Hell, and burn him with fire until he recants all the qualities that made him mighty.”
     “Not so,” said the angel, speaking with the tongue of Jesus. “My intentions are totally honorable. In fact, I have in mind to return the hero to the Earth, with a further mission.”
     Again the gods were astounded. “How can this be?” said Freya, stepping forth. “If our son awakens the Folk again, it can only be to your disadvantage. Our cause and yours are eternally at odds, especially in Midgard.”
     “Not so,” said Christ again, speaking through his angel ~ “not necessarily so.”
     “This is strange news,” said Wotan. “I do not see how we can make league. Still, I know it is of your nature to speak no lie directly. And yet and still, I will not permit you to take the Stark von Odin into your domain. Will you come here in person for the meeting, and confront him in this, our world?”
     For a fleeting moment, the angel stood in silence. Then came the word of the Lord: “I will.”
     “Huzzah!” shouted the throng of gods and goddesses. “Come, Lord Jesus!” They danced around in merriment and spoke in double entendres.
     “So be it!” said Wotan, holding his spear aloft. “I shall convey your wish to the Stark von Odin, and if he is willing to speak with Christ Jesus, we shall host this momentous meeting.”
     The angel stepped forth and shook his hand. “I commend thy wisdom, Allfather,” he said; “but then, I am not surprised. For if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be filled with light.”
     Wotan laughed heartily, and the angel flew off toward the Rainbow Bridge, escorted again by the Valkyrie.

     The King of Thule now looked around at his assembled court, and said, “Where is the Stark von Odin? Does anyone know?”
     Baldur said, “I have seen him of late in Nibelheim.”
     “Nibelheim? What would he be doing there?”
     Baldur shrugged, and Thor answered in his stead: “He is amusing himself in games of skill with my brother Loki.”
     “Indeed! Are they playing charades with the Nibelungs?”
     “It could almost be described that way,” said Thor. “It’s a most interesting spectacle.”
     “I would see it, then,” said Wotan. “Who will accompany me to Nibelheim?”
     Many of the gods said yea, and shortly the entourage alighted on a plain near a mountain in the Land of the Dwarves. They cloaked themselves with a spell of invisibility, so that they could observe without being seen.
     A great throng of Nibelungs was assembled, armed with spears, swords, and other weapons. They were being harangued by Loki, who stood on a small promontory.
     “Dwarves of the South!” he was shouting, “We stand on the threshold of an epochal victory. We shall go forth and destroy the army of our blood foes, the Dwarves of the North, who are massing even now on yonder plain. Their evil scheme to lay waste your country, rape your women, and boil your children in oil will be thwarted here and now, for though their force be mighty, the dauntless and masterful generalship of I, Loki, your leader from on high, will win the day.”
     From among the ranks of Nibelungs came a voice that said, “O mighty General Loki, is it not true that the Northerners are led by the Stark von Odin? And is he not also a ‘Strong One from Above’, as is the meaning of his very name?”
     “Bah!” said Loki. “He is not even properly a god. How dare you compare that interloper from Midgard to the power and cunning of me, your divinely-appointed leader?” He added ominously: “And anyway, remarks like this border on treason! And you all know how I deal with traitors?”
     “Ay, Lord Loki!” shouted the host in unison.
     “Very good, my troops! Your loyalty and love are touching. Now, here is the plan of battle. The cavalry will lead the charge, lancers supported by bowmen. They will devastate the front ranks of the enemy, allowing our infantry time to reach the front. Since our numbers are far superior, we shall sweep the foe before us like chaff in the wind. And meanwhile our catapults will be raining Greek fire on their rearmost ranks.”
     A hearty cheer went up from the Nibelungs on hearing this invincible plan. Loki ranted some more, bolstering their spirits. Finally he leapt from the rock onto his charger and screamed,   “Onward to victory! For the glory of the South of Nibelheim!!”
     A thousand dwarfish throats echoed the yell, and horses and Nibellungs clattered off onto the plain.
     They had not yet encountered the front ranks of the enemy, when one of Loki’s colonels drew his attention upward. “Look,” he said, “skyborne beings, flying in formation towards us. Could the enemy have recruited some Valkyries in their cause?”
     “Impossible!” said Loki. “Valkyries would never associate with Nibelungs.” Then, realizing his faux pas, he stuttered: “That is, I think it highly unlikely.”
     “They are larger than the greatest eagles,” said the colonel. “In fact, they are even larger than the winged horses of the Valkyries. Behold, they are upon us!”
     The horses of the cavalry spooked at the mighty whining roar of the Messerschmidts and Stukafoxes and other World War II-vintage fighter planes. And when they opened fire with their machine guns and strafed the ranks, the terrified Nibelungs yowled and spurred their mounts wildly helter-skelter, those of them that were not cut down by the incomprehensible lightning from the sky.
     Now an earth-shaking rumble tremored the battlefield. The thoroughly demoralized Nibelungs expected the ground to open at any moment and swallow them whole. Instead, an even more horrible spectacle assailed their reeling senses, as a great green line of monsters trekked steadily across the plain towards them. “Fire-breathing dragons!” screeched the unnerved colonel.
     “No,” said Loki: “tanks!”
     Indeed, and the tanks in their invulnerable multitude rolled unstopably across the field, annihilating those Nibelungs foolish enough to attack them, crushing the bodies of the fallen under their remorseless metal tracks.
     “Foul!” yelled Loki, “Foul! Using the weapons of Midgard without prior agreement ~ what a despicable, unethical trick!! You shall pay for this perfidy, o Stark von Odin!”
     The tanks and planes that had been supplied to the Northern Dwarves by their perfidious but resourceful leader drove Loki’s forces from the field, and pursued them as they fled back to their villages. With a wave of his spear, Wotan removed the cloak of invisibility, and he and his troupe of Asgardians appeared at the base of the mountain. They were instantly recognized by the Nibelungs of the victorious army, who hailed them and worshipped them.
     As if a psychic message had been sent, there now appeared in the distance a small fleet of vehicles, swifter than the tanks but armored, driving across the plane. They drove up to the gods in a line, until the very last one was abreast of them, a long armored limousine. From somewhere appeared Nibelungs with trumpets, and a column of soldiers presented arms. There was a fluorish and a crescendo, and then there stepped from the car the Stark von Odin ~ or as he was known on Earth: Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the Third Reich.

     Hitler was dressed in an exact copy of the military uniform he had worn on Earth as the Führer, though this one was woven of astral matter and was even more spendid and impressive; the swastikas fairly glowed, and had a mystical quality, as if they were about to spin. Likewise his steely-eyed visage had if anything grown more intense with his transformation into a spirit.
     Hitler must have been exuberant on winning the battle. Nevertheless, he strode immediately up to Wotan and gave him the straight-armed salute of the Roman Legions, which is better known to moderns as the “Sieg Heil”. And indeed Hitler said, “Heil, Allfather Wotan!”
     It would have been the prerogative of the god to give in return the bent-armed palm, which was the superior’s acknowledegement of the salute. Instead he Sieg-Heiled Hitler, saying, “Heilsa, Mein Führer.” Thus the two of them signalled their equality.
     Wotan made a subtle circling-gesture with his spear, opening the floor to discourse from anyone who willed. Thor stepped forth and could not repress a chuckle as he said, “Congratulations on your victory here today, o Führer. What a stroke of genius it was to conjure up the weapons from your war in Midgard! If only you could have seen the face of my scurrilous brother Loki when he beheld the planes and tanks! I shall savor the memory of that look for a thousand years.”
     Hitler beamed, and broke into the broad, ingenuous smile that was known and loved by all the Germans of the Reich. “Thank you, Milord Thor,” he said. “Of course, the next round of hostilities will be more challenging, for now Loki will introduce Earthly weapons on his side. Alas, my Nibelungs, we are in for a grim and bitter arms race. But fear not, for we shall prevail!”
     The Northern Nibelungs began to cheer, breaking into a heartfelt chorus of “Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler!”
     Wotan also smiled at the spectacle. He turned to one of his gods and said, “Go and summon Loki. I would hear his reaction to this discourse.”
     Hitler abruptly said, “Allfather, I beg you hold a moment!” Wotan put up a hand to halt the messenger. Hitler approached Wotan and whispered to him, “Please do not make Loki and I speak in front of the Nibelungs, for they believe us to be deadly enemies.”
     Wotan stepped back and was almost lost in great guffaws of laughter. “Of course, Mein Führer!” he said when he caught his breath, “far be it from me to intervene in your delicate summit negotiations with the opposing warlord.”
     The other gods as well were tittering, and struggled to regain a somber semblance. They did not wish to spoil the sport of Loki and the Stark von Odin.
     Assessing the situation thusly, Wotan said, “Mein Führer, if your warriors can spare you for a short time, I beg you to accept for the nonce my hospitality in Asgard, for my gods and I have a matter of great moment to discuss with you.”
     “I am honored, mighty Wotan,” said Hitler, “and of course I shall come.”
     A Nibelung with a large silver star on each shoulder stepped forth from the front rank, saluted Hitler, and said, “Mein Führer, without you we shall be lost! The Southern Dwarves and their evil leader will destroy us.”
     “What!” said Hitler, “with a stout general such as yourself commanding in my absence?” The portly dwarf did not pick up the innuendo, and the Führer continued, now addressing the entire Army: “Be brave, my Nibelungs! Remember that you are the Herrendwarves, and the motley crop from the south can never prevail against you. I, the Stark von Odin, am now called back to the realm above; but be of good heart, for I shall return!”
     Amidst wild cheers and shouts and feverish chants of “Heil Hitler!”, Wotan waved his spear now in a great circle, and the host of gods ascended with the Führer impressively into the air. When a cloud blew by and obscured them from the sight of the crowd below, they instantly disappeared and beamed back up to the vicinity of the Rainbow Bridge.

     “Jesus Christ!” said Adolf Hitler in the throne room of Valhalla, surrounded by the Nordic gods. “How astounding! Why does he want to see me?”
     “That’s what we are all most curious to find out,” said Freya. “Wotan fears a threat.”
     “Yes,” said Wotan. “The mortals have turned you into the Devil since you departed Midgard, and Christ’s agents on Earth have certainly colluded in that. It’s because I feared skullduggery that I insisted the meeting be here rather than on Jesus’ turf.”
     “Why, thank you, Milord ~ I’m gratified by your concern,” said Hitler, and all who looked upon his face and heard his voice knew that he was sincerely touched. “But for myself, I fear no evil. My main quarrel with Christ on Earth was that his creed is not appropriate for Teutonic peoples, nor for Aryans in general. Like most sophisticated moderns, I disbelieved in his literal existence; but since casting off the body, I have of course reawakened to knowledge of the many living spirits here in the Metasphere. My apperception of Christ is that he is one of the highest. I regret the fact that he is an alien god, but surely I can speak with him ~ and in fact, I relish the prospect.”
     Wotan looked troubled upon hearing these words from Hitler. Perhaps he hesitated to speak his mind out of respect for his guest. The god Tyr rose from his seat and said, “I, too, am fearless, o Stark von Odin, as my right arm will attest.” He held up his stump ~ there was nothing there beyond the wrist. “But the same token shows that there is often a terrible price levied upon this virtue. I was willing to give my hand to the Fenris Wolf for the good of Asgard, and for the sake of your human world as well. But the stakes are higher in dealing with the likes of Christ.”
     “Indeed!” said Hitler, appearing unconvinced. “And what do you think will be the stakes?’
     “O noble Führer!” said Freya, throwing out her arms, “we don’t want you to lose your soul!”
     There was a moment of electric silence. Hitler appeared stunned, staring at Freya. Finally, though, he smiled and said, “Ah ~ so that’s it. But, fair Freya, and all you gods whom I dearly love, your fear on this count is groundless. My soul is my own from the first moment of time, and will be so until the last crack of Ragnarok. Neither men nor Fates nor gods nor anything can sunder it from me, nor destroy it, nor make it into what it is not. I may have lost the war on Earth, but in so doing I have won this battle forevermore.
     “Even should I be cast into the Christian Hell, for me it would be no Hell for I would yet be myself therein, and live the life of my soul. And since the only real Hell is to live on without a soul ~ to exist as an empty zombi or be tricked into a false identity which is alien from your deepest self ~ then my escape from that illusory Hell would be assured.”
     Again a stunning silence filled the hall. And then, as one, the gods arose and applauded Hitler. “Huzzah for the Fuhrer!” shouted some. Another cried, “Surely this is the strongest soul to come out of Midgard in a thousand years!”
     Wotan himself now seemed very pleased. Hitler looked an inquiry at him, and he said, “You have allayed my fears, you who are rightly called the Stark von Odin. Forsooth, I am very proud to have you for a son!”
     The Führer made a small bow from the waist, saying: “My feelings are the same for you, Father.” And all the gods clapped and huzzahed even more.

     “So,” said Wotan, “the Stark von Odin has given his consent, and we are all agreed: the meeting with Christ will take place. I shall despatch a Valkyrie to Heaven and notify the Lord Jesus.”
     Before he had fairly finished speaking, however, some of the gods noticed that a tiny point of pure white light had appeared at the very center of the ceiling of the great hall, and begun to glow. It sent out little tendrils and grew in size, until at last every living being in the room had fixed his attention upon it. Faint strains of remarkable music could be heard coming from somewhere in the background, and this gradually became louder until all the chambers of the mighty castle that was Valhalla fairly resonated with it.
     A shaft of white light beamed from the point on the ceiling down to the floor, and the figure of a man appeared within it. He was radiant with pellucid energy, and all the goddesses gasped at the unwonted feelings of desire they felt for this beatific intruder. The male gods became at length aware of this, and some of their preconceptions about Jesus were thereby dispelled. Nevertheless, they marvelled that they, too, felt love for him, though of a brotherly sort, as one would have for a stalwart comrade in battle. But then the more astute of them recognized that this was the primary weapon of the Christ ~ this aura of overmastering love ~ and they quickly conjured feelings of rage and enmity to combat the interloper’s seductive allure.
     Wotan was the first among these who had sized up the situation. He brandished the thick shaft of his spear and shouted, “Who art thou, intruder, and what dost thou here? Beware, lest the wrath of Wotan smite thee where thou standest!”
     The being in the cone of light looked abashed, and the heart of every goddess, and half the gods, went out to him. “Why,” said Jesus innocently, “I thought I had been invited!”
     With dismay, Wotan sensed that his bluster had been checkmated. There was not a soul in the great hall who doubted the identity of the visitor. Wotan’s actions, therefore, were construed by most of his own folk not as legitimate defense against a potential enemy, but rather as discourtesy to a guest. He therefore changed his tone. He said: “The Throne of Thule recognizes Jesus Christ. Forgive the misunderstanding, milord ~ it was occasioned by your sudden and unexpected entry, bypassing, as it did, all of our usually infallible alarums and defenses.”
     There was a subtle but unmistakable rattling of sabres and spears at these words of Wotan, for the warrior-gods realized the vulnerability this implied in their defenses. Only the keenest ear could detect the whisper of one battle-hardened Asgardian to another: “Fucking Jesus has power, man!”
     Thus it was that the gods of Asgard realized that they had been effectively invaded by a mightier power, and had no choice but to treat it as the friendly visit of an invited guest.
     The being in the white robe now stepped out of the cone of light, thus divesting himself, to the perception of all present, of most of his heavenly grandeur and numinous glory. He was now, to all appearances, a man, looking much like the standard depictions of Jesus in iconographic art. He bowed at the waist to Wotan, and said, “Forgive me, Allfather, for not coming in at the door and presenting my card.” Even this seemingly lighthearted joke was a subtle effrontery; but, since the protocol of the Christ was impeccable, Wotan could do naught but bow silently in kind to Jesus. “I felt,” the Christ continued, “that since the issue was decided favorably among you, there was no reason for me to hesitate nor delay my coming. So again, I sincerely ask pardon if my methods were too precipitous. For indeed, the fact is that I could not help but overhearing your intent to invite me hither.”
     Overhear? Ah, but such apparent omniscience grated in the craw of the gods, especially Wotan, for it was of terrible military import. How could one defend against a power that had instantaneous knowledge of all that transpired in the privacy of one’s own fortress?
     These secret misgivings in the hearts of all the warriors were, as it were, gathered up in the loving arms of Jesus, and, without ever being made explicit, dispelled in the presence of the multitude gathered in Valhalla. “I love you all,” said Jesus Christ. “What need is there for suspicion?”
     The goddesses looked like they were all about to swoon. The host of the heavily-armed gods was abashed in befuddled quietude. Even Wotan stood skewered by uncertainty.
     Only the Stark von Odin stepped forth and dared to speak. “You weave a good spell, Galilean,” he said, “but I reject it. Didn’t you slay the heretics who refused your gospel? Didn’t you conquer the Northern Lands by the sword, and deceit, and treachery? Didn’t your Vicar make a pact with me when I was a power on Earth, and betray it the moment I had been defeated?”
     The white-robed Christ stood in the midst of them and smiled ~ only smiled.
     Adolf Hitler continued: “If you are God Almighty, I challenge you to prove your omnipotence and perfection, now! Dispel these accusations, and explain your betrayals!!”
     The Christ continued to smile beatifically as he said: “I cannot.”
     A gasp of amazement went up from the assembled gods. Jesus looked around at all of them, and finally faced the Führer, saying: “I am one of the most powerful gods in the Metasphere of Planet Earth at this time ~ perhaps even number one. And yet I am still but a god among gods, a spiritual entity of a certain kind, a metaphysical life-form, a bit of religious zoa ~ a metazon, if we can coin a term for the current age. I am kept in existence by the prayers and faith and entreaties of all the believing Christians in the world. Omnipotence is as much a fiction as when the concept was first invented by the human imagination thousands of years agone, and projected forthwith onto an idealized universal deity.
     “Much of my power is derived from the fact that my mortal worshippers identify me with that supreme cosmic God ~ and as some of you may know, the mystery of my Crucifixion is a direct magical link thereto. Nevertheless, my admission to you now is that I am not any sort of Absolute Omnipotence, nor creator of the multi-billion galaxies discovered of late by our mortal minions, but merely one of you: a creature arisen from the collective unconscious of a large grouping of human beings, whose destiny is tied to that of planet Earth, and whose relation to the astronomic immensity of the larger Universe hinges totally on the fate of those incarnate humans.”
     A great collective breath was expelled from all the gods at once. After a moment, Wotan said: “As a warlord, I can appreciate the tactical sacrifice you have made with this admission. All your display up until that moment was geared to making us believe otherwise, and duping us into thinking that we were dealing with a supremely all-powerful being.”
     Jesus nodded and said, “Forgive my deceptive appearances. It’s hard to cast off two thousand years of accumulated image.”
     Wotan said, “Still, though you are a merely limited and imperfect deity, of the same order as ourselves, you may well be, as you say, the single most powerful such ‘metazon’ in the vicinity of this planet at this moment. So tell me, Milord Jesus, what is your purpose in coming hither and unveiling yourself to us in this wise? How do you feel we can be of service to one another?”
     “Well said, noble Wotan. For verily, I feel we have an opportunity to serve not only ourselves and one another, but all the mortals and godlings of Earth and her Metasphere at this time of the turning of the ages.”
     Baldur arose from his seat and addressed Jesus. “I’m curious, Milord,” he said: “do you plan to fulfill the prophecies in your Book of Revelation in conjunction with the turning of the calendrical millennium? Are you going to return to Earth in glory in or around the year 2000, and intervene in history either symbolically or by direct supernatural means?”
     Christ made a small bow to Baldur and said, “A very politic question, Milord Baldur. For you probably know that to violate the laws of nature is beyond the purview even of a metazon such as me, with maximum power. Or specifically, I could do it, though certainly not on the scale expected by my more literal-minded believers. But it would be magic pure and simple, and the amount of energy it would take would not justify the paltry special effects. If fulfillment of all the pyrotechnics of Revelation were truly necessary for the redemption of Planet Earth, it would probably be more effective to make a movie.”
     All of the gods laughed at this, except those few purists who assiduously held aloof from the postmodern doings in Midgard.
     Fricka, Wotan’s wife, said, “Well then, my dear Jesus, how do you propose to bring about the ‘turning of the ages’, which you just mentioned?”
     Jesus nodded at her, and smiled. “Alas, my dear Fricka,” he said, “I honestly don’t know!”
     Now all the Asgardians were astounded. A great hubbub filled the hall, and at length Wotan had to shout and pound his spear on the floor for order. When silence finally ensued, he said to Jesus, “This is getting more intriguing by the moment. The vaunted Son of God does not know how to carry off his own prophesied Apocalypse?”
     A number of warriors stepped forth with Tyr at their forefront. He said, “Milord Jesus, you have wisely come to the right place for help with this unfortunate problem. Forsooth, we have been preparing for Ragnarok for twice two thousand years! Your prophecies and ours conveniently overlap. We shall ride forth into Midgard and lay waste the bloated and degenerate civilization of the mortals. You need four horsemen? Verily, we shall send out four thousand, all spreading chaos and devastation upon the Earth.”
     Jesus smiled again, and in fact he laughed. So delightful and compassionate was the laugh, like the bubbling forth of spring water from the bosom of Mother Earth, that no god could possibly take offense. He said, “Ah, mighty Tyr, your offer is deeply appreciated. But if the tactics of destruction were the only problem, it could very easily be solved. Surely the world of the mortals has turned into the foulest Babylon that fair Earth has ever seen, and believe me, o warriors, I share your urge to smite it and destroy it utterly!” A hard edge now crept into the compassionate voice, and even the sternest veteran of bloody combat did not doubt that Christ Jesus meant what he said. And indeed, any reader of the Gospels knows that he has it in him.
     He looked around at the assemblage, and such was the concatenation in his face of love and horror and outrage, of ultimate heart-bleeding goodness and raw vengeful passion to kill, that every entity present gave him their total riveted attention. “The problem,” said Jesus Christ, “is not how to destroy the humans, but how to save them.
     “Two thousand years ago, I hung on the Cross. It was very direct and straight-forward, for those of you who know this mystery. You may even realize that I still go back to Calvary and hang on the Cross some more, when the need arises. It is a very redemptive act, and saves the souls of many.
     “But now events on Earth have overtaken even these fundamental verities. The Cross is no longer sufficient. I am faced, as are we all, with a species in transition.
     “The Apocalypse and Ragnarok, as Tyr astutely notes, are essentially the same. Nothing would be easier than to send forth the avenging angels, and also you courageous Viking gods, and smite the Earth with the thunderbolts of Jove, and cause the very elements to rebel by means of the Dance of Shiva. We gods can make short work of this decrepit civilization, if we truly will.
     “But none of it would turn the wheel of the ages to the next higher plateau of the spiral of evolution. It would be an Apocalypse without a New Jerusalem to follow, a Kali Yuga without a subsequent Golden Age ~ or Axe Age, as I believe you Northmen call it.”
     “Yes,” said Wotan. “I begin to see why you have come here.”
     “Indeed,” said Jesus, “for you harbor among you an expert on these matters.”
     “You speak of the Übermensch,” said Adolf Hitler.
     “That’s right,” said Jesus, “the Superman. O Stark von Odin, I would learn from you the formula for his coming.”
      A resounding silence swept the hall. If an angel had entered, he would’ve been betrayed by the sound of his breath, or perhaps the stealthy rustle of his wings.
     Hitler sighed, and instantly every eye was upon him. “It’s too late,” he said, and his voice was heavy with the pathos of lost causes, and the eternal allure of what might have been. “You should have forced the Britons to desist. You should have prevented America, that supposedly Christian nation, from taking up arms against her kindred in alliance with the godless communists. If it were truly your will to bring the Übermensch, then, Jesus Christ! ~ this is a very belated moment for you to begin.”
     It was clear that Hitler had finished, and every head in the hall now turned back to Jesus to hear his reply.
      “Alas, mein Führer!” said Jesus Christ, “the historical moment escaped me. You know the limitations of my Vicar, who, despite arrogating to himself the gift of infallibility in my name, is human, all too human! I admit to you now my imperfection and error. And I ask: is it truly too late to save this planet? Is there not something that can yet be done to redeem the human species?”
     “Yes,” said Hitler, “yes, indeed. Courtesy has until now stayed my tongue, but since you ask so insistently, I put it to you bluntly that you, Jesus Christ, are the chief cause of the degradation of the human race. Your insipid liberal morality and love for the wretched of the Earth has thwarted the cause of natural selection. The only cure is a program that flies in the face of all the preachings of your Gospel: a fearless doctrine that lays low the poor in spirit and stout-heartedly defends the cause of the best among men and women, and allows them to propagate at the expense of the weak and niggardly. ‘Blessed are the meek,’ you said, and I say thee nay! Blessed are the strong, say I, and may the weak bow before them or be slain! You preach the law of love, and I concur, but I add the proviso that love is the law of the strong! The strongest men will love the best women, and slay the weaker men who attempt to thwart their love, and their will. And my law is: more power to the strong! Might is right! Let the weak be slain en masse as a fitting sacrifice to the propagation of the strong, and the proper working out of the law of natural selection. This is the true overcoming of merely mortal man; this is the bridge to the Overman. . . or, if you prefer, the Superman.”
     All of Asgard was abashed at this tirade by Adolf Hitler ~ but not, evidently, the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “With all due respect, Milord Führer, you are wrong ~ or at least, your formula is imperfect.”
     “Is that so?” said Hitler, who was now turning livid. “You are the one who admitted you have no answers! How can you gainsay the program of my Reich, which could have brought the Millennium, had it not been for the willful ignorance and evil opposition of my enemies?”
     The Führer glared at the Messiah, and even the positive aura of Jesus became frayed as he reflected back anger to Hitler in turn.
     Wotan forthwith stepped between them, saying, “Forebear, my friends! You have attempted to work out your differences, and forsooth, methinks you have not succeeded!”
     Jesus and Hitler backed away from each other, both looking somewhat abashed. Thor said, “It is clear that we are confronting a weighty issue, which affects the whole future of Midgard, and thereby ourselves. It would behoove us all to find a resolution, though I must admit that I am at a loss as to what it may be.”
     “Yes,” said Wotan, “let us all put our minds to the problem. There must a way.”
     A long silence followed. Finally Baldur relieved himself of a deep sigh and said, “Alas, I fear it is even beyond the gods to solve this conundrum.”
     But then his spritely wife Nanna jumped up from her seat beside him and said, “Of course, that’s it!”
     Everyone looked at her, and she continued: “If we gods cannot solve it, let us turn to a source whose power and wisdom overtops even that of the gods.”
     On every face was a question mark. Even Jesus looked puzzled. So Nanna said, “Let us ask the Norns.”
     There were gasps of surprise and cries of approbrium. Amidst the hubbub, voices could be heard saying: “Marvelous!” “Of course!” “Let us ask the Norns for advice.”
     At length Wotan held up his spear for silence. “I think the idea has great merit,” he said. “But you all realize that there are limits to what the Norns can tell us.”
     “Yes,” said Thor. “The Norns control the warp and weft of fate. They can tell us the meaning of past and present, and, if they deem it fit, can give us clues to what might happen in the future. They cannot give us ‘advice’ in a specific way, though they sometimes speak as oracles. The most they can do is to explain all the context of the problem, and help us to undestand what the outcome of our actions may be. But methinks this is a large thing, and it would definitely behoove us to consult the Norns.”
     “I am in agreement,” said Jesus.
     “I, too,” said Hitler.
     “Then let us be off!” said Wotan.