A lot of people don't know the true story of Easter. Now, I'm not talking about the whole bit with the zombie Jesus and everything. Maybe that happened, maybe it didn't. But I'm going to tell you what really happened, and what the Christian Easter story is probably based on.
Freyja was a beautiful goddess, the fairest of all the Norse deities. She brought prosperity and comfort to all her followers, through the fertile crops her perfect seasons brought.
Loki, the Sly One, was jealous of Freyja and the happiness she brought to her people. He wanted to be as happy as they, so he went one day to Fólkvangr to woo her. He brought her gifts: exquisitely wound golden jewelry; sleek and powerful Forest Cats; and fine mead and ale.
But Freyja, remembering especially Loki's theft of her golden Necklace of Flame among his many other misdeeds, spurned his advances and turned him from her home.
Enraged, Loki flew to Midgard to plot his revenge.
One quiet autumn night, while Freyja was traveling in the countryside, she heard a tortured crying coming from the nearby forest. Stopping, she leapt from Hildisvini with her bow and dashed into the woods, where she found a wounded cat, laying in the moonlight. She knelt next to it to see how she could comfort it.
Suddenly, the cat transformed into Loki, who grabbed Freyja and sealed her into an enchanted hen's egg. Laughing at his cleverness, Loki ran from the forest, leaving the egg where it fell.
The winter was cold and harsh that year, and Frejya's people wondered what they had done to incur her wrath. Though they made many sacrifices, the cold and snow did not let up, and all the babies born that winter died.
Then, one day, as the worst of the weather was beginning to let up and it looked as though spring might actually be coming, a farmer's young son was gathering wood for the hearth when he came upon the egg, half buried in snow and fallen leaves. He picked it up, and began to run home to show his family the oddity. But a snarled root stuck up from the ground, and the egg flew from his hands and cracked open on the cold ground.
Immediately, Freyja jumped from the egg, and bent to calm the terrified child. She thanked him for freeing her, and the weather warmed.
And Freyja went to seek revenge on Loki for his trick. But that's a story for another time.