European countries and North America. This exchange of kisses is interpreted as a promise to marry and a prediction of happiness and long life. In the Middle ages and later, branches of mistletoe were hung from ceilings to ward off evil spirits, and were located over house and stable doors to prevent the entrance of witches and ghosts (Tabernaemontanus, 1731; Marzell, 1923). In contrast, a Tanganyika species of Loranthus was used to put spells on somebody (Watts and Breyer-Brandwisk, 1962).
According to Nordic mythology as described in the "Edda" (Snorri Shurlason, 1200 AC), which is a collection of ancient Viking poems, the god of shamans (Odin) and the goddess of love and beauty (Free) bound all being of earth from ever harming their son Balder. However, the tiny mistletoe did not take root in the earth, and therefore, was not bound to the oath. Balder was killed at Loki's instigation by a twig of mistletoe (mistilteinn) shot by his blind brother Hodur. Interestingly, von Tubeuf (1923) clearly stated that mistletoe is unknown in the northern parts of Scandinavia and Island, and thus, the legend must be rooted in other areas of Europe, or probably the Near East.
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