Laufey or Nál is a figure in Norse mythology and the mother of Loki. The latter is frequently mentioned by the matronymic Loki Laufeyjarson (Old Norse 'Loki Laufey's son') in Eddic poetry, rather than the expected traditional patronymic Loki Fárbautason ('son of Fárbauti'), in a mythology where kinship is ideally reckoned through male ancestry.
The meaning of the Old Norse name Laufey is unclear, but it is generally taken to be related to lauf ('leaves, foliage'), perhaps attached to the suffix -ey (found in female personal names like Bjargey, Þórey), or deriving from an hypothetical tree-goddess named *lauf-awiaz ('the leafy').
Since the name of her spouse Fárbauti means "dangerous hitter", a possible natural mythological interpretation has been proposed by some scholars, with lightning hitting the leaves, or needles of a tree to give rise to fire.
In Gylfaginning, Hár introduces Loki as the son of Fárbauti, that "Laufey or Nál" is his mother, and that his brothers are Býleistr and Helblindi. Elsewhere in the same poem, Loki is referred to by the matronymic Laufeyjarson ('Laufey's son'). This occurs twice more in Gylfaginning and once in Skádskaparmál.
Skáldskaparmál mentions Loki as 'son of Fárbauti' or 'son of Laufey'.
Nál is mentioned twice in the Prose Edda as "Laufey or Nál"; once in Gylfaginning and once in Skáldskaparmál.
In the poem Sörla þáttr, Nál and Laufey are portrayed as the same person: "She was both slender and weak, and for that reason she was called Nál [Needle]." According to scholar John Lindow, however, "the late date of the text makes this piece of information suspect."
|Jǫtnar and Gýgjar|
|Jǫtnar||Alvaldi • Annarr • Auðr • Baugi • Beli • Bergelmir • Bǫlþorn • Býleistr • Eggþér • Fárbauti • Fjǫrgynn • Fornjótr • Gangr • Geirrǫðr • Gillingr • Gymir • Helblindi • Helreginn • Hrímgrímnir • Hrímnir • Hrungnir • Hrymr • Hræsvelgr • Hymir • Iði • Ím • Kári • Litr • Logi • Loki • Mímir • Mǫkkurkálfi • Mǫgþrasir • Naglfari • Narfi • Narfi Lokason • Søkkmímir • Surtr • Suttungr • Útgarða-Loki • Vafþrúðnir • Váli • Víðblindi • Vǫrnir • Ymir • Þjazi • Þrívaldi • Þrúðgelmir • Þrymr • Ægir|
|Gýgjar||Angrboða • Aurboða • Bestla • Eimyrja • Eisa • Fjǫrgyn • Gerðr • Gjálp • Glǫð • Greip • Gríðr • Gunnlǫð • Harðgreipr • Hljóð • Hrímgerðr • Hróðr • Hyrrokkin • Járnsaxa • Jǫrð • Laufey • Leikn • Nine Daughters of Ægir and Rán/Nine Mothers of Heimdallr • Nornir (Urðr • Verðandi • Skuld) • Nótt • Skaði • Sinmara • Þǫkk|