Category: The Myths (Page 2 of 4)

The Lay of Harbard

thor harbard leftA rank of mountains stood behind Thor. Some were like upturned ships, some like unfinished pyramids and monstrous cones with their tops sawn off, and none of them were smiling. Thor strode west over the tundra, and the sun kept pace with him. Then late in the morning he left the wilderness behind and hurried across scrub and undulating land.

So he came to a sound, a swift deep channel. The air was utterly still there. The sun placed a dazzling hand on the water, and the water seemed barely to move as it moved.

On the far bank a figure sprawled in the midday sun, and his flat-bottomed boat lounged beside him,
“Hey!” bawled Thor, and the water quivered. “You over there. Are you the ferryman?”
The figure stirred and sat up. He cupped his hands. “Who is that oaf yelling over the water?”
“Ferry me across,” called Thor. “I’ll pay you well from this pannier.”

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Gylfi and Gefion

gylfi-gefion
“You have treated me like a king,” said Gylfi.
The wizened beggar-woman sat in her cocoon of filthy, reeking rags and listened.
“Our bed was only this bare ground,” said Gylfi, “and our roof was only this whispering tree and the litter of stars beyond. But all that you had to share – your scraps of food, your store of understanding – you willingly offered.”

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Odin and Billing’s Daughter

“A creaking bow,” cried the High One. “a burning flame, a yawning wolf, a croaking raven, a grunting wild boar, a tree with shallow roots, mounting waves, a boiling kettle, a flying arrow, tide on the ebb, new ice, a coiled snake, a bride’s pillow talk, a sword with a hairline, a playful bear, the sons of a king, an ailing calf, a stubborn thrall, a witch’s flattery, a fresh corpse, a chance encounter with your brother’s murderer, a half-gutted house, a racehorse — if he lames one leg he will be useless: no man should be such a fool as to trust these things.”

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Thor’s Duel with Hrungnir

Odin, god of gods, was not content with being able to see everything that happened in the nine worlds. He was not content even with being able to understand all that he saw. His blood raced and he longed to test life’s winds and tides for himself. While Thor was away fighting trolls and troll women and their wolfchildren in Iron Wood, Odin bridled at his own lack of action. He became so restless that he donned his golden helmet and leaped on to Sleipnir hungry for some happening.

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Hyndla’s Poem

The giantess Hyndla was asleep. She was growling in her gloomy cave, and it wasn’t a pleasant sound. Freyja and her boar stood in the cave’s mouth, listening. Then Freyja called out: “Hyndla, my friend! Hyndla, my sister! Wake up! Came out of your hole in the hill.”

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The Lay of Hymir

The gods had plenty of food but they had run out of mead and ale. They began to feast but the more they ate, the less they felt like eating, with no drink to wash the food down.

They sacrificed a small animal and dipped twigs into its blood. They shook them and the runes scored on them began to shine; they shook them again and divined that Aegir, god of the sea, could help them. So a group of gods and goddesses left Asgard and made for the island of Hilesey; and there they found Aegir and his wife Ran in their hall beneath the waves, lit only by gleaming gold.

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Thor’s Journey to Utgard

Thor and the giant SkrymirThor said Summer was the open season and he announced his plan of making a journey east into Utgard and flexing himself against the giants. ‘However few they are,’ he said, ‘they are too many.’
In Utgard,’ said Loki, ‘you’ll need sharp wits.’
‘Sharp wits,’ repeated Thor seriously.
‘And yours are as blunt as your hammer,’ said Loki, winking at Thor. ‘Why not take me?’

Thor ignored the insult and accepted the offer. ‘Evil creature: good companion,’ he said.
Loki’s eyes gleamed, now brown, now green, now indigo. His scarred lips parted a little and twisted into a wolfish smile.
‘Tomorrow, then,’ said Thor.

Very early in the morning, before the sky turned blue and before a cock crowed, Thor had his goats brought in from Thrudvang and harnessed to his chariot.

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The Lay of Vafthrudnir

horns-of-odin
SUCH FEVER IN MY BLOOD!’ cried Odin. ‘I so long to range far and wide.’ Allfather prowled up and down Valaskjalf as if he were caged. ‘What do you think, Frigg? I’ve a mind to visit Vafthrudnir in his high hall.’

‘I would rather the Father of Warriors stayed in Asgard, home of the gods,’ said Frigg. ‘So far as I know, Vafthrudnir has no equal amongst the giants.’

‘I’ve roamed far and I’ve learned much and all that the gods know I know,’ replied Odin. ‘I want to match my wits against the riddle- master, the wise giant Vafthrudnir.’

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The Lay of Thrym

MjollnirWHEN THOR AWOKE and reached out to grasp his hammer, it was not there. The Hurler leaped up. He tousled and tangled his red beard; his hair bristled as he searched for Mjollnir. ‘Listen, Loki!’ said Thor. ‘No god in Asgard has seen my hammer; no man in Midgard has seen my hammer: it has been stolen.’

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The Necklace of the Brisings

Necklace of the BrisingsTHE NIGHT WAS ALMOST OVER; the sky was green and grey in the east, and snowflakes were ghosting around Asgard. Loki and only Loki saw Freyja leave Sessrumnir. Her cats slept undisturbed by the hearth; her chariot lay unused; in the half-light she set off on foot towards Bifrost. Then the Sly One’s mind was riddled with curiosity; he wrapped his cloak around him and followed her.

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