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Hero Tales

Page: 47

Then Loki, unable to keep his hands from mischief, waxed very angry, because every one seemed happy and free from trouble, and no one noticed or cared for him. So, while good Funfeng was serving him to meat, he struck the faithful thrall with a carving-knife, and killed him. Then arose a great uproar in the Ocean-king's feast hall. The Asa-folk rose up from the table, and drove the Mischief-maker out from among them; and in their wrath they chased him across the waters, and forced him to hide in the thick greenwood. After this they went back to Aegir's hall, and sat down again to the feast. But they had scarcely begun to eat, when Loki came quietly out of his hiding place, and stole slyly around to Aegir's kitchen, where he found Elder, the other thrall, grieving sadly because of his brother's death.

"I hear a great chattering and clattering over there in the feast hall," said Loki. "The greedy, silly Asa-folk seem to be very busy indeed, both with their teeth and their tongues. Tell me, now, good Elder, what they talk about while they sit over their meat."

"They talk of noble deeds," answered Elder. "They speak of gallant heroes, and brave men, and fair women, and strong hearts, and willing hands, and gentle manners, and kind friends. And for all these they have words of praise and songs of beauty; but none of them speak well of Loki, the thief and the vile traitor."

"Ah!" said Loki wrathfully, twisting himself into a dozen different shapes, "no one could ask so great a kindness from such folk. I must go into the feast hall, and take a look at this fine company, and listen to their noisy merry-making. I have a fine scolding laid up for those good fellows; and, unless they are careful with their tongues, they will find many hard words mixed with their mead."

Then he went boldly into the great hall, and stood up before the wonder-stricken guests at the table. When the Asa-folk saw who it was that had darkened the doorway, and was now in their midst, a painful silence fell upon them, and all their merriment was at an end. And Loki stretched himself up to his full height, and said to them:

"Hungry and thirsty came I to Aegir's gold-lit hall. Long and rough was the road I trod, and wearisome was the way. Will no one bid me welcome? Will none give me a seat at the feast? Will none offer me a drink of the precious mead? Why are you all so dumb? Why so sulky and stiff-necked, when your best friend stands before you? Give me a seat among you,—yes, one of the high seats,—or else drive me from your hall! In either case, the world will never forget me. I am Loki."

Then one among the Asa-folk spoke up, and said, "Let him sit with us. He is mad; and when he slew Funfeng, he was not in his right mind. He is not answerable for his rash act."


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