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Hero Tales

Page: 51

"Let us try again!" cried Thor. "I am sure that something besides dead rocks lies at the bottom of the stream."

So they hung heavy weights to the net, and began to drag it again, this time going down stream. Loki looked out from his hiding place, and saw that he would not be able to escape now by lying between the rocks, and that his only chance for safety was either to leap over the net, and hide himself behind the rushing cataract itself, or to swim with the current out to the sea. But the way to the sea was long, and there were many shallow places; and Loki had doubts as to how old Aegir would receive him in his kingdom. He feared greatly to undertake so dangerous and uncertain a course. So, turning upon his foes, and calling up all his strength, he made a tremendous leap high into the air and clean over the net. But Thor was too quick for him. As he fell toward the water, the Thunderer quickly threw out his hand, and caught the slippery salmon, holding him firmly by the tail.

When Loki found that he was surely caught, and could not by any means escape, he took again his proper shape. Fiercely did he struggle with mighty Thor, and bitter were the curses which he poured down upon his enemies. But he could not get free. Into the deep, dark cavern, beneath the smoking mountain, where daylight never comes, nor the warmth of the sun, nor the sound of Nature's music, the fallen Mischief-maker was carried. The Asas bound him firmly to the sharp rocks, with his face turned upwards toward the dripping roof; for they said that nevermore, until the last dread twilight, should he be free to vex the world with his wickedness. Skade, the giant daughter of Old Winter, took a hideous snake, and hung it up above Loki, so that its venom would drop into his upturned face. But Sigyn, the loving wife of the suffering wretch, left her home in the pleasant halls of Asgard, and came to his horrible prison house to soothe and comfort him; and evermore she holds a basin above his head, and catches in it the poisonous drops as they fall. When the basin is filled, and she turns to empty it in the tar-black river that flows through that home of horrors, the terrible venom falls upon his unprotected face, and Loki writhes and shrieks in fearful agony, until the earth around him shakes and trembles, and the mountains spit forth fire, and fumes of sulphur smoke.

And there the Mischief-maker, the spirit of evil, shall lie in torment until the last great day and the dread twilight of all mid-world things.

THE HUNT IN THE WOOD OF PUELLE

RELATED BY THE MINSTREL OF LORRAINE[1]

Charles the Hammer was dead, and his young son Pepin was king of France. Bego of Belin was his dearest friend, and to him he had given all Gascony in fief. You would have far to go to find the peer of the valiant Bego. None of King Pepin's nobles dared gainsay him. Rude in speech and rough in war, though he was, he was a true knight, gentle and loving to his friends, very tender to his wife and children, kind to his vassals, just and upright in all his doings. The very flower of knighthood was Bego.


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