The Children of Odin The Book of Northern Myths

Page: 63

Then the stranger at the banquet stood up, and Thor and Loki saw he was the Giant King in whose halls they had had the contests. Skyrmir turned toward them and said:

"O Thor and O Loki, I will reveal to you now the deceits I practiced on you both. It was I whom ye met on the moorland on the day before ye came into Utgard. I gave you my name as Skyrmir and I did all I might do to pre[Pg 134]vent your entering our City, for the Giants dreaded a contest of strength with Asa Thor. Now hear me, O Thor. The wallet I gave for you to take provisions out of was tied with magic knots. No one could undo them by strength or cleverness. And while you were striving to undo them I placed a mountain of rock between myself and you. The hammer blows, which as you thought struck me, struck the mountain and made great clefts and gaps in it. When I knew the strength of your tremendous blows I was more and more in dread of your coming into our City.

"I saw you would have to be deceived by magic. Your lad Thialfi was the one whom I first deceived. For it was not a Giant youth who raced against him, but Thought itself. And even you, O Loki, I deceived. For when you tried to make yourself out the greatest of eaters I pitted against you, not a Giant, but Fire that devours everything.

"You, Thor, were deceived in all the contests. After you had taken the drinking horn in your hands we were all affrighted to see how much you were able to gulp down. For the end of that horn was in the sea, and Ægir, who is here, can tell you that after you had drunk from it, the level of the sea went down.

"The cat whom you strove to lift was Nidhögg, the dragon that gnaws at the roots of Ygdrassil, the Tree of Trees. Truly we were terrified when we saw that you made Nidhögg budge. When you made the back of the cat reach the roof of our palace we said to ourselves, 'Thor is the mightiest of all the beings we have known.'[Pg 135]

"Lastly you strove with the hag Ellie. Her strength seemed marvelous to you, and you thought yourself disgraced because you could not throw her. But know, Thor, that Ellie whom you wrestled with was Old Age herself. We were terrified again to see that she who can overthrow all was not able to force you prone upon the ground."

So Skyrmir spoke and then left the hall. And once more the Æsir and the Vanir stood up and cheered for Thor, the strongest of all who guarded Asgard.

[Pg 136]


Now old Ægir's feast was over and all the Æsir and the Vanir made ready for their return to Asgard. Two only went on another way—Odin, the Eldest of the Gods, and Loki the Mischievous.