The Children of Odin The Book of Northern Myths

Page: 53

"Thor thinks he has drained the horn," said one of the Giants, lifting it up. "But see, friends, what remains in it."

Thor strode back and looked again into the horn. It was still half filled. He turned round to see that all the Giants were laughing at him.

"Asa Thor, Asa Thor," said the Giant King, "we know not how you are going to deal with us in the next feat, but you certainly are not able to drink against the Giants."

Said Thor: "I can lift up and set down any being in your hall."

As he said this a great iron-colored cat bounded into the hall and stood before Thor, her back arched and her fur bristling.

"Then lift the cat off the ground," said the Giant King.

Thor strode to the cat, determined to lift her up and[Pg 114] fling her amongst the mocking Giants. He put his hands to the cat, but he could not raise her. Up, up went Thor's arms, up, up, as high as they could go. The cat's arched back went up to the roof, but her feet were never taken off the ground. And as he heaved and heaved with all his might he heard the laughter of the Giants all round him.

He turned away, his eyes flaming with anger. "I am not wont to try to lift cats," he said. "Bring me one to wrestle with, and I swear you shall see me overthrow him."

"Here is one for you to wrestle with, Asa Thor," said the King. Thor looked round and saw an old woman hobbling toward him. She was blear-eyed and toothless. "This is Ellie, my ancient nurse," said the Giant King. "She is the one we would have you wrestle with."

"Thor does not wrestle with old women. I will lay my hands on your tallest Giants instead."

"Ellie has come where you are," said the Giant King. "Now it is she who will lay hands upon you."

The old woman hobbled toward Thor, her eyes gleaming under her falling fringes of gray hair. Thor stood, unable to move as the hag came toward him. She laid her hands upon his arms. Her feet began to trip at his. He tried to cast her from him. Then he found that her feet and her hands were as strong against his as bands and stakes of iron.

Then began a wrestling match in earnest between Thor and the ancient crone Ellie. Round and round the hall they wrestled, and Thor was not able to bend the old woman backward nor sideways. Instead he became less[Pg 115] and less able under her terrible grasp. She forced him down, down, and at last he could only save himself from being left prone on the ground by throwing himself down on one knee and holding the hag by the shoulders. She tried to force him down on the ground, but she could not do that. Then she broke from him, hobbled to the door and went out of the hall.