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How Thor Went A-fishing

Source: Folk-lore And Legends Scandinavian

Thor had not been long at home before he left it so hastily that he did
not take his car, his goats, or any follower with him. He left Midgard
disguised as a young man, and when night was coming on, arrived at the
house of a giant, called Hymir. Thor stayed there as a guest for the
night, and when he saw in the morning that the giant rose, dressed
himself, and prepared to go out to sea-fishing in his boat, he begged
him to let him go also. Hymir said he was too little and young to be of
much use.

"And besides," added he, "you will die of cold, if I go so far out and
sit so long as I am accustomed."

Thor said he would row as far out as ever Hymir wanted, and he thought
he might not be the first to want to row back. While he said this he was
in such a rage that he had much to do to keep himself from throwing the
hammer at once at the giant's head, but he calmed himself thinking that
he might soon try his strength elsewhere. He asked Hymir what bait he
should use, but Hymir told him to look out for himself. Then Thor went
up to a herd of oxen belonging to Hymir, and capturing the largest bull,
called Himinbrjot, he wrung off its head, and went with it to the
sea-shore. Hymir launched the skiff, and Thor, sitting down in the
after-part, rowed with two oars so that Hymir, who rowed in the
fore-part, wondered to see how fast the boat went on. At length he said
they had arrived at the place where he was accustomed to fish for flat
fish, but Thor told him they had better go on further. So they rowed
till Hymir cried out that if they proceeded further they might be in
danger from the Midgard serpent. In spite of this, Thor said he would
row further, and so he rowed on, disregarding Hymir's words. When he
laid down his oars, he took out a very strong fishing line to which was
a no less strong hook. On this he fixed the bull's head and cast it over
into the sea. The bait soon reached the ground, and then truly Thor
deceived the Midgard serpent no less than Utgard-Loki deceived Thor when
he gave him the serpent to lift in his hand. The Midgard serpent gaped
wide at the bait, and the hook stuck fast in his mouth. When the worm
felt this he tugged at the hook so that Thor's hands were dashed against
the side of the boat. Then Thor got angry, and, collecting to himself
all his divine strength, he pulled so hard that his feet went through
the bottom of the boat and down to the sea's bottom. Then he drew the
serpent up on board. No one can be said to have seen an ugly sight who
did not see that. Thor threw wrathful looks on the serpent, and the
monster staring at him from below cast out venom at him. The giant
Hymir, it is said, turned pale when he saw the serpent, quaked, and,
seeing that the sea ran in and out of the skiff, just as Thor raised
aloft his mace, took out his knife and cut the line so that the serpent
at once sank under the water. Thor cast his mace at the serpent, and
some say it cut off its head at the bottom, but it is more true that the
Midgard serpent is yet alive lying at the bottom of the ocean. With his
fist Thor struck Hymir such a blow over the ear that the giant tumbled
headlong into the water, and Thor then waded to land.

Next: The Death Of Baldur

Previous: Thor's Journey To The Land Of Giants

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