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The Hammer Of Thor






Source: Asgard Stories Tales From Norse Mythology

Sif was the wife of mighty Thor, the thunder-god, and she was very proud
of her beautiful golden hair, which she combed and braided with great
care. One morning when she awoke she was filled with grief and dismay
to find that her lovely hair had been cut off in the night, while she
slept. Her husband happened to be away that day, but when he came home
late at night, Sif was careful to keep out of his sight, she felt so
ashamed of her shorn head.

Thor, however, soon called for Sif, and when he saw what had been done
to her, he was very angry. Now Thor had a quick temper; every one feared
his fierce anger. "Who could have done this wicked deed?" thought he.
"There is only one among all the Aesir who would think of doing such a
thing!"

Thor lost no time in finding Loki, and that mischief-god had to admit
that he was the guilty one, but he begged Thor to give him just a few
days, and he promised to get something for Sif that would make her look
more beautiful than ever. So Thor decided to give him a chance to try,
and commanded him to give back to Sif her golden hair.

Now Loki knew a place where some wonderful workmen lived, so he went
off, as fast as he could go, to Niflheim, the home of the dwarfs, under
the earth, and asked one of them to make quickly some golden hair for
Sif. Besides this, he asked for two gifts to carry to the gods Odin and
Frey, so that they might be on his side if Thor should bring his
complaint before the Aesir.

Loki did not have to wait long before the dwarf brought him a quantity
of beautiful hair, spun from the finest golden thread. It had the
wonderful power of growing just like real hair, as soon as it touched
any one's head. Besides this, there was a spear for Odin, which never
missed its aim, no matter how far it was thrown, and for Frey, a ship
that could sail through the air as well as the sea. Although it was
large enough to hold all the gods and their horses, yet it could be
folded so that it was small enough to put in one's pocket.

Loki was greatly pleased with these wonderful presents, and declared
that this dwarf must be the most skillful workman of them all. Now it
happened that another dwarf, named Brock, heard him say this, and he
told Loki that he was sure he and his brother could make more wonderful
things than these.

Loki did not believe that could be done, but he told Brock to try his
skill; the Aesir should judge between them and the one who should fail
in the trial must lose his head.

Then Brock called his brother, Sindri, and they set to work at once.
They first built a great fire, and Sindri threw into it a lump of gold;
then he told Brock to blow the bellows while he went out, and be sure
not to stop blowing until he should come back.

Brock thought this an easy task, but his brother had not long been gone
when a huge fly came in and buzzed about his face, and bothered him so
that he could hardly keep on blowing; still he was able to finish his
work, so that when Sindri came back, they took out of the fire an
enormous wild boar, which gave out light, and could travel through the
air with wonderful speed.

On the second day Sindri threw another lump of gold into the fire, and
left his brother to blow the bellows. Again the buzzing, stinging fly
came, and was even more troublesome than before; but Brock tried very
hard to be patient, and was able to bear it without stopping his work
until Sindri returned. Then they took from the fire a magic ring of
gold, from which eight new rings fell off every week.

The third day a lump of iron was put into the fire, and Brock was again
left alone. In came the cruel fly,--have you guessed that it was really
that mischief-maker Loki? He bit the poor little dwarf so hard on the
forehead that the blood ran down into his eyes, and blinded him so that
he could no longer see to do his work.

Poor Brock had to stop just before Sindri came home, but not before the
hammer which they were making in the fire was nearly finished, only the
handle came out rather too short. This magic hammer was named Miolnir.
It had the power of never missing its mark, and would always return to
the hand which threw it.

When Loki appeared at last before the Aesir, with the two dwarf brothers
and their gifts, it was declared that they had made the finest things,
for the hammer, which was given to Thor, would surely be most useful in
keeping the giants out of Asgard.

When Loki found that the judgment was against him, he started to run
away; but Thor soon made him turn back by threatening to throw his
hammer after him.

Then Loki had to collect his wits, and think of some way to escape
losing his head, instead of making the dwarfs pay the forfeit, as he had
expected. At last he told Brock and Sindri that they could have his
head, according to the agreement, but as nothing had been said about his
neck, they could not, of course, touch that.

Thus the wily Loki, by his wit, saved his life.





Next: Thor's Wonderful Journey

Previous: Freyja's Necklace



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