How Thor Went A-fishing

: 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

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.