Thor and Utgarda-Loki

   One day, a long time ago, Thor and Loki were riding across the nine worlds in Thor's wain pulled by his goats Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder. It was approaching nightfall and the pair spotted a welcoming looking farmhouse with lights aglow in the windows.

 

Thor's Wain / Chariot Being Pulled by his Goats - Viking Dragon Blogs

   

Thor and Loki arranged lodging for the night with the farmer and his wife. The farmer also had two children, a daughter named Roskva and a son called Thjalfi. 

   That night Thor slaughtered his goats and invited all to eat with him. He laid out the pelts for them to lay the bones on. Against one of Thor's instructions Thjalfi broke one of the bones to suck the marrow. The next day when Thor hallowed the bones and brought the goats back to life one of the goats had a lame hind leg and Thor knew what must happened. 

   Thor was so angry he was ready to kill the family but the father offered his two children as servants to the god to spare them and so Thor agreed. 

   Leaving the goats behind Thor and his companions began the journey to Jotunheim, across a deep ocean and through an old forest until it began to grow dark again. 

   As they were looking for a place to camp they spotted a great hall in the forest that no one seemed to be occupying so they settled down for the night inside it.

   In the middle of the night Thor awoke to a great sound that shook the land like an earthquake. It was a terrifying sound. Thor brought the others into another, smaller room in the hall and stayed near the door with his hammer in hand to defend them. 

   When the sun rose Thor went to investigate outside. He found a giant sleeping in the forest and his snores were making the terrible noise. Thor disliked the giants but as he approached the giant to slay him with his hammer the giant stood up and greeted him, "Hello, my name is Skrymir but I do not need to ask your name for you are the mighty Thor. You have been using my glove for a place to sleep in I see."

 

The Giant Skrymir and the Norse God Thor - Viking Dragon Blogs

 

   At that Thor and his companions realized they had been sleeping in the Giants glove and the side room was the thumb of the glove.

   Skrymir asked Thor if he could join them on their journey and offered to carry all their belongings in his food bag. Thor agreed to this and they set off towards the Hall of Utgarda-Loki deep in Jotunheim. 

   Near evening the giant found them a place to rest under a great oak tree. He let Thor have the bag of provisions and said he was going to sleep and that Thor should prepare a meal for himself and his friends. 

   The giant began snoring again and as Thor tried to open the bag he found that he could not. He was so enraged that he threw his hammer at the sleeping giant's head but Skrymir only awoke for a moment thinking an acorn had fallen upon him. Twice more in the night Thor tried to slay the giant in this way and it was the same every time. The giant would awake thinking something had fallen from the tree that disturbed his sleep. 

 

Thor Trying to Slay the Giant Skrymir - Viking Dragon Blogs

   

   That morning Skrymir parted ways with Thor and his company with a caveat that where they were going they would find bigger men than he and not to boast in the Hall of Utgarda-Loki or they would be mocked for being so small. Thor, Loki and the two humans we're glad to see the giant go. They would be happy not to see him again.

   Halfway through the day they came upon the fortress of Utgarda-Loki. It stood so tall they strained their next to see the top. Thor tried to open the gate to enter but couldn't and the party wound up having to squeeze through the bars instead.

   Once inside they beheld a hall with two large tables and several giants seated around the tables and in the midst of them was Utgarda-Loki himself. 

   Thor introduced himself to the great giant. Utgarda-Loki made a comment that there must be more to the mighty Thor than he sees before him. He also added that no one is permitted to stay who does not have some skill or knowledge greater than other men. 

   Loki piped up then and challenged any man to an eating contest for he could eat faster than anyone. 

   Utgarda-Loki called to one of his men named Logi and pitted him against Loki in the eating contest. The other giants brought out a trough of meat and put it between the two contestants. In the end Loki ate till the middle and met Logi there. The only difference was Loki ate all the meat but Logi ate the meat, the bones and the trough. 

    The giant king called his man the winner of the contest and no one could deny it.

    Then the great giant asked Thjalfi if he would compete and Thjalfi replied that he could beat any man in a race. Therefore they all went outside to flat land and Utgarda-Loki called a man out named Hugi to pit against Thor's man. 

   In the first round Hugi finished the race and turned around to look at his opponent. Thjalfi did not fare well in the other two races either. Even losing by a bow length. 

    It was clear that Thjalfi lost the contest so Utgarda-Loki turned to Thor and asked him what challenge he would partake in. Thor said he could out-drink any man and Utgarda-Loki call to his cupbearer who brought out a horn to the thunder god. Thor turned this horn up and began drinking for what seemed ages. 

   Thor took the horn from his mouth and realized barely a drop has been emptied. 

    Utgarda-Loki said great men empty the horn in one drink and some great men empty it in two but three drinks is not impressive.

 

Thor Drinking from a Bottomless Drinking Horn - Viking Dragon Blogs

 

 Thor however tried twice more to empty the horn down from the brim so it could be carried without spilling but he failed and the contest was over. Thor handed the horn back to Utgarda-Loki. The thunder god was becoming angry. 

   Next Utgarda-Loki challenged Thor to lift his cat off the ground as it was usually a child's game and should be easy enough. 

 

   Thor Lifting the Cat - Viking Dragon Blogs

   

   A great grey cat pounced down into the middle of the hall and Thor went out and grasped it and attempted to lift it above his head. The cat's back kept arching and as large as it was Thor was only tall enough to bring its paws off the floor. 

   Utgarda-Loki pronounced that he had predicted this challenge would go like that since Thor is smaller and shorter than other men in this hall. 

   Thor roared, "If you think I'm so small choose someone to wrestle me! I'm angry!"

   Utgarda-Loki looked around the hall at his men and decided it would not be dignified for any of them to wrestle Thor so he called out his nurse, an old woman named Elli who he said had brought down men no less stronger than Thor. 

   Thor was enraged about the choice of his opponent but took on the match anyway. He did not fair well. Every time Thor put his strength into a grapple the old giantess held her ground. Eventually Thor lost his footing and the giantess put him to one knee.  

 

Thor Wrestling with an Old Giantess - Viking Dragon Blogs

 

 

   By then it was late at night. Utgarda-Loki stopped the contests and offered Thor and his companions hospitality and a place to stay for the night.

   Upon waking Thor, Loki and Thor's bond-servants prepared to leave the hall of Utgarda-Loki but the great giant met them in the hall with hospitality and a table of breakfast. 

   On their way out of the fortress Utgarda-Loki followed Thor and his companions for a while. That's when the giant decided to tell them the truth. He looked at Thor and told him he was really the giant Skrymir and he would never invite Thor into his hall again for the thunder god had almost brought destruction upon them. The night that Thor tried to kill Skrymir the giant had moved a mountain beside his head. Skrymir admitted to have shape-shifting abilities so the god  wouldn't notice when he moved the mountain. Thor had left three great square valleys with the strikes of his hammer.

   When Loki tried to eat faster than Logi it was not fair because Logi is wildfire and the man Thjalfi raced were Utgarda-Loki's own racing thoughts. The horn Thor drank from was connected to the ocean and Thor drank so much it created the tides, and the cat was actually the Midgard Serpent that envelops the entire world, but Thor picked it up above the world almost reaching the sky even though he thought he had only lifted its paws slightly off the ground. 

   Thor was growing so angry now that his eyes glowed red.

   Utgarda-Loki said that the old woman that the thunder god wrestled was actually old age and he was very impressed how long Thor kept himself on his feet.

  Finally Thor lost his temper and threw his hammer at Skrymir but the giant, along with his fortress, disappeared and left in his wake a beautiful sight, a great flower-dappled plane that stretched out in front of Thor and his companions. Skrymir and his great hall were no longer to be seen.

 

Great Plain of Flowers in Front of Thor - Viking Dragon Blogs

   

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