Monday, June 6, 2011

Thor Battles the Serpent of Midgard

Thor Visits the Giant Hymir

King Utgard Loke once foiled Thor’s plans. Angered by the king’s actions, Thor decided to take revenge on the Serpent of Midgard, also called the “gray cat”, the one who had deceived him so cunningly before.

A powerful ice giant lived at the end of heaven. His name was Hymir, or the dusky one *. Thor made his way to the giant, who invited the thunder god to be his guest. This giant was a loathsome host, not only because his wild and shaggy beard was frozen into icicles that gave him a frightful appearance. Thor first met up with the giant in the evening, when he was coming home from the hunt. The look the giant gave the young god was so penetrating and sharp that the tree Thor leant against broke in two. But  Hymir still greeted his guest in a friendly way and prepared a rich meal for him. How amazed he was when Thor immediately devoured two of the three oxen he had slaughtered and drank empty the barrel of mead.

When Hymir saw this hunger, he decided to go fishing the next morning. It would be too difficult to feed the hungry guest if he didn’t find some big fish!

Thor offered to go to sea with the giant if he would give him some bait. When Hymir said Thor should find his own bait, the god seized an oxen grazing near by, ripped off its head, and used this as bait.

Now Thor rowed the boat out to sea. Hymir had not intended to go so far, but Thor knew that they would come close to the Midgard Serpent, that horrible monster enveloping the world that had once stopped Thor in his tracks.

The giant began to fish for whales. Smaller fishes wouldn’t have stilled the hunger of his guest. The thunder god took the steer’s head and hung it on his fishing rod and searched for the serpent. It wasn’t long until the monster snapped at the steer’s head and the rod’s hook penetrated deep into the serpent’s jaws. Thor now pulled on the line with all his strength so that he could pull the horrible beast above the water’s surface and kill it with his hammer. Finally he pulled the head of the serpent above the water. It was horrible to gaze upon the poison-swollen jaws that now opened. The monster stared at his hunter with bulging eyes.

Thor kept his fire-spewing gaze locked on the monster and with his right hand seized his hammer. At the same moment the giant fell upon Thor from behind, who would naturally join forces with anything that could harm the gods.  He cut the fishing line in two, which Thor held in his left hand. The serpent sank back into the sea and terrible groans could be heard gurgling below the waves.

Thor in his rage threw his hammer after the beast. He even hit its head, but he couldn’t kill it. He now turned to the giant, who had cunningly spoiled his revenge. With one blow from his mighty fist, the giant hit Thor so hard on the ear, that he fell over the edge of the boat into the water. The god waded ashore and returned to Asgard, as if nothing had happened.

(*or one in a semi-conscious state)

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