September 06, 2022 4 min read
When we last left them, Thor, Loki, Thjalfi and Roskva had just parted ways with the giant Skrymir, and were close to their destination in Utgard. In this second part of the tale, we’ll see some impressive feats, some trickery, and the true might of Thor and his companions!
Not long after leaving Skyrmir’s company, Thor, Loki, Thjalfi and Roskva arrive at a massive castle, said to be so large they couldn’t see the top without extremely craning their necks! Finding no one at the gate, and being unable to open it themselves, they sneak through the bars, and make their way to the main hall.
Upon entering, they find a feast already underway. The king of the hall, Utgard-Loki spies them, and gives them a forced smile. “You’re late and uninvited, but welcome to stay,” He begins, “But only if you, like each of us, can do something...amazing.”. Loki, ever the sort to tout his own achievements, speaks up first, “I’ll wager I can eat more, and eat faster than any man in this hall.” Utgard-Loki nods, stroking his beard. “Then you shall compete against our man, Logi.”
A trough full of meat of all kinds is brought into the hall, and Loki and Logi seat themselves at either end. The word is given, and each man eats faster than anyone ever has, and they meet in the middle. Loki thinks he has won easily, but Utgard-Loki approaches, and congratulates him on this feat, “But,” he says, “Logi has consumed not only the meat, but the bones, and the trough also. Tough luck, Loki. How about you, son? What can you do better than any man in my hall?” He says, pointing to Thjalfi.
Thjalfi, without hesitation declares that he can run faster than anyone he knows. The king claps his hands, “In that case, you shall race Hugi.”
Thjalfi and Hugi race three times, and though Thjalfi gains ground each time, Hugi makes it to the finish line leagues before the young servant of Thor.
Utgard-Loki tuts, and shakes his head, disappointed, but turns to Thor, “Surely,” he says, “you, of whom we have heard many amazing feats, can bring something to the table?”
Thor nods, standing, “I can out-drink any being.”, he rightfully boasts.
“In that case,” says the king, “see if you can drain our drinking horn.” Utgard-Loki takes a horn from the wall, filling it while he talks, “Most men here can drain it in one swallow. The weakest of us, in two, but never three.” He hands the horn, full to the brim to Thor. The god of thunder tilts the horn back, and drinks until he struggles for breath, but finds barely any of the mead drained. Utgard-Loki urges him to try again, which Thor does, with a similar result. Enraged, Thor tries a third time, managing to only drain the horn enough to not spill.
Humiliated, Thor is offered another challenge by the giant king, “why don’t you see if you can lift my cat there, sleeping by the fire? All our children can, so you should have no trouble.” Thor scoffs, and strides over to the cat, placing both hands beneath it, he lifts, and, to his surprise, and his rage, the cat arches its back as he lifts. He strains to lift the animal off the floor, and only manages to lift one paw. The entire hall erupts in laughter, and Thor, at the end of his tether, shouts, “I will wrestle with any man here and best them each and every time!”
Utgard-Loki shakes his head, “After those poor performances, I doubt any man here would wrestle you, but, we’ll give you one more chance” He gestures, and in comes an elderly old giantess, “Elli, my foster mother is an expert wrestler, despite her age. You may wrestle her.” Thor rushes the old woman, but finds that they are evenly matched! They grapple at a standstill until eventually, Thor drops to a knee. Humiliated, the party retires for the evening, Utgard-Loki allowing them to spend the night, but insisting they leave in the morning.
The next day, Utgard-Loki sees his guests off, but stops them outside the castle walls. “Now that you are gone from my home, you must know: you can never return,” Utgard-Loki says, stone-faced. The group looks at him, humiliated, and confused. “I have deceived you with illusions your entire journey. I was Skrymir, and had I not placed those mountains in my stead when you struck with your hammer, I’d be dead!” Said the giant, gesturing to a mountain with three large clefts. “You Loki, ate faster than anyone ever has, and true, you were beaten, but by a wildfire, not by a man.” He turned to Thjalfi, “Hugi outran you yes, but only because he was actually thought. No man can outrun thought, but you almost did!” Then, he turns to Thor.
“You performed the most terrifying feats of all. You see, that mead you drank wasn’t mead at all, but the sea. And you drank so much, that the entire ocean now ebbs and flows. The cat you hefted was, in fact, Jormungandr, the Midgard-Serpent, whose coils encircle the earth, whose coils you lifted! And that old woman, Elli, was, in fact, old age, with whom you held your own, only bringing you to a knee.” The group stands in stunned silence, “That’s why I will use that same power, to conceal myself, and my castle from you from now on.” And with that, he was gone.
November 29, 2022 3 min read
November 26, 2022 3 min read
October 21, 2022 2 min read