Thrym Steals Mjollnir

At length it so happened that Thor found an opportunity to steal into
Jotunheim and glut his hatred of the Giants. He had lain down to sleep, and
when he awoke he missed his hammer. Enraged beyond bounds, he at
once sought the advice of Loki, who promised to go out in search of the
hammer provided Freyja would lend him her bird plumage. Freyja being
willing, Loki flew off to Jotunheim and came into
the presence of Thrym, king of the Thursar, who was sitting on a mound
braiding gold cords for his dogs and clipping the manes of his horses.
“What news among the ∆sir? What news among the Elves? And what
brings you to Jotunheim alone?” asked Thrym. “There is something wrong
somewhere,” Loki answered; “you do not happen to have hidden Thor’s
hammer, do you?” “Yes,” retorted Thrym, “I have hidden it eight miles deep
in the earth, and no man will get it before he brings me Freyja to wife.” Loki
brought the bad news back to Asgard. He then went with Thor to ask Freyja
if she would consent to become the wife of Thrym; highly incensed, she
gave them a curt “No” for answer. The ∆sir accordingly met in conclave to
determine what steps were to be taken; no one was able to suggest
anything to the purpose until Heimdal proposed that they should dress Thor
to take the place of Freyja, decking him out to that end with the Necklace of
the Brisings and other appropriate ornaments. Thor pronounced the plan
far beneath his dignity but at last gave in; so they dressed him in bridal
linen, adorned him with the Necklace of the Brisings, hung jingling keys at
his belt, put a kerchief on his head, and wrapped him in the long garments
of a woman. Loki, in the habit of a handmaiden, followed in his train.
Hitching Thor’s goats to the cart, the two drove off at a pace that split
mountains asunder and struck the earth into flames. As they drew near the
domain of the Thursar king, Thrym bade the Giants rise to their feet and
deck the benches for the coming of the bride. “In my possession are
cows with gold horns, black bulls, heaps of treasure, and mounds of
jewels,” said Thrym; “Freyja is now my sole desire.” When evening had
come, food was borne in before the two guests. Thor by himself ate a
whole ox, eight salmon, and all of the delicacies prepared for the women,
and washed it all down with three crocks of mead. “Did any one ever see a
bride take bigger and harder bites or drink more mead?” asked Thrym. “For
eight days on end,” answered Loki, “Freyja has not tasted a morsel, so
great has been her longing after Jotunheim.” Thrym now bowed his head
beneath the kerchief to kiss the bride; but she shot such piercing glances
upon him that he started back. “Why does Freyja look so grim? Her eyes
dart fire.” “Eight nights on end,” answered Loki, “Freyja has not slept a
wink, so great has been her longing after Jotunheim.” Just at that moment
the hideous old grandmother came in and asked for a bridal gift. Thrym
gave commands that Mjollnir should be borne in and laid on the bride’s lap
so that the wedding might go forward. When Thor once more beheld his
hammer, his heart laughed within him. First he slew Thrym, then the old
beldame, and thereafter he crushed into atoms all the kindred of the
Giants. Thus Thor got his hammer back again after all.


Sources:

Peter Andreas Munch: Norse Mythology: Legends of Gods and Heroes. The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York. 1926, pp. 76-78.
Henry Adam Bellows: The Poetic Edda. The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York, 1923, pp. 174 ff.

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