Thor's Visit to
Once upon a time, as Loki was flying about for sport in Frigg’s
disguise, he was taken with a desire to see how matters stood on
estates of Geirrœd. Settling on a window ledge, he looked into the
Geirrœd bade one of his men take the bird captive; but this was
easily said than done, and Loki was vastly amused at the proposal.
therefore remained sitting on his perch for a while, thinking
there would be
time enough to escape when the man had clambered up; but when Loki
wanted to fly away, his feet clung to the wall and so he was taken
toils. Geirrœd, on examining his eyes, knew that it was no real
bird, but a
shape-shifter; he spoke to Loki but received no answer. Geirrœd
locked him up in a chest, where he left him for three months
Finally he took him out again, and Loki was compelled to reveal
was. To save his life he promised to induce Thor to pay a visit to
farmstead of Geirrœd without his hammer, his belt of strength, or
gauntlets. It is not known how Loki managed this affair, but
certain it is that
Thor set forth on the journey. Loki and Thjalfi went with him. On
Thor sojourned for a time with the Giantess Grid, who was the
the god Vidar and as such a friend of the Æsir. From her Thor
Geirrœd was a crafty Giant, with whom it was no simple matter to
Accordingly she made Thor a loan of a belt of strength, a pair of
gauntlets, and her own staff, the “Grid-Staff” (Gríðarvolr; volr =
presently arrived at the banks of a great river called Vimur,
across which he was
compelled to wade. Girdling on his belt, he braced himself against
current by means of the staff, while Loki held fast to the belt.
By the time he
had reached midstream, the water flowed over his shoulders. Then
Wax no more, Vimur;
My purpose holds to wade
To the very home of the Giants.
Know this, that as thy waxing
Will wax my Æsir power,
Even as high as the heavens.
Soon he became aware that Geirrœd’s daughter Gjalp was standing
astride the river where it narrowed between rocky walls, and that
swelling of the waters was her work. He picked up a boulder from
of the stream and threw it at her, saying, “A river must be dammed
mouth.” The boulder found its mark, and now the current bore him
to the bank that he was able to catch hold of a mountain ash, by
the aid of
which he pulled himself ashore. From this incident comes the
mountain ash is the salvation of Thor.” Thjalfi — according to a
poem — had seized the thong of Thor’s shield and effected his
this way. When Thor arrived at Geirrœd’s house, he and his
were lodged in a goat-house where there was but a single chair.
down in it, but soon noticed that it was being raised with him
roof. He thrust the Grid-Staff up against a beam and let all his
heavily into the chair, whereupon there at once arose from below a
crashing and wailing; the din came from Gjalp and Greip, the two
of Geirrced, who had lain beneath the chair and whose backs he had
broken. Then quoth Thor:
Once I made use
Of my Æsir might,
Yonder in the home of the
That was when Gjalp and Greip,
Daughters of Geirrœd,
Would fain lift me up to the
Now Geirrœd called Thor into the hall to make trial of his prowess
games of skill. Great fires were burning lengthwise of the room,
and just as
Thor passed in front of Geirrœd, the Giant picked up with his
glowing bolt of iron and threw it at him. Thor caught it in his
and raised it aloft, but Geirrœd leaped for refuge behind a
hurled the bolt with such force that it went through the pillar,
Geirrœd and the wall, and then buried itself in the earth.
Andreas Munch: Norse Mythology: Legends of Gods
and Heroes. The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New
York. 1926, pp. 70-72.
The Younger Eddas:
Skaldskaparmal, p. 121 ff.
Rasmus B. Anderson (Ed.): The Elder Eddas of Saemund
Sigfusson and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson.
Norræna Society, London-New York. 1906.
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