The Treasures of the Gods

Loki’s malice was in reality the occasion of the acquiring by the Æsir
of all the precious weapons and treasures that served them in such good
stead during their warfare with the Giants. Once upon a time Loki cut off all
of Sif’s hair. When Thor found out what had happened, he seized upon Loki


and threatened to crush every bone in his body; he relented only on
Loki’s swearing that he would get the Dark-Elves to fashion for Sif hair from
gold that would grow like other hair. Loki went with his task to certain
Dwarfs known as the Sons of Ivaldi; and they, made not only the hair but
also the ship Skidbladnir and the spear Gungnir. Loki promptly laid a wager
of his own head with another Dwarf, named Brokk, that the Dwarf’s brother
Sindri was not craftsman enough to make three other talismans as precious
as these. Brokk and Sindri repaired to the smithy, where Sindri, laying a
pig’s hide in the forge, asked Brokk to blow the bellows without pause until
he himself returned to take the hide out again. No sooner had Sindri gone
than a fly alighted on Brokk’s arm and stung him; he kept the bellows going
nevertheless, and when Sindri lifted his workmanship from the forge, it
turned out to be a boar with golden bristles. Next he laid some gold in the
forge, asked Brokk to blow as before, and went away; at once the fly came
back, settled on Brokk’s neck, and stung him twice as hard as the first time.
Brokk notwithstanding held out until Sindri returned and lifted from the forge
the gold ring Draupnir. Then he laid some iron in the fire and asked Brokk
to blow, insisting that the work would be spoiled if the blowing stopped; but
the fly came once more, settled between Brokk’s eyes, and stung him on
the eyelids so that the blood ran down and blinded him. He could not
refrain from loosing his hold on the bellows with one hand to drive the fly
away. Just at that moment the smith returned and declared that his
handiwork had been on the very point of coming to naught; he lifted it from
the forge, and it proved to be a hammer. Giving all three pieces to Brokk, he
told him to make his way to Asgard and demand payment of the wager.
The Æsir took their places on the judgment seats and came to the decision
that Odin, Thor, and Frey were to judge between Loki and Brokk. Loki gave
to Odin the spear Gungnir, which never failed of its mark; to Thor he gave
the golden hair, which took root as soon as it was fixed on Sif’s head; and
to Frey he gave the ship Skidbladnir, which always found favoring winds
and which could be folded up and placed in a pocket as occasion might
befall. Brokk gave to Odin the ring Draupnir, from which each ninth night
there dropped eight other rings as heavy as itself. To Frey he gave the boar
Gullinbusti, who was able to run through the air and over the sea more
swiftly than any horse; no night was so black, no murky region so dark as
not to be illumined by his passage, so powerful was the light that shone
from his bristles. To Thor he gave the hammer Mjollnir; with it he could
strike as hard a blow as he pleased at anything that came in his way, and
yet the hammer suffered not the least dent; he could throw it so as always
to hit what he aimed at, and the hammer would return to his hand of its own
power; when he so desired, he could make it small and put it in his pocket;
he had but one fault to find: the shaft was rather short. The Æsir promptly
judged that Brokk had won the wager; in Mjollnir they had acquired the very
best defence against the Rime-Thursar. Loki wanted to redeem his head,
but the Dwarf would not consent. “Catch me if you can,” said Loki; and no
sooner had he spoken than he was far away, for he wore shoes that could
carry him through the air and over the seas. The Dwarf asked Thor to seize
him, and Thor did so. Brokk was about to cut off Loki’s head, but Loki
declared that the wager called for his head only, and not for his neck. Brokk
then began sewing Loki’s lips together. He was unable to make an incision
with his own knife, but with his brother’s awl he managed to make openings
through which, he could sew the mouth up tight; that done, he tore out
through the lips the thong he had used in sewing them together.


Sources:

Peter Andreas Munch: Norse Mythology: Legends of Gods and Heroes. The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York. 1926, pp. 50-53.
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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