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How Thor got his Golden Hammer
In Viking mythology, gold and the crafting of gold was an art
exclusively left to dwarfs, those dwellers of the world of
dark elves, who lived underground in a place called Svartalfaheim.
We begin our little tale by introducing a couple of Viking gods.
Folks...this is Loki. Say hello. Loki, say hello to these nice
people. Loki was the Mischief Maker of the Gods...and he had a
petty side to him. Jealousy and envy often ranked supreme in his
soul. Treachery seeped through his very pores. Not the nicest of
gods. Not someone I would pick as a friend. But Thor...he was a
different kind of god. The god of thunder...the strongest of
them all...the son of Odin...he first showed his amazing strength
soon after birth by tossing ten huge bales of bear pelts as
though they were feathers. And then, last but not least, for
our purposes, was Thor's wife, Sif, who's hair was made of pure
One evening, while Thor was away hunting trolls, Loki got it
into his head to do something truly wicked. Loki was not a
thinking god. Frankly, he was a dummy-head. Do you know what he
did? He went and snuck into Thor's home and cut off all of
Sif's hair while she was sleeping. He then ran off, with her hair
under his cloak. but in his haste, he left behind a sandal. Any
resemblance to Cinderella is strictly coincidence...I think. As
you may all well imagine, Sif was in great distress. She looked
a little butch and didn't like it one bit. Oh, how she wailed and
cried and bemoaned her loss. Hey, you would bemoan too if someone
cut off your golden lock. Golden locks? Goldilocks? Hmmm.
When Thor came home that night, and saw Sif with her crew cut,
he lost his temper. He knew the sandal belonged to Loki. Loki,
by Jormungander! he thundered. That's how Thor spoke when he got
angry. I'm going to kill him. I'm going to break every tooth in
his skull. He got hold of Loki and began shaking him, rattling
his every bone. But Loki pleaded, promising to visit the dark
elves and get Sif new hair, lovelier even than the hair he cut.
But Thor wasn't having any...till Loki also promised him a present
too. Oh, how shallow the gods could be. A present? Well...why not?
So Thor let Loki go and Loki made haste to Svartalfaheim and
approached the dwarfs, who were more skillful than all others
when it came to working with gold and silver ornamented with
diamonds and rubies which they dug from their own mines, except
of course for yours truly, who's quite skillful indeed. (We
interrupt this story for a small commercial plug...heh heh).
Well, it did not take the dwarfs long to make a fine head of
golden hair for Sif. And while they were at it, they also
made a spear for Odin, Thor's dada. This spear, once released,
always found it's mark. They also made a ship for Frey, Odin's
wife, which would always have a favorable wind, but when not
in use, could be folded up and put in one's pocket. Cool
Ahh...Loki was happy. Oh how he whistled a happy tune as he began
to wend his way home. He was a***y little god. But as he traveled
back up through the underground, toward the light of day, he happened
to pass the smithy of a couple of dwarf brothers named Brokk and Sindri.
Heh heh, said Loki in a moment of exquisite***iness. Look at this
stuff I have. You guys think you're good? Hah! I'll bet my head you
can't make three treasures equal to these. You're on, said Brokk. It's
a deal, said Sindri. Uh oh. To coin a phrase, Loki saw he might "be
headed" for trouble. The brother dwarfs began working. They stoked
the fires and pumped the bellows. And in a bit they created a
live boar with bristles of gold. And they pumped some more and
stoked some more, and before you knew it, a ring was drawn out of
the fire. And for their third trick, you guessed it folks, out came
a golden hammer.
Now came the question...who was to judge if their stuff was better
than Loki's stuff. Why...the gods themselves. I won't bore you with
all the details. Suffice it to say, Brokk and Sindri won. The gold
ring, they said, would give birth, so to speak, to eight new precious
gold rings every ninth night. The boar, not only would carry his rider
over land and sea, but in the darkest of night, his golden bristles
would shine so as to always afford light. And the hammer...well...this
was a gift to Thor. Thor could use it to smite any target and the
hammer would never fail to destroy. Not only that, but the golden
hammer, after having done its deed, would always return, of it's own
accord, to Thor's hand. And that was how Thor got his golden hammer.
Now...one more thing. Some of you might want to know if Loki lost
his head. Nah. He got away with it on a technicality. As the
dwarfs were getting ready to sever it from his neck, he said, hey, I
only promised you my head. I said nothing about my neck. You can't
touch my neck. Dilemmas of dilemmas. Even the clever dwarfs could not
get to the head without severing the neck. And so Loki lived on to
accomplish more deeds of devil-do.
And so ends this weeks tale of gold.
Catch you all next week.
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