Story: Theft of Thor's Hammer
Pantheon: Norse Mythology

Long ago, before humanity became thinking and responsible, the hammer of Thor was stolen by the giant Thrym. Thor's hammer represents power not only of destruction but also of creation, including the power to procreate: hence Mjollnir is the symbol of marriage. Loki, agent of the gods and spokesman for the giants, is sent by Thor to find the hammer and forthwith borrows Freya's "feather-guise" and sets out to locate the irreplaceable emblem of creation. He returns with the tidings that Thrym has indeed stolen Mjollnir and hidden it deep in the earth. In exchange for its return the matter giant demands that Freya become his bride. Freya, besides being the indwelling spirit of Venus, and sister of Freyr, the earth deity, represents, as we have seen, the higher intelligence of our humanity; she guides and protects our human race which is her Brisinga-jewel.

Hearing Thrym's outrageous demand, the goddess snorted with such vehemence that the precious gem was shattered. Indeed, all the gods, meeting to deal with this emergency, greeted the giant's ultimatum with consternation. During their deliberations, Heimdall proposed that Thor disguise himself as Freya in bridal attire so that he might himself retrieve his property. His futile protests are overruled by the assembled deities, and Thor reluctantly submits to the indignity of being garbed in fine linen and, wearing two rounded stones on his bosom, to the hall of Thrym, accompanied by Loki attired as a bridesmaid.

During the nuptial festivities the giant is appalled by the bride's prodigious appetite and thirst. Only Loki's ready wit saves the situation as he explains that Freya has fasted long in anticipation of this happy event. When Thrym bent to kiss his bride and, raising the veil, met the Thundergod's lightning glare, he reeled back the length of the hall from the impact. Again Loki intervened with an explanation which fortunately satisfied the giant (who evidently was a bit dimwitted).

Thrym ordered Mjollnir to be brought and laid on the bride's lap to consecrate the marriage. And so it was that the power of Thor was restored to the god after its misuse in the sphere of matter by a race not yet awake to its responsibility as a humanity. It may not be out of place here to note that our own hedonistic age is apparently not the first to misuse creative and destructive power. The creativity symbolized by Thor's hammer -- the power to set in motion vortices of action to contain life and organize forms for gods to occupy -- can obviously be applied on many levels of existence. Our earth provides analogous examples: from the proliferation of mineral crystals through the many ingenious devices plants have for disseminating spores and seeds; through the seasonable mating of animals to human sexuality, each stage of development opens up more opportunities than the last for creativity. We humans are not limited to the physical world in our creations; we enjoy greater freedom of creativity than at any previous stage of progress: our versatile intelligence and exclusively human intuition are gateways to worlds of science and art, to reaches of inspiration and philosophic and spiritual ideals not available to "the dwarfs in Dvalin's train." This places us in a position of responsibility for the governance of our earth and the kingdoms beneath the human which follow our lead.

The Lay of Thrym

The Hurler woke, went wild with rage,
For, suddenly, he missed his sacred Hammer:
He tore his beard, tossed his red locks,
Groped about but could grasp nothing.
Thus, then did Thor speak: 'Loki, Loki, listen well.
Unmarked by men, unmarked by gods,
Someone has stolen my sacred Hammer.'

Fast they went to Freya’s quarters.
Then said Loki, Laufey's Son:
'Freya, will you lend me your feathered cloak
To fly in search of the sacred Hammer?'

'I would give it you gladly, were it gold not feathers,
Part with it now, were it pure silver.'

Then Loki flew - the feathers whistled -
Out of the door of the Hall of Gods
On and on to the Hall of Giants.
There, on a howe, Thrym sat,
Braiding gold collars for his kennel of hounds,
Unteasing the manes of the mares he loved:
'How fare the gods? How fare the elves?
What brings you on this journey to Gianthome?'

'Ill fare the gods, ill fare the elves.
Have you taken and hidden the Hammer of Thunder?'

'I have taken and hidden the Hammer of Thunder
Eight miles deep, way under the ground:
Henceforth no god shall get it back
Till you fetch me Freya for my future bride.'

Then Loki flew - the feathers whistled -
Out of the door of the Hall of Giants
On and on to the Hall of Gods.
Meeting him there in the middle court,
Thus then did Thor speak:
'Do you come with a message, not mischief only?
Stand where you are. Let me hear your tidings.
He who sits is seldom truthful,
Who stretches at length a liar always.'

'I come with a message, not mischief only.
Thrym stole your Hammer to hide it away.
Henceforth no god shall get it back
Till we fetch him Freya for his future bride.'

Fast they went to Frey ás quarters.
Then said Loki, Laufey's Son:
'Busk yourself, Freya, in a bridal veil.
You must journey with me to Gianthome.'

Freya snorted with fierce rage,
The hall shook and shuddered about them,
Broken to bits was the Brising Necklace:
'In the eyes of the gods a whore I should seem,
If I journeyed with you to Gianthome.'

The gods hastened to their Hall of Judgment,
Gathered together, goddesses with them,
Sat in council to consider how
To recover the holy Hammer of Thunder.

Heimdal said, sagest of gods,
Who could see the future as his fathers did:
'We must busk Thor in a bridal veil,
Hang about him the Brising Necklace,
Bind to his waist a bunch of keys,
Hide his legs in a long dress,
Broad brooches to his breast pin,
With a neat cap cover his locks.'

Thus, then, did Thor speak:
'With coarse laughs you will call me a She
If I busk myself in a bridal veil.'

Loki replied, Laufey's Son:
'Be silent, Thunderer, say no more.
Without the Hammer Asgard is lost.
The giants will dwell here, soon drive us out.'

They busked Thor then in a bridal veil,
Hung about him the Brising Necklace,
Bound to his waist a bunch of keys,
Hid his legs in a long dress,
Broad brooches to his breast pinned,
With a neat cap covered his locks.

Then said Loki, Laufey's Son:
'I also shall come as your handmaid with you,
We will journey together to Gianthome.'

Quickly the goats were gathered from pasture,
Hurried into harness: eagerly they ran.
Fire scorched the earth, the fells cracked,
As Thunderer journeyed to Gianthome.

Thus, then did Thrym speak:
'Stand up giants, lay straw on the benches.
They may well bring me my bride now,
Njörd's Daughter, from Noatun.
In my fields there graze gold-horned cattle,
All-black oxen, for my eye's delight.
Much is my treasure, many my gems
Nothing I lack save lovely Freya.'

Evening came: ale and food
Were brought to the benches.
The bride quickly
Ate a whole ox and eight salmon,
The sweet dainties reserved for the women,
And more than three measures of mead drank.
Thus, then did Thrym speak:
'Was ever bride with appetite so keen,
Ever a bride who took such big mouthfuls,
When was more mead drunk by one maid alone?'

Loki, the handmaid, leaning forward,
Found the words to befuddle the giant:
'She has not eaten for eight long nights,
So wild her longing for the wedding day.'

Thrym lifted her veil, leaned to kiss her,
Back he leaped, the full length of the hall:
'How fierce the look in Freya’s eyes!
Dangerous the fire that darts out of them.'

Loki, the handmaid, leaning forward,
Found the words to befuddle the giant:
'She has had no sleep for eight long nights,
So wild her longing for the wedding day.'

The luckless sister of the luckless giant
Dared to beg for bridal gifts:
'Give me your rings of red gold,
The rings from your fingers, my favor to win,
My good will, my grace and blessing.'

Thus, then, did Thrym speak:
'To bless the bride now bring the Hammer,
Lay Mjöllnir upon the maiden's lap
And wish us joy with joined hands.'

Then in his heart Thunderer laughed,
The savage one, when he saw his Hammer.
First Thrym he felled to the ground,
Then all his kin he killed in turn,
Laid low his luckless sister
Who had dared to beg for bridal gifts:
Instead of gold she got a blow,
Instead of rings a rap on the skull.
Thus Thor came to recover his Hammer.

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