How Thor Lost His Hammer
: Asgard Stories Tales From Norse Mythology
"Come, Loki, are you ready? My goats are eager to be off!" cried Thor,
as he sprang into his chariot, and away they went, thundering over the
hills. All day long they journeyed, and at night they lay down to rest
by the side of a brook.
When Baldur, the bright sun-god, awoke them in the morning, the first
thing Thor did was to reach out for Miolnir, his magic hammer, which he
had carefully laid by his sid
the night before.
"Why, Loki!" cried he. "Alas, my hammer is gone! Those evil frost giants
must have stolen it from me while I slept. How shall we hold Asgard
against them without my hammer? They will surely take our stronghold!"
"We must go quickly and find it!" replied Loki. "Let us ask Freyja to
lend us her falcon garment."
Now the goddess, Freyja, had a wonderful garment made of falcon
feathers, and whoever wore it looked just like a bird. As you may
suppose, this was sometimes a very useful thing. So Thor and Loki went
quickly back to Asgard, and drove with all speed to Freyja's palace,
where they found her sitting among her maidens. "Asgard is in great
danger!" said Thor, "and we have come to you, fair goddess, to ask if
you will lend us your falcon garment, for my hammer has been carried
off, and we must go in search of it."
"Surely," answered Freyja, "I would lend you my falcon cloak, even if it
were made of gold and silver!"
Then Loki quickly dressed himself in Freyja's garment and flew away to
the land of the frost giants, where he found their king making collars
of gold for his dogs, and combing his horses. As Loki came near, he
looked up and said, "Ah, Loki, how fare the mighty gods in Asgard?"
"The Aesir are in great trouble," replied Loki, "and I am sent to fetch
the hammer of Thor."
"And do you think I am going to be foolish enough to give it back to
you, after I have had all the trouble of getting it into my power?" said
the king. "I have buried it deep, deep, down in the earth, and there is
only one way by which you can get it again. You must bring me the
goddess Freyja to be my wife!"
Loki did not know what to say to this, for he felt sure that Freyja
would never be willing to go away from Asgard to live among the fierce
giants; but as he saw no chance of getting the hammer, he flew back to
Asgard, to see what could be done.
Thor was anxiously looking out for him. "What news do you bring, Loki?"
cried he. "Have you brought me my hammer again?"
"Alas, no!" said Loki. "I bring only a message from the giant king. He
will not give up your hammer until you persuade Freyja to marry him!"
Then Thor and Loki went together to Freyja's palace, and the fair
goddess greeted them kindly, but when she heard their errand, and found
they wished her to marry the cruel giant, she was very angry, and said
to Thor, "You should not have been so careless as to lose your hammer;
it is all your own fault that it is gone, and I will never marry the
giant to help you get it again."
Thor then went to tell Father Odin, who called a meeting of all the
Aesir, for it was a very serious matter they were to consider. If the
king of the giants only knew the power of the mighty hammer, he might
storm Asgard, and carry off the fair Freyja to be his bride.
So the Aesir met together in their great judgment hall, in the palace of
Gladsheim; long and anxiously they talked over their peril, trying to
find some plan for saving Asgard from these enemies. At last Heimdall,
the faithful watchman of the rainbow bridge, proposed a plan.
"Let us dress Thor," said he, "in Freyja's robes, braid his hair, and
let him wear Freyja's wonderful necklace, and a bridal veil!"
"No, indeed!" cried Thor, angrily, "you would all laugh at me in a
woman's dress; I will do no such thing! We must find some other way."
But when no other way could be found, at last Thor was persuaded to try
Heimdall's plan, and the Aesir went to work to dress the mighty
thunder-god like a bride. He was the tallest of them all, and, of
course, he looked very queer to them in his woman's clothes, but he
would be small enough beside a giant. Then they dressed Loki to look
like the bride's waiting-maid, and the two set off for Utgard, the
stronghold of the giants.
When the giant king saw them coming he bade his servants make ready the
wedding feast, and invited all his giant subjects to come and celebrate
his marriage with the lovely goddess Freyja.
So the wedding party sat down to the feast, and Thor, who was always a
good eater, ate one ox and eight salmon, and drank three casks of mead.
The king watched him, greatly surprised to see a woman eat so much, and
"Where hast thou seen
Such a hungry bride!"
But the watchful Loki, who stood near by, as the bride's waiting-maid,
whispered in the king's ear, "Eight nights has Freyja fasted and would
take no food, so anxious was she to be your bride!"
This pleased the giant, and he went toward Thor, saying he must kiss his
fair bride. But when he lifted the bridal veil, such a gleam of light
shot from Thor's eyes that the king started back, and asked why Freyja's
eyes were so sharp.
Again Loki replied, "For eight nights the fair Freyja has not slept, so
greatly did she long to reach here!" This again pleased the king, and he
said, "Now let the hammer be brought and given to the bride, for the
hour has come for our marriage!"
All this time Thor was so eager to get his treasure back that he could
hardly keep still, and if it had not been for what the wily Loki said,
he might have been found out too soon. But at last the precious hammer
was brought and handed to the bride, as was always the custom at
weddings; as soon as Thor grasped it in his hand, he threw off his
woman's robes and stood out before the astonished giants.
Then did the mighty Thunderer sweep down his foes, and many of the cruel
frost giants were slain. Once more the sacred city of Asgard was saved
from danger, for Thor was its defender, and he was careful never again
to let his magic hammer be taken from him.
Besides the hammer, Thor had two other precious things, his belt of
strength, which doubled his power when he tightened it, and his iron
glove, which he put on when he was going to throw the hammer.
"I am the God Thor,
I am the War God,
I am the Thunderer!
Here in my Northland,
My fastness and fortress,
Reign I forever!
"Here amid icebergs
Rule I the nations;
This is my hammer,
Miolnir the mighty;
Giants and sorcerers
Cannot withstand it!
"These are the gauntlets
Wherewith I wield it,
And hurl it afar off;
This is my girdle,
Whenever I brace it
Strength is redoubled!"