The Hunt for the Magic Hammer
This is a story from the old Icelandic legends.
In the myths of Iceland, the universe is made up of 9 worlds. The most important ones for us are Midgard, where humans live, Asgard where all the gods live, and Jotenheim, the home of the Giants.
All these worlds are connected by the tree of life, which is so important that it also has a name - Yggdrasil. And all the seas are held together by a magical snake. Lastly, Asgard and Midgard are joined by a special bridge called Bifrost - the rainbow.
In these myths, people, gods, elves and giants have all kinds of adventures and learn all sorts of useful lessons.
One of the most important characters is a god called Thor. He has a magic hammer called Mjollnir, which means lightning strike, and was given to him by the dwarves. Why is it magic? Because it will never, ever miss.
Believe it or not, we can find his name in a day of the week - can you guess which one?
One morning, Thor woke up.
“Urgh, “ he said, “where’s Mjollnir, my magic hammer?” He turned to his brother, Loki, who was famous for his trickery (not all of it nice). “I haven’t got it!” said Loki. “Honest!”
Thor looked very worried because if he didn’t have the magic hammer, he couldn’t protect the land of the gods - Asgard - from the powerful giants who every now and then would try to come and take it over. And if the giants got to take over Asgard, they would control the whole universe and that was NOT something that anyone was very keen on. Apart from the giants, obviously!
“Where do you have it last?” said Loki, trying to be helpful. “If I knew that, I wouldn’t be asking where it was!” muttered Thor, who was now getting himself into a very grumpy mood. He knew in his heart of hearts that someone had stolen it while he was asleep and he was grumpy because he was secretly very worried.
“I have a plan,” said Loki. We’ll go to the goddess Freya and ask if we can borrow her magic flying coat, made out of falcon feathers. “Great idea!” said Thor. So Loki went to Freya and put on his most charming smile and said,
“Freya, would you be so very kind and let me borrow your magic flying coat?”
She looked at him suspiciously. She knew that Loki wasn’t always the kindest or most helpful god. What do you want it for?” she asked. “I think that the king of the giants, Thrym, has stolen Mjollnir.” Immediately, Freya said yes!
So Loki put on the coat. And because Loki can change his shape into anything he wants, he became a falcon and flew in disguise to Jotenheim, where the giants lived.
King of the Giants was called Thrym (which means NOISY!) There he was, sitting on a hill. “Hello, Loki, how are you?”
Loki said, “Err, not so great, actually, Thrym old chum. I think you’ve nicked my brother’s hammer, Mjollnir. And you know what Thor gets like when he’s in a bad mood.”
Thrym (which means NOISY!) said, “Hahaha, yep! I’ve buried it 8 miles underground! And there is no way I’m giving it back unless the goddess Freya agrees to marry me.”
Loki flew back as fast as he could to Asgard. No-one was very pleased - guess who was most angry? Yes - Freya!
“I’m not some bargaining chip! I’m not marrying a giant because you left your hammer lying around! YOU can marry him!” she said
All the other giants grinned.
“That’s not such a bad idea,” said Heimdall, a very wise god. “We’ll dress you up as a bride and then we can go and get your hammer!”
What? said Thor, as he watched one god after another slowly start to smile and then giggle. “Not on your nelly!”
“OK. Then the giants will come and take Asgard, take over the universe and then we’ve all had it.” said Loki.
“OK,” said Thor. “On one condition.”
“Yeessssss???” said Loki.
“You will have to be my bridesmaid!”
“Deal!” said Loki. And so their adventure began.
All the gods had a great time making Thor look like a bride (not a very pretty one) and Loki look like his bridesmaid. They put special jewels and a veil on him and even gave him Freya’s own magic necklace to make his disguise complete.
Off they went to Jottenheim in Thor’s magic chariot (pulled by magic goats!), to be greeted by Thrym, the noisy giant king.
Thrym was laughing horribly. He thought he had won and it was all Thor could do to keep his temper and pretend to be a blushing bride.
“Hooray - I’m marrying the goddess Freya today!” he bellowed. “Let’s have a party!”
That evening, the giants all drank beer and ate a banquet in celebration. They’re giants. They eat and drink a lot. And over there, there was the pretty bride. Who ate a whole ox, 8 massive fishes AND all the cakes. Then swilled it down with three humungous barrels of beer.
Thrym was a bit surprised by this. He didn’t know Freya had such a hearty appetite. Loki laughed, but was slightly worried that Thor was going to show who he really was, so he said, “Oh, she’s been SO excited about marrying you, Thrym, that she hasn’t eaten for a week!”
“What a woman!” said Thrym. “I like someone with an appetite!” and he crept over to sneak a kiss from his bride-to-be. He lifted Thor’s bridal veil and left back in horror. “Argh! Her eyes! They’re terrifying!”
“Err, Thrym, you can’t speak about your bride like that!” said Loki. “How rude! You’ll upset her. She’s been so excited about marrying you that she hasn’t slept for a week!”
“Oh. I see. Sorry,” said the giant. He didn’t want to upset Freya; she was the most wonderful goddess in the universe, after all.
“I know,” he said, “I must give her a wedding present. Go and get me Mjollnir, Thor’s hammer, and she can hold it and it will be a blessing on our marriage.”
And so, off went some giants and they brought back Thor’s magic hammer, Mjollnir, and put it on Thor’s knee.
Up he leapt, “HAHA I AM THOR!” and threw off his bridal veil.
“Ahhhh!” gasped all the giants in horror.
“Hee hee hee! And I am LOKI!” said the bridesmaid and she whipped off her veil, too!
“OH, no!” screamed all the giants. And before Thor had a chance to do any damage with his magic hammer, they all ran away.
What do you think of what Thrym did when he stole the hammer?
How would you feel if you were Freya and had been promised as a swap?
How do you think Thor felt about the plan?
Could they have come up with a different idea?
What do you think would have happened if Thor had refused to dress up as a bride?