The Lay of Thrym

1874 C. P. Cranch in The Atlantic Monthly, no. 33  




Wroth was Vingthor when, awaking, he his mighty hammer missed;

Felt about him, shook his beard, and smote his forehead with his fist.

"Hear, O Loki, what I tell thee, known to none above, below:

Stolen is the Æsir-hammer. Swift to Freyia let us go! "


To the dwelling of fair Freyia straight they flew as swift as wind.

"Lend thy feather-dress, O Freyia — I my hammer fain would find"

"Though 'twere woven gold or silver, I would lend it," Freyia said.

Then with whistling plumage Loki over plains and mountains sped;

Flew beyond the Æsirs'[1]  dwellings, till he came to Jotun-lands.

On a mound sat Thrym, the lord of Thursar, plaiting golden bands —

Plaiting collars for his greyhounds, smoothing down his horses' manes.

"Why to Jotunheim alone, O Loki, com'st thou o'er the plains?"

"Hast thou hidden Vingthor's hammer? Ill betide thee if thou hast!"

"I have hidden Vingthor's hammer in the earth full many a rast:

None shall get it thence again, though he should labor all his life,

Till he brings to me fair Freyia for my own and wedded wife."


Then with whistling plumage Loki flew beyond the Jotun-land,

Till within the Æsirs' courts he saw the mighty Vingthor stand.'

'Thou hast labored — hast thou prospered ? Toll thy tidings from the air:

They who sit are often false, although their speech be smooth and fair.

“I have labored — I have prospered. Thrym thy hammer took, O king.

None shall get it thence, save he who Freyia for his wife will bring."


Forth to Freyia then they flew, and first of all these words they said:
"Put thy bridal raiment on, O Freyia; thou with Thrym must wed.
Ride with us to Jotunheim; the Thursars' lord shall be thy spouse."
Then did Freyia chafe with anger, and she knit her queenly brows,
And the Æsirs' palace trembled as she paced it through and through;
And the famed Brisinga necklace from her neck in shivers flew.
 I should be the frailest woman, and the basest of my time,
If with thee, in bridal raiment, I should ride to Jotunheim! "


Straightway then in council gathered all the Æsir to debate
How Hlorridi's[2] hidden hammer they should rescue from its fate.
Heimdall, then, of Æsir brightest, thus amid the gods did speak:
‘Let Thor dress in bridal raiment, with the necklace on his neck.
By his side the keys shall jingle, round his knees a gown be spread,
Jewels sparkle on his breast, a golden coif upon his head."


Then outspoke the mighty Vingthor: "Shall a woman's part be mine?
For the gods will smile to see me robed in bridal raiment fine."

Then spake Loki: "Mighty Thor, such words do not become thee well.
If thy hammer thou shalt lose, in Asgard will the Jotuns dwell."

So in bridal robes they dressed him; like a maiden he was led;
By his side the keys did jingle, round his knees a gown was spread;
Jewels sparkled on his breast, a golden coif upon his head.
Then said Loki, "I will aid thee as thy servant for a time,
And we two will ride together till we come to Jotunheim."


Swift the goats were caught and harnessed; swift and far their feet did run.
Rocks were shivered—earth ablaze. To Jotunheim rode Odin's son.
Thrym, the lord of Thursar, shouted, "Up now, every Jotun's son!
Freyia for my wife they bring me — Niörd's maid from Noatun.
Hither bring the gold-horned cattle, oxen black, the Jotun's pride.
Treasures I have many — only needed Freyia for my bride."


In the evening came the Jotuns. Beer for them was brought in pails.
Thor alone devoured an ox, and salmons eight with bones and scales.
All the sweetmeats women fancy disappeared with wondrous speed;
While he quenched his thirst by drinking three huge horns of foaming mead.
Then said Thrym, the lord of Thursar, "Never in my life I saw

Maidens drink such draughts of mead, or brides with such a hungry maw!"
Said the crafty Loki, sitting as a handmaid all the time,
"Eight nights Freyia naught has eaten, longing so for Jotunheim.


'Neath her veil Thrym stooped to kiss her, but sprang back along the hall: "Why are Freyia's eyes so piercing? Sparks of fire my heart appall! "

Said the crafty Loki, sitting as a handmaid all the time —

"Eight nights Freyia has not slept, so eager she for Jotunheim."


In then came the Jotun's sistcr — for a bride-gift dared to crave.

"Give me all thy ruddy rings, if thou my love wouldst seek to have."


"Bring the hammer now! " Thrym shouted. "Let us consecrate the bride;

Lay Miöllner[3] on her knee. Naught can now our lives divide."


In his breast then laughed Hlorridi, when his hammer he beheld.
Up he rose, and slew the Jotuns: all the Jotun race he felled;
Felled the Jotun's aged sister, who a bride-gift sought to gain:
She, instead of golden rings, by Vingthor's hammer stroke was slain.
So got Odin's son his hammer from the Jotuns back again.

[1] Æsirs — gods of the Scandinavian mythology.

[2] One of the names of Thor.

[3] The hammer