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    The Lay of Thrym          Translated by George Johnston

    1 Wielder Thor
       Awoke angry
       missed his hammer
       mighty thunderer,
       ruffled his mane
       and red whiskers,
       son of Earth took
       to searching about.
    2 These words uttered
       Thor first speaking:
       'Hark you, Loki,
       hear what I say,
       nowhere to see
       neither on Earth
       nor in high heaven;
       hammer is stolen!
    3. Off to fair-faced
       Freya's palace,
       these words uttered
       Thor first speaking:
       'Would fetch, Freya,
       your feather pelt
       to help me find
       my hammer, stolen!'
    Freya spoke:
    4. 'Thee would I give it
       though it were gold
       or either silver
       I would give it.'
    5. Off flew Loki
       - feather pelt thundered -
       out and away
       from Asgard's ramparts,
       journeyed into
       giants' domain.
    Thrym said:

    7. 'How fare Aesir,
       how fare elves?
       Why have you journeyed
       to giants' domain?
    Loki said:

       'Ill fare Aesir,
       elves are ill;
       hammer missing,
       have you hid it?
    Thrym said:

    8 'Hammer, tell Thor,
       hidden have I
       eight rasts deep
       under dark earth;
       under it stays
       unless one bring me
       first the fair-faced
       Frey as bride.'
    9 Off flew Loki
       - feather pelt thundered -
       journeyed out from
       giants' domain
       in again over
       Asgard's ramparts.
       Mid-burg waiting
       met him there Thor,
       these words he uttered
       then first speaking:
    10 'Message have you
       to match your toil?
       Tell us aloft
       your tidings' burden;
       seated messengers
       say more than truth,
       lying down messengers
       lie every word.'
    Loki said:

    11 'Toil have I had
       and tale worth telling:
       your hammer Thrym holds,
       high chief giant;
       under earth stays
       unless one bring him
       first the fair-faced
       Freya as bride.'
    12 Forth to fair-faced
       Freya, greet her;
       these words uttered
       Thor first speaking:
       'Bind you, Freya
       in bridal linen,
       journey we two
       to giants' domain.'
    13 Angry Freya
       only snorted;
       Aesir trembled
       all together;
       broke she Brisings'
       brilliant necklace:
       'Man-eager would you
       make me appear,
       journey with you
       to giants' domain!'
    14 Aesir every
       one to meeting,
       gods and goddesses
       great ones taking
       weighty counsel,
       worry together,
       Thor, his hammer
       how recover?
    15 Word from Heimdal
       whitest of gods,
       seer, like the Vanir:
       'Bind on Thor's brow
       bridal linen!
       knot great Brisings'
       necklace on him.'
    16 Household key-chain
       hang from his belt,
       in queen-clothing
       clad to his shins,
       brooch upon him,
       finest headgear
       to finish off!
    17 Then shouted Thor,
       thunder-voiced god:
       Arrant quean-man
       Aesir will call me
       if I let bind
       bride-linen on me!
    18 Loud spoke Loki
       Laufey's son,
       'Think again, Thor,
       thrust down your words!
       Enter will giants
       Asgard's ramparts
       hither, unless home
       hammer is fetched.'
    19 Bound then was Thor
       with bridal linen,
       knotted great Brisings'
       necklace on him,
       household key-chain
       hung from his belt,
       clad to his shins
       in queen-clothing,
       brooch upon him,
       finest headgear
       to finish off.
    20 'Listen,' said Loki
       Laufey's son,
       'Maidservant must I
       make me with you,
       journey together
       to giants' domain!'
    21 Goats out grazing,
       grooms fetch them in,
       harnessed, hitched up
       haul Thor's wagon.
       Broke mountain tops,
       blazed over fields,
       journeyed Odin's son
       into giants' domain.
    22 Charged his men, Thrym,
       chief of giants:
       'Stand up, mighty ones,
       strew the benches!
       Forth comes fair-faced
       Freya, my queen,
       Njord of Noatun's
       noble daughter.
    23 Gold-horn cattle
       graze my pastures,
       black-coated oxen
       brighten my days;
       jewels, treasures
       jammed in my boxes,
       lack I only
       the lovely Freya.'
    24 On to evening,
       early came guests,
       beakers of ale
       borne in for giants.
       Ate one whole ox
       and eight salmon,
       finished off dainties
       furnished for ladies,
       gulped Sif's husband
       three gallons of mead.
    25 Jaw fell of Thrym,
       giants' chieftain:
       'Ever did bride
       eat more keenly?
       Bride have I not seen
       bite more hugely
       nor maid empty
       mead horns as she!'
    26 Sharp-wit servant
       sat close at hand,
       to answer giant:
       'Fair-faced Freya
       fasted eight days,
       for giants' domain.'
    27 Lifted linen,
       looked for a kiss,
       blinked, rebounded
       back through the hall:
       'Fearsome, flaming
       are Freya's eyes;
       always burn they
       so awesome bright?'
    28 Sharp-wit servant
       sat close at hand,
       to answer giant:
       'Freya, wakeful,
       fair one, eight nights,
       for giants' domain.'
    29 In then comes Thrym's
       ugly sister,
       boldly bride-gift
       bade them give her:
       'Reach me red-gold
       rings from your arms,
       give for my gracious
       good will and love:
       love and good will
       look both for gifts.'
    30 Charged his men, Thrym,
       chief of giants:
       'Bring in hammer
       bride to hallow,
       lay in her lap
       lordly Mjollnir,
       vow we together
       Var to witness.'
    31 Bosom laughter
       bellowed from Thor,
       heart of iron
       hammer brandished.
       First he felled Thrym
       foremost giant,
       all his kin then
       in order laid.
    32 Slew the sister,
       sullen old maid,
       bride gift gave her
       begged at table,
       stroke on the head
       instead of coin,
       blow of hammer
       for bounty of rings.
       Home came Odin's son's
       hammer again.





Copyright © George Johnson, 1990.
Originally published in Endeared by Dark:
reprinted by permission of the author.