Of Thor and Giants

Tales of Thor, Loki and the Giants

Of Thor and Giants

The following tales contained mainly Norse myth of Thor and Loki and about their adventure and dealings with giants and the dwarves (dwarfs).

All of the stories come from two main sources, the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda.

Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic poet and historian, wrote the Prose Edda (1222-23). Snorri was believed to be a chieftain. The Prose Edda was sometimes called the Younger Edda or Snorra Edda. It has been divided into two sections: the Gylfaginning (“The Beguiling of Gylfi”), and Skáldskaparmál (“The Language of Poetry”).

The Poetic Edda was also called the Elder Edda. There were over 30 poems in the Poetic Edda, which was divided into mythological and heroic sections. In this page, we are interested in the mythological section, which contained a number of myths about the gods dealing with giants and dwarves.

There maybe one or two tales which are unrelated to Thor or Loki, such as the Wooing of Gerd, where the god Freyr send his servant to woo Gerd. But since Gerd is a giantess, the story is not out of place.

You may find other tales dealing with the giants or dwarves in relation to Odin, in the Search for Wisdom page.

Please note that a few of the tales maybe found in other pages. So I have placed links here to other pages. This saves me the trouble of repeating the same tales twice.

Construction of Asgard, see Norse Creation
Gifts of the Dwarves
Freyja and the Brisingamen, see Dwarves, Brisings
Fighting Illusions
Giant of Clay
Fishing Expedition
Blushing Bride
Apples of Youth      
Wooing of Gerd


Related Pages:
Search for Wisdom (myth about Odin)



Gifts of the Dwarves

Thor was married to Sif, the lovely goddess. Sif had beautiful, long, golden hair. It was something she took great pride of.

Loki, the mischievous fire-god, loved playing practical jokes on the gods. One night, Loki decided to cut off all Sif’s hair.

What Loki didn’t count on, was Thor’s temper. When Thor found his wife weeping over the lost of her golden hair, the thunder-god caught Loki and threatened to beat and break every bone in Loki’s body. Loki promised Thor to replaced Sif’s beautiful hair with hair of gold.

Loki sought the master dwarven craftsmen, the sons of Ivaldi. The hair or wig was made out of finely spun gold. The magical property of the gold hair was that it was alive like real hair, which would grow naturally.

The sons of Ivaldi also created two other splendid gifts for the Aesir. They created the indestructible spear, called Gungnir, for Odin. They also created a magical ship for Freyr, which was called Skidbladnir. The remarkable thing about Skidbladnir was that it was a collapsible ship, which Freyr could fold up to a size smaller enough to carry in his pocket.

As Loki carried the gifts to the Aesir, Loki encountered another two dwarfs – Brokk and Eiti. Loki boasted of the gifts and craftsmanship of the sons of Ivaldi. Loki made a wager on his head that Brokk and Eiti and could not make better three gifts than those of the sons of Ivaldi. Brokk and Eiti agreed to the wagers.

First, Eiti placed a pig’s hide in the forge, he told his brother to keep working on the bellows, until he completed the work. As they started working, a fly (Loki?) tried to distract Brokk from blowing air into the forge fire, by biting into Brokk’s left arm. Brokk ignored the fly and continuously worked on the bellows. From the hide, bristles of gold sprout out and giving life to a wild boar. The boar was called Gullinbursti, “golden bristles”. The boar had the ability to run faster than any horse, across the sky or over water. The gold bristle ensured that it was bright enough to see where it was going, even at the darkness night.

During the second piece of work, the fly landed this time on Brokk’s neck, nibbling harder than before, but Brokk ignored the fly and kept working on the bellows. Eiti made a gold ring called the Draupnir. The ring had the ability to make eight other rings of the same size, every ninth night.

When they were working on a third item, the fly now landed between Brokk’s eyes, and nibbled on his eyelid. Blood dripped into his eye, so Brokk quickly rubbed the blood out of his eye and swatted the fly away, before he continued to work the bellows. Eiti had placed a large piece of iron in the forge and creating hammer called Mjollnir. Eiti told Brokk that he nearly ruined this work. The only flaw of the hammer was that the handle was quite short.

The Mjollnir was the strongest weapon in the world. It would not fail to hit any target, either struck at or thrown at. If the hammer were thrown, it would always return to its hands, after striking its target.

Eiti sent his brother with the gifts to Asgard. Loki and Brokk gave the gifts to the Aesir. Odin, Thor and Freyr acted as judges over the gifts, to see which was the best of them all.

Loki gave the hair or wig of gold was given to Sif, to appease Thor’s anger towards him. The collapsible ship, Skidbladnir, was given to Freyr, and Loki gave irresistible spear, (Gungnir), to Odin.

Brokk gave the boar with gold bristles (Gullinbursti) to Freyr, the gold ring (Draupnir) to Odin, and the Mjollnir to Thor.

The three judges found that the Mjollnir was the best gift, since it gave the person greatest chances against the giants at Ragnarok.

Losing the wagers, Loki tried to flee, but was caught by Thor. Odin decided that Loki losing his head was a bit drastic, so Brokk decided upon a different measure. Brokk sealed Loki’s mouth shut with wire.

Related Information
Skaldskaparmal, from the Prose Edda, was written by Snorri Sturluson.
Related Articles
Loki, Sif, Thor, Odin, Freyr, the sons of Ivaldi, Brokk and Eiti.

The Forge of The Ring

The Forge of The Ring
Alan Lee
Illustration, 1984


Fighting Illusions

Thor and Loki was journeying to Utgard, a city of Jötunheim. On their journey they were given lodging from a poor farmer, named Egil, and his family. The peasant had a son named Thialfi and a daughter named Roskva. Thor killed his two magical goats, and skinned it. After supper, Thor tossed the whole bones of the goat on the goat hides, and told the family not to touch the bones. As the guests slept, Thialfi was still hungry, took the thighbone, split it and sucked the marrow out.

In the morning, Thor woke up and cast a spell using the Mjollnir, and brought both goats back to life. However one of the goats was crippled. Astonished and terrified by the event, Egil offered Thialfi and Roskva in bondage as servants, to appease the angry god.



So Thor took his new bondservants with him in their journey to Utgard. They had to take shelter for the night in the huge forest. They found what was a deserted building and found themselves a place to sleep.

At midnight, they were wakened by an earthquake that shook the whole building. They heard some more rumbling and groaning.

At dawn Thor went out and discovered the cause of the noises. Thor found a sleeping giant, not far where they took shelter. The giant’s snoring was deafening.

Thor was about to attack with the Mjollnir until the giant woke up and stood up. For once, Thor was afraid to attack a giant, because it stood many time taller than any giant he had ever seen.

The giant was called Skrymir and he seemed to be a friendly enough giant. Thor also discovered that they were not sleeping in a building, but in Skrymir’s immense glove.

Skrymir recognised Thor and told the thunder-god that he would like travel with them. Thor did not make any objection. Actually Thor would never consider arguing over the issue with a giant as tall as Skrymir.

When they stopped for a night, Skrymir told he would like to sleep. The snoring was so loud that Thor swung his mighty, but very small, hammer at Skrymir’s head. Skrymir woke and asked Thor did foliage of leaf fall on his head.

At midnight Thor and his other companions could not sleep, because the Skrymir was snoring so loudly that the whole forest shook. Again, Thor irritably struck the sleeping giant, dead-centre of crown of his head. Skrymir woke and asked Thor did an acorn fall on his head. Thor fearfully replied that he just only woken up and told the giant to back to sleep.

Thor was determined that the next time he struck the giant, Skrymir would not wake up. By morning, Thor was becoming very irritable from not getting any sleep last night. Thor once again struck Skrymir, this time on the temple, with all his might.

Again, the Mjollnir did not harm Skrymir, who woke up and asked if some stick had fallen on his face while he was sleeping. Thor finally admitted it was futile trying to kill this enormous giant.

Skrymir decided that they should go their separate ways, and gave them direction to Utgard. Thor thought that he would be happy to never see Skrymir again.



Thor and his companions arrived at Utgard. Utgarda-Loki was the king of the giants.

Utgarda-Loki told them he would allow them stay at Utgard, if they had any special skill. Loki declared he could out-eat any giant. Loki ate all of the meat from the bone, but his rival named Logi, ate meat, bone and even the trencher. Obviously Loki lost to Logi.

Then Thialfi challenged the giant in a foot race, but he lost all three races against the giant named Hugi, each time doing worse than the last time.

Next, Thor challenged them a drinking contest. Utgarda-Loki had a servant bring out a long drinking horn. Anyone able to empty the horn in one draught would be considered a great drinker, and a good drinker in two draughts.

Try as he might, Thor could not empty the horn in one draught. The frustrated thunder-god couldn’t even finish it in two or even three draughts.

Thor was becoming quite belligerent, preferring to fight someone. Utgarda-Loki challenged Thor if could lift a large cat. Thor struggled and tried to lift the large cat off the ground, but failed. All he succeeded was lifting one of the cat’s legs.

Thor insisted on fighting someone. Utgarda-Loki, however, sent an old crone named Elli to wrestle with Thor. Thor could not even move the crone, but the old woman managed to pull him off balance.

Thor was ready to bash the giant for the embarrassment, but Utgarda-Loki placating offered the angry god and his companions a place to sleep.

In the morning, after Thor and his friends ate their breakfast, the king of the giants took them outside of Utgard.

Utgarda-Loki revealed the truth of the events of the last few days. Utgarda-Loki told Thor that he was Skrymir, the giant they met in the forest.

Skrymir was actually an illusion. Had Thor struck right on the mark, he would have killed Utgarda-Loki. The contestants that Thor and his companions had compete against, were also illusions.

Loki did not lose the eating contest to a giant (Logi), but to a wildfire. While Thialfi raced against Utgarda-Loki’s thought, not the giant Hugi.

The other end of drinking horn was out in the sea. What Thor was drinking was the sea. The level of the sea had actually dropped considerably from Thor’s deep draughts.

As for the cat. Well, one of the cat’s legs, Thor managed to lift off the ground was actually the tail of the Midgard Serpent. And the old crone (Elli) Thor was wrestling with, was nothing but “old age” itself.

Utgarda-Loki was really quite amazed what Thor managed to achieve. Utgarda-Loki told Thor to leave Jötunheim. He told Thor that he would protect his domain again with deception and illusion if the thunder-god ever returned.

Thor was outraged by the deception, and would have killed Utgarda-Loki, had the giant not vanished out of thin air. Thor was going to storm Utgard, but the castle also vanished. Thor had no choice but to return home.

Related Information
Utgarda-Loki, Utgardaloki.
Skrymir, Fialar (illusionary giant).
Gylfaginning, from the Prose Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson.
Harbardzljod (“Harbard’s Song”) from the Poetic Edda.
Hymiskvida (“Hymir’s Poem”) from the Poetic Edda.
Related Articles
Thor, Loki.
Midgard Serpent.

Thor striking the sleeping Skrymir

Thor Striking the Sleeping Skrymir
(Thialfi & Roskva in the foreground, near the
giant’s glove)
Peter Hurd
Illustration, 1882


Giant of Clay

Odin encountered the giant Hrungnir at Griotunagardar (frontier of Giantland), where he told the frost-giant there was no better horse in the Giantland than his own (Sleipnir). Angry at this challenge Hrungnir pursued Odin in his own horse Gullfaxi.

When he arrived in Asgard, the Aesir welcomed him, with Freyja serving him ale that Thor usually drank from. As Hrungnir became drunk, he was boasting and becoming more hostile. Hrungnir told the Aesir that he would move Valhalla to Jötunheim, and destroy Asgard and the gods. However, he would keep Freyja and Sif as his concubines.

Thor arrived and challenged Hrungnir to fight him. Hrungnir agreed, only if Thor met him at Griotunagardar, since he had not brought weapon with him.

At Griotunagardar, the giants did not like the prospect of Hrungnir losing the fight to Thor, so they created a giant made of clay, which they called Mokkurkalfi. This clay-giant stood nine leagues tall and three leagues wide, and it had the heart of a large mare.

Hrungnir had a heart of stone. His head was also made of stone. The giant had a shield of stone and a large whetstone as a weapon.

Thor saw Mokkurkalfi standing beside Hrungnir. However, instead of frightening Thor, the sight of Thor caused the clay-giant to feel enough fear to wet himself. Thor came with his servant named Thialfi, who ran ahead to speak with Hrungnir.

Thialfi deceived Hrungnir that Thor was coming towards him, from underground route and attack the giant from below. Hrungnir believed Thialfi, so he placed his shield on the ground and stood on top of it.

Thor charged across the plain and threw Mjollnir at Hrungnir, at the same time the giant hurled his whetstone at the thunder-god. The Mjollnir broke the whetstone in two. Half of it landed on the ground; the other half struck and lodged itself in Thor’s head. Thor fell to the ground, at the impact of the whetstone.

The Mjollnir continued its flight and shattered Hrungnir’s stone head. Hrungnir fell dead and landed on top of Thor. The giant’s legs broke off from his body, the legs pinning Thor’s neck to the ground. Thialfi easily despatched Mokkurkalfi.

Thor had trouble getting the Hrungnir’s heavy legs off him. Thialfi tried to remove the legs off, but couldn’t budge it. None of the Aesir, who arrived could help Thor, until Magni, the three-year-old son of Thor and the giantess Jarnsaxa, arrived and removed the legs from Thor. Thor rewarded his son by giving Hrungnir’s horse (Gullfaxi) to Magni.

Thor returned to Thrudvangar, to have the whetstone removed from his head by the sorceress Groa, wife of Aurvandil the Bold. Aurvandil the Bold had been riding on a basket, which Thor was carrying, when the god wade through the river Elivager, in the Giantland. Since one of Aurvandil’s feet was sticking out of the basket, one toe got frozen. Thor broke off Aurvandil’s toe, and threw it into the sky, becoming a star, called Aurvandil’s Toe. But Thor distracted Groa with this tiding, during her spell, so that the whetstone remained in his head.

Related Information
Hrungnir – “brawler”.
Mokkurkalfi – “cloud-calf”.
Skaldskaparmal, from the Prose Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson.
Harbardzljod (“Harbard’s Song”) from the Poetic Edda.
Related Articles
Thor, Odin, Freyja, Sif, Magni, Hrungnir, Groa, Aurvandil the Bold. Sleipnir.



One day, while Loki was flying through the wood in the form of a falcon, when he was captured by the frost-giant named Geirrod. Geirrod confined Loki within a chest for three months, almost starving Loki to death. Geirrod refused to release Loki, until his prisoner agreed to persuade Thor to come to his domain.

Thor unsuspectingly agreed to go to Geirrod’s court, without the Mjollnir, his girdle of might, which was called Megingjord, and pair of iron gauntlets, called Járngreipr.

Fortunately, they spent the night in the home of a friendly giantess named Grid. Grid told Thor that Geirrod had intended to kill him. Grid gave Thor her unbreakable magic staff, her own girdle of might and pair of iron gloves.

Thor and Loki tried to cross the river of Vimur. The water kept rising. Loki was hanging about Thor’s girdle of might. Thor realised that a giantess named Gialp, daughter of Geirrod was causing the river to rise. Thor threw a rock at Gialp to stem the river flow. Reaching the riverbank, Thor pulled himself out of the water from the rowan bush.

Thor and Loki arrived at Geirrod’s home. They were taken to a chamber with only a single chair. Thor sat on this chair. Suddenly he felt the chair rising up toward the roof. Thor would have been crush to death, between the chair and roof, but Thor quickly put the Grid’s staff on the rafter, before pushing hard against the rafter. Thor heard a couple of loud crack before he heard scream of agony. Looking down under his seat, Thor saw Gialp and Greip, the two daughters with their backs broken.

Geirrod arrived at the other side of the chamber. Geirrod picked up a glowing molten iron out of a fire, with tongs. Geirrod threw the iron at Thor with all his might, but Thor easily caught the molten iron with iron glove (Járngreipr) that Grid had given him. Geirrod ran and hid behind the iron pillar for protection. Thor threw the molten iron back at Geirrod. The molten iron punctured through the iron pillar and Geirrod, killing the giant.

Related Information
Geirrod – “spear-reddener”.
Skaldskaparmal, from the Prose Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson.
Related Articles
Thor, Loki, Grid.


Fishing Expedition

Aegir was holding a feast for the gods, but did not have enough ale to be able to invite everyone. Tyr suggested that they go to his father, the giant Hymir, who had a magic cauldron, which would allow Aegir to brew almost unlimited ale.

Thor and Tyr had to fetch a cauldron to join Aegir’s feast. The giant Hymir possessed the cauldron. After a series of arguments and tests between Thor and Hymir, they set out to sea test their strength.

Note that Snorri Sturluson’s version of this tale, he left all details concerning about Aegir’s feast and winning the cauldron.

In the small boat, Thor used rope and a large hook. Thor had killed the largest ox in Hymir’s herd, using an ox’s head as bait; Thor tossed the hook into the sea. Soon, he caught Jörmungand and titanic struggle between the thunder god and the Midgard Serpent, causing the boat to rock dangerously. Hymir was horrified when Thor brought the serpent’s head out of the water. As the god and serpent faced one another, Thor tried to smash his hammer on monster’s head.

Hymir, who saw Jörmungand, was frightened almost to death. There are two different version of what happened next.

According to the version from Hymiskvida (Poetic Edda), Thor managed to deliver one mighty blow, but failed to kill Jörmungand. Jörmungand escaped back into the sea when Thor’s line snapped. Thor and Hymir returned to the giant’s home with only two whales.



However, in the Prose Edda, Hymir was frightened by the size of the monster, used his bait-knife to cut off Thor’s line. Thor threw Mjollnir at Jörmungand’s head, but failed to kill the serpent.

Thor was angry with that the giant for allowing Jörmungand to escape, the god struck Hymir’s ear with his fist. Hymir plunged overboard; the giant’s feet could be seen sticking out of the water.



Going back to Poetic Edda’s version (Hymiskvida), Hymir told Thor he would give cauldron, if he went through some tests of strength. The last test was to break the crystal goblet. When Thor threw the goblet on a stone column, it did not break.

One beautiful woman gave Thor a wise advice. Thor picked up the goblet and threw it again, but this time smashing the goblet on Hymir’s forehead.

Hymir had no choice, but to give his prized cauldron to Thor. Tyr could not even lift the cauldron off the ground. Thor easily carried the cauldron on top of his head.

Hymir and his companions dislike losing to Thor, so they followed in pursuit of the two gods into the forest. Thor realising the danger, decided to confront them. With Mjollnir, Thor killed Hymir and all the giants who had followed him.

Thor returned triumphal to Aegir’s feast with the cauldron.

Related Information
Hymiskvida (“Hymir’s Poem”) from the Poetic Edda.
Gylfaginning, from the Prose Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson.
Related Articles
Thor, Tyr, Aegir, Hymir.
Midgard Serpent, Jörmungand.


Blushing Bride

Before I begin this tale, I would like to apologise to the readers for such silly title. The title probably should be “Thor and Thrym” or “Mjollnir Stolen” or something more appropriate. Though, the story, I must admit, is rather silly anyway.


Thor woke up one morning to find that someone had stolen, Mjollnir, the magic war-hammer made by the dwarves – Brokk and Eiti (see the Gifts of the Dwarves).

Thor asked Loki to help him to find the Mjollnir. Loki went to Freyja to borrow her feather cloak. The cloak enabled the goddess to transform into a falcon, so it allowed her to fly.

As a falcon, Loki flew to the realm of the giant, Jötunheim (Jotunheim). Loki found out that Thrym had stolen and hidden the Mjollnir. Thrym was leader of the frost-giants. Thrym would only return the Mjollnir to Thor if he could marry Freyja.

Loki returned to Asgard with the news of Thrym’s demand. Freyja, the promiscuous goddess among the Asynior, having slept with gods, elves, human and dwarves, it was amusing to find the goddess was outraged by Thrym’s demands and refused to marry the giant.

It was Heimdall who thought of the idea, where they would dress Thor in bridal gown, disguising the thunder-god as Freyja. Thor would go to Jötunheim, instead of Freyja. Loki insisted this was the best plan, and volunteer to go with Thor, as the fake bridemaid.

Thor reluctantly agreed, since he had little choice if he wished to recover the Mjollnir. They put a bridal veil or headdress to cover Thor face and he worn Freyja’s necklace of gold (Brisingamen), to complete the disguise.

Loki would accompany Thor to Jötunheim. Thrym welcomed his new bride to the kingdom. The giants prepared a great feast in honour of Freyja.

During the feast, Thrym and the other giants were astonished that his bride (Thor) ate a whole ox, eight salmons and drank three large tankards of mead.

When Thrym demanded an explanation, the cunning bridemaid (ie. Loki) replied that Freyja had been so excited she had not eaten in eight nights, since she heard the news that she was going to marry the king of giants.

Thrym tried to kiss his new bride under the veil. However when the giant peeped under the bride’s veil, Thrym was taken back by his bride’s burning intensity of her red eyes. Again, Loki made some silly excuse – Freyja had not slept in eight nights since she was so eager about the marriage.

A giantess, who was Thrym’s sister, arrived demanding a gold ring from the Freyja (Thor), if the goddess wished to marry her brother. Thor would only agree if Thrym would place the Mjollnir on her laps. Thrym ordered the giants to retrieve Mjollnir and placed the hammer on his bride’s laps.

When Thor recognised his hammer, the god was exulted for having recovered the hammer. With Mjollnir in his hands, he struck down Thrym. Thor began to kill all the giants in the hall, including Thrym’s sister.

Related Information
Thrymskvida (“Thrym’s Poem”) from the Poetic Edda.
Related Articles
Thor, Loki, Freyja, Thrym.

Thor and the Giants

Thor and the Giants
M. E. Winge
Oil on canvas, 1890.
National Museum, Stockholm


Apples of Youth

Abduction of Idun


Abduction of Idun

Odin was travelling with Loki and Haenir through the wilderness, of mountains and woods, but had difficulty in finding food, until they came across a herd of oxen. They slaughter one of the oxen and set to cook it in a earth oven. Despite their effort, the fire would not cook the meat. The gods were upset and hungry, but were helpless.

Above them a giant eagle told them that he would help them cook the meat if he was given a share in the meal. The gods agreed, but when the eagle took a large share of meat, Loki became angry and struck the eagle with a pole. The pole pierced the eagle’s chest. The eagle flew away with Loki still holding the pole.

Loki pleaded with the eagle to let him down, but the eagle refused, unless Loki swore to bring the goddess Idun, keeper of the apples of youth, out of Asgard, to him. As it turn out, the giant eagle was really Thiassi (Thiazi), a giant from Thrymheim. Loki had no choice but to agree, since he was no match again the giant.

One day, Loki told Idun that he found some apples that she could use. As Idun followed Loki deep into the forest, Thiassi, in the form of an eagle again, snatched Idun and flew back to Thrymheim, along with the goddess’ basket of fruit.

Idun was the keeper of apples of youth. These special apples were required to keep the Aesir youthful. Without the apples, the gods and goddesses would grow old and weak.

The Aesir in Asgard began to grow old very quickly without the Idun’s apples. Their minds were also beginning to become feeable. Odin and the other gods managed to capture Loki and forced the Trickster to bring back Idun and her apples, or else they would torture Loki to death.

Loki had no choice but to rescue Idun. Borrowing Freyja’s cloak of feathers, Loki transformed into a falcon and flew to Thrymheim. It was fortunate for Loki, because Thiassi was temporary absence. Finding Idun alone, Loki transformed the goddess into a nut and flew back to Asgard with the nut (Idun) in his claw.

Thiassi immediately pursued Loki, in his gigantic eagle’s form. Loki managed to escape the eagle by flying over the wall of Asgard. When eagle (Thiassi) tried to follow, the Aesir set fire to Thiassi’s feathers so that the eagle plummeted within the wall of Asgard. The other Aesir killed Thiassi where he fell.

Loki restored Idun’s form. Idun gave apples to all the gods so they were restored to their youthful looks.




The frost-giantess, Skadi, daughter of Thiassi, heard of her father’s death. She immediately set out for Asgard with her weapon to attack the Aesir.

Instead of trying to kill Skadi, the Aesir tried to appease her by allowing her to marry one of the Aesir. She was to choose one as her husband by selecting the feet she liked best. Skadi thought she had chosen Balder, because he was the most beautiful of the male gods. However the feet she had chosen belonged to the former Vanir god Njörd (Njord).

Skadi was far from making peace with the Aesir, unless they could make her laugh. So they tied the beard of a nanny-goat to Loki’s testicle. When one or the other would pull, both would squeal. For the first time in her life, Skadi laughed at these antics.

Odin had also taken her father’s eyes and threw them in the sky to create two new stars, to further compensate the death of Thiassi.

Skadi married Njörd, but the marriage did last long. Njörd, being the god of the sea, preferred to live near the sea at Noatun, while Skadi preferred to live in her father’s mountain home in Thrymheim. Skadi didn’t like the sea, because the sound of the sea and sea-gulls kept her awake. While Njörd complained about the howlings of the wolves. So they divorced, and Skadi returned to the mountains.

Skadi was the goddess of the ski and known as the ski-lady, because that was the way she travelled. Skadi was also skilled with the bow and arrows, and hunt for games in the mountain.

Skadi remarried, but to another Aesir god, Ull.

Related Information
Skaldskaparmal, from the Prose Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson.
Ynglinga Saga was written by Snorri Sturluson.
Abduction of Idun
Related Articles
Loki, Idun, Odin, Njörd, Ull, Balder, Thiassi, Skadi.


J. Penrose
Illustration, 1890


Wooing of Gerd

In Asgard, Freyr sat on Hlidskialf, Odin’s throne, the Vanir could see Gymir’s home in the Giantland. Freyr saw Gerd, the beautiful daughter of the giants, Gymir and Aurboda. Freyr became sick because of his love and longing for the beautiful giantess.

Njörd (Njord) and Skadi became concerned for Freyr’s depression and longing, and Skaldi asked Skirnir, Freyr’s shield-bearer, to try and help or comfort their son. In most case, Skaldi was only Freyr’s stepmother.

At first, Freyr refused to talk about it, until Skirnir told him he would do anything for his lord. Freyr told he had seen and fallen in love with Gerd, but was not too sure about approaching the giantess with the proposal of marriage.

Skirnir told Freyr that he would woo Gerd for him, if the god would give him his horse and the magic sword as the price for his services. By taking Freyr’s sword, Skirnir had deprived Freyr of a great weapon against the fire-giant Surt, at Ragnarok.

Skirnir rode to Gymir’s domain, seeking audience with Gerd. Though, delighted with a visitor, her welcome became cold when Gerd learned of Skirnir’s mission. Skirnir told Gerd he was wooing her for Freyr. Though Freyr was among the beautiful gods, Gerd apparently doesn’t like Freyr.

At first, Skirnir offered her gifts, so that she would consider Freyr’s suit favourably. Skirnir promised eleven golden apples (Idun’s apple of youth?), but she flatly refused to consider Freyr’s as a possible husband.

Then Skirnir offered her the magic gold ring that will make eight identical rings of the same weights, every nine nights. This was obviously the Draupnir; the ring that belonged to Odin. Again, Gerd refused the gift, because she had enough gold in her father’s home.

When none of these gifts seemed suitable for Gerd, Skirnir decided to try threats, hoping to bully her in accepting Freyr’s suit. Skirnir told her that he would use Freyr’s sword if she continued to refuse to marry Freyr. But this threat fell on deaf ears.

So Skirnir threatened to put a curse on her, transforming her into a three-headed giant, her face and body will become old and hideously ugly. It was only the threat of this curse that Gerd finally agreed to meet with Freyr at the groves in Barri, nine nights from now.

So Skirnir returned with the news to Freyr. Freyr was still upset and impatient that he had to wait even for nine nights before they could meet.

The story known Skirnismal ended here without saying if the Vanir and giantess married or not. However, most writers agreed that they did indeed marry. Some of them say that they had a son named Fiolnir.

Related Information
Skirnismal (“Skirnir’s Journey”) from the Poetic Edda.
Ynglinga Saga was written by Snorri Sturluson.
Related Articles
Freyr, Gerd, Njörd, Skadi.

Skirnir Riding to Gerd's Home

Skirnir Riding to Gerd’s Home
Glenn Steward
Illustration, 1995

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