The Song Mead

Annie Klingensmith June 26, 2022
2 min read
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Once there lived on earth a poet who sang songs so beautiful that all created things were charmed by them. 

Two hill trolls, who hated the poet because he was noble and good, invited him to their home under ground and there killed him. 

They caught his blood in two cups and mixed it with honey and made mead. If any man drank the mead it would make him a poet too. But the trolls hid it in a dark place and would give it to no one. 

One day the trolls enticed a giant into a boat with them, and drowned him. When his wife came to inquire about him they sent her down to the sea-shore. Then they threw a rock from the cliff and killed her. 

Suttung, the son of the giant, came to see what had become of his father and mother. He threatened to kill the trolls. 

To save their lives, they gave him the precious song mead. Suttung took it home and put it  into his cellar. His daughter, Gunlad, guarded it night and day. 

Odin wished to drink the mead. So ho made a journey to Jotunheim. 

There he saw nine thralls mowing in a field. He offered to whet their scythes. When they found what a keen edge the scythes had, they wanted to buy the whetstone. 

Odin threw it up and said that whoever caught it might keep it. In trying to catch the whetstone, the nine thralls killed one another with their scythes. 

Then Odin went to the master of the thralls and asked for work. The giant hired Odin because he was so much in need of workmen. 

This giant, whose name was Bauge, was Suttung’s brother. Odin said he would work all summer for one draught of the song mead. 

Bauge told Odin to begin the work and he would see about the mead. When he found that Bolverk, as Odin called himself, could do the work of the nine thralls, he wished to keep him. But Suttung would not give one drop of the mead. 

One day when he was away, Bauge and Odin went to his house. They took with them an auger that Odin had brought from Asgard. 

Odin bade Bauge bore a hole through the wall of the cellar. Bauge pretended to have bored through. But when Odin blew into the hole, the chips flew into his face. 

Bauge bored again. This time the chips flew the other way. Then Odin changed himself into a worm and crept through. Before Gunlad knew he was there, he had drunk every drop of the mead. 

After drinking the mead, Odin, with all his power could not remain a worm. He changed at once to a beautiful bird, and flew away. When he reached Asgard, he sang such songs as the gods had never heard.

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