Thor and Hymer

Annie Klingensmith June 25, 2022
5 min read
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Far down in the cool depths of the ocean dwelt Æger, the sea-god, in his shining palace. 

The water lapped softly against its clear green walls. All the herds of Ran, the sea-god’s wife, played about it. 

Within sat Æger on his throne, and the winds and waves, which were his children, went abroad to do his will.

On a day when the ocean lay calm and quiet in the sunlight, the gods feasted in Æger’s palace. 

But Æger’s great kettle was lost, and there was no meat for the guests. 

Thor shook his great hammer in anger and vowed to bring back the kettle. But no one could tell him where to find it. 

Tyr said, “Just within the borders of Jotunheim lives Hymer. He has a kettle a mile deep. But he who goes for it must be wary, for Hymer is a dog-wise and dangerous giant.” 

Thor cried, “I fear no giant! Show me the way and I will bring the kettle!” 

So the two gods passed out of Æger’s sea-green hall and away through groves of coral. Dolphins and sword-fish played beside their pathway without fear. 

Soon the gods reached the upper world. There they made themselves look like two young men. Then they traveled away to the land of snow. 

On the icy shore of the ocean they found Hymer’s house. At the door they were met by Hymer’s beautiful wife, who was Tyr’s mother. 

The house was dark and gloomy. Very glad was Tyr’s mother to see the guests. She bade them welcome, but told them to hide under the kettles. 

Hymer came home late, with his beard shining with frost. The beams of the low, dark house shook under his feet. 

“My son is here,” said his wife, when he had shaken the frost from his hair. 

“Where is he?” said Hymer. 

“Behind that post,” replied his wife. Hymer’s eyes blazed. He stared hard at the post. Instantly it flew into splinters. Eight of the kettles fell clanging to the ground. 

Out sprang the gods and faced the giant. 

When Hymer saw his old enemy, Thor, he was frightened. So he bade them welcome, and ordered three oxen to be roasted whole for supper.

Thor ate two himself, and Hymer thought he would kill no more of his fine black oxen. He thought he would have fish for the next meal.

At dawn the next day Thor saw Hymer getting his boat out. Thor dressed quickly and asked to go along to do the rowing. 

Hymer said, “You might take cold if you stay out as long as I stay, and the rowing might tire you.” 

Thor was angry enough to box the giant’s ears. But he only answered that he could row as far as Hymer wanted to go, and that Hymer would be the first to want to come back. 

Thor then asked Hymer for some bait. But Hymer said if he wanted to fish he must find his own bait. At this Thor marched up to the finest ox in Hymer’s herd and wrung its head off. 

Thor rowed with such strength that Hymer was surprised. When he wanted to stop, Thor said they were not out far enough yet. 

Then Hymer cried in fear, “If we go any farther we will be in danger from the Midgard Serpent.” At last Thor stopped, and Hymer soon caught two whales. 

Thor took out a line he had brought from Asgard, and baited the hook with the ox’s head. 

The moment the bait dropped to the bottom of the ocean, the Midgard Serpent swallowed it. Then Thor tightened his belt of strength and pulled till his feet went through the boat and he stood on the bottom of the ocean. 

The Serpent’s head rose to the top of the water. When Hymer saw it, he turned pale and trembled with fright. Just as Thor drew back his hammer to strike, Hymer cut the line, and the serpent sank, to the bottom. 

Thor gave the giant a blow with his fist that nearly ended his life. 

Taking the two whales into the boat Thor rowed to shore. There he took up the whales and the boat and carried them all into the house at once. 

At supper the giant challenged Thor to break his goblet by throwing it. 

Thor threw it against the walls and upon the floor, but it would not break. 

Then the giant’s wife whispered, “Throw it against Hymer’s forehead.” Thor did so, and the goblet was shattered. 

Then the giant said Thor might have the kettle if he could carry it away. 

Thor tried to lift it, but could not at first. As he tried he grew stronger, and, at last, he put the kettle over his head. But it reached down to his heels, and the handle tripped him. 

Thor and Tyr traveled as fast as they could with the kettle. After they had gone a long-way, Tyr saw Hymer and a host of his friends rushing after them.

Thor put down the kettle and killed all the giants.

Every harvest time Æger made a feast for the gods in memory of Thor’s bravery.

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