How Thor got his Golden Hammer
In Viking mythology, gold and the crafting of gold was an art
exclusively left to dwarfs, those dwellers of the world of dark
elves, who lived underground in a place called Svartalfaheim.
We begin our little tale by introducing a couple of Viking gods.
Folks…this is Loki. Say hello. Loki, say hello to these nice
people. Loki was the Mischief Maker of the Gods…and he had a
petty side to him. Jealousy and envy often ranked supreme in his
soul. Treachery seeped through his very pores. Not the nicest of
gods. Not someone I would pick as a friend. But Thor…he was a
different kind of god. The god of thunder…the strongest of them
all…the son of Odin…he first showed his amazing strength soon
after birth by tossing ten huge bales of bear pelts as though
they were feathers. And then, last but not least, for our
purposes, was Thor’s wife, Sif, who’s hair was made of pure gold.
One evening, while Thor was away hunting trolls, Loki got it into
his head to do something truly wicked. Loki was not a thinking
god. Frankly, he was a dummy-head. Do you know what he did? He
went and snuck into Thor’s home and cut off all of Sif’s hair
while she was sleeping. He then ran off, with her hair under his
cloak. but in his haste, he left behind a sandal. Any resemblance
to Cinderella is strictly coincidence…I think. As you may all
well imagine, Sif was in great distress. She looked a little
butch and didn’t like it one bit. Oh, how she wailed and cried
and bemoaned her loss. Hey, you would bemoan too if someone cut
off your golden lock. Golden locks? Goldilocks? Hmmm.
When Thor came home that night, and saw Sif with her crew cut,
he lost his temper. He knew the sandal belonged to Loki. Loki,
by Jormungander! he thundered. That’s how Thor spoke when he got
angry. I’m going to kill him. I’m going to break every tooth in
his skull. He got hold of Loki and began shaking him, rattling
his every bone. But Loki pleaded, promising to visit the dark
elves and get Sif new hair, lovelier even than the hair he cut.
But Thor wasn’t having any…till Loki also promised him a
present too. Oh, how shallow the gods could be. A present?
Well…why not? So Thor let Loki go and Loki made haste to
Svartalfaheim and approached the dwarfs, who were more skillful
than all others when it came to working with gold and silver
ornamented with diamonds and rubies which they dug from their
own mines, except of course for yours truly, who’s quite skillful
indeed. (We interrupt this story for a small commercial
plug…heh heh). Well, it did not take the dwarfs long to make a
fine head of golden hair for Sif. And while they were at it, they
also made a spear for Odin, Thor’s dada. This spear, once
released, always found it’s mark. They also made a ship for Frey,
Odin’s wife, which would always have a favorable wind, but when
not in use, could be folded up and put in one’s pocket. Cool
Ahh…Loki was happy. Oh how he whistled a happy tune as he
began to wend his way home. He was a cocky little god. But as he
traveled back up through the underground, toward the light of
day, he happened to pass the smithy of a couple of dwarf brothers
named Brokk and Sindri. Heh heh, said Loki in a moment of
exquisite cockiness. Look at this stuff I have. You guys think
you’re good? Hah! I’ll bet my head you can’t make three treasures
equal to these. You’re on, said Brokk. It’s a deal, said Sindri.
Uh oh. To coin a phrase, Loki saw he might “be headed” for
trouble. The brother dwarfs began working. They stoked the fires
and pumped the bellows. And in a bit they created a live boar
with bristles of gold. And they pumped some more and stoked some
more, and before you knew it, a ring was drawn out of the fire.
And for their third trick, you guessed it folks, out came a
Now came the question…who was to judge if their stuff was
better than Loki’s stuff. Why…the gods themselves. I won’t bore
you with all the details. Suffice it to say, Brokk and Sindri
won. The gold ring, they said, would give birth, so to speak, to
eight new precious gold rings every ninth night. The boar, not
only would carry his rider over land and sea, but in the darkest
of night, his golden bristles would shine so as to always afford
light. And the hammer…well…this was a gift to Thor. Thor
could use it to smite any target and the hammer would never fail
to destroy. Not only that, but the golden hammer, after having
done its deed, would always return, of it’s own accord, to Thor’s
hand. And that was how Thor got his golden hammer.
Now…one more thing. Some of you might want to know if Loki
lost his head. Nah. He got away with it on a technicality. As the
dwarfs were getting ready to sever it from his neck, he said,
hey, I only promised you my head. I said nothing about my neck.
You can’t touch my neck. Dilemmas of dilemmas. Even the clever
dwarfs could not get to the head without severing the neck. And
so Loki lived on to accomplish more deeds of devil-do.
And so ends this weeks tale of gold.
Catch you all next week.
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