A few other Norse mythsSnorri Sturluson (1179-1241) mentions a number of other myths in Gylfaginning, a section of his Edda.He begins with a brief prologue explaining that the Norse gods were not divine, but the great Trojan heroes falsely remembered as gods.Euhemerism the belief that mortals were elevated into godhood at some point in the past.
A few other Norse mythsThe goddess Gefion tricked the king of Sweden into letting her keep all the land her oxen could plow in a day.She plowed the entire land of Sjland (Denmark) away from the coast of Sweden.A beautiful statue in Denmark now reminds visitors of Gefions feat.
Gefion and her oxen
A few other Norse mythsThe most famous account in Gylfaginning is Thors adventure with the Frost-Giant, Utgard-Loki. (p. 37 47).Thor, Loki and Thors servants Thialfi and Roskva travel to Jotunheim.On the way, they take shelter in an odd building, with many small rooms.They hear great rumblings and are afraid.
A few other Norse mythsIn the morning, they realize they slept in the glove of the Giant Skrymir, who invites them to accompany him.Skrymir ties all their food together and they travel for the day. That night, Thor is unable to untie the bundle and, enraged, he strikes Skrymir three times with his hammer.Thor feels the hammer sink in, but Skrymir pretends only to feel leaves dropping on his head.
A few other Norse mythsThor and his companions leave Skrymir and travel to the Giant-King, Utgard-Loki, who welcomes them, but insists that no one is allowed to stay here who does not have some art or skill in which he is superior to most people.Each of Thors group is eager to respond to this challenge, though they fail to realize that the Giants are using magic against them.
A few other Norse mythsLoki claims that he can eat quickly, but Logi easily outdoes him.Thialfi claims he can run fast, but Hugi beats him in two races.Thor claims he can drink well, but he cannot drain the (rather long) drinking horn in 3 tries.Thor tries to lift a cat and fails.Thor wrestles an old woman, Elli, who eventually forces him to one knee.
A few other Norse mythsThor and his party are humbled by their failures, but Utgard-Loki is a good host. They sleep that night and feast the next day, then the King accompanies them out of the castle.Once outside, Utgard-Loki (the Giant Skrymir in disguise), tells Thor the truth:He used magic to deceive the gods and he will never again let them inside his castle because they are too powerful for the Giants.
A few other Norse mythsLogi means fire, and it consumes faster than anyone, even Loki.Hugi means thought, and it races faster than even Thialfi.The drinking horn was connected to the ocean Thor created the tides with his drinking!The cat was really the Midgard serpent.Ella, the old woman, was really Old Age, who defeats everyone in the end.
A few other Norse mythsThors mighty hammer strikes were also displaced by magic he created three great valleys in a nearby mountain when he struck the giant Skrymir.This myth a favorite, retold in many different versions. Typical for Thor he can be outwitted, but not out-fought.