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Thor’s Day Alert #2: Tools

Hey, it’s another Thor’s Day!

Last week I introduced you to Thor, the legendary Norse allstar who, unlike other gods — most of whom tended to be arrogant jerks — was a pretty down-to-earth guy.

Witness, for instance, his passion for awesome tools. The most famous is Mjöllnir, his magical hammer, made by a couple of dwarves: Brokk the bellows-man and Eitri the smith.

Of course, a bet was involved, in this case the stakes being Loki’s (Odin’s foster-brother and the son of a giant) head if the dwarves could craft something more wondrous than Odin’s spear. With that as motivation, the brothers did a pretty good job, for they didn’t like Loki at all.

Brokk and Eitri screwed up right at the end, making the hammer’s handle a bit short.  Still they won the bet, with all the gods agreeing that Mjollnir was the finest treasure ever crafted. Loki saved his head by arguing that the dwarves had no claim to the neck supporting it. The dwarves settled for sewing his lips shut, and great laughs were shared by all.

Well, shared by all but Loki.

Anyhow, Thor ended up with an excellent hammer.

Hurled at a target, it returns to his hand. And to help in wielding Mjöllnir, Thor has a magical belt, Megingjord, which doubles his already considerable strength, as well as a pair of special iron gloves, Járngreipr (“Iron Gripper”), to help him handle the hammer.

Oh, yes, the hammer also could throw lightning bolts.

(As for me, I own an Estwing brand framing hammer that rings when you strike a big enough nail; this is known as a “ringing Estwing” , of which carpenter lore states there is only 1 in 100 or something. Every now and then it throws a spark.)

Mjöllnir as a word probably means crusher. How cool is that? It is related to English words like meal, mill, miller. In other words, it pulverized anything.

Useful when dealing with frost-giants, trolls, ogres, and such.

Mjöllnir also had other magical capabilities.

The chariot that Thor drove across the sky was drawn by two goats, “Tooth-gnasher” and “Gap-tooth.” If Thor got hungry and found himself without food, he could kill and roast the goats for supper. The next day he would gather up the bones and skins, bless them with the hammer, and the plucky critters would rise up again, eager to pull Thor across the sky another day.

Meals on wheels? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)


7 responses

  1. Adrian

    I knew that Thor’s chariot was drawn by the two goats, but I hadn’t heard about the eating and raising them from the dead thing. That’s weird, in a mythic kind of way.

    October 14, 2008 at 9:26 am

  2. davidfarney

    The weirder thing is Thor’s instructions to the family joining him at supper: “Don’t break the bones,” said he.

    Of course one of the children forgets and breaks a goat’s leg bone in order to suck out the marrow. Thor doesn’t discover this until he resurrects the goats the next day and one of them comes up lame.

    October 14, 2008 at 4:08 pm

  3. Adrian

    Woah. That is weird.

    You know, you get the hammer wich is awesome (but the handle is too short) and you get the goats (which you can eat, but don’t break the bones), and you get the walls of Asgard (which keep the giants at bay, but kind of compromise the gods’ moral authority). The norse have a very pragmatic way of looking at things it seems- there is always a problem or a potential problem.

    October 17, 2008 at 8:52 am

  4. davidfarney

    Heh. That’s life, though, isn’t it? Always a problem or a potential problem . . .

    October 19, 2008 at 11:12 am

  5. seshdotcom

    Hey man saw your blog it was good Visit Mine http://www.seshdotcom.wordpress.com

    October 19, 2008 at 7:17 pm

  6. davidfarney

    Sesh — thanks for stopping by all the way from Asia, the original home of the Aesir (Odin, Thor, etc).

    October 20, 2008 at 4:33 pm

  7. seshdotcom

    Wow thats Amazing I think I even E-Mailed you

    October 21, 2008 at 12:28 pm

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