« »
April 15th, 2007

Chapter II

II. Hymir the Giant

A giant called Hymir kept a camp on the coast of Vinland, where he fished for whales. Hymir was an ugly man, short for a giant and stout, grey-faced with wide pale eyes, and he could not grow a beard. Hrod his wife looked the same, save her beard was fine. The camp was on a bay, surrounded by craggy cliffs grazed precariously by a herd of cattle.

Now in years past this had been a prosperous camp, and Hymir had caught whales without number. But of late a darkness had fallen upon the bay. Whales were scarce and the cattle were growing unwholesome.

When Thor arrived at the camp, Hymir was out to sea, so Hrod welcomed Thor to their home. She recognized the Thunder God as a friend of her son, Tyr, and recommended that he disguise himself before Hymir returned, as there was no love lost between the Gods of Asgard and the Giants. Thor disguised himself as a red-haired youth and told her to call him Voerr.

She seated Thor in Tyr’s highchair so that he could reach the giant’s table. Night was falling and the sky was lit with an eldritch glow, far out to sea. Outside they could hear the icebergs grumbling like distant thunder; indeed, the very earth shook with fear when Hymir strode home from the hunt. He entered the hall wearing a beard of icicles and tossed his cloak to the floor.

“No luck again today. Not a nibble. But what of your day, wife? I saw footprints in the snow and I know that we have had a guest.”

Hrod replied that a friend of his son, Tyr, had come to visit. “He is called Voerr and is waiting at the table for supper.”

Hymir sat at the table and eyed Thor with suspicion, for he knew Tyr lived with the Gods, and he suspected that this was one of them, though he could not tell which one.

Having no proof, however, and being famished himself, he thought it best to be polite. So he told Hrod to prepare a great feast. Three cows were roasted and placed before the giant and the god.

Thor was a valiant fellow at the table as well as in war, and even in his reduced guise, he fell upon the meal with gusto. He devoured an entire cow while Hymir and Hrod split one.

Hymir’s eyes widened when Thor reached for a second cow, for the giant had a cruel custom when he had uninvited guests. If they should fail to eat as much as he, then he would feign offense and slay them.

“Truly, friend Voerr, you do have a giant appetite for a mewling babe. Seldom did that chair see so much duty when Tyr sat there. As you have eaten all the meat that Hrod had in the larder, if you plan to eat with us tomorrow, you will have to catch your own fish. I cannot be expected to provide beef for such a gluttonous child.”

Angered at this lack of hospitality, Thor growled that he would be honored to learn from such a great whaler as Hymir. Perhaps they could catch twice tomorrow what Hymir caught today.

At last the table was bare, so Hrod showed Thor where to sleep.

Comments are closed.