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May 20th, 2007

Chapter VII

Another account of this saga, Ulf’s poem, survives in fragments and can be dated to 983, making it the oldest surviving Norse lay. The poem gives a description of a wood carved mural from the hall of Olafr Pa showing deeds of gods and heroes

The carved mural depicts the fishing scene, appearing to invoke Thor’s role as protector of mankind and therefore protector of the dead. As in many surviving renditions (Gosforth tombstone, Cumbria, England; Hordum Ty stone, Denmark; Altuna stone, Uppland, Sweden), Thor’s feet are shown protruding through the bottom of the boat, witness to his exertion of divine power and confirming Snorri’s account.

VII. Caught

The boat became lodged on the newly risen isle. As Thor pressed against the deck, his feet smashed through the bottom of the boat and sank into the stinking muck below. Bubbles of putrid gas burst free from the mud, fouling the lungs and burning the eyes.

However, once his feet made contact with terra firma, Thor felt his strength renewed and he pulled harder upon the line. The mass of the monster drew closer as the god exerted himself.

Cthulhu suddenly rolled, broaching the surface with a sail-like wing and sowing saltwater across the craft. The salt spray briefly blinded Thor, but Hymir stared in terror at the writhing mass of wings and tentacles that passed close by. The giant gazed at the most frightening secret the sea had ever offered up to surface world. A vast undulating mass, a great Kraken-headed dragon bellowing and barreling around his fragile ship. And he knew that if the Jormungand were drawn completely onto the shore, the world of the Giants and Gods would end.

Shaking his head, unable to free a hand to clear his vision, Thor steadied his grip and started to pull anew. The wind rose, tossing the fog about as the glistening green behemoth circled their newfound perch. His massive red eyes glowing through the mist like a fire on the sea.

Passing close and raising his mammoth querulous head from the sea, Cthulhu stared into the face of the God, then opened his parrot-like beak, hidden beneath the tentacles and hissed his venom at his pursuers. Hymir ducked, feeling the acid sting across his shoulders and neck, but still-blind Thor took it full in his face.

With a roar, the Thunder god jerked back the line, ripping the forward half of the monster free of the sea and onto the deck.

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