I will be forever grateful to my fourth grade teacher, Miss Jones. Whenever we had a bit of extra time at the end of the day, she told us stories from Norse mythology. And so we had a glimpse of the all-seeing, one-eyed Odin; of the thundering, hammer-wielding Thor; and of the mischievous trouble-maker Loki.
One of my favorite Norse stories is about how Thor lost and found his legendary hammer, Mjolnir. If you've seen Thor: The Dark World, you've seen Thor throwing his hammer to slay enemies in combat. And the coolest thing about Mjolnir is that it always comes back to its owner. Well, almost always.
Thor would reach for his hammer first thing every morning. But one morning, he reached and his hand came up empty. The hammer was gone.
Gone! This was a disaster. The hammer was his weapon. His friend. His companion. His registered trademark. Without the hammer, he would need new business cards and letterhead. It would wreak havoc with merchandising.
He called for his blood-brother Loki. "My hammer has been stolen," whispered Thor. He didn't exactly want to share this information on speaker phone with all of Asgard and the Nine Realms. But he did trust his mother Freya with the news. She lent her falcon wings to Loki so that he could gather information quickly.
|Thor really wants to keep his logo.|
Loki flew to the realm of the Jotenheim (giants) and talked to a jotun named Thrym.
"Yeah, yeah. I stole the hammer while Thor slept." said Thrym. "And wowza, does that boy snore! I thought it was thunder."
"We want it back, Thrym."
"I have buried the hammer eight miles underground, and I will return it only if Freya agrees to be my bride."
Loki went home to Asgard and told Freya that she must put on her bridal veil at once and marry Thrym, so that Thor's hammer would be returned.
You can probably imagine the withering look that Freya gave Loki. That plan was so not happening.
Then Heimdall, god of light, had an idea. It was crazy. Ridiculous. Desperate.
And it was pretty much their only option.
+ + + + +
A week later, Thrym heard the rumbling of Thor's goat-cart, riding across the clouds. "Prepare the way for my bride," he said with a broad smile.
Finally, the blushing bride emerged from the cart, resplendent in a bejeweled gown and a long veil, accompanied by her maid. Thrym's heart was pounding as he welcomed them to the wedding feast.
|Thrym's Wedding Feast|
During dinner, he couldn't take his eyes off his bride-to-be. "She sure eats a lot," said Thrym, laughing.
"It's been a long journey," said the maid. "Besides, she hasn't slept in eight nights, just thinking about you."
Now Thrym was really excited, and he didn't wait for dessert. "Let's proceed. Bring me Thor's hammer, and we'll make the exchange."
Thrym willingly placed the hammer on his bride's lap. "Let's take our wedding vows, my beloved Freya, and you will be mine forever."
The bride stood up, and the veil fell back. Of course, the "bride" was Thor, now reunited with his hammer. To make matters worse, the "maid" was Loki.
|Bride with a beard|
With fire in his eyes, Thor threw his hammer and gave Thrym a splitting headache. And when Thor and Loki finished with the wedding hall, there was no way the groom's family were going to get their deposit back. You don't even want to know about the cake and the chuppah.
|Thor brings down the house at Thrym's wedding.|
Still dressed in women's clothing, Thor and Loki rode back to Asgard, thundering just for fun.
|Thor in his chariot|
The Stark Raving Mythopath heartily recommends Daulaire's Book of Norse Myths, with retellings of the stories and colorful, whimsical illustrations. Get one for yourself and one for a child in third grade on up! Preface by Michael Chabon.
And, in the spirit of Star Wars meets Bullfinch, you won't want to miss Marvel's Thor: the Dark World, with Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, now playing in theaters. High tech mythology and a fun romp through the Nine Realms.