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← The myth of Loki and the master builder - Alex Gendler

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Showing Revision 1 created 11/11/2019 by lauren mcalpine .

  1. Asgard, a realm of wonders, was where
    the Norse Gods made their home.
  2. There Odin’s great hall of Valhalla
    towered above the mountains
  3. and Bifrost, the rainbow bridge,
    anchored itself.
  4. But though their domain was magnificent,
  5. it stood undefended from the giants
    and trolls of Jotunheim,
  6. who despised the gods and
    sought to destroy them.
  7. One day when Thor, strongest of the
    gods, was off fighting these foes,

  8. a stranger appeared,
    riding a powerful gray horse.
  9. The visitor made the gods
    an astonishing offer.
  10. He would build them the greatest
    wall they’d ever seen,
  11. higher than any giant could climb
    and stronger than any troll could break.
  12. All he asked in return was the beautiful
    goddess Freya’s hand in marriage—
  13. along with the sun and moon from the sky.
  14. The gods balked at this request
    and were ready to send him away.

  15. But the trickster Loki
    concocted a devious plan.
  16. He told the gods they should
    accept the stranger’s offer,
  17. but set such strict conditions that he
    would fail to complete the wall in time.
  18. That way, they would lose nothing, while
    getting most of the wall built for free.
  19. Freya didn’t like this idea at all,
  20. but Odin and the other
    gods were convinced
  21. and came to an agreement
    with the builder.
  22. He would only have one winter
    to complete the wall.
  23. If any part was unfinished by
    the first day of summer,
  24. he would receive no payment.
  25. And he could have no help
    from any other people.
  26. The gods sealed the deal with solemn oaths
  27. and swore the mason would come
    to no harm in Asgard.
  28. In the morning, the stranger began to dig
    the foundations at an astonishing speed,

  29. and at nightfall he set off towards the
    mountains to obtain the building stones.
  30. But it was only the next morning,
    when they saw him returning,
  31. that the gods began to worry.
  32. As agreed, no other people
    were helping the mason.
  33. But his horse Svadilfari was hauling
    a load of stones so massive
  34. it left trenches in the ground
    behind them.
  35. Winter came and went.

  36. The stranger kept building,
    Svadilfari kept hauling,
  37. and neither snow nor rain could
    slow their progress.
  38. With only three days left until summer,
    the wall stood high and impenetrable,
  39. with only the gate left to be built.
  40. Horrified, the gods realized that not
    only would they lose
  41. their fertility goddess forever,
  42. but without the sun and moon the world
    would be plunged into eternal darkness.
  43. They wondered why they’d made
    such a foolish wager—
  44. and then remembered Loki
    and his terrible advice.
  45. Suddenly, Loki didn’t feel so clever.

  46. All of his fellow gods threatened him
    with an unimaginably painful death
  47. if he didn’t find some way to prevent
    the builder from getting his payment.
  48. So Loki promised to take care of the
    situation, and dashed away.
  49. Outside, night had fallen,

  50. and the builder prepared to set off
    to retrieve the final load of stones.
  51. But just as he called Svadilfari to him,
    a mare appeared in the field.
  52. She was so beautiful that
    Svadilfari ignored his master
  53. and broke free of his reins.
  54. The mason tried to catch him,
  55. but the mare ran deep into the
    woods and Svadilfari followed.
  56. The stranger was furious.

  57. He knew that the gods were behind
    this and confronted them:
  58. no longer as a mild-mannered mason,
  59. but in his true form as a terrifying
    mountain giant.
  60. This was a big mistake.
  61. Thor had just returned to Asgard,
  62. and now that the gods knew
    a giant was in their midst,
  63. they disregarded their oaths.
  64. The only payment the
    builder would receive—
  65. and the last thing he would ever see—
  66. was the swing of Thor’s
    mighty hammer Mjolnir.
  67. As they set the final stones into the
    wall, the gods celebrated their victory.

  68. Loki was not among them, however.
  69. Several months would pass
    before he finally returned,
  70. followed by a beautiful gray
    foal with eight legs.
  71. The foal would grow into a magnificent
    steed named Sleipnir
  72. and become Odin’s mount, a horse
    that could outrun the wind itself.
  73. But exactly where he had come from was
    something Loki preferred not to discuss.