Sacred Texts  Misc  Index  Previous  Next 


The crow went flying towards the North, croaking as she flew, "Let Hel keep what she holds. Let Hel keep what she holds." That crow was the hag Thokk transformed, and the hag Thokk was Loki.

p. 203

He flew to the North and he came to the wastes of Jotunheim. As a crow he lived there, hiding himself from the wrath of the Gods. He told the Giants that the time had come for them to build the ship Naglfar, the ship that was to be built out of the nails of dead men, and was to sail to Asgarth on the day of Ragna rök, with the Giant Hrym steering it. And harkening to what he said, the Giants, then and there, began to build Naglfar, the ship that Gods and men wished to remain unbuilt for long.

Then Loki, tiring of the wastes of Jotunheim, flew to the burning South. As a lizard he lived amongst the rocks of Muspellsheim, and he made the Fire Giants rejoice when he told them that the Gods had lost much of their power--that Tyr, the bravest of the Aesir, had lost his right hand, and that Freyr, the foremost of the Wanes, had given up his magic sword in order to win Gerth, a Giant's daughter.

In Asgarth there was still one who wept for Loki--Sigyn, his wife. Although he had left her and had shown his hatred for her, Sigyn wept for her evil husband.

He left Muspellsheim as he had left Jotunheim, and he came to live in the world of men. He knew that he had now come into a place where the wrath of the Gods might find him; he made plans to be ever ready for escape. He built a house that had four doors to it so that he might see in every direction. And the power that he kept for himself was the power of transforming himself into a salmon.

Often as a salmon he hid in Gleaming Water. But even for the fishes that swam beside him, Loki had hatred. Out of flax and yarn he wove a net that men might have the means of taking fishes out of the water.

The Gods searched through all the world and they found at last the place where Loki had made his dwelling. He sprang into the waterfall and transformed himself into a salmon. When his pursuers entered his dwelling they found only a burnt-out fire. In the ashes were the marks of a burnt net; his pursuers knew that these were the traces of something made to catch fishes. And from the marks left in the ashes they made a net that was the same as the one Loki had burnt.

With the net in their hands his pursuers went to the waterfall. They dragged the net through the water. Loki was affrighted to find a thing of his own weaving used against him. He lay between two stones at the bottom of the water, and the net passed over him.

p. 204

But his pursuers knew that the net had touched something at the bottom. They fastened weights to it, and they dragged the net again through the waterfall. Loki knew that he might not escape it this time; he rose in the water, and he swam towards the sea. His pursuers caught sight of him as he leaped down the waterfall. Thor waded behind, ready to seize him.

Loki came out at the mouth of the river, and behold! there was a great eagle hovering over the waves of the sea and ready to swoop down on the fishes. He turned back in the river. He made a leap that took him over the net that his pursuers were dragging. Thor was behind the net; he caught the salmon in his powerful hands, and for all the struggle that Loki made he held him. No fish had ever struggled so before. Loki got himself free all but his tail. Thor held on to his tail, and brought him amongst the rocks, and forced him to take on his proper form.

They brought him to a cavern and they bound him to three sharp-pointed rocks. There they would have left him bound and helpless. But Skathi, who was of the fierce Giant brood, was not content that he should be left untormented. She found a serpent that had a deadly venom; she hung the serpent above Loki's head. The drops of venom fell upon him, bringing him anguish drop by drop, minute by minute. So Loki's torture went on.

Sigyn with the pitying heart came to his relief. She exiled herself from Asgarth; she endured the darkness and the cold of the cavern that she might take away some of the torment from him who was her husband. Over Loki Sigyn stood, holding in her hands a shell into which fell the serpent's venom, thus sparing him from the full measure of anguish. But now and then Sigyn had to turn aside to spill out the flowing cup; then the drops of venom fell upon Loki, and he screamed in agony, twisting in his bonds. And in his bonds Loki stayed until Ragna rök came with the battle in which all things ended.

Next: The Children of Loki