THE CHILDREN OF LOKI
HE children of Loki and the witch Angerboda were not
as the children of men: they were formless as water,
or air, or fire is formless, but it was given to each
of them to take on the form that was most like to their
Now the Dwellers in Asgard knew that these powers of
evil had been born into the world and they thought it
well that they should take on forms and appear before
them in Asgard. So they sent one to Jarnvid, the Iron
Wood, bidding Loki bring before the Gods the powers
born of him and the witch Angerboda. So Loki came into
Asgard once more.
 And his offspring took on forms and
showed themselves to the Gods. The first, whose greed
was destruction, showed himself as a fearful Wolf.
Fenrir he was named. And the second, whose greed was
slow destruction, showed itself as a Serpent.
Jormungand it was called. The third whose greed was
for withering of all life, took on a form also. When
the Gods saw it they were affrighted. For this had the
form of a woman, and one side of her was that of a
living woman and the other side of her was that of a
corpse. Fear ran through Asgard as this form was
revealed and as the name that went with it, Hela, was
Far out of sight of the Gods Hela was thrust. Odin
took her and hurled her down to the deeps that are
below the world. He cast her down to Niflheim, where
she took to herself power over the nine regions.
There, in the place that is lowest of all, Hela reigns.
her hall is Elvidnir; it is set round with high walls
and it has barred gates ; Precipice is the threshold of
that hall ; Hunger is the table within it ; Care is the
bed, and Burning Anguish is the hanging of the chamber.
Thor laid hold upon Jormungand. He flung the serpent
into the ocean that engirdles the world. But in the
depths of the ocean Jormungand flourished. It grew and
grew until it encircled the whole world. And men knew
it as the Midgard Serpent.
Fenrir the Wolf might not be seized upon by any of the
Esir. Fearfully he ranged through Asgard and they were
only able to
 bring him to the outer courts by promising
to give him all the food he was able to eat.
The Æsir shrank from feeding Fenrir. But Tyr, the
brave swordsman, was willilng to bring food to the
Wolf's lair. Every day he brought him huge provision
and fed him with the point of his sword. The Wolf grew
and grew until he became montrous and a terror int he
minds of the Swellers in Asgard.
T last the Gods in council considered it and decided
that Fenrir must be bound. The chain that they would
bind him with was called Laeding. In their own smithy
the Gods made it and its weight was greater than Thor's
Not by force could the Gods get the fetter upon Fenrir,
so they sent Krirnir, the servant of Frey, to beguile
the Wolf into letting it go upon him. Skirnir came to
his lair and stood near him, and he was dwarfed by the
Wolf's monstrous size.
"How great may thy strength be, Mighty One?" Skirnir
asked. "Couldst thou break this chain easily? The
Gods would try thee."
In scorn Fenrir looked down on the fetter Skirnir
dragged. In scorn he stood still allowing Laeding to
be placed upon him. Then, with an effort that was the
least part of his strength, he stretched himself and
broke the chain in two.
The Gods were dismayed. But they took more iron, and
with greater fires and mightier hammer blows they
 fetter. Dromi, this one was called, and
it was half again as strong as Laeding was. Skirnir
the Venturesome brought it to the Wolf's lair, and in
scorn Fenrir let the mightier chain be placed upon him.
He shooko himself and the chain held. Then his eyes
became fiery and he stretched himself with a growl and
a snarl. Dromi broke across, and Fenrir stood looking
balefully at Skirnir.
The Gods saw that no chain they could forge would bind
Fenrir and they fell more and more into fear of him.
They took council again and they bethought them of the
wonder-work the Dwarfds had made for them, the spear
Gungnir, the ship Skidbladnir, the hammer Miolnir.
Could the Dwarfs be got to make the fetter to bind
Fenrir? If they would do it the Gods would add to
Skirnir went down to Svartheim with the message from
Asgard. The Dwarf Chief swelled wtih pride to think
that it was left to them to make the fetter that would
"We Dwarfs can make a fetter that will bind the Wolf,"
he said. "Out of six things we will make it."
"What are these six things?" Skirnir asked.
"The roots of stones, the breath of a fish, the beards
of women, the noise made by the footfalls of cats, the
sinews of bears, the spittle of a bird."
"I have never heard the noise made by a cat's
footfall, nor have I seen the roots of stones nor the
beards of women. But use what things you will, O
Helper of the Gods."
 The Chief brought hsi six things together and the
Dwarfs in their smithy worked for days and nights.
They forged a fetter that was named Gleipnir. Smooth
and soft as a silken string it was. Skirnir brought it
to Asgard and put it into the hands of the Gods.
Then a day came when the Gods said that once again they
should try to put a fetter upon Fenrir. But if he was
to be bound they would bind him far from Asgard.
Lyngvi was an island that they often went to to make
sport, and they spoke of going there. Fenrir growled
that he would go with them. He came and he sported in
his own terrible way. And then as if it were to make
more sport, of of the Æsir shook out the smooth cord
and showed it to Fenrir.
"It is strong than you might think, Mighty One," they
said. "Will you not let it go upon you that we may see
you break it?" Fenrir out of his fiery eyes looked
scorn upon them. "What fame would there be for me," he
said, "in breaking such a binding?"
They showed him that none in their company could break
it, slender as it was. "Thou only art able to break
it, Mighty One," they said.
"The cord is slender but there may be an enchantment in
it," Fenrir said.
"Thou canst not break it, Fenrir, and we need not dread
thee any more," the Gods said.
Then was the Wolf ravenous wroth, for he lived on the
fear that made in the minds of the Gods. "I am loth to
 binding upon me," he said, "but if one of the
Æsir will put his hand in my mouth as a pledge that I
shall be freed of it, I will let yet put it on me."
The Gods looked wistfully on one another. It would be
health to them all to have Fenrir bound, but who would
lose his hand to have it done? One and then another of
the Æsir stepped backward. But not Tyr, the brave
swordsman. He stepped to Fenrir and laid his left hand
before those tremendous jaws.
"Not thy left hand—thy sword-hand, O Tyr," growled
Fenrir, and Tyr put his sword-hand into that terrible
The then cord Gleipnir was put upon Fenrir. With fiery
eyes he watched the Gods bind him. When the binding
was on him he stretched himself as before. He
stretched himself to a monstrous size but the bining
did not break off him. Then with fury he snapped his
jawas upon the hand, and Tyr's hand, the swords-man's
hand, was torn off.
But Fenrir was bound. They fixed a mighty chain to the
fetter, and they passed the chain through a hole they
bored through a great rock. The monstrous Wolf made
terrible efforts to break loose, but the rock and the
chain and the fetter held. Then seeing him secured,
and to avenge the loss of Tyr's hand, the Gods took
Tyr's sword and drove it to the hilt through is
under-jaw. Horribly the Wolf howled. Mightily the
foam flowed down from his jawas. That foam flowing
made a river that is called Von—a river of fury that
flowed on until Ragnarok came, the Twilight of the Gods.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics