SIF'S GOLDEN HAIR: HOW LOKI WROUGHT MISCHIEF IN ASGARD
LL Who dwelt in Asgard, the Æsir and the Asyniur, who
were the Gods and the Goddesses, and the Vanir, who
were the friends of the Gods and the Goddesses, were
wroth with Loki. It was no wonder they were wroth with
him, for he had let the Giant Thiassi carry off Iduna
and her golden apples. Still, it must be told that the
show they made of their wrath made Loki ready to do
more mischief in Asgard.
One day he saw a chance to do mischief that made his
heart rejoice. Sif, the wife of Thor, was lying asleep
 house. Her beautiful golden hair flowed all
round her. Loki knew how much Thor loved that shining
hair, and how greatly Sif prized it because of Thor's
love. Here was his chance to do great mischief.
Smilingly, he took out his shears and he cut off the
shining hair, every strand and every tress. She did not
waken while her treasure was being taken from her. But
Loki left Sif's head cropped and bare.
Thor was away from Asgard. Coming back to the City of
the Gods, he went into his house. Sif, his wife, was
not there to welcome him. He called to Sif, but no glad
answer came from her. To the palaces of all the Gods
and Goddesses Thor went, but in none of them did he
find Sif, his golden-haired wife.
When he was coming back to his house he heard his name
whispered. He stopped, and then a figure stole out from
behind a stone. A veil covered her head, and Thor
scarce knew that this was Sif, his wife. As he went to
her she sobbed and sobbed. "O Thor, my husband," she
said, "do not look upon me. I am ashamed that you
should see me. I shall go from Asgard and from the
company of the Gods and Goddesses, and I shall go down
to Svartheim and live amongst the Dwarfs. I cannot bear
that any of the Dwellers in Asgard should look upon me
"O Sif," cried Thor, "what has happened to change you?"
"I have lost the hair of my head," said Sif, "I have
lost the beautiful golden hair that you, Thor, loved.
You will not love me any more, and so I must go away,
down to Svartheim and to the company of the Dwarfs.
They are as ugly as I am now."
 Then she took the veil off her head and Thor saw that
all her beautiful hair was gone. She stood before him,
shamed and sorrowful, and he grew into a mighty rage.
"Who was it did this to you, Sif?" he said. "I am Thor,
the strongest of all the Dwellers in Asgard, and I
shall see to it that all the powers the Gods possess
will be used to get your fairness back. Come with me,
Sif." And taking his wife's hand in his, Thor went off
to the Council House where the Gods and the Goddesses
Sif covered her head with her veil, for she would not
have the Gods and the Goddesses look upon her shorn
head. But from the anger in Thor's eyes all saw that
the wrong done to Sif was great indeed. Then Thor told
of the cutting of her beautiful hair. A whisper went
round the Council House. "It was Loki did this—no
one else in Asgard would have done a deed so shameful,"
one said to the other.
"Loki it was who did it," said Thor. "He has hidden
himself, but I shall find him and I will slay him."
"Nay, not so, Thor," said Odin, the Father of the Gods.
"Nay, no Dweller in Asgard may slay another. I shall
summon Loki to come before us here. It is for you to
make him (and remember that Loki is cunning and able to
do many things) bring back to Sif the beauty of her
Then the call of Odin, the call that all in Asgard have
to harken to, went through the City of the Gods. Loki
heard it, and he had to come from his hiding-place and
enter the house where the Gods held their Council. And
when he looked on Thor and
 saw the rage that was in his
eyes, and when he looked on Odin and saw the sternness
in the face of the Father of the Gods, he knew that he
would have to make amends for the shameful wrong he had
done to Sif.
Said Odin, "There is a thing that you, Loki, have to
do: Restore to Sif the beauty of her hair."
Loki looked at Odin, Loki looked at Thor, and he saw
that what was said would have to be done. His quick
mind searched to find a way of restoring to Sif the
beauty of her golden hair.
"I shall do as you command, Odin All-Father," he said.
UT before we tell you of what Loki did to restore the
beauty of Sif's golden hair, we must tell you of the
other beings besides the Gods and Goddesses who were in
the world at the time. First, there was the Vanir. When
the Gods who were called the Æsir came to the
mountains on which they built Asgard, they found other
beings there. These were not wicked and ugly like the
Giants; they were beautiful and friendly; the Vanir
they were named.
Although they were beautiful and friendly the Vanir had
no thought of making the world more beautiful or more
happy. In that way they differed from the Æsir who
had such a thought. The Æsir made peace with them,
and they lived together in friendship, and the Vanir
came to do things that helped the Æsir to make the
world more beautiful and more happy. Frey, whom the
Giant wanted to take away with the Sun and the Moon as
 reward for the building of the wall round Asgard, was
of the Vanir. The other beings of the Vanir were Frey,
who was the brother of Freya, and Niörd, who was
On the earth below there were other beings—the
dainty Elves, who danced and fluttered about, attending
to the trees and the flowers and the grasses. The Vanir
were permitted to rule over the Elves. Then below the
earth, in caves and hollows, there was another race,
the Dwarfs or Gnomes, little, twisted creatures, who
were both wicked and ugly, but who were the best
craftsmen in the world.
In the days when neither the Æsir nor the Vanir
were friendly to him Loki used to go down to Svartheim,
the Dwarfs' dwelling below the earth. And now that he
was commanded to restore to Sif the beauty of her hair,
Loki thought of help he might get from the Dwarfs.
Down, down, through the winding passages in the earth
he went, and he came at last to where the Dwarfs who
were most friendly to him were working in their forges.
All the Dwarfs were master-smiths, and when he came
upon his friends he found them working hammer and
tongs, beating metals into many shapes. He watched them
for a while and took note of the things they were
making. One was a spear, so well balanced and made that
it would hit whatever mark it was thrown at no matter
how bad the aim the thrower had. The other was a boat
that could sail on any sea, but that could be folded up
so that it would go into one's pocket. The spear was
called Gungnir and the boat was called Skidbladnir.
 Loki made himself very agreeable to the Dwarfs,
praising their work and promising them things that only
the Dwellers in Asgard could give, things that the
Dwarfs longed to possess. He talked to them till the
little, ugly folk thought that they would come to own
Asgard and all that was in it.
At last Loki said to them, "Have you got a bar of fine
gold that you can hammer into threads—into threads
so fine that they would be like the hair of Sif, Thor's
wife? Only the Dwarfs could make a thing so wonderful.
Ah, there is the bar of gold. Hammer it into those fine
threads, and the Gods themselves will be jealous of
Flattered by Loki's speeches, the Dwarfs who were in
the forge took up the bar of fine gold and flung it
into the fire. Then taking it out and putting it upon
their anvil they worked on the bar with their tiny
hammers until they beat it into threads that were as
fine as the hairs of one's head. But that was not
enough. They had to be as fine as the hairs on Sif's
head, and these were finer than anything else. They
worked on the threads, over and over again, until they
were as fine as the hairs on Sif's head. The threads
were as bright as sunlight, and when Loki took up the
mass of worked gold it flowed from his raised hand down
on the ground. It was so fine that it could be put into
his palm, and it was so light that a bird might not
feel its weight.
Then Loki praised the Dwarfs more and more, and he made
more and more promises to them. He charmed them all,
although they were an unfriendly and a suspicious folk.
 before he left them he asked them for the spear and
the boat he had seen them make, the spear Gungnir and
the boat Skidbladnir. The Dwarfs gave him these things,
though in a while after they wondered at themselves for
Back to Asgard Loki went. He walked into the Council
House where the Dwellers in Asgard were gathered. He
met the stern look in Odin's eyes and the rageful look
in Thor's eyes with smiling good humor. "Off with thy
veil, O Sif," he said. And when poor Sif took off her
veil he put upon her shorn head the wonderful mass of
gold he held in his palm. Over her shoulders the gold
fell, fine, soft, and shining as her own hair. And the
Æsir and the Asyniur, the Gods and Goddesses, and
the Van and the Vana, when they saw Sif's head covered
again with the shining web held to Sif's head as if
indeed it had roots and was growing there.
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