FAR away to the north of Asgard, surrounded by frowning
mountains, the dark lake, Amsvartnir, lies, and, above
the level of its troubled waters, burns Lyngvi, the
island of sweet broom, flaming like a jewel on the dark
brow of Hela. In this lonely isle, to which no ship
but Skidbladnir could sail, the Æsir, with Fenrir in
the midst, assembled to try the strength of the dwarfs'
Fenrir prowled round his old master, Tyr, with a look
of savage triumph in his cruel eyes, now licking the
hand that had so long fed him, and now shaking his
great head, and howling defiantly. The Æsir stood at
the food of Giöll,
 the sounding rock, and passed Gleipnir, the chain, from
one to another, talking about it, while Fenrir
listened. "It was much stronger that it looked," they
said; and Thor and Tyr vied with each other in their
efforts to break it; while Bragi declared his belief
that there was no one among Æsir or giants capable of
performing so great a feat, "unless," he added, "it
should be you, Fenrir."
This speech roused the pride of Fenrir; and, after
looking long at the slender chain and the faces of the
Æsir, he answered, "Loath am I to be bound by this
chain; but, lest you should doubt my courage, I will
consent that you should bind me, provided one of you
put his hand into my mouth as a pledge that no deceit
There was a moment's silence among the Æsir when they
heard this, and they looked at one another. Odin
looked at Thor, and Thor looked at Bragi, and Frey fell
behind, and put his hand to his side, where the
all-conquering sword, which he alone could wield, no
At length Tyr stepped forward valiantly, and
 put his strong right hand, which he had so often fed
him, into the wolf's cruel jaws.
At this signal the other Æsir threw the chain round the
monster's neck, bound him securely with one end, and
fastened the other to the great rock Giöll. When he
was bound Fenrir rose, and shook himself, as he had
done before; but in vain he raised himself up, and
bounded forward—the more he struggled the more firmly
the slender chain bound him.
At this sight the Æsir set up a loud shout of joy; for
they saw their enemy conquered, and the danger that
threatened Asgard averted. Only Tyr was silent, for in
the struggle he had lost his hand.
Then Thor thrust his sword into the mouth of Fenrir,
and a foaming dark flood burst forth, roared down the
rock and under the lake, and began its course through
the country a turbid river. So it will roll on till
Ragnarök be come.
The sails of Skidbladnir now spread themselves out to
the wind; and the Æsir, seated in the magic ship,
floated over the lake silently in the silent moonlight;
while, from the top of Bifröst,
 over the Urda fount and the dwelling of the Norns, a
song floated down. "Who," asked one voice, "of all the
Æsir has won the highest honour?" and, singing, another
voice made answer, "Tyr has won the highest honour;
for, of all the Æsir, he has the most worthily employed
"Frey gave his sword for fairest Gerd."
"Odin bought for himself wisdom at the price of his
"Tyr, not for himself, but for others, has sacrificed
his strong right hand."