Norse Mythology by Gaiman Neil


Norse Mythology by Gaiman Neil

Author:Gaiman, Neil [Gaiman, Neil]
Language: eng
Format: azw3, epub
ISBN: 9780393609097
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Published: 2017-02-06T16:00:00+00:00


III

They traveled east through Jotunheim, always traveling toward the sunrise, for some days.

At first they thought they were looking at a normal-sized fortress and that it was relatively close to them; they walked toward it, hurrying their pace, but it did not grow or change or seem closer. As the days passed they realized how big it was and just how far away.

“Is that Utgard?” asked Thialfi.

Loki seemed almost serious as he said, “It is. This is where my family came from.”

“Have you ever been here before?”

“I have not.”

They strode up to the fortress gate, seeing no one. They could hear what sounded like a party going on inside. The gate was higher than most cathedrals. It had metal bars covering it, of a size that would have kept any unwanted giants at a respectable distance.

Thor shouted, but no one responded to his calls.

“Shall we go in?” he asked Loki and Thialfi.

They ducked and climbed under the bars of the gate. The travelers walked through the courtyard and into the great hall. There were benches as high as treetops, with giants sitting on them. Thor strode in. Thialfi was terrified, but he walked beside Thor, and Loki walked behind them.

They could see the king of the giants, sitting on the highest chair, at the end of the hall. They crossed the hall, and then they bowed deeply.

The king had a narrow, intelligent face and flame-red hair. His eyes were an icy blue. He looked at the travelers, and he raised an eyebrow.

“Good lord,” he said. “It’s an invasion of tiny toddlers. No, my mistake. You must be the famous Thor of the Aesir, which means you must be Loki, Laufey’s son. I knew your mother a little. Hello, small relation. I am Utgardaloki, the Loki of Utgard. And you are?”

“Thialfi,” said Thialfi. “I am Thor’s bondservant.”

“Welcome, all of you, to Utgard,” said Utgardaloki. “The finest place in the world, for those who are remarkable. Anyone here who is, in craft or cunning, beyond everyone else in the world is welcome. Can any of you do anything special? What about you, little relative? What can you do that’s unique?”

“I can eat faster than anybody,” said Loki, without boasting.

“How interesting. I have my servant here. His name is, amusingly enough, Logi. Would you like an eating competition with him?”

Loki shrugged, as if it were all the same to him.

Utgardaloki clapped his hands, and a long wooden trough was brought in, with all manner of roasted animals in it: geese and oxen and sheep, goats and rabbits and deer. When he clapped his hands again, Loki began to eat, starting at the far end of the trough and working his way inward.

He ate hard, he ate single-mindedly, he ate as if he had only one goal in life: to eat all he could as fast as he could. His hands and mouth were a blur.

Logi and Loki met at the middle of the table.

Utgardaloki looked down from his throne. “Well,” he said, “you



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