Do you ever wonder how the world came to be the way it is? Was it the big bang? Or a shower of blazing meteorites? Or maybe, a God? Could it be the God of thunder, the knight in the shining armour and the defender of Asgard? Simply put, could it be…. THOR?
Back in the days when the world was not as we see it today, Thor embarked on a journey to Jotunheim, the land of giants, along with his swift and nimble human servant Thjalfi and the God of mischief, Loki. While travelling, they came across a massive giant, Skrymir. The hospitable giant offered to accompany them and even offered to carry their provisions in his bag. However, when they camped at night, Skrymir dozed off and Thor was unable to open his bag. Vexed and ravenous, he struck three fatal blows on the giant’s head but each time, the giant slept, thinking it was just a falling acorn.
The next day, Skrymir departed and the travellers reached a massive fortress called Utgard. There they were greeted by the king of giants, Utgard-Loki, who posed challenges in front of the visitors. Each of the visitors had to prove their skill in the challenges.
Loki went in first, claiming to be the world’s fastest eater. The king snapped his finger and his servant Logi appeared out on the other end of a trough on which was laid the food. Loki ate his way inward at lightening speed but before he could eat it all, Logi finished his entire trail of food, the bones and even the trough!
Next was Thjalfi, claiming to be the world’s fastest runner. The king snapped his fingers again and his giant servant Hugi appeared. Thjalfi ran like it was the end of his life but Hugi easily outpaced him. Demanding a rematch, the persevering human ran even faster and even though he gave fierce competition to Hugi this time, he failed to outpace Hugi. Thjalfi went in for the third time and was outpaced by MILES.
Then came in Thor. The king gave him a drinking horn, stating that all giants could gulp it in two rounds. Thor took the largest gulp of his life, but the level of the beverage lowered only by a minimal amount.
To test Thor’s famed strength, he offered him an ‘easy’ challenge, asking him to lift his pet cat off the ground. The cat, as tall as Thor, could not be lifted, even when Thor pulled the strength of his life. He barely managed to lift one paw!
Exasperated, he challenged the giants to an arm-wrestling contest. The king sent in a feeble, decrepit nursemaid Elli, who subjugated all of Thor’s monumental efforts, weakening him and bringing him to one knee.
Abashed, the trio prepared to leave. As the king escorted them, they were in for a surprise when the king told them that everything in the fortress had been an illusion. Logi, the devouring giant was actually wildfire which ingurgitates everything. Hugi outpaced Thjalfi because he was the embodiment of thought and no human action can outpace thought. Even Thor lost to Elli, or ‘old age’, which weakens one and all.
Cheering them up, he told the visitors how their efforts had changed the world forever. The drinking horn was actually filled with ocean and Thor had drunk enough to cause tides. The pet cat was the serpent that encircles the Earth and Thor’s persevering efforts had shifted the Earth. The giant Skrymir had been actually the king in disguise, who deflected Thor’s hammer blows to create valleys and mountains.
Thus, by pushing themselves beyond their limits and trying to do the seemingly impossible, they had altered the world forever. Dumbfounded by the enormous strength the visitors displayed, the king banished them from Jotunheim forever.