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indeed be owned, replied the king, that you are not wanting in dexterity, if you are able to perform what you promise. Come then, let us put it to the proof. At the same time he ordered one of his courtiers who was sitting on a side-bench, and whose name was Loge (i. e. Flame) to come forward, and try his skill with Loke in the art they were speaking of. Then he caused a great tub or trough full of provisions to be placed upon the bar, and the two champions at each end of it: who immediately fell to devour the victuals with so much eagerness, that they presently met in the middle of the trough, and were obliged to desist. But Loke had only eat the flesh of his portion; whereas the other had devoured both flesh and bones. All the company therefore adjudged that Loke was van, quilhed.
THE IWENTY-FOURTH FABLE.
Of Thialfe's Art.
HEN the king asked, what that
young man could do, who accompanied Thor. THIALFE answered, That in running upon scates, he would dispute the prize with any of the courtiers. The king owned, that the talent he spoke of was a. very fine one; but that he must exert himself, if he would come off conqueror. He then arose and conducted Thialfe to a
fnowy plain, giving him a young man named Hugo (Spirit or Thought) to difpute the prize of swiftnefs with him. But this Hugo so much outstript Thialfe, that in: returning to the barrier whence they set out, they met face to face. Then says the king; Another trial, and you may perhaps exert ỹourself better. They therefore ran a sea. cond course, and Thialfe was a full bow-fhot from the boundary, when Hugo arrived at it. They ran a third time; but Hugo had already reached the goal, before Thialfe had got half way. Hereupon all who were prefent cried out, that there had been a fufficient trial of skill in this kind of exercise. VOL, II.
THE TWENTY-FIFTH FABLE.
This the cup
Of the Trials that Thor underwent.
HEN the king asked Thor, in
what art He would chuse to give proof of that dexterity for which he was so famous. Thor replied, That he would contest the prize of Drinking with any perfon belonging to his court.
The king consented, and immediately went into his palace to look for a large Horn, out of which his courtiers were obliged to drink when they had committed any trespass against the customs of the court *. bearer filled to the brim, and presented to Thor, whilst the king spake thus : Whoever is a good drinker, will empty that horn at a single draught; some persons make two of it; but the most puny drinker of all can do it at three. Thor looked at the horn, and was astonished at its length t; however, as he was very thirsty, he set it to his mouth, and without drawing breath,
pulled * Our modern Bachanals will here observe, that punishing by a Bumper is not an invention of these degenerate days. The ancient Danes were great Topers.
T. + The Drinking Vessels of the northern Nations were the Horns of animals, of their natural length,
pulled as long and as deeply as he could, that he might not be obliged to make a second draught of it: but when he withdrew the cup from his mouth, in order to look in, he could scarcely perceive any of the liquor gone. To it he went again with all his might, but succeeded no better than before. At last, full of indignation, he again set the horn to his lips, and exerted himself to the utmost to empty it entirely : then looking in, he found that the liquor was a little lowered : upon this, he resolved to attempt it no more,
but the horn. I now see plainly, says the king, that thou art not quite so stout as we thought thee; but art thou willing to make any more trials ? I am sure, says Thor, such draughts as I have been drinking, would not have been reckoned small
the Gods : but what new trial have
you pose? We have a very trifling game, here, replied the king, in which we exercise none but children: it consists in only lifting my Cat from the ground; nor should I have mentioned it, if I had not already observed, that you are by no means what we took you for. Immediately a large iron-coloured Cat leapt into the middle of the hall. only tipt with silver, &c. In York-Minster is preserved one of these ancient Drinking Veslels, composed of a large Elephant's Tooth, of its natural dimensions, ornamented with sculpture, &c. See Drake's Hift.
Thor advancing, put his hand under the Cat's belly, and did his utmost to raise himi from the ground; but the Cat bending his back, had only one of his feet lifted up: The event, says the king, is just what I foresaw; the Cat is large, but Thor is little in comparison of the men here. Little as I am, says Thor, let me see who will wrestle with me. The king looking round him, says, I see no body here who would not think it beneath him to enter the lifts with you ; let somebody, however, call hither my nurse Hela (i. e. Death) to wrestle with this God Thor: she hath thrown to the ground many a better man than he. Immediately a toothless old woman entered the hall. This is she, says the king, with whom you must wrestle *
must wrestle * I cannot, " says Jafnhar, give you all the particulars of this contest, only in general, that the more vigorously Thor affailed her, the more immoveable the stood. At length the old woman had recourse to stratagems, and Thor could not keep his feet so steadily, but that The, by a violent struggle, brought him upon one knee. Then the king came to them and ordered them to defift : adding, there now remained no body in his court, whom he could ask with honour to condes scend to fight with Thor.
* I here follow the Latin Verfion of Goranson, rather than the French of M. Mallet. T.