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THE TWENTY-FOURTH FABLE.

Of Thialfi's Art.

T

HEN the king asked, what that young man

could do, who accompanied Thor. THIALFE antwered, That in running upon scates, he would dis. pute 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 • snowy plain, giving hin a young man named Hugo (Spirit or Thought) to dispute the prize of {wiftness 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 exert yourself better. They therefore ran a second course, and Thialfe was a full bow-shot 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 present cried out, that there had been a sufficient trial of skill in this kind of exercise.

THE

THE TWENTY-FIFTH FABLE.

Of the Trials that Thor underwent.

T

THEN the king asked Thor, in what art HE

would choose to give proof of that dexterity for which he was so famous. Thor replied, That he would contest the prize of Drinking with any person belonging to his court? The king consented, and im. mediately 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*. This the cupbearer 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 astonish. ed at its length t; however, as he was very thirsty, he set it to his mouth, and without drawing breath,

* 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.

+ The Drinking Vessels of the northern Nations were the Horns of animals, of their natural length, only tipt with silver, &c. In YorkMinster is preserved one of these ancient Drinking Vessels, composed of a large Elephant's Tooth, of its natural dimensions, ornamented with feulpture, &c. See Drake's Hift.

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 but a little lowered : upon this, he resolved to attempt it no more, but gave back 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 among the Gods : But what new trial have you to propose ? We have a very trifling game here, replied the king;

which we exercise none but children : it confifts 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:

Immer diately a large iron-coloured cat leapt into the middle of the hall. Tlior advancing, put his hand under the cát's belly, and did his utmost to raise him from the ground; but the cat bending his back, had only one of his feet lifted up. The event, says the king, is juft what I forefaw; 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 fee 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 wreftle with this God Thor: fhe hath thrown to the ground many a better man than he. Immediately a toothless old woman entered the hall. This is the; fays the king, with whom you

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muft wrestle*. I cannot,' says Jafnhar,' give you all the particulars of this contest, only in general that the more vigorously Thor assailed her, the more immoveable she stood. At length the old woman had recourse to stratagems, and Thor could not keep his feet fo steadily, but that she, 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 alk with hopour to condescend to fight with Thor.

I here follow the Latin Version of Goranfon, rather than the French of M. Mallet.

T,

THE THE TWENTY-SIXTH FABLE,

Illusions accounted for.

TH

HOR passed the night in that place with his

early the next morning ; when the king ordered him to be sent for, and

gave
him
a magn

ficent entertainment. After this he accompanied him out of the city. When they were just going to bid ad eu to each other, the king asked Thor what he thought of the success of his expedition. Thor told him, he could not but own that he went away very much ashamed and disappointed. It behoves me then, says the king, to discover now the truth to you, since you are out of my city; which

you shall never re-enter whilft I live and reign. And I'assure you, that had I known beforehand, you had been so lirong and mighty, I would not have suffered you to enter now.

But I enchanted you by my illusions; first of all in the forest, where I arrived before you. And there you were not able to untie your wallet, because I had fastened it with a ma. gic chain.

You afterward aimed three blows ai me with your mace: the first stroke, though flight, would have brought me to the ground, had I received it: but when you are gone hence, you will meet with an immenfe rock, in which are three narrow valleys of a square form, one of them in particular remarkably deep: these are the breaches made by your mace; for I at that time lay concealed behind the rock, which

you

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