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The Hymiskviða ('the lay of Hymir') is a 12th or 13th century mytholgical poem in the Poetic Edda.

It begins with a planned feast for the gods, for which the giant Ægir is supposed to brew the beer. He refuses initially because of the lack of a sufficiently large cauldron. Consequently two gods, Þórr and Týr, make their way to visit the giant Hymir, Týr's father, in order to get a cauldron from him. Þórr leaves his goats with Egill the farmer (the father of Þjálfi and Rǫskva?). The first person they meet at Hymir's is his 900-headed mother. His wife, who is dressed in gold, hides them under the giant's cauldron and prepares Hymir for the visit of the guests. His look smashes the pillars behind which they were hiding and nine cauldrons fall to the floor. All but one are breaking. During the following meal and to the horror of the giant, Þórr eats two out of three bulls which Hymir has brought. Hymir then announces that because of this, they will have to go out fishing the next day. He sends Þórr out looking for bait. Þórr pulls the head off the biggest of Hymir's bulls (named Himinhrjóðr) for fishing. Þórr then proceeds to row out further than Hymir wants to go and while the giant catches two whales, Þórr catches the serpent Miðgarðsormr with the bull's head as bait. Þórr's feet break through the boat planks as he pulls in the line. Hymir panics and cuts the line, just as Þórr is getting out his hammer in order to kill the serpent, and it disappears back into the sea.

On the way home Þórr carries both whales and the oars, but Hymir can still not refrain from testing Þórr's strength even further. He has a goblet which no-one can break unless he is really strong. When Þórr throws it against a pillar, the pillar breaks, and only when Þórr, following the suggestions of Hymir's wife, hurls it against the giant's skull, does the goblet itself smash. Hymir regrets the loss of the goblet, but doubts whether the gods could carry the cauldron (which he now owes them after severe tests of strength?), and Týr is certainly unable to do so. It is only when Þórr puts it on top of fhimself like a turtle that he manages to carry it away. Hymir and his giants still follow Þórr, but they are all killed by the hammer Mjǫllnir.

On the way home one of Þórr's goats falls and lames himself, which is blamed on Loki. A giant (Egill?) has to give Þórr both of his children, Þjálfi and Rǫskva, as retribution for this. Finally, they arrive as Ásgarðr again along with the cauldron, and Ægir is able to brew the beer for the feast. [1]


  1. Rudolf Simek: Dictionary of Northern Mythology (1993)