Thor Goes Fishing
By: Mike Lutz

The fire crackled in the hearth, a warm shield against the winters icy assault, food and ale had been placed on a small table beside the mountain of a man standing in front of the hearth, holding his numbed hands up to the heat, rubbing them together to get the circulation flowing again. His red beard was long and wild, his travel clothes looked well worn, but were of exceptional quality.

"Do you require anything else?" The homeowner asked.

I looked at him, he was a strongly built man, strong from working the fields and fighting when called upon, his wife was busy combing out some wool, getting it ready to be spun. The children had peeked down from their loft sleeping area when I entered, but were quickly scolded and sent back to their slumbering.

"I do not, thank you for your hospitality." I replied as I picked up the cup of ale.

"It's not often we get men of your...stature out this way, especially when the snows are blowing this hard." said the man sitting on a stool beside the hearth.

"My travels are wide and take me to strange lands at odd times." I replied gulping down the ale, it was passable, "I hope I am not too much of a disruption to you and your family.

"Of course not, we are always glad to welcome visitors to our hearth." The man said shooting a glance towards his wife, she combed the wool with extra vigor as she shot a look back at him.

"Where is it you are headed?" He asked.

"Back home. I was sent on a quest to retrieve a kettle for my father and friends, they are expecting me, but I required some rest before finishing the last leg of my journey."

"A kettle? Surely a man such as you does not need to fetch a kettle, that is a task far below you." The man said looking at me queerly.

"It is a big kettle." I replied.

"It would have to be a kettle of one of the giants to make you the retriever."

"It is." I replied, leaning in while chewing on a leg of lamb, "Would you like to hear the story of how I came to possessing the kettle?"

"Stories and falsehoods of a wandering madman," muttered the housewife. "It is not polite to spin such tales to courteous hosts."

"It is a tale, that is true, but it is as true as you and him." I said, "And I do not like being called a liar."

"Tell your tale, do not listen to her." The man said as he gave a sour look to his wife.

"Very well. here is my tale. Aegir and Ran invited my father and family to their castle under the sea for a banquet, the only condition was we had to bring a kettle to brew the ale, it had to be big enough for all of us. We all though long and hard and came up thinking only Hymir had such a kettle."

"Wait, Aegir and Ran, castle UNDER the sea? You are telling tall tales." The man interrupted.

"It is all true, now stop being rude and let me continue. I traveled to Jutonheim, Teeth-barer and Tooth Grinder pulled my cart there, you surely heard the rumble and clatter of my cart in the sky.

When I arrived at Hyrim's home he was not very pleased to see me, he was even less pleased when I asked for food and drink. He had a servant slaughter three large bulls and cooked them right away, I was not feeling very hungry so I only ate two of the bulls and only drank 4 barrels of ale."

Hymir became very angry, he demanded I go fishing with him the next day to replace all the food I had eaten."

"Harumph."The housewife snorted.

I ignored her.

"The next morning I awoke to see Hymir waiting outside, he told me I was responsible for getting bait for our fishing trip, so when I took the head of the largest bull in his pasture he became even more cross."

"As well I would imagine." The man said.

"We climbed into Hymir's boat, and rowed out a good distance, Hymir dropped his line into the waters and hooked two whales."

"I am the finest fisherman in the land, try to top this catch Thunderer.

Hymir smirked at me.

"Without a word I started to row, rowing far out to sea, further than Hymir had ever dared to himself, he paled with fright as the land faded away, 'Stop rowing, we are too far out, the Midgard Serpent lies in these waters!' Hymir cried as he pulled at my arms to stop me from rowing.

Giving him an angry look, I hooked the bull's head and cast it into the deep sea, the waters calmed as my bait sank deeper and deeper. A time had past when I was almost pulled from the boat as something struck the bait and started to fight! I braced my feet on the deck of the boat and began to reel in my line! The water frothed and boiled as the head of the

Midgard Serpent rose up from the briny depths, venom dripped from the jaws that still had the hook lodge in them!

I pulled harder to bring my quarry to me, suddenly my feet broke through the deck boards and water rushed into the boat! I planted my feet on the ocean floor and reached for Mjolnir, my hammer, I was ready to end the life of my eternal foe when I heard Hymir scream and with a knife cut my line letting my prey escape! Enraged, I took up Hymir by the neck and and struck him between the eyes with my hammer! I rowed back to land, retrieved the kettle and with the two whales over my shoulder started my journey back home."

The housewife had stopped her spinning, the man looked at me with an odd look, "Are you Thor?"

"Don't be stupid," spat his wife, "He is just a man, a terrible liar of a man, spinning ridiculous stories to try to confuse us good folk!"

"Quiet woman! You shouldn't speak such vile words in front a guest, especially Thor himself. Please, m'lord, please forgive her." The man said in a humble tone.

"Though she may have a hot tongue, she is right to try to question my story, even though it is accurate. Yes, I am Thor, son of Odin, Thunderer and bane of giants, I must take my leave now, I am rested and my hunger is sated, my thanks and blessings to you and your good house."

As I walked out the door of the humble house I could hear a great tumult begin inside, I smiled as I climbed onto the seat of my cart, Teethbarer and Teeth Grinder pawed at the ground impatiently, Hymir's kettle and the two whales secured in the back. With a shout and a whistle my cart lurched forward and we traveled home to Asgard, to feast and drink with my fellow Gods.

THE END

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