Norse Mythology - Your favorite story?

I have an upcoming class to teach this weekend on Norse Mythology. It will be a basic intro aimed toward children (but open to all ages). It’s an hour long, and I have all the information, names, genealogies, etc. prepared. I would like to tell a story, too, but I can’t decide which one.
Freyr and Gerd?
Balder, Loki, and the Mistletoe?
Odin, Ymir, and the creation of Midgard?

So what’s your favorite story from Norse Mythology? It will need to be something that will appeal to both genders, and a fairly large age range (say 5 to 12). Some adults may be in attendance, also. I might have time for two, if I condense a few of the overview items.

Suggestions, if you please!

The one about Freyja and the Midgard Serpent! :smiley:

Oh, wait . . . age range 5-12 . . .

Valhalla. The Norse idea of paradise being a place where you fight for no reason and get hacked to death, every day.

Or how Odin won supremacy over his brothers by hanging himself on Yggdrasil for nine days.

Norse mythology is grim. Don’t let that escape your audience’s notice.

I’m thinking one of the earlier* stories where there isn’t the tension between Loki and the Aesir would be a good choice, like Thor’s journey to Utgard or Thor and Tyr’s cauldron trip. They’re humorous and entertaining and don’t raise awkward questions in the minds of young’uns.

*At least they always came earlier in the compilations I read. I have no idea where someone knowledgeable in this area would order the stories.

Actually, one of our exercises in the class is noting how often war, battle, and violence are associated with the gods and goddesses - the goddess of love, fertility, and battle…the god of justice and battle…the god of wisdom and war…the god of thunder and* battle*. Fully one third (if not more- I haven’t actually done the math) of the pantheon has some sort of violence attached to their name.

This is a class for children in the SCA. The Norse idea that heaven is an unlimited resurrection battle will not be lost on them. :wink:

I wish I could find a nice, large picture of Yggdrasil. Most of the ones I’m finding are small and lack detail. I fear the verbal description will be over the heads of the children, but artists’ renderings are so cool.

I’d hoped to spend a few minutes on Huginn, Muninn, Freki, and Geri…and I’ve found a lovely diagram of them. I am by no means an expert on this area of mythology, so I’ve been teaching myself as I prepare for the class. My college courses in mythology left some rather large gaps, but having a husband and son who love it has helped.

Valhalla would be my choice of places to spend eternity.

Drifting back on topic, I like the story of Tyr sacrificing his hand to bind Fenris. Combined that with a particular section of The Tomb of Elemental Evil for a paladin in an AD&D campaign I was running.

I have had, since that age, a certain fondness for the death of Baldir, and subsequent punishment of Loki - although the viciousness of the punishment might make THAT part of the story less appropriate for the group. But, yes, you definitely have to include the killing of Baldir. It’s just so damned NEAT.

And, of course, you can’t skip Ragnarok.

I vote for The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul.

Oh, wait, I completely misunderstood.

Thor’s journey to Utgard. No competition. There even was a Danish cartoon made on that, if you care to track it down.

I remember reading it as a kid and being thrilled with excitement.

My favorite story is the one where Thor swallows a puzzle piece, and the man with the big yellow hat has to take him to the hospital.

How about the one where Thor strikes a sleeping giant on the head. Who subsequntly arises and wonders if a leaf had fallen on him. He then goes to the giant’s hall and has to drink from their cups (horn) and pickup their cat? etc. Little twist at the end:

Giant was performing illusion spells. Thor struck a mountain instead of his head (completely destroying it).
Drank from a horn that had one end dipped in the sea (mustve been a bit salty)
The cat was a coil of the Midgard serpent.

That’s the Utgard story people have been talking about. Thor wrestles an old woman, and can’t beat her. His inhumanly swift henchman Thjalfi runs a race, and loses. Loki gets into an eating contest, and he and his opponent Logi each demolish a whole elk haunch in a few bites, but Logi also eats the bone and the platter.

The woman is Old Age. The racer is Thought. Logi is Fire.

The creation of Mjolnir. It’s hilarious. Let’s review:

Loki spies Thor’s trophy wife Sif sleeping outside (naked, if you belief the illustrations in The Children of Odin and decides it would be amusing to shave her head.

Sif manages to sleep through this, as she is sleeping off a bender or something.

She awakens, goes inside, sees her reflection, and screams.

Thor hears her scream, sees her cue-ball head, and doesn’t even bother wondering who is responsible.

Thor finds Loki and prepares to rip his head off bare-handed, but Loki persuades him life will be better if he has a mason’s tool to help with the head-removal in the future.

Loki goes off to find a dwarf to help him keep his head attached and promptly tries to cheat him, for no particular reasons.

Loki turns himself into stinging gnat while magic hammer is being forged and stings the dwarf to no avail.

Loki delivers the hammer, Sif’s new hair, and Frey’s magic boat to the gods. The dwarf demands his head as payment, but Loki points out that he is only entitled to the head, not any part of the neck, thus avoiding a decapitation.

The dwarf then sews Loki’s lips shut so he’ll tell a few less lies for a while.

The whole thing makes me want to giggle.

< Bosda SLAPS with [del]Mjolnir[/del] a Wet Trout > :smiley:

The one where giants steal Mjolnir and demand Sif in marriage. Loki tries to convince her. But, she says no. So he has Thor dress in drag. Comedy ensues.

I also like the story of Kvasir and the first mead. This segues into the three trances Odin could bestow.

You could also tell the story of the ring of the Niebelung (the original unWagnerized version.). Most of the kids will pick up on the many things Tolkien used in LOTR.

Have you considered Idunn, & the Apples of Immortality, & how they were stolen?


Remember that Idunn, Goddess of Immortality, was the wife of Bragi, God of Poetry. What does this symbolism say about Viking culture & the worth of poetry to them?

OOoOo … Auntie Arwen of Dragonship Haven [mundanely the coastal area of COnnecticut] is actually an author of a spiffy book of norse mythology [for adults] where she has made them funny - IIRC Loki is a biker, Odin owns a bar and the valkirie are the barmaids … I have a copy in a box in the Barn of Holding and I can’t remember her real name to tell you what to look for
According to Uncle Einar

You have Thor mixed up with Jesus.

Your Auntie Arwen is 7 breeds of $%^&!!! :mad: :mad: :mad:

She’s charging $11 minimum for shipping on that book!! :mad: :mad:

I sell stuff on Amazon all the time, & that rate is piracy! :mad: :mad: :mad:

Another vote for Thor’s voyage to Utgard. A grabber that ties everything together in the end.

If you want to go a bit darker, how about the binding of the Fenris Wolf which results in the loss of Tyr’s hand.

The description of the process the dwarves use to construct the chains and then final rope is very imaginitive.