Norse Mythology - Sif, Wife of Thor

Not much in known about Thor's wife Sif. Thor was her 2nd husband and the identity of the first husband is unknown, though she did have a son by him who was named Ull.

Her most striking feature was her golden hair. In all likelihood, Sif was a fertility Goddess, with her hair representing ripening corn. However Sif's importance had diminished in Norse folklore by the time the myth was recorded.

Her marriage to Thor, though, is significant pointer to the way in which Thor was regarded by the Norsemen. The mischievous shape-shifting god Loki boasted that he had made love to her and was extremely jealous of Thor.

Due to anger at Sif's marriage to Thor, Loki managed to get into Sif's locked bedroom, and as she slept. Loki raised his blade and with quick dexterous strokes, removed Sif's shining hair. Sif murmured, but did not awaken; the hair left on her cropped head stuck upward like stubble. Loki dropped the skeins of shining hair on to the floor, he stared at the mound of glowing hair, smiled, and then departed Sif's bedroom.

When Thor returned to Sif, and discovered what had happened, both he and Sif knew that only Loki would have done such a treacherous act. Enraged, Thor pursued and located Loki and with his immense stature and strength, gripped Loki by the throat lifted him from the ground.

Claiming it was only a joke, Loki swears that the hair will be replaced with the aid of the dwarves and elves. Under the threat that Thor will smash every bone in his body, Loki assures Thor and Sif that the hair will be replaced.

Loki made his way to a cave that is the home of the dark elves, the sons of Ivaldi. Loki knows that the sons of Ivaldi are skilled enough to spin golden hair as fine as Sif's and imbue it with such magic that it will grow upon her head. The dubious elves asked Loki what they would gain out of all this. Loki assured that they would receive the thanks of Sif, Thor and the other Gods and Goddesses. Still not convinced, Loki further added a guarantee that he would repay the elves in full measure, should they ever have need of his services.

As the elves spun the gold into glimmering strands of fine hair, they murmured spells over the strands and to further please the Norse Gods, the two sons of Ivaldi fashioned a marvelous ship for Freyr, called Skidbladnir, and forged a mighty spear for Odin, called Gungnir – as strong as it was slender.

The two elves gave Loki the Ship, the Spear and the Golden Strands of Hair, as they explained their magical powers. As usual, Loki was at no loss for words and with boisterous thanks, he departed back to Midgard see Thor and Sif.

Loki decided not to head directly back to Midgard, but instead opted for a side trip to see two dwarves: Brokk and Eitri. Once there, Loki showed the dwarves the treasures meant for the Gods and Goddesses. Knowing that these twin dwarves were extremely skilled, he tempted Brokk and Eitri to make gifts comparable to the ones the sons of Ivaldi had made. Brokk and Eitri boasted they could create gifts much finer; in disbelief Loki staked his head that they could not do more intricate and extraordinary work.

Brokk and Eitri, eager to take up Loki on this challenge, as it would not only rid them of the 'schemer' Loki, but the treasures made by the Sons of Ivaldi would be theirs for the taking, as Loki would be beheaded by the Gods, due to his arrogance and foolishness to dare gamble with the gifts to the Gods.

Brokk and Eitri went to work. Brokk was warned not to allow the bellows to stop, or the treasures would be ruined. Eitri began forming the fine metals, as Brokk worked the bellows a fly landed upon Brokk's hand, instantly stinging him. Brokk looked down, but did not pause in his efforts. The first of the treasures, the Gullinbursti (a boar with Bristles of Gold), was pulled from the forge.

The dwarves began the second of the treasures for the Gods. Eitri picked up a great block of flawless gold, heated it until glowing and malleable then hammered and shaped the item, placed it into the forge once more, warning Brokk to pump the bellows until he pulled it from the forge.

Eitri departed, just as the fly returned, settled onto the back of Brokk's neck, stinging him twice as sharply as before Brokk winced, but did not pause when Eitri returned, he removed the Draupnir (an arm-ring of solid gold) from the forge.

Once more Eitri placed a great hunk of fine iron into the forge once heated, Eitri hammered it into shape, returned it to the forge and once more warned Brokk to remain pumping the bellows until he returned or the treasure would be ruined. Just as a weary Eitri departed the forge, the fly buzzed through the arch into the smithery alcove, this time settling between Brokk's eyes and at once stung Brokk on both his eyelids.

The dwarf was blinded with blood, he could not see what he was doing for a moment, he removed his hand from the bellows to brush the fly from his brow and wipe the blood from his eyes.

The shape-shifter Loki (had turned himself into the fly) then returned to his waiting place at this very moment, Eitri hurried back to the forge, enquiring what had happened. Eitri pulled from the forge a massive and finely forged Iron Hammer and although it was short in the handle. Eitri called the hammer Mjollnir.

Convinced that the treasures would be satisfactory to the Gods, Eitri instructed Brokk to take the Hammer, the Ring and the Boar to the Gods and tell them of the mysteries of the treasures. Brokk accompanied Loki to Asgard, in hopes of claiming Loki's scheming head as well as the treasures which the sons of Vivaldi had forged.

Loki and Brokk made their way to Asgard. Word preceded them and they were met in Gladsheim by all the Gods, sitting waiting for them to arrive. Loki at once boasted how he had been able to exploit the dwarves' envy and greed to secure the six treasures for the Gods.

Brokk immediately spoke up and told the Gods of his own knowledge of events. It was agreed that Odin, Thor and Freyr should decide whether Eitri of the Sons of Ivaldi were the finer smiths, with this, Loki displayed the treasures.

Boastfully, Loki presented the spear, telling Odin how he has enlisted the elves to forge the Gungnir and how it is unlike any other spear, as it would never miss its mark.

Odin took the spear and while looking it over, Loki added how Odin could use the spear to stir up warfare in the world of men. Loki then turned to Freyr, offering the ship, Skidbladnir, to her, boasting that it is large enough to hold all of the Gods, even if they were fully armed. Loki swiftly dismasted and dismantled the boat, until it was no larger than a piece of cloth, once more boasting that it could be carried in Freyr's purse.

For the third gift Loki turned to Sif with an additional apology, he showed the Skein of golden flowing hair saying that he owed her this gift. He assured her that once it touched her head, it would take root and begin to grow and would be no less beautiful than before. Sif took the hair from Loki, and did as he instructed, and with a shout of joy, it did just as he had said that it would do, much to Loki's relief!

Brokk stepped forward to present his own gifts to the Gods. Brokk held the arm ring before Odin stating that it was for Odin. It is Draupnir, and little less than it appears. Eight rings of its own weight will drop from it on every ninth night.

Brokk turned to Freyr, presenting the Boar to her. Stating that it was called Gullinbursti and can charge over the earth air and sea alike, and that no horse can keep up with him. No matter where he goes, running through the night or plunging into the gloom under all the worlds, he will always be surrounded by brilliant light.

Turning to Thor, Brokk stated that his third gift was for him, stating that the hammer, Mjollnir, can be used against anything and with all Thor's mighty strength. Nothing can ever break it even if Thor was to hurl it, that he would never lose it, no matter how far he flung it, it would always return to his hand. Thor eagerly grasped it, as Brokk bowed his head and humbly admitted that there was but one flaw the handle was rather short.

Odin, Thor and Freyr wasted no time in giving their answer, they were of one mind that of all the wondrous gifts presented, the massive iron hammer, Mjollnir, was the most valuable, as it would guard the Gods against the Giants.

Brokk having won the wager, Loki fled in fear, boasting that no one could catch him. Thor, with the aid of the Massive Iron Hammer, quickly captured and returned Loki to the Hall of the Gods. Loki told Brokk that he could have his head, as agreed, but could have no part of his neck. The Gods grinned and nodded, seeing that Loki had the better of Brokk.

This being the case, Brokk began sewing Loki's lips closed, using Eitri's awl to pierce his lips. No sooner had he begun to stitch, than Loki once more ran out of Gladsheim, ripped out the awl and thong of stitching, as he yelped in pain; all the while listening to the hum of laughter inside the temple, lusting for revenge…

~~ Source Unknown ~~