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Young Folks' Treasury: Myths and Legendary Heroes

The Gifts Of The Dwarfs
Thor was, you may know, the strongest and noblest of the great giants of the north. He
was tall in stature and had fiery brown eyes, from which the light flashed like lightning,
while his long red beard waved through the sky as he drove in his goat-drawn chariot.
Brilliant sparks flew from the hoofs and teeth of the two goats, while a crown of bright
stars shone above Thor's head. When he was angered the wheels of his chariot rumbled
and crashed their passage through the air, until men trembled and hid, telling each other
that [pg 86] Thor had gone to battle with the Rime-giants or other of his enemies.
Now Thor's wife was named Sib, and she was most beautiful to look upon. Her soft,
browny-gold hair was so long and thick that it would cover her from the crown of her
head to her little feet, and her deep brown eyes looked into the faces of her friends as
those of a mother look into the face of her child. Loki, the mischief-maker among the
giants, often looked at Sib and longed to do her some evil, for he was jealous, thinking
that it was not right that she should be praised and loved by everyone; go where he would
he could find no one who did not speak well of her.
It happened one day when the summer was nearly gone that Loki found Sib alone and
sleeping on a bank near the river, so he drew his knife, and creeping softly nearer and
nearer, cut off her beautiful flowing hair quite close to her head. Then he joyfully rushed
away and strewed it far and wide over the whole earth, so that it became no longer living
and golden but faded and turned a dull color as the winds blew it about and the rains beat
upon it, and crushed it in between the rocks and stones. When Sib awoke and was about
to push the hair from her face, she felt that something was wrong. Wonderingly she ran to
the water and looking at her reflection in the clear depths, saw that nothing but a short
stubble stood up all over her head. All her lovely hair was gone! Only one would have
dared to treat her so badly, and in her grief and anger she called upon Thor to come to her
Loki had of course fled and was hiding far away in another country among the rocks
when he heard the distant rumblings of thunder, and tried to shrink deeper into the
crevices between the great stones, but the awful sound grew louder, and at last the angry
flash from Thor's eyes darted to the very spot where the mischievous one lay. Then Thor
pulled him out and shook him from side to side in his enormous hands, and would have
crushed his bones upon the hard rocks had not Loki in great terror asked what good his
death would do, for it certainly would not bring Sib's hair back. Then Thor set the
mischief-maker on his feet, though still keeping a tight hold [pg 87] on him, and asked what he
would do to repair the evil which he had done. Loki promptly answered that he would go
down into the mountains to the dwarfs, and get Iwald's sons to make some golden hair for
Sib, as good as that which he had destroyed. Now Iwald had had seven sons, and these all
lived deep below the earth in the great caverns which lie below the mountains, and these
sons were small and dark; they did not like the daylight for they were dwarfs who could
see best without the sun to dazzle their eyes; they knew where gold and silver grew, and
they could tell where to find beautiful shining stones, which were red, and white, and
yellow, and green; they knew the way all over the world by running through caverns and