Chapter 26
[See below for comments.]

Mikillar frsagnar er at vert er rr fr til Geirrargara. hafi hann eigi hamarinn Mjllni ea megingjarar ea jrngreipr, ok olli v Loki. Hann fr me honum, vat Loka hafi at hent er hann flaug einu sinni at skemta sr me valsham Friggjar at hann flaug fyrir forvitni sakir Geirrargara ok s ar hll mikla, settiz ok s inn of glugg. En Geirrr leit mti honum ok mlir at taka skyldi fuglinn ok fra honum. En sendimar komz nauuliga hallarvegginn, sv var hann hr. at tti Loka gott er hann stti erfiliga til hans ok tlai sr stund at fljga eigi upp fyrr en hann hafi farit allt torleiit. En er marinn stti at honum, beinir hann fluginn ok spyrnir vi fast, ok eru ftrnir fastir. Var Loki tekinn ar hndum ok frr Geirri jtni. En er hann s augu hans, grunai hann at mar myndi vera ok ba hann svara, en Loki agi. lsti Geirrr Loka kistu ok svelti hann ar rj mnai. En er Geirrr tk hann upp ok beiddi hann ora, ok sagi Loki hverr han var, ok til fjrlausnar vann hann Geirri ess eia at hann skyldi koma r Geirrargara sv at hann hefi hvrki hamarinn n megingjarar.

rr kom til gistingar til ggjar eirrar er Grr er kllut; hon var mir Vars hins gla. Hon sagi r satt fr Geirri at hann var jtunn hundvss ok illr vireignar. Hon li honum megingjara ok jrngreipa er hon tti ok staf sinn er heitir Grarvlr.

fr rr til r eirrar er Vimur heitir, allra mest. spenti hann sik megingjrum ok studdi forstreymis Grarvl, en Loki helt undir megingjarar. Ok er rr kom mija na, x sv mjk in at uppi braut xl honum. kva rr etta:

"Vaxattu n, Vimur          [Vimra, W]
allz mik ik vaa tir
jtna gara ;
veistu ef vex,
at vex mr smegin
jafnhtt upp sem himinn!"

sr rr uppi gljfrum nokkvorum at Gjlp, dttir Geirrar, st ar tveim megin rinnar, ok geri hon rvxtinn. tk rr upp r nni stein mikinn ok kastai at henni ok mlti sv: "At si skal stemma!" Eigi misti hann ar er hann kastai til. Ok v bili bar hann at landi ok fekk tekit reynirunn nokkvorn ok steig sv r nni. v er at ortak haft at reynir er bjrg rs.

En er rr kom til Geirrar, var eim flgum vsat fyrst geitahs til herbergis, ok var ar einn stll til stis, ok sat ar rr. var hann ess varr at stllinn fr undir honum upp at rfri. Hann stakk Grarveli upp raptana ok lt sgaz fast stlinn; var brestr mikill ok fylgdi skrkr mikill. ar hfu verit undir stlinum dtr Geirrar, Gjlp ok Greip, ok hafi hann brotit hrygginn bum.

( kva rr:                           [only in U]

"Einu <sinni>
neyttak alls megins
jtna grum ,
s Gjlp ok Gneip,
dtr Geirraar,
vildu hefja mik til himins.")

lt Geirrr kalla r hllina til leika. ar vro eldar strir eptir endilangri hllinni. En er rr kom hllina gagnvart Geirri, tk Geirrr me tng jrnsu glandi ok kastar at r. En rr tk mti me jrngreipum ok frir lopt suna, en Geirrr hljp undir jrnslu at fora sr. rr kastai sunni ok laust ggnum sluna ok ggnum Geirr ok ggnum vegginn ok sv firir tan jrina.

Eptir essi sgu hefir ort Eilfr Gurnarson rsdrpu.

A great tale is told of Thor's visit to Geirrod's courts. Then he did not have the hammer Mjolnir or the girdle of might or the iron gauntlets, and that was Loki's doing. Loki went with Thor, because it had befallen Loki, when for amusement he had gone flying in Frigg's falcon shape, that out of curiosity he flew into Geirrod's courts, saw a great hall, alighted, and looked in through a window. But Geirrod saw him and wished the bird brought to him. The hall's wall was so high, that the person had great difficulty climbing it; Loki was pleased to have caused him trouble, and planned not to fly away until the man had completed the arduous climb. But when the man reached him, he beat his wings and jumped hard, but his feet were stuck. Loki was captured and brought to giant Geirrod. When Geirrod saw his eyes, he suspected this was a person and demanded an answer, but Loki was silent. Then Geirrod locked Loki in a chest and starved him for three months. When Geirrod released him and asked him to speak, Loki said who he was, and to save his life he swore to Geirrod that he would get Thor to come to Geirrod's courts without either his hammer or girdle of might.

Thor lodged with a giantess called Grid. She was Vidar the silent's mother. She told Thor the truth about Geirrod, that he was a cunning giant and dangerous to deal with. She lent him a girdle of might and a pair of iron gauntlets, and her staff, called Grid's pole.

Thor reached the river Vimur, greatest of all rivers. He put on the girdle of might and thrust Grid's pole down against the current, while Loki hung on to the girdle of might. And when Thor reached the middle of the river, it rose all the way up to his shoulders. Then Thor spoke:

"Don't rise now, Vimur,
when I want to wade across you,
into the home of giants!
You know that if you rise,
then my god-power will rise
as high as heaven!"

Then Thor saw that in an upstream gorge Geirrod's daughter Gjalp was straddling the river, causing it to rise. Then Thor took from the river a great rock, threw it at her and said: "A river be stemmed at its source." He did not miss his mark. Soon after, he reached the bank, managed to grab hold of a rowan-bush, and climbed out of the river. This is the origin of the saying that the rowan is Thor's salvation.

When Thor came to Geirrod's, the companions were given lodging in a goat-shed, where there was only one chair, which Thor sat upon. He then realized that the chair was rising under him up towards the roof. He thrust Grid's pole against the rafters, pushing the chair down. A great crack sounded, and a terrible shriek. Geirrod's daughters, Gjalp and Greip, had been hiding under the chair, and he had broken their backs.

(Then spoke rr:

"On one occasion
I used all my might
in the courts of giants,
when Gjalp and Gneip,
Geirrod's daughters,
tried to raise me towards heaven.")

Geirrod summoned Thor into the hall for games. Great fires burned along the length of the hall. When Thor came in and faced Geirrod, the giant grabbed with tongs a glowing lump of molten iron and threw it at Thor, who caught it with the iron gauntlets, and raised it, while Geirrod hid behind an iron pillar in an attempt to escape. Thor flung the molten lump, which penetrated the pillar, Geirrod himself, the wall, and the ground outside.

Eilif Gudrunarson composed Thorsdrapa on the basis of this tale.

As mentioned elsewhere, there is some evidence to suggest that the text of rsdrpa, as we have it, did not form a part of the original Skldskaparml, as Snorri wrote it. This possibility, however, should not be taken as a suggestion that Snorri was unfamiliar with the poem. Far from it. He obviously knew some version of it, perhaps even a fuller version than we know. After all, he does quote two half-stanzas from it, which are not part of the basic text, as contained in Chapter 26 of Skldskaparml. He may also have known a (now lost) Eddaic poem treating the same myth, if the two ljahttr stanzas (see above) are anything to go by.

Ultimately, such speculations are irrelevant, because nothing can be proved one way or the other. However, a comparison of Snorri's prose tale and the tale told in rsdrpa is of some interest.

SNORRI: rr visits Geirrr, leaving his hammer, iron gauntlets, and belt of strength behind, as a result of Loki's plot. rr borrows a staff, gauntlets, and a belt from Grr.

RSDRPA: The reason for rr's visit is not mentioned, although Loki is apparently the instigator. In stanza 18, we find rr killing giants with his hammer, so he cannot possibly be without it. In stanza 6, we find rr and his companion carrying spears (skotnarar), which they thrust into the bottom of the ocean (or river) in order not to be overwhelmed by the currents. In Snorri's account, Grr's staff serves the same purpose. It may be doubted that such a staff ever existed (see commentary to 9:8). Snorri also states that rr used Grr's staff during the chair-lifting episode. The poem does not support this, and neither does the second of the ljahttr stanzas quoted above. Finally, during Eilfr's eloquent description of the lump-throwing episode, there is not a single suggestion that rr was wearing gauntlets.

SNORRI: Loki accompanies rr.

RSDRPA: Only jlfi accompanies rr. This is peculiar indeed. Snorri was obviously aware of the existence of jlfi as a servant-companion of rr's, and nowhere suggests that jlfi and Loki are identical. This is a crux: Why did Snorri replace jlfi with Loki?

SNORRI: rr kills Geirrr, and there the tale ends.

RSDRPA: After Geirrr has been killed, rr slaughters the rest of the giants, assisted by jlfi. Snorri, surprisingly, leaves this part out, perhaps for the reason that in his version Loki was rr's companion.

SNORRI: rr wades a river (Vimur, Vimra), which grows as a result of Gjlp's urine or menstrual blood.

RSDRPA: As noted in my commentaries, there is no river in the poem. rr is crossing the Arctic Ocean, which was thought to separate Migarr and Jtunheimr. This is obvious from the poem's imagery, not only during the crossing, but also after rr has reached the giants' land (stanza 11 ff.), and the giant's are referred to in sea-shore terms (see commentaries). Gjlp is not mentioned in the poem. The giant's daughters are only mentioned once, in an extremely oblique manner (chair-lifting episode). As far as can be seen, the poem contains no trace of the giantess' blood or urine. That episode is unique to Snorri.

NOTE: The river/ocean confusion is not unique to Snorri - as a matter of fact it is quite common and natural. In the original cosmogony Migarr ("Middle-Earth") was surrounded by a great ocean, which, in the north and east, separated it from the world of Giants (Jtunheimr, tgarar, tv). In human terms, this great body of water was an almost impassable ocean (see Saxo analogue), but in divine terms it was simply a "river", which could be crossed on foot by a great god like rr. This confusion also derives from the fact that the original cosmogonic Underworld seems to mostly have been forgotten by Snorri's time. In the Underworld, there were two distinct realms, Hel and Niflhel, which were separated, not only by mountains, but also by a river. Since Niflhel was the home of Rime-Giants, the Underworld river was confused with the Middle-Earth ocean. A crossing from the world of Men to the world of Giants, via the Ocean in the Upper World, was equated with a crossing from Hel (realm of Mmir and Urr) to Niflhel (abode of Rime-Giants), via the River in the Lower World. [See Saxo analogue, and orsteins ttur Bjarmagns.]

We may wonder, considering the above evidence: Did Snorri know rsdrpa in the form we know it? Did he only know parts of it? Did he know a longer version? Was he unfamiliar with the stanzas, which make it clear that jlfi, not Loki, was rr's companion? How would he have interpreted the presence of rr's hammer in stanza 18? Are the two quoted Eddaic stanzas sufficient evidence that he knew a ljahttr poem, which contained a different version of the myth? Did he create Grarvlr out of his own imagination? The list of questions seems endless. However, there is some internal evidence, mostly linguistic, that Snorri knew at least some parts of the rsdrpa text as we know it. Some of this evidence may be purely coincidental.


In Skldskaparml, rr uses Grr's staff in order to avoid being swept away by the violent river. In rsdrpa, rr and jlfi use their spears in a similar way.

Snorri makes the river rise, until it reaches rr's shoulder (xl). It seems possible that this is due to an (erroneous) interpretation of herir (7:1) as "shoulders".

During the lump-throwing episode, Snorri's language (seemingly) echoes Eilfr's. Snorri's tk Geirrr me tng jrnsu glandi ("Geirrr took, with tongs, a glowing iron-lump") recalls rsdrpa's laust tngu (thrust with tongs). Snorri's frir lopt suna ("raised the lump in the air") recalls rsdrpa's lyptisylg lopti ("raised drink in the air"). Snorri's hljp undir jrnslu ("ran underneath an iron pillar") recalls rsdrpa's und fletbjarnar fornan ftlegg ("underneath the ancient pillar"), although Snorri's "IRON pillar" is rather puzzling.

The above agreements/disagreements are the most obvious examples. Additional examples may surely be found - the webmaster welcomes suggestions.