So in the end Odin fared better than the unhappy Mimer, whose worst fault was that he knew more than most folk. That is a dangerous fault, as others have found; though it is not one for which many of us need fear being punished.
THE QUEST OF THE HAMMER
One morning Thor the Thunderer awoke with a yawn, and stretching out his knotted arm, felt for his precious hammer, which he kept always under his pillow of clouds. But he started up with a roar of rage, so that all the palace trembled. The hammer was gone!
Now this was a very serious matter, for Thor was the protector of Asgard, and Mioelnir, the magic hammer which the dwarf had made, was his mighty weapon, of which the enemies of the AEsir stood so much in dread that they dared not venture near. But if they should learn that Mioelnir was gone, who could tell what danger might not threaten the palaces of heaven?
Thor darted his flashing eye into every corner of Cloud Land in search of the hammer. He called his fair wife, Sif of the golden hair, to aid in the search, and his two lovely daughters, Thrude and Lora. They hunted and they hunted; they turned Thrudheim upside down, and set the clouds to rolling wonderfully, as they peeped and pried behind and around and under each billowy mass. But Mioelnir was not to be found. Certainly, someone had stolen it.
Thor’s yellow beard quivered with rage, and his hair bristled on end like the golden rays of a star, while all his household trembled.
“It is Loki again!” he cried. “I am sure Loki is at the bottom of this mischief!” For since the time when Thor had captured Loki for the dwarf Brock and had given him over to have his bragging lips sewed up, Loki had looked at him with evil eyes; and Thor knew that the red rascal hated him most of all the gods.
But this time Thor was mistaken. It was not Loki who had stolen the hammer—he was too great a coward for that. And though he meant, before the end, to be revenged upon Thor, he was waiting until a safe chance should come, when Thor himself might stumble into danger, and Loki need only to help the evil by a malicious word or two; and this chance came later, as you shall hear in another tale.
Meanwhile Loki was on his best behaviour, trying to appear very kind and obliging; so when Thor came rumbling and roaring up to him, demanding, “What have you done with my hammer, you thief?” Loki looked surprised, but did not lose his temper nor answer rudely.
“Have you indeed missed your hammer, brother Thor?” he said, mumbling, for his mouth was still sore where Brock had sewed the stitches. “That is a pity; for if the giants hear of this, they will be coming to try their might against Asgard.”
“Hush!” muttered Thor, grasping him by the shoulder with his iron fingers. “That is what I fear. But look you, Loki: I suspect your hand in the mischief. Come, confess.”