the dictionary of norse mythology


BOLVERK Evil-Doer The name odin used when he went to jotunheim to steal back the mead of poetry. Odin took the form of a tall, strong man. When he found nine slaves working wearily in a field, he offered to sharpen their scythes with his whetstone. The slaves were so impressed with the sharpness of their blades after Bolverk had honed them that they asked for the whetstone. Odin-Bolverk threw it up in the air. As they scrambled to catch it, the nine work-ers managed to kill each other with their scythes. Thus Odin-Bolverk was able to ingratiate himself with their master, baugi, who now had no workers and was glad to employ the stranger. As a reward for his work, Baugi eventually led Odin to the cave where the mead of poetry was hidden. The character of Bolverk shows Odin as a devious, cruel being who will shed the blood of others to gain his ends.

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