No one can tell what the end would have been if Hymer, trembling with fright and seeing the boat about to sink, had not sprung forward and cut the line just as Thor was raising his hammer to crush the serpent's head. The snake sank at once to the bottom of the sea, and Thor, turning upon the giant, struck him such a blow under the ear that he fell headlong into the water.
Nobody knows what the end would have been, had not Hymer reached over, and cut the strong cord. The slippery snake glided out of Thor's hands, and hid himself in the deep sea; and every thing became quiet again. Silently Thor and Hymer sat in the broken boat, and rowed swiftly back towards land. Thor felt really ashamed of himself, because he had gained nothing by his venture.
Hymer had lost a great treasure by the experiment, but he only said, "That drink was too hot. Perhaps you will take the kettle off now," he added with a sneer. Tyr immediately laid hands on the kettle, but he could not move it an inch.
The little vessel sped through the water more swiftly than it had ever done before, for Thor plied the oars. In a moment the long, low beach was out of sight; and Hymer, who had never travelled so fast, began to feel frightened. "Stop!" he cried. "Here is the place to fish: I have often caught great store of flat-fish here. Let us out with our lines!"
"But old Hymer will never give it up willingly." "Is it Hymer of whom you speak?" asked Thor. "Then I know him well; and, willingly or not willingly he must let us have his kettle. For what is a feast without the gladsome ale?"
"Welcome home!" cried the woman, as Hymer shook the frost from his hair and beard, and stamped the snow from his feet. "I am so glad that you have come! for there are two strangers in the hall, and they have asked for you. One of them I know is Thor, the foe of the giants, and the friend of man. The other is the one-armed god of war, the brave Tyr. What can be their errand at Hymer's hall?"
You have heard of the feast that old Aegir once made for the Asa-folk in his gold-lit dwelling in the deep sea, and how the feast was hindered, through the loss of his great brewing kettle, until Thor had obtained a still larger vessel from Hymer the giant.
In a few moments they reached Hymer's fishing-ground, and he called out to Thor to stop. "Oh, no, not yet," said Thor, bending steadily over his oars; "we must go a good distance beyond this." Thor pulled with such tremendous power that they were soon far out to sea, and Hymer began to be frightened. "If you don't stop," he called out, "we shall be over the Midgard-serpent."
The post at the end of the hall was shivered in pieces by his very look; the beam that upheld the floor of the loft was broken, and all the kettles tumbled down with a fearful crash. Thor and Tyr crept out from among the rubbish, and stood before old Hymer. The giant was not well pleased at the sight of such guests come thus unbidden to his hall.
But he checked himself, and coolly said, "I pray you not to trouble yourself on my account I have set my head on going with you, and go I will. Tell me where I can find something that I can use for bait, and I will be ready in a trice." "I have no bait for you," roughly answered Hymer "You must look for it yourself."