“It’s forty kilometers through hell, sir,” said the sergeant. Mitty finished one last brandy. “After all,” he said softly, “what isn’t?” ― The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Fenrir monstrous wolf of Norse mythology. He was the son of the demoniac god Loki and a giantess, Angerboda. Fearing Fenrir’s strength , the gods bound him with a magical chain made of the sound of a cat’s footsteps, the beard of a woman, the breath of fish, and other occult elements. When the chain was placed upon him, Fenrir bit off the hand of the god Tyr. He was gagged with a sword and was destined to lie bound to a rock until the Ragnarök, when he will break his bonds and fall upon the gods. According to one version of the myth, Fenrir will devour the sun, and in the Ragnarök he will fight against the chief god Odin and swallow him. Odin’s son Vidar will avenge his father, stabbing the wolf to the heart according to one account and tearing his jaws asunder according to another. Fenrir figures prominently in Norwegian and Icelandic poetry of the 10th and 11th centuries, and the poets speak apprehensively of the day when he will break loose.

2 Replies to “Fenrir”

  1. What a beautiful photo!

    My favorite part of this story is that Tyr knew what he was signing up for. Fenrir suspected a trick, and would not consent to be bound, until Tyr told him that they only wanted to test whether or not he was able to break free. It was a sort of a trust exercise — that Tyr knew he was going to lose. He told Fenrir “I promise, and I’m so serious that I’ll put my hand in your mouth, and if it’s a trap, you can bite my hand off!” So Fenrir allowed himself to be bound, and when he realized he was betrayed, he did indeed take off Tyr’s hand. I often think about the courage and resolution it took for Tyr to offer up his own hand, look the wolf in the eyes and say “Buddy, would I lie to you?”


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