Determined to retake the mead of poetry from the Giants
who had stolen it, Odin, The High God,
disguises himself as one of them…
He calls himself, ‘The Evil One’.
All the Jotunn have those sort of names…
‘Death by Envy’, ‘Judgements Thrall’, ‘Bluff’ and ‘Bluster’ etc.
Still, as the God of Gods you would want to outdo all that,
so, the Evil One, is pretty much the last word in giant names.
He sets off in giant form
for the farm of the mead keeper’s brother…
Thor would have just gone straight to the mountain,
where the mead was now kept,
and the mead keeper himself but Odin,
well, he is all about turning brother against brother.
Wily you see… wild and wily,
probably, in origin, the self-same word,
and only a wise god would know that.
…Anyway, the mead keeper’s brother
has nine human thralls working his farm,
and when the Evil One strolls onto the land
he takes a look around and immediately spies his chance.
The thralls are weary with still a good third of the field to harvest
and from the time it is taking for the sheaves to fall
their scythes look to be a tad on the blunt side.
The Evil One pulls a whetstone from his pocket,
“Need an edge?” he says, all nonchalant like,
to the nearest farm-hand and holds out the hone.
“Do I ever,” replies the farm-hand
and when the others see what he is about
they crowd around the God,
disguised as a Giant, in the hope of getting an edge too.
The Evil One duly obliges,
and as every last jack of them is impressed with their new edge,
they ask him if the hone is for sale.
“I might consider selling it to the one man who can host me tonight
in the manner most befitting,” says the Evil One.
Oh, they are all up for that,
hell yes, falling over themselves, they are,
to host the Evil One that night.
Odin squints at them through his single eye
and gives them a grisly grin,
then he tosses the whetstone, high in the air…
Up into the summer sky, it arches,
ever so high it flies,
glinting in the sunlight, it is,
Up go the heads of the thralls to watch it,
with not a thought for anything or anyone else,
except the honour to be bestowed on themselves,
and all of them hoping to be the one to catch it,
which they all do actually, every last jack of them.
They jostle, and turn,
and run backwards,
with eyes only for the whetstone,
and they all catch the edge real good.
Slice each other’s gullets they do
with their new-honed scythes…
The whetstone, when it finally falls to earth,
lands in a field of nine dead bodies,
and the Evil One,
he stoops, and bends,
and picks it up,
returns it to his pocket,
and traipses off back down the road
the same way he came…whistling…
a somewhat plaintiff tune… it has to be owned.