Fenrir





Fenrir, a monstrous wolf, was one of three terrible children of the Norse * trickster god Loki and the giantess Angrboda. Their other children—Jormungand, a giant serpent, and Hel, the goddess of the dead—were thrown out of Asgard, the home of the gods, by Odin * . But Odin felt that the gods should look after Fenrir.

In time, Fenrir grew incredibly large, and only Odin's son Tyr was brave enough to approach and feed him. The gods finally decided to chain the beast, but Fenrir broke the two huge chains they made to restrain him. Asked by the gods to create something that would hold Fenrir, the dwarfs produced a silky ribbon called Gleipnir. To make it, they used the sound of a cat moving, the beard of a woman, the roots of a mountain, the sinews of a bear, the breath of a fish, and the spit of a bird.

The gods took Fenrir to an isolated island and challenged him to prove that he was stronger than Gleipnir. Because the ribbon seemed so weak, Fenrir suspected it was magical. He allowed himself to be bound with it only after Tyr agreed to put his hand in Fenrir's mouth. When Fenrir found that he could not break Gleipnir, he bit off Tyr's hand. The gods put a sword in Fenrir's open mouth to quiet him.

trickster mischievous figure appearing in various forms in the folktales and mythology of many different peoples

chaos great disorder or confusion

According to legend, Fenrir will be released during the chaos just before Ragnarok, the final battle in which the gods of Asgard will be killed. Fenrir will swallow Odin during the battle and then be killed himself.

See also Animals in Mythology ; Norse Mythology ; Ragnarok ; Tyr .



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Sep 4, 2010 @ 4:04 am
It fails to mention in this article that the reason Fenrir wanted Tyr to put his hand in the wolfish beast's mouth was as insurance in case the Gods' challange was a trick. In his deception, he lost his cool and, without taking much time to think about his actions, he bit off Tyr's hand, as a spur-of-the-moment compensation for their deceit.

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