Fenris (or Fenrir)

Fenris (or Fenrir)

in Scandinavian mythology, was a wolf, the frightful son of the evil Loke and the giantess Angerbode. The Asas knew the danger that threatened them from the children of this pair, therefore they brought Fenris up, in order to moderate his wildness, which was so great that only one Asa, the strong and wise Tyr, could bring food to him. The gods attempted to bind him, and laid two huge chains on him, Leding and Droma, but when he stretched himself they flew apart. Then the Asas ordered a band to be made, which appeared to be of silk, but was composed of the beard of a woman, the root of a mountain, the breath of a fish, the saliva of a bird, and the muscles of a bear; this was called Gleipner. It was light, but the wolf did not allow it to be laid on him, and he had become much stronger since tearing the two chains. The Asas began to persuade him, telling him that if he did not expose himself to some danger he would never become renowned; the band was certainly stronger than it appeared to be, but they would loose him in case he were too weak, "If I do not free myself," Fenris answered, "I know what awaits me; therefore let it not touch my feet. There must be some magic in play; but if you are honest, let one of you lay his hand into my throat as an assurance of your sincerity." After much persuasion, Tyr assented to lay his hand into the wolf's throat; the band was adjusted, but when Fenris wanted to stretch himself, he found that the band gradually contracted. Then the Asas laughed, except Tyr, for his hand had been bitten off. Since that time Tyr is one-handed. They might have killed the monster, but the sanctity of the place forbade it. They therefore took one end of the band, called Gelgia, drew it through a rock, Gjol, and with the aid of another rock, Twite, they hammered the first still deeper into the earth, and as Feliris wanted to devour all who came near him, they put a sword into his throat, so that the handle lay in the upper, the blade in the lower jaw, and Fenris was made harmless. His body has grown so that by opening his mouth he touches heaven and earth. Eventually he will free himself, unite with his sister, the Midgardsnake, and with the sons of Surtur, in war against the Asas, devour the sun, and even the god Odin; but finally the god Allvadur will tear his throat so far apart that he will die. Odin will come from his grave, and the world will be renewed. Fenris had two sons, Skoll and Hate, by the giantess Grige. Skoll persecutes the sun, Hate devours the moon. SEE NORSE MYTHOLOGY.

 
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