One morning Beorl, the little land wight, wanted to leave his cavern to get a bit of fresh air and have a swim in a lake nearby, but he couldn’t get out. In front of his cavern entrance lay something. It was really huge, heavy and hard, and no pushing or showing helped. Finally Beorl took a shovel and built a tunnel under the thing. Once outside he took a deep breath. What in the name of all nine worlds had happened here?
Beorl took a closer look at the thing: It looked like a big hammer, with an enormous head from metal and some nice engravings, and a relatively short handle that still was rising high enough that Beorl could hardly see the end. Haven’t I been lucky, he thought by himself. That thing could have easily crashed through my ceiling! But how can I get rid of it? The hammer just can’t lie there forever. I can’t use my cavern properly right now!
Beorl thought hard. Something as big as this hammer had to belong to a either a giant or a god. Humans and spirits couldn’t possibly handle such a heavy weapon. And he hadn’t seen a jotun, a giant, in these parts for ages. So a god had to be the culprit.
He washed his face, because that was really necessary after all this shoveling, and started to search for the hammer’s owner.
The way to Asgard wasn’t long, and at Bifröst, the rainbow bridge, Beorl already met the first god. It was Heimdall, who guards the bridge.
„Have you lost a hammer?“, Beorl asked him. „I?“ Heimdall was surprised. „No, I don’t use a hammer. I have a horn.“ And he took a big horn from his back. „You see? But I mustn’t blow it until Ragnarök, when the worlds come to an end.“
But he let the little land wight cross the bridge so that he could search further.
Next Beorl met the goddess Idun who was sitting in her garden.
„Have you lost a hammer?“, Beorl asked her. „Who, I?“ Idun laughed. „No, I have apples, not a hammer. What would I need a hammer for?“ And she plucked an apple and showed it to Beorl. „Here! One of those will keep you healthy and alive for a long time. The gods eat them all the time!“
And she gave it to Beorl, in case he got hungry on his way.
When he moved on he encountered Odin, who was riding his horse Sleipnir. Beorl stopped the god.
„Have you lost a hammer?“ he asked and carefully avoided Sleipnir’s eight dancing legs. „I?“ Odin droned with a deep voice. „No, I don’t need a hammer. I have some ravens instead.“ He whistled, and two ravens sat down on his shoulders. „May I introduce you to Hugin and Munin? They fly around and tell me everything they have seen.“ But they hadn’t seen who had dropped the hammer in front of Beorl’s cavern, so Odin rode on and left the land wight fast behind.
He reached a house with ‘Fensal’ written on the doors. Said doors and all windows were wide open. Beorl, being a polite land wight, knocked first and entered. A fire was burning brightly in the hearth, and next to it sat a woman he recognized as Frigga.
„Have you lost a hammer?“, he asked her. „I?“, Frigga shook her head. „No, I don’t own a hammer. I always use a spindle.“ She reached into a basket, took a spindle out of it and started spinning. The thread made a bulk around the spindle, and when she let go, the spindle sailed through the open window, rose to the sky and changed into a little cloud.
„Oh!“, Beorl marveled the sight, and then went on, before it started raining.
On a meadow there sat the god Frey and was feeding his golden boar Gullinborsti some acorns.
„Have you lost a hammer?“, Beorl asked him. „I?“ Frey was surprised. „No, not a hammer. I lost a sword, but, to be honest, I didn’t really lose it. I gave it to my friend Skirnir, so he would bring me my beloved wife.“ He smiled sheepishly. „But I still have got my ship!“ He drew a piece of cloth from his bag. It didn’t look very impressive to Beorl, and he said so.
Frey smiled. „I know, but if I throw it into the water I transforms into a big ships with enough place for all the other gods.“ Beorl had to admit that this sounded like a cool trick.
It didn’t take long and he met the next goddess. Freya was going for a ride with her chariot. The cats that drew the chariot were meowing loud when they saw Beorl. „Hello! Have you lost a hammer?“, Beorl asked the goddess and admired her beauty. „What, a hammer? I?“ Freya shook her head. „The only use I might have for a hammer is as a trinket, and I have better things for that.“ She opened her cloak a little bit and showed him the sparkling necklace underneath. „Isn’t she wonderful? The dwarfs made her for me. In never go anywhere without Brisingamen. Not even into a fight. One always should enjoy the beautiful things in life, don’t you think?“ Beorl agreed and thought by himself how beautiful it would be to finally get rid of this hammer!
Next he met the god Loki. He seemed to take a rest, but he was wide awake when Beorl asked him his usual question. „I? A hammer?“ Loki smiled with a mischievous grin. „No, but I could use one. Why?“ Beorl had a weird feeling. „Ah, it was just an idea.“, he answered with care and hurried on. Somehow he wasn’t inclined to give this specific god more details.
He was getting more and more frustrated. He had been searching all morning now, and still hadn’t found the owner. Who might it be? Tired he decided to go home again. Just before he reached the rainbow bridge he encountered a god who had just crossed the bridge. Beorl recognized Thor because of his wild red beard.
„Have you lost a ha-“ he wanted to ask, when Thor quick as a lightening clapped a hand across his mouth. „Pssst!“, the thunder god hissed. „Make sure that no one hears us!“ Carefully he loosened his grip.
„Have you found my hammer?“, he then breathed into Beorls ear. The land wight nodded. „He sits in front of my cavern and blocks the entrance.“ he declared. Thor straightened. „Mjölnir fell out of my pocket yesterday during a race against Loki. If the giants know that I lost him, they will raid Midgard and Asgard in no time and cause chaos. Bring me to your cavern, little land wight! Let’s save the world!“
He got his goats and quickly they reached Beorl’s cavern. There lay the hammer, and hadn’t moved a single bit.
Thor beamed, put on a pair of gloves and lifted the hammer as if he were as light as a feather. „There he is, my Mjölnir!“, he shouted happily and banged the hammer on the ground. Thunder rolled.
„Little Beorl, let me thank you!“
„Not necessary!“, Beorl grumbled softly.
Thor invited him for a dinner with goat steaks to celebrate Mjölnir’s return, but Beorl was too tired after his long search. He crawled through his now open entrance into his cavern, fell on his bed and was fast asleep even before the god had left.