One of the pleasures of sorting out / turning out is that you discover items you forgot you possessed. ‘The Heroes of Asgard’ published in 1952 has the look of a book of an earlier era. A hard cover with restricted colour and a font that signifies seriousness. On closer examination I found that it was first published 1870, with a children’s edition 1930.

The only other colour is the rather wonderful frontispiece (not a word often used these days) in which, if you look closely, you can make out a human shape in the clouds.

It has been reprinted even more recently in a ‘Yesterday’s Classics’ series, sporting a more attractive cover, though I do like the old one.

The tales of Odin, Thor, Loki and all are as weird as you would expect. Though no weirder than the Greek myths with which we are much more familiar. Here’s a taster:

“When, at length, Odin found himself in the land of giants – frost giants, mountain giants, three-headed and wolf-headed giants, monsters and iron witches of every kind – he walked straight on, without stopping to fight with any one of them, until he came to the middle of Jormundgand’s body. Then he seized the monster, growing fearfully as he was all the time, and threw him headlong into the deep ocean. There Jorgmungand still grew, until, encircling the whole earth, he found that his tail was growing down his throat, after which he lay quite sill, binding himself together; and neither Odin nor anyone else has been able to move him hence.”


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