Norwegian Otters Are Shapeshifters Too

904f3ef70320dc267d6487cdd4666d05Day 21, another milestone moment! I didn’t manage to stay on-prompt yesterday, today I have cunningly combined yesterday’s instruction to write using kennings with today’s prompt to re-tell a myth or fairytale. So here is a Norse myth, incorporating some Norse-style kennings.

The Stone That Slew The Magician Otr

Were I a stone of the road, I would have known to edge away

from the tread of  the trouble-reapers, like all the stones of Midgard.

But I was idling at the river-hem, lazed back on sand,

like an otter I was half and half, my belly sun-warming.

I didn’t call Loki to reach for me and turn me into a flying axe,

I didn’t want to be death for the happy midstream water-tumbler.

Had I voice or breath I would have cried out there and then –

That is no more an otter than am I! That frog-chomper you think

to stew, he is shape-shifter, hidden wizard, heir to power! He is Otr,

and his slayer will pay a heavy price! Loki, be satisfied with the silver rope

of trout now fringing your shouldered pole, or you’ll lose twice that in gold!

I could not speak. I had no choice but to be the end-blow

of a god’s unlucky throw. Bleared and drowned in remorse, I saw

through the glass hall of the river, the mighty Otr skinned,

and the gods depart unwittingly to lay son-flesh on his father’s table.

Even this water won’t deafen me to the righteous roar to come,

the screams for bloodgold enough to bury a beloved pelt.

So consequences run ahead, for where can Loki find ransom

but by forcing the underwater cave of the dwarf-king?

I can see the entrance glint through the pike-patrolled weeds,

the future shining with it in fragmentary lights like warning beacons.

Here comes greed, and curses, and the death of lovers.




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