Sleipnir is Odin’s eight-legged horse and is the bestest of all the Aesir’s horses. Apparently, Sleipnir’s story of how he came to be begins with when the gods had just established Midgard and a builder came to offer to construct a mighty fortification that would keep out the pesky giants. For payment, he wanted Freyia for his wife, and the sun and moon, too. The gods agreed, but with the stipulation that he would build the fortification in one winter, and that no man would help him with the construction. It being negotiated that he would only receive help from his mighty stallion, Svaldifaeri, the builder set to work. This last bit, however, was only granted by Loki.


So, when the builder’s work was nearly complete within the same winter, the gods then frowned and didn’t like that they’d have to send Freyia off to giantland (apparently the builder was a giant), not to mention the sun and moon. Since it was Loki who allowed him the help of his horse, it was decided that Loki would be the one to fix it. So, Loki turns himself into a lovely mare and catches the eye of Svaldifaeri. They run off together, leaving the builder in the lurch.


Now, I don’t think the gods knew for certain that this builder was a giant, and so I think this whole charade was an attempt to get him to show his hand. When it looked like he wasn’t going to finish the fortification in time, the builder went into a rage, showing himself to be the giantfolk he was thus nullifying all oaths that had been given. So the gods called on Thor (who was off bashing up some trolls) and he came and thwacked the builder in the head and killed him.


What does any of this have to do with Sleipnir? Well, apparently, Loki had “had such dealings with Svaldifaeri”  (Sturluson p. 36) and later gave birth to a grey foal with eight legs.


And that, as they say, was that.





Sources: Sturluson, Snorri, Edda, Everyman, 1995. Translated and edited by Anthony Faulkes.



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Sophie Duncan - 9 years ago

Loki does a lot of clearing up of the gods’ messes, albeit ones he has a hand in half the time. 🙂
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    Sara C. Snider - 9 years ago

    Loki has a tendency to make things happen, that’s for sure. 🙂

Tasha - 9 years ago

Funny how the gods always seemed to end up blaming Loki even though he’s not always right in the centre of things. He always seemed to be able to fix stuff too. One wonders what happened to the stallion when the tryst was over or why Loki let it go on for long enough to get with foal.
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    Sara C. Snider - 9 years ago

    I imagine the stallion would have returned to the builder. Or maybe he roams free in the forest. As for why Loki let it go on so long… well… who knows about that heh. Maybe that’s what it took to keep the stallion distracted for long enough.

djinnia - 9 years ago

all i have to say is : wow. um, loki as a mare boggles my mind.

i did like the turn of phrase bashing up some trolls. and the thwacking.

people don’t use thwacking enough. it’s so descriptive. i should use thwacking more.

    Sara C. Snider - 9 years ago

    Thwack is a good word. Onomatopoetic, too. 😉

Tarkabarka - 9 years ago

This tale is known in storytelling circles as “Loki takes one for the team.”

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    Sara C. Snider - 9 years ago

    Haha! 😀

Rhonda - 9 years ago

That’s a fun story! I love how so often the God’s solutions to things involve sex 😉

    Sara C. Snider - 9 years ago

    The gods’ version of duct tape, maybe. 😉

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