Thor's Wedding Day: By Thialfi, the goat boy, as told to and translated by Bruce Coville

Overview

What could possibly make Thor—the massive and mighty god of thunder and protector of all his people—put on a bridal gown?

It all begins when the source of Thor's power, his beloved hammer, is stolen. Unfortunately for Thor, the plan to get it back requires that he dress in fancy finery and be packed off to marry the king of the giants. Luckily, Thialfi the goat boy—along with his snarky charges, Grinder and Gat-Tooth—have come along. Working behind the scenes, Thialfi just may ...

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Overview

What could possibly make Thor—the massive and mighty god of thunder and protector of all his people—put on a bridal gown?

It all begins when the source of Thor's power, his beloved hammer, is stolen. Unfortunately for Thor, the plan to get it back requires that he dress in fancy finery and be packed off to marry the king of the giants. Luckily, Thialfi the goat boy—along with his snarky charges, Grinder and Gat-Tooth—have come along. Working behind the scenes, Thialfi just may be able to save the day . . . which is only fair, since it's his fault the hammer was stolen in the first place.

This book is a hilarious take on the only comedy in Norse mythology, complete with talking goats, cross-dressing gods, and the warm wit that has made Bruce Coville beloved by millions.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Seasoned storyteller Coville (the Magic Shop books) presents a frolicsome tale inspired by an ancient Norse poem that the author, in a concluding note, calls "a delicious burlesque of the gods." This is also an apt description of his own jaunty story, narrated by Thialfi, an earnest young mortal who serves as goat boy to the mighty Thor, god of thunder. "Sounds as if His Royal Thunderosity woke up on the wrong side of the stall this morning," quips one of Thor's goats when the tempestuous god discovers that Mjollner, his magic hammer and their most powerful weapon against the fierce giants, is missing. Loki, god of mischief, reports that a slobbering giant has possession of the stolen hammer and will return it only when Freya, goddess of love, becomes his bride. The mischief-maker then proposes that since Thor has lost the hammer, Thor should dress as Freya and con the prospective bridegroom out of the hammer. The stage is set for some Shakespearean-style farcical fun as Loki, disguised as Freya's bridesmaid and Thialfi as a goat girl, accompany the faux bride to the world of giants. Coville holds comedy and suspense in satisfying balance while revealing how Thialfi helps the gods accomplish this mission. The animated banter among this diverse cast gives this parody a spirited pace, and Cogswell's full-page drawings make the most of the comic moments. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Coville's brainchild, conceived out of love for Norse mythology, is available on three compact discs. One day Thor's mortal goatboy, Thialfi, and his two charges, Tooth Grinder and Gat Tooth, hear Thor thundering about losing his powerful hammer. Another Norse god, Loki, tells Thor that the dim-witted giant, Thrym, stole it and will return the hammer in exchange for the goddess Freya's hand in marriage. Freya refuses, so Thor, Loki, and Thialfi fool Thrym by cross-dressing as the bride, bridesmaid, and goatgirl, respectively. Unbeknownst to the giants, the authentic hammer is returned to Thor at the wedding banquet and he pounds the giants with it. When the trio returns, Thor tells Thialfi that he has earned his freedom. Instead, Thialfi asks Thor if his sister, Freya's servant, can go home in his place. This unabridged audio book is a brief introduction to Norse mythology. Young listeners will be entertained by the character's voices—the goats in particular because of the baa sounds they make while talking to Thialfi. Thialfi's remorse over accidentally helping a thief steal Thor's hammer causes him to do the right thing regarding the stolen hammer and his sister. Thialfi's selflessness and courage sets a good example for children to follow. This audio book communicates the message that goodness triumphs over evil. 2006, Full Cast Audio, Ages 8 to 12.
—Mary Jo Edwards
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Bruce Coville's talent for adapting myths and literature takes a Norse direction with Thor's Wedding Day (Harcourt, 2005). Inspired by an epic poem with liberal doses of related stories in the mix, the tale is told by young Thialfi, a goatboy in Thor's household. The thunder god's kingdom is at risk because Mjollnir, his mighty hammer that is too heavy for mere mortals, has been stolen by the scheming giant, Thrym, and held as ransom until Freya, the fair goddess, consents to marry the giant. When she dismisses that idea, Thor, Thialfi, and the mischievous god, Loki, must dress as bride and attendants so they can recapture the tool. Along the way, they discover two dwarves who were blackmailed into taking the hammer, but are now willing to help Thor and company reclaim it. Using a fake hammer, the trio soon outsmarts the less-than-clever giant and order is restored in the kingdom. Performed by Coville and several of Full Cast's seasoned actors, this recording conveys Coville's humor, and everyone from goats to gods are appropriately portrayed. The recording concludes with the author's explanation of the story's background. With its playful underpinning, this audiobook is an amusing way to introduce the often overlooked legends of northern Europe. An appealing addition to elementary and middle school libraries where myths are studied.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The irrepressible Coville retells a rare and funny tale from Norse mythology, adding only a few details and a young human narrator. Great is the wrath of Thor when he discovers that his mighty hammer has fallen into the hands of the Giant Thrym, who demands the hand of Freya in exchange for it. Likewise great is the wrath of Freya when Thor asks her to do the deed-so at Loki's suggestion it's Thor himself who dons a veil and wedding dress, setting out for the wedding feast with a similarly clad Loki to do the talking, and Thialfi, tender of Thor's talking goats, as a servant. Playing this scenario for all it's worth, Coville gives Thialfi an important role in winkling out the giant's intended double-cross, and closes with a grand but not particularly violent melee once Thor and his hammer are reunited. Written in an informal tone and illustrated with plenty of line drawings (not seen), this makes a hilarious alternative to Shirley Climo's more earnest rendition of the myth, Stolen Thunder (1994), illus by Alexander Koshkin. (afterword) (Fiction. 9-11)
From the Publisher
"A frolicsome tale . . . Coville holds comedy and suspense in satisfying balance."—Publishers Weekly
"Delightful."—Booklist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152014551
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Coville

BRUCE COVILLE has more than fourteen million books in print, including the bestselling My Teacher Is an Alien and the Magic Shop books. He lives in Syracuse, New York. Visit his website at www.brucecoville.com .

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Read an Excerpt

Me and My Goats

When Thor was angry his bellow could shake the birds out of the trees. I know, because I saw it happen the morning he awoke to find his hammer missing.

I was in the goat yard, giving Gat-Tooth and Tooth-Grinder their morning feeding. I had been working for Thor for about three years at that time, providing service in return for a terrible mistake I had made while he and Loki were visiting my parents' cottage.

Although my service was a kind of punishment, in some ways I think I had the better part of the bargain. After all, even the table scraps of the gods make for fine dining. Despite the hard work, I was as well fed as I had ever been in my life.

On the other hand, there were the goats.

Not only were they big-_they had to be, to pull Thor's cart-_with shaggy coats and huge, curling horns, they were also ill-tempered. Gat, at least, was willing to teach me things, even if he did tend to nip me whenever I said anything he considered to be stupider than usual.

Grinder, on the other hand, said I was nothing but a foolish kid who would be gone before much more time had passed, and not useful for anything other than shoveling dung.

"Which is why I can't be bothered to talk to him," he told Gat more than once-_making sure that I was close enough to hear, of course.

You'd think they could be more polite to the person who carried away their dung each day. Without me it wouldn't have taken long before they were up to their knees in their own droppings. But having watched things in Asgard, I had come to the conclusion that the more basic the job the less it is appreciated-no matter how important it is.

The real reason Grinder wouldn't talk to me was simple: He was not willing to forgive me for that mistake I had made three years earlier.

In a way, I couldn't blame him. He did still limp, which was a daily reminder of what I had done to him. On the other hand, I was starting to suspect he was exaggerating the limp, just to bother me.

I tried to make it up to him by being as kind and helpful as I could, but Grinder was having none of that. A goat, once offended, is not easily won over.

Anyway, I was currying down Gat-_I always did him first, and why not?-_when the first shout of rage came thundering from inside Thor's house. You should understand that Bilskirnir had 540 rooms, so it took a mighty shout indeed to reach all the way to where we stood.

(I had once asked the goats why anyone needed 540 rooms. Grinder had not answered, of course. Gat simply said, "It's to give the mortals who work for him something to clean.")

"Uh-oh," said Grinder now, speaking to Gat, not me, naturally. "Sounds as if His Royal Thunderosity woke up on the wrong side of the stall this morning."

Gat's answer was lost in another bellow.

This time we could make out the word: "Hammer!"

"What could be wrong with his hammer?" wondered Gat. "The thing is unbreakable. Work that brush a little harder, Thialfi. My back itches this morning. Ahhhh!"

As I brushed Gat, I thought about Thor's hammer, which was known as Mjollnir. (The gods had a habit of naming not just people and animals but things.) The hammer was sacred, and most precious to Thor. In fact, there were times when I thought he loved it more than anything in Asgard-_including his wife, Sif, who was so beautiful it made my heart ache just to watch her walk by.

Not that he didn't have reason to love Mjollnir. It was the most powerful weapon the gods had against the fierce giants who were their great enemies. These giants were called Jotuns, and Thor was never happier than when he was using his hammer to bash in their skulls. All the gods agreed that Mjollnir was the key to Asgard's safety.

A third bellow, and a cluster of birds fell from the nearby tree. The startled creatures barely managed to stretch their wings before they hit the ground.

"WHERE IS MY HAMMER?"

"Oh my," muttered Grinder. "This is not good. This is not good at all."

A moment later, Thor came raging into the goat yard. His red beard was shooting off sparks, and the ends of it were curling and uncurling with the energy of his anger. A small thundercloud had formed over his head. Since he was nearly seven feet tall and bulging with muscles, the sight of him in such a fury was enough to make my knees buckle.

"Thialfi!" he roared. "What have you done with Mjollnir?"

I ducked behind Gat-Tooth for shelter. "Nothing, my lord," I answered, barely able to force the words past the dryness in my throat. "I haven't seen it. Or touched it."

I didn't point out that this was a silly question to begin with. Mjollnir was so heavy that even most of the gods couldn't lift it. So I certainly couldn't have moved the thing.

"Thor, what in the name of the nine worlds is bothering you this morning?" asked a sleepy voice. Glancing to my right, I saw the lean but handsome face of Loki peering over the stone fence that surrounds the goat yard. Like Thor, the god of mischief had red hair. But Loki's was also streaked with yellow, which sometimes made it look as if his head was on fire, especially when it caught the morning sun, as it did now.

He wore, as usual, a vaguely amused expression. Loki had a great fondness for trouble, and I made it a rule to try to stay out of his sight. But in this case, I was glad of the interruption.

"My hammer is missing!" growled Thor, not bothering to bellow now that he had someone close by to actually listen to him. (I didn't count, of course, being only the goat boy.) "Someone has stolen Mjollnir!"

"Nonsense," said Loki. "More likely you've just mislaid it. Come on, I'll help you look."

Gat-Tooth winked at me. We both knew that the real reason the prince of mischief wanted to slip inside Bilskirnir was in hope of seeing Sif not quite dressed. But that didn't occur to the thunder god, who tended to figure these things out later than most people. Or most goats, for that matter.

"Come inside then," growled Thor. "You can poke around all you like, but you won't find the hammer. If you do, I'll owe you a very large favor."

This was more than enough to whet Loki's appetite; he took great pleasure in calling for the return of favors in the worst possible way. He and Thor vanished into Bilskirnir.

"You're right, Tooth-Grinder," muttered Gat. "This is not good."

Grinder merely shook his head and continued chewing his breakfast.

I returned to their grooming. I had nearly finished with Grinder when Loki came bolting out of Bilskirnir.

I couldn't be sure, but I thought he looked frightened.

"That's interesting," said Grinder. "What do you think, Gat? Did Thor catch him spying on Sif? Or is he actually worried about the hammer?"

"I don't hear Thor bellowing," replied Gat. "And he's not chasing Loki. So I'm guessing it's the hammer. Can't imagine how anyone could have got to it, though."

Suddenly, I felt sick to my stomach-not from anything I had eaten but from a memory of something I had done. "No," I whispered to myself. "That can't be it. It can't be!"

The goats looked at me. "What are you muttering about, Thialfi?" asked Gat.

"Nothing," I said quickly. "It's nothing!"

I desperately hoped that I was telling the truth.

Copyright © 2005 by Bruce ­Coville

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the ­publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887­6777.

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