draupnir

Draupnir

In Objects by Skjalden

In Norse mythology, Draupnir is Odin’s magical golden ring. The name Draupnir means the dripper, a name it has gotten because it has a remarkable ability to copy itself. Every ninth night, eight new rings ‘drip’ from the magical golden ring, each new ring is of the same size and weight as Draupnir. The new rings do not possess the same magic ability as the original ring.

Draupnir was laid on Baldur’s funeral pyre, which meant that Baldur had the ring with him to Helheim. However, when Hermod the brave visited him Hel, he was told to bring the ring back to Odin to prove that Hermod had been there.

baldur-funeral-pyre-draupnir

Origins of Odin’s Ring

Draupnir was crafted by the two dwarves Brokkr and Eitri in a bet with the trickster Loki. Loki had claimed that they could not craft objects of the same quality as the Sons of Ivaldi who had made Freyr’s ship Skidbaldnir, Odin’s spear Gungnir, and Sif’s golden hair.

Loki had wagered his own head, but if Brokkr and Eitri failed, he would get the items for free. The dwarves began to craft the three items, Eitri placed a piece of pigskin in the forge and told his brother to use the bellows to blow air into the fire.

Because Loki did not want to lose the bet, he shapeshifted himself into a fly, and flew into the workspace and bit Brokkr. But Loki failed, Brokkr was not annoyed in the slighted. When the object was finished Eitri pulled it out from the forge, it was a boar with bristles made of gold.

They began to craft the second item, Eitri purred gold into the forge, and again, he asked Brokkr to keep blowing air into the fire with the pump.

crafting-draupnir

As soon as Eitri had turned his back again, Loki came into the room and flew over and bit Brokkr on the neck, this time he bit twice as hard. But again, it did not bother him, and when Eitri came back to the forge he pulled the finished object out, it was the golden ring Draupnir.

Eitri began working on the last item, he placed some iron in the forge, and just like the two previous times, he asked Brokkr to pump air into the fire with the bellows.

Eitri left the room, and Loki came back as a fly, this time he had to disturb him, or he would lose the bet. He flew over to Brokkr and bit him as hard as he could on his eyelids.

Blood began flowing into Brokkr’s eyes, and he could no longer see what the heck he was during. Brokkr became more annoyed for each passing moment and tried to hit the fly with one of his hands, and then wiped the blood out of his eyes.

Eitri came back into the room and saw that Brokkr had stopped using the pump and said, you almost ruined my work. Eitri pulled the object out of the forge, it was a hammer, this would become Thor’s hammer Mjölnir.

brokkr-shows-draupnir-to-the-aesir

The two dwarves together with Loki traveled to Asgard, the Aesir had to be the judge to settle the bet. After listening to the abilities of the different objects, the gods and goddesses had made up their minds. These items were clearly better than what the Sons of Ivaldi had made, and therefore, Loki lost the bet.

Loki didn’t want to lose his head, so he began to offer the dwarves gold. They would not hear it and said we want your head, not your gold. Loki who is always a coward began to run away, and yelled back at them, if you want it, you need to catch me.

Brokkr and Eitri asked Thor to bring Loki back to them since he had just gotten the hammer as a gift, which he agreed to do.

Later that day, Loki was sitting on his knees in front of the dwarves waiting to get his head chopped off. At this moment Loki came up with another trick to save his own skin, he said, remember you only won my head in the bet, but you better not hurt my neck, because that was not part of it.

This annoyed the dwarves, they knew that it would be impossible to remove the head without hurting his neck. So instead of taking the head, they just sewed his mouth shut with the needle Vartari. They might not have gotten the head, but at least they did not have to hear Loki speak to them anymore.

Sources: 

Jesse Byock (2005) Snorri Sturluson, The Prose Edda. 1st. edition. London, England: Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN-13 978-0-140-44755-2

Anthony Faulkes (1995) Snorri Sturluson, Edda. 3rd. edition. London, England: Everyman J. M. Dent. ISBN-13 978-0-4608-7616-2

Lee M. Hollander (1962) The Poetic Edda. 15th. edition. Texas, USA: University Research Institute of the University of Texas. ISBN 978-0-292-76499-6