Every culture that I’ve studied (I enjoy learning about people and how they live) has a set of stories that explain “how things became as they are”. The stories usually include a god or powerful person doing something that caused the thing to exist.
A week or so ago I was reading a special issue magazine about Norway and it contained a story about how beer (øl) came to the land of our ancestors. It also just so happened this past weekend that I was sitting one fine and star filled night around a campfire with some good and long time friends and as such I recounted this story to them and in a similar fashion I will recount it again here.
“Now, we all familiar with the fact that Odin loved to drink and celebrate with his friends after a long and successful campaign, much as we are here tonight. But did you know that Odin did not always have his favorite beverage nor has man always know of this powerful drink. So then you ask, how is it that Odin came to have his mead? Suttung the chief of the Jotuns, the Frost Giants of Norway, who had taken the mead of inspiration from the dwarfs, hid the mead deep within the mountains of Jotunsheim. Odin, learning of its location decided to steal some of the mead for himself and changed himself into a snake so he could follow a crack deep into the mountain. Odin took the mead and escaped from the mountain drinking some of the mead as he ran. Suttung learned of the theft and pursued Odin. As the two great immortals thundered along in the mountains the local men came to watch. Odin became so very besot with mead that he needed to stop several times to relieve himself, this allowed the peasants to be able to catch the frothy drops from their god and they soon learned of its intoxicating properties. To escape Suttung, Odin changed into an eagle and flew up to Asgard, it was in this way Odin acquired his mead and man came to know øl.”
My father always told that beer was given to man from the gods, but I never knew that it came is such a way “from” the gods.
Ken Nordan, Contributing Editor