Episode 4 – If God Gives You Murder, Make Murderade

Episode 4 Show Notes

Source: Norse Mythology

This week on MYTH, you’ll learn that beer couldn’t have been invented without a little murder, that ugly people are always evil, and that the Norse gods were drunken frat boys.  This is the Myths Your Teacher Hated podcast, where I tell the stories of cultures around the world in all of their original, bloody, uncensored glory.  Modern tellings of these stories have become dry and dusty, but I’ll be trying to breathe new life into them.  This is Episode 4, “If God Gives you Murder, Make Murderade.”  As always, this episode is not safe for work.

  • Long ago, the Asgardian gods and the Vanir were at war.  Eventually, they reached peace and intermingled their pantheons (mostly because the Vanir chicks were hot, and yes, that really is why).  As a show of solidarity, the two groups of deities work together to create the wisest of all men from a jar they found in the peace council room.  They named him Kvaser.
  • He was a good, wise man.  He knew the answers to all of the difficult questions (how was the world made, what are heaven and hell like, where did I leave my keys).  Everyone loved him, which ended up fucking him over.  Since he was bros with every god in town, he trusted everyone blindly like a dumbass.  Two dwarves, and yes, they’re exactly like you’re picturing since Tolkein took his template for dwarves from Norse mythology, decided they wanted to make beer out of his blood.  Since he was the wisest man ever, and the very first poet, they apparently figured that it would make magical mead.  The fucked up part is that they were right.
  • The dwarves were named Galar and Fjalar.  Kvaser stopped by their home one night while out traveling and asked if he could sleep there.  The dwarves knew who he was and agreed, promising to totally not murder and eat him.  Since guest right was very serious in the ancient world (Soddom and Gammorah were destroyed because the townspeople betrayed the guest rights of traveling angels – seriously, look it up), it’s only mostly crazy to completely trust your life to two creatures whose species had originally been maggots crawling around inside a dead ice giant until gifted intelligence by the gods.
  • They wait until he’s asleep by the fire, tip toe up beside him, and bash him on the head with a club.  That way, they could kill him without losing too much of that sweet, sweet poet blood they wanted to drink.  They took the blood, mixed it with honey, and fermented it into the first mead.  It would become known as the Mead of Poetry, and drinking it would give the drinker wisdom and mad poetry skills.  The spread of this magic mead, being swallowed by probably unsuspecting Norsemen (or maybe the Norse were just totally down with drinking blood beer and thought spouting drunk poetry was fucking hilarious), is credited with the existence of epic poetry in Norse legends.
  • After some time passes, the gods realize that no one has seen Kvaser for a while and they get worried.  They track his movements back and finally come to the hut of the two dwarves.  They ask Galar and Fjalar if they have seen Kvaser,  They both get suspiciously innocent looks on their faces and said that “oh, it’s just terrible.  He was here a few months ago, but he choked on his own wisdom and just dropped dead as a doornail.  We seem to have misplaced his body, but it’s probably been eaten by animals by now.”
  • Naturally, no one believes a gods damned word of it.  Since there are no potential witnesses in the area, Odin, king of the gods, turns into an eagle and decides to question the animals.  After a bit of investigation, he finds two sparrows who, terrified of being eaten by an angry god eagle, tell Odin that they witnessed the whole thing.  They tell him where to find the magical blood mead is hidden.  The dwarves had sold it to a giant named Suttung. 
  • A bit of backstory, the Asgardian and the Giants hated each other.  Full on Bloods and Crips hate, complete with the occasional drive by stabbing.  Weirdly, in the middle of all of this hate and bloodshed, a lot of gods got their fuck on with the giants, such that several Asgardians were half giant.  It’s a complicated, ultra violent Romeo and Juliet kind of thing, only less teenage angst and a lot more one night stands, but I won’t get into it right now.  Suffice it to say that would not be a simple as walking up to the giant and asking to get their friend’s blood back, not that this would be a terribly simple conversation to begin with.
  • This particular giant was known to Odin as very powerful and very clever.  Suttung had a fortress with a stone basement located thirty-six feet underground, with twelve foot thick walls, ceilings, and floors.  And because paranoia means never saying enough is too much, he had also placed his daughter, the beautiful Gunlad, in the basement as a guardian for the mead.
  • Ever for Odin, this could end with him as a bloody smear on the wall because, unlike with the Olympians, the Norse could absolutely be murdered to death.  They had golden apples that kept them young and strong, but nothing prevented a violent death (the Norse believed very strongly in the need for violent deaths).
  • He planned for a week before finally setting out to retrieve Kvaser’s blood mead.
  • Odin rode in disguise as a human to the farm of Suttung’s brother, Bauge.  He saw nine field hands toiling in Bauge’s fields, since this was way before factory farms, and everything had to be done by hand.  The men had been working a while, and they weren’t going quickly because their scythes had become dull.  Odin, being a magnominous and generous god, offers to sharpen their scythes for them. They say, “Sorry, creepy stranger, but we can’t afford to pay someone to do our work.  If we could pay someone to work for us, we wouldn’t be out here breaking our fucking backs in the sun, asshole.”
  • Undeterred, Odin offered to sharpen them for free.  “For free?”  “Sure, let’s say it’s to let you sample my skills.  That seems believable.” 
  • The farmhands, being cheap and lazy (see, it was a classist stereotype even then) immediately agree.  “Sorry about that creepy asshole stuff earlier.  We didn’t know you were going to do stuff for us.  You’re cool.”
  • Odin took up all nine scythes at once and ran his whetstone along all of the blades in a completely unnecessary but undeniably impressive rain of sparks.  Forgetting that they had previously told the Mysterious Stranger that they were all but broke, they offer to buy his whetstone.  They’ve never seen one that can make dull blades ridiculously sharp in a single stroke like that before but, being lazy, they didn’t want to have to make do with boring old whetstones that took more than one stroke.
  • “I’ve got a better idea.  Fight for it.”  And he threw the scythes into the air.  “Wait, what?  You can’t be fucking seri…”  But one of the men had already grabbed a scythe and killed his friend, so everyone else grabbed one too and fought to the death.  Since this was reality (sort of) and not a movie, everyone died because that’s usually what happens when a bunch of inexperienced idiots fight with deadly weapons.
  • Leaving the men he had tricked into murdering each other lying in the fields, probably still screaming ironically for help from the gods, he waited until dark then knocked to ask Bauge for lodging for the night.  Being a generous giant, he agreed since he liked humans.  He even offered dinner.  While they were eating, Bauge complained about losing all of his farmhands to what must have been a freak scythe tornado or a wandering madness monster.  Odin, being a gracious guest, offers to help Bauge with the farm work in the morning.  Given that he has no other options, Bauge agrees and asks what he would want in payment.
  • Odin pretends to think for a moment, then says “I’m pretty well set for money, but I’ve heard that your brother has some sweet poetry mead.  I want a sip of that.”
  • Bauge is annoyed.  “Look, dude, I definitely need your help, but since the mead isn’t mine, I can’t promise it in payment.  Don’t be an asshat.  Ask for something else.”
  • Odin says “Hmm, I really want that mead.  I need the sick rhymes.  Tell you what, I’ll work for you, and all you have to do is help me some from your brother.”  “Deal, as long as you understand I can’t promise anything.”  “Deal.”  They shook on it.
  • The next day, Odin does the work of all nine men in record time, and the harvest was in well ahead of schedule.  Bauge, extremely happy with what appears to be his good fortune, thanks Odin for his help.  “Awesome.  Pay up.”
  • They head for Suttung’s house and when they get there, he laughs in Odin’s face.  “Hell, no!  I didn’t agree to anything, so I don’t owe you shit.”  and he slammed the door.
  • As Bauge and Odin walked across the yard, Odin remarked that it hardly seemed like his fee had been paid.  “If you’re really a giant of your word, don’t you think you should do a little actual work to try and help?  The deal was to help me get the mead, not to just ask your brother.”  Reluctantly, Bauge agrees that this stranger is word-twisting asshole, but he’s trapped by his promise.
  • Odin pulls a hand drill out of his cloak.  Gauge asks “Where the fuck have you been hiding that all day” and Odin replies, “Don’t worry about it, bro.”  Bauge, feeling more than a little uncomfortable with how planned this all seems, starts drilling.  It takes hours of drilling, with Bauge wondering more and more if a little farm work was really worth all of this.
  • Finally, he makes a hole in the building’s ceiling.  He stood to tell the obnoxious stranger that he considered the bargain complete, but the man was gone.  Thinking the mad had given up, he dropped the drill and went home, and good riddance to bad rubbish.
  • Odin had not given up, though.  He had instead transformed himself into a worm and crawled into the basement.  Inside, he saw the giantess Gunlad.  He transformed into his handsome stranger form and began to chat her up. 
  • IN spite of having been put in the basement to prevent exactly this sort of thing, Gunlad flirts back.  “Fuck it,” she thinks, “my asshole father basically locked me up in a dungeon, so why shouldn’t I flirt with the handsome thief?  I can always kill him after.  Besides, it’s nice to have someone to talk to besides my own boredom.”
  • Odin asked to share some of the mead with Gunlad, in order to toast her beauty.    Flattered, she figures letting him have one small glass won’t hurt anything.  Plus, she can always kill him after.  She agrees.  Odin smiles, picks up the cask and quickly swallows the entire barrel.   Given that the average human body can hold up to two gallons of blood, and that the mead was mixed with honey (and presumably water to keep it from being fucking honey blood syrup), it’s an impressive feat. 
  • Gunlad freezes, not sure what to do.  If she kills him, all the wine will spill out of his mouth onto the floor.  If she doesn’t, it will all be gone inside of him.  While she hesitates, Odin changes into an eagle again and flies off to Asgard.  “Fuck,” says Gunlad.
  • Seeing the huge eagle approaching, and knowing that Odin likes to pretend to be an eagle, the gods set out a bunch of barrels and jugs on the flagstones around Asgard.  Of course they did.  That’s apparently a perfectly normal thing to do and doesn’t require them to somehow know what Odin had been up to.  He then pukes the wine all over the ground.  Most of it was caught in the various jars, but with vomit being one of the least accurate projectiles, some of it missed Asgard and rained down on Midgard, giving poetry to mankind.  The story doesn’t say how much mead had actually been made, but it lasts the gods for an unbelievably long time, so magic I guess.
  • One day, the gods ran out of the vomit mead.  They hadn’t thought at all about what would happen when the single batch of alcohol they made ran out.  They still had plenty of food, but were of the opinion that a feast without alcohol was barely a feast at all.  For once, I agree with the gods.  They already had the food made, so they tried to sit down and eat anyway, but frankly, it sucked.  The more they ate, the less they felt like eating without anything to wash it down.  They probably could have gotten some water, but that would be gross, because fish fuck in that.
  • So they did what any rational person would do.  They carved runes in sticks, killed a ram, and dipped the sticks in the fresh blood.  Then, they shook the bloody stick, asked them for advice, and threw them.  Based on the patterns they made, or maybe, like a Oiujia board, they read what they wanted to read, they decided that they needed to Aegir, god of the sea, for help.  A group of gods and goddesses left Asgard for the island of Hlesey, where Aegir and his wife Ran lived.  Not on the island, of course, but under the sea nearby.
  • Deciding to be a friendly and tactful as possible, Odin’s son Thor, god of thunder, shoves his face an inch from Aegir’s and screamed at him “We’re out of mead!  Brew more ale for the gods!  And make sure you brew a lot, because we’re thirsty as fuck!”  I’m not joking that this was Thor being tactful.  His usual problem solving technique was hitting things with his hammer until they stopped being problems.
  • In a completely understandable reaction, Aegir got pissed off.  Since there was an entire platoon of gods in his hall, he couldn’t exactly tell them to fuck in an off ward direction, but he still wanted to punish Thor for being a jagoff.
  • He had an idea.  “I would, but see, I don’t have a cauldron big enough to brew ale for everyone.  If you bring me one big enough, I guess I can make beer for you.”  As Aegir had expected, none of the assembled gods had anything remotely large enough, nor did they know who might.  They were a prepared pantheon.
  • Tyr, who lost his hand to the trickster god Loki’s wolf son Fenris (we’ll get into that in another episode), spoke up.  “My giant dad has one that’s big enough.  Hymir has a cauldron five miles deep.  That should be enough to get us good and drunk, right?”
  • Thor said “Awesome, bro!  Do you think he’ll let us have it?”  “Um, no.  He kind of hates you and he’d probably kill us outright if we asked.  I think we’re going to have to be sneaky.”  Thor screamed “Thor is the best at being sneaky!” completely missing the irony.
  • “Awesome.  Try to yell less, and don’t tell anyone you’re Thor.  Call yourself Veur so he doesn’t murder you outright.”
  • They rode off in Thor’s chariot, which was pulled by two goats named Tanngnost Tooth-Grinder and Tanngtisni Gat Tooth, which looks just as ridiculous as it sounds in the engravings of it.  They let the chariot with a farmer Thor knew, and they walked the rest of the way to Hymir’s farm, which was apparently on a mountain almost at the end of the earth.
  • Forgetting that they were supposed to be sneaky, they walk in the front door.  Inside, they find Tyr’s grandmother, a giant with nine hundred heads.  Why did she have nine hundred heads?  Because fuck you, that’s why.  Tyr’s grandmother hated him, because she was a giant and that was how they rolled.  Except when they didn’t.  The Norse account of the giants is incredibly inconsistent.  Just go with it.
  • Next, Tyr’s mother Hrod walked in, and instead of a monster, she was a beautiful giantess or half giantess (the accounts vary) and already, we’re being inconsistent with the giants.  She wears necklaces and armbands of gold, which contrasts nicely with her pale skin.  She is glad to see Tyr, and offers the two gods ale to drink, which they gladly accept since getting booze is the whole point of this expedition.  The stories agree that she is Tyr’s mother, but some say that his father is actually Odin, and not Hymir, which might explain why he resents his bastard not son.
  • She says “It’s good to see you son, but you’re dad is going to kill you when he sees you.  No, really, he’ll murder both of you because he’s a brutish giant that I married for unexplained reasons.  You should probably hide under one of his cauldrons until I’ve had a chance to soften him up a little.”
  • Thor says, “The fuck you say?  Do I look like scared little schoolgirl to you?  Am I wearing a sundress I didn’t know about?”  Tyr tells Thor to chill the fuck out.  There’s no harm in a little hiding.  They’re hear to get help, not to murder giants (which, by the way, is Thor’s favorite pastime).
  • Towards evening, Hymir comes in from hunting.  He’s ugly as sin, because everyone knows that good people are always beautiful and evil people are always hideous monsters.  It’s the frozen north, so the two gods can hear icicles clinking in his beard as he walks.  Unless he dunked his head in water before he went outside, it pretty much has to be snot icicles, so…gross.
  • Hrod greets Hymir and, completely forgetting that she’s supposed to be warming him up to the idea, she says “Good news, honey!  You’re son’s come to visit after traveling around since you two fought years ago.  And he brought a friend named Veur.  Tyr’s friend, not mine, just to be clear.  I don’t want to get beaten for this later (again, brutish, evil giant married to a very nice giant or half giant for unexplained reasons).”
  • Hymir didn’t see them, so she helpfully pointed them out.  “Look, they’re hiding at the end of the hall, under one of your cauldrons!  They seem to think it will protect them from you.  How silly, and not at all something I expressly told them to do.”  I really don’t know what her end game is here. 
  • Even in a myth about shapeshifting gods drinking blood beer, this next part is pretty unbelievable.  Hymir is angry that the two non giants are hiding, so he glares at it and the support breaks under the weight of his gaze.  That’s right, he fucking mean mugs a shelf to death. 
  • Eight of the cauldrons on the shelf shatter on the floor after the shelf collapses.  The ninth, sheltering the two gods, falls but miraculously doesn’t break for some unexplained reason.  God magic, probably.
  • They crawl out from under the cauldron and look up at the giant, Tyr sheepishly and Thor belligerently.  In spite of having just broken a giant-sized shelf by looking at it, it does nothing to the two gods.  Hymir feels a chill run down his spine.  He’s got a bad feeling about this.
  • Still, as I mentioned before, guest right is a big fucking deal in the ancient world, so he orders his servants to kill and cook three whole oxen.  Thor, being rude as fuck, eats two of them himself, leaving just one for everyone else, including several giants.
  • The next day, Hymir tells the two that if they want to eat again, they’re going to have to go fishing with him because he’s not going to keep killing two fucking oxen a day for one dude.  He only has so many. 
  • Thor picking up on the subtext that this is going to be a dick measuring contest, agrees to go fishing.  This is going to be interesting.  “Where can I get some bait?”
  • Hymir chuckles an evil chuckle.  “Why don’t you go out in the the field?  I’m sure my cows have left some big piles of shit.  Maybe you can use that.”  Thor accepted the challenge.  He walked out in the field and found the biggest, strongest ox there.  It’s name was Himinhrojt, the Heaven Bellower, and Thor walked up, grabbed it by the horns, and broke it’s fucking neck in one big pull.  Then, he dragged it back inside.  “This’ll work, Hymir.  Thanks for letting me use your field.” 
  • “Well that backfired,” thought Hymir.  “I need to keep him with me for now on.  He gets into too much damned trouble when he’s wanders off.”
  • They get into Hymir’s rowboat, and Thor offers to row first.  After a while, Hymir says “I’ll take over.  I’ve got a spot I like, but it’s pretty far out.  It might be dangerous.  You game?”  Thor hands over the oars.  “Go for it, big man.”
  • Hymir rows out into the deep ocean.  He starts to ship the oars, when Thor grabs them and says, “Is this all?  My grandmother fishes out this far.  We need to go deeper if we want to catch the big shit.”  Hymir’s a little nervous.  “I really don’t want to go out any farther.  Jormungandr lives out in the deep, deep ocean, and he doesn’t live people intruding.”
  • Thor calls him a coward and rows out farther.  They both prepare their hooks.  Hymir casts first, and almost immediately catches not one, but two whales.  He throws a smug look at Thor.  “Beat that, little man.”
  • Thor puts his entire ox carcass on his line and, despite having a boat full of whales, casts.  This isn’t about dinner, it’s about proving he has a bigger dick.  The dead ox sinks down and hits the Midgard Serpent on the nose.  We’ll get into more detail about Jormungandr, the Midgard Serpent, in a later episode, but the short version is that this is another of Loki’s monstrous children.  He is so large that he circles the entire planet and bites his own tail.  He and Fenris will both be a major part of Ragnorok, the end of the world.  Jormungandr and Thor have a couple of run ins throughout the myths, and are fated to have another at Ragnorok.
  • The serpent lets go of its tail and grabs the bait.  It was fucking go time.  Thor hauls on the line fist over fist and slowly drags the serpent up to the surface, praying to himself the whole time that the line doesn’t break.  The water froths and churns as the serpent breaks the surface and Thor starts to haul him into the boat.  Jormungandr’s thrashing nearly capsizes the boat, and Hymir clings on for dear life.  This is not what he signed up for. 
  • Thor tires of the game, and draws his hammer, Mjolnir, and bashes the snake in the face.  It screams, and the whole of Midgard, the human part of the world, shakes at its fury.  It wrenches itself off the hook, leaving a ragged chunk of bloody flesh behind, and sinks back beneath the waves. 
  • Hymir has lost his stomach for shit talking, and rows back silently.  He knew when he’d been beat, and when Thor pulled out his very subtle penis metaphor and washed a bigger penis metaphor with it, Hymir had lost.
  • He’s feeling a little more like himself by the time they get back to shore and says “There’s plenty of work for the both of us.  You want to drag the boat up to the house or the whales?” 
  • Without a fucking word, Thor jumped out of the boat and picked up, with the whales still inside, and carried it up to the house.  Tyr and Hrod see Thor coming, carrying the boat and the whales and are all daaamn.  Hymir’s not quite ready to give up though, so he decided to try a test of strength, even after everything he had just seen.
  • “I’ll tell you what, Veur, you’re a pretty good oarsman, but I’ve seen better.  I bet you’re too weak to even smash this glass goblet I have.  If you can’t do that, I’d say you’re not a man.  You’re a little girl with pigtails.”
  • Thor grabs the goblet and heaves it at a stone pillar holding up the ceiling.  It smashes clean through it, sending masonry flying everywhere, but lands unharmed on the other side.  Thor is, to say the least, surprised.  Hymir laughs.  “Want to try again, or should we start braiding your hair, pussy?” 
  • As he stalks over to retrieve it, Hrod leans over and whispers in his ear.  “Try throwing it at his skull.  He’s a fucking idiot, so it’s got to be the hardest thing in this room.”  Thor picks up the goblet and, deciding that if nothing else, he’ll be abel to get the first blow in when they start fighting with the giants, throws it right at Hymir’s face.  It hit him square between the eyes and breaks into two pieces. 
  • Hymir stares at the pieces, a little dazed.  “Well, fuck.  I guess that’s it, then.  You win.  What do you want?”
  • “Your five mile deep cauldron.”  Hymir nodded slowly.  “I can’t exactly stop you from taking it, can I?  Sucks, though.  That was my magical, self brewing cauldron.  How am I going to brew enough ale for me to get drunk now?  If you can carry it away, it’s yours.”
  • Tyr, glad that this was over without having to kill his own family, promptly grabbed the cauldron.  Which was apparently inside the house.  It was a magic cauldron, so maybe it was the TARDIS of cauldron’s: bigger on the inside.  He didn’t budge it an inch.  Hymir smiled sourly.  Tyr took a deep breath and tried again.  He barely managed to rock the cauldron.
  • Thor pushed past him and rubbed his hands together.  He grabbed the cauldron’s rim and heaved with all his strength.  The flagstones cracked under the weight on Thor’s feet as he lifted the cauldron under his feet.  There was a moment when it looked like he was going to go clear through the floor, but he managed to hoist the cauldron overhead. 
  • Tyr and Thor walked out of the giant’s castle and headed for home.  They heard a commotion behind them.  Thor turned around to see a horde of giants, lead by Hymir, charging after him.  He dropped the cauldron with an earth-shaking thud and drew his hammer. 
  • Unsurprisingly, this ends poorly for the giants.  Hymir had just pulled a world-circling serpent from the bottom of the sea and smacked it around.  I can’t help but think that Hymir was less trying to actually win and more trying to go out in a blaze of glory.  He had been embarrassed by Thor and this was his only chance to try and keep the story from getting out. 
  • Thor picked the cauldron back up, and carried it to his magic chariot which, fortunately, can carry the massive magical implement.  They take it back to Asgard, then go to fetch Aegir; partly to actually get the mead they’ve been questing for, but mostly to rub it in his face that they had met his seemingly impossible requirement.  He had no choice but to swallow his pride and brew the beer which at least wasn’t too hard, since it was a magic, self-brewing cauldron after all. 

And now it’s time for Gods and Monsters.  This is a segment where I get into a little more detail about the personalities and history of one of the gods or monsters from this week’s pantheon that was not discussed in the main story.  This week’s monster is the Draugr.  They are the norse equivalent of zombies, and like all Norse myths, they are dialed up to 11.  Draugar are the revenants of dead vikings and dwell in their graves when not wandering the countryside, often guarding the treasure buried with them as part of the viking ceremony.  If you’ve played Skyrim, you’ve encountered this monster in the bowels of the earth.  Unlike zombies, they maintain some semblance of intelligence, which makes the much more dangerous.  If the viking’s will is strong enough, a part of it can be pulled back into the dead, decaying body to animate it.  Usually, this iron will is driven by either greed (the whole guarding treasure thing) or by revenge.  If they were wronged in life, particularly by family members, the angry spirit can come back to torment on those who had wronged them, and it gets pretty fucked up.  The only indication that this might be about to happen is finding a corpse in an upright or seated position.  Being shambling corpses, they carry with them the stench of rotting flesh, and are swollen and blackened with decay.  Draugar have superhuman strength and, for some reason, can increase to giant size at will.  Because the Norse never saw a monster and thought it couldn’t be more fuckdiculous, Draugar can also turn into wisps of smoke and swim through solid rock. 

Because that wasn’t overpowered enough, a Draugr can also have numerous magical abilities such as shapeshifting, controlling the weather, and seeing the future.  Unlike the other shapeshifters I’ve discussed so far, they have a limited number of forms they can turn into, which include a seal, a flayed bull (that is, a bull with all of its skin removed), a horse with a broken back but no ears or tail, a cat that would sit upon a sleeper’s chest and grow steadily heavier until the sleeper suffocated (not unlike the Popobawa), and a troll.    Why it can only transform into these very specific and mostly useless forms isn’t explained. 

They have a number of ways to kill their victims, all of which are bestial.  They can rip their victims apart with their bare hands and devour them, they can turn into giants and crush them or straight up devour them whole, they can drain and drink their blood, or, in keeping with the theme of making the monster fucking ridiculously overpowered for Dungeons and Dragons (and yes, it is in the game), it can also drive a person mad and kill them that way.  Animals can be driven mad just by feeding near the barrow.  So, I guess, stay the fuck our of norse graveyards.

Naturally, a Draugr can also enter the dreams of the living, because why not.  When they do this, they generally leave behind some token to indicate that the dream was real.  And as if all of that wasn’t enough, the most powerful of them were completely immune to weapons.  The only way for a hero to defeat one of these Draugar was to wrestle it back into its barrow.  For the rest, the only way to kill it is to cut off its head, burn its body, and dump the ashes into the sea.  Seriously, this is one bad motherfucker.

Since it’s nearly impossible to kill one, your best bet is to stop the Draugr from ever being created.  This is done by placing iron scissors on the corpse’s chest (iron hurts a number of supernatural creatures) and hiding twigs or straw in the corpse’s clothes.  Then, you tie the big toes together and you drive needles into the soles of the feet to keep the corpse from being able to walk (even though Draugr are practically invulnerable).  The best way, though, is the use of a corpse door.  This was a special door that the corpse was carried through feet first with people surrounding the body to prevent it seeing where it’s going (which is a creepy thought).  The coffin was lifted and lowered three times in three different directions as it was carried from the house to the door to disorient the corpse.  The door was then bricked up with the corpse inside.    So if you find a corpse of an evil man sitting up, make sure to hobble it so it can turn into a flayed ox and eat you.

That’s it for this episode of Myth Your Teacher Hated.  Keep up with new episodes on our Facebook page, on iTunes, on Stitcher or on TuneIn, or you can follow us on Twitter as @HardcoreMyth.  You can also find news and episodes on our website at myths your teacher hated dot com.  If you like what you’ve heard, I’d appreciate a review on iTunes, since it helps increase the show’s standing and let more people know it exists.  If you have any questions, any gods or monsters you’d want to learn about, or any ideas for future stories that you’d like to hear, feel free to drop me a line.  I’m trying to pull as much material from as many different cultures as possible, but there are all sorts of stories I’ve never heard, so suggestions are appreciated.  The theme music is by Tiny Cheese Puff, whom you can find on fiverr.com.

Next time, I’ll be telling a pair of Japanese folktales about peonies, because sometimes I like to get incredibly specific with my themes.  The stories are part romance, part horror, and part crazy fantasy about how flowers feel.  That’s all for now.  Thanks for listening.