Sif was Thor's wife.
Sif had long golden hair. Thor was very proud of Sif's golden hair.
Thor was always going on long journeys. One day he went off and left Sif alone. She went out on the porch and fell asleep.
Loki came along. He was always playing tricks.
He saw Sif lying asleep. He said, "I am going to cut off her hair."
So Loki went up on the porch and cut off Sif's golden hair.
When Sif woke up and saw that her hair was gone, she cried and cried. Then she ran to hide. She did not want Thor to see her.
When Thor came home, he could not find Sif.
"Sif! Sif!" he called, "Where are you?"
But Sif did not answer.
Thor looked all around the house. At last he found her crying.
"Oh, Thor, look, all my hair is gone! Somebody has cut it off. It was a man. He ran away with it."
Then Thor was very angry. He said, "I know it was Loki. He is always getting into mischief. Just wait until I get him!"
And Thor went out to find Loki. Pretty soon he found him.
Thor said, "Did you cut off Sif's hair?" Loki said, "Yes, I did."
"Then you must pay for cutting off my wife's hair," said Thor.
"All right," said Loki, "I will get you something better than the hair."
Loki went down, down into the ground to the home of the dwarfs. It was very dark down there. The only light came from the dwarfs' fires.
The dwarfs were ugly little black men. They were not any bigger than your thumb. They had crooked backs and crooked legs. Their eyes looked like black beads.
Loki said, "Can you make me a gold crown that will grow like real hair?"
The dwarfs said, "Yes, we can." So the busy little dwarfs worked all night.
When morning came the dwarfs gave Loki his crown of golden hair. They gave him a spear and a ship, too.
Loki took the things up to Asgard, where the gods all lived.
Then the gods all came up to him. He showed them the things.
The gods said, "They are very wonderful."
And Loki said, "Oh, nobody else can make such things as my little dwarfs."
A little dwarf, named Brok, was standing near by. He heard Loki say that. Then he stepped up and said, "My brother can make just as good things as these."
Loki laughed and said, "If you can get three things as wonderful as these, I will give you my head."
Brok went down into the ground where his little dwarfs were working.
Brok's brother was named Sindre. He said to his brother, "Loki says that you can't make such nice things as his dwarfs can. He said that he would give me his head if I could get him such wonderful things as his."
This made the dwarfs angry. Their eyes grew big. They said, "He will see what we can do."
Sindre wanted to know what the wonderful things were.
Brok said, "Loki has a golden crown that will grow like real hair. A ship that can go anywhere. A spear that never misses the mark."
"We will show him," said the dwarfs.
The dwarfs soon had the fires burning. Then Sindre put a pigskin into the fire.
He gave the bellows to Brok and said, "Now blow as hard as you can."
Then Sindre went out. Brok blew and blew.
A little fly came in and bit him on the hand.
The fly bit him so hard that Brok thought he would have to stop blowing, but he did not.
Then Sindre came back. He took out a golden pig from the fire.
He next put a lump of gold into the fire.
He said to Brok, "Blow and blow and blow, and do not stop."
Then Sindre went out again.
So Brok blew as hard as he could.
Then the same fly came in and bit him again.
Brok thought that he could not stand it, but he kept on.
When Sindre came back, he took a gold ring from the fire.
Then Sindre put a lump of iron into the fire.
He said to Brok, "Now blow as hard as you can."
And Sindre went out. Brok blew and blew. The same mean fly came again, and bit him on the forehead. It bit so hard that the blood ran into his eyes.
Brok put up his hand to brush away the fly.
Just then Sindre came back.
He took the hammer out of the fire.
"There!" he said, "You have almost spoiled it. The handle is too short, but it cannot be helped now."
Brok hurried up to Asgard with his things.
All the gods came around to see. Then Loki came up to show his things.
He put the crown of gold on Sif's head and it began to grow like real hair.
He gave the spear to Odin and said, "This spear will never miss its mark."
Then he took out the ship. He said, "This is a wonderful ship. It will sail on any sea, and yet you can fold it up and put it into your pocket."
Loki felt very proud, for he thought his things were the best.
All the gods felt very sorry for little Brok. They thought Loki's things were fine. They were afraid Brok's would not be so nice.
They said, "Now, Brok, show your things."
Brok took out the gold ring. He said, "Each night this ring will throw off a ring just like it. He gave the ring to Odin."
Then Brok took out the golden pig. He said, "This pig can go anywhere, on the ground or in the air. It can go faster than any horse. If the night is dark, the shining pig will make it light."
Then Brok showed the hammer. He said, "This is not a very pretty hammer. When I was making it, Loki turned himself into a fly and made me spoil it. The fly bit me so hard that I had to stop blowing. So the handle is a little short. But it is a wonderful hammer. If you throw it at anything, it will hit the mark and come back to you."
The gods picked up the hammer and passed it around.
They said, "It will be just the things with which to keep the Frost Giants out of Asgard."
The gods said, "Brok's things are the best."
Brok gave the hammer to Thor. That is the way Thor got his wonderful hammer.
Then Brok said to Loki, "You said I could have your head if my things were the best."
And Loki was angry and said, "Yes, I told you that you could have my head. But you can't touch my neck."
Of course, Brok could not get his head without touching his neck.
So Brok did not get Loki's head.