Originally published under the title Norse Gods and Giants.
The Norse myths are some of the greatest stories of all time. They tell of all-seeing one-eyed Odin, ruler of gods and men and master of battles, who rides at the head of a band of fierce warrior maidens, the Valkyries; of red-bearded Thor, the thunderer, wielding his magic hammer Mjolnir against the giants who are the enemies of the gods. Freya, the beautiful goddess of love, crosses heaven and earth in a carriage drawn by gray cats forever seeking her lost husband, while the pranks of Odin's blood-brother, Loki, make the gods gasp with laughter—when they don't reduce them to rage or leave them weeping hot tears. Loki is the clever trickster who keeps things interesting no matter what, but who delights in destruction as much as creation, and in the world of the Northmen, it's true, all things, even the gods, must come to an end. One day the giants will break out of the mountain fastnesses to which they retreated after their defeat by the gods, and in the great battle of Ragnarokk both gods and giants will meet their doom. Yggdrasil, the world tree, its roots gnawed from the beginning of time by a hideous dragon, the Nidhogg, will topple at last, bringing down all of Odin's nine worlds.
Weird monsters, thoroughly human gods, elves and sprites and gnomes, with grim giants nursing ancient grudges lurking behind—the mysterious and entrancing world of Norse myth comes alive in these pages thanks to the spellbinding storytelling and spectacular pictures of the incomparable D'Aulaires. In this classic book, the art of the Caldecott Award—winning authors of D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, a longtime favorite of children and parents, reaches one of its pinnacles. It offers a way into a world of fantasy, struggle and charm that has served as inspiration for Marvel Comics and the Lord of the Rings.