Harbard / Odin is fully aware of who Thor is even before Thor asks to be ferried across, but just in case anyone doubted it Thor tells the ferryman, " About my name and family : Odin is my father, I am Meili' s brother, Magni is my son. It is Thor who would cross here a king among Gods. " It is just after this statement that the boasting and threats begin.
" I will be furious if I am forced to wade through water and get all wet. Little boy I would pay you back for your unkindness if only I could cross."
Odin / Harbard :
" Here I will stand until you cross the sound. You will find no one hardier since Hrungnir died. "
Thor then boasts :
" You have not forgotten how I fought with Hrungnir, the stout - hearted giant whose head was made of stone. I destroyed him and he fell down dead. What were you doing then Harbard ? "
Harbard replies :
" I was with Fjolver five full years, all green is the name given to the land where we fought battles felling our foes. Did many brave deeds, made love to maidens. "
The exchange becomes more heated and Harbard / Odin even mocks Thor by saying :
" Odin claims the Jarls who fall on the fields, Thor only takes Thralls ! "
Harbard / Odin then goes even further by bringing up how Utgard - Loki had embarrassed Thor :
" Fear made you cram yourself into a glove finger. So great was your dread you did not dare sneeze or fart lest Fjalar hear you ! "
This absolutely infuriates Thor who screams back :
" Chicken hearted Harbard I would strike you down to Hel if only my arms were a little longer. "
Thor tells Harbard / Odin of his deeds after being asked by the ferryman :
" Berserk Jotun women I battled on Hlesey. They did their best to bewitch all men . "
Harbard / Odin mockingly shoots back :
" Brave are you Thor to battle with women . "
Thor angrily replies :
" More like wolves were they than women ! They shattered the ship that I had propped up on shore. "
Harbard / Odin, as Loki did in Lokasenna, then insults Thor's wife Sif :
" Go and seek Sif' s lover, what strength you have you had better save for him. "
Surprisingly Thor's response is not as angry as you would think at this insult :
" You say the words you think will most wound me faint - hearted fellow, but I know they are false. "
Harbard / Odin is very pleased that he has won this " war of words " and states :
" I never thought great Thor would be outwitted by a shepherd of ships. "
Thor never does get ferried across the river and is forced to " walk some distance uphill and then down dale, there to take the left road all the way to Verland, where he met his mother ( Jord ) who showed him the way to the realm of Odin.
This story is a classic study of Odin's desire to always win a battle of wits, or a war of words. It also, at least to me, shows a little jealousy on Odin' s part over the great battle prowess of his son Mighty Thor. It also shows the distinction between the idealisms and the allegiances of the two Gods. Odin is the God of kings and Jarls, while Thor is said to be the one who sides with Thralls, or what I would call the common man. Odin may win the war of words on this one, but my sympathies lie with the God of Thunder.
Go with Odin' s wisdom, Freyja' s love, and Thor's protection !