As they stood outside the fortress Utgard - Loki turned to Thor and said : " I am going to tell you the truth now that you have left my stronghold. If I live, and can prevent it, you are never again coming inside my hall ! On my oath I would never have let you inside if I had known that you were so strong. You nearly landed us in disaster, but I was able to deceive you with spells. The first time I came across you in the woods, as Skrymir, and you tried to untie the provision bag, I had tied it with iron wire so that you could not discover where to undo it. After that you became angry and tried to kill me with mighty blows. The first of these was the least and yet if it had reached me it would have killed me. Where you saw a saddle - back hill near my stronghold, and in it three square shaped valleys, and the third very deep indeed, these were the depressions made by your hammer' s mighty blows. I moved the hill in front of your hammer, which you did not notice, to deflect the blows.
I used my magic to defeat you in the contests as well. When Loki went up against our champion Logi he had no chance for victory despite his immense appetite, and the speed at which he ate. Logi is the embodiment of fire, and he burned the trencher as quickly as he did the chopped meat . Thjalfi, though a swift runner, could never have defeated Hugi because Hugi is my thoughts, and no one could expect to compete with the speed of that. "
Utgard - Loki took a deep breath and continued : " When you, Thor, were drinking from the horn and felt that you were being slow, I could not believe what my eyes were seeing ! The end of the horn was placed in the ocean, something that you could not see. While you thought your attempts were failures we were amazed at how much you were able to consume. The next time you come to the sea you will notice how much you were able to drink. You will see how much you have made the great oceans of the world shrink, this is now called the ebb - tide. "
" I thought it wonderful when you tried to lift up what you saw as a large grey cat. In truth everyone in my hall was greatly terrified when with your great strength you lifted one of its paws up off of the ground. That " cat " was no cat at all, but was actually the great Midgard Serpent, that lies curled around the whole world. And yet although it can touch its tail to its head, you stretched up so high that it was among the clouds. "
" We were all amazed that you were able to hold out so long in the wrestling match against the old woman Elli. It was absolutely marvelous that you only fell down on one knee in your struggle with her. She also was not as you perceived her. She was old age personified and there has never been, nor will there ever be, anyone who is not tripped up by old age. "
" Now that we are going to part it will be better for us both if you never come to see me again ! If you do come again to my stronghold I will continue to defend my fortress with some such magic or other acts of deception so that you will never gain the upper hand on me. " Utgard - Loki said as he finished.
When Thor heard Utgard - Loki' s words he gripped his hammer tightly, and swung it around intending to kill Utgard - Loki, and destroy his stronghold. But when he turned around the stronghold, and the king had disappeared, and only open fields remained. All that was left for Thor to do was shake his head and continue on his journey with his companions.
In Voluspa there is mention of how " Vanir Magic " defeated the Aesir during the Aesir - Vanir War, but they do not really go into any great details about it. ( Other than Gullveig being killed three times and reborn three times of course ). This story of Thor being tricked by magic gives us some insight into the types of magic and deception that the Vanir probably would have used during the epic war between the Gods. It is also the reason that I consider Freyja as one of the most powerful Gods in Asgard. Physical prowess is not the only type of strength among the Gods. Magic backed by the great skill of a practiced individual, i.e. Odin, Freyja, Gullveig, can defeat raw strength most times.
Next : The life and death of Kvasir.
Go with Odin' s wisdom, Freyja' s love, and Thor' s protection !