Alvis was a dark elf. Nobody liked the dark elves. They were greedy people, and very unfriendly. But Alvis did not think this. 'A dark elf is as good as any other man,' he said to the other dark elves. 'Or a god!'
The other elves laughed at him. 'We're greedy people,' they said. 'And unfriendly. We like being greedy and unfriendly!' They all laughed more.
'That's true,' said Alvis. 'But I'll show you that even if I am a dark elf, I can marry the daughter of a god!'
'The daughter of a god!' said the other elves. 'Who?'
'I'm going to marry Thor's daughter, Thrud,' he said. 'You're going to marry Thrud!' said the dark elves. 'That's impossible! How can you do that?'
'I'll show you!' said Alvis. He waited until it was dark (because dark elves only go out at night), crossed the Bifrost bridge and went up into Asgard. As soon as he was in Asgard, a big man stopped him.
'Where are you going?' the man asked him. 'We don't like dark elves here in Asgard.'
Alvis was not worried, or afraid. He thought that this man couldn't be a god. This man was very big and strong, that was true. But he had a big, red beard and did not look very intelligent. He looked like a farmer.
'I'm going to meet Thor,' said Alvis.
'Oh really?' said the man. 'And why do you want to meet Thor?' he asked.
'I'm going to marry his daughter, Thrud,' said Alvis. 'I've come up here so I can take her home with me.'
What Alvis did not know was that this farmer was really Thor himself. Usually, Thor was not very intelligent, and he became angry very quickly. But today, Thor did not become angry. This time, Thor decided to be intelligent like his father Odin. 'This little elf doesn't know who I am,' thought Thor. 'I can have some fun with him...'
'What's your name?' Thor asked the elf.
'My name is Alvis! I'm a dark elf!' he said.
'I thought so,' said Thor. 'People don't like dark elves. Dark elves are greedy and unfriendly.'
"'That's true,' said Alvis. 'But I'll show that we can marry the daughters of gods.'
'So you want to marry Thrud, daughter of Thor?' asked the god.
'That's right,' replied the elf.
'But you're not very handsome, are you?' asked Thor. 'You're a dark elf!'
'That's also true. But — as a dark elf — I'm very good at making swords and axes, and jewellery!' said Alvis.
'That's true,' replied Thor.
'And I have a house in a cave!' said the elf.
'A house in a cave!' said Thor. 'Do you think a father will be happy if he knows his daughter has a house in a cave?'
'It's a very nice cave,' said the elf.
'A father should always decide who his daughter marries,' said Thor.
'That's true,' said Alvis. 'That's why I am going to meet Thor right now. What's your name, by the way?'
'Ha!' said Thor. He wanted to be angry, but he stopped himself. Instead he laughed. 'My name is Thor!' he shouted. 'That's right — I am Thor!'
'Oh,' said Alvis. He was very surprised. He did not think this fat man with a big beard looked like Thor at all. 'I thought you were a farmer,' he said.
Thor stopped himself from becoming angry again. 'A farmer!' he thought. 'This stupid elf thought I was a farmer! I'll show him.' He remembered that he wanted to be intelligent this time.
'I'm happy that I met you,' said Alvis. 'Now it's easy for me. I want to marry your daughter Thrud!'
'It's not that easy,' said Thor. 'Listen, here's what we'll do. I'll ask you some questions, and if you can answer them, you can marry my daughter. Yes?'
'Yes!' said Alvis. Alvis thought Thor was not very intelligent. It would be easy to answer his questions.
'I want to know if you're an intelligent man,' said Thor, 'So here's my first question for you.'
'Go on!' said Alvis.
'What is it that we live in?' asked Thor.
Alvis thought the answer might be 'a house'. But then he thought that he lived in a cave, not a house, and Thor lived in a great hall, not a house.
'No,' he thought. 'It's something more than a house.' So he said, 'It has many names. Some people call it Earth, or the world. We live in all of Yggdrasil, I in Svartalfheim, and you in Asgard.'
'That's true,' said Thor. 'Very good. Now, what is it that covers us all?'
Alvis had to think about this one. He thought about the roof of his cave and Thor's great hall, but it was not that. 'It's the roof of the world,' he said. 'The sky! The sky goes all around us, and covers every one of us.'
'A good answer,' said Thor. 'Now for my next question: what is the night sun?'
Alvis had to think hard about this one. 'There's no sun at night,' he thought to himself. 'And I've never seen the sun, because the sun kills dark elves. The only thing I know is… of course!' He looked at Thor and said, 'What makes light in the night? The moon!'
'Well done,' said Thor. 'And what is the name for the fire that bums in the sky?'
This was an easy one. 'I've never seen it,' said Alvis, 'But I know that men call it the sun!'
'Yes,' said Thor, still thinking carefully. 'What can make water fly?'
This was a difficult one. Alvis had to think hard.
'Come on!' said Thor. 'Hurry up! I can't wait all night for your answer.'
'I know!' said Alvis. 'The clouds! The clouds hold water in the sky, and then it rains...'
'Good answer,' said Thor. 'Here's another question. What moves through every country, everyone knows it, but no one ever sees it?'
This was a difficult question. Alvis knew some of the gods could become invisible. But when a god was invisible, not everyone knew that. Rivers moved through every country, but people could see rivers. Then he understood. 'I know!' he said, 'The wind!'
'A good answer,' said Thor. 'Here's another question — what is the water that nobody can drink?'
This was easy. 'The sea!' said Alvis.
'True,' said Thor. It was becoming difficult for Thor to think of more questions, but he waited. He needed to wait. 'Very well,' he said after some time. 'What is the thing we all have in our homes which helps us, but is so dangerous it can kill us?'
At first, Alvis was going to say 'a sword', but then he thought that not everyone has a sword in their homes. He thought for a long time before he knew the answer. 'Fire!' he said.
'Right again,' said Thor. 'I can see that you're intelligent… for an elf!' Thor looked up. The night was coming to an end. 'What is the dark that helps men and gods sleep?' he asked.
'Easy!' thought Alvis. 'The night!' he said.
Thor laughed. 'Yes,' he said, 'And what is its opposite?'
Only then did Alvis understand the trick Thor was playing on him. He looked up. The night was ending, and the sun was coming up. 'Oh no,' he thought. 'I can't see the sun. If I see the sun I will die!'
Thor laughed again. 'Go on Alvis! Do you know the name for it?'
'Oh yes,' said Alvis, 'but it's too late for me now… now that I've seen — the day!'
As Alvis said the word, the sun came up into Asgard, and when Alvis saw it he became a stone.
Some people say that if you go to the place where Thor met the dark elf Alvis, you can still see a small stone there, a stone still waiting to marry the god's daughter. He will wait for a long time. For once, Thor was clever!
— THE END -