Loki’s Eating Challenge

Utgarda-Loki, the Giant King, sat with his chin cupped in his huge hand as he leant idly on the arm of his chair, smiling wryly and fixing his guests with a steady gaze. Whilst they were known to him, and their reputation preceded them, it would not stop him from taunting them mercilessly for their diminutive size.
“Ha, who would have imagined that a God and his”, he gestured dismissively towards the party, “...mighty companions would be so… insignificant?” At this, his kinsmen, fellow giants, burst into an uproar, echoing his mocking laughter, lifting it to the rafters with matching guffaws of their own.

Stung by this, Loki, bristling with bruised pride and burning to rebuke the insult from the King strode forwards, drawing himself up, rather pointlessly, to his full height.

“You are giants, I am sure with giant appetites to match your stature. However, it would be an embarrassment if a mere imp such as myself were able to out-eat anyone else in this castle, wouldn’t it?

The Giant King held the angry glare coming from Loki, his lips curling again into a sardonic smile. “You are Loki, yes?” The still bristling god nodded slowly, “well then”, continued Utgarda-Loki as he lifted his hand to point out a huge, broadly grinning giant standing to the left and behind the god, “let me introduce to Logi. He’s a bit”, the King paused for effect, ”…peckish”.

Loki turned his head slowly, following the direction of the Giant King’s outstretched finger until his eyes fell upon the figure of his chosen adversary. The enormous figure was actually glowing. “Oh yes”, continued the Giant King, “Logi is a god in his own way,” he said, “of fire”. These last two words hung in the air a moment.

Rising to the challenge, Loki smiled to himself and simply said “well then… let’s eat”.

At a snap of the Giant King’s fingers, a huge steaming trough of freshly prepared meat, dripping with juices and still on the bone, was marched into the middle of the feast hall. There appeared to be entire animals present in this mountain of food.

Undaunted, the two contestants took up their positions at either end of the trough and stood braced, prepared to devour the feast. Raising a hand, Utgarda-Loki bellowed, “the first to the centre of the trough, wins”, and with that, his hand dropped again and he barked “BEGIN!”

Loki and Logi almost dived into the meat, each of them tearing out huge chunks of the cooked flesh in eager, greedy mouthfuls. They both ate as if in a frenzy, remorselessly gulping down the fare, hardly stopping even to draw breath. The visitors and guests looked on in growing amazement, it seemed as if the two contestants were matching each other mouthful for mouthful, edging ever closer towards the centre of the trough.

Finally, abruptly, the contest ended, Loki and Logi had met, precisely in the middle of the trough. Loki looked up and arched his back, raising his arms aloft and sent an obscenely resonant belch echoing around the huge chamber.

“Ha-haaaaa!” he yelled, “we are even at the very least”. But the giants were laughing and mocking him still, pointing towards their eating champion. In angry confusion, Loki first looked back to the derisively laughing Logi, and then dropped his gaze to the fire giant’s feet.

Where Loki had devoured his way through the meat, tearing it from the bone to gulp it down, the giant had not bothered with such niceties. Instead, the Logi had eaten through meat, bone, and even the trough, entirely.

Loki had lost, and as the mocking roars of laughter from the giants rose in a crescendo, he too knew it well. What he could not know, was that Utgarda-Loki had deceived him and his companions, for Logi was not just a fire giant, he was the burning, all-consuming heart of wildfire itself.

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