Saturday, 12 May 2018

Norse Stories Retold From The Eddas by Hamilton Wright Mabie

Norse Stories Retold From The Eddas by Hamilton Wright Mabie
First published in America by Roberts Brothers in 1882. ForgottenBooks edition published in the UK in 2013.

How I got this book:
Downloaded from ForgottenBooks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £6.31 (PB)
Wordery : from £5.47 (PB)
Waterstones : from £4.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $2.05 / £0.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Norse Stories Retold from the Eddas by Hamilton Wright Mabie is a refreshing read for the young and old alike. The author presents the original Scandinavian poetry in riveting prose and has succeeded in retaining the flavour of the Norse tales without losing anything to translation. 

Hamilton Wright Mabie has made an excellent selection of myths that fill the 16 chapters in Norse Stories Retold from the Eddas and taken great care to sustain the chronology of events as they unfolded, starting with the creation of the world, moving on to the adventure and warfare with giants and culminating in the regeneration of the new world under the All-Father. While the valour of Thor and engrossing descriptions of battle and victory may tingle the imagination of younger readers, Norse Stories Retold from the Eddas is by no means a book meant only for children. It has hidden within it some moving messages of hope, peace and prosperity, which can only be truly appreciated by a more mature reader. 

Mabie has kept the tone friendly and engaging. More importantly, he has resisted the all-consuming need to allegorize these beautiful stories and stuck to pure narrative which does absolute justice to the work. Readers can take a trip down memory lane by awakening the child within them with or read it as an adult to absorb the finer nuances of life, happiness and peace.

After recently reading Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad I wanted to read more mythological stories and remembered this ebook which had been lying dormant on my Kindle for about two and a half years. Oops!

Written for older children, this short story collection is a fast read that gives a good flavour of the world of the ancient Norse gods. Female gods are beautiful, male ones are violent, frost-giants are ever threatening and Loke is out to cause mischief at every turn. (He reminded me of Anansi who I first encountered in Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys.) As an introduction to Norse mythology, I think this is a good place to start. The main gods and monsters are introduced as well as the different world strata they inhabit. I am now tempted to get a more in depth volume of stories though to give me a greater understanding.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Hamilton Wright Mabie / Mythology / Books from America


  1. I really don't know anything about Norse mythology, but the random bits I've heard have seemed interesting. This does seem a good place to start!

    1. It's a good intro, and I'd like to read the new Neil Gaiman book too!

  2. Yay for reading a book which has been lay dormant on your kindle. I love when that happens and you end up enjoying it. It sounds like an interesting read.