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The wolf Fenrir was the child of the malicious deity Loki. It was prophesised that Fenrir would bring great destruction to the world during final days of destruction (see Ragnarok). As Fenrir grew stronger day by day, the Aesir (gods) decided to chain him. However, the attempts seemed futile because Fenrir never failed to break the fetters.

Finally, a chain named Gleipnir was created by the mountain sprits, who were acting on the instructions of the Aesir. This chain was fashioned of six things: the sound of a cat's footstep, the beards of women, the roots of stones, the breath of fishes, the sensibilities of bears and the spittle of birds. The final work was as slight as a silken ribbon.

The Aesir bid Fenrir to put the chain on. Fearing that the chain was enchanted because of its fragile appearance — and indeed it was — Fenrir only consented to be bound by the chain on condition that a god put his fist between his jaws as an assurance. Knowing what might happen, the gods hesitated. Only Tyr, the god of battles had courage to do so.

Failing to break the bonds, Fenrir realised that he had been tricked, so he bit off Tyr's hand out of spite. Tyr of the Aesir, remains one-handed to this day.

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