OK this is not exactly a sci-fi story as a matter fact it’s not a sci-fi story at all. It’s actually an inspirational story which was something I ran across a few years back and for the life of me cannot find it again.

It’s a story about a man who visited the Olympian gods and was put to several tests to prove his worth to become a god. The gods had belittled him but they said that he could prove himself by performing some simple feats.

I don’t remember all of them but they were seemingly simple things he was asked to do around the temple, one was to try to lift a pillar is a column another was to drink from a basin of water and then there were several others. The end of the story was that the man left disappointed because he could not do any of tasks sucessfully but the gods have been shaken because the pillar was actually a corner of the earth and although he did not lift it he was able to move it. And the basin was all the seven seas and he had almost drained them and the others were also hidden as values for other things.

It’s a great story that illustrates that the things that we do we sometimes don’t know how much of an impact we are making.

If anyone knows the story or better yet know where to find it please let me know I would be grateful.

  • When did you read this story and when might it have been published? Also Check out How to ask a good story-ID question to see if it helps jog your memory.
    – Möoz
    Nov 13 '17 at 3:27
  • 2
    Don't worry that it's not sci-fi. This is the sci-fi AND fantasy stack exchange. :) Nov 13 '17 at 3:27
  • 1
    Was the man someone like Jesus, Gautama Buddha, or the like? Some well-known divine figure, incognito (or in their early years)?
    – Adamant
    Nov 13 '17 at 4:01
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    Are you sure it was a Greek myth? That sounds awfully like Thor and Loki (not the Marvel ones) visiting the giants. Thor drinks from a goblet connected to the sea. Loki loses an eating contest, only to find out he couldn't consume as fast as fire. And Thor loses a wrestling contest to a little old lady, only to find out he'd lost to old age. The giants were shaken that they'd come so close in each contest.
    – Moriarty
    Nov 13 '17 at 4:58

I'm reasonably sure this is actually one of the Norse Eddas, the source tales that deal with Thor, the God of Thunder and his antics. Thor's Journey to the Land of the Giants features all of the aspects you're talking about as well as the twist ending.

I have deluded thee with vain shows; first in the forest, where I met you, and where you were unable to untie the wallet because I had bound it with iron-thread so that you could not discover where the knot could be loosened. After that you gave me three blows with your hammer. The first blow, though the lightest, would have killed me had it fallen on me, but I put a rock in my place which you did not see. In that rocky mountain you will find three dales, one of which is very deep, those are the dints made by your hammer. In the other games, I have deceived you with illusions. The first one was the match with Loki. He was hungry and eat fast, but Logi was Flame, and he consumed not only the flesh but the trough with it. When Thjalfi contended with Hugi in running, Hugi was my thought, and it was not possible for Thjalfi to excel that in swiftness. When you drank of the horn and the liquor seemed to get lower so slowly, you did, indeed, so well that had I not seen it, I should never have believed it. You did not see that one end of the horn was in the sea, but when you come to the shore you will see how much the sea has shrunk in consequence of your draughts, which have caused what is called the ebb. Nor did you do a less wondrous thing when you lifted up the cat, and I can assure you all were afraid when you raised one of its paws off the ground. The cat was the great Midgard serpent which lies stretched round the whole earth, and when you raised it so high then did its length barely suffice to enclose the earth between its head and tail.

  • 3
    I might suggest that it's possible the asker is referring to an inspirational story which was a ripoff of the Poem. However, trying to track that down might be a heroic feat in and of itself.
    – Broklynite
    Nov 13 '17 at 9:33
  • @Broklynite - I fully expect the OP to say that it's clearly the source of the story, but not the right story.
    – Valorum
    Nov 13 '17 at 12:19
  • norse-mythology.org/tale-utgarda-loki - Another version that has all the elements as well.
    – JohnP
    Nov 13 '17 at 16:59
  • One draws from that tale the conclusion that, for all his great power, Thor was badly in need of prescription eyewear.
    – Dan J
    Nov 14 '17 at 5:08

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