Thor's Fight with Hrungner

Annie Klingensmith June 25, 2022
2 min read
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One day when Odin was riding abroad on Sleipner, he passed by Jotunheim.

There he met Hrungner, one of the giants. Hrungner said, “Who are you and where did you get that fine horse?”

Odin replied, “I will wager my head that there is not so good a horse in Jotunheim.”

Hrungner answered angrily that his horse, Goldmane, could take longer strides.

Then Odin challenged Hrungner to a race. In a short time Goldmane was brought, and the race began. Sleipner was always ahead.

Hrungner thought of nothing but of overtaking him. Before he knew it he had followed Odin into Asgard.

The gods were feasting, and they invited the giant to eat with them. Thor’s drinking-horn was brought. Hrungner emptied it at a draught.

By and by lis began to boast of his strength. “I will tear down Asgard, kill the gods, and carry off Freyja,” he cried, crashing Thor’s drinking-horn down upon the table. 

But the sound made by the drinking-horn called Thor, who was far away. 

Soon a muttering as of distant thunder was heard. Flashes of fire streamed through the air, and there was Thor with his hammer in his hand. 

“Why is this giant allowed to feast with the gods?” Thor demanded. “He should never have been allowed to enter Asgard.” 

With that he made ready to strike. But Hrungner cried, “You are a coward if you kill me unarmed. Come to the borders of my own country. There I will meet you with my shield and flint stone.” 

So a day was appointed, and Hrungner went back to Jotunheim. There he made a huge clay giant, nine miles high and three miles across the shoulders. He put a horse’s heart into the giant, because that was the largest heart he could find. 

On the appointed day Thor appeared in his chariot, fire flashing from his eyes, mountains tumbling down as he passed, and hurling his hammer before him. 

His servant, Thjalfe, the swift runner, went before and told Hrungner that Thor could attack him from under the ground as well as from the air. So Hrungner put his shield under his feet.

As Thor approached, so frightened was the clay giant that his horse’s heart fluttered within him, and perspiration flowed off him in streams.

Hrungner hurled his flint stone and Thor his hammer at the same moment. They met in the air and the flint stone was broken into two pieces.

One piece fell to the earth and became a mountain. The other piece struck Thor’s head and he fell upon the ground.

The hammer struck Hrungner and he fell dead with his foot on Thor’s neck. Thor could not remove the giant’s foot. All the gods tried, but none of them could lift it.

Then Thor’s son, a baby three days old, came and lifted the foot with one hand and said, “Sorry am I that I did not meet the giant, for I think I could have killed him with my fist.”

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