Thor's Duel With Hrungnir ( A Retelling )
Hrungnir watched in amazement as a rider approached from off in the distance. The figure, mounted on an eight legged horse, wore a golden helmet that even the dull sunlight of Jotunheim shone brightly off of. The rider was obviously an experienced horseman, who had learned to become one with his mount, as he directed it with the utmost of ease. When they came closer Hrungnir smiled jealously when he noticed that the horse and rider were riding through the air, and above the sea.
Odin saw the lone figure standing a short distance from the frozen shoreline. Sleipnir instinctively set his eight hooves back on solid ground the moment they crossed the last breaking wave, and hit the ancient ground of Jotunheim at a fast gallop. All - Father slowed his great horse to a slow trot, however, when he noticed that the Jotun was waving him down.
Odin pulled the reins back hard, and halted Sleipnir directly in front of the Giant. Valfather dismounted and nodded a respectful hello to the stranger. The Jotun returned his gesture, and stroked the horse's powerful neck before addressing the rider.
" I am Hrungnir and these are my lands. " the Jotun told the rider proudly.
Then the Giant patted the horse on the shoulder.
" What a remarkably fine animal ! I have only seen one horse which is better ! " Hrungnir told the warrior with a sly grin.
Odin stroked his horse's mane, and then removed the Jotun's hand from Sleipnir's side.
" I am Odin of Asgard, and I would gladly wager my life that there is not a better horse than Sleipnir to be found in all of Jotunheim. " the God replied.
Hrungnir narrowed his eyes and chuckled.
" Yes ! Sleipnir appears to be a powerful horse, but I myself possess an even better mount called Gold Mane. My horse can gallop faster than any mount in all the nine worlds ! " he said countering Odin's boast.
All - Father became angered by the fanciful claims made by the Jotun who stood before him. In a fit of rage Odin sprang onto Sleipnir and took off. Hrungnir laughed at the accepted challenged and whistled for his mount Gold Mane. As his horse bolted up to him,and stopped, Hrungnir mounted his steed in a single leap. Then the Jotun grabbed the reins and swung his horse around. He kicked Gold Mane hard and rode after Odin intending to make the Asgardian pay for his bold words.
Odin lowered his head, and shouted words of encouragement to his great steed. The Lord of Asgard rode his mount so hard that before long he was on the down - slope of a great hill before Hrungnir had reached the up - slope on the other side. And still the King of Asgard pushed his mount harder and harder.
The Jotun became confused in his anger, and lost all sense of his surroundings, or where he was going. It was not until he saw Heimdall holding the golden gates of Asgard open for him that he realized that he had ridden all the way to the entrance of the God's sacred realm. With wide eyes he nodded respectfully to the silent sentinel as he passed.
When Hrungnir finally arrived at the great golden hall Odin stood at the top step waiting for him. Feeling gracious Odin invited the Jotun in to drink with the Gods. The Giant, not wanting to look like a fool, confidently walked up the steps, and as Syn held the doors open for him he followed Odin into the hall. Once inside Hrungnir sat down on one of the golden benches, and boldly ordered the Aesir to serve him their famous ale in two huge horns that were usually reserved only for Thor. To his surprise Odin nodded to a serving maiden who filled both horns for him.
After gulping down the contents of both horns the Jotun belched, and in a drunken stupor began to speak rudely to the Aesir.
" I will lift up Valhalla and carry it on my shoulders back to Jotunheim ! There I will throw it into the ocean, and laugh as it sinks to the bottom of the sea ! " he muttered confidently.
" Of course I will kill all the Gods first ..... all that is except Freyja and Sif ! I will take them back home with me, and have my way with them ! " he boasted boldly with Freyja standing only steps away from him.
Freyja gave Odin an angry look, but Valfather simply smiled at Freyja, and motioned that she should pour their guest another round of their delicious ale. Freyja frowned for a moment, but then saw the hidden meaning behind Odin's grin, and poured the Giant a third and fourth helping.
Hrungnir made short work of the ale, and slammed the empty horns on the table as a way of showing that he wanted more. It was then that the Jotun realized that everyone in the great hall was smiling at him despite his bold talk. A cold chill ran up the Giant's back, and he immediately felt a strong urge to leave the hall. Suddenly, and before he could move, the doors of Valhalla flew open, and Hrungnir felt a great presence behind him.
Odin grinned from ear to ear.
" Have you met my son Thor ? " Odin asked sarcastically.
- End Chapter 7
- Next : Chapter 8 : The Challenge
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ) , © Copyright, 2015.