Thor's Duel With Hrungnir ( A Retelling )
Thjalfi was very excited when Thor agreed to allow him to go to Jotunheim to watch the great duel. His sister Roskva, however, stood by the Rainbow Bridge with a sour pout upon her face. Thor commanded her to stay behind, telling her : " A duel is no place for a young girl ! " Roskva bravely held back her tears of disappointment as Thor and her brother left for Jotunheim, but out of spite she did not wave goodbye to them.
Thor usually traveled on foot, but this time, to make sure that he arrived on time, he rode in his golden cart, which was pulled by his goats Tanngrisner and Tanngnjoster. His loyal goats pulled hard at the halters as they flew across the universe above the Rainbow Bridge, and in only a matter of moments the golden cart set down its wheels upon the frozen soil of Jotunheim.
As Thor and Thjalfi stepped out of the cart they saw standing across the field from them two figures. One was a huge creature, much larger than the other, who appeared to be the Jotun Hrungnir. Thor had heard strange tales of this Jotun. It was said that Hrungnir's heart was made of the hardest of stones, and that its edges were sharp. Because of this odd abnormality a new runic symbol had been made to resemble Hrungnir's heart. It was also told in tales by the skalds that his head was made of the same strong stone as his heart.
Thor stood glaring across at his adversary for a moment. The Jotun stood proudly and confidently on the dueling field with a broad shield held firmly out in front of him. In his other hand he held the weapon of choice of many Jotuns. Resting on his shoulder Hrungnir had a hone ready for the attack. Thor glanced quickly at the Jotun's face and noticed that the Giant had an ugly look about him.
Thor's eyes narrowed as he took a closer look at the Giant creature that stood next to the Jotun. Although it appeared to be a frightening monster, Thor saw that it was made of hardened clay, and he knew that it would shatter like a piece of pottery if attacked. Thor grinned and shook his head in disgust as the clay monster trembled and peed itself when it realized that Thor was staring at it.
Thor turned to Thjalfi, who had remained back at the cart, and motioned for him to come forward.
" It appears that my opponent has not kept to his word, and so I would like you to do something for me. " Thor told his able companion.
Thjalfi smiled as he replied.
" Your wish is my will, my Lord ! " he told Thor with a nod.
" Tell Hrungnir that he is wrong in his thinking that I will attack from the front. Inform him to place his shield upon the ground, for I will attack from out of the ground, and smite him ! " Thor explained with a small grin.
" I understand great one ! " he replied.
Thjalfi ran across the dueling ground in a blink of an eye startling the Jotun, and making the clay creature step backwards out of fear. In a whisper Thjalfi addressed the Giant.
" You are risking quite a lot with the fighting stance that you are taking. Thor has seen you with your shield held out in front of you. He will not now attack from the front, but will instead, in his elemental form, come up through the ground beneath you to kill you ! Quickly ! Place your shield upon the frozen earth to block his way ! " Thjalfi told the Giant as though he were giving away a secret.
Hrungnir was known for his boldness and strength, and not for his great intelligence. The Jotun quickly placed his shield upon the ground, and to further protect himself from an attack from below he stepped up on the shield, and added his great weight to it. The Jotun then took his hone off of his shoulder, grasped it in both hands, and waited for Thor to attack !
Thjalfi ran back to Thor in the short time it took Hrungnir to grasp his weapon.
" It is done my lord ! " he told Thor.
The Thunder God laughed.
" As a reward I will allow you the honor of killing the clay monster ! " he told his human companion.
Thjalfi's eyes lit up, and he smiled from ear to ear as he drew his sword.
" Thank you for this great opportunity to serve you my lord ! " he replied.
As Thor moved forward the sky lit up with brilliant flashes of lightning, and thunder boomed over the dueling field so loud that not even Hrungnir could stop himself from flinching. The Jotun was seeing Thor in his divine anger, and knew the end was near. Then with a speed the Giant would not have expected from anyone as big as Thor, the God began to run straight at him with his hammer held high over his head.
Thor threw his great hammer Mjolnir first. Mere moments later Hrungnir, using both hands, hurled his hone at Thor as well. The two mighty weapons met in midair, and collided with an explosion that lit up the field like a star exploding in the heavens. The hone shattered into countless shards of sharp pointy stones that were thrown off in all directions by Mjolnir, which continued to its target. One of these shards struck the God of Thunder in the head stunning him. Thor stumbled ahead a few more steps before he hit the ground injured.
Hrungnir watched as his hone disintegrated into a thousand little pieces, but what he did not see was Thor's hammer emerge from the dust and debris. By the time he made out the deadly object that was heading his way it was too late to react to the projectile. Mjolnir struck him squarely in the head shattering his skull, and killing him instantly.
The skalds were wrong in saying that Hrungnir's head was made of stone. When Thor's mighty hammer struck the Jotun his skull exploded like a melon. Hrungnir's body took two steps backwards, and then wobbled one step forward before falling next to Thor with one of his legs falling on top of the God pinning him to the ground.
Thjalfi, fearing that the clay creature would attack the injured Thor, did battle with the creature, and it was destroyed in short order by the human. As Thor had predicted, one mighty blow of Thjalfi's sword shattered the clay monster into a thousand pieces, leaving only the mares heart still beating in the grass. Seeing the heart still undulating on the frosty ground Thor's trusty companion stabbed it and stopped it forever.
Thjalfi had no time to enjoy his victory over the monster, and quickly ran back to Thor. With all his might he tried in vain to lift Hrungnir's leg off of his lord and master. But alas it was too much to expect from a mere human. Realizing that Thor was in great danger if the Jotuns of Grjotunagardar came to the field to attack the God, Thjalfi ran to the golden cart, reined Tanngrisner and Tanngnjoster around, and headed back to Asgard faster than they had arrived !
- End Chapter 10
- Next : Chapter 11 : To The Rescue !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.