When Hrungnir reached the door to the golden hall he was invited in by the Aesir, and served with drink. Hrungnir soon became drunk and began to become unruly. He started to brag how he would pick up Valhalla and carry it all the way back to Jotunheim, and how he would sink Asgard into the sea. By the time the Jotun mentioned that he would also carry off Sif and Freyja, the Aesir had had enough, and called upon Thor to remove him. For the Jotun had surely over stayed his welcome, and abused their hospitality.
Thor came into the great hall in a fury, and with his hammer held high ready to strike. His eyes glowed red with anger at the sight of Hrungnir sitting on the golden benches. Thor demanded to know why Hrungnir had been given safe conduct into Asgard, and why Freyja was serving a Jotun on the shining benches. Hrungnir in his drunken stupor answered that he was invited by Odin himself, and that he was under his safe conduct. Thor replied that he would be sorry for accepting this invitation ! Hrungnir then said to Thor that it would not add to his reputation to kill an unarmed Jotun. Hrungnir then told Thor that it would be a greater test of his strength if he engaged him in a duel.
Thor was intrigued by the idea ! No one had ever challenged Thor to a duel before, so Thor agreed to meet Hrungnir in single combat. Hrungnir was then allowed to leave and given safe conduct out of Asgard. Hrungnir rode home as fast as he could to make ready for what would be the most important battle ever between a Jotun and a God. The Jotuns, however, decided not to play by the rules, and made a man out of clay to aid Hrungnir in his battle against Thor. It was nine leagues high and three broad. He was so large in fact that they had trouble finding a heart that was big enough to fit in the clay monster. Finally they had to settle on the heart of a mare, which made the clay beast unsteady. When the creature was finished they named it Mist Calf. Hrungnir, with Mist calf at his side, then went to Grjotunagardar, and waited for his opponent to arrive. On his shoulder Hrungnir held his weapon of choice, a sharp hone, and in front of him he carrried a large shield that he hoped would deflect the blows of Thor's hammer.
Thor walked to the dueling ground with his faithful servant and companion Thjalfi at his side. Thjalfi, with his great speed, ran ahead of Thor to where Hrungnir was standing, and told him that he was at risk standing as he was with his shield before him. He told the Jotun that, " Thor has seen you and will come from under you. Lay your shield upon the ground and stand upon it to protect yourself. " Hrungnir, who obviously was not the brightest of Giants, did as Thjalfi had instructed . The fight was ready to begin !
Thor bore down on Hrungnir with great speed, and once he was in range of Hrungnir, threw his mighty hammer at Hrungnir with all his might. At almost the same moment Hrungnir flung his hone at Thor with all his incredible strength. The two mighty weapons collided in mid - air, with the hone receiving the worst of the meeting, and shattering into little pieces. The hammer continued, however, straight and true, and struck Hrungnir in the head, shattering his skull, and killing him instantly. Thor was injured as well in this contest when a piece of the hone became lodged in his head. Thor fell over from the impact, and the Jotun Hrungnir's lifeless body fell on top of Thor, with his giant leg pinning Thor down.
Thjalfi, realizing that his companion and master was now defenseless, took up a sword and attacked the great clay beast Mist Calf, and the great monster fell with little renown. Seeing that Thjalfi had taken down the creature that they had made so easily, they then retreated from the field of battle. Thjalfi, quickly went back to where Thor lay and tried with all his might to lift the leg of Hrungnir off of Thor, but to no avail. He ran as fast as his legs would take him back to Asgard to summon help.
When the Aesir heard that Thor was down they all came down and tried to lift Hrungnir's leg off of him but could not make any progress with their efforts. Finally the three year old son of Thor and Jarnsaxa, Magni, came by and casually threw the leg off of Thor freeing him. Magni told Thor that he should have called upon him to fight the Jotun because he would have killed him in a single blow.
I like this story best because it shows that Thjalfi was not just a servant, but was a brave warrior himself. Mist Calf may have been a, " creature of little renown ", but it was nine leagues tall, and must have had great strength compared to a boy. He did this of course not to gain for himself glory, but to protect his lord who was now down and helpless against attack. A brave act indeed !
Thjalfi was many things. He was a swift runner, shield bearer of Thor, ( just a title, Thor never carried a shield ), companion, servant, and yes warrior as well. He was loyal to his lord, Thor and was willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for his God - companion. But most of all, and the thing I like most about Thjalfi, is that he was a Midgardian who walked with a God, and made his mark in the Eddas. All hail mighty Thjalfi, servant, and traveling companion of the Mighty Thor !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !