Thor's duel with Hrungnir is the perfect example of his prowess as a warrior, his chivalry as a just God, and his wonderful friendship with two children of a farmer. The story is told as a narrative by Bragi to Aegir at the latter's great feast. The story actually begins with Odin traveling into Jotunheim on his great eight legged horse Sleipnir. On the way he comes across a Jotun named Hrungnir. Hrungnir asks who was riding over the sea, and through the air, and makes a comment about how remarkable his horse is. Odin, always the one who wants to compete, tells Hrungnir that he would wage his head that there was not a horse of its equal in all of Jotunheim. Hrungnir not to be outdone countered by saying that he owned a horse called Gold Mane who was much faster. Odin then takes off, and Hrungnir mounted on Gold Mane galloped after Odin figuring he would show the brash God who had the better horse.
Odin quickly extended his lead and was a mountain away before long. Hrungnir was in such hot pursuit that failed to notice when he rode right through the gates of Asgard. Surprisingly, when Hrungnir arrived at the door of Odin' s hall he was invited in for a drink. After several drinks however, Hrungnir began to become abusive, and boasted that he would pick up Valhalla, carry it into Jotunheim, and sink Asgard into the sea. He further declared that he would kill all the Aesir, except Freyja and Sif, who Hrungnir would carry back to Giantland. Soon the Aesir became tired of the Jotuns threats they summoned Thor. Thor threw open the doors of the great hall and with his hammer held menacingly high approached the Giant. Thor demanded to know why a Jotun sat drinking in the golden hall, being served drinks by none other than Freyja herself ! Hrungnir bold from drink replied that he was invited in by Odin himself. Thor told Hrungnir he would be sorry for accepting such a gracious invitation.
Hrungnir, probably sobered by Thor' s threat, thought quickly before saying slyly that it would not add to Thor's reputation if he were to kill him unarmed as he was. The Jotun then invited Thor to a great test of courage, a duel to be held on the frontier between Asgard and Jotunheim known as Grjotunagardar. Thor had never been challenged in such a way, and was intrigued by the prospect of a one on one match up. After agreeing on a day and time to meet for the duel Thor allowed Hrungnir to leave in peace.
Hrungnir received great fame from his fellow Jotuns for challenging Thor to a duel. If Thor could be killed by Hrungnir then the Jotuns could cross into Midgard without fearing much retribution from the Gods. As an insurance policy, so to speak, The Jotuns created a huge man out of clay. He was so big in fact that the only heart they could find large enough to put into the clay monster was a mare' s heart. Unfortunately for the Jotuns the heart was too small and the clay giant was unsteady on its feet. The Jotun Hrungnir, with the help of his people, had gone against his word of honor and had brought a second warrior to the duel.
End Part 1
Go with Odin' s wisdom, Freyja' s love, and Thor's protection !