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the dictionary of norse mythology

THOR


THOR Thunderer The god of thunder and storms. His father was odin, his mother fjorgyn 1 Earth. Thor had two wives jarnsaxa Ironstone, who bore him two sons, modi and magni and golden-haired sif, who gave him two daughters, lora and thrud 1. His realm was thrudheim his hall was bilskirnir Lightning, which had 540 rooms, fittingly large for this giant of a god who loved to feast and entertain. Thor was strong and fiery of temper, but he was well loved by the gods, respected by the giants, and worshiped by the ordinary people.Thor did not ride a horse instead he had a chariot pulled by two enormous billy goats, tanngniost and tanngrisnir. The wheels of the chariot made a noise like thunder when Thor raced across the heavens.Thor's greatest possession was his hammer, mjollnir. When he hurled it, the hammer always hit its mark and then returned to Thor like a boomerang. Mjollnir was not only a weapon but a symbol of fertil-ity, used at weddings, and of resurrection, used at burials. Thor also had iron gauntlets with which he could crush rocks, and a belt, megingjardir, which doubled his mighty strength.At ragnarok, the end of the world, Thor killed jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, his ancient enemy, but himself was killed by the poisonous fumes of the dying serpent.Worship of Thor continued for centuries after the coming of Christianity. The great oak trees of central Thor is shown here with his magic hammer, Mjollnir. illustration by W. G. Collingwood, Anthony Mercatante and western Europe were sacred to the god. Wor-shipers of Thor made wooden oak chairs with high backs, called high seats, to ensure Thor's blessing on the house protecting it from lightning and the well-being and fruitfulness of the family and its lands. As well as bringing thunder and lightning and storms, Thor sent the rain that made the fields fertile.Evidence of Thor's popularity is found in the name Thursday the fifth day of the week, and in numerous English place-names, such as Thundersley, in Essex Thunderfield, Surrey Thundridge, Hertfordshire and many others in England and elsewhere.There are many myths about Thor taken from the poetic edda and the prose edda. In Richard wag-ner's opera Der Ring des Nibelungen, Thor appears as Donner. Thor is also found in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Saga of King Olaf, part of Tales of a Wayside Inn.The only source of the myth of the theft of Thor's hammer is the poem thrymskvitha Lay of Thrym from the Poetic Edda. It is considered a masterpiece of burlesque.The Theft of Thor's Hammer Thor, the god of thunder, was the personification of strength and manliness. His hammer, Mjollnir, was a potent weapon, the gods' only real defense against the giants. Thor was seldom separated from his hammer, so it is not surprising that he went into a fury when the hammer disappeared. loki, the trickster god, heard Thor's shouts and knew that for once he must be helpful rather than mischievous. He rushed to freya, the beautiful goddess, and borrowed her suit of falcon feathers. Then Loki flew to jotunheim, the home of the giants.thrym, the huge and ugly king of the frost giants, was in a good mood, plaiting gold thread to make leashes for his colossal hounds. He greeted Loki cheerfully. Loki asked him if he had stolen Thor's hammer, and the giant admitted that he had. With a chilling laugh, he said that he had hidden it eight miles under the earth where no one would find it. The only way to get it back would be to send him Freya as his bride.Even Loki was shocked at the thought of sending the fair goddess to this monster. Loki flew quickly back to asgard on his falcon wings and told Thor rode a chariot pulled by two billy goats. The wheels of the cart made a noise like thunder, and lightning flashed around them. AnthonyMercatante

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