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1001 Stories Collection

How Thor Lost His Hammer

1001 The Treasuresofthe Gods
Added on 29th June 2020

Oral tradition Norse mythology

Whispering Wood Europe Myths and legends
1001 , Audio

This comical Norse tale of Thor shows that he will do anything to retrieve Mjölnir from the giants.


When Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir, is taken by a giant Thyrm, he must come up with a plan to get it back. Loki persuades a reluctant Thor that he must dress up as goddess Freyja, to pretend to marry Thyrm and reclaim his hammer.

Why we chose it

Thor’s hammer is one of the most iconic story objects and the humour in this story makes it a favourite with many Norse myth enthusiasts.

Where it came from

Norse poems and myths were told orally by poets and storytellers for many centuries before they were first written down in the 13th century in one of two manuscripts. The first, known as the Prose Edda, was written by Snorri Sturluson who wrote to preserve the stories of the Icelandic skalds (or court poets). A section of it tells the story of Gyfli the king of the Swedes who visits Asgard, home of the gods, and is told tales about the beginning of the world, the adventures of the gods and what will happen when the world ends. The second manuscript, known as the Poetic Edda, is a collection of poems by unknown authors, which date back earlier than the skaldic poetry (800-1100AD).

The story of Thor losing his hammer is found in the Poetic Edda.

Where it went next

The Norse myths influenced literature, TV, and film. The characters of Thor and Loki appear in Marvel comics and films. Although this story has not been explicitly told in film, the humour and Thor’s unconvincing portrayal of a woman are referred to in the films.

Associated stories

The Norse myths are stories of god and giants, men and dwarves, shape shifters, tricksters, monsters.

Other stories include How the World Began, The Treasures of the Gods, Thor and Utgard Loki, Three Monstrous Children, The Death of Balder, Thor Goes Fishing, The Apples of Immortality and Ragnarok. The Norse myths and legends have been retold many times. Two recent highly acclaimed collections are Norse Myths, Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki by Kevin Crossley Holland with illustrations by Jeffrey Alan Love and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.

Thor and Loki appear in the Marvel films Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok and in The Avengers films.

In the museum

Find the hammer in one of the trees in the Whispering Wood.

Added on 29th June 2020

Oral tradition Norse mythology

Whispering Wood Europe Myths and legends
1001 , Audio