Thor’s two Goats

Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr are the two goats who pull Thor’s chariot across the sky bringing him and his companions around the nine realms. Sparks and lightning erupt from the wheels of the chariot as it rolls, and the sound of thunder signals Thor’s arrival. Even though Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr are Thor’s trusted goats, they can still end up as dinner if no other meat is available, as they will be resurrected later on.

One story tells about a time when Thor and Loki were travelling together on Thor’s chariot pulled by Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr. As the sun began to set, they came to afarmer’s house. The farmer and his family were very poor and could not provide food for Thor (who was known to eat big amounts of food, even a whole ox on more than one occasion).

Thor decided to use his two goats for dinner. Everyone was allowed to eat, but the very important condition following that was (and always is) that they did not break any bones, and that all bones were to be collected back on the goat skin, on the ground. The prerequisite for Thor to be able to bring them back to life. 

During the feast, Loki, who was always up to no good, convinced one of the farmer’s children, a young boy named Thjalfi, to break one of the bones and suck out the sweet marrow. Thor got up before dawn and put on his clothes. He grabbed his hammer Mjölnir and began swinging it over the goat skins with all the bones attached. The bones began to dance on the goat skin and formed the shape of the two goats again. , and they were back to life. One of the goats was limping on one leg. Thor got down on one knee and felt his leg, he realised that that  leg was broken. Thor got sad and angry and called the farmer and his family to come out. When the family walked out, Thor showed what had happened and wanted to know who had broken the bone. Loki stood at the entrance of the house and smiled at the boy. The whole family stood there paralysed in fear looking at Thor, who was holding his hammer Mjölnir while sparks were flying left and right through the air. 

After moments of silence, Thjalfi admitted what he did. Thor saw the glance Loki made, and understood what had happened. To be able to help the boy into better thoughts and future, he urged for  Thjalfi and his sister to come with Thor to work together withhim and his family as a means for what he had done. The tale actually doesn’t tell which goat that was injured, and if it remained permanent.

This story shows how important trust is. Thor’s connection to his two goats, their trust in him, and his trust in them. This story didn’t fully end well, but can serve as a reminder for us how important it is to build a trustworthy and honest relationship between both animals and other people. Therefore we see Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr as symbols and inspiration of that – trust and honesty.

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