The following articles contain information about mythical creatures and monsters found in Norse and Germanic myths.

  Audumla
  Nidhogg
  Midgard Serpent
  Fenrir
  Moongarm       
  Garm
  Skoll and Hati
  Fafnir
  Grendel



Related Articles:
     Giants
     Norse Creation
     Of Thor and Giants
     Ragnarök








Audumla
 

The primeval cow. Audumla (Audhumla) was born from rime at Ginnungagap. The primeval giant Ymir (Aurgelmir) lived on the milk that flow from the cow's teats. Audumla also provided nourishment to Ymir's six-headed son.

Audumla received nourishment through licking the salty rime-stones. Audumla licked the stone until it was shaped into a man. This stone became Buri, grandfather of the Aesir gods: Odin, Vili and Ve.

 
Related Information
Name
Audumla, Audhumla.

Related Articles
Ymir, Buri.
Norse Creation.


Audhumla
N. A. Abilgaard
Oil on canvas, 1790
Statens Museum fur Kunst, Copenhagen



Nidhogg
 

Nidhogg was a giant worm that resided near the Hvergelmir or "Roaring Kettle", one of three sacred wells. Nidhogg constantly gnaw at one of the roots of Yggdrasill ("World Tree") that supported the world, Niflheim.

One of the signs that Ragnarök would arrive, when Nidhogg finally chew its way through one of the roots of Yggdrasill.

In the Voluspa (Poetic Edda), Nidhogg was a dragon with wings. He would fly over the plain, carrying corpses. The great serpent enjoyed sucking on the bodies of the dead.

 
Related Information
Name
Nidhogg.

Related Articles
Norse Creation, Yggdrasill, Ragnarök.



Midgard Serpent
 

The World Serpent. The Midgard Serpent, called Jörmungand (Jormungand) or Jörmungandr, was an offspring of Loki and the giantess Angerboda. Jörmungand symbolised evil.

Not only could Jörmungand kill its victim by crushing constriction, the Midgard Serpent's venom was lethal even against the gods. Jörmungand was Thor's most deadly enemy.

To confine the ever-growing serpent, Odin had Jörmungand thrown into the sea. But, Jörmungand grew so large that his entire body completely encircled the world. See Monster Bound in Ragnarök.

Thor failed to kill Jörmungand, the first time the two met. Thor had hooked Jörmungand like a fish. The thunder-god tried to smash Jörmungand's head in with the Mjollnir, Thor's magic hammer. But the frightened frost-giant Hymir cut off Thor's line, allowing the Midgard Serpent to escape. See Fishing Expedition in Of Thor and Giants.

At Ragnarök (Ragnarok), Jörmungand escaped his underwater confinement. Thor managed to kill the evil serpent with the Mjollnir; but Thor succumbed to the deadly venom from Jörmungand.

 
Related Information
Name
Midgard Serpent – "World Serpent"
Jörmungand, Jormungand, Jörmungandr, Jormungandr.

Related Articles
Loki, Angerboda, Thor.

Monster Bound, Fishing Expedition, Ragnarök.


Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent
Brooch, 7th century AD
Thjodminjasafin, Reykjavik



Fenrir
 

Giant wolf. Fenrir was the offspring of Loki and the giantess Angerboda. Fenrir was also called Fenris. Snorri Sturluson had also given Fenrir another name, Vanargand.

Fenrir grew so rapidly and in such gigantic proportion that the gods feared it. The gods pretend to play game of binding the wolf, to see if it could freed itself. Fenrir agreed to play the game if someone would place his or her hand in Fenrir's giant mouth. Only the war-god Tyr was fearless enough to place his hand in its mouth.

The gods found nothing could bind the wolf, until they received a magical silk ribbon called Gleipnir, created by dwarfs. This ribbon was made of noise of a cat, beard of woman, breath of a fish and spittle of a bird. When Fenrir could not escape, he realised he was tricked by the gods, when they refused to release him. In revenge, Fenrir bit off Tyr's hand. Thereafter, Tyr was known as the One-handed God. See Monster Bound in Ragnarök.

When Ragnarök (Ragnarok) arrived, Fenrir broke free from his fetter, and joined the other giants and monsters in a war against the gods. Fenrir fought against Odin, until the wolf killed and devoured Odin. Vidar avenged his father's death, by ripping Fenrir's jaw apart with his bare hands.

According to the Voluspa, Fenrir was a parent of another giant wolf, Moongarm, the wolf that will swallow the moon at Ragnarok. The mother of Moongram was one of the trollwives living in Ironwood, known generally as the Iarnvidiur.

 
Related Information
Name
Fenrir, Fenrisúlfr, Fenris, Fenriswolf.
Vanargand – "wand of hope".

Related Articles
Loki, Angerboda, Tyr, Odin, Vidar.

Monster Bound, Ragnarök.


Fenrir
Giovanni Caselli
Illustration, 1978



Moongarm
 

Moongarm was the one of the offspring of one of the Iarnvidiur, the trollwives (giantesses) from Ironwood, east of Midgard. Her sons were all giants, but born in the wolf forms. Moongarm was the largest and the mightiest of these gigantic wolves. According to the Voluspa, Moongarm was an offspring of Fenrir.

According to Snorri Sturluson, Moongarm was filled with blood of all those who had died. He will swallow the heavenly bodies, spattering the sky and heaven with blood. This would cause the sun not to shine, and violent winds would rage unabated. For this reason, Moongarm was known as the sun's snatcher.

 
Related Information
Name
Moongarm.

Related Articles
Fenrir.



Garm
 

Hell-hound. Garm was the giant hound that guarded the gate in Hel (world of the dead). (Garm was very much like three-headed Ceberus, who also guarded the Underworld, in Greek myths.)

Garm was bound by rope in Gnipa-cave, or Gnipahellir.

Although, Tyr had killed Garm at Ragnarök (Ragnarok), the war-god died from his severe wounds that the hound had inflicted on him.

 
Related Information
Name
Garm, Garmr.

Related Articles
Tyr, Hel.

Ragnarök.



Skoll and Hati
 

Skoll and Hati were two giant wolves that pursued two heavenly bodies – Sol (Sun) and Moon.

Skoll and Hati were descendants of the troll-wives or giantesses known as the Iarnvidiur.

One of the signs of the coming of Ragnarök was that Skoll would devour the goddess Sol, and Hati would swallow Moon. The Nine Worlds would suffer from long winter.

 
Related Information
Name
Skoll.

Hati, Hati Hrodvitnisson.

Related Articles
Sol and Moon.

Ragnarök.



Fafnir
 

Dragon. Fafnir was the son of Hreidmar, and brother of Regin and Otter.

Originally, Fafnir was a human, who was able to shape-shift. Fafnir gain possession of the treasure after killing his father, he drove his brother (Regin) away, by changing himself into a dragon.

The hero Sigurd, killed Fafnir. Since his blood and heart contain magical properties, Sigurd ate his heart, that gave him greater strength, and the blood allowed him to understand language of the birds.

(See Otter's Ransom and Sigurd, Fafnir's Bane in the Völsunga Saga, for the full story).

According to the Norwegian Thidrekssaga and other German epics, the dragon that Sigurd or Siegfried killed was named Regin, while the dragon's human brother was a smith named Mimir. The name Fafnir was ignored in these tales.

 
Related Information
Related Articles
Fafnir, Regin, Otter, Sigurd.

Otter's Ransom, Sigurd, Fafnir's Bane.


Fafnir
Giovanni Caselli
Illustration, 1978



Grendel
 

Grendel and his mother were some sorts of humanoid creatures that had existed since the time of when God punished Cain for murdering his brother Abel, referring to the passages of the Genesis of the Old Testament Bible.

Description of the Grendel (and his mother) varied widely, and was never made clear what they really was. Grendel had been called fiend, demon, giant, sea creature or simply just as monster. Often, modern scholars and artists depicted Grendel as a giant goblin, troll or orge, with long powerful arms.

Grendel and his mother dwelled in the underwater cave of a lake or the fen, near the hall built by the Danish king, Hrothgar, called Heorot. Grendel usually come out of his lair at night, and killed his unsuspecting victims while they slept. Grendel enjoyed the killing and devouring human flesh, and drinking their blood.

Grendel continued to kill and eat Hrothgar's people for twelve years. Though Hrothgar had fought the monster, his weapon were useless against the monster, because of some dark magics that made the creature invulnerable to weapon.

The Geatish hero Beowulf fought Grendel without a weapon, relying on his superhuman strength and powerful grips. Beowulf mortally wounded Grendel by ripping the monster's arm from his shoulder. Grendel fled back to his subterranean lair, where he died.

The next night, Grendel's mother grieved over the death of her son, went to Heorot and killed one of Hrothgar's thanes in revenge. Beowulf went to Grendel's lair in the subterranean vaulted hall, to kill Grendel's mother. Beowulf fought Grendel's mother, killing her with the sword that he had found; the blade was made by a giant. Beowulf had severed her head.

 
Related Information
Name
Grendel.

Related Articles
Beowulf, Hrothgar.

See also Beowulf page.









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