Helhest: The Three-legged Horse of Hel Queen of the Dead

Posted by Ms Elly on

Helhest: The three-legged horse of Hel Queen of the Dead

It seems like everyone in Norse mythology had for themselves a type of animal that could carry them everywhere in Nine Worlds. The Queen of the Dead, Hel, who was also the daughter of Loki, had for herself a three-legged horse.

The horse was named as Helhest. While the horse Sleipnir of Odin had eight legs, Helhest of Hel had only three legs. “Helhest” simply means “Horse of Hel”.

Helhest the Horse of Hel Queen of Death

Helhest was the name of Hel's horse in Norse mythology. Hel was the 

One cool thing is that the horse of Hel appeared in many of the 19th Danish phrases. For example, ““han går som en helhest” means “He walks like the horse of Hel” depicting abnormal footsteps of the man.

In the folklore, Helhest carries Hel along anywhere in Midgard to fetch the dead.

Many people might question why Helhest had only three legs. This is usually explained that he was the ghost of sacrifice from the burial grave. It was a bad luck to be the first to be buried under the grave. So people would cut off a leg of the horse so that it could not escape.

Helhest the Horse of Hel Queen of the Dead in Norse mythology

Helhest often appeared in the graveyard to collect the souls of the dead for Hel Queen of the Underworld. 

Sleipnir Odin's Horse Eight-legged horse

Another famous horse in Norse mythology was Sleipnir the Eight-legged horse of Odin the Allfather. Sleipnir was Odin's favourite steed. He could travel above the ocean, through the air, and no horse could outrun him in the field. 

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