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Tale of the Burrowed Hammer

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“Oh, hello dear. Are you a friend of Ron's? He's out degnoming the garden for me with the little ones if you need him.”

Thor stared at the matronly woman. He had thrown his hammer a bit too hard, a bit too far, and for the first time, it had not returned to him. He had thus resolved to retrieve it by foot and had been walking for some days, following the almost imperceptible pull at the tip of his fingers that gave him a vague direction to follow.

His quest had led him to this quaint wooden hut which seemed to have grown like an unruly, gnarly tree. He had knocked at the thick wooden door. He wasn’t a savage. And upon receiving a summons to enter, had found the pudgy little woman with the hair the color of flames.

“I do not know this Ron you speak of, my lady,” he said with a small bow. “I have been on a long search for my trusty hammer, and it has led me to your humble abode.”

“A hammer… A hammer, you say? Yes, I did find a pretty hammer a few days ago. It needed a good polish though. You should take better care of your tools, young man, or they will let you down when you most need them.”

“You… polished my hammer?”

“Oh, yes. Full of grime and mud, it was. It's nice and shiny now. Or it was. I think one of the kids is using it to degnome the garden now that I think about it.”

“No, no, no. That cannot be my hammer. Only I have the strength and fortitude to wield Mjolnir.”

“Now that's just silly, dear boy. What's the use of a hammer only one person can use? What if someone else needs it to hang a picture, uhm? And why would you give a name to a hammer? If I started giving names to my spoons and forks, I would never be able to remember them all. Not to mention it would make licking them a bit awkward.”

Thor decided the woman was a bit mad, and despite it being quite rude, answered none of her questions, asking one instead.

“This Ron is outside, yes?”

She nodded and shooed him out towards the back door, through the kitchen which  smelled of roasts and pies worthy of the kitchens of Asgard itself. As he fled outside, he began to doubt they were speaking of the same hammer, but as it was his only lead, he had to follow it through. Thor easily found his quarry. The hair like fire easy to spot in all the greenery, especially when there were several of them. They were making merry as they hunted little creatures, tossing them into the air once caught, or hitting them over the head with-

“Mjolnir!”

The only adult there stood at his exclamation and looked him up and down.

“Erm… Mjolnir to you too, mate. You a friend of Hermione?”

“I do not know this Hermione you speak of, son of fire. And Mjolnir is the name of my hammer, not a greeting.”

The man's cheeks flamed red too. Fascinating. Maybe they were really made of fire, like the Jotun were made of ice.

“Oh. That makes more sense,” he said and came to shake his hand. “I'm Ron. If it makes you feel any better, my broom has a stupid name too.”

Thor ignored that last part. He was doing that a lot since wandering into this place.

“And I am Thor Odinson. Well met, Ron.”

“No I don't think we have, but your name does sound familiar,” he said scrunching his nose in thought, before he shook his head. “Anyway, you're  here for that hammer, right? Rosie! Toss the hammer over to daddy, sweety!”

Thor watched in consternation as a tiny little girl who looked like a gust of wind might knock her over, skipped the garden with his hammer in hand, before stopping at her guardian's call and throwing the hammer his way with ease and grace. Ron caught it with equal ease.

“Funny thing your hammer. Whoever did the enchantments did an amazing job. George has been taking notes to replicate it for his shops.”

Thor was horrified. His hammer was unique and meant to stay so.

“Oh, don't worry. He'll gladly accept to pay you royalties or something.”

“I think I will I just take my hammer and go,” Thor replied, not sure why he would want royalties when he was already one himself.

Besides, these people were making him nervous using his hammer as if it were a mere toy. Ron was currently tossing it with one hand before catching it again as he spoke. Thor feared they had broken his beloved Mjolnir with their strange ways. So far, three of them had been able to wield his hammer, which made a lot of contenders to his throne.

“You sure? I'm gonna miss having this hammer around. We had a contest at the family gathering yesterday to see who could throw it the furthest.”

By Odin… No.

“And how large is your family?”

“Twenty? Thirty? You know what? I quite lost count and I'm not even including the cousins.”

Thor plucked the hammer out of the air when Ron next tossed it up absentmindedly.

“I am sorry, but I have urgent need to leave and have a word with my father,” Thor said as he twirled Mjolnir to get as far away from this unholy land as soon possible.

The people of fire happily waved him off as he flew away. Thor did not stop until he had put a whole sea between them, and he swore to never step foot again in the land of Eng.