Cognate to many words all meaning ‘elk’: English ‘elk’, German ‘Elch’, Old Norse ‘elgr’, Anglo-Saxon ‘eolhx’, Gothic ‘ezec’, etc. The North-Germanic root *algi- and Indo-Germanic *el- have given birth to these words.
Algiz was not included in Younger Futhark, and the most likely reason is that is was merged with Uruz, the rune of the aurochs, another animal carrying primitive force.
It has had these three forms: . Its original form is which was the only one to appear among the Scandinavian runes from 200 to 400, and it remained dominant afterwards showing up just as frequently as . In the continental inscriptions, it is only found in the four Futharks. Three show Algiz and the Charnay Futhark represents it as .


Texts linked to Algiz

Since it was eliminated from the Younger Futhark, we have only been left with the Old English rune poem for a description of the rune.

Old English rune poem

Eolhxsecg (elk-sedge) usually dwells in a marsh,
growing in the water; it gives grievous wounds,
staining with blood every man who lays a hand on it.

Old English Rune Poem, as translated by Marijane Osborn

Elk-sedge makes a mire her home, waxes in water,
wounds most grimly, burning with stripes of blood
whoever tries to get a grip on her.


The goblins of Hiisi listened,
Those of the Troll people noticed.
[That Lemminkäinen had to go chasing an elk ghost]
And the goblins built an elk,
The trolls a reindeer:
They made its head from a stump
Its antlers, from a fork of willow,
The feet, from driftwood, the legs
From stakes in the marsh,
The back, from fence poles,
The sinews, from dried grasses,
The eyes, from the buds of water lilies,
The ears, from water lilies flowers,
The skin from the bark of a pine,
The flesh, from rotten wood.
The Demon advised his elk
To his reindeer spoke by mouth:
"Now run, you elk of demons
Foot it, noble deer
To where the reindeer breeds, to
The grounds of Lapland's children!
Make a man ski till he sweats - Lemminkäinen most of all!"


Return to Rune Page