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Troll's Stone

In the neighbourhood of Kirkjubær, in Hroarstunga, stand some curious rocks. Under them is a cave. In this cave, ages ago, lived the troll Thorir with his wife. Every year these trolls used magic to entice into their clutches either the priest or the herdsmen from Kirkjubær. This went on until a very spiritual priest came to the place. By his prayers he was able to protect both himself and his herdsmen from the magic spells of the troll couple.

One Christmas Eve the female troll had tried her incantations quite in vain, and went to her husband, saying, "I have tried my utmost to entice the priest or the herdsman, but to no purpose. As soon as I begin my spells, a hot wind blows on me, and the scorching heat from it makes me stop my spells, or the hot wind may destroy all my joints. So you must go and get something else for our Christmas dinner. We have nothing left to eat in the cave."

The giant was much lazy, and much unwilling to trouble himself in this was, but his troll wife asked him so much and for so long that he marched off to a lake nearby. There he broke a hole through the ice. Lying down on his face, he cast in a line and caught trout.

When he thought he had caught enough for the Christmas dinner, he wanted to get up again to take the catch home, but the frost had been so hard while he was busy fishing that it had frozen him tight to the ice. Now he found he could not rise from it. He struggled to escape, but in vain, and the frost seized upon his heart and killed him where he lay.

His hungry troll wife thought her husband was rather long in returning, and went looking for him. She found him lying dead on the ice. She ran to him and tried to tear his body up from the ice. But when she failed in this, she seized the string of trout, placed it over her shoulder started off.

She went back homewards with great strides. But as she came to the edge of the neighbouring hill, she saw the daybreak in the east and at the same time heard the sound of the church bells from the south. The morning sun and the bell sounds together changed her in a moment into the rock that is today called the Troll's Stone.




The Seal Woman

Some old, truthful men have told that a certain parson Jón wrote this wondrous story:

An unmarried man in the north was on his way to attend church at Christmas tide. He was delayed on his way, night fell while he was journeying on his route along the seashore. Out ahead, in a great cave above the shore, he heard the sound of feasting. Secretly he drew near and saw great sealskins lying on the shore like empty bags. The skins lay near the people who were feasting and dancing, and were about as many as there were people.

At length he seized a sealskin which did not appear to be too great in size, folded it up and hid it under his clothes in his armpit. But as soon as the merrymakers saw him, they were shocked and all ran with much noise and crashing, each into his skin, and fled out to sea, except for a young woman who remained behind. She attacked the man to recover her skin, but he defended himself and held on to it, so that in the end she had to go with him whether she wished to or not.

He was said to have lived with her for twelve years and had a son and a daughter by her. All that time a single seal was seen in the sea by their home. Then, at the end of the twelve years, once when the man was not at home, the woman searched out her skin, found it and vanished at once out to sea.

Icelandic folktales, notes



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