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Introduction

Jón Árnason (1819-1888), called the "Grimm" of Iceland by some, was an Icelandic librarian and teacher who collected icelandic legends, at first with Magnus Grimsson, and since 1852 by himself. Two volumes, Íslendzkar Þjóðsögur og Æfintýri were published in Leipzig ii 1862-64, and also published in English in 1864 and 1866, translated by George E. J. Powell and Eiríkur Magnússon. Árnason's complete collections were published in five volumes in Reykjavik in the years 1925-39. More recent editions exist too.

The legends that Árnason collected from all parts of Iceland contain both firm sense and wisdom. And they tell of enigmatic elves and other beings - some horrible, some milder. Many folktale motifs of Norwegian folklore may be found too. The somewhat darker tone of Icelandic tales presumably reflects Icelandic ways of life earlier. Folktales illustrate, explain, warn and entertain. Ghosts and fairies pop up to such ends, as do trolls and giants.

As it is, strange tales can instil respect for nature and creatures, or imagined spirits of many sorts. Values can be passed on to children to show them some ways of their ancestors.

As for books, those by Booss og Hall (further down) contain nice selections. Moreover, eight of the tales in this selection are from "Colour Fairy Books" edited by Andrew Lang. They are listed below.

Some words and phrases have been slightly updated for this edition.

- Tormod Kinnes

Iceland

Contents


Icelandic folk tales from Iceland, Literature  

Tales from several Colour Books (Book data is further down)

"The Cottager and His Cat" is from The Crimson Fairy Book

"Three Robes" is from The Crimson Fairy Book

"Rogue and Herdsman" is from The Crimson Fairy Book

"Horse Gullfaxi and Sword Gunnfoder" is from The Crimson Fairy Book

"Asmund and Signy" is from The Brown Fairy Book

"Prince Ring" is from The Yellow Fairy Book

"Hermod and Hadvor" is from The Yellow Fairy Book

"Witch in Stone Boat" is from The Yellow Fairy Book


Works

Árnason, Jón, Icelandic Legends, trs. George E. J. Powell and Eiríkur Magnússon. London: Bentley, 1864.

Árnason, Jón, Icelandic Legends, trs. George E. J. Powell and Eiríkur Magnússon. London: Longman's, Green and Co, 1866.

Booss, Claire, ed. Scandinavian Folk and Fairy Tales: Tales from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland. New York: Gramercy Books, 1984. ⍽▢⍽ Booss draws on Icelandic Legends by Jon Arnason (1864), translated by George E. J. Powell and Eirikur Magnusson. Her collection contains forty-one Icelandic legends and other tales.

Gering, Hugo. Islendzk aeventyri; isländische Legenden, Novellen und Märchen (1882-83). Vol. 1. Halle A. S. Waisenhaus, 1882.

Hall, Mrs. A. W., oms. og red. Icelandic Fairy Tales. London: Frederick Warne & Co, 1897. ⍽▢⍽ Seventeen fine fairy tales.

Laboulaye, Edouard, ed. Fairy Tales. Philadelphia: David Mckay, 19--. ⍽▢⍽ Eight of the tales in his collection are from Iceland.

Lang, Andrew, ed. The Yellow Fairy Book. London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1894.

⸻. The Crimson Fairy Book. London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1903.

⸻. The Brown Fairy Book. London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1904.

Olafssson, Albert. Islandske eventyr. Oslo: Samlaget, 1972.

Skulason, Pall, red. Islandske folkesagn med gamle og nye illustrationer af islandske kunstnere. Reykjavik: Dansk-islandsk samfund, Sleipnir, 1986.

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