I was wondering if you knew the name or any more information about snippets of a folklore tale I heard when I was recently in Iceland...
It goes along the lines of there being a mysterious child by the coast, throwing pebbles in to the air day and night, with all the locals wary and frightened of her...until one day a man approaches and asks her what she is doing, and she transforms into a monster and drags him in to the sea? There are parts of this I could have got completely wrong...but does that sound familiar?
Also, any other folklore you could suggest would be completely awesome, I understand there are a lot of Nordic myths and legends that intertwine but I'd love to read some purely Icelandic ones!
Hmmm… no I don’t think I know that one. It could however be some variation of a marbendill. A marbendill is a sort of merman you can read about here.
Keep in mind though that Icelandic folklore and myths are not really lore or myths since it’s all true.
Since I just wrote a post about the volcano Katla, I’ll tell you the story of how it got its name. Katla is also one of my favorite Icelandic female names.
Katla was a kitchen maid at the Þykkvabæjarklaustur monastery. She was a stubborn old woman but had a pair of pants that had the unique effect that whoever wore them could run endlessly without tiring. She would use these pants when needed. Many were afraid of her difficult attitude and dark magic. A young shepard by the name Bárði had a hard time living with Katla. She would scold him fiercely if any of the sheep went missing. One day the abbot and Katla went to a party. Before they returned, Bárði was to have herded home all of the sheep. He was not able to find all of the sheep in time, so he resorts to Katla’s pants. By running relentlessly in the magic pants he was able to find all of the sheep before Katla returned. Katla soon discovers that Bárði has worn her pants. She therefor takes him and drowns him and hides in a barrel of acid. Nobody knew what happened to Bárði, but as time passed and the acid was used from the barrel, people heard Katla saying “Senn bryddir á Bárða” or “Soon Bárði will surface”. Katla knew that Bárði would soon be found and she would be punished for her evil doing. Therefor she took her magic pants and runs northwest towards the glacier (Mýrdalsjökull) and jumps into the glacier, never to be seen again. Right after this the glacier began spewing fire and a massive flash flood came roaring down the sands. People believed that her dark magic had caused this and named the volcano Katla, the canyon carved out by the flood Kötlugjá and the fields destroyed by the flood, Kötlusandur.
I'm very glad I found your blog, because I have been worrying about this for some time now. I had the privilege of visiting Iceland early this winter (and I loved every second of it). It was only after I had returned home that someone told me it was considered rude to tip at restaurants! I could have sworn there was a gratuity section at the ends of the bills...Have I done the wrong thing?
No worries. Tourists can do whatever they want and of course in the end most people will accept a tip. I really don’t like the concept of tipping, you get paid for work anyways right? But still I’m quite happy when somebody gives me a handsome tip. If any Icelandic restaurants are putting a gratuity section on their bills then that is really out of line in Iceland. I always feel that is greedy.
Since I’m a bit busy these days I decided to post fewer posts, but of better quality. I’ll do fewer reblogs and focus on good info. In the end I’m not sure how that is going to save me any time… But oh well, hope you enjoy.
I'm studying abroad in Iceland this summer for 2.5 weeks. We're going to be at Holar University studying arctic fishes. Any recommendations where we should travel when we're not in Holar? :)
(PS: I'm envious you used to live there, it's beautiful!)
If you like hiking, then Hólar (E. Hills) is at the edge of an absolute hiking paradise. The mountains of Tröllaskagi (E. Troll Peninsula) is full of awesome mountains and trolls. Currently the trolls have taken up heli-skiing. You can join them if that fits your budget.
You can drive out to nearby Siglufjörður town and hike over to the deserted Héðinsfjörður fjord. That is a natural paradise where only the ruins of long deserted turf farmhouses can be found.
If you are early in the summer you can go take a ride with a snowgroomer to the top of Kaldbakur (Cold Back Mountain) and ski down. It has skiable snow well into the summer.
Driving a little further east you can go to the Skjálfandaflói bay and stay at the Björg guesthouse. The farmer there, Hlöðver, can give you tips on the hiking route out into the deserted Náttfaravíkur (Nightrider bays). These rocky bays have ruins of several deserted farms and a silver mine and I can guarantee you won’t meet anyone. Since you are then already in Skjálfandaflói you can pop over to the other side of the large bay and go for some whale watching in Húsavík.
A short drive from Hólar is the minuscule town of Litli Árskógssandur (E. Small River Forest Sand) where you can catch the ferry over to Hrísey. In Hrísey you can stroll around the tiny town, take a ride with the tractor taxi, photograph the very friendly ptarmigans and have a great dinner at the restaurant (its the only one, you’ll find it).
Those are the ideas in the Hólar vicinity that come off the top of my head and are not in the tourist books. If you’re not an outdoors person, then I can’t really help you. Well except, there’s a pretty good video rental in Sauðarkrókur (E. Sheep Hook), close to Hólar.
The Björk clip is from the tour visual of 'Unravel'. During the 'Greatest Hits' tour she had video backgrounds showing during 'Unravel', 'Desired Constellation', 'Nameless' (which became 'Storm' on DR9), 'It's In Our Hands', and 'Pluto'. They're actually all full-length music videos, and the 'Desired Constellation' one was included in the 'Medúlla Videos' DVD. =]
I guess my followers are the right people to ask questions about Björk. I asked if anybody knew from where a clip of Björk came and received a storm of answers in my ask box. Vínlendingur has the most complete answer.