Feel the folklore come alive by visiting historical sites of sorcery and folklore in Strandir. The area has from the settlement of Iceland in the 9th century been one of the most remote and scarcely populated areas in Iceland, known for its legacy of sorcery and magic.
The trolls of Strandir
There were once three trolls who wanted to found a troll colony in the Westfjords in order to live in peace and be left alone from people and their church bells. So they started digging the Westfjords away from the mainland.
In Gilsfjörður there was a married troll couple that dug very hard and threw the rocks onto the fjord and this is the reason why we have so many islands in Breiðafjörður. Digging from the other direction, towards the couple from the other side was a trollwoman who had a large bull to assist her. She loaded the rocks onto the mountains.
The trolls were so focused on digging that they did not notice that the sun was coming up soon and that theyneeded to go to their caves before being bathed in the light of day. They tried fleeing when they realised this but the sun caught up with the husband and wife when they reached Kollafjordur and the trollwoman when she reached Drangsnes.
The trollwoman looked back and when she saw how how much she had left to do she got angry and struck the earth with her shovel and the island of Grimsey formed where the shovel hit the ground. This island is still just outside Drangsnes. The trollwoman still stands in Drangsnes by the sea but her bull at the end of Grimsey. You can also see the couple still by the beach in Kollafjordur.
Efst á Bjarnarfjarðarhálsi er stór steinn sem sker sig úr umhverfinu og ber nafnið Selkollusteinn. Nafnið fær hann frá draugnum Selkollu sem hrelldi fólkið í sveitinni og þá sérstaklega karlmenn.
Það var eitt sinn að vinnuhjú, stúlka og drengur, voru fengin til að fara með lítið stúlkubarn til að láta skíra það í kirkjunni í Staðardal. Á leiðinni stoppuðu þau við stóran stein þar sem þau lögðu barnið frá sér og fóru bak við steininn að gera eitthvað ósiðsamlegt.
Þegar þau komu til baka var barnið blátt og líflaust. Þau ganga í burtu fá barninu en heyra þá grátur. Þegar þau koma til baka er barnið orðið hræðilegt ásýndum og þau þora ekki að taka það en flýja heim aftur. Fólk fer upp á hálsinn til að leita að barninu en finna það ekki. Stuttu síðar fer fólk í sveitinni að sjá draug sem líkist konu en með selshöfuð en þaðan fær hún nafnið sitt, Selkolla.
If you are visiting the Sorcerer’s Cottage you are near Bjarnarfjordur, an area steeped in stories and tales of the pagan customs, folklore, and sorcery. Svansholl (Svan’s Hill) in Bjarnarfjordur, where you will also find the Sorcerer’s Cottage, was originally the land of Svanur the Sorcerer. He is mentioned in Njal’s Saga, one of the most famous of the Sagas. There he is said to be “a great sorcerer” and “very difficult to deal with”.
The Museum's Sorcerer's Cottage is in Bjarnarfjordur. The Cottage is the second part of the Museum's exhibition and gives insight into the lives of people in the 17. century.
Goðdalur would translate as the “valley of the goð”, a goð being a high priest in the old Norse religion. This valley is the site of numerous tales from “Ásatrú”, the religion of the original Viking settlers, mysterious forces and dangerous beings. The valley has a preserved mound which is allegedly the burial site of Goði. Supposedly there are also remains of a hof (útskýring). Goði’s haugur and its surroundings are bound by spells and were never used for grazing and the grass was never cut.
Í Goðdal á að vera hofrúst og sagt er að hofgoðinn hafi varpað goðalíkneskjum í Goðafoss eftir að hann lagði af heiðinn sið. Haugurinn og umhverfi hofsins eru álagablettir og skepnum var aldrei beitt á þá og þeir aldrei selgnir.
Goðdalur is a rather remote, smaller valley leading from the larger Bjarnarfjordur valley.
Kistan (The Chest): Where it all started
In the Arneshreppur district in Strandir, further to the north, is Kistan ("the chest"). There, three men were burned for witchcraft in 1654, marking the beginning of the witch-hunts in Iceland. Kistan is a peculiar looking crevice by the sea between the farms Litla-Ávík and Finnbogastaðir.
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