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A Book of Folk-Lore

of the living to escape from the thraldom of the dead that the revolution in practice took place. This is not mere conjecture, for it can be shown to have taken place in historic times. Among the Scandinavians interment of the dead was usual; but should a departed individual become troublesome, he was dug up and burnt.

The classical instance is that of Glamr in the Grettis Saga. I havet told the story elsewhere[1] so fully that I can but give an outline of it here.

Early in the eleventh century a farm stood in a valley that leads into the Vatnsdale in Northern Iceland. I have seen its foundations. In this lived a man named Thorhall. His sheep-walks were haunted and his shepherds murdered by being strangled or their backs broken. It was ascertained that the cause of this was that a certain Glamr who had been in the service of Thorhall 'walked,' not only about the farm but even over the roof of the house, and one night broke into it. Grettir the Strong, who was staying with Thorhall, put a stop to these unpleasantnesses by first snapping the spine of the corpse and then burning it to ashes. That done, the charred remains were conveyed many miles

  1. A Book of Ghosts. Methuen & Co. London