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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/236

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The Oldest Icelandic Folk-lore.

E.—The following relate to the landvættir, or guardian spirits of the country, and other such beings. The first does not belong to the Landnáma proper, but is evidently of very early origin.

32. [It was the beginning of the heathen law that no one should have at sea a ship with a carved head on it; if they did, they were to take it off before they came in sight of land, and not sail to land with gaping heads or yawning snouts, lest the land-spirits might be frightened. (4. 7.)]

33. Björn dreamed one night that a hill-giant came to him and asked him to enter into partnership with him, and he thought that he assented. After that a buck came to his goats, and his stock increased so rapidly that he was soon very rich. Second-sighted men saw that the land-spirits followed Hafr-Björn to the thing, and Thorsteinn and Thord his brothers when they went hunting or fishing. (4. 12.)

34. Olver, son of Eysteinn, took the land to the east of Grims-river, where no one had ventured to settle since Hjörleif was killed, on account of the land-spirits. (4. 13.)

35. In the autumn, Grim rowed out to fish with his men; his boy Thorir lay in the bow in a sealskin bag, drawn close round his neck. Grim caught a merman (marmennil), and when he came up Grim asked: "What can you tell us about our future, or where we shall settle in Iceland?" The merman answers: "There is no need for me to foretell about you; but as for the boy who lies in the sealskin bag, he shall settle and take land where Skalm your mare lies down under her load"; and no more could they get out of him. (2. 5.)

36. In the autumn, Audunn saw an apple-grey horse run down from Hjardarvatn to his stud-horses, and overcome the stallion. Then Audunn went up and took the grey horse, harnessed him to a two-ox sledge, and drove all his hay together The horse was easy to manage during the middle of the day, but as the day wore on he sank into the field up to his pasterns, and when the sun had set he broke all the harness, ran to the water, and was never seen again.

[In the margin of one MS. is "Waterhorse, which some now call Nikur-horse".] (2.10.)