Urban legends

Folk Tales from North Iceland

Asbyrgi - Sleipnir´s Hoof print

Odinn the ´All father´ in the Norse mythology was riding in the Heavens on his eight-legged stallion Sleipnir. At one time Odinn got careless and came too close to earth and Sleipnir accidentally stepped on the ground with one of the hoofs. He stepped very hard and the ground underneath subsided. This impression looks like a hoof print. It is open to the north and there is a rock-island in the middle. Geologists have another explanation for this phenomenon.

Asbyrgi - Sleipnir´s Hoof print

Waterfall of the Gods

Godafoss is 6 km (4 miles) from Storu-Tjarnir. Thorgeir Thorgeirsson the chieftain from Ljosavatn was the arbitrator between the pagans and the Christians at the Althing in the year 1000. Both parties agreed to abide by his decision. He declared that Iceland should be a Christian country. This story is about the outlaw Grettir the Strong who was hiding in Bardardalur. It so happened that men, who were left behind to guard a farm, while the rest of the household went to Mass at Christmas, vanished. Grettir offered to stay. Soon a troll-woman arrived and they wrestled for a long time. The troll-woman wanted to throw Grettir off the cliffs into the canyon. Finally Grettir had the upper hand. To make a long story short. Grettir suspected that there were more trolls in the canyon. He found a cave there with a giant. Grettir won again after a long, hard struggle with the giant. There he found the bones of the two men and put them in a sack, which he put in the vestibule of the church.

Waterfall of the Gods

The Night Troll and her Boat at Myvatn

This is a story about a troll-woman who lived at Skessuhali (Troll-woman’s tail) not far from the crater Ludent east of Lake Mývatn. She was a night troll and they must not see the sun or they will turn to stone. The troll-woman used to fish in Lake Myvatn during the night from her boat which was made out of stone. The farmers were not happy with this as she was taking fish from them. One night they stayed longer on purpose and the troll-woman waited while they fished. When she finally could fish and walked home with the boat and the fish on her back the sun rose and she turned into stone. If you drive to Ludent you can see the boat half way between Myvatn and Skessuhali which is near the mountain Burfell.

We recommend the book: A Travelers Guide to Icelandic Folk Tales by Jon R. Hjalmarsson

The Night Troll and her Boat at Myvatn