The Guardians of Iceland, a new book.

July 13th, 2007

guardians1.jpg
I have just completed another project. This one folds out in four sections around a cut-out map of Iceland. It is based on the image found on the back of every Icelandic Kronur, the story of The Four Guardians.This is the text of the story as told by Snorri Sturluson in Volume 3 of his Heimskringla: The Lives of the Norwegian Kings around 1220.
Harald Sends a Warlock to Iceland
King Harald told a warlock to hie to Iceland in some altered shape, and to try what he could learn there to tell him: and he set out in the shape of a whale.
And when he came near to the land he went to the west side of Iceland, north around the land where he saw all the mountains and hills full of guardian spirits, some great, some small. When he came to Vopnafjörur he went in towards the land, intending to go on shore; but a huge dragon rushed down the dale against him with a train of serpents, paddocks, and toads, that blew poison towards him.
Then he turned to go westward around the land as far as Eyjafjörur, and he went into the fjord. Then a bird flew against him, which was so great that its wings stretched over the mountains on either side of the fjord, and many birds, great and small with it.
Then he swam farther west, and then south into Breiafjörur. When he came into the fjord a large grey bull ran against him, wading into the sea, and bellowing fearfully, and he was followed by a crowd of land-spirits. Then he turned to go westward around the land as far as Eyjafjörur, and he went into the fjord. Then a bird flew against him, which was so great that its wings stretched over the mountains on either side of the fjord, and many birds, great and small with it.
From thence he went round by Reykjanes, and wanted to land at Vikarsskei, but there came down a hill-giant against him with an iron staff in his hands. He was a head higher than the mountains, and many other giants followed him He then swam eastward along the land, and there was nothing to see, he said, but sand and vast deserts, and without the skerries, high-breaking surf; and the ocean between the countries was so wide that a long-ship could not cross it… Then the Danish king turned about with his fleet, and sailed back to Denmark. Hakon the earl settled habitations again in the country that had been laid waste, and paid no scat as long as he lived to Denmark.

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