Icelandic folklore

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As I wrote in yesterday’s post, I recently got back from a trip to Iceland, which I loved. One of the things that fascinates me about the country is its rich history, including the Sagas and folklore. Many of these stories were written hundreds of years after they allegedly happened, so some are perhaps a bit embellished.

Every region of Iceland has local folk tales. One of my favorites is how Katla volcano got its name. It’s a neat story and worth reading, but to get to the punchline: a woman named Katla committed a murder (many Icelandic tales are a bit grisly) and ran away using her magic trousers that allowed her to run as fast and far as she wanted without getting tired. She escaped and flung herself into a crevasse on a nearby mountain, which then erupted violently. The fissure was named after Katla herself, and has been erupting regularly ever since.

Iceland’s legends abound with elves, trolls, sorceresses and magic. Looking at the landscape full of lava fields and waterfalls, it’s easy to imagine how someone might catch a glimpse of a mythical creature.

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