More from Legends of Icelandic Magicians

I need to return my copy of Legends of Icelandic Magicians (yay, interlibrary loan!) soon (boo, 50 cent a day overdue charges!), so am noting a few more bits I want to remember for future reference.

This tale one made me laugh:

Halla was a skilled midwife. One day she was sent for, as usual, to help a woman in labour. Bales of hay had been arranged to make a couch for the woman. When the pains got bad and she began screaming, her husband said: ‘Behave yourself, wife. There’s probably no need to make such a fuss, when you’ve been lying such a short while on the hay.’

Then Halla prepares another couch in the hay, and says to the husband: ‘Lie down there, and see how you like it.’

He maintained that it would not bother him much, and he lay down; but then he began at once to howl and scream, but his wife stopped. When she was on the point of giving birth to the child, the husband’s screams grew quieter, and he stopped shortly after. Then he stood up, and was quite all right.

Halla told the woman: ‘I was able to make him bear the pains for you, but I couldn’t make him bear the child.’

This snippet, from after the sorcerer Eiríkur rescued a farmer’s wife rescued from the otherworld, where she was imprisoned by trolls, intrigued me:

That evening the farmer took his wife into his bed, but Eiríkur kept guard over them for three nights running, after which he said: ‘I don’t suppose many people would have enjoyed keeping guard these three nights, and last night least of all. But your wife will be in no danger from now on.’

While Eiríkur was guarding the woman he gave her a drink every morning, and so she got her memories back, which otherwise she would have lost for ever.

And this snippet creeped me out:

Loftur incited his fellow students to play magical pranks on other people, taking the lead in these himself. Thus he once went home to his parents’ house for Christmas leave, and took a servant maid in the bishop’s residence for the journey; he shod her with horse-shoes, placed a bridle on her, and so by his magic rode her all the way there and back. For a long time afterwards she was bedridden from sores and exhaustion, but as long as Loftur lived she could tell no one what had happened to her.

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