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The Red Bull

 When Sira Thomas Skuleson was vicar on Grenjadarstad, he kept two servants, one named Bjarne and the other Martin. These two servants had a common bedroom, which was separate at the front of the yard. Bjarne had been married before but was separated from his wife, and now that he had fallen in love with a girl in the neighborhood he wanted above all else to get rid of his ex-wife. He resorted to the expedient of persuading a wise man in the north country to teach him how to create a ghost, which he intended to send upon his wife's neck in order to finish her off.


Bjarne now began to awaken the returnee [8] and licked the dead man's drool from his face, as required by the law; but scarcely was he finished when the specter attacked him; and the end of their struggle was that the returnee overpowered Bjarne, so that he narrowly escaped alive. But this returnee was of so much less use to Bjarne than he had expected, that after this time he even fell upon Bjarne, both awake and asleep, so that he almost lost his senses and wits. Neither Bjarne nor Martin now had much peace to sleep at night;[188] for the ghost kept on banging on the chamber, keeping it awake till Bjarne went downstairs, and then he stayed outside for a longer or shorter time during the night. But nothing was known about what was going on between them outside, except what Bjarne himself told when he came back to Martin.


When this had gone on for a while and Bjarne had almost lost his mind over it, he turned to a wise man in his unhappy state and asked him for good advice on how to free himself from the persecutions of the returnee. The wise man gave him a note with a few characters in it and told him to go to church at Grenjadarstad one night, put on all his chasubles, and thus adorned to stand all night behind the barriers by the altar, not moving from the spot , which he also got to see and which also seemed to appeal to him; because they only wanted to lure him from the barriers, and then it would be over with him. Eventually, he said, an immensely large red bull would come, wagging its tongue between it and the altar, but then it would be his life if he wasn't clever enough to put the note on the bull's tongue; if he were successful, he would no longer have any reason to fear the visitation of the ghost.


[189]


After receiving this advice, Bjarne went to church one night and behaved as instructed. Then crowd after crowd came up to him and surrounded the barriers; but he knew only a few of them. They addressed him in various ways, begging him for better or for worse to leave the altar and come out to them. One of those Bjarne said he knew was Sira Hallgrim Scheving, Dr. Scheving's grandfather, and he was tugging at Bjarne to get him out of the bars. But one group after the other disappeared, since they could in no way succeed in getting Bjarne away from the altar.


Then at last the red bull came towards Bjarne; he stuck his tongue out over the barriers and tried to wave it between Bjarne and the altar as if to hurl him out of there. But Bjarne managed to put the note on his tongue. Then the bull disappeared, and from that moment Bjarne saw nothing more in the church, just as he no longer noticed the afflictions of the returnee.


Footnotes:

[8th]Ghost of a dead person haunting.


[190]


The keg

Once upon a time there was a group of men on a journey. One Sunday morning they pitched their tent in a beautiful, green meadow. It was bright and good weather. The wanderers lay down to sleep and lined up in the tent. But the one who was lying on the edge of the tent door could not sleep, and his eyes wandered about the tent. Then he saw a bluish haze rising over the one who lay inward. The mist moved forward through the tent and out. The man wanted to know what it could be and followed the haze. This floated slowly across the meadow and finally came to a spot where a weather-beaten old horse's skull lay, full of buzzing bluebottles. The vapor floated into the horse's skull, but after a while it pulled out again. Then he floated over the meadow again until he came to a very small stream that crossed the meadow. He floated along the stream, and it seemed to the man as if he were looking for a place to cross. The man carried his whip in his hand, and he laid it across the stream, which was no wider than the handle could reach. The mist drifted out onto the whip handle and thus over the creek. Then he floated again The mist drifted out onto the whip handle and thus over the creek. Then he floated again The mist drifted out onto the whip handle and thus over the creek. Then he floated again[191] forward for a while, until finally he came to a mound of earth in the meadow. There he disappeared into the mound of earth. The man stood by and waited for the mist to come out again. This soon happened, after which he floated back the way he had come. The man laid his whip across the creek and the mist passed over her again like it had done before. Then he floated straight home to the tent and didn't stop until he got behind the innermost man in the tent. There he disappeared. But the man lay down and fell asleep.


When the day was fairly late, the wanderers got up and took their horses. They chatted about all sorts of things while they bridled the horses. Among other things, the one who had been lying in the innermost part of the tent said: "I wish I had what I dreamed of last night." "What was it, and what did you dream of?" asked the one who saw the mist would have. The other replied: 'I felt as if I were wandering across the meadow here. I came to a big and beautiful house. Many people were gathered there, and they played and sang for joy and joy. I stayed in the house for quite a long time. But when I came out again, my way led across a beautiful meadow. Then I came to a large river, which I tried in vain to cross for a long time. Then I saw that an immensely large giant was approaching.[192] in his hand, which he laid across the river, and on this I crossed. I then hiked for a long time until I came to a large hill. The hill was open and I went into it. All I found was a huge barrel filled with money. I stayed there a long time to look at the money; for I had never seen such a large pile. Then I went out and walked back the same way I came. I came to the river again, and the giant came back with the beam and laid it over it. I crossed the river on the beam and returned to the tent.”


The man who had been chasing the mist began to have funny thoughts, and he said to the one who had dreamed: "Come on, comrade, let's go and get the money for a moment." The other started to laugh and thought that he wasn't very clever, but he went anyway. They now went exactly the same way that the mist had traveled and came to the mound of earth, which they dug through. There they found a keg of money.


Then they returned to their fellow hikers, told them all about the dream and the mist, and showed them the cask.


[193]


Hleidrargaard's Scotta

From about 1740 to 1770 there lived a farmer on Hleidrargaard in the Oefjord named Sigurd Björnsson, who was considered a reasonable man but had a violent temper. It is said that once in his younger years, early in the summer, he rode west to the glacier to buy fish. It so happened that he and the man from whom he bought the fish could not come to an agreement. A dispute arose between them, which soon degenerated into a fight. Sigurd was a strong man and it was not fun to get under his fists, so he managed to throw his opponent to the ground under him and dealt him a few blows. When the adversary rose again, he threw out threats against Sigurd and promised him a deserved reward before the equinox, after which he went on his way;


At that time there lived at Krynarstad, the nearest farm from Hleidrargaard, a man named Hall, surnamed 'The Strong One'. He was spirit-seeing and had often seen and dealt with ghosts. It is now said that this Hall stood outside in his yard one evening in the autumn following the summer in which Sigurd had come home from his ride;[194] then he saw a ghost in the form of a girl coming down the path; She was small, wore a red bodice, a dark brown skirt that reached only to her knees, a cap without a tassel, and wore shirt sleeves. When the whore saw Hall, she wanted to avoid him, but he blocked her way and asked who she was. She said her name was Sigga. He asked where she was from and where she was going. She replied, "To Hleidrargaard." "What are you doing there?" "Killing Sigurd Bjornsson," she answered. Then she ran on her way, and sparks flew after her.


That same evening, Sigurd slept in his bed, which was positioned with a window above it. The others who were in the bathroom were awake. Suddenly Sigurd jumped out of bed and asked: "Who called me?" They replied that nobody had called him. He went back to bed and fell asleep; but he had hardly fallen asleep when he jumped up again and said that someone would have called him now. Being told that this had not been the case, he went back to bed, but could not sleep. When he had lain down for a little while, he was seen peeping out of the window and heard to say, "Oh, that's where it comes from!" and he changed color as he did so. He went to the bathroom door, stood by it and was heard to say very loudly: "If there is anyone who wants to speak to Sigurd Björnsson,[195] with that he pointed to a poorhouse boy named Hjalmar, who was sitting on a chair opposite the bathroom door, plucking wool. Then the boy was thrown from the chair onto the floor, where he rolled over, screaming and horribly convulsing, as if he were choking; Sigurd got a rod and beat the boy all over with it; this calmed him down a little and he was laid on the bed; his body was swollen and showed signs of being hit. The boy had these attacks two or three times a night, and then from time to time afterwards, until he died of one early in the winter, and then his body was very swollen and bloated, and had distinct black marks from the fingers of the ghost up.


After that time the ghost haunted Sigurd and his children, even haunted everyone on Hleidrargaard. Often spirit-seeing men saw this girl, who was called "Hleidrargaards-Skotta" [9] , a name she got after her cap, because it stood like a corner on her head. Most often they were seen »Katzlichen« [10] ,[196] as they call it, hanging from some crossbeam, preferably above the entrance to the house. Sigurd himself could always beware of her, but little by little she killed his cattle, and even the cattle on the neighboring farms were killed by her. The meat was always very blotchy and blue and completely inedible. She was also accused of killing a good farmer, Sigurd on Näs, because he had a seizure and died from it.


When their violence increased so much and it was feared that it would increase significantly, it happened so fortunately, it is said, that a beggar by the name of Peter, or Gletscher-Peter, as he was commonly called, walked into the glacier place came. He was a great magician, but always used his art for good. Sigurd at Hleidrargaard was a good and generous man, and so he gave Peter good support too, but at the same time told him that it was not his homeland to thank for this help; for she would have sent a ghost after him, the farmer, which did great harm both to himself and to others and would probably continue to do so until it killed him. Peter promised that he would rid him of this devil.[197] Volde, who is called Varmhage. For a long time now the ghost could do no harm; but it was often heard howling at night, and people did not dare to drive too close to it; for then they became dizzy and lost their way, even though it was broad daylight.


In the years 1806-1810 the pastor of Saurbär, whose name was Sira Sigurd and who lives to this day, built a fodder barn near this place, because there are good pastures right there. On the first night the house was in use, one sheep was killed, and then several. It was then discovered that the sheep's bodies looked in every respect like those which the ghost had previously held under its hands, and it was therefore believed that it had now begun to have a loose hand again. Sickness and death gradually began to become common among the sheep all around the Oefjord; this is called the plague, but the superstition that only the ghost is to blame has been rooted in people since ancient times.


Footnotes:

[9]Isl.: skott actually means: tail, also the tip of a cap, hence the name "Skotta", ie a female ghost wearing a pointed cap.


[10]"Cat braiding" (Isl. fla'kött) consists of braiding the legs around a crossbar and hanging from them, head down, while at the same time taking off and putting on the jacket, waistcoat, etc.


[198]


The shoes made of human skin

Once upon a time there lived a farmer about whom all sorts of rumors were circulating. He had a bad reputation for the treatment of his servants, and for a long time no servant stayed with him, whether it was from bad food or treatment, or from too much work being asked of them. Eventually it got to the point that no one wanted to work as a servant for the farmer, and by a hair's breadth he had to do all the farmhand's work himself.


Once it happened that a young man in the village, who had no permanent job, although he was a capable man, visited the farmer. He received him with open arms, invited him into his room, and engaged in a chat with him about all sorts of things. Then they got to talking about the circumstances of the servants, and finally the farmer suggested that he stay with him as a servant for the next year. But the man was reluctant to go into it because of the bad reputation the farmer had. However, the farmer asked him to accept the service, and if it were not for longer than until he had worn out a pair of shoes. The man thought to himself that the shoes were perishable after all and that they would eventually wear out and that he was only going to be with him for a short time and not for life[199] Farmer stayed, and the end of the story was that he gave the farmer his word.


The next spring the servant came to the cross mass, and the farmer gave him a pair of new, not very sturdy shoes, telling him that when he had worn out the shoes his term of service should be over, if he wished; But the farmer made it a condition that the servant put on a different pair of shoes each time he went to church, and the servant readily agreed to that.


A long time passed, and after a year his shoes showed no more wear than if he had put them on yesterday. Then he became very depressed at having given his promise, but thought it a shame to break it and go away, although life with the peasant was weary and unpleasant. He therefore stayed with him for the next year, but even now there was no particular wear and tear on the shoes, although during those two years he had put on no other except when going to church. The servant was very surprised and could already imagine that this was not the right thing to do, but he did not know what kind of magic trick was being used against him.


One Sunday, when he was beginning his third year, he stayed at home and did not go to church; therefore he was not given church slippers, as was usually the case when he went to the house of God.[200] When all the people, including the farmer, had gone to church, the servant began to think about his situation and when this slavery would probably end for the farmer. While he was sitting in such thoughts, a strange man came in to him. The stranger noticed at once that the servant was very distressed, and he asked him what was the matter with him and why he hadn't gone to church with the other people of the farm today. The servant replied that he hadn't really wanted to, he was now sitting here and thinking about his adversities. The stranger said that if he thought himself a sorely tried man, it was no excuse for him to stay away from church; because every human being has his cross to bear, and his adversities would probably not become easier for him if he refrained from to go to church; he should therefore walk there at once, for the day had not yet passed so far that he could not come to the service early enough; In addition, today would have started a little later, since the service was a little late due to a funeral that would have taken place earlier. The boy said he couldn't walk because he didn't have his church slippers. The stranger replied that he could walk in the shoes he had on his feet. "No," replied the servant, "I have promised never to go to church with them, no matter how long I am in this excellent one because the service was a little late due to a funeral that would have taken place earlier. The boy said he couldn't walk because he didn't have his church slippers. The stranger replied that he could walk in the shoes he had on his feet. "No," replied the servant, "I have promised never to go to church with them, no matter how long I am in this excellent one because the service was a little late due to a funeral that would have taken place earlier. The boy said he couldn't walk because he didn't have his church slippers. The stranger replied that he could walk in the shoes he had on his feet. "No," replied the servant, "I have promised never to go to church with them, no matter how long I am in this excellent one[201] remain on duty, and I always got different shoes for every church-going; but I didn't want any this morning because I didn't want to go with them.” The stranger asked him how long he had been in this service. "Much too long," replied the servant with a sigh, "the third year has already begun." "Don't you like the service?" asked the stranger. "No, not at all," answered the servant, "it is my greatest misfortune that I have been here so long." "What is it that keeps you here?" asked the stranger. "My promise," replied the servant, and then he related how everything had happened. When the stranger had overheard his tale, he said that he should at once walk to the church, in the very shoes he had on, and go straight to the grave, which had been dug that day; Then he should put his shoes in the sacred ground and wait and see how it would go, because the shoes he had been wearing for the third year were made from the back of an old woman's skin and they would hold up, even if they did he would have her for eternity, if it was his lot to grow old. The servant thanked the stranger for his good advice, bade him farewell and ran away to the church. When he got to the churchyard, he noticed that his shoes were splitting at the seams; but as soon as he had stepped on the ground with them, they dissolved at his feet, so that nothing was left but the binding and the straps. even if he had her for eternity, if it was his lot to grow old. The servant thanked the stranger for his good advice, bade him farewell and ran away to the church. When he got to the churchyard, he noticed that his shoes were splitting at the seams; but as soon as he had stepped on the ground with them, they dissolved at his feet, so that nothing was left but the binding and the straps. even if he had her for eternity, if it was his lot to grow old. The servant thanked the stranger for his good advice, bade him farewell and ran away to the church. When he got to the churchyard, he noticed that his shoes were splitting at the seams; but as soon as he had stepped on the ground with them, they dissolved at his feet, so that nothing was left but the binding and the straps.[202] With these remaining rags on his instep, he went into the church, where the pastor had just stepped up to the pulpit. When the service was over, the servant went to the peasant and showed him in what condition the shoes were now, that nothing was left of them but the bare binding, and at the same time he gave him notice of the service.


The man said nothing more than the words: "So you didn't stay away from church today in vain!"



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