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made them turn. In looking behind a rock, the boy had come upon the corpse of the shepherd—it was livid and swollen to the size of a bullock. It lay on its back with the arms extended. The snow had been scrabbled up by the puffed hands in the death agony, and the staring glassy eyes gazed out of the ashen-grey, upturned face, into the vaporous canopy overhead. From the purple lips lolled the tongue, which in the last throes had been bitten through by the horrid white fangs, and a discoloured stream which had flowed from it was now an icicle. With trouble the dead man was raised on a litter, and carried to a gill-edge, but beyond this he could not be borne; his weight waxed more and more, the bearers toiled beneath their burden, their foreheads became beaded with sweat; though strong men, they were crushed to the ground. Consequently, the corpse was left at the ravine-head, and the men returned to the farm. Next day their efforts to lift Glâmr's bloated carcase, and remove it to consecrated ground, were unavailing. On the third day a priest accompanied them, but the body was nowhere to be found. Another expedition without the priest was made, and on this occasion the corpse was found; so a cairn was raised over it on the spot.
“What! that which we have just passed ?” asked Mr. Briggs.
“No,” answered I; “Glâmr was twice buried, as you shall hear.”
Two nights after this, one of the thralls who had gone after the cows, burst into the stofa with a face blank and scared; he staggered to a seat and fainted. On recovering his senses, in a broken voice, he assured all who crowded about him, that he had seen Glâmr walking past him, as he left the door of the stable. On the following evening a houseboy was found in a fit under the tün wall, and he remained an idiot to his dying day. Some of the women next saw a face, which, though blown out and discoloured, they recognized as that of Glâmr, looking in upon them through a window of the dairy. In the twilight, Thorhall himself met the dead man, who stood and glowered at him, but made no attempt to injure his master. The haunting did not end there. Nightly a heavy tread was heard around the house, and a hand feeling along the walls, sometimes thrust in at the windows, at others clutching at the woodwork, and breaking it to splinters. However, when the spring came round the disturbances lessened, and, as the sun obtained full power, ceased altogether. That summer, a vessel from Norway dropped anchor in Hūnavatn. Thorhall visited it, and found on board a man named Thorgaut, who was in search of work. “What do you say to being my shepherd 2" asked the bonder. “I should much like the office,” answered Thorgaut; “I am as strong as two ordinary men, and a handy fellow to boot.” “I will not engage you without forewarning you of the terrible things you may have to encounter during the winter night.” “Pray what may they be 2" “Ghosts and hobgoblins,” answered the farmer; “a fine dance they lead me, I can promise you.” “I fear them not,” answered Thorgaut; “I shall be with you at cattle-slaughtering time.” At the appointed season the man came, and soon established himself as a favourite in the household ; he romped with the children, chucked the maidens under the chin, helped his fellow-servants, did odd jobs for his master, gratified the housewife by admiring her skyr, and was just as much liked as his predecessor had been detested. He was a devil-maycare fellow too, and made no bones of his contempt for the ghost, expressing hopes of meeting him face to face, which made his master look grave, and his mistress shudderingly cross herself. As the winter came on, strange sights and sounds began to alarm the folk, but these never frightened Thorgaut; he slept too soundly at night to hear the tread
of feet about the door, and was too short-sighted to catch glimpses of a grizzly monster striding up and down, in the twilight, before its cairn. At last Christmas-eve came round, and Thorgaut went out as usual with his sheep. “Have a care, man l’’ urged the bonder; “go not near to the gill-head, where Glâmr lies.” “Tut, tut! fear not for me. I shall be back by Wespers.” “God grant it,” sighed the housewife; “but 'tis a wisht day to be sure.”
“And pray, what does a wisht day mean 2" asked Mr. Briggs.
“It is a Devonshire expression; wisht means anything ill-omened, desolate, dangerous.”
“Go on then ; but don't put any more Devonshire expressions into Icelandic mouths,” said Mr. Briggs.
Twilight came on ; a feeble light hung over the south, one white streak along this heithi we are crossing. Far off in southern lands it was still day, but here the darkness gathered in apace, and men came from Vatnsdalr for evensong, to herald in the night when Christ was born. Christmas-evel How different in Saxon England 1 there the great ashen faggot is rolled along the hall with torch and taper; the mummers dance with their merry jingling bells; the boar's head with gilded tusks, “bedecked with holly and rosemary,” is brought in by the steward to a flourish of trumpets.
How different, too, where the Waranger cluster round the Imperial throne in the mighty church of the Eternal Wisdom at this very hour ! Outside, the air is soft from breathing over the Bosphorus, which flashes tremulously beneath the stars. The orange and laurel leaves in the Palace gardens are still exhaling fragrance in the hush of the Christmas night.
But it is different here ! The wind is piercing as a twoedged sword ; blocks of ice clash and grind along the coast of the Hunaflói, and the lake waters are congealed to stone. Aloft, the Aurora flames crimson, flinging long streamers to the zenith, and then suddenly dissolving into a sea of pale green light. The natives are waiting around the churchdoor, but no Thorgaut has returned. They find him next morning, lying across Glâmr's cairn, with his spine, his leg and arm bones shattered. He is conveyed to the churchyard, and a cross is set up at his head. He sleeps till the Resurrection, peacefully. Not so Glâmr—he becomes more furious than ever. No one will remain with Thorhall now, except an old cowherd who has always served the family, and who had long ago dandled his present master on his knee. “All the cattle will be lost if I leave,” said the carle; “it shall never be told of me that I deserted Thorhall from fear of a spectre.” Matters rapidly grew worse. Outbuildings were broken into of a night, and their woodwork was rent and shattered : the house-door was violently shaken, and great pieces of it were torn away; the gables of the house were also pulled furiously to and fro. One morning, before dawn, the old man went to the stable; an hour later, his mistress rose, and, taking her milking cans, followed him. As she reached the door of the stable, a terrible sound from within—the bellowing of the cattle, mingled with the deep bell-notes of an unearthly voice, sent her back shrieking to the house. Thorhall leaped out of bed, caught up a weapon, and hastened to the cow-house. On opening the door, he found the cattle goring each other. Slung across the stone which separated the stalls, was something: Thorhall stepped up to it, felt it, looked close—it was the cowherd, perfectly dead, his feet on one side of the slab, his head on the other, and his spine Snapped in twain. The bonder now moved with his family to Tunga, the place where we sleep to-night; it was too venturesome living during the midwinter night at the haunted farm; and it was not till the sun had returned as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and had dispelled night with its phantoms, that he came back to the Wale of Shadows. In the meantime, his little girl's health had given way under the repeated alarms of the winter; she became paler every day; with the autumn flowers she faded, and was laid beneath the mould of the churchyard in time for the first snows to spread a virgin pall over her small grave. At this time Grettir—of whom I have so often spoken— was in Iceland, and, as the hauntings of this vale were matter of gossip throughout the district, he heard of them, and resolved on visiting the scene. So Grettir busked himself for a cold ride, mounted his horse, and in due course of time, drew rein at the door of Thorhall's farm with the request that he might be accommodated there for the night. “Ahem l’ coughed the bonder; “perhaps you are not 8 Ware 2 x “I am perfectly aware of all. I want to catch sight of the troll.” “But your horse is sure to be killed.” “I will risk it. Glâmr, I must meet, so there's an end of it.” “I am delighted to see you,” spoke the bonder; “at the same time, should mischief befall you, don't lay the blame at my door.” “Never fear, man.” So they shook hands; the horse was put into the strongest stable, Thorhall made Grettir as good cheer as he was able, and then, as the visitor was sleepy, all retired to rest. The night passed quietly enough, and no sounds indicated the presence of a restless spirit. The horse, moreover, was found next morning in good condition, enjoying his hay. “This is unexpected l’’ exclaimed the bonder, gleefully. “Now where's the saddle, we'll clap it on, and then goodby, and a merry journey to you.” “Good-by!” echoed Grettir; “I am going to stay here another night.” “You had better be advised,” urged Thorhall; “if mis