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Ascend the Side of Ok—Flowers—Strange Sight–Skogkottr—Meet old Friends—The Skrimsl—Mermaids—Francesco de la Vega—Smoking in the Tent.
On the following morning we started early for Thingvöllum, over the rough mountain pass of Ok. The horse which had been lamed in the bogs of the Middle frith was now unable to proceed, and I was obliged to leave him behind, much to my regret, as he had cost me 3l. 10s. However, one must make up one's mind to such losses in Iceland, and it was a matter of daily astonishment to Grimr that we had met with so few accidents. We toiled for some hours up the steep flank of the Jökull, over soil spangled with golden Marsh Saxifrage (S. hirculus), the flowers one inch and an eighth in diameter, and with the beautiful white Tufted Saxifrage (S. caespitosa), the large flowers of which, an inch and five-sixteenths in diameter, blossomed on stems four inches high. On the farther side of Ok we rested at a little patch of turf and low willow, where grows in abundance the sickly flesh-coloured Water Avens (Geum rivale). We were now approaching the road along which we had come when entering Kaldidalr. In front of us, behind the snowy head of Hlothufell and Blåfell rose columns of red sand, high above the mountain tops, and forming dense lurid clouds, which sweeping over Skjaldbreith, tarnished its silver bosom.