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205

CHAPTER XII.

A REGION OF FIRE.

Myvatn—Lava Streams—Reykjahlith—Sand Columns—A Plain of Boiling Mud —Chaldrons—Krafla—Obsidian Mountain—A Ride over a Desert —Eylifr—A wretched Farm—Dettifoss—A magnificent Fall—Volcanic Cones—Return to Reykjahlith.

Stand with me one moment on the slope above Reykjahlith, and scan Lake Myvatn.*

The horizon to the south-west is indistinct, for the lake winds, and is so studded with islands that its low, swampy shore is indefinable from this point.

The sheet of water is seven or eight miles long. Yon black speckles on its surface are lava points, glorious breeding places for ducks.

If we were in a boat we should see that the bed of the lake is full of rifts and splinters, among which glide char and trout. The water is not so cold as that of other lakes in the

* My, a -midge. Norse dialect, Smikka; Lithuanian, Miisa; German, M'»!:••; Danish, Myg; Russian, Muka; Slovakian, Muka; Sanskrit, Maksikd; Bengal, Makjeka; Afghan, Mac; Hindustan, Makki, Magus; Latin, Afusca; Greek, P'"''. From the Latin musca (a fly) came the term muscatus (speckled), and the French mouchete. From its spotted plumage the sporrowhawk was called mousqitet in French, moschetto in Italian, and musket in English.

"How now, my eyas-musket!"

Merry Wires of Windsor.

When fire-arms took the place of these birds in the chase, the name was transferred to them.

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