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FROM SKAGAFJORD TO MITHFJORD.
Svatha-stathr—Heathen Charity—Church of Vithimyri—An odd Cow—Borg, an old Castle—Queen Victoria's Cousin—Icelandic Duck—The longtailed Duck—Red-necked Phalaropes—Deep Bogs—Melr—A. happy Meeting—A Wedding — Female Dress — Music — National Anthem— Michaelmas Hymn—Mr. Briggs in Love—Church Service—Sacred Music Ecclesiastical Position of the Icelandic Establishment.
After having turned our backs on the Skagafjord, our course lay up a broad valley, through which flows the Herathsvatn. This river breaks into a multiplicity of streams, divided by flat low holms and insulated ranges of low hill.
This district of islands is called Hegranes, and is the place where the provincial Thing, or Council, was held in olden times.
The view over it from Svatha-stathr was very beautiful, the whole extent of islet and stream being bathed in sunlight. Countless flocks of wildfowl sailed, sun-kindled, through the clear air, filling it with their piercing cries.
Svatha-stathr receives its name from a certain Svathi, who lived in the tenth century.
It happened during that period that Iceland was suffering severely from a bad year, so that there was a large amount of destitution over the country; and unless something were done by the wealthy bonders to relieve it, there was a certainty of many poor householders perishing during the approaching winter.
Svathi, heathen though he was, stepped forward and liberally undertook to provide for a considerable number of suf