In 870 AD, the first explorers arrived on the volcanic island that one day would be called Iceland. The men and women Who settled there, on the edge of the Arctic Circle, beside the last vestiges of ancient Ice Age glaciers, were a resourceful and hardy folk. They withstood fierce winter storms, plunging arctic temperatures, violent volcanic eruptions, powerful earthquakes, and the lonely isolation of this distant island.
In the eleventh century, Iceland's governing body grew weary of civil war and grudgingly accepted the rule of the king of Norway. For the next 700 years, these fiercely independent Icelanders suffered under various foreign rulers. Then, in 1944, after finally gaining full independence, the people and the country began to flourish. Out of this tumultuous geography and history emerged a unique oral tradition, which gave birth to these famous Icelandic legends. You will read the stories of elves and trolls, ghosts and goblins, as well as tales of scary monsters and thrilling mysteries.
As folklorist Terry Gunnell writes, the stark and shifting landscape of Iceland is itself a storybook. These legends hold a particular wary respect for nature and a wry wisdom that states that we human beings are mere tenants on earth, with no control over weather or ghosts or wild creatures.