Skip to main content

Icelandic folk-tale: Borgarvirki

Borgarvirki (literally "the fort on the rocky hill") is situated in Vatnsnes in northern Iceland, about 40 km off the Ring Road. It is an old fort built on the top of a steep, rocky hill, from where there is a good view in all directions. The hill is the remnant of a volcano, and the fort is inside the crater. It has natural rocky walls on two sides, with walls built of rock extending across two gaps in the crater wall, to the south and east.According to legend, there was a freshwater spring inside the fort in the days when it was in use.

It was misty when I took this, but visit it on a clear day and you can see for miles.

According to legend, back in the Saga age there was a chieftain named Víga-Barði (Bardi the killer), who had made a lot of enemies. He and his men were besieged inside the nearly impregnable fort for a long while and their food supplies started running low. 

One day Barði asked how much food was left and was told that the only food left was one sausage (this was a kind of sausage either similar to haggis or blood sausage - the story doesn't say). Being a cunning man, he took the sausage and cut it in two and flung the two halves down into the throng of besiegers, who were just then discussing amongst themselves that Barði would soon be out of food. 

They were startled to see the sausage come flying out of the fort, for they had expected the men inside to be driven to surrender soon out of hunger. The sausage, they thought, was a clear sign that there was plenty of food inside the fort, and as they had farms to attend to and families waiting for them at home, they struck camp and left.

These days the hill is easily accessible by road and a hiking path will take you up into the fort. It is well worth visiting, both for those interested in geology (the cliffs are composed of basalt columns) and for the view.





The road up to the fort. To imagine the size, the two tiny dots you see side by side on top of the hill are people.

Comments

Dorte H said…
What a great legend, and gorgeous pictures.
Bibliophile said…
Thank you, Dorte.

I seem to remember vaguely a similar tale from abroad, but where from I can't for the life of me remember.

Popular posts from this blog

How to make a simple origami bookmark

Here are some instructions on how to make a simple origami (paper folding) bookmark:

Take a square of paper. It can be patterned origami paper, gift paper or even office paper, just as long as it’s easy to fold. The square should not be much bigger than 10 cm/4 inches across, unless you intend to use the mark for a big book. The images show what the paper should look like after you follow each step of the instructions. The two sides of the paper are shown in different colours to make things easier, and the edges and fold lines are shown as black lines.


Fold the paper in half diagonally (corner to corner), and then unfold. Repeat with the other two corners. This is to find the middle and to make the rest of the folding easier. If the paper is thick or stiff it can help to reverse the folds.



Fold three of the corners in so that they meet in the middle. You now have a piece of paper resembling an open envelope. For the next two steps, ignore the flap.



Fold the square diagonally in two. You…

List love: A growing list of recommended books with elderly protagonists or significant elderly characters

I think it's about time I posted this, as I have been working on it for a couple of months.
I feel there isn’t enough fiction written about the elderly, or at least about the elderly as protagonists. The elderly in fiction tend to be supporting characters, often wise elders (such as  Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books) or cranky old neighbour types (e.g. the faculty of Unseen University in the Discworld series) or helpless oldsters (any number of books, especially children’s books) for the protagonist to either help or abuse (depending on whether they’re a hero or not).
Terry Pratchett has written several of my favourite elderly protagonists and they always kick ass in one way or another, so you will see several of his books on this list, either as listed items or ‘also’ mentions.
Without further ado: Here is a list of books with elderly protagonists or significant, important elderly characters. I leave it up to you to decide if you’re interested or not, but I certainly enjoyed…

Reading report for January 2014

Here it is, finally: the reading report for January. (February‘s report is in the works: I have it entered into Excel and I just need to transfer it into Word, edit the layout and write the preface. It will either take a couple of days or a couple of months).

I finished 26 books in January, although admittedly a number of them were novellas. As I mentioned in my previous post, I delved into a new(ish) type of genre: gay (or M/M) romance. I found everything from genuinely sweet romance to hardcore BDSM, in sub-genres like fantasy, suspense and mystery and even a quartet of entertaining (and unlikely) rock star romances. Other books I read in January include the highly enjoyable memoir of cooking doyenne Julia Child, two straight romances, and Jennifer Worth‘s trilogy of memoirs about her experiences as a midwife in a London slum in the 1950s. I also watched the first season of the TV series based on these books and may (I say 'may') write something about this when I have finis…