Skip to main content

Friday Night Folk-tale: Strandarkirkja

Strandarkirkja is located on the south coast of Iceland and is one of Iceland‘s oldest churches. The current building dates back to 1888, but there has been a church in this location since at least the 13th century.

The following tale is told of the origins of the church:

A young man, the son of a farmer, was sailing from Norway with a load of wood for building houses. As his ship neared the southern coast of Iceland, a great storm broke out with thick fog and darkness and the crew were convinced that the ship was going to founder upon the shore and break apart. There are few natural harbours in this particular area of the southern coast and there was no way of finding any shelter from the storm. 

The crew knelt in prayer and pledged to build a church if they were able to land safely, in the location of landing. As soon as the words of the pledge were uttered, a bright light blazed up on the shore. They followed the light and suddenly the storm died down and all was still. As they approached land, they saw that the light emanated from a shining figure on the shore, but it disappeared when they landed. 

Looking back in the dawn light, they saw that the light had guided them through a narrow trough of calm sea that cut through a great wall of breaking surf. Since that occurrence, the inlet where they landed has been known as Englisvík or Angel Inlet. As pledged, they built a church up on the shore above their landing place, where a church as stood ever since. 

Ever since that first miracle, people who are struggling against the odds, in danger or trouble, have made pledges to the church. Usually these pledges come in the form of money, but people have also given furnishings to the church, and there are many stories of wishes being miraculously fulfilled.
Some say that as a result of this, it is the richest church in Iceland.

Copyright notice: The wording used to tell this folk-tale is under copyright. The story itself is not copyrighted. If you want to re-tell it, for a collection of folk-tales, incorporate it into fiction, use it in a school essay or any kind of publication, please tell it in your own words or give the proper attribution if you choose to use the wording unchanged.


Popular posts from this blog

Book 40: The Martian by Andy Weir, audiobook read by Wil Wheaton

Note : This will be a general scattershot discussion about my thoughts on the book and the movie, and not a cohesive review. When movies are based on books I am interested in reading but haven't yet read, I generally wait to read the book until I have seen the movie, but when a movie is made based on a book I have already read, I try to abstain from rereading the book until I have seen the movie. The reason is simple: I am one of those people who can be reduced to near-incoherent rage when a movie severely alters the perfectly good story line of a beloved book, changes the ending beyond recognition or adds unnecessarily to the story ( The Hobbit , anyone?) without any apparent reason. I don't mind omissions of unnecessary parts so much (I did not, for example, become enraged to find Tom Bombadil missing from The Lord of the Rings ), because one expects that - movies based on books would be TV-series long if they tried to include everything, so the material must be pared down

List love: 10 recommended stories with cross-dressing characters

This trope is almost as old as literature, what with Achilles, Hercules and Athena all cross-dressing in the Greek myths, Thor and Odin disguising themselves as women in the Norse myths, and Arjuna doing the same in the Mahabaratha. In modern times it is most common in romance novels, especially historicals in which a heroine often spends part of the book disguised as a boy, the hero sometimes falling for her while thinking she is a boy. Occasionally a hero will cross-dress, using a female disguise to avoid recognition or to gain access to someplace where he would never be able to go as a man. However, the trope isn’t just found in romances, as may be seen in the list below, in which I recommend stories with a variety of cross-dressing characters. Unfortunately I was only able to dredge up from the depths of my memory two book-length stories I had read in which men cross-dress, so this is mostly a list of women dressed as men. Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb. One of the interwove

First book of 2020: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach (reading notes)

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I loathe movie tie-in book covers because I feel they are (often) trying to tell me how I should see the characters in the book. The edition of Deborah Moggach's These Foolish Things that I read takes it one step further and changes the title of the book into the title of the film version as well as having photos of the ensemble cast on the cover. Fortunately it has been a long while since I watched the movie, so I couldn't even remember who played whom in the film, and I think it's perfectly understandable to try to cash in on the movie's success by rebranding the book. Even with a few years between watching the film and reading the book, I could see that the story had been altered, e.g. by having the Marigold Hotel's owner/manager be single and having a romance, instead being of unhappily married to an (understandably, I thought) shrewish wife. It also conflates Sonny, the wheeler dealer behind the retireme