Völvuleiði í Suðursveit

From Íslenskar Þjóðsögur og Sagnir, vol. 5. collected by Sigfús Sigfússon, p. 128.

Völvuleiði í Suðursveit (‘The Völva’s Mound in Suðursveit)

Hella is the name of a tennant farm that is built from Kálfafellsstaður, the church farm¹ of the Suðursveit in Austur-Skaftafellssýsla. In ancient times there was a spell on Kálfafellsstaður that no priest could be there for longer than thirty years without going insane. But who it was that made that spell, people do not know. Early after the conversion, it was found that the spell had come true and people were uneasy about it. But a long time did not pass before that völva, who was related to King Ólafur Haraldsson the saint, came to Hella. She advised people to get a likeness of her kinsman (Saint Ólafur) and see how things would work out. She declared that the spell would not work while the likeness was there. Then they got the likeness and men put their trust in it and they never saw again that priests became disturbed there rather than elsewhere, even though they were there for longer than thirty years. This völva was the last person to be given a heathen burial in Hella. You can still see her grave there, and she is there as the guardian of the region and a beneficent wight.

¹ Kirkjustaðir (literally ‘church places’) are farms which are owned by the Church and run by the priests. Those farms always had a church and a graveyard on the property, which the priest maintained.


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