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Harams°ya
Norway



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The Source:

anon.:
"Die Geschichte von dem starken Grettir, dem Geńchteten"
translated by Paul Herrmann
Eugen Diederich Verlag, Jena, 1922

The Case:

This, more or less, is the story:

Grettir is on a ship that sinks and he is saved by Thorfinn and his men who live on the Island of Hßramarsey. Grettir's shipmates are traders who move on as soon as they have recovered some of their goods. But Grettir decides to stay.

One night he sees a fire out in the fields. The farmer Audun tells him that it is a barrow, the grave of Thorfinn's father Karr. It is a place that is much haunted. Next morning Grettir returns and borrows some spades. By the time he has managed to make a hole in the top of the barrow it is getting dark. Audun wants to go home, but Grettir wants to know what is inside the barrow. He lowers himself down a rope into the dark grave that smells pretty bad.

He finds a man sitting in a chair in the middle of treasures. Grettir gathers the treasures but when he wants to get out he is grabbed hold of by the undead Karr. A long fight follows and in the end Karr falls down, making an awful lot of noise. Audun, who is on top of the barrow, thinks Grettir is dead and swiftly goes home. Grettir, however draws his sword and decapitates Karr.

The Date:

Grettir Asmundarson was a real person who is said to have lived from 996 until 1031. Because he had killed someone he was forced to be away from Iceland between 1011 and 1014, and it must have been then that he went to Norway. So let us file this case as "101?".

The Place:

The Island of Haramsey, or Hßramarsey is now called Harams°ya Island. It can be found near the South-West coast of Norway, North of Alesund.

Possible Follow-Up:

It won't be hard for you to find yourself a copy of the Grettis Saga. Apart from the book versions that are in my library, I have downloaded versions in Icelandic, Norwegian, German and English. I have used the German one as it happens to have a rather useful introduction that gave me a lot of extra information.

ę 2014 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed November 2014

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