(My personal Illustration Challenge for 2017 is to complete one 'page spread' from a popular, modern or classic children's story each week, picked randomly from a hat. Using lines from the original text, I am re-creating the 'imagery' in my own way, just for fun!)
If you think Robin Hood or George and the Dragon are great stories, then you should visit Iceland and hear their folklore. I was totally smitten by the tales they tell when we visited last year.
Belief in 'the hidden people', fairies and house elves runs deep in Iceland - not surprisingly since the landscape there is magical and entrancing. I quite happily sat for hours listening to the coach tour guide tell these stories as we drove through craggy mountains and volcanic lava valleys. Wow, they can really tell stories the way stories should be told!
My favourite characters are the trolls. Trolls sleep all day and only come out at night, because daylight makes them turn to stone.
I'm pretty sure trolls live here, don't you think?
On the southern most tip of Iceland is the small town of Vik. Today it lives under constant threat of flooding, not because of the sea but because of the huge volcano that sits a few miles away ready to erupt any time soon and melt all the ice surrounding it.
From the shore of Vik is this wonderful view of a rock formation:
Awesome isn't it? Oooh, and while we're here, can I just pan back and show you the SKY that is so constantly amazing the whole time in Iceland??
There are many versions of this story, but the one I love most is this:
The Lady Troll of Vik
Many years ago the Prince of Denmark came to Iceland in his very impressive ship to find himself a wife. He spent many months travelling across the country, interviewing young girls. But the Prince was an incredibly fussy man. The cleverest girls would not do. The tallest girls would not do. The prettiest girls would not do. The richest girls would not do.
Of course, everyone got a bit grouchy with him, and in the end his servant suggested that maybe it would be a good idea to head home. So while it was still dark (an early start is always best with a long trip ahead of you) the Prince's company rowed out to his ship and pulled up the anchor.
Near the shore at Vik lived a Lady Troll who was a little lonely, and had heard rumours of this prince, and was also a bit grouchy with him because he claimed to have met all the suitable women in Iceland. But he had not yet interviewed a Lady Troll. So she rose in anger from her cave and waded out to sea.
On reaching the ship, she grabbed its stern and pulled against the flow of the tide. Sadly, in her anger, the Lady Troll had forgotten about the sunrise, and as the morning light crept over the horizon, both the Lady Troll and the Danish ship with all its crew (and the very fussy Prince) were turned to stone.
To this day they stand, worn and battered by the wind and sea as a warning to all: you really shouldn't be too fussy when looking for love.