60 ÁRBÓK FORNLEIFAFÉLAGSINS
Brákarey stóra. On both sides of the sound were rather low but steep cliffs and
the width of the sound was ca. 4050 m., before a bridge was built there in modern
times; the length is approximately the same. With the rising tide there is a power-
ful current southwards through the sound and in the opposite direction with the
falling tide. Brák was a common tool, which was used to make skin soft. The tool
had various forms, but its main characteristic was a narrow passage, through
which the raw skin, soaked in cod-liver oil, was drawn back and forth until it became
soft. The suggestion is that the narrow and short passage between the steep cliffs,
with the powerful current back and forth, reminded the people of old times
of the well-known tool brák and its use, and that this has given rise to the place-
name. Assuming this, the explanation given by the saga must be invented later.
Originally the placename may have been Brák, cfr. the mountain names Ok and
ÞyriH in the neighbouring district, both seemingly derived from their appearance,
the first as the farming utensil ok (d: a yoke) and the second as the kitchen-utensil
þyrill (o: a whisk with a fringe at the end).