Christmas in Iceland - 15.12.1940, Blaðsíða 17

Christmas in Iceland - 15.12.1940, Blaðsíða 17
while his wife, three sons and thirty-five ot- her victims were burned to death. In the foll- owing winter Gissur slew seven o fthe leaders who had raield his home. What a Woman! To prevent English or Irish traders from frequenting Iceland without the permission of Christian the First of Denmark, an Ice- landic warrior, Bjorn I>orleifsson, was given a commission as “protector” in 1453. In 1456 he sailed into the small harbour of Rif to collect from English traders the duty of six per cent which was at that time impos ■ ed on English merchandise. But he war. attacked in the harbour by the British trad- ers and together with seven of his followers was killed. His wife Oloff escaped in a fog leaving her son Thorleif in enemy hands. When Oloff received the mangled body of her husband which the foreigners had cut in pieces, this highspirited woman deceared that she would shed no tear for him, but take care that his death should not be unavenged. Having first ransomed her son she puton a coat of mail, atttacked, and after a bloody contest defeated the strangers, taking 50 of them prisoners and seizing three of their ships. She generously spared them their lives and soon after restored them to liberty. Later, however, she sailed to Denmark, and King Christian to avenge his “protectors” death sailed to England and captured four vessels from London and Bristol. Some Sport. There eventually came a time when ..Hum- anity” was no longer accounted a stain on the character of an Icelandic Chief as happened to Olver Barnakarl, that is, “the children’s old man”. He was thus named by his heathen contem- poraries, because in his piratical expeditions he would not join in the then much practised sport of tossing captive infants into the air and catching them on their spear points! For any readers information this sport was last practised round about 1011. CHRISTMAS IN ICELAND 15


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