Advent 2010 IV: Krummi

Magnus is asleep. I love it when Magnus is asleep!

Today’s photograph is one of a common sight: a crow. But in Iceland, you’re almost just as likely to see a raven as a crow. They’re everywhere. Their squawk sounds a bit like a screaming dog, and they’re big enough that they can carry a small lamb, and to me they still remain majestic symbols of visceral force and instinctive fear.

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To quote from a website which sells interesting clothes hangers in the shape of ravens, “Ravens, for instance, discovered Iceland for the Viking Hrafna-Flóki, who set two of them free to find land. The Norse god and sage Ódinn had two of the birds, called Huginn and Muninn, on his shoulders, whispering words of wisdom into his ears.”

Big Magnus (remember him?) told me a story in the summer about Krummi. Krummi is a folklore character, the embodiment of Hrafni, the raven. In this story Krummi was annoying an old woman who owned a drove of sheep. He would tease her and make her run from the house, leaving the sheep to wander away freely. One day he was more annoying than usual and she followed him very far, intent on catching him once and for all. When she later returned home, empty-handed, she discovered that her house had been destroyed by an avalanche, but her sheep were safe as they had roamed the length of the valley while she was gone.

There’s not much wildlife in Iceland – I think there aren’t many wild animals. There may be a couple of escaped horses and elk, and possibly foxes. But no wolves, bears, badgers… I’m not even sure they have rabbits. The country is just so barren that there isn’t much food or shelter.

In other news, I’m counting down the days to lots of things. 3.5 more days of work, 6 more days in Selfoss, 20 days until Christmas, and 23 days until I’m home!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Fröhliche Weihnachten & Gleðileg Jol!

xxxF

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