Här Necken sin Harpa i Glasborgen slår,
Och Hafsfruar kamma sltt grönskande hår,
Och bleka den skinande drägten.
The Neck here his harp in the glass-castle plays,
And Mermaidens comb out their green hair always,
And bleach here their shining white clothes.
UNDER the title of Northern Islands we include all those lying in the ocean to the north of Scotland, to wit Iceland, the Feroes, Shetland, and the Orkneys.
These islands were all peopled from Norway and Denmark during the ninth century. Till that time many of them, particularly Iceland and the Feroes, though, perhaps, occasionally visited by stray Vikings, or by ships driven out of their course by tempests, had lain waste and desert from the creation, the abode alone of wild beasts and birds.
But at that period the proud nobles of Norway and Denmark, who scorned to be the vassals of Harold Fair-hair and Gorm the Old, the founders of the Norwegian and Danish monarchies, set forth in quest of new settlements, where, at a distance from these haughty potentates, they might live in the full enjoyment of their beloved independence. Followed by numerous vassals, they embarked on the wide Atlantic. A portion fixed themselves on the distant shores of Iceland; others took possession of the vacant Feroes; and more dispossessed the Peti and Papae, the ancient inhabitants of Shetland and the Orkneys, and seized on their country.
As the Scandinavians were at that time still worshipers of Thor and Odin, the belief in Alfs and Dwarfs accompanied them to their new abodes, and there, as elsewhere, survived the introduction of Christianity. We now proceed to examine the vestiges of the old religion still to be traced.