Sjurur touk tea besta svör
Sum Dvörgurin heji smuja.
Sigurd took the very best sword
That the Dwarfs had ever smithed.
THE people of the Feroes believe in the same classes of beings as the inhabitants of the countries whence their ancestors came.
They call the Trolls Underground-people, Hollow-men, Foddenskkmaend, and Huldefolk. These Trolls used frequently to carry people into their hills, and detain them there. Among several other instances, Debes [a] gives the following one of this practice:
"Whilst Mr. Taale was priest in Osteröe, it happened that one of his hearers was carried away and returned again. At last the said young man being to be married, and every thing prepared, and the priest being arrived the Saturday before at the parish, the bridegroom was carried away; wherefore they sent folks to look after him, but he could not be found. The priest desired his friends to have good courage, and that he would come again; which he did at last, and related that the spirit that led him away was in the shape of a most beautiful woman, and very richly dressed, who desired him to forsake her whom he was now to marry, and consider how ugly his mistress was in comparison of her, and what fine apparel she had. He said also that he saw the men that sought after him, and that they went close by him but could not see him, and that he heard their calling, and yet could not answer them; but that when he would not be persuaded he was again left at liberty."
The people of the Feroes call the Nisses or Brownies Niägruisar, and describe them as little creatures with red caps on their heads, that bring luck to any place where they take up their abode.
It is the belief of the people of these islands that every ninth-night the seals put off their skins and assume the human form, and dance and sport about on the land. After some time, they resume their skins and return to the water. The following adventure, it is said, once occurred: [b]
"A man happening to pass by where a female seal was disporting herself in the form of a woman, found her skin, and took and hid it. When she could not find her skin to creep into, she was forced to remain in the human form; and as she was fair to look upon, that same man took her to wife, had children by her, and lived right happily with her. After a long time, the wife found the skin that had been stolen, and could not resist the temptation to creep into it, and so she became a seal again, and returned to the sea."
The Neck called Nikar is also an object of popular faith in the Feroes. He inhabits the streams and lakes, and takes a delight in drowning people.
[a] Faeroae et Faeroa reserata. Lond. 1676.
[b] Thiele, lii. 51, from the MS. Travels of Svaboe in the Feroes.