Sacred-Texts Legends & Sagas Index Previous Next


BEFORE Christian times there was a great alder forest in the island of Dagö, where the people used to make sacrifices and hold festivals. Afterwards the forest was hewn down, all but one tree, under which the people wished to build a church. But the missionaries would not consent, till a man advised them to yoke two oxen to the cart in which the building materials should be loaded, and then let them wander at will. Where they halted, the church should be built.

 So the oxen were driven to the alder forest, where there was plenty of grass, and after being p. 264 allowed to graze awhile they were brought back and yoked to the cart. They returned to the heath and began to feed, and the church was erected on that spot and named the Church of Pühalepp.

 The Devil thought to destroy it by hurling two great rocks at it at night from a hill, after having carefully noted its position in the daytime. He missed his aim in the darkness, but mounted his mare and rode to see what damage was done. Just as he reached the church the cock crew, and he was forced to turn round and ride back to hell. But the marks of the mare’s hoofs are still to be seen where he heard the cock crow.

 Another story relates how the Devil pulled down a church which was in course of erection, and tore up the very foundations. But a wise man told the people to take two white calves, dropped on that night, harness them to a cart, and build the church where they stopped, which was accordingly done.