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This is the legend of how Norway's second largest glacier Svartisen (literally The Black Ice) came about. The glacier lies in Nordland county on the coast of Helgeland, an area with wild mountains and a rugged coastline prevalent in Norse myths and tales. This particular legend is of a somewhat more recent date, explaining in a perfectly logic way (for Norwegians at least) how a 375 square kilometre ice patch at about 1000 metres above sea level comes into being.


Once upon a time there lived a priest in Rødøy. He was engaged to a girl in the faraway eastern parts of Sweden, but the distance was too great and the priest was unfaithful to her. The rumour of his adultery soon escaped across the border and the girl swore a gruesome revenge.

She heard of a same1 who was going to Norway and made him an an accomplice to her evil plan. The same was given a box to give to the priest upon arriving in Norway. He was not supposed to know what was inside the box, but when he got far enough to see Rødøyløven2, he could no longer restrain his curiosity. He opened the box lid ever so little and a blue-white spirit flowed out of the box. The spirit grew larger and larger and turned to ice, all while the same ran as fast as he could to try and escape. It was too late. The same and his woman froze in the ice and slowly turned to stone.

The glacier have become smaller in recent years, allowing the same and his woman to appear again. When you sail in through the Holand Fjord, you can see them silhouetted against the sky.


1 Generic Norwegian word for a lappish person.
2 Literally The Red Island Lion, a mountain range resembling a sleeping lion that for centuries have been a landmark for sailors and fishermen.

The only half-decent picture (drawing actually) I could find of the stone silhouettes was from Meløy municipality web pages:
http://www.meloy.kommune.no/MEKDta/Files.nsf/Lookup/sagn/$file/sagn.jpg

More on the glacier: http://www.meloyinfo.no/english/svartisen.htm
A view of the glacier from Bolga: http://www.bolga.com/images/05-09-2000_svartisen-fra-bolga_lg.jpg