Every Christmas Eve when the inhabitants of a small farm in Eyjafjörður left to go to church, they would come back to find that the person left behind to mind the farm had either been killed or driven mad.
One year as they headed off for church, a young woman was the one left behind. Once the people had gone, she sat down by her bed and started to read a book by candlelight.
After sitting for a while she noticed three children playing in the room. Their play increased in intensity as they moved up towards her bed, and finally started playing with the young woman. She‘d pretended like she didn‘t notice them but now she was tender with them and patted their hands. They then started grabbing her candle so she took it and divided it evenly into four parts, lit one for each child and kept one for herself. This made the children very happy and they ran off with their little lights.
After a moment a man entered and sat next to the young woman. He was sweet towards her but she pretended not to see him. This made him more eager in his affections.
At this she turned serious and told him his attempts were of no use “since I will pay your affections no mind”
He stopped and left. After a moment a woman in blue entered. She was carrying a wooden chest and as she walked towards the young woman she said:
“I don‘t have much with which to pay you for your kindness towards my children, and your unkindness towards my husband, but I want you to have the clothes that are in this chest. But don‘t tell anyone where you got them until after Christmas next.”
She handed the chest to the young woman and left. When the people of the farm returned from church they were happy to see that the young woman was alright, but she wouldn‘t tell them what had transpired that night. Time passed until it was summer.
One day the young woman laid her clothes from the chest out to dry. When the farmer‘s wife saw the clothes she was consumed with jealousy and asked the young woman where she‘d gotten them. The young woman said it was none of her business and the farmer‘s wife guessed she‘d gotten them last Christmas.
Next Christmas as the farm people were getting ready to go to church, the farmer‘s wife said she would stay and mind the farm. The farmer was not happy with this but she persisted.
So everyone on the farm left for church, leaving the farmer‘s wife at home. She sat by her bed and read by candlelight. Three children appeared in the room and started playing. Their play increased in intensity as they moved up towards her bed, and finally started playing with the farmer‘s wife. She grew angry and shouted at them but they kept on and started grabbing the candle. At this the farmer‘s wife grabbed a broom and beat the children who ran off crying.
After a moment a man entered and sat down next to the farmer‘s wife. He was sweet towards her and she responded in kind. She gave him everything he wanted and after they‘d both been satisfied the man left. Then a woman entered, walked up to the farmer’s wife, took her hand and said:
“Is this the hand with which you beat my children and stroked my husband? “
The other woman was unable to deny it.
The strange woman then said “May this hand wizen until it kills you. That is the price for your evil deeds.“
She left and the farmer‘s wife waited for the rest of the house to arrive home from church. By that time she was feeling ill and her hand was limp. She told them what had happened that night. The young woman then told them what had happened to her the Christmas before and showed them her clothes. They were much admired and everyone agreed they had never seen such fine clothes before. She enjoyed the clothes for many years after but the farmer‘s wife became increasingly ill until she died.
Once there was a prosperous farmer who lived at Höfði on Höfðaströnd. He and his wife had no children, but he fostered a young boy, whom he loved very much and who was very well liked by everyone.
On Christmas Eve when the boy was 14 years old, someone needed to be sent to get sheep to Drangey, for the Christmas meal. The boy begged his foster father to allow him to go out to the island to get the sheep. The farmer was reluctant to let him go, but finally relented if the farmhands would let him go with them.
The journey went well and they managed to herd the sheep and get them on board the boat. Before they could leave though, the farmhands said they had left their gloves on the island.
The boy offered to run and get them. As he ran the farmhands pushed the boat out, stranding the boy on the island. He watched them go with tears in his eyes. Suddenly a snowstorm hit and the boy thought he would die on the island from cold and starvation.
To avoid the raging waves on the beach the boy headed inland to look for shelter. After a while he came to a shed built to give the roaming sheep shelter. The boy went in and covered himself in straw for warmth.
At dawn he hears loud noises outside the shed. Then he hears several people walk in and put down tables for food and drink. He thinks to himself that these must be good people and they might be willing to give him a bite if he comes forward. He jumps up and sees tables loaded with delicious dishes and people of all ages eating. But once they see him the people all disappear, leaving the food. The boy stayed in the shed until New Year’s Day, and never once went hungry.
Back on the mainland the farmhands had barely made it back unscathed, but no one realised the boy was missing until Christmas morning when they went to sing hymns. The farmer asks whether the boy is not going to join him in song. At this the farmhands wake from a seeming sleep and confess that they had forgotten him, as he had not been near when they sailed off the island.
The farmer is angered and curses them, but nothing could be done. The storm didn’t let up until New Year’s Day when the farmer could finally head out to Drangey himself. Once he gets there is no one to be seen. He feel sure that the boy is dead but still walks up to the shed.
The boy hears his foster father’s voice and picks up a silver chalice to take outside to show him. The farmer is happy to see him and the boy tells his father the whole story. After that they go into the shed but the shed is now completely empty, leaving only the silver chalice the boy had in his hand when he stepped outside.
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