Bizarre report in Fréttablaðið this morning. Seems a British [ex-] tourist who took a lava stone back home with him a couple of years ago experienced major misfortunes in his private and public life on returning to the UK. He blames the stone, and has now mailed it back to Iceland, asking that it be returned to its natural habitat.
Removing stones or rocks from Iceland is actually illegal. [Don’t know why — maybe it stems from the old paranoia that the big scary foreigners will take all our land if we let them.] [Or maybe it’s because there are all these precious stones to be found here.] [I dunno.] So this dude was clearly breaking the law — and paid for it. [Moral: don’t mess with the Icelandic elves!*]
“This is tied to folklore about stones,” ethnologist Kristinn H. Schram tells Fréttablaðið. He goes on to say that natural stones feature highly in many Icelandic folk tales, and that there are stones that create fortune [magic stones], and also those that create misfortune. According to those folk tales, a person needed a great deal of insight and knowledge to know the difference between the two. The best time to find the lucky stones is reported to be on Midsummer Night.
[Indeed, I can reveal that Yours Truly was quite fascinated with these myths as a child, and distinctly remember trying to pump my grandmother for information about how to know which stones were good, and which were bad. I also remember that I found her answers totally inadequate.]
Kristinn Schram: “On the other hand you could link this with the belief in charmed places. There is an old folk myth that these different locations were actually owned by some sort of spirit or elf, whose wrath would come down on any farmer who made use of them [i.e. the locations]. It would be to his advantage, on the other hand, not to do so.”
Be that as it may, we can only hope that the poor British tourist will get some respite from his troubles now.
[Photo nicked from visir.is]
* And lest any of you think this proves I believe in elves, let me state: I am being sarcastic.