Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/420

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404 Custom mtd Belief in Icelandic Sagas.

The dead were affected by the condition of their burial- mounds. It is noted in Landnama that " Einar's howe was ever green winter and summer," and in Gisla that Thorgrim's howe never froze because of the favour of Frey. Asolf, in Landnama, appeared after death to his friends in a dream, to complain because a cow-girl wiped her feet on his howe.

These instances all point to the continued con- sciousness of the dead after burial. A step further is reached in the belief of the Thorsnesinga that they would " die into " Holy Fell, which is explained exactly by what is said in Eyrbyggja of Thorolf : " He thought he would go there when he died, and all his kinsmen on the ness," {Eyrbyggja and Landnama, 890). A similar belief was held by the kindred of Aud the Wealthy, who was a Christian and put up a cross on a hill. Her kinsmen made a howe there and sacrificed ; " they thought they would die into the hills " {Landnama, 900). " When Svan, son of Bjorn of Bjarnarfjort5, was drowned, " he was seen to go into the fell " {Landnama, 940). A still clearer case of the belief in a continued life in the burial-mound like that of the Tuatha De, or of Holda in the Horselberg, occurs in Eyrbyggja (938). Thorstein was drowned in the autumn on a fishing cruise. Before the news was known, his shepherd saw the fell open to the north. There were great fires inside, and great noise and clatter of horns ; he tried to catch some of the words, and heard a greet- ing spoken to Thorstein and his comrades, and a voice said that he was to sit in the high seat opposite to his father (that Thorolf Mostrarskegg who had believed that he and his kin would "die into the fell" and who as a devotee of Thor had dedicated this son to his favourite god).

When Gunnar of HliSarendi was slain, his mother had him buried in a sitting posture, doubtless that he might not sleep till avenged. He was heard speaking in the