Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/423

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Custom mid Belief in Icelandic Sagas. 407

Jomsvi'king battle is just what would be expected of a local heroine. As to her being in Gudbrand's temple, her worship should really have been an open-air one, that of the Jwrg not the hof. But Njdla is so careful of detail that one hesitates to reject anything, and it is quite likely that Earl Hakon, being an enthusiast, a kind of pagan revivalist, would introduce an image of his favourite heroine into his temple, among the gods.

Her place in an Icelandic temple, or indeed in Iceland at all, is more difficult to explain. Iceland was not her sphere of influence. Grimkell came from the Drontheim district to Iceland ; and it is possible that Thorgerd ma} have become famous beyond her own locality, and indeed be on the way to becoming a goddess. At all events, good luck in marriage is the kind of obvious human need that a hero or heroine would be expected to help in. Another explanation is that she may have gained fame as the patroness of so famous a man as Earl Hakon, and have been introduced into Haf^ar Saga by a writer in a Christian age who knew no distinction between one deity and another.

H org- worship in Iceland is proved by the occurrence of the word in place-names {e.g.^ Horgsland in the story of Thidrandi, inserted in Olaf Tryggvason s Saga ; Horg- ardal, in Viga-Glunis Saga).

Of the service of the dead there are a few traces. A remembrance goblet was drunk at the yule-feast at mid- winter. In the holm-gang, or single-combat, it was the custom of the victor to sacrifice a bull. Of this there are four saga-examples :

I. (EgiVs Saga, 938.) A bull was led there, big and old. It wa.-- called blot-naut. He who had the victory was to kill it. Sometimes it was one bull, sometimes each who went to the holm had his own brought . . . Egil leapt up quickly where the sacrifice-bull stood, grasped the lips with one