Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/432

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41 6 Custom and Belief m Icelandic Sagas.

means of decision. Then if he decided for Christianity, the pagans could not think themselves injured ; though as a matter of fact they did, which is the usual result of arbitration.

The tale of Thorstein Oxfoot, told in Olaf Tryggvason^s Saga, supplies another example of divination by dreams. At harvest Thorstein with one companion, Freystein, went to a great howe, and told his companion not to waken him however troubled his sleep should be. He dreamt that the howe opened, and he saw eleven sitting on one side and twelve on the other ; they gave him tokens for which he uttered no thanks, and prophesied the future to him.

VI. Feasts and Sacrifice. As a rule, the saga-references to festivals are no more definite than the bare statement that a certain man " had a feast in the autumn," or at Yule, and such details as would serve to associate these feasts with any special cult are rare.

I. The Winter Nights, at the close of harvest.

1. {Gisla, 963,) Summer passes and it comes to the

Winter Nights. It was the custom of many men to welcome the winter at that time, and to have then feasts and winternights' sacrifice; but Gisli left off sacrifice since he was in Denmark, but kept to the feasts.

2. {lb., 964.) Thorgrim meant to have an autumn feast

at the Winter Nights, to welcome winter and sacrifice to Frey. They drank in pairs.

3. {Egla, 904.) A great feast was prepared, and there

was to be a Disablot (in Norway ; the context shows that this was in the autumn).

4. {Hehnskringla, 868.) Many people were at Gaular

for the autumn sacrifice.