A carved dragons head found in the Oseberg burial
I'm currently reading a very interesting book called The Idea of North, which deals with all manner of folklore and legends in the Polar region. One passage reminded me why I LOVE the old Norse Sagas:
"The verse narrative of The Waking of Angatyr, interprolated in the Saga of King Heindrik the Wise, takes place on a burning offshore island which is simultaneously the place where the noble dead are buried and an otherworld to which the living can travel at their peril. Hervor travels there to demand of her father Angantyr the supernatural sword that has been buried with him. As with almost all ghost narratives of the north, the early waning of the winter daylight is crucial. In the zone between the living and the dead in which the poem opens, there is a terse dialogue between the heroine and a herdsman, on the dangers of being benighted in such a place:
To this land of shadows was sheer folly,
Over fen and fold fires are soaring,
Graves are opening: let us go quickly.
But she is fearless: she curses and threatens the waking dead until they yield to her the sword that has been buried as part of Angantyr’s grave goods, but not without the prophecy from its dead owner that it will "Destroy your kindred, kill them all" To which she replies:
( Churlish cowards! )