Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Ivar Pennskjegg

A little bit of folk-horror as we approach Halloween. “Pennskjegg” means sparse-/ thin-beard, perhaps pretty-beard.

Ivar Pennskjegg

There was one called Ivar Pennskjegg. He was so fine on the outside. But he was a murderer.

So there was a fine maid on a farm whom he was so fond of. So he asked her home to him.

“I cannot find my way there,” she said.

“I shall lay a red thread out, all the way across my meadow, so you shall merely follow the thread,” he said.

So she found her way. First she came into a large parlour. There was it extremely fine. It was as if it shone everywhere.

And in the midst of the floor stood a large mirror. Then she opened the bedchamber door, and there she saw a bowl of blood and a man’s head on a table.

Then she lifted the cellar hatch, and there it was full of dead folk. Then she heard such a whining. Then she sprang into the parlour and hid herself behind the mirror.

Then in came Ivar Pennskjeggwith a fine maiden and went out into the bedchamber. And then he said this:

“Will you drink of the bowl of blood and eat of the man’s head, then you shall live. And if you will not, then you shall die.”

And she was not good for it.

So first he chopped off her little finger. And he threw it behind the mirror. Then the maid took and hid the finger. There was a fine gold ring on it.

Then Ivar chopped off her head and cast her down into the cellar. Now he rose and closed the door.

Then she was so angry, she wept and wailed. Then she prayed to God that the door would open so that she might come out again. She did so. Then was she so glad that she came home again. Then Ivar came to the farm and asked her again.

“You shall come to me first, you,” she said.

So he came. And then there was a great banquet. And there should each tell their dream. So she told:

“I dreamed that I once was lost. And I did not know where I was. And then it said from away on the farm: ‘I shall lay a red thread from your home all the way to mine, so you don’t get lost.’”

“That was just like me,” said Ivar.

“Then I came in and there stood a great mirror in the midst of the floor. And there it was so fine that it shone to the walls.”

“That was just like at mine,” said Ivar.

“Then I opened the bedchamber door and on a table there stood a bowl of blood with a man’s head by it. Then I lifted the cellar hatch, and if was full of dead folk.”

“That was not just like at mine.”

“Then I heard such a whining. So I sprang into the parlour and hid myself behind the mirror. Then he came in with a fine maiden and went into the bedchamber. And then he said this:

“‘Will you drink of the bowl of blood and eat of the man’s head, then you shall live. And if you will not, then you shall die.’

“And she was not good for it.

“So first he chopped off her little finger. And he threw it behind the mirror where I was. So I took her finger. There was a fine gold ring on it. Then he chopped off her head and stuffed her down into the cellar.”

“That was not just like at mine.”

“That was that, that. And if you will not believe me, then you shall see.”

Then she threw the finger with the ring on to the table.

Then he was taken and made an end of.

So he did not kill any more fine maidens.

And she got everything that he left behind.

  • Date: 1915
  • Location: Sunndal, Møre og Romsdal
  • Informant: Ann Tronsatter Gravem after Hælg Olsdatter Kalløra
  • Collector: E. Langset

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