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The Giantess of Thvera

Dreamed (early 940s?) by Viga-Glum Eijolfsson of Iceland
(Excerpt from The Saga of Viga-Glum, translated by Edmund Head in 1866, from the original 'Víga-Glúms saga'. For complete saga see the Icelandic Saga Database.)

...Glum had a dream one night, in which he seemed to be standing out in front of his dwelling, looking towards the firth; and he thought he saw the form of a woman stalking up straight through the district from the sea towards Thverá. She was of such height and size that her shoulders touched the mountains on each side, and he seemed to go out of the homestead to meet her and asked her to come to his house; and then he woke up.

This appeared very strange to every one, but he said, "The dream is no doubt a very remarkable one, and I interpret it thus--My grandfather, Vigfuss, must be dead, and that woman who was taller than the mountains, must be his guardian spirit, for he too was far beyond other men in honour and in most things, and his spirit must have been looking for a place of rest where I am."

But in the summer, when the ships arrived, the news of Vigfuss's death became known, and then Glum sang as follows--

At dead of night, beneath the sky,
Upon the banks of Eyjafirth,
I saw the spirit stalking by,
In giant stature over the earth.

The goddess of the sword and spear
Stood, in my dream, upon this ground;
And whilst the valley shook with fear,
She tower'd above the mountains round.


This is one of the earliest dreams in the Icelandic sagas. It's unlikely to have been a later addition to the story. Glum told everyone the dream and it was much discussed: "This appeared very strange to everyone." Further, it was genuinely predictive: Icelandic shipping shut down in winter; no news for months. So neither the dream or Glum's reading of it can be after the fact, or a memory he revised in light of the news that summer. It was all public and remarked on, months before the annual "ships arrived" with the proof Glum had read his dream right.

--Chris Wayan

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