Updated: Feb 8
Hello, my name is George Freeman and I work on genealogy, history, and writing for Icelandic Roots. I want to share with you over time, some of my favorite Icelandic heritage stories I have found in my 20+ years of genealogical research. This one is a love story in Iceland of my great grandmother, Sigríður Eyvindsdóttir (1833-1914), and her first husband, Jón Jónsson (1833-1870), hreppstóri (a local authority). Jón was a farmer at Köldukinn, Haukadal, Dalasýsla. Here it is:
A Romantic Story - Þannig mættust Jón og Sigriður (Thus met Jon and Sigridur)
Momentous happenings ca eighty years ago: (1856) In a certain community called "Dalir" in Dalasýsla, Iceland a severe flu had wrought such rages among the flocks of sheep of the different farmers that the "pest" as it was called had reached epidemic proportions and scarcity of sheep was already general. Jón, son of Jón at Þorsteinsstaðir, then a young man, joined company with several others to go and buy sheep in a distant community.
They headed for "Eyjahrepp" district as no flu had reached there. Jón was billeted at the farmstead "Gerðubergi". During the day they had visited various farmers, selected their sheep and returned at night to their respective boarding places. The weather seems to have been unfavorable, it being rainy, or even snowing at times. The selecting of the sheep was done carefully, each one being caught and examined separately.
The woolen mitts usually worn by all Icelanders gave out under such rough work and wet weather and one who began his journey with only one pair of gloves, would find himself minus even that pair when a few days had elapsed. Jón was in such predicament having no thought of sparing mitts or anything else on such an important mission.
The ladies, daughters of Eyvind the farmer at Gerðubergi, watched with scrutinous eyes this spry young stranger from "Dalir". One of them seemed to size up the situation quickly and determined to help the young guest in his plight. On the morning of his departure for home, she with bashful sincerity, handed him new woolen mitts, beautifully knitted from yarn of her own making, spun from blue and red wool carded together to give a most pleasing color, a royal color. As the eyes of the young maiden met his, he knew he could not refuse such a gift, even from a stranger and she was assured of true appreciation of her gift.
Then Jón departed. Later that day, when he was well on his journey towards home, a cold wind having risen, it became necessary to use the mitts and with the look of that maiden still fresh in his soul, he thrust his hand into that beautiful mitten and was surprised to find a written note in the thumb which revealed to him that the giver was a poetess of quality.
Pride surged up in his heart, to be a recipient of a gift from such an honorable maiden. As the days passed, amounting to weeks and weeks to months, he finally had to give in to that compelling thought, that he should revisit Gerðubergi and pay due honors to her who so thoroughly knew what to do and when to do it, There were not many like her. He went back, they realized they loved each other and consequently got married and lived at Köldukinn.
Her name was Sigríður Eyvindsdóttir and her verse, which caused such upheaval in the young man's life, reads:
Af Þér ókendri baugabru
Loin burtu vendir trega.
Glófa á hendi pessa pú
(Loosely translated by Carl J Freeman)
From this unknown maiden
Who would chase your worries away.
These gloves I've knit and here present
Accept them please, I pray.
This story is as told by Kristinn Sveinson of Glenboro, Manitoba to Rev. Egill Fafnis and later preserved in his writings. Kristinn was a first cousin to Jon, the father of George Freeman. Sigríður was his mother.
We know much more about this family and it is preserved at www.IcelandAncestry.com. From time to time we will share stories found in our research - hopefully for your enjoyment. We would like to encourage our members to share or write your family stories and send them to Icelandic Roots. The memories will greatly add to Icelandic Roots. By contributing stories, you continue the Icelandic sagas and heritage. We are storytellers!!
Send your stories to email@example.com with the name of whom you want it attached to. George Freeman, Editor