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Marja’s Winter Tale

Editor's note: On Christmas Eve, a young farm worker, Marja, was asked by farmer Jon's young son, Steinie, to tell a scary Christmas story. The boy enjoyed her stories and always asked for one each evening.




"One dark winter night when the snow was falling heavily in Reykjadal Valley, the evil troll Grýla told her slothful husband Leppalúði, “get up you worthless lump and find me some food to eat. I fancy a nice young child. A boy child."

Marja said this last sentence looking Steinie directly in the eyes, she stroked the farm cat, sleeping in her lap. Steinie ducked behind his mother Elina’s chair. Marja paused.


Steinie poked his head out and said, “Then what happened?”

Well, as you know Steinie, Leppalúði is a very lazy troll who would rather stay in his cave sleeping all day than go out hunting for food.

So he called for their black cat, who loves nothing better than to hunt. And it especially loves hunting for small children it can bring back to the two trolls to eat.

Leppalúði told the cat that he knew of a small farmhouse in Reykjadal valley where a very young boy lived who would be especially tasty because of his fondness for almond pudding and sugar.

Steinie made a gulping noise and again disappeared behind Elina’s back.

The black cat left the troll’s cave and made its way down the mountain, crunching through the snow on the ground even as more snow was falling, filling its freshly made tracks.

Eventually, the small farmhouse came into view. The black cat crept around the house trying to determine the best way to get in and capture the little boy for the trolls. The black cat had gone on many hunting trips of this kind, so it knew what it would need to do in order to snare its prey.


The family was fast asleep because it was now very late at night. The cat forced open the front door, and a gust of wind, which you may have heard last night, accompanied the cat’s entrance into the house.


“I did, I did hear the gust last night when I was in my bed,” said an excited Steinie. He also glanced concernedly into the darker corners of the room.

Marja paused dramatically before continuing in a low whisper.


The black cat prowled through the house in search of her prize. First, she found the farmer and his wife asleep in their bed. They were both snoring loudly and drove the cat from their chambers with their noisy drones.


The whole family laughed at the thought since the sound was indeed a familiar nighttime occurrence.