Once upon a time, a rich and noble sheriff and his wife lived happily at the important farm called Bustarfell. During the darkest days of winter, the sheriff's wife had a strange dream. She dreamed that a man came to her and asked her to get up and go with him. She did so and went with him a little way up the hill from the farmhouse to a huge boulder which she recognized on the Bustarfell property. The man went three times clockwise around the stone and the stone turned into a small house. He then took her inside where everything was neat and beautiful.
On the floor was a woman in labor and laying on the floor in great pain. The man asked her to help his wife. The sheriff's wife went up to the woman and said, "May the Lord Jesus help you."
Shortly, the woman gave birth and everyone was filled with joy. The sheriff's wife helped to bathe the newborn baby. The elf woman gave her some salve that was to be applied to the baby's eyes. The sheriff's wife was worried if it was okay and put a little bit of it in her right eye to make sure it was okay for the baby.
Shortly, the sheriff's wife was ready to leave and the elf woman gave her a beautiful shawl made of the finest silk and embroidered with gold thread. The man went outside with the woman, walked three times counter-clockwise around the house and it turned back into a stone, and he brought the woman back to Bustarfell. No one in Iceland had ever seen such a beautiful shawl or anything like the gold thread used for the embroidery.
After this, the sheriff's wife could see out of her right eye the houses, farms, and elf people that lived around Bustarfell. She noticed that they were more skillful in their work and could tell what the weather would be in the area. She started to copy their ways in haymaking and her farm became more and more prosperous.
Years went by and then the sheriff's wife went to the village of Vopnafjörður to buy supplies. In the store, she saw the elf woman helping herself to some of the rarest and finest goods in the store. The sheriff's wife said to the elf woman in a friendly voice, "So, here we meet again."
The elf woman turned around and without a word of reply, spit into her eye. Afterwards, the sheriff's wife could never see the elf people or their buildings again.
This is a folk-tale in the collection by Jón Árnason. The shawl in this story was used for a long time as an altar cloth in the church at Hof and is now preserved in the National Museum of Iceland. Bustarfell is an amazing turf farm in northeast Iceland and is an active heritage museum. It is one of the oldest and best-preserved turf farms in East Iceland.
The farmhouses you see today were originally erected in 1770 but they have undergone many changes through the years. The lodgings were inhabited until 1966. Since then, they have been under the protection of the National Museum.
Many people worked on this farm over the centuries. The family of Árni Brandsson IR# I134772 and Úlfheiður Þorsteinsdóttir IR# I134175 have owned this farm since 1532. Árni is my 12th great-grandfather. Closer in time, my 3rd great-grandfather died at this farm but he was just a working man. His daughter emigrated to North Dakota in 1887. How are you related?
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