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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang online

The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang


"Thorhall asked them what had been the cause of Glam's death. They said that they had traced footprints as large as though the bottom of a cask had been set down in the snow leading from where the trampled place was up to the cliffs at the head of the valley, and all along the track there were huge blood-stains. From this they guessed that the evil spirit which lived there must have killed Glam, but had received so much hurt that it had died, for nothing was ever seen of it after.

"The second day of Christmas they tried again to bring Glam to the church. They yoked horses to him, but after they had come down the slope and reached level ground they could drag him no further, and he had to be left there.

"On the third day a priest went with them, but Glam was not be found, although they searched for him all day. The priest refused to go a second time, and the shepherd was found at once when the priest was not present. So they gave over their attempts to take him to the church, and buried him on the spot.

"Soon after this they became aware that Glam was not lying quiet, and great damage was done by him, for many that saw him fell into a swoon, or lost their reason. Immediately after Yule men believed that they saw him about the farm itself, and grew terribly frightened, so that many of them ran away. After this Glam began to ride on the house-top by night, {259} and nearly shook it to pieces, and then he walked about almost night and day. Men hardly dared to go up into the valley, even although they had urgent business there, and every one in the district thought great harm of the matter.

"In spring, Thorhall got new men, and started the farm again, while Glam's walkings began to grow less frequent as the days grew longer. So time went on, until it was mid-summer. That summer a ship from Norway came into Huna-water (a firth to the north of Thorhall-stead), and had on board a man called Thorgaut. He was foreign by birth, big of body, and as strong as any two men. He was unhired and unmarried, and was looking for some employment, as he was penniless. Thorhall rode to the ship, and found Thorgaut there. He asked him whether he would enter his service. Thorgaut answered that he might well do so, and that he did not care much what work he did.

"'You must know, however,' said Thorhall, 'that it is not good for any faint-hearted man to live at my place, on account of the hauntings that have been of late, and I do not wish to deceive you in any way.'

"'I do not think myself utterly lost although I see some wretched ghosts,' said Thorgaut. 'It will be no light matter for others if _I_ am scared, and I will not throw up the place on that account.'

"Their bargain was quickly made, and Thorgaut was to have charge of the sheep during the winter. The summer went past, and Thorgaut began his duties with the winter nights, and was well liked by every one. Glam began to come again, and rode on the house-top, which Thorgaut thought great sport, and said that the thrall would have to come to close quarters before he would be afraid of him. Thorhall bade him not say too much about it. 'It will be better for you,' said he, 'if you have no trial of each other.'