Dragons, Eagles and Giants!

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If you take a closer look at the tales side of an Icelandic coin you'll notice a seal featuring the four gaurdians of Iceland: a dragon for east, an eagle for the north, a bull for the west and a giant representing the south. The story of the four guardians originates in the pages of the famous Heimskringla Saga (Circle of the World) by Snorri Sturluson, which is a history of the Norwegian kings. In the story, the Danish King Harold sent an old warlock to spy on Iceland prior to a planned invasion. The warlock shape-shifted into a whale and first traveled to Vopnafjörður in the east where he was confronted by a poison-puffing dragon with a trail of serpents and toads. He then traveled to Eyjafjörður in the North where he faced a giant eagle so great in size its wingspan outstretched the width of the valley. At Breiðafjörður in the west, a large grey bull charged him, bellowing fearfully as it pursued him into the sea. From there he tried his luck in Reykjanes in the south where he was confronted by a giant with an iron staff, whose head was higher than the mountains. Finally he traveled east and saw nothing but deserted sands and vast deserts. Empty handed, he returned to the king and informed him that there was no place to come ashore. So ended the invasion plans of the king of Danes.

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Author:

Lisa Shannen