Yet Another Volcanic Eruption

Screenshot of a video shot from an Icelandic coast-guard helicopter.

During the night, just before 03:00 local time, there was an increase in seismic activity near the town of Grindavík. Soon after an immediate evacuation was ordered. At 07:57 a volcanic eruption began near the town.

The inhabitants had been allowed to return after the end of the previous eruption but many had yet to do so. There had already been signs of activity and the town was supposed to be evacuated by Monday.

As I write this, the lava-flow is about 450m (about a third of mile) from the edge of town.

The best way to keep of with news of the eruption is at the RÚV (Icelandic state radio and TV) website. They also have webcams near to the eruption site.

Joining the Fediverse.

An image showing the interconnectivity of various networks and platforms using the Fediverse. More information on

The website of the podcast Stories of Iceland has now been joined the . You might not know what the Fediverse is (unless of course you are seeing this post on the Fediverse) so let me explain. The Fediverse connects many different social media networks, the most famous being , by using a common protocol called . Now sites powered by can also join. The Fediverse might be the best hope we have for keeping the open web open and out of the hands of giant corporations.

Home Alone

Two tales about the perils of being left home alone during Yule.

[Today, December 22. 2023, there is currently no volcanic eruption, that might change soon.]

My Cursed Ancestors

In the 17th century, Iceland was thrown into a panic about witchcraft. My ancestor Einar Nikulásson lived through almost the exact period of the “age of burning” and has gone down in folklore as “Galdrameistari” or “master of sorcery”. These stories also implicated his descendants, especially Þórarinn Einarson, Jón Einarsson and Einar Jónsson (the last two are also my ancestors).

This episode explores these stories and the reputations of these real men, earned and unearned.

It Takes Too Long To Fill The Souls Of Priests

Bobby Fischer in Iceland

Photo of Bobby Fischer from 1972

Bobby Fischer was a chess phenomenon, likely to most famous player to ever play the game. He wound up a fugitive who ended his life as an Icelandic citizen. This episode tells the story of Bobby Fischer in Iceland.

AP videos (Bobby Fischer in Iceland)

Bobby Fischer on 60 Minutes (pre-match)

Bobby Fischer and Bob Hope
Bobby Fischer and Johnny Carson
Bobby Fischer on Dick Cavett (pre-match)
Bobby Fischer on Dick Cavett (as World Champion)

That Reminds Me of a Story

The Matter of Atli

Where everyone …. lives happily ever after?

This is the third episode based on The Saga of the Völsungs, the last part of the story. We follow Guðrún and her relationship with Atli (aka Attila the Hun). There is a bit of tragedy. A lot of violence and a horrific scene which is not meant for children (even though children are involved).

The Shield Maiden's Wrath

The Dragon's Bane

Sigurður testing the sword while Reginn waits for the verdict.

It is said that tales of dragons and dragon slayers are universal. That is not quite true. This is a story that has been retold in numerous ways. This isn’t the “original” but it is one of the oldest we know.

A Winter in Iceland 1834-1835

The Beast of Katanes

Songs of Exploding Sands

[NSFW] Loki Plays the Dirty Dozens

Lokasenna is one of the most controversial of the Eddic poems. It is also funny and naughty. There are two versions in the feed, one with the naughtiest bits removed and this one that has everything.

[Safe] Loki Plays the Dirty Dozens

Lokasenna is one of the most controversial of the Eddic poems. It is also funny and naughty. There are two versions in the feed, this one has the naughtiest bits removed, the other includes them all.

Thor and the Norse View of Gods and Religion

A Runaway Slave in Iceland

The Dog Days King

The English Dane by Sarah Bakewell was my main source for Jörgensen’s later life in Tasmania.

A Spotify link to the album Eitt sumar á landinu bláa, from the musical about Jörgensen, performed by the band Þrjú á palli.

An online version of the book Journal of a tour in Iceland in the summer of 1809 by William Jackson Hooker.

Scottish Plans for the Annexation of Iceland by Anna Agnarsdóttir (pdf).

An article in Icelandic by Bragi Þorgrímur Ólafsson on the changing perception of Jörgensen in Iceland through time.

An Icelandic book that includes much of the original source material: Sjálfstæði Íslands 1809.

A thesis project, in Icelandic, outlining a pitch for a television series about Guðrún Einarsdóttir Johnsen.

The Hauntings at Yuletide

Coal Bottom Poker Riding

Blue is the Old Black

You can find articles by dr. Arngrímur in these books:

Paranormal Encounters in Iceland 1150–1400
Margins, Monsters, Deviants Alterities in Old Norse Literature and Culture

The Ghost of the Scorned Woman

Was Murdered

Eurovision, Will Ferrell and Iceland

2020 Presidential Election

The Boy Who Didn\'t Know What Fear Was

Sagas and Eddas

The Brothers of Bakki

Iceland in 1918

The Naked Seal Clubber


A Trollish Yuletide Tale

Where in the World is Iceland?

Cover image

The Tale Heard Around The World

The Berserker of Butter-Hill

Sledgehammer Judgements from an English Poet

Icelandic Food and Cookery by Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir (mentioned in the episode) is a great source of information and Icelandic cuisine.

Let\'s Talk About Elves, Baby

A picture of a model house. Not connected to elves in any way.

Goldie Locks and Beardie

The Tourism Boom in Post-Crash Iceland

Includes audio from this clip by Charlotte Evans.

Iceland's Only Serial Killer

The Smartest People In The World

A Mazing Tale

Queen of Elves

Queen of Elves

The Hornless Cow and The Carl\'s Son

Whose People Are You?

Gable Mountain Farm

In Vopnafjörður there is a farm called Bustarfell which has long history and is connected to many stories.

Where is Haukur?

The Icelandic Sport Saga

As the Icelandic men’s football team starts its first game ever at the World Cup it is fitting to look back in time at the sports of Iceland, from the sagas to the viking clap. Also, did you know that Arsenal saved Icelandic football?
Continue reading “The Icelandic Sport Saga”

Special Video Episode (Free)

A special free video episode at

Ragnar Furry Pants and the Sagas

Ragnar Loðbrók (furry pants) is one of the most famous heroes of Icelandic literature. Today he is more famous as the lead character of the television series Vikings but here is the original story. Continue reading “Ragnar Furry Pants and the Sagas”

The Deacon of Dark-River (Folktale Special)

This is a special episode, and a bit shorter than usual, where I read and examine the folktale The Deacon of Dark-River. Continue reading “The Deacon of Dark-River (Folktale Special)”

What\'s in an Icelandic Name

Confused about our naming conventions? Listen to this. The patronymic naming system used in Iceland is rather perplexing and we have unusual laws dealing with both first names and last names.

Also, big thanks to André Bernier who interviewed me for his podcast Weatherjazz – episode 79. Continue reading “What\’s in an Icelandic Name”

Hear, Smith of Heavens

The Age of the Sturlungs was the most violent period in Icelandic history.  But it also produced beautiful art. Here I examine the relationship between bishop Guðmundur the Good and the chieftain Kolbeinn Tumason. Continue reading “Hear, Smith of Heavens”

Yule - Not Christmas

Iceland has thirteen Yule-Lads, a cat which eats children, strange songs and a long colorful history of celebrating Jól.
Continue reading “Yule – Not Christmas”

The Thing About Þings

A word you hear again and again in Iceland is þing but what does it really mean and what is its history? We take a journey through the ages of Iceland to figure it out.

Smoke by the Water

This is the story of Reykjavík but also about how Iceland was discovered. Continue reading “Smoke by the Water”

Troublemaker Valley

In the north of Iceland there is valley called Svarfaðardalur. It has long history, beautiful scenery and great stories. From the ghosts of the Sagas to the impoverished children of the early twentieth centuries. Continue reading “Troublemaker Valley”