Katla’s Magic Panties

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This is the village of Vik in the Southern tip of Iceland.

Vik, South of Iceland
Vik, South of Iceland

One side of this town faces the open sea, while the other side lies Katla, an active volcano.

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One side of Vik, facing the ocean

Rock cliffs, stone bridges, basaltic fingers shaped by the full force of the sea are nesting places for the Puffins and Arctic terns.

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Rocky cliff jutting out in the sea
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Rock bridges
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The cliffs are overlooking the black basaltic beach, once hailed as one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world by Islands Magazine.DSC00896 (Large)

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Black basaltic beach
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The black beach

In this southernmost village in Iceland, before Katla the volcano came to be, there lived a girl, named Katla.  She is a strange girl.  A witch.  And she owns magic panties with superpowers.  The panties make her super fast.  Katla works as a housekeeper to the town’s abbot.  One day she accompanied the abbot to a trip out of the town.  Before they left, the abbot instructed Bardi, the herdsman to gather all the sheep before they come back to the village in the afternoon.  Soon, it was already afternoon and Bardi was stressed as he couldn’t manage to find all the sheep yet and the abbot is coming back soon.  Bardi remembered Katla’s magic panties and put them on.  He managed to round up all the sheep before the abbot arrived.  Katla, however was enraged that Bardi has worn her panties.  So she drowned Bardi.  Soon the abbot found out and Katla, run away.DSC01059 (Large)

Katla’s way
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Katla’s route
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Katla still on the run

She kept on running, until she saw a glacier and leapt into a crevasse.  She disappeared.  Right after she leapt, a violent eruption shook the whole mountain and melted the glacier.  It was Katla.  Enraged with Bardi for wearing her panties.DSC01083 (Large)

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The black Mýrdalsjökull glacier – the black color are from the ashes of Eyafjellajökull which erupted in 2010

Apparently there are different versions to this folklore.  This is one version from a villager.  Katla is a very active volcano, with cycles of 85-95 years in between eruptions.   It is entering its 90 plus year this year so it could erupt anytime.  An eruption from Katla would melt the Mýrdalsjökull glacier and trigger flash floods that could wipe out the entire village.  So how could the villagers survive this disaster?  They could take refuge in the village church sitting on the hill.

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Village church on hilltop

If they couldn’t make it to the church, they could take shelter in this shack, which couldn’t be reached by the melted glacier.

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The haunted shack

However, this hut is haunted.  Check out those huge flies in the window.

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Or they could take cover inside this cave.DSC01130 (Large)

and sing Icelandic songs.  While waiting for Katla to cool down. DSC01127 (Large)

1 comments on “Katla’s Magic Panties”

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