Icelandic folktales have lived with the nation for centuries. They served as one of the primary forms of entertainment for people as they sat and worked through long winters. Many of the tales are inspired by Icelandic nature and deal with mountain trolls and elves who live in cliffs and crags, while others are a testament to the powers of imagination, including gruesome ghost stories and tales of strange beasts on land and in the sea. This volume brings together a wide range of stories and beautiful illustrations.
Jón Árnason (1819–1888) was an Icelandic scholar. He began collecting folktales under the influence of the Brothers Grimm, compiling the stories that his countrymen had told each other for centuries. Two volumes of his colossal collection were printed in Leipzig, Germany, in 1862 and 1864. His collection of folktales was later released in an even larger collection, a true magnum opus of six volumes, in Reykjavík between 1954 and 1961. It remains the most important collection of Icelandic folktales in print.