His Fires Will Consume Us."
To Which A Ready Debater On The Other Side Replied, By
"Begging Leave To Ask
The honourable gentleman, - with
whom were the gods angry when these rocks were
melted?" - pointing to the devastated plain around
Taking advantage of so good a hit, the Treasury "whips"
immediately called for a division; and the Christian
religion was adopted by a large majority.
The first Christian missionaries who came to Iceland seem
to have had a rather peculiar manner of enforcing the
truths of the Gospel. Their leader was a person of the
name of Thangbrand. Like the Protestant clergymen Queen
Elizabeth despatched to convert Ireland, he was bundled
over to Iceland principally because he was too disreputable
to be allowed to live in Norway. The old Chronicler gives
a very quaint description of him. "Thangbrand," he says,
"was a passionate, ungovernable person, and a great
man-slayer; but a good scholar, and clever. Thorvald,
and Veterlid the Scald, composed a lampoon against him;
but he killed them both outright. Thangbrand was two
years in Iceland, and was the death of three men before
he left it."
From the Althing we strolled over to the Almanna Gja,
visiting the Pool of Execution on our way. As I have
already mentioned, a river from the plateau above leaps
over the precipice into the bottom of the Gja, and flows
for a certain distance between its walls. At the foot of
the fall the waters linger for a moment in a dark, deep,
brimming pool, hemmed in by a circle of ruined rocks; to
this pool, in ancient times, all women convicted of
capital crimes were immediately taken, and drowned.
Witchcraft seems to have been the principal weakness of
ladies in those days, throughout the Scandinavian countries.
For a long period no disgrace was attached to its
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