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The Source:

Translated by Alan Boucher :
"Ghosts, Witchcraft and the Other World - Icelandic Folktales I"
Iceland Review, Reykjavik, Iceland, 1978

The Case:

As always, you should try to get hold of and read the original story. It is much better written and has lots more details. Having said that, I will try to give you a short version of the facts that we have been handed.

A man called Kort Thorvaldsson got maried for the second time. His new wife seemed to be quite something and all her other admirers were dead jealous of Kort. So they went to see a sorcerer to get their revenge. Through some kind of necromantic rites the sorcerer brought "life" to a boy who had frozen to death. And then ordered him to do harm to Kort Thorvaldson and all his descendants. So the dead boy, Mori, went to Mödruvellir and killed lots of cattle and also spoiled the food. Someone had the brilliant idea of putting down some food especially for him at every meal, and after that he just killed the cattle and did no longer mess with the food.

After the death of Kort Thorvaldsson, Mori went to Irafell where Kort's son Magnus was living. Trying to make peace with Mori, Magnus had put a bed next to his on which the dead boy would be sleeping. One night another boy was seeking shelter and went to sleep on Mori's bed. He did feel a terrible weight on top of him and could hardly breathe. So they put knifes around the bed pointing upwards and that seemed to help.

One of Kort's daughters was married to a priest. He met Mori on Holtavarda Heath. He made a deal to give the boy a new pair of boots if he would leave them in peace until those boots would be completely worn. Mori kept his promise, but when the boots were worn he appeared again and killed a cow in a rather horrible manner, breaking all of the bones in its body.

The Date:

Mori's original victim, Kort Thorvaldsson, is reported to have died in 1821. So Mori must already have been up to his tricks way before then. He was last reported to be seen - as far as I can tell - in 1852.

The Places:

The place where Mori started his career is said to be Mödruvellir, in Kjos. He later took his undead business to Irafell. He was also spotted on Holtavarda Heath. And also came to Hitanes. And so there are plenty of locations for us to find. I always like that kind of challenge. Are they real places ? Have they changed their names ? Me, I think that it is a nice challenge. How about you ?

Personal Comments:

To me it is great news to find nothing less than a real "draugr" in the early 19th Century. It means that this tradition was still alive and not "just something from the very faraway past". It is also interesting to note that the undead Mori was raised by some necromancer. If you take the trouble of finding and reading the original story, you may notice that there are certain aspects that will remind you of things that are being said about the Abramelin kind of ressurections of the dead.

2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 24 November 2009

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