complaint. The laborers would leave the fields and collect

Nature Difficult to Move Networklove2023-11-30 18:35:05 619 931

From this principal path several smaller ones lead far into the interior of this stony region; but they do not communicate with each other, and one is compelled to return from each side-path into the main road. Some of these by-paths are short, narrow, and low; others, on the contrary, are long, broad, and lofty.

complaint. The laborers would leave the fields and collect

In one of the most retired of these by-paths I was shewn a great number of bones, which, I was told, were those of slaughtered sheep and other animals. I could gather, from the account given by the priest of the legend concerning them, that, in days of yore, this cave was the resort of a mighty band of robbers. This must have been a long, long time ago, as this is related as a legend or a fable.

complaint. The laborers would leave the fields and collect

For my part, I could not tell what robbers had to do in Iceland. Pirates had often come to the island; but for these gentry this cavern was too far from the sea. I cannot even imagine beasts of prey to have been there; for the whole country round about is desert and uninhabited, so that they could have found nothing to prey upon. In fact, I turned over in my mind every probability, and can only say that it appeared to me a most remarkable circumstance to find in this desert place, so far from any living thing, a number of bones, which, moreover, looked as fresh as if the poor animals to whom they once belonged had been eaten but a short time ago. Unfortunately I could obtain no satisfactory information on this point.

complaint. The laborers would leave the fields and collect

It is difficult to imagine any thing more laborious than to wander about in this cavern. As the road had shewed itself at the entrance of the cavern, so it continued throughout its whole extent. The path consisted entirely of loose fragments of lava heaped one upon the other, over which we had to clamber with great labour. None of us could afford to help the others; each one was fully occupied with himself. There was not a single spot to be seen on which we could have stood without holding fast at the same time with our hands. We were sometimes obliged to seat ourselves on a stone, and so to slide down; at others, to take hands and pull one another to the top of high blocks of stone.

We came to several immense basins, or craters, which opened above our heads, but were inaccessible, the sides being too steep for us to climb. The light which entered through these openings was scarcely enough to illumine the principal path, much less the numerous by-paths.

At Kalmannstunga I had endeavoured to procure torches, but was obliged to consider myself fortunate in getting a few tapers. It is necessary to provide oneself with torches at Reikjavik.

The parts of the cavern beneath the open craters were still covered with a considerable quantity of snow, by which our progress was rendered very dangerous. We frequently sunk in, and at other times caught our feet between the stones, so that we could scarcely maintain our balance. In the by-paths situated near these openings an icy rind had formed itself, which was now covered with water. Farther on, the ice had melted; but it was generally very dirty, as a stratum of sand mixed with water lay there in place of the stones. The chief path alone was covered with blocks of lava; in the smaller paths I found only strata of sand and small pieces of lava.

The magical illumination produced by the sun's rays shining through one of these craters into the cavern produced a splendid effect. The sun shone perpendicularly through the opening, spread a dazzling radiance over the snow, and diffused a pale delicate light around us. The effect of this point of dazzling light was the more remarkable from its contrasting strongly with the two dark chasms, from the first of which we had emerged to continue our journey through the obscurity of the second.



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