A worm dog […] is a female pup. The bitch will only give birth to one if it has consumed an unboiled cock egg. These have such an aberrant nature that the pup will become a monstrous creature […] as it slips down into the earth on the third night after its birth and returns three years later as monster with a deadly gaze. At birth, they will have an all-white or all-black body, a red head and red feet. They are born with full sight.
María, wife of farmer Halli Snjólfsson at Sturluflötur in Fljótsdalur, was a labourer at the farm of Outer Víðivellir in her younger years. She later said that during her time there, an all-seeing, black female pup was born. Only its feet were red. It immediately stared at everything before it. The household did not want to risk having the creature nearby, so they placed it underwater in the hope that it would drown rather than slip into the earth. The creature was never seen again. At another farm, however, a one-coloured pup with a red head was born and managed to slip into the earth. A glass structure had to be built over the spot to prevent its return.
Source: Sigfús Sigfússon, Íslenzkar þjóðsögur og sagnir VI, p. 63-64.
Our Monster of the Month comes from the project Duldýrasafnið (“The Museum of Hidden Beings”) by Arngrimur Sigurðsson. He takes firsthand accounts of creature sightings, like the one above, from Icelandic historical texts, and creates a painting of each one. An English language translation of the book is available in our webstore, and you can read our interview with the artist here.
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