Monster Of The Month: Sálir - Souls - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Monster Of The Month: Sálir – Souls

Monster Of The Month: Sálir – Souls

Published July 13, 2017

Photos by
Arngrímur Sigurðsson

Dark are the murky waters,
The deep and stormy sea
Where each and every evening
This fisherman will be.
– Dark are the murky waters.

The first time that he cast
His fishhook overboard,
An old and splendid codfish
Became his sweet reward.
He mumbled something to himself
And sang and laughed and roared.

On every night since then
The man will go back there
And spend the evening fishing
With no need to despair,
For his boat is always full of catch
Though black storms shake the air.

Dark are the murky waters,
The deep and stormy sea,
And some say that the old man
Who rows there frequently
Has horns, a tail and claws
And a hoof below his knee.

When we die, the tale tells,
And death comes to your door,
The soul becomes a codfish
To cleanse what’s gone before …
And let’s not say any more.
– But dark are the murky waters.

Dark are the murky waters by Davíð Stefánsson.

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.

See more monsters here.

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