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Sæmundur and the seal

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Sæmundur Sigfússon is the subject of several legends, including one in which the devil – disguised as a seal – offered to carry him back to Iceland from France so that Sæmundur could apply for the post at Oddi. When they were within sight of the shore, the resourceful Sæmundur brained the devil with a psalter, swam to safety, and got the job. Less to his credit, he’s also held responsible for causing Hekla’s 1104 eruption by tossing a keepsake from a jilted lover – who turned out to be a witch – into the volcano.

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