Berserkirnir Berserkjahraun

  • Eyrbyggja Saga tells us about two Swedish Berserks, Halli and Leiknir,

 

Eyrbyggja Saga tells us about two Swedish Berserks, Halli and Leiknir, who Vermundur the Slim, a farmer at Bjarnarhofn, brought to Iceland from Norway in 982. Vermundur meant to use them to stand up to his powerful brother Styr the Slayer. Of course, this wimp didn't have what it took to deal with the enormity of the Berserks' temper. Soon after arriving in Iceland he had to ask his brother to take them off his hands. Styr the Slayer reluctantly obliged but soon faced some problems. The Berserk's killing sprees and uncontrollable temper were the least of them. What happened was that Halli dared to fall in love with Styr's precious daughter and asked for her hand in marriage.

The contract

After seeking advice from some wise friends, Styr told the Berserks he would give Halli his blessings after they had finished a few tasks. They had to clear a bridle path through his rugged lava field, building a boundary fence across it, and a sheep pen. The Berserks completed their tasks in no time at all, but while they were slaving away, Styr prepared an underground sauna for them. The sauna was covered with sturdy rafts with a hole in the middle, for pouring water into the sauna to create hot steam. When the Berserks returned, Styr invited them to relax in the sauna. They accepted. No sooner had the Berserks entered the sauna than Styr had big boulders stacked on top of the sturdy rafts. Through the hole, he poured excessive quantities of boiling water. The sauna soon became unbearably hot, and the Berserks wanted out!

The killing of the Berserks

It took all their power to break the rafts and make away with the boulders. At that point, their strength was considerably diminished. Still, they were set on revenge. But, Styr had spread wet and slippery Bull hides on the ground around the sauna. The Berserks were totally incapacitated, and Styr managed to kill both of them.  Styr had the Berserks' bodies w removed to a basin in the lava field where they were cairned close to the bridle path. The cairn is still visible today.

 

Below is the location of Berserkjahraun on the map of Iceland