In keeping with the approach of Halloween, I’m staying focused on ghostly apparitions for the remainder of this month’s Mythical Monday posts. October and spooky just effortlessly go hand-in-glove. When it comes to ghosts, we tend to think of them as spirits who are reluctant to move on, or who have left something unfinished when torn from the earthly realm. But there is an additional type of specter, or at least one that makes an appearance in Icelandic folklore.
If legend is to be believed, a ghost can be magically conjured from a human bone. I find the idea pretty ghoulish—imagining some wrinkled sorcerer or necromancer crouched and chanting over crypt bones—but apparently ghosts can be useful If you’re an unethical practitioner of magic. In this case, the wraiths are known as “sendings” and were often employed as murderers or dispatched to perform grisly deeds. It makes you feel sorry for the poor soul whose bones were unearthed by an unscrupulous wizard!
The good news (if you were the mortal target of said unscrupulous mage) is that sendings were not without weakness. As a case in point there was once a comely widow who many men sought to marry. She refused all offers—I can’t help thinking the husband she lost was her only true love—but that didn’t stop the men who coveted her, and her land holdings, from pursuing her.
One day as she was preparing supper a strange sixth sense came over her, warning of danger. Turning toward the doorway she spied a shadow on the threshold, velvet black but for an odd white spot at its center. As the terrified woman watched, the shadow crept toward her, inching nearer across the floor. Snatching up a knife, she struck the apparition where she sensed it was most vulnerable—the odd white blossom at its center. Instantly, the shadow vanished, her knife claimed along with it.
The next morning she found the knife in the yard, pinioned through a human bone. Her quick thinking and her bravery had saved her life, and from that point forward she was bothered no more.
A strange HEA, but kind of cool nonetheless, and it speaks to my personal belief that some people have only one soulmate. What do you think of this tale?