Iceland is a country blessed with waterfalls a plenty, they’re dotted everywhere across the country. New ones are continuously created each year from melting glaciers and rivers. Our personal favourite from our trip and this weeks topic of discussion -- Skógafoss -- is found in the south of the island.
In Icelandic Foss translates to waterfall and Skóga means forest, so put those two together and you get -- The forest waterfall. On the ground, the lure of the thundering cascades are awe inspiring and hugely popular with tour groups for obligatory photo pit stops. We were struck during our visit by the constant mist and spray emitted by the fall, our crew were thoroughly soaked at the end. On our particular day of filming, it was overcast but word on the street says, that if the sun’s out, then rainbows often grace the waterfall (sometimes of the double variety).
So, this week’s particular legend and our interpretation of the Skógafoss fable concerns one viking settler by the name of Prasi Porolfsson. It's said that he lived on a farm, a short distance east of Skógafoss waterfall and curiously enough, was also skilled in the magical arts. It's not quite clear what drove Prasi to fill a chest with glittering gold and unknown treasures. However, what is apparent (at least according to the tale) was the chosen location for said chest. It’s believed to have been buried in a secret cave behind Skógafoss.
An ancient rhyme about the legend, goes something like this:
"The chest of Þrasi is filled with treasures
located beneath Skógafoss waterfall,
the first man who goes there
will find great richness."
The story picks up, several years later when a hunt for the treasure eventually was undertaken by three intrepid men. However, their quest was fraught and legend says that in the lead up to their mission, they encountered a strange manner of occurrences and hidderences: from a mirage of burning farm to fearsome hallucinations, the men were being seemly plagued.
However despite the tribulations, they were at last able to reach the waters of Skógafoss. During their attempts to retrieve this infamous chest and haul off the treasure, disaster struck and they lost their grasp on the loot. All that remained from this scuffle with the elusive treasure, was the chest’s handle ring and rest was forever lost.
The story makes for a compelling read and taps into the idea of everyone’s inner fantasy of striking it rich, sort of like the modern day equivalent of winning the lottery. In ancient times the lure of a treasure chest would have been undoubtedly tantilising: the chase of fortune and often in turn, fame. What we found most compelling in the legend and focused upon in our reinterpretation of the story, was this idea of:
Who was Prasi? And how might he have first acquired such a fabled treasure chest?
These are questions we explore in our fourth episode ‘Instructions on how to steal a Viking Treasure’ which teases a trail as voiced by Prasi, leading the viewer to the location of his hidden loot.
Are you tempted by the tale? Do you have what it takes to discover and retrieve the chest, where others failed?
In the mean time while you ponder and should you have missed yesterday’s episode, be sure to check out the film below: