Although Beinta Broberg is indeed an historic person, her true character is widely overshadowed by the many myths and legends surrounding her. She has been depicted as a witch, said to have murdered her first two husbands and taken the sanity of the third one, as well as causing havoc wherever she went. This lead to her nickname “Illa Beinta” (wicked Beinta), which is still used in the village of Miðvágur, where she lived for 20 years. Nearly 300 years went by before another girl was given the name Beinta in Miðvágur.
Beinta was born to an upper class family in Tórshavn in the mid 17th century. Within only a few years, she married three times, each time to a vicar. Her first two husbands met an untimely death, whilst the third one has been said to have been driven to insanity. Her third marriage is said to have been a very turbulent one, and it is that period that has lead to most of the stories about her. These stories include an incidents where she in a rage threw a candle holder at her husband, and when she poured a bucket of urine over his head.
The best known incident is one of her husbands shoe buckles, which she without his knowledge sold to a farmer. This caused a long lasting feud between the farmer and her husband, who thought the buckles were stolen. When the farmer died her husband, who was the vicar of the parish, held the burial service. As the coffin was put into the grave, he spoke the words “As a thief you were born, as a thief you lived, and as a thief you have died.” This naturally lead to his deposition, after which they lived in poverty in Vágar for the rest of their lives.
Two novels have been written about Beinta:
- Beinta (novel) by Hans Andrias Djurhuus, depicts her as an unhappy woman who contributes to the unfortunes of men without any personal responsibility.
- Barbara (novel) by Jørgen-Frantz Jacobsen. Here she is depicted as “a child of nature”, who lives according to her needs without though of consequenses
- The book Barbara was also made into a film by Nils Malmros in 1997.