The three gifts for Mykines


Mykines is the only place on the Faroe Islands where you will find nesting gannets. Legend has it, the gannet was a gift to the islanders.

Back in the olden days in Gásadalur in Vágum, lived a giant called Tórur Rami, and in Mykinesi, around the same time, lived a man called Óli Rami.

Tórur Rami wanted to kill Óli and claim the Mykines island to his own, he then went from the dale at Líraberg and jumped across the fiord out to Borgargjógv at Borgardali on the far east on Mykines, his footsteps can still be seen on both sides where he jumped.

The Mykines man lived on the west side on the island, Tórur had quite the distance to get to Óli, but with his long legs he walk his way west. When he came striding down across the crag, that´s when Óli saw him, and it shook him, because of his enourmous figure.  Óli was quick on his feet and ran away west as fast as he could. When Tórur was closing in on him, Óli panicked and yelled “Rivni gjógv!” and that´s when mykinesislet exited the island and the strait appeared. It can be easily seen from both cliffs that the islet used to be a part of the island.

The giant Tórur now sees the twenty fathoms gap and the islet releasing, he then yells “Rivni, hvat ið rivna vil, eg loypi eftir”. He then proceeds to straddle across the gap, and on this islet Tórur and Óli start fighting, since there was no other way out for Óli. The area in which they fought is called “í Trakki” and there hasn’t grown any grass there since their battle, even though the islet is covered in grass from the edge down to the rocky coast.

After quite a while the Mykines man Óli finally managed to overcome the giant. He took one of the giants eyes, and threatened to kill the Tórur Rami, but the giant didn’t want to die and begged for his life, and in return he would give him three rare rewards. The first thing was a large bottlenose whale, that should appear once a year in Hvalagjógv in Mykines. Second was a big crooked tree that should come ashore in another crag called Viðarhellisgjógv close to the first one. Third reward was a bird which only should accompany itself at Mykineshólmur and no other island in the Faroes, but the condition was that the people who were going to live on the island did not talk badly of any of these. The Mykines man agreed to these terms and accepted. They both lived together for the rest of their lives, on the far west on the island there are two hills, one is called Hill Óli Rami which is the northern one and the southern one is where the Tórur Rami is buried.

The giant kept what he promised, and every year the giant whale appeared in Hvalagjógv, but nowadays he doesn’t show up any more since the people from Mykines forgot that they weren’t to say anything bad about it, after eating it’s meat they got diarrhoea.

The tree showed up on spring, but it quickly disappeared like the whale, because everytime they went to pick it up, it was crooked and cross-grained, because they used it every year to build a chapel and every year it got teared down with the wind.  Their dissatisfaction with the tree made it disappear.

The third promise from the giant, which was the bird, arrived in groups on the islet, and on it’s stacks. No man from Mykines has ever talked badly of the northern gannet. If any man from the Faroe Islands talks badly of the northern gannet, the Mykines man atones the commer and says “Góður fuglur er kortini, og háborin fuglur, sum sigur ”træl” (so ljóðar mál hennara) við hvønn mann” The northern gannet only finds land at Mykineshólm. The gannet arrives at Pálsmessu and is on the cliffside until Mortansmessu, when her birds are old enough. She is then gone for the first part of the winter.