Friday, January 22, 2010


Þorri, one of the Old Icelandic months, begins on a Friday, between the 19th and the 25th of January, and ends on a Saturday between the 18th and 24th of February. Therefore today (Friday, January 22, 2010) is the first of the old month of Þorri. Þorrablót traditionally takes place anytime during the month of Þorri.
Þorrablót, is a standard part of Icelandic social calendars, and has even been exported to many countries. Today Þorrablót are common events among Icelanders everywhere and can be anything from an informal dinner with friends and family to large organized events with stage performances and an after-dinner dance. These large Þorrablót are usually arranged by membership associations, associations of Icelanders living abroad, and as regional festivals in the countryside.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Huldufólk

Eve is the mother of us all,
those close at hand that we can see,
those hidden in obscurity,
fruit of the tree and of the fall.

Once God announced that he would come
to visit her and all her brood.
“Now, children,” she said, “don’t be rude
when God is here. Spit out your gum.

“I want you looking clean and neat
so you will be presentable.
It sure would be lamentable
if we aren’t ready when we meet.”

The time was short. She did her best,
but couldn’t get them all prepared.
When time had come, then she got scared.
God’s surely an important guest.

Some kids were ready. Some were not.
And God was coming up the road.
That’s what I’d call a “mother load,”
for she was really on the spot.

What, then, to do with all the rest,
the one’s who weren’t ready yet.
They’d never make it on a bet.
She wanted God to be impressed.

So, lest the meeting be a flop,
she hid the unwashed kids away.
They’d be prepared another day.
They’re hair all combed--not like a mop.

The children stood all in a row
and God inspected them that day.
“My goodness,” he said, “what a way.
This really has been quite a show.”

“Do you have any other kids?”
he asked, and fearful, she said, ”No.”
You wonder why she answered so.
That’s one way to put on the skids.

God left. You’d think he had to know
how many children should be there,
how many given to her care,
how many kids were a no-show.

And all of them God didn’t see
that day, the ones of which he spoke,
can not be seen--their Huldufólk,
and will be for eternity.

So, hidden folk they’ll always be,
and always, unseen, be with us,
yet seldom ever make a fuss.
They’re well behaved, you must agree.

The Huldufólk aren’t really bad.
They are the most like human kind
of all the others you will find,
each Hulda-maiden, Huldu-lad.

So do not fear the Hidden Folk.
They’re not like trolls that lurk at night
out in the summer’s pale moonlight
as sinister as evil Lok.

D. Gary Christian
Santa Clara, Utah
June 5, 2007

Friday, January 1, 2010


Gisli Bjarnason was born 10 October 1879, the son of Bjarni Jonsson, born 12 September 1854 died in Utah 16 August 1883; and Johanna Jonsdottir, born 10 March 1856 in Rangarvalla. Gisli’s father, Bjarni Jonsson, immigrated to Utah in 1881 leaving his fiancée Johanna Jonsdottir and their son Gisli in Iceland. Johanna and Gisli immigrated to Utah in 1883. His father died two weeks after he arrived in Utah. His mother Johanna married Erlendur Arnason.
At the age of seven Gisli went to live with Petur Valgardsson. Petur had baptized Gisli’s mother in Iceland 12 March 1883. Gisli lived and worked with Petur until he was able to be self-supporting. At a young age of 15 he went to work on the Rio Grande Railroad. He also worked in the mines at Scofield for three or four years, and was working there when the most tragic coal mine disaster, in terms of the number killed, in American history occurred, up until that time. The Scofield mine disaster occurred 1 May 1900, when an explosion ripped through the Winter Quarters Number Four mine located west of Scofield. Men working in the mine were killed outright by the explosion, which occurred when an excessive amount of coal dust ignited inside the mine. Gisli was not on shift when the disaster occurred, but he helped with the rescue effort. With the $805.00 in gold he earned he paid off his first ten acres of land he had contracted to buy at the age of seventeen. From that time on farming and raising stock, were his life.
Gisli married Sarah Ann Tilley 12 March 1902; she died 7 November 1903, when their daughter Sarah Ellen, was born. Gisli married Vilmina Christina Valgardson, born 3 September 1882 in Spanish Fork Utah the daughter of Petur Valgardsson (1842 -1918); and Gudrun Soffia Jonsdottir (1863-1893), 22 February 1905. Gisli and Christina had ten children: Fay, Bertha, Wilma, Elva, Mildred, Bernice, Geraldine, Perry (who died shortly after he was born), Sherman, and Norma. In addition to these children, Sarah Ellen, Gisli’s daughter, with Sarah Ann Tilley lived with them and Christina’s brother, Ephraim’s two children: Hannah and Paul Valgardson.
Gisli and Christina went to Roosevelt, Utah, where he homesteaded. There were no houses, and the family lived in a tent. He helped to bring the first water to Roosevelt. After improving upon his homestead he sold out and moved back to Spanish Fork. Gisli saw many changes in farm equipment; he always kept up on the latest. As a boy he walked to Leland to work on a horse- powered threshing machine. Later he and his partner, Arni Johnson, owned and operated three different steam-engine threshing machines. They were the first to thresh grain at Roosevelt; they threshed all over Utah, Idaho, and even into Canada. They later owned two different gas-tractor operated threshers. The last part of his life, he owned, along with his son Sherman, the latest models of combines used for harvesting grain, as well as other modern farming equipment.
Gisli was appointed to the Board of the East Bench Canal Company in 1931 and served in that capacity for forty years. He worked diligently to promote the business activities of the Spanish Fork River System. He gave progressive leadership and was untiring in his efforts to promote the growth and development of water resources and made great contributions to agriculture on lands served by the system in the State of Utah.
He was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; he served in the bishopric of the Fifth Ward with Bishop Arthur T. McKell, and on the building committee when the church was built. He always actively supported the ward and stake farms. He is remembered as a man who helped shape the destiny of his children, and tried to instill in them the principles that were important to him: honesty, integrity, love of work, the will to help others, and the determination to keep going when things get tough.
Gisli donated a small corner of his property to the Icelandic Monument in Spanish Fork, Utah. The Lighthouse Monument was dedicated 2 August 1938. Gisli actively worked on his farm chores almost to the end of his life. At the age of 90 he could be found working on the haystack and doing other chores around the farm. When he could no longer drive he would have one of his children drive him around to check on the crops or the cattle. He died peacefully 4 August 1972 and is buried in the Spanish Fork Cemetery. In Utah he was known as Gill Bearnson and Gesli Bearnson. Gisli is number 190 in Icelanders of Utah.