The Ancient Icelandic Wolves. Shapeshifting Wolfmen

The Ancient Icelandic People had a tale passed down through the generations of one Man and his Son. It is probably amongst the most famous werewolf stories in Europe. The tale is found in a lore manuscript called the Volsunga Saga and it is the story of a father a Man named Sigmund and Sinfjotli, who was his son. They find themselves wandering through the forest, whereupon they come to a hut where they find two sleeping men who are under a spell – the spell the men are under means that for nine days they are wolves in their truest form, and on the tenth day they can take off the enchanted wolf skins and live as men again. Whilst as a wolf anyone under the spell will turn into a wild wolf and be able to use all the powers of this animal, such as the power of cunning, and valor. It must only be used for ten days at a time though or it will last forever.

The mischievous Sigmund and Sinfjotli, eager for a good adventure, steal the wolf-skins and put them on. The moment they do this they are themselves magically transformed into wolves. Each of them can howl as a wolf can, run as a wolf can,  and the bearer of the spell can also understand the wolfs  language. Sigmund and Sinfjotli make a pact to go their separate ways, yet come to the other’s aid should either of them be hunted by more than seven men. Seven seemingly is a reasonable number to face alone.

One day Sigmund meets some hunters  out in the forest who are looking to hunt and kill him, so he howl’s and Sinfjotli comes to his side at once and the two kill all of the hunters dead. Then later, Sinfjotli is attacked by eleven hunters but he kills them all on his own. Sigmund comes by and asks why he didn’t call him for help. The cocky Sinfjotli says he needs no help in killing so few men. Sigmund takes this as an insult to his own prowess, for he needed aid with fewer hunters. Sigmund attacks Sinfjotli and bites him in the throat. Sinfjotli doesn’t get up.

The guilty Sigmund, regretting both putting on the wolf-skin and losing his temper, carries Sinfjotli back to the house in the woods (the other men have left). He then sees two weasels fighting, and one bites the other’s throat, then the victor runs into a thicket and returns with a leaf that it puts onto the wound. Right away the wounded weasel is healed and is as fit as before.

Sigmund then tries to find this healing herb to save Sinfjotli, but lucky for him a raven comes and brings it to him. He puts it on the young wolf’s wound and straight away it is healed and Sinfjotli is as healthy as before.

As soon as the tenth day comes and they can return to human form, they build a fire and burn the wolf-skins to ashes.


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