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The Legend of Galti

The legend of Galti, a story about a dragon who died high up in the Icelandic mountains.

Of all the nature spirits, the dragons speak to the imagination the most. They are only born for very rare and specific occasions, when the need is high. No two dragons are the same, their purpose is deeply engrained in their nature, characteristics and appearance. They are mother nature’s most powerful tool to intervene.

This legend tells about such an occasion, of which you can see the remnants even today.

Once there was a time, when all over the land, sorrow was consuming people’s mind. They would get caught in a spiral of negative thought. Quarrels were not settled. Sickness was treated with fear. Hardship was responded to with revenge. People were dwelling on the past and forgot to live. There was no hope, no gratefulness for bliss, only fear that it soon might be taken away.

When complaining becomes a favourable bonding activity, then you know a society is lost. Thus, when the negative energy seeped down through the earth, a counterforce was triggered.

Deep in the earth, were mother natures power is raw and undilluted, a dragon spirit awakened within the molten magma. When the pressure reached a critical point, the volcano erupted, as the dragon forced its way out, spreading his wings of fire. Galti was the name he roared in the sky.

All flames and a glowing heart, he flew over the land. His heat was so intense that the warmth was felt in the deepest part of every soul. Galti’s body of molten rock would slowly loose his fire, as he gave it all away. Unconditionally he gave his love of life. As Galti flew, sparkles would appear in people’s hearts again. Fights would be talked over sometimes. The sick would fight for healing. Heart break got its time to heal. The past was in the past, as there was hope again for a better future. Man was making art, just for the sake of creating something beautiful. Once more, festive fires were lit. Forgiveness was preached and happiness was lived.

But often, a giving nature and kindness is not treated back equally. Galti knew and accepted that, for in the end, only your own actions matter. That is way the northern winds caught the last fire in his wings before he could finish his job. The seed was planted and transferred to the care of men. Galti slowly began to loose hight and he was seen, flying lower and lower. Until he solidified completely and crushed down between the mountains. Today you can still see his back, slowly eroding between the snow.

In his honour, the people named the valley after him. If you want to visit his remnants, go to Brekkudalur in the westfjords of Iceland, only a short distance from Þingeyri and hike up to the beginning of the valley. Walk all the way to the end of the valley until you enter Galtardalur. There, south of the peaks of Grandhorn, you can see Galti’s back, black and magnificent. He will be remembered until time takes away his last crumb.

The end.


While being on one of my very first hikes in Dýrafjörður in the Westfjords of Iceland, I came across this mountain ridge that was shaped into a form that reminded me of a dragon's back. The tale appeared inside my mind while hiking through its valley.



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