The Complete

Fornaldarsögur Norðurlanda

Legendary Sagas of the Northland

in English Translation

Hrafnistumanna sögur
"Sagas of the Men of Hrafnista"

A Cycle Consisting of 4 Fornaldarsögur

Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia, 1993:


"Ketils saga hængs forms a cycle with three other sagas, generally referred to as the Hrafnistumanna sögur ("Sagas of the Men of Hrafnista"), in which the heroes Grímr Loðinkinni, Örvar-Oddr, and Án Bogsveigir ("bow-swayer") are Ketil's descendants."

 Hrafnista, modern Ramsta,  is located on the island of Nærøy in Nord-Trøndelag, in northern Norway. In ancient times, the island of Nærøy was a central meeting place for the people of Namdalen and neighbouring districts.

Arrow-Odd  by August Malmström (1859)
  Hrafnistumanna sögur
1. Ketils saga hængs Ketil Trout’s Saga
       "Ketill, a typical hero, was endowed with superhuman strength, fearlessness, and an enterprising spirit. He acquired his byname hængr 'salmon,' after he had slain a dragon. ...Ketill's father, Hallbjörn, was a demitroll, and many of Ketill's adventures took place in Hallbjörn's territory. Ketill thus lived in a pagan environment and ambience. Still, in the description of Ketill's love affair with the giantess Hrafnhildr, the mother of his son Grimr loðinkinni ('shaggy-chin'), the saga exhibits a curiously anti-pagan bias."
2. Gríms saga loðinkinna Grim Shaggy-Cheek

      "Gríms saga loðinkinna tells about the Hrafnistumenn, a family living on the island of Hrafnista off the coast of Norway. Preserved in three vellum MSS from the 15th century, as well as in 40 more paper MSS, Gríms saga loðinkinna appears in almost every instance between Ketils saga and Örvar-Odds saga. Apparently the youngest of the three, Gríms saga also has close parallels to Halfdanar saga Brönufóstra, and these two sagas may go back to a common, now lost, written source, possibly the long saga of Grímr skógrmaðr ('the outlaw') mentioned in Grettis saga."

3. Örvar-Odds saga

Arrow-Odd’s Saga
 in Seven Viking Romances

"Örvar-Odd is introduced as the son of Grímr loðinkinni ('bristly-cheek") and the grandson of Ketill hængr, also known from Gríms saga loðinkinna and Ketils saga hængs, respectively. These three sagas show a remarkable likeness to each other in some of their episodes in which the heores deal with giants. There was also a historical Ketill hæng among the earliest Icelandic settlers, so we can surmise that originally these stories were told among his descendants."


4. Áns saga bogsveigis The Saga of Án Bow-Bender
"The narrative is reminiscent of the style of many of the Islendingasögur, but in terms of content, the saga is a typical fornaldarsaga. Án is a stock figure, the youth with no skill or promise, ridiculously dressed in tatters, despised and insulted. His enormous strength is a secret, since he takes no part in many sports, and his ultimate success is a suprise only to the other actors in the story. As a  youth he meets a dwarf, Litr, who gives him a great bow and some arrows, in the tradition of the Gusisnatar ('gifts of Gusir'), the arrow that Örvar-Odd took from Gusir, King of the Finns."
Complete Translation for Purchase: The Hrafnista Sagas by Ben Waggoner [PDF]