The Church Builder at Reyn
There once lived a certain man at Reyn in Mýrdalur. He was to build a church there but did not have much time to get timber to the church, haymaking had started and no craftsmen were available, and he began to have fears about whether the church would in fact be raised before winter. One day he was strolling out in the home-fields in a bad temper. Then a man came to him and offered to build the church for him. In return, the farmer would have to say the craftsman's name to him before the building was finished. Otherwise, the farmer would have to hand him his only son, in his sixth year. They agreed on these terms and the visitor began to work: he did not work on anything but his building work, spoke very little, and so the craftsman worked incredibly quickly. The farmer saw that the church would be finished close to the end of haymaking. The farmer then became very worried but could not do anything.
In autumn, when the church was nearly completely built, the farmer wandered beyond the field and lay down before a small hill. From the hillock, he heard a poem which a mother was singing to her child, and it went this way:
"Soon he will come, Finnur your father, from Reyn
with your little playmate."
The poem was recited again and again. The farmer now recovered himself and walked home and to the church. The craftsman had then finished carving the last plank over the altar and was about to fasten it. The farmer said: "Soon you'll be finished, my Finnur." With these words, the craftsman was so startled that he threw the plank down and disappeared. He has not been seen since.
(From the Icelandic folk tales)
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