"Land-wights." The landvættir are guardian spirits of the land. They are recorded in several Icelandic documents, the earliest of which is the Landnámabók, the "Book of Settlements." It includes a legal provision that ships approaching Iceland had to remove the dragon-head carvings on their bows, or the landvættir would be frightened away. They are mentioned in Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar, part of Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla. King Harald Bluetooth Gormsson intended to invade Iceland had a wizard send his spirit to scout it out:
King Harald told a warlock to hie to Iceland in some altered shape, and to try what he could learn there to tell him: and he set out in the shape of a whale. And when he came near to the land he went to the west side of Iceland, north around the land, where he saw all the mountains and hills full of guardian-spirits, some great, some small. When he came to Vapnafjord he went in towards the land, intending to go on shore; but a huge dragon rushed down the dale against him with a train of serpents, paddocks, and toads, that blew poison towards him. Then he turned to go westward around the land as far as Eyjafjord, and he went into the fjord. Then a bird flew against him, which was so great that its wings stretched over the mountains on either side of the fjord, and many birds, great and small, with it. Then he swam farther west, and then south into Breidafjord. When he came into the fjord a large grey bull ran against him, wading into the sea, and bellowing fearfully, and he was followed by a crowd of land-spirits. From thence he went round by Reykjanes, and wanted to land at Vikarsskeid, but there came down a hill-giant against him with an iron staff in his hands. He was a head higher than the mountains, and many other giants followed him. He then swam eastward along the land, and there was nothing to see, he said, but sand and vast deserts, and, without the skerries, high-breaking surf; and the ocean between the countries was so wide that a long-ship could not cross it. At that time Brodhelge dwelt in Vapnafjord, Eyjolf Valgerdson in Eyjafjord, Thord Geller in Breidafjord, and Thorod Gode in Olfus. Then the Danish king turned about with his fleet, and sailed back to Denmark.
- Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar, 37.
- Orchard, Andy. (1997). Cassell's Dictionary of Norse Myth & Legend. London: Cassell PLC.