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The Chimney Saga.


Steindoor grew up in Skagastrond - a small town in north Iceland, a place where the winters were dark and cold; and the summers were light and cold. As a child he and all his friends used to run along the tops of the cliffs, playing all sorts of games. Sometimes when up on the cliffs they would see strange people up there, people who were very good at hiding - they seemed to somehow be able to hide within the rocks. Steindoor guessed that these were the hidden people (huldofolk) that they heard so many stories about. The children and the Huldofolk used to play together, but the huldofolk were always way too good at hide and seek - So they didn't play that game too much.

One day Steindoor was playing up on the cliffs on his own with his favourite toy - a little wooden toy horse which his dad had whittled for him. He was running along pretending that the horse was flying through the air, when he tripped on a rock and the toy horse fly through the air and toppled down the edge of the cliff and into the water below. He tried to climb down to get it but there was no way down, and it was getting dark - No matter how much he tried he couldnt get down. He then heard his name being called out. He thought it might be his friends the Huldofolk, and that they might be able to help him, but it was only his dad. He told Steindoor that it was tea time and he needed to come down off the cliffs before he got lost. Steindoor told his dad about how he had lost his horse, and his dad told him that he shouldnt play up on these cliffs again because they are dangerous and not to worry about his horse because he could make him a new one tomorrow.

As Steindoor grew up all his friends started leaving Skagastrond, to find love, jobs and other things which weren't available in Skagastrond (As apart from a few other jobs the only real occupation in Skagastrond was to be a fisherman). This made Steindoor sad as he loved Skagastrond, and could see that if they weren't careful soon everybody would have to leave, as there wouldn't be enough people to support a proper community. Because he cared about this so much he joined the village council.

At a village council meeting they were discussing various ways in which they could try and create some more jobs. But they always seemed to have the exact same discussion, without them ever being able to properly figure how to create new jobs. They talked about starting up a weaving school – but would there be enough students? And everyone gets taught to knit by there parents anyway. Someone suggested that they go for a walk around the town, as maybe that would give them some fresh inspiration. So they all got their coats on and went outside.

They walked along the black sands of the beach, all trying to look for ideas. But no matter where they looked they couldn't seem to come up with anything new. Steindoor stared out to sea, as you do when you are thinking. He looked out towards the horizon, he could just see a fishing boat the distance, he wondered who's boat it was. He then looked at the waves rolling into the shore. As he was looking at the sea he notice, that the sea seems darker in colour then usual. It almost looks black even. He looked up to the sky thinking that it must be a trick of the light. The light does funny things in Iceland and he is very used to it playing tricks on him. But on closer inspection they realise that he reason the sea is so dark is that the whole bay is overflowing with fish, herring to be exact. There are so many herring in the sea that the water looks black! IT IS CRAZY!

The village council thinks that the gods have answered their prayers, but they try not to get too excited. They all quickly rush out in their fishing boats and catch some herring – it is easy just because there are so many in the sea. Its like the opposite of finding a needle in a haystack. Its like finding hay in a haystack! They invite everybody from Skagastrond to a meal at the village hall. During the dinner they start discussing how they should make a herring factory to process the herring in order to sell to other parts of Iceland, and also possibly to parts of Europe. They joke about how Skagastrond is going to be known as the Herring capital of Iceland.

They get into talks with a fishing company to start planning the factory, and also realise that this factory will need so many workers, that they will probably need to expand the size of the village as well. So they get hold of some town planning people and ask for some advice, and then they start to build.

The factory is massive! Not only is there a huge warehouse where all the fish are gutted and packaged, but there is also a massive chimney which powers the whole factory. Not only does the chimney power the factory but the heat from it also boils the herring to make fish oil – which is very good for you and your brain. And although the smell of boiling fish is disgusting most people of the town don't mind because they say that is the smell of money being made.

Before they the town are able to use the factory to its full potential they need to expand the harbour, so that more fishing boats will be able to dock at the harbour. To expand the harbour they needs lots of rocks and stone and luckily there are lots of cliffs around Skagastrond, so they wont need to import any rocks. To make this uninviting task, easier and quicker, they enlist the help of some dynamite specialists, to blow up parts of the cliffs; instead of having to do it by hand with a pick axe. The the specialists come along and set up all their equipment, but by the time they are finished night has fallen, and because blowing up a cliff is not something you want to do in the dark, they decide to go to bed and blow up the cliff in the morning.

Steindoor has been watching them set up their equipment all day. Throughout out the day he realises that he has a bad feeling about blowing up the cliff, one of those bad feeling that you cant describe, but that sits in your belly and wont go away.

That evening he decides to take a stroll along the cliffs as he used when he was a child (first he double checks that they aren't going to be doing any demolition tonight). He finds himself hoping along the rocks and following paths he used to tread as a child all those years ago. He sits down behind a rock, in a place he used to hide, he remembers that this used to be his very best hiding spot, no one had ever found him here.

'Found you' someone says

He looks to his left and there is one of his Huldofolk Friends who he hasn't seen in over 30 years. He gives steindoor something, it is his little wooden horse which he lost all those years ago. Steindoor cant believe it. The huldofolk asks Steindoor 'why are you going to blow up my home?' and says that if they blow up even part of the cliffs all the herring will swim away. He leaves.

Steindoor tells the council the next day about what the hidden person told him last night. The council tell him not to be a child – 'that is kids stuff'. And so that day at midday they blow up part of the cliffs and start expanding the harbour. Before long the harbour is finished and then everything is in full swing, the chimney is burning 24/7 and thousands of fish are getting shipped into and out of the factory every week.

They have a celebratory meal to celebrate how their plan havw worked and how there are lots more jobs in the town, they all get really drunk on brenivin at the village hall.

When they wake up in the morning the sea was crystal clear, and there are no herring in sight.