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Hestmannen (The Horseman) on the left in the picture, turned to stone when the sun rose, says the legend.

The picture taken from Lurøyfjellet. Photo: Øystein Bentzen | Yamo

Legends and stories that goes from mouth to mouth, from generation to generation, usually have an added value, something you can get use for one day. Good stories have always been told, and a story about big trolls where the narrator can point convincingly that the trolls are there, it is so convincing that it is guaranteed to last forever. Many therefore believe that the legend of the mountains on the Helgeland coast is very old, perhaps from before our time reckoning, and that the legend has been a story easy to remember for those who had to navigate along the coast on their way to Bergen with stockfish or with a new priest heading north from Copenhagen. We will probably never know the origin, but in a world with GPS and digital charts, we are left with a funny story from the time when the trolls ruled at Helgeland at nighttime.

It happened one summer night a long time ago...

(All the names in the legend are mountains or islands you can find on a map.)


Vågakallen and Suliskongen, two old trolls who ruled in their respective teams, often sat and scolded each other. Vågakallen sat up in Aust-Vågøy in Lofoten and Suliskongen up by Sulitjelma, and they quarreled often about which of them was king over the largest area. The only times the old rebellious trolls agreed was when they complained about the youngsters of today who were impossible to control. They only cared about play and fun and did not want to listen to adult trolls.


The Suliskongen, an adult father of seven daughters, had found himself forced to send his daughters out to Landegode out to sea so that Lekamøya, known for its wisdom and beautiful appearance, could make them responsible and proper young ladies.


Vågakallen, for his part, had resigned when it came to raising his son, Hestmannen. The boy was full of witchcraft and did not get along well and socialized. He had moved for himself and could thus ravage as he wished without being disturbed by his father.


One beautiful spring evening, Lekamøya took the seven sisters out for an evening bath and to play in the water. The Hestmannen was lying north and bored when he suddenly scouted them far away. The sisters played and fidgeted in the water, but it was the beautiful Lekamøya that Hestmannen's eyes fell on.


Hestmannen threw his cloak over his shoulders, sat on the horse and chased south into the night. The Sulikongen sat dozing in a chair, awakened by the living and galloping horse, so he moved closer to see what was going on.


Lekamøya heard the noise up in the north and realized that female trolls just had to get away. She and the seven sisters fled south of the Helgeland coast. Lekamøya knew she was what the Horseman she was looking for, so she ran faster than the sisters. They thought it all was fun and exciting, and they could not help but play a little along the way.


Hestmannen realized that he could not reach the fast running Lekamøya, so he tensed the bow and sent an arrow after her. But Sømnakongen, who had lain south of Helgeland and looked at it all, he threw his hat when he saw the arrow coming. The arrow went through the hat and it caused the arrow to lose both speed and direction. In all the wildness and horniness of the spring night, everyone had forgotten how short the northern Norwegian night was. Suddenly the sun rose over the horizon and all the trolls turned to stone.


The cloaks that the sisters threw away during the escape hang over Dønnesøya. Syv Søstre (The Seven Sisters) stand straight and fine between Sandnes and Alstadhaug. The hat with the hole, Torghatten, lays outside Brønnøysund, and the arrow is on a reef far out in the sea. Lekamøya just managed to get down on Leka before the sun went down.


To the north, Hestmannen is petrified, and Suliskongen's crown can be scouted between Børvasstindene. The only one who lives in the same place is Vågakallen, he still sits high up in Lofoten and scouts his kingdom.

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