The Shore Crawlers

Besides northern lights and volcanic eruptions, Iceland is known for many more reasons. One of these is that in this country sheep greatly outnumber people. Did you know that when an Icelandic sheep breaks its leg, the same will happen to its owner? Or that when you walk three times around a sheep your deepest wish will be granted?

Fascinatingly enough, some Icelandic sheep love beachcombing and grazing through seaweed. These should however not be mistaken for a sheep-like creature that is quite similar to them, but far less innocent. This monster is commonly sighted at the isolated beaches of the Westfjords. It lives in the algae forests of the deep sea and sometimes crawls onto land for grim reasons. It is called fjörulalli, the shore crawler.

Though descriptions vary, it is said to look like a sheep with a very long tail. Further, it doesn’t have a woolen coat, but one made out of seaweed and shells. After dragging themselves on land, the shore crawlers impregnate the ewes, which later give birth to deformed lambs that are paralyzed from the waist down. Gruesome as this already is, there are also reports by farmers who were almost driven into the sea by these beasts. And it gets even worse, as the story goes that they see pregnant women as tasty snacks!

One thing is clear, they should not be messed with. Next time you visit Iceland and you want to make it back home safely, make sure those iconic Icelandic sheep you’re taking a picture of are really sheep, and not their maleficent relatives of the deep …