First Lines: The Ghost of Shadow Vale

There’s an ancient Icelandic folk tale that goes something like this: once upon a time, a monster was preying on Thorhall’s sheep, and strong and stubborn man called Glam was the only one who dared to herd them. Glam fought the monster and killed it, but did not live to tell the tale. Not long after, Glam’s ghost begins to haunt Shadow Vale.

The hero Grettir is the strongest man in Iceland, and he thinks he might have a chance against Glam’s ghost. He pays a visit to Thorhall, and offers his help. One night he confronts Glam’s ghost and they fight to the death. Before Glam’s spirit gives the ghost, he curses Grettir, who feared the dark till the end of his days.

Jonathan Stroud’s The Ghost of Shadow Vale is a retelling of an episode of Grettis Saga, one of the stories that inspired his awesome Heroes of the Valley. That one is highly recommended. Given it’s length—46 pages, some of which are illustrated, in a ridiculously large font-size—I can’t quite say this one is too.

Jonathan Stroud — The Ghost of Shadow Vale
This is something that happened in Iceland way back.