IN EARLY TIMES, say the Icelandic chronicles, men from the Western Islands came to live in this country, and when they departed, left behind them crosses, bells, and other objects used in the practice of sorcery. From Latin sources may be learned the names of those who sailed here from the Western Islands in the early days of the Papacy. Their leader was Kolumkilli the Irish, a sorcerer of wide repute. In those days there was great fertility of the soil in Iceland. But when the Norsemen came to settle here, the Western sorcerers were forced to flee the land, and old writings say that Kolumkilli, determined on revenge, laid a curse on the invaders, swearing that they would never prosper here, and more in the same spirit, much of which has since, to all appearances, been fulfilled.
From Independent People by Halldór Laxness, originally published as Sjálfstætt fólk in two volumes in 1934 and 1935. It does trouble me that people do not write like this anymore.