Nornagestur is the protagonist in a narrative from Ólavur Trygvason’s Saga as recorded in Flatoyarbók. He is an old vagrant who helps the king’s men pass time by telling them stories. He tells them how, as he lay newborn in his cradle, the three völvas predicted a bright and splendid future for him. However, one of them added that his life would be snuffed out, when the candle lit by his cradle had burned down. Therefore, the candle was snuffed before it could burn down. And from then on Nornagestur carried the candle with him wherever he went.
Nornagestur was first published in 1919 and is the third volume in the magisterial work by Johannes V. Jensen, Ferðin langa (The Long Journey), for which he received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1944.
Ferðin langa is an ambitious literary project, charting nothing less than humanity’s progress from primordial times through ancient times, the Viking Age, the Middle Age and up to they days of Columbus (ca. 1492).