Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Risin og Kellingin 2.1.1996
This stamp was voted the most beautiful Faroese stamp of 1996 in a poll of Faroe Islands collectors.
Risin og Kellingin (Risin and Kellingin) are two sea stacks just off the northern coast of the island of Eysturoy in the Faroe Islands close to the town of Eiði. The name Risin og Kellingin means The Giant and the Witch (or Hag) and relates to an old legend about their origins. The Giant (Risin) is the 71m stack further from the coast, and the witch (Kellingin) is the 68m pointed stack nearer land, standing with her legs apart.
A legend tells how, once upon a time, the giants in Iceland were envious and decided that they wanted the Faroes. So the giant and the witch (his wife in some versions of the story) were sent down to the Faroe Islands to bring them back.
They reached the north-westernmost mountain Eiðiskollur, and the giant stayed in the sea while the witch climbed up the mountain with a heavy rope to tie the islands together so that she could push them onto the giant's back. However, when she attached the rope to the mountain and pulled, the northern part of the mountain split. Further attempts were also unsuccessful, and they struggled through the night, but the base of the mountain was firm and they could not move it.
If the sun shines on a giant or witch, it turns to stone. So it was that as they continued to struggle they didn't notice time passing, and as dawn broke a shaft of sunlight put a stop to their efforts by turning them to stone on the spot. They have stood there ever since, staring longingly across the ocean towards Iceland.