Beginning of Odin Tours:
In the middle of September 2009 we, Maria Christie Palsdottir and Magni Arnason, arrived to inspect Höskuldsstadir. We had dreamt for a long time to purchase a farm and develop tourism. It was a bright and sunny day when we drove across the Breiddalsheidi. From there we were met by a glorious sight; the Breiddalur. When we arrived I had to ask Magni, my husband, to wait for a while because I wept so much from joy having at long last found the place, the HOME. I, the Gypsy, had at long last arrived. We moved to Höskuldsstadir on June 1st 2010. This is my first and only real estate purchase and here we intend to spend our lives in producing joy and happiness for our visitors. We intend to breed docile and easy going horses for pony treks and free settlement hens to be able to offer environmentally friendly eggs. Furthermore we intend to breed up to ten ewes and two rams to have the excellent lamb on our table.
The History of Höskuldsstaðir:
In Breiddaela (The History of Breiddalur 1948) the following is written on the settlement of Höskuldsstaðir: In the infield of Höskuldsstadir, just above the tracks in front of the farm there is an oblong mound in the middle of a small plain called the Mound of Höskuldur. It is supposed to be the burial mound for Höskuldur who built the farmhouse. According to the folklore some farmhands began to dig into the mound to investigate what might be there. As they were digging and looked towards to farmhouse it seemed to be on fire. Immediately they threw away their tools and ran to the farmhouse. But then no fire could be found. Since then the mound has not been touched.
Höskuldsstadir is an old farm and is first mentioned in a letter of purchase from 1457. In this letter is information of the boundaries and easements of the farm but some of it is rather unclear. (The country side and farms of the Mula-district. 1976, page: 332).
It seems likely that Höskuldsstadasel was originally a croft from the main farm of Höskuldsstadir around 1690. Both farms were considered to be good farmsteads and their boundaries extended across the valley.(The Annual Report of the Iceland Touring Association, 2002, page191).
At Höskuldsstadir there lived from 1866 to 1887 the MP and the district administrative officer Einar Gislason. During his tenure or in 1874 a sub-post office opened up there and was operated until 1947. One of the main routes of the postmen of Eastern Iceland was from Höskuldsstadir to Berufjord, via the mountain pass of the same name. This post route was from Möðruvellir in Eyjafjord to Eskifjord and then south to Holar in Austur-Skaftafellssýsla. The last post trip along this route took place on June 17th 1931. A telephone exchange was at Höskuldsstadir from 1934 to 1942. (The country side and farms of the Mula-district, 1976, pages 332-333). It was operated by the couple Einar Gunnlaugsson and Margret Jónsdóttir.
The abandoned farm Arnastadir belongs to Höskuldsstadir, approxamately one kilometre upwards from the farm, below Toartindar, above Innri-Kroarmelar, adjacent to the ravine of the farm brook. There is the so-called Holamyri and the ruins of the farms are in its lower half. There lived a hermit, named Arni, in the latter half of the 18th century. The ruins are visible and those of the sheepcote are quite distinct. It seems likely that a sheepcote was there after Arni’s demise. Below Toartindar the land looks prosperous but the common traveller does not see it since one must hike to Kroarmelar. But the walk is worthwhile since the vista is beautiful. (The New History of Breiddalur, volume I, p 78-79)
In the book Landslides and Avalanches there is a mention of an avalanche that hit Höskuldsstadir on February 16th 1894. At the time there were two households on the farm. Most of the avalanche hit the house of Einar, the father of Professor Stefan, but the house was closer to the brook that carried the avalanche. In the other household there lived the farmer Hoseas Björnsson from 1886 to1903. Some slush got into the cow shed and extended to the paunch of the bulls. The avalanche started in the so-called Holamyri in the mountain above the present route 1 and below the To. The swamp is quite large and slopes towards a narrow ravine. The brook flows few yards from the farmhouse. No loss of live occurred but a calf perished when the cow shed filled up with snow and water.
The charity society Eining (Unity) was founded on November 4th 1911. Margret was a founder member and the first chairperson. The purpose of the society was to support those suffering from tuberculosis and had to stay at the health clinic at Vifilstadir. The society held one gathering each summer, mostly in the latter half of June. (Breiðdæla 1948 page 160).
The first gathering of Eining took place in 1912 at Asunnarstadir on a flat spot below the infield. There a stage was constructed and a large tent for refreshments. On that occasion the play „Vorgyðjan“ (The Goddess of Spring) by Margret was premiered. The characters in the play were the Goddess of Spring, the Hope, the Joy and the Sorrow. The play was considered to be good. (Breiðdæla, 1948 page 162).
In 1914 the gathering took place at Höskuldsstadir and then the play „Brandur“ by Geir Vídalín was performed in the large barn in the farmyard. (Breiðdæla 1948 page 162). Margret was literate and interested in poetry, good-humoured despite her bad health; she suffered from tuberculosis. She wrote two plays that were performed in the district. Unfortunately they got lost in the passing of time.
On February 18th 1898 a tragic event occurred in a violent storm that Björn, the son of Einar (and Margret) die of exposure on the infield 17 years of age. It was considered that a door to the sheep shed had been ripped off, hit him and injured him.
In the infield of Höskuldsstadir there is a burial plot, prepared in 1908 by the couple Einar and Margret (Breiðdæla 1948 page 206). They are both buried there with their daughter Adalheidur, who died of tuberculosis at the tender age of 16. There also rests their son Stefan who died in Reykjavik in 1972, as well as Margret, his first wife.
The pioneer from Höskuldsstadir
Stefan Einarsson (1897-1972) from Höskuldsstadir is fondly remembered by the inhabitants of Breiddalur although his life work was performed very far from the home of his youth. At the Breiddalur Institute in Breiddalsvik there is one room dedicated to the PhD. Stefan Einarsson. On display there are various items as well as a survey of this professional life.
His Doctoral Thesis was written at Höskuldsstadir in German for the University of Oslo in 1927. Its subject was on phonetics in Icelandic and is called Beiträge zur Phonetik der Isländischen Sprache in German. His professional life was spent at the Faculty of English at the John Hopkins University of Baltimore where literature was preferred to linguistics.
In the early part of the 20th Century traditional farming was practised at Höskuldsstadir. In 1986, when the farm had been abandoned for just over two years, the couple Marietta Maisen from Switzerland and Peter Behrens from Germany bought the farm and started horse breeding. Both are qualified artists and well known in their field. Behrens’s paintings of horse are exquisite. They practised their art for 24 years at Höskuldsstadir as well as the breaking-in of horses and translations of various books, mostly connected to horses and horsemanship.