Witches and sorcerers are an integral part of the mountain feautures. According to popular belief these rock shapes are monuments that were formed during battles that took place between Christianity and the evils of sorcery. It was natural for the superstitious to associate the strange mountain forms with the King, who according to popular belief was guardian of the people.
The area has close connections with King Olav Haraldson (Olav the Holy). He travelled all over Norway converting people to Christianity after 1023. Later that year he was killed in the Battle of Stiklestad by Kalv Arneson who came from the island of Giske, northwest of Ålesund. In 1031 the earthly remains of King Olav were laid in a casket and placed at the altar in Klemenskirka in Nidaros. Strange events and miracles led to the King being regarded as a popular ‘saint’ throughout Northern Europe. Rumours of these mystical happenings spread and thousands of pilgrims travelled to Nidaros. For a time, Nidaros became the most important pilgrimage site in Northern Europe.
King Olav Haraldson and his fleet sailed just off the coast of Ålesund in 1028, but were forced to flee to the inner part of Storfjorden. The King and his men went ashore in Valldal, escaped over to Rauma and eastwards to safety. This journey is the origin of many legends. Several local places and natural phenomena have been named after the King. Legends grew even in places that were never even visited by the King. In Hjørundfjorden, for example, legend has it that the King fired an arrow from the neighbouring village of Vartdal. The arrow went straight through the mountain, known as Gluggen on Standalseidet, crossed Hjørundfjorden and killed the most hated troll in the fjord. The speed and power of the arrow was so great that as the arrow struck, it was thrown back over Hjørundfjorden to Store Standal. The arrow stands to this day by the fjord.
|Jura in the mountains of Molaup|
Locals can see the female troll Jura and Trollgjøttemannen, a couple under Jura and also three single trolls carved into the mountainside. Local people believed that most of the trolls in the fjord lived under Trollgjøttemannen.
A legend has it that the troll-sorceress Jura flirted with another troll, Råmannen, who lived further up in Hjørundfjorden. She believed that he could have been a potential suitor and went to Skår and Råmannsgjølet to take a closer look at the splendid fellow. She was greatly disappointed when she saw him and spat at the little troll that was way beneath her dignity. So the troll was turned to stone. Angry, she returned home, however a fierce storm blew up. Jura went too far into the fjord and too close to land. She sat her foot down so hard on the mountainside that a clear footprint was left. Jura pushed so hard and gained such speed that the boat ended up on the other side of the fjord. Thus Trollvika was created, as the boat with Jura aboard sank just outside of Stavset. Today, this is one of the best fishing places in the fjord.
Trollgjøttemannenin Hjørundfjorden "shoots" sometimes, under certain weather conditions. You can hear bangs, like shots from a rifle and smoke billows from the mountainside.
Another troll is Isflåmannen from Nordre-Vartdal, not very far away. He also shoots.
At Sæbø, according to the legend, explosions, smoke and fire emerge from Olavshola.