The following stories are intended to give you a little feeling of how Icelanders saw Yule in past eras.
As I crossed the threshold I was greeted by a smell of melted tólg, the fat used for frying, Laufabrauð and Kleinur were being fried, or boiled in a pot of tólg. The Hangikjöt had already been boiled and the bread baked. Lummur, thick pancakes, were going to be made later. I was given a Kleina so I would leave the kitchen. I begged for more and got another one.
Grandmother sat on her bed in the great room and was knitting a sock. She was very good to me and told me stories. I slept with her. She took my wet clothes off and made me go to bed to warm my feet. My brother Gunnar slept in mother's bed. Grandmother told me about Jesus, who was born on Yule, and about the angels and shepherds in Bethlehem and the Mother of God. Jesus was never naughty when he was a child and neither were the angels. Everybody should be good on Yule so they would be saved.
Father came inside from tending to the livestockand washed and shaved except for the upper lip. He was bearded there like all the other men. Mother came from the kitchen and started to wash Gunnar and me and dress us. My sisters were staying elsewhere. I received a new shirt with a bow in front that mother had sewn, new Sauðskinnsskór, shoes from sheep leather, and three Yule candles, red and blue. They could not be eaten, just be lit up.
Then the food was brought in -- Hangikjöt, Laufabrauð, bread and Raisin Porridge. The food was very good and I ate more than was good for me. There were three separate families at the farm, and when the Yule food had been eaten the Yule Gospel was read in the great room. The women sang Yule Psalms but the men did not sing. Then everybody crossed themselves, also the men. I tried to do likewise and watched the others.
Afterward everybody drank coffee with thick-sugared Lummur, and white sugar, and Kleinur. I had become sleepy and fell asleep on Grandmothers bed.
The Dance at Hruni
One Yule Eve the priest kept at the merriment longer than usual. His mother then went to the church and asked him to stop the merriment and start the services, but the priest told his mother there was time enough for that, and said, "One more round, mother."
His mother returned to the house. Three times she went to the church to ask her son to stop, but he always replied with the same words.
When she walked out of the church for the third time she heard a voice speaking in rhyme...
Hátt lætur í Hruna,
Loud noises at Hruni,
When Una came out of the church she saw a man outside. She did not know him and did not like his looks. She was certain it was he who had spoken the verse. Surely this was the devil himself. She saddled her son's horse and rode swiftly to the nearest priest and asked him to accompany her, to try to solve this problem and save her son from the danger that he was facing. The priest accompanied her at once, but when they came to Hruni the church and the churchyard had sunken into the ground with all the people. They heard whining and yelping deep in the ground.
It is related that the church was moved after this, and there has never deen dancing in the church at Hruni on Yule Eve since that time.(This story has entered the Icelandic language, because Hrunadans describes something that is running fast and out of control and can be expected to end in calamity.)