| Fictional Character|
by Laura Frankos
| "The Njuggle" |
Set in OTL
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Date of Birth:||19th Century|
|Relatives:|| Donald and Johnnie (brothers)|
Einar Haruldsoun (uncle)
Unnamed aunt, Rasmus Haruldsoun (cousin)
Olav Larsen (grandfather)
Magnus (b. 1850s) and his brothers Donald and Johnnie lived in Shetland. They were deep-sea fishermen, working for their uncle Einar Haruldsoun, and his sons. In 1875, a storm killed Einar's eldest sons (Magnus' cousins) and badly injured his grandfather, Olav Larsen. Einar's remaining son, Rasmus to begin fishing with his father.
In 1876, after many months of recuperating, Olav was able to return to the ocean. Olav was familiar with the old legends and folklore of Shetland, and observed many of the old superstitions. While Rasmus enjoyed Olav's stories and indulged his superstitions, Magnus had no use for them, and had actually enjoyed fishing more without Olav. When he shared this Rasmus, Rasmus insisted that they should respect their grandfather. Johnnie boxed Magnus' ears when they were alone to insure Magnus was respectful.
While Olav was quiet during the actual rowing, when the boat stopped and set out their nets, he became more talkative. At one point he insisted that he saw a Sifan in the distance. When Magnus scoffed, Olav told the story of his childhood friend, Andrew Grott, and how a Njuggle killed him; the Njuggle had taken the shape of a horse, as they do, and enticed Andrew on his back. It then ran into nearby Loch Brekkan with Andrew, and Andrew drowned, while Olav could do nothing. Rasmus had heard the story many times, but was quick to prompt Olav to tell the tale. He even gave a charm to Rasmus to ward off the Njuggle if he ever came across one. When the story was done, Einar directed them to haul in the fish.
It was a good season. In mid-July, in the face of a gathering storm, Einar ended the fishing trip early and ordered them to row back. The effort took much out of Olav. Hearing the old man cough, Rasmus' mother sent him to his Aunt Sinnie for cough liquor. Magnus joined him. As they made their way through the rain, they saw an object that Rasmus had first thought was a piece of wood, but proved to be a horse when they were close enough. Rasmus, remembering the story of the Njuggle, warned Magnus to avoid the horse, but Magnus didn't listen and mounted the horse.
The horse was a Njuggle, and immediately ran off towards Loch Brekkan. Magnus couldn't get off, and Rasmus couldn't catch up, nor could he use the charm Olav had given him. Panicked, Rasmus threw his lucky stone at the Njuggle, hitting it. In pain, the Njuggle tossed Magnus off of its back. Once Rasmus confirmed that Magnus was okay, he threw the charm on the Njuggle: a thin lasso with iron studs, to which the Njuggle proved vulnerable. Rasmus and Magnus dragged the Njuggle to the standing stones on the beach, where they chained it up.
They then went to Aunt Sinnie's, but didn't say anything about the Njuggle. Magnus asked to be the one who told Olav, in part as an apology. Rasmus agreed. The next morning, both went out to the stones, and saw the chain empty. However, Magnus confirmed that the Njuggle had died in the sunrise, reduced to a gelatinous blob.
That night, Magnus showed much more respect for Olav's stories, although only Rasmus knew why.