The Witch of Troms Church

Many years ago, in northern Norway, a man obtained employment on a farm. Although the farmer treated his employees well and fed them plenty of good wholesome food, the man noticed he was getting thinner and thinner, and moreover was awaking in the morning feeling no more rested than when he retired the night before. Worried, he sought the advice of a wise man living nearby, from whom he learnt that the farmer's wife was in fact a witch. On further investigation, the wise man was also able to reveal that the witch was in the habit of transforming the man into a horse as he slept and riding him to Troms Church, accounting for both his leanness and his exhaustion.

The wise man gave the farmhand an ointment and instructed him to rub his head with it before he went to bed that night. The farmhand did as instructed and to his astonishment, woke in the early hours of the morning to find himself standing outside Troms Church with a bridle in his hand. Nearby were a number of horses bound together by their tails.

Soon he spied the farmer's wife approaching from the church. Concealing himself, he waited as she approached the horses, then stole up behind her and threw the halter over her head. Instantly, she transformed into a handsome mare, and he lost no time in leaping astride her and riding her homeward. He stopped on the way however at a farrier's and had the mare shod with four shoes of gleaming iron.

Returning home, he sought out his master and showed him the mare, telling him that the animal would make a fine mate for a stallion the farmer owned. The farmer bought the mare at a good price, but when he removed her bridle, she instantly turned back into his wife, with the horse-shoes attached to her hands and feet. The farmhand then told the farmer what had happened and the witch was turned out of the farm. The four horseshoes remained attached to her for the rest of her life.