Burying magic books in folklore

Hild und hjalmi

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#1
I mentioned the Galdra-Loftur legend in a post in the disappearances thread. Loftur convinces/coerces three, four, or even one of his classmates into joining him in a classroom at midnight for a ritual where he'll try to summon the spirit of the evil and ruthless Bishop Gottskalk Nikulasson (1469-1520) and get his magic book Raudskinna, which was said to be buried with the bishop and contain spells that would allow the sorcerer to overpower the devil. There was a spot in a room at the Holar School which was supposed to be where he stood to summon Gottskalk and even had his footprints in the floor.

This story and the one about how Eirikur of Vogsosar learned magic both have a scene where the hero learns magic by summoning the spirit of a sorcerer who was buried with his magic books. Does anyone know of any other folktales where a magic book is buried?
 
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Ulalume

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#2
Hi Hild und hjalmi,

I don't know any of the folklore offhand, I only have a family story. It's a different type of thing, though.

My great-great uncle who was ...um, I don't know exactly what to call him, the family only used the German word for "wise", basically the wise man of the village, once buried a magic book as part of a ritual. Apparently things had been getting out of control in the town with a lot of drunken violence etc., wild west type of stuff, and he buried a book of spells to keep the peace in the village. The story goes, the day after he did this, everyone became as gentle as lambs. :D

That isn't the same type of story as you were looking for, but I guess it shows that spell books were buried for various reasons.
 

Hild und hjalmi

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#3
Hi Hild und hjalmi,

I don't know any of the folklore offhand, I only have a family story. It's a different type of thing, though.

My great-great uncle who was ...um, I don't know exactly what to call him, the family only used the German word for "wise", basically the wise man of the village, once buried a magic book as part of a ritual. Apparently things had been getting out of control in the town with a lot of drunken violence etc., wild west type of stuff, and he buried a book of spells to keep the peace in the village. The story goes, the day after he did this, everyone became as gentle as lambs. :D

That isn't the same type of story as you were looking for, but I guess it shows that spell books were buried for various reasons.


That's really interesting, especially what apparently happened after burying the book. This is also different but the ritual in your family story reminds me of how in the story about Eirikur the motivation for burying the old man with his book (and his heifer) is so that his spirit won't haunt the locals and cause trouble.
 
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LittleBat

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#4
It is not quite a folktale, but rather a novel, but a buried, semi-destroyed book is central to the plot of An Enemy at Green Knowe, by Lucy Boston. The Green Knowe books were a series of children's stories. One reviewer says: "An Enemy at Green Knowe has the best single-sentence summary of the series, yet it is my least favorite of the six because it is the most creepy ..."

It is my favorite of the series, for that same reason.

I read somewhere - can't find the reference now - that while Lucy Boston was writing the story, she was bothered by strange dreams and poltergheist incidents.
 

Hild und hjalmi

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#5
It is not quite a folktale, but rather a novel, but a buried, semi-destroyed book is central to the plot of An Enemy at Green Knowe, by Lucy Boston. The Green Knowe books were a series of children's stories. One reviewer says: "An Enemy at Green Knowe has the best single-sentence summary of the series, yet it is my least favorite of the six because it is the most creepy ..."

It is my favorite of the series, for that same reason.

I read somewhere - can't find the reference now - that while Lucy Boston was writing the story, she was bothered by strange dreams and poltergheist incidents.
Creepy!

I read The Children of Green Knowe in primary school in 2002 and another one by her at the same time---- The Castle of Yew. I loved that.
 
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Odradek

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#8
I wrote a book about Co Derry, Ireland, featuring the story of exorcist and demon hunter St Ambrose O'Coffey.

He died in 1187 and was said to have left behind the 'Druid Library,' a set of ancient manuscripts about exorcism and spells, some of which were bound in tree bark & even human skin!

They are supposed to have been put in 'St Colmcille's chest' and hidden.

It was a magical item itself and could only be opened by a man 'who had never been born approaching on a horse that had never been born.'

Turns out that applied to the local Earl Bishop Frederick Hervey, who qualified because he and his horse were born by Casearean section.

He opened the chest, become 'very disturbed' and sent it away to Derry city, and no one knos what happened to the library...
 

Odradek

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#10
I used Bob Curran as a source.

He has lots of great books about mythology around the world.

He lives in a town near me so I'm lucky that he puts of lots of local legends in his books.

If you watched Mark Gatiss on Who Do You Think You Are recently, Curran told him about a local vampire legend, believed to be Stoker's inspiration for Dracula.
 
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