Why is our whale so grumpy?

Our grumpy whale is inspired by this mischievous whale Rauðhöfði or Redhead, who in Icelandic folklore is given credit for the origin of the name Hvalfjordur or Whale fjord. Hvalfjordur is a beautiful serene fjord north of Reykjavík. We love exploring Hvalfjordur and have spent a lot of time there hiking, diving and kayaking accompanied of course by hot chocolate.

Exploring Hvalfjordur with friends.


Like most Icelandic folklore when you look a little deeper this story is a little darker than our modern romantic tales of old. Rauðhöfði actually begins this story as a man. A man who wronged his Elvin lover when he refused to claim his child and baptise them. The elf was so angry she cursed him to become an evil whale. The man became mad and while wearing a red cap jumped into the sea and became the whale Rauðhöfði. Rauðhöfði began to reek terror wrecking fishing ships in Faxaflói bay on the west coast of Iceland and eventually found a home in what we know today as Hvalfjordur.

Glymur Waterfall, Hvalfjordur

In the fjord lived a priest who’s sons had been killed by Rauðhöfðis’ antics. The priest got his revenge by luring him to the end of the Fjord and up a river into the mountains to a lake, know know as Hvalvatn or Whale Lake. Rauðhöfði was never seem again and was assumed to have died from exhaustion. The waterfall on this river got the name Glymur or Roaring and the hills around Skjálfandahæðir or Shaking Hills from the sound the whale made while travelling. Whale bones found in this lake at the bottom of Hvalfell or whale hill have given a long legitimacy to this tale.