Pot Scraper is the fifth of the 13 Icelandic Yule Lads to visit from the mountains every year in December. He loves to scrape leftovers from the pots in people’s kitchens, but he hates to go on a plane…! Why would a yule lad have to go on a plane, you might wonder? Well, the time comes in everybody’s life, that they stand before a challenge and that was exactly the case for our friend Pot Scraper. But let’s start at the beginning.

Her words are law
One morning in December, Pot Scraper woke up long before his brothers and stumbled into the kitchen to get porridge for breakfast. Obviously, the 13 Yule Lads still lived with their parents, the repulsive giantess Grýla and the very lazy Leppalúði. Grýla stood on a chair cleaning out the cupboards, that means sweeping mice and spiders out. She was happy to see her boy Pot Scraper, but he immediately regretted waking up so early.

“Well, my son now I need your help dear. We need to get meat and potatoes for Christmas dinner at the farm Hella by Mývatn Lake today, and being a giantess who can’t stand the sun, I can’t go so I’m sending you instead,” said Grýla very demanding. Pot Scraper did not have the nerve to protest, so he finished his breakfast and prepared for the trip.

“We trust that you bring the Christmas dinner home in time son,” said Grýla as saying goodbye to her son and handing him snack for the road.

Flash, flash and wailing
Pot Scraper pictured this beautiful day around the lake, he would just promptly drive to Hella on his snowmobile from Mývatn Snowmobile, get the meat, eat his snacks and be in no hurry back. He sat on the snowmobile, put his sunglasses on and took off. After a while, he heard some low wailing behind him but kept going since he was in a hurry. But this wailing didn’t stop so he looked behind him and saw the blue flashing lights of a police car. The policeman was there to stop him because he drove way to fast. The policeman asked Pot Scraper to step off the vehicle and come over to his car.

“Well now Pot Scraper, you just drove your snowmobile way over the speed limit. That is a traffic violation and that is why I cannot let you go any further on the snowmobile. I will take it into my possession, until you have thought this over, “said the policeman and put the snowmobile on a cart and drove away.

Peculiar thuds in the air
Now Pot Scraper was in trouble. How would he get to pick up Christmas dinner now? Pot Scraper walked along the road, hoping that someone would drive past who could offer him a ride. But he walked for many hours without any vehicle coming by. He was tired and hungry and sat down by an old hut to eat his lunch and rest for a while. Suddenly there was a loud thud in the air and Pot Scraper became frightened. Then he saw that the thunder was coming from something gliding in the air and was expecting to land on the ground right next to him!

'No, what do I see, isn’t this Pot Scraper?' said the man who stepped out of the plane. The man saw that he was scared and explained that he was a pilot with Mýflug Air and that this was his small plane that he had landed at the airport by Lake Mývatn. The pilot asked Pot Scraper why he was cold and tired sitting at the airport. Pot Scraper told him about the incident with the police and the snowmobile and that now he probably would not be able to get to the Christmas dinner for his mother Grýla, who would be jumping crazy!

'I understand, it is now possible to find your way on vehicles other than snowmobiles. 'Shouldn't I just take you on my plane?' said the pilot kindly. Pot Scraper did not like the idea, as he had never been on a plane like this before and was terrified of soaring through the air inside a metal cylinder. But the pilot managed to convince him that airplanes were a very safe means of transport and that they would follow the strictest laws and rules on air traffic and airplane management, and finally Pot Scraper was persuaded. He was surprised at how much fun it was to fly in an airplane. He saw all the people who were visiting Dimmuborgir and he also saw Jarðböðin by Lake Mývatn where many people were in the Christmas bath. The pilot landed the plane in the farmer's field at Hella, and Pot Scraper thanked him and continued the expedition.

How does Pot Scraper get home?
Pot Scraper strolled home to the farm where he was welcomed, and the housewife brought out the most delicacies, so he just drooled and stuffed his belly.

'How are you going to get home now?' said housewife Hildigunnur after listening to all of Pot Scraper’s trials that day.

Well, he hadn't thought of that yet, because he was so happy to have gotten to Hella. But the trip home was still left, and he would not get home tonight if he went on foot.

'But I have to get home today, otherwise Grýla will be furious,' said Pot Scraper trembling and felt very sorry for himself for being in such a bad situation.

'Do not worry, dear friend, farmer Guðjón and others here on the farm are going on an advent riding tour across the lake after coffee break, and they can take you home to Dimmuborgir,' said Hildigunnur and put her hand on the shoulder of poor Pot Scraper who felt a little better.

'I have always been afraid of horses and do not know anything about them. They don't like me either!” said Pot Scraper and was shaking again.

'I happen to have a horse called Snarfari, and he is the Mývatn Champion in tölt. He is a very calm and good horse that everyone enjoys getting to know. You can trust me, 'said Hildigunnur and with that it was decided!

Pot Scraper changes his field of work
When Pottaskefill came out to the stables, he saw a large and beautiful horse that stood sparkling and proud in its box. He neighed loudly and slammed the door and was clearly ready to go out to in the beautiful winter weather, as he was full and happy after the morning feeding. This was Snarfari.

'Now Pot Scraper, you swing slowly on Snarfari’s back, and gently hold the reins and put your feet in the stirrups. Then you just sit relaxed and enjoy riding this amazing gæðingur', said farmer Guðjón and Pot Scraper listened well.

His heartbeat was faster than usual, but he was determined to do his best and the warmth from Snarfari and his beautiful eye helped a lot. Pot Scraper was probably a horse trainer in a previous life because no one in the group had seen such a genius. Snarfari tölted so beautifully under the lad and their interaction was unique to watch and they managed to bring out the best in each other. If Pot Scraper ever wanted to change jobs, he would immediately get a job as a trainer and coach. That was crystal clear!

Grýla welcomed the arrival of the guests and was very little annoyed by all the mischief and stupidity of her son that day. Snarfari neighed politely towards Pot Scraper as they said goodbye and he snuck a Christmas apple to his friend in return for the ride.

Read more about the 13 Icelandic Yule Lads in Dimmuborgir here. On the Horses of Iceland website, there are more stories about Stiff Leggy, Gully Gawk, Stubby and Spoon Licker.

Text & translation: Hilda Karen Garðarsdóttir.  Photos: Marcin Kozaczek / visitmyvatn.is.