In the last chapter of Eyrbyggja Saga it is written that the church at Sælingstunga was moved, but the saga does not tell why this was done. In the district, however, the following story is told explaining the motive for the moving of the church.
Many hundreds of years ago, there lived at Sælingsdalstunga a very rich farmer, who had several children. Two sons of his are mentioned, Arnór and Sveinn. They were both very promising, but quite unlike each other, Arnór being valiant and aggressive and Sveinn still and quiet, not a strong man. Their temperaments as well, were quite different. Arnór was cheerful and fond of playing games with other young men in the valley. They often met at a bluff standing by the river, opposite the farm at Tunga. This bluff was called Tungustapi. In winter they enjoyed sliding down the hard frozen snow from the top of the bluff, because it was very high, down to the gravel banks by the river. There was often much shouting and clamour by Tungustapi at dusk, Arnór most often being the leader.
Sveinn was very seldom with them. He mostly went to church when the young men went to games. He had the habit of walking off alone, and then often spent his time by Tungustapi. It was said that he was having intercourse with the huldufolk living in the bluff, and it was a fact, that every New Year’s Eve he disappeared and no one knew where he went. Sveinn often talked to his brother about not making so much noise at the bluff, but Arnór took it lightly and said that the elves should be able to take some noise; he wouldn’t pity them. He went on as before, although Sveinn kept warning him, and told him that he would have to take the consequences. One New Year’s Even, Sveinn disappeared as usual. He was missing for unusually long time; Arnór said he would try and find him, that he’d be with the elves in the bluff.
He left and walked until he came to the bluff. It was dark then. Suddenly he noticed that the bluff opened on the side turning towards the farm and in there were countless rows of candles. He hears a beautiful singing, and understands from this that an elf-mass is taking place. He goes nearer to see what is happening. What he then sees in front of him is like open church doors and many people inside. A priest wearing beautiful vestments is standing at the altar, with many rows of candles at both sides. Arnór then passes through the doors, sees his brother Sveinn kneeling at the altar-rails, and the priest putting his hands on Sveinn’s head reciting something.
Arnór believed that he was being ordained for some purpose, because many men in vestments were standing around. He then shouts out, saying: “Sveinn, come, your life is at stake!” Sveinn starts, stands up and looks down the aisles; he wants to run to his brother. But at that, the one standing at the altar calls out and says: “Lock the church-doors and punish the Man who disturbs our peace. And you, Sveinn, must leave us - and your brother is the cause of that. Because of your standing up to go to your brother, regarding his impudent all more worthy than our Holy Ordination, you shall fall dead the next time you see me here in these vestments.” Arnór then saw Sveinn being carried away by the men in vestments and disappearing through the dome over the church.
At that moment booming bells sounded, and a great bustle was heard within. Everyone rushes to the doors. Arnór then runs as fast as he could out into the dark towards the farm, hearing behind him the Elf-ride, the din and clatter of hoofs. He hears that one riding in the front is reciting loudly, saying:
Ride and ride on,
It grows dark in the slopes.
Drive the wretch crazy,
Drive him off the road.
May he never see the sun again,
Tomorrow’s sun again.
The group then spurred in between him and the farm, so that he had to retreat. When he came to some slopes south of the farm and east of the bluff, he was exhausted and collapsed. The whole group then rode over him and he was left there, more dead than alive. It is told of Sveinn that he came home after bed-time. He was very depressed, and wouldn’t say anything of his absence, but said it was necessary to look for Arnór.
People searched for him all night, but he was not found until a farmer from Laugar, who had been to matins at Tunga, came across him where he was lying on the slopes. Arnór was still conscious but fast drawing to an end. He told the farmer what had happened in the night, as is told here. He said it would be of no use to take him to the farm since he would not survive. He died there on the slopes, and they are known ever since as Banabrekkur (Bane-slopes).
Sveinn never was the same after this incident; he became more serious, melancholic. He was never known to come near to the elf-bluff after this and he was never seen to look in that direction. He turned away from all worldly bother, became a monk and entered the monastery at Helgafell. He became so learned that none of the brothers was equal to him. He sang mass so beautifully that no-one had ever heard anything so beautiful.
His father lived at Tunga, and when he grew old he fell gravely ill, just before Easter. When he realised that the end was near, he had a message sent to Sveinn at Helgafell, asking for him to come. Sveinn reacted swiftly, but mentioned that it could be that he would not come back.
He arrived at Tunga the Saturday before Easter. His father's condition had worsened so that he could hardly talk. He asked his son Sveinn to sing mass on Easter day, and gave him orders that he be carried to church; there he would want to die. Sveinn was reluctant, but complied on the condition that no-one open the church-doors during mass and said it was a matter of life and death to him. Men though this strange. Some guessed that he didn’t want to look in the direction of the bluff, because the church then stood in a hillock in the home-field, east of the farm, and the doors opened towards the bluff.
The old farmer is now carried to church as he had ordered and Sveinn starts the mass. Everyone present said that they had never heard so sweetly sung a mass, nor as masterly intoned - and everyone was almost stunned. But when Sveinn turned around at the altar to bless the congregation, there came a sudden gust of wind from the west and blew the church-doors open. People were startled and looked back to the doors. What they saw then was as if there were open doors on the bluff, and from there came the shining of countless rows of candles. When people turned their eyes back towards Sveinn, he had fallen down and was already dead.
They were all quite and shaken by this event, since the old farmer had also collapsed from his seat by the altar. There was a dead calm both before and after the wind, so it was obvious to everyone that this sudden gust, coming from the direction of the bluff was not of a natural source.
The farmer from Laugar, who had found Arnor in the slopes, now told the whole story. Then people understood that it had come to pass, as the elf-bishop had declared; that is, Sveinn would die when he next lay his eyes on him standing at the altar in his vestments. Now when the bluff was open and the church-doors had been blown open, the doors were facing each other, so that the elf-bishop and Sveinn looked each other in the eyes as they intoned the blessings - because the doors of the elf-churches face east whereas doors of Men-churches turn to west.
A county meeting was held, concerning these events, and it was decided to move the church down from the hillock, closer towards the farm into a hollow by the brook. Thus the farm was directly between the bluff and the church, so that never since has a priest been able to see from the altar through the church-doors westwards to the elf-bluff. Nor have such wonders happened since.