Varhús is a northern
island with steep inclines and grassy terrain dotted by small bodies of water
that has been known since about 1370, according to records. Covering 3,128
acres, Varhús is an isolated island between Iceland, Norway and Scotland in the
open seas. The name, Varhús, means Spring House, likely so named because of the
stone one-room structure built around the strongest spring found on the island.
Varhús is known
for its numerous springs found in the lower elevation areas. Some 16 springs
are present, providing ample water for the community, for gardening and
livestock. A hot spring is found between the two highest elevation hills. The
inhabitants have built two rock bathing pools that overlook one of the island’s
Varhús has been a
“free island” since the 1600s. As is the case with all islands in the North
Atlantic at the time, each island had an owner. The people on the island had to
pay the owner an annual ‘rent’ to live on the island. In most respects, these
were tiny kingdoms with absentee rulers, although they typically had a home on
the island that was occupied every year when rent collection was due. In many
cases, the ruler used some of the funds collected to assist the islanders when
are known for their light skin and hair with blue or green eyes. They tend to
be tall and graceful. The population survives through self sufficient farming
and raising animals including chickens, cows and sheep. The hardy islanders
have for centuries worked in a cooperative manner, insuring the welfare of each
member. Therefore a tradition of social
networking has been built, including frequent community dinners and dances.
Varhús is populated
by folks thought to be descendants of Viking or Scandinavian origin. For
certain, their language qualifies as a dialect of Old Norse.
The 1900s brought
dramatic changes to Varhús. Ships began trading with the islanders and many of
the young were lured to the great unknown world. The population, near 200, began to decline rapidly.