According to Icelandic folklore, the Virgin Mary once summoned all the birds into her presence and commanded them to walk through a fire. All obeyed except the ptarmigan, which is why it is now unique among birds in having feathered feet. To punish this disobedience, Mary laid a curse on the ptarmigan, proclaiming that the bird would from now on be constantly persecuted and killed by its brother, the hawk. Ever since, the hawk has persecuted, killed and eaten the ptarmigan, not remembering that they are brother and sister until he reaches her heart. Upon that realisation, the air resounds with the hawk’s howls of grief.