remote area, not close to any known neolithic settlement:
The area round about the Stane is very bleak and rugged, the soil being boggy, and always wet, even in the dryest weather, providing no shelter of any kind.
Above the Dwarfie Stane, on the face of Ward Hill, it was once said that there was a "wonderful carbuncle":Tale of Snorro the Dwarf. This first appeared in a nineteenth-century collection of children's stories, and it bears the signs of romantic retelling. But the feud between two brothers at its heart comes straight from the Orkneyinga Saga, a medieval chronicle of the Viking Jarls of Orkney, and Sigurd Towrie, the very learned proprietor of Orkneyjar, thinks it is rooted in oral tradition. It says this about Snorro:
In the months of May, June and July, about midday the rays of the sun caught something that shines and sparkles admirably and which is often seen a great way off. It hath shone more brightly than it does now; though many have climbed up the hill and attempted to search for it, yet they could find nothing.
The existence of this magical gem has been explained as being a mere trick of the light - perhaps the sunlight reflecting from some water cascading down the face of a smooth rock on the hillside. Nevertheless, a tale grew around the myth of the enchanted carbuncle - a tale that incorporated elements of the Orkneyinga Saga and a malicious dwarf known as Snorro.
He would not attend to the country people who came to seek his help, unless they bowed themselves humbly before him and spoke to him as if he were a King. I say that the country people sought his help, for he spent his time, or appeared to spend it, in collecting herbs and simples on the hillsides, which he carried home with him to his dark abode, and distilled medicines and potions from them, which he sold to his neighbours at wondrous high prices. Snorro was also the possessor of a wonderful leathern-covered book, clasped with clasps of brass, over which he would pore for hours together, and out of which he would tell the simple islanders their fortunes, if they would. For they feared the book almost as much as they feared Snorro himself, for it was whispered that it had once belonged to Odin, and they crossed themselves for protection as they named the mighty Enchanter.
And at night, when everyone else was asleep, he would creep out, with pickaxe and spade, to turn over the rocks or dig over the turf, in the hope of finding the long-sought-for treasure underneath them. He was always accompanied on these occasions by an enormous grey-headed Raven, who lived in the Stone along with him, and who was his bosom friend and companion. The islanders feared this bird of ill omen as much, perhaps, as they feared its Master; for, although they went to consult Snorro in all their difficulties and perplexities, and bought medicines and love potions from him, they always looked upon him with a certain dread, feeling that there was something weird and uncanny about him.It was a source of love potions and other spells that Snorro featured in lives of great Vikings, but I will leave Sigurd Towrie to tell that tale.