Jakobson is one of the four main characters of the story.
Jakobson is a herder who lived on the island in the early 1700s. He is described by Donnelly as deriving from Scandanavian descent, and as the first habitual shepherder on the island. Jakobson builds the bothy in the hopes of eventually having enough property to marry, but dies two years after completing it. Reports of the cause of his death are contradictory, Donnelly reporting he caught an infection from his goats or died of a birth defect. Similarly, Donnelly writes that villagers either left Jakobson's body in a cave to rot, or threw it down a shaft.
Though Jakobson does not appear physically in the game he is referenced numerous times by Donnelly in his book. The Narrator (learning about Jakobson from Donnelly's book) mentions him various times during his journey. The Narrator also encounters the house that Jacobson supposedly lived in. While his appearance isn't described, it is known that Jakobson’s ribcage was deformed, which was the result of some birth defect or perhaps a traumatic injury as a child. It is speculated by Donnelly that this may have had something to do with his death.
Jakobson was a shepherd who had a lineage of migratory Scandinavians. He came to the island in the hope of becoming a man of property. Jakobson was responsible for the construction of the bothy and may have done it single handedly. His plan to secure a wife and lineage failed, however, as he caught a disease from one of his goats and as a result died.
His body was found early spring and due to the harsh winters, his body was frozen to the nerves preserving it. The villagers at the time out of fear of an ill omen threw his body down a shaft.
"The bothy was constructed originally in the early 1700s. By then, shepherding had formalised into a career. The first habitual shepherd was a man called Jakobson, from a lineage of migratory Scandinavians. He was not considered a man of breeding by the mainlanders. He came here every summer whilst building the bothy, hoping, eventually, that becoming a man of property would secure him a wife and a lineage. Donnelly records that it did not work: he caught some disease from his malcontented goats and died two years after completing it. There was no one to carve white lines into the cliff for him either."
"They found Jakobson in early spring, the thaw had only just come. Even though he’d been dead nearly seven months, his body had been frozen right down to the nerves and had not even begun to decompose. He’d struggled halfway down the cliff path, perhaps looking for some lost goat, or perhaps in a delirium and expired, curled into a claw, right under the winter moon. Even the animals shunned his corpse; the mainlanders thought to bring it home unlucky. Donnelly claims they dragged it to the caves to thaw out and rot, but he is proving an unreliable witness."
"They found Jakobson in early spring, the thaw had only just come. Even though he’d been dead nearly seven months, his body had been frozen right down to the nerves and had not even begun to decompose. His fingernails were raw and bitten to the quick; they found the phosphorescent moss that grows in the caves deep under the nails. Whatever he’d been doing under the island when his strength began to fail is lost. He’d struggled halfway up the cliff again, perhaps in a delirium, perhaps trying to reach the bothy’s fire, before curling into a stone and expiring."
"They found Jakobson in early spring, the thaw had only just come. Even though he’d been dead nearly seven months, his body had been frozen right down to the nerves and had not even begun to decompose. All around him, small flowers were reaching for the weak sun, the goats had adjusted happily to life without a shepherd and were grazing freely about the valley. Donnelly reports they hurled the body in fear and disgust down the shaft, but I cannot corroborate this story."
"This beach is no place to end a life. Jakobson understood that, so did Donnelly. Jakobson made it halfway back up the cliff. Donnelly lost faith and went home to die."
- The Narrorator claims that they found Jakobson with the phosphorescent moss from the caves under his raw fingernails. This implies that unlike Donnely who came from 'the south side of the island, followed the path to bay and climbed the mount.' he found and possibly explored the caves.