Be watchful when you are hiking in the dark tall woods of Northern Europe, you just may come across a lovely woman that is really a creature termed ‘Huldra’ who are a legendary race of Norwegian forest spirits that dwell in the dark woods of Norway. Huldra is also known as Holder to Germanic folks. They are also spoken about in oral Sámi tradition and Lapplanders. According to Swedish folklore Huldra are called Tallemaja “pine tree Mary,” or skogsrå “spirits of the forest.” In Sámi folklore they are known as Ulda. The origin of the name Hulda connects her to the shaman Völva and the German figure Holder or Frau Holle.
She emerges out of the dark woods as a bewitching stunning, fair skin woman with long wavy, blonde hair wearing a crown of flowers upon her head with a large gap in its back sometimes filled with tree bark. The Huldra also have cow tail on their lower backs. The Swedish skogsrå has a fox tail on its lower back.
The Huldra are practical jokers known to seduce single men to wed them. Once at the altar the Huldra will turn herself into an old crone in order to shock the groom to be. Once the wedding follows through this spirited creature will gain tremendous strength.
There is a male species of the Huldra termed a huldrekall who dwell beneath the earth in underground tunnels and are hideously, unattractive compared to the Hulda. They have enormous large noses similar to trolls.
Sources & References:
- K. M. Briggs, The Fairies in English Tradition and Literature, University of Chicago Press, London, 1967
- Charlotte S. Sidgwick, The Story of Norway, Oxford 1885. Rivingtons Waterloo Place London.
- Huldra, Featured illustration Skogsrå, Wikimedia Commons in Public Domain
- “Huldra” Theodor Kittelsen 1892. Illustration at Wikimedia Commons Public Domain.