Iceland’s Land Wights

The Heimskringla saga tells the tale of King Olaf Tryggvason. According to this Saga, King Harald ‘Bluetooth’ Gormsson of Denmark and Norway,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harald_Bluetooth

was scheming to attack and take control of Iceland, his method was to have a powerful, wizard transform into a clever whale, by using its’ sonar it would detect Iceland’s accessible coastal areas.

This whale-wizard attacked the four access points, unsuccessfully.

Each time the whale-wizard tested to approach the shore, a brilliant earth spirit arose and returned the whale to the sea.

It turns out that these four spirits just happen to be Land Wights and are Iceland’s true guardians.

The first attempt by the whale-wizard was to land on the Eastern Fjords, it was confronted by an dangerous dragon that was extremely powerful. Powerful enough, that the ocean sizzled under its breath and its beating wings made the sound of thunder. The dragon was accompanied by serpent spirits, lizards and snakes that were so terrifying that the whale-wizard shuddered with fear and quickly returned to the deep dark sea.

The whale-wizard’s second try was to rush the fjord of Eyjafjörður, North Iceland. Here it was confronted by a majestic griffin with a wing spread the width between mountain tops. The large griffin led a murder of scary, predatory, birds with sharp beaks like battle axes and razor sharp claws. This terribly, frightened the whale-wizard enough to send him back into the depths of the briny sea.

On the third try, the whale-wizard’s goal was to land in Breiðafjörður, the western fjord.

The whale-wizard’s attempt failed once more at this fjord when he was challenged by a huge, nasty bull with a body solid like the land, where mountains quaked from its’ loud bellow. The bull’s hide was compared to hard rocks and its’ downward horns were made from bronze. The crafty whale-wizard was forced back into the sea by this bull.

On his fourth and final try, the whale-wizard’s goal was to land on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula, where he was challenged by an enourmous giant that was so tall his head towered above the hill tops. This giant who clutched an iron staff was the leader of a tremendous army of titans that sent the frustrated whale-wizard home, only to be humiliated for his dismal failure in the presence of King Harald Bluetooth.

Iceland’s four wights make up a super team comprised of the power dragon of the east, the majestic, griffin of the north, the solid, bull of the west, and the south guarded by the enormous mountain giant.

Together they protect Iceland, each guard a quarter of it. In modern times these four land wights are honored and their images are placed on the Icelandic Coat of arms and on the front of the Króna coins, where they safeguard and aid the land and each of its ethereal and earth creatures to thrive.

Heimskringla’s single surviving page known as the Kringla leaf (Kringlublaðið). Wikimedia, Creative Commons.

Sources & Reference

Wikipedia: Harald Bluetooth

Wikipedia: Iceland

Wikimedia: Heimskringla

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The Tiny Nisse of Yule

#WinterFolklore ❄🌲

The Tiny Nisse of Yule
by Nifty Buckles.

Nisse (Norway) or tonttu (Finland) is a tiny elf identifed with the winter solstice & Yule season. Nisse have four fingers, has pointed ears with eyes reflecting light in the dark, like those of a cat. Nisse may accompany the Júlbock/Yule goat.

Iceland’s 13 Yule Lads & Grýla The Mountain Troll

#WinterFolklore ⛄ #Yule 🌲 #Iceland 🌋❄

Yule Lads or (Icelandic: jólasveinarnir or jólasveinar) the countdown begins!

Hold the Ho ho ho! Santa Claus move over the 13 Icelandic Yule Lads are here to help bring joy and mischief to the children of Iceland 13 days before Christmas. The Icelandic Christmas period is an exciting mix of traditional folklore and religion.
The Yule lads visit children 13 nights leading up to Christmas instead of One large elf (Santa Claus) that visits on Christmas eve. The 13 Yule lads visit each night before Christmas.

In Iceland each child during those nights, place one of their shoes on the windowsill. The well behaved boys and girls, will leave candy from the Yule lads. The naughty children shoes that were placed out for the Yule Lads will be full of rotten potatoes. Yikes!

The Yule lads each have a different personality.

13 Yule Lads names:

1. Sheep-Cote Clod (AKA Stiffy Legs) – Dec. 12: This peg-legged lad sneaks into sheep pens and sucks the milk out of a family’s ewes.

2. Gully Gawk – Dec. 13: Gully Gawk loves milk too, but he steals the foam off of buckets of fresh milk.

3. Stubby – Dec. 14: The shortest Yule Lad, Stubby breaks into a family’s kitchen to lick the burned bits of food off of their pots and pans.

4. Spoon Licker – Dec. 15: As his name implies, this scrawny lad sneaks into kitchen after dinner is over and licks all of the family’s spoons.

5. Pot Licker – Dec. 16: Pot Licker is more aggressive than his spoon-loving brother. He knocks at the front door, then takes advantage of the household distraction to sneak in and help himself to the pots in the kitchen.

6. Bowl Licker – Dec. 17: This lad’s greatest desire is to steal your bowl of food.

7. Door Slammer – Dec. 18: He waits until the town is asleep, then runs around slamming doors for fun.

8. Skyr Gobbler – Dec. 19: Iceland has its own form of yogurt, which they call skyr. Skyr Gobbler is quite partial to it and enjoys stealing it from others

9. Sausage Swiper – Dec. 20: Also a food-stealing lad, this one will take all your sausage.

10. Window Peeper – Dec. 21: He sneaks around at night looking for open windows to gaze into.

11. Door Sniffer – Dec. 22: Always in search of bread, Door Sniffer uses his large nose to find it inside homes.

12. Meat Hook – Dec. 23: In his search for meat, this lad sends his long hook down chimneys to steal what he wants.

13. Candle Beggar – Dec. 24: December is quite dark in Iceland, and this lad makes it worse by stealing precious candles.

The Yule lads are the sons of the mountain trolls Grýla and her husband, Leppalúði. Grýla is a huge, horrifying troll. She has three hundred heads with six eyes on each one. She has two white blue eyes behind her necks. Her teeth looks like burnt lava. Her sacks are so large she can carry away with her 15 tails, 20 naughty childen per sack! Grýla was first mentioned in the 13th century Sturlunga Saga, also mentioned by Snorri Sturluson in the Háttatal section of the Snorra Edda by the 16th century became a type of bogeyman.

By the 20th century, Grýla’s characteristics had merged with Santa Claus. Her sacks are now filled with gifts for children, she hands out on Christmas day. Grýla and her sons the Yule lads accompany her with the Yule Cat.

The Yule Cat, a big feline according to Icelandic folklore, eats children who do not receive new clothes for Christmas.

Sources & References:

*“Jólakötturinn, Grýla og Leppalúði”. jolamjolk.is (in Icelandic). Iceland: Mjólkursamsalan (MS). Archived from the original.

*Encyclopedia of Norse and Germanic Folklore, Mythology and Magic by Claude Lecouteux.

Iceland’s Gullfoss Waterfall an Urban Legend

#UrbanLegends

Gullfoss Waterfall written by Nifty Buckles.

A popular Icelandic Urban Legend concerns Sigríður Tómasdóttir, who alledgedly, saved the Gullfoss waterfall from being dammed up by UK investors. She threatened to throw herself over the waterfall. However, this urban legend is untrue the investors couldn’t raise enough money to build the dike.

The Black Eyed Children an Urban Legend

#Urbanlegends

The Black Eyed Children written by Nifty Buckles.

The Urban legend of The Black Eyed Children, First sightings began in 1998. Tale: Ghoulish youngsters that appear at your door, asking to be let in for various reasons, ie. food, help, ingestion of your blood &/or soul! NEVER open the door to them for any reason.

The Slenderman Urban Legend

The Topic today is on #UrbanLegends by Nifty Buckles.

Slenderman: A scary paranormal figure who snatches children then disappears into the shadows. A Slenderman was first displayed in old cave paintings in Serr da Capivara National Park Brazil 9000 BCE.

More on this topic below on YouTube, credited to Creeps McPasta.

Krampus

Tonight in several places in Europe, Krampusnacht is celebrated. Its Christian counterpart is also known as St. Nicolas Feast. According to Alpine folklore, Krampus is a horned, anthropoid. It is described as “half-goat, half-demon”, who, during the Christmas season, hands out punishment to naughty children who have misbehaved, opposite of Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well behaved children with gifts. Krampus is a companion among others of Saint Nicholas.

In many countries including Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, South Tyrol and parts of Northern Italy.

The origin of this dark figure is unclear; some folklorists and anthropologists have postulated its pre-Christian origin.

Krampusnacht:

The Feast of St. Nicholas is well celebrated in several parts of Europe on 6 December. On the preceding evening of 5 December, Krampus Night or Krampusnacht, the wicked hairy devil appears on the streets, sometimes accompanying Santa Klaus.

Krampuslauf:

Tradition dictates an offering of a Krampus schnapps, a strong distilled fruit brandy. These runs may include Perchten, similarly wild pagan spirits of Germanic folklore and sometimes female in representation, although the Perchten are properly associated with the period between winter solstice and 6 January.

Krampuskarten:

Europeans have exchanged greeting cards featuring Krampus since the 1800s. Sometimes introduced with Gruß vom Krampus (Greetings from Krampus), the cards usually have humorous rhymes and poems. Krampus is often featured looming menacingly over children.

Sources & Reference:

Brunner, Christian (17 August 2015). Mountain Magic : Celtic Shamanism in the Austrian Alps. Lulu.com. ISBN 9781312995192.

Siefker, Phyllis (1997). Santa Claus, last of the Wild Men: the origins and evolution of Saint Nicholas.

Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Co. pp. 155–159. ISBN 0-7864-0246-6.

Basu, Tanya (19 December 2013) “Who is Krampus?” National Geographic Magazine.