Friday, July 19, 2013

fairytale friday and icelandic huldufolk

The Fairy Tree by Richard Doyle

Icelandic hidden people from huldu, pertaining to
secrecy, and folk, people, are one of the 13 types
of elves in Iceland.  Their dwellings are in mounds, 
and they are also called elves.  Official opposition to 
dancing may have begun in Iceland as early as the 
12th century, and the association of dancing with elves 
can be seen as early as the 15th century.  One folktale 
shows the elves siding with the common people and 
taking revenge on a sheriff who banned dance parties. 

"The Huldufólk are... not so much supernatural as
ultranatural, representing not an overcoming of nature 
in the hope of a better deal beyond but a deep reverence 
for the land and the mysterious powers able to cause 
fertility or famine."
Michael Strmiska

John Bauer

Although there is not a common origin on their 
true nature or shape, it is broadly accepted that these 
beings live in the underworld and keep a close relation 
with natural elements.  Many Icelandic sources describe 
them as quite similar to humans... according to the 
descriptions from the ones whom have been able to see them.

"The Nickur, Ninnir, and Hnikur, one of the Eddaic 
names of Odin.  He appears always in the form of a fine 
apple-grey horse on the seashore; 
but he may be distinguished from ordinary horses by the 
circumstance of his hoofs being reversed.  If any one is so 
foolish as to mount him, he gallops off, and plunges into 
the sea with his burden.  He can, however, be caught in a 
particular manner, tamed, and made to work."
Thomas Keightley

Richard Doyle