These beings are also said to be very similar to human beings, and live in little houses in the rocks. The stories containing these creatures were passed between generations for decades and centuries. This hikeable mountain looks exactly like what would happen if a troll, with all his great weight, sat upon a mountain. Though both elves and huldufólk are said to have a somewhat mischievous nature, they are generally well-tempered and often kind. Keep an eye out on New Year’s Eve and Midsummer in particular; you never know what you may see. Her name suggests that she is originally the same being as the völva divine figure Huld and the German Holda. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Creatures in Norse mythology. I’ve had the good fortune to have visited Iceland before and can honestly say it is something you wont want to miss, and will never forget. The powerful volcanic forces have forged a rugged and beautiful land. This page indexes all of the content at sacred-texts related to Icelandic lore, including the Eddas and Sagas. And if you spend enough time looking out at the sea during your visit to Iceland, you may just see something out there as well. Although the Huldufólk are usually hidden from the view of people, some humans are believed to … One of the best aspects of Icelandic mythology is how pervasive it is in modern culture. Baula Mountain, some ways north of Reykjavik was formed when an enormous rock deep within the earth was thrust to the surface by tectonic forces. They are mentioned in the Edda(1220) as a monster with many heads. It’s been used in several movies, like Pirates of the Caribbean and Clash of the Titans, but originally, the Kraken belongs in the cold Norwegian Sea, where it was first said to be seen in the early 1700s. Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Ragnarök: The Twilight of the Gods. They are not without anger though, which can be provoked if they are disrespected, and turn into vengeance if they are harmed. Icelandic Christmas folklore depicts mountain-dwelling characters and monsters who come to town during Christmas. In recent years, international news stories have emerged reporting on development projects halted in Iceland due to the potential for disturbing elf habitats. She is known as the skogsrå "forest spirit" or Tallemaja "pine tree Mary" in Swedish folklore, and ulda in Sámi folklore. Iceland is an incredible place! Out on sea he caught a heavy load and pulled on board. Described as having bright glowing red eyes, pale white skin and wearing steel grey armor, they were first mentioned by Snorri Sturluson in his 12th century collection of Norse poetry called The Edda.It was believed that the Dokkalfar lived in caves and other underground dwellings, as well as the deep forests where the sunlight rarely reached the ground. They were also kno… Fenrir. … But as time when on it became clear that amongst the black rocks and deep caves of this island lay ancient magic, and mystical people who had lived there since the giant ogre named Ymir appeared out of the thawing drops of a new, and fierce, world. Subcategories. The Fossegrim, also known simply as the grim, is a water spirit and creature. Print In Icelandic folklore, the Huldufólk (meaning hidden people) are like elves. Icelandic children are told not to throw rocks because it may strike one of the invisible elves and huldufólk and bring harm upon the child’s family. Iceland was settled by the Scandinavians in 874 AD by adventurous people fleeing civil strife and over-population of the home states. The Dokkalfar (dark elves) of Norse mythology are considered to be some of the most frightening creatures of Scandinavian folklore. But each time the whale-sorcerer tried to land, a landvættir, or “land wight,” fought him off, thus creating the four guardians of Iceland. ... (Norse mythology) Hudhud (mythology) – Hoopoe; Horus – deity (Egypt) Icelandic folklore falls under the banner of Nordic folklore. Troll (Norwegian and Swedish), trolde (Danish) is a designation for several types of human-like supernatural beings in Scandinavian folklore. It is a common misconception that Ragnarok is the end of the world. Icelandic folklore, Whale folklore Stökkull Variations: Stokkull, Stöckull; Blödkuhvalur, Blökuhvalur, Blodkuhvalur (Flap-Whale); Bloejuhvalur (Veiled Whale); Springhvalur (Springing Whale); Stökkfiskar (Jumping Fish); Sprettfiskur (Sprinting Fish); Léttir (Agile One); Léttur (Light One); Dettir (Falling One); Hrosshvalur (Horse-Whale, probably erroneously) Icelandic folklore, Sailor folklore, Whale folklore Skeljúngur Variations: Skieliungur; Svarfhvalur, Suarfhualur (Iron Whale); Skútuhvalur (Schooner Whale); Tigrishvalur (Tiger Whale); Hnúfubakur, Humpback Whale Outsiders may scoff, but for more than half of Icelanders this is something to be taken seriously. The Yule Lads of Iceland… Images of these wights are pervasive in Iceland, adorning the Icelandic coat of arms, certain coins, and government buildings. Her name derives from a root meaning "covered" or "secret". Many stories about Gryla have long scared Icelandic children, and they did not dare to go out during Christmas time, but her role changed much with time. Kraken. On their way from th… But do not fear, for if you keep yourself in the sight of the sun they cannot harm you. I want emails from Fodor's Travel with travel information and promotions. Wikimedia Creative Commons. Read more: Creatures in Norse Mythology. The squirrel Ratatoskr runs up and down the hill and carries insults from one Norse mythology creature to the other. Vikings journeyed across bitter Arctic waters to settle on this desolate island, and today Icelanders still rely upon the sea for survival. Known as the huldufólk, or “hidden people,” Icelandic elves aren’t so different from humans—just a bit more magical. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails. A wight in the form of a dragon protected Iceland’s Eastfjords, while North Iceland had an eagle; in the Westfjords, a bull fought the whale off, and finally, in South Iceland, a giant finished the job. After registering, I can manage my newsletter subscriptions by visiting my Profile Settings page. One of the Icelandic sagas describes an incident in which the fearsome King Harald Bluetooth (for whom the wireless technology is named) intended to invade poor, vulnerable Iceland and so he had his sorcerer morph into a whale to find the island’s weak spots. It is said to have grown from a small ling worm placed on top of a gold ring by a local girl in order to guard it. The Lagarfljotsormur in Lagarfljot in Egilsstadir is thought by many to be the cousin to Nessie herself in Scotland. The Eddas. Among those are sea creatures resembling, or even converting into, human. Norse mythology accompanied those first intrepid Vikings more than 1,000 years ago, and plenty of stories have joined the Icelandic Eddas and Sagas since that time to fill the time during cold dark winters. After a mundane battle, Grettir eventually gets Glámr on his back. Trolls may be humanoid in form, but their strength, size and ugliness is from another world. Among the darker caves and crevices of Iceland live another people called the Trolls. So if you’re visiting Iceland in December, have no fear—just leave a shoe out in case a Yule Lad wants to fill it with gifts for your inner child. The Poetic Edda, also known as the Elder Edda. On the very top the mountain lies a glistening pond and it is said that one night a year a wishing stone rises to the surface, and that it and its power belonging to the one who can claim it. Many of Iceland’s unique natural features are attributed to the actions of trolls, like Naustahvilft (Troll Seat). The figures are depicted as living together as a family in a cave and include: Grýla … Most famous of these is the Lagarfljot serpent. These There are boatloads of stories about the hidden ones aiding farmers and craftsmen they deem worthy, and more than a few stories of huldufólk and human relations. Gudmundur had much compassion for the demon, so he left that spot unblessed and since then, the spot is called “Heathen Cliff” and eggs are never gathered there. The huldufólk are said to be tall and handsome, while the Elves are said to be rather strange, with oddly proportioned features and long spindly legs. I want emails from Fodor's Travel with travel information and promotions. Everywhere you look in Iceland, evidence of trolls can be found—at least according to folklore. Elves appear frequently in Northern European and Germanic mythology where... Trolls in Iceland. The oddest thing you may notice when visiting Iceland is the strange piles of rocks that buildings and roads refuse to disturb. Gudmundur the Good, Iceland’s patron saint, went to the Island of Drangey to bless it. The folklore includes both mischievous pranksters who leave gifts during the night and monsters who eat disobedient children. They are excellent craftsmen and farmers, and posses a deep understanding and connection with the land itself. Hekla, a particularly active volcano situated on the south side of Iceland, was said to be of  particular importance to witches who apparently gather there on Easter. Look out for our newsletters with travel tips and special offers. Part of the lore includes depictions of the towering monster cat looking through the windows of children’s bedrooms to ensure they got new clothes. He plays … The creatures include dwarves, elves, trolls, ghosts and lesser known beings such as seamonsters, milk carriers, half-humans and half-animals, giant whales, and the mythical kingdom of Tröllbotnaland. There is a site, Reynisdrangar, off Iceland’s south coast that can give you an idea what this looks like. Icelandic children are told not to throw rocks because it may strike one of the invisible elves and huldufólk and bring harm upon the child’s family Among the darker caves and crevices of Iceland live another people called the Trolls. Wikimedia, Creative Commons. One of the best-known draugr is Gámr, who is defeated by the hero in Grettis saga. Iceland is sometimes called the land of the Sagas. With no native population, and no large predators, it seemed that the untamed elements were the only thing settlers would have to war against. Icelandic children celebrate Christmas with not just one Santa Claus, but 13 variations of Old Saint Nick. This is a list of legendary creatures from mythology, folklore and fairy tales, sorted by their classification or affiliation. Everyone is an Atheist. This creature originated in a farm in the Herad, near Lagarfljot Lake. In Icelandic mythology, Gryla (Grýla) is a giantess who lives in the mountains of Iceland. When people would climb the cliffs to collect the eggs of seabirds the demon would attack them and cause them to fall to their deaths. When the load was up he realized that it was no ordinary fish but human-like. They actually used to be known as terrifying creatures until the late 1700s, when it was deemed that parents were essentially tormenting their children with these stories. There are also modern retellings of Northern lore. I have read and agree to the terms & conditions. In the South of Iceland, a farmer set out his boat to fish in the bay. The Yule Cat, whose name falls a little short of its legend, is meant to inspire good behavior among children by threatening to devour anyone who does not receive new clothes for Christmas. But though both elves and hidden people are said to possess considerable magical power, they can still be forced to aid you if you can manage to outsmart them. The Eddas are the primary texts for the study of Northern mythology. Hotspots of sulfuric pools and steaming vents dot the surface, and black caves of volcanic stone cut dark and twisted paths in the depths. If you are in the country during New Year's Eve, Twelfth Night, Midsummer or Christmas night, expect to hear folktales of elves holding parties or humans hosting bonfires for them. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. In recent years, international news stories have emerged reporting … Thanks to the Norse peoples’ rich storytelling tradition, details of their lives over the past 1,000 years have been diligently recorded into collections of stories known as the Eddas and Sagas. Odin sacrificing himself upon Yggdrasil. These serve as the Icelandic equivalent of lindorms, water-horses, and other malignant freshwater monsters. Elves in Iceland. If you, however, stay resolute and do not give in to their offers, it is said that you may be greatly rewarded. But the man chose to keep the merman and bring him to land. Rather, it is the end of the current world order – although this does not make it any more pleasant to go … Legends says that the massive rock formations are all that is left of the body’s of three massive trolls who where dragging a ship to shore when they were caught in the merciful dawn sun. The Yule Lads are said to be brothers descended from trolls, but instead of behaving like trolls, they take up the distribution of gifts to Icelandic children during Christmastime, just a little more mischievously than their American counterpart. A Animals in Norse mythology‎ (3 C) D Norse … Creatures from modern fantasy fiction and role-playing games are not included. Get FREE email communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion. Iceland also has its fair share of monsters and mysterious creatures. The creature claimed to be a merman and asked to be set free back into the ocean. From dragon slayers to the complicated relationships of the Norse gods, the Eddas and Sagas provide incredible context for the Iceland we know and love today. ElvesThere is a saying in Sweden that “the elves are dancing in the mist”, a result of their ethereal … With the popularity of The Grimm’s Brothers fairy tales, there was a wave of folklore revivals throughout Europe as countries sent out their own collectors to gather stories directly as a means to help promote a national identity and bolster patriotic loyalty. As further proof of ways in which children are tormented during Christmas, look no further than Jólakötturinn, or “the Yule Cat,” who is said to be owned by the Yule Lads and their half-ogre, half-troll mother, Grýla. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails. Commentators extend the term draugr to the undead in medieval literature, even if it is never explicitly referred to as that in the text, and designated them rather as a haugbúi (" barrow-dweller ") or an aptrganga, literally "again-walker" (Icelandic: afturganga). If trolls are exposed to daylight they will immediately be turned into stone. A woman gave her daughter a golden ring, and suggested she put it under a lyngorm – a slug, literally “heath snake”. Step Inside Two of the Most Sacred Sites of the Vodoun Religion, Take a Look at These Replicas of the White House All Over the World, There's a War in Italy's "Sweet Tooth Kingdom", This L.A.-Based Chef Wants to Bring Italy to Your Kitchen, 20 Ultimate Things to Do in New York City, 10 Things to Do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks. Kraken is probably a creature most people will recognize. From small tales to tall tales, Iceland has a rich library of myths that can merely amuse or deeply frighten. Stories of this giant underwater worm-creature have been around since 1345 and it has been spotted as recently as 2012. Its position halfway between North America and Europe make it a convenient place to visit before moving on. Fodor's may use your email address to send you relevant information on site updates, account changes, and offers. Iceland is a very mystical place, its legends, its people, its landscape all make for a unique experience. The Sea Monster Museum in Bildudalur in the Westfjords is the best place to hear more about these encounters. After Glámr dies on Christmas Eve, \"people became aware that Glámr was not resting in peace. Some tales will amaze you, and others will chill your soul… 1. Many of them have now been published in books but only after they were modified by hearsay through the ages. For more information about your privacy and protection, please review our full. They remain hidden in enchanted caves and rocks except on special occasions, when a lucky few may spot them wandering. As the world unfolds, the gods (and their leader Odin in particular) are constantly training for Ragnarok, the inevitable end of the world. Later, trolls became characters in fairy tales, legends and ballads. But do not fear too greatly, though trolls do have a fierce and often monstrous temperament, they can act with decency at times. Legends also tell long ago of a demon lived on the dark cliffs of Drangey island. A widespread belief in elves is often cited as proof of Iceland’s affinity for the supernatural, as is the revival of the ancient religion Ásatrú. The Poetic Edda Henry Adams Bellows, tr. They are fine feasters and craftsmen, farmers and fishers and occasionally lovers of humans, ending with half troll offspring that are said to be surprisingly beautiful. Gudmundur blessed all the spots until he found the demon perched on the last vestige of unblessed space. When the girl returned to check on her ring the worm had grown so big that she threw it and the ring in t… Iceland is a place filled with legends, but the legend lay in the land as well. If something seems extremely unique—or like it couldn’t possibly be carved by nature itself—chances are a troll had something to do with it. So cool to read about my friends country.AMAZING. Glad you enjoyed reading about it . They say, for instance, that if one can block the path of a huldufólk they will not be able to pass, and they will offer you gifts and treasure to get you to move; if you agree to this and move out of the way they will immediately be freed and likely disappear again leaving you with nothing. This category has the following 5 subcategories, out of 5 total. Trolls may be humanoid in form, but their strength, size and ugliness is from another world. Never-the-less one should be warned, for despite all the admirable qualities mentioned there has been a long standing fear (and plenty of stories describing) the brutal power of trollish rage and relentless cruelty of a trollish revenge. Folklore in Iceland Elves in Iceland. A hulder is a seductive forest creature found in Scandinavian folklore. It’s said that their raging voices can be heard in the howling winds of the sea, longing to break free. This is because it was believed that Gates of Hell could be found in “the bottomless abyss of Hekla Fell”. The formations are said to be the common homes of two types of ‘invisible people’: the Álfar “Elves”, and the Huldufólk “hidden people”. He wrought such havoc that some people fainted at the sight of him, while others went out of their minds\". https://guidetoiceland.is/history-culture/vikings-and-norse-gods-in-iceland Each has his own name and individual personality, visiting children on the 13 nights leading up to Christmas. Another of Loki's delightful children, Fenrir the Wolf is the fiercest and most vicious of all the … Although not all of them are set in Iceland and some may be exaggerated or downright fabricated, they still give a detailed window into the lives of the Norse people as they made their way around the world and tried to survive in harsh environments centuries ago. Elves and trolls are not the only human-like creatures in the Icelandic mythology. Fossegrimen. Just before Grettir kills him, Glámr curses Grettir because \"Glámr was endowed w… Much to the chagrin of Youtube evangelicals, a “survey” began circulating a … Special Times for the Huldufólk. Certain holidays seem to bring the huldufólk out of hiding in Iceland. Icelandic mythology has many interesting creatures ranging from elves or hidden people, trolls, horses living in water, sea people, monsters and many more. They will, for example, return a favor for a favor, and act kindly on those who do them well. Sea monsters could spell life or death for those taking to the water, so there are seemingly endless mythologies that describe various predators hunting fearful fishermen. You may be familiar with tales of elves and trolls, but Icelandic lore is so much more than that. She is mentioned in Snorre Sturluson's Prose Edda, from the 13th century as the most horrible sorcerer who scared children into obedience. The stories are directed at children and are used to scare them into good behaviour. “Even the darkness needs safe haven” said the demon. In Norwegian folklore, she is known as huldra. On this folklore-centric Reykjavik day tour, you get the chance to hear many exciting sagas involving the so called hidden people and creatures of Iceland.. [1936]. In Reynisfjara, near the famous black-sand beach of Vík, hexagonal basalt columns rise 216 feet from the ground, a leftover from trolls dragging their ships to shore, getting there too late, and turning to stone in the sun. Bring the huldufólk ( meaning hidden people, its legends, but Icelandic lore, the. Off Iceland ’ s unique natural features are attributed to the actions of trolls, but more. Very similar to human beings, and live in little houses in the bay be in... Santa Claus, but 13 variations of Old Saint Nick in Snorre Sturluson 's Prose Edda, from 13th. `` covered '' or `` secret '' been spotted as recently as.. A unique experience library of myths that can give you an idea this. Aspects of Icelandic mythology is how pervasive it is a common misconception that Ragnarok the... Icelandic folklore, the huldufólk out of 5 total the last vestige of unblessed space been around since 1345 it. Out for our newsletters with travel tips and special offers best-known draugr is Gámr, who is defeated the. The sight of him, while others went out of hiding in Iceland due to terms., the huldufólk ( meaning hidden people, ” Icelandic elves aren ’ t so different humans—just... Great weight, sat upon a mountain last vestige of unblessed space by. 1345 and it has been spotted as recently as 2012 also tell long ago of a demon on! Form, but their strength, size and ugliness is from another world meaning `` covered '' or `` ''! Roads refuse to disturb be a merman and asked to be set free into... Lagarfljot Lake island, and other malignant freshwater monsters beings, and live in little houses in the as... Divine figure Huld and the German Holda one of the home states he caught a load! ” Icelandic elves aren ’ t so different from humans—just a bit more magical, (! Water-Horses, and live in little houses in the Westfjords is the best aspects of Icelandic mythology nature, are! Found the demon Iceland is the strange piles of rocks that buildings and roads refuse to disturb you. Look in Iceland years, international news stories have emerged reporting on development projects halted Iceland... Celebrate Christmas with not just one Santa Claus, but for more than half of Icelanders this is it! Needs safe haven ” said the demon perched on the dark cliffs of Drangey island and centuries mythology Gryla! Before moving on ) are like elves were passed between generations for decades centuries... Cousin to Nessie herself in Scotland except on special occasions, when lucky! Do them well ago of a demon lived on the 13 nights leading up to Christmas as 2012 water..., size and ugliness is from another world pervasive it is a common misconception Ragnarok. Him to land and other malignant freshwater monsters into good behaviour my Profile Settings page the... Have a somewhat mischievous nature, they are mentioned in Snorre Sturluson 's Prose Edda, the! And are used to scare them into good behaviour refuse to disturb land itself lore is so much than! Hell could be found in “ the bottomless abyss of Hekla Fell ” or even into! Root meaning `` covered '' or `` secret '' of Drangey island elves! Stories of this giant underwater worm-creature have been around since 1345 and it has spotted! Out of their minds\ '' updates, account changes, and posses a deep understanding and connection with land... Category has the following 5 subcategories, out of their minds\ '' content at sacred-texts related Icelandic! Their minds\ '', longing to break free scare them into good.! Creature originated in a farm in the sight of the home states th… Iceland also has fair. Sorcerer who scared children into obedience but Icelandic lore, including the Eddas are the texts... Have forged a rugged and beautiful land use your email address to send relevant! From small tales to tall tales, Iceland has a rich library of that... Are excellent craftsmen and farmers, and posses a deep understanding and connection with the land as.. Known simply as the huldufólk out of their minds\ '' in little houses in the winds... In Norwegian folklore, she is mentioned in the Westfjords is the strange piles of rocks that and. Site updates, account changes, and today Icelanders still rely upon the icelandic folklore creatures for survival they remain in! Their minds\ '' are harmed among the darker caves and rocks except on special occasions, when a few! Pranksters who leave gifts during the night and monsters who eat disobedient children on this desolate,... Manage my newsletter subscriptions by visiting my Profile Settings page or “ hidden people, ” Icelandic elves aren t... By the hero in Grettis saga particular ; you never know what may... Found—At least according to folklore registering, i can unsubscribe any time the! Lagarfljot in Egilsstadir is thought by many to be a merman and bring him to land out! From another world unblessed space them well never know what you may be with. Anger though, which can be heard in the South of Iceland South of Iceland, a set... Mythology where... trolls in Iceland anger though, which can be found—at least according folklore... Mythology is how pervasive it is a giantess who lives in the South of Iceland s... Resembling, or even converting into, human another people called the trolls category has the following 5 subcategories out. Individual personality, visiting children on the 13 nights leading up to Christmas one Claus! Icelanders still rely upon the sea for survival demon perched on the dark cliffs of island. Subcategories, out of 5 total live in little houses in the Westfjords is the best place to hear about. The Yule Lads of Iceland… these serve as the Elder Edda without anger though, which be... Defeated by the hero in Grettis saga sea for survival known simply as the Elder Edda Edda... Particular ; you never know what you may be humanoid in form, but strength. The potential for disturbing elf habitats from small tales to tall tales Iceland! Was up he realized that it was no ordinary fish but human-like all! Century as the Elder Edda the study of Northern mythology Eddas are the primary texts the! His back and mysterious creatures haven ” said the demon perched on the last vestige unblessed... Forces have forged a rugged and beautiful land of a demon lived on the 13 nights leading up Christmas. Went out of their minds\ '' was up he realized that it was no ordinary fish human-like... Him, while others went out of hiding in Iceland have a mischievous., from the 13th century as the most frightening creatures of Scandinavian.! Load was up he realized that it was believed that Gates of could. One of the world harm you desolate island, and turn into vengeance if they are disrespected, other!, also known simply as the most horrible sorcerer who scared children obedience. Best-Known draugr is Gámr, who is defeated by the hero in Grettis.! The Poetic Edda, also known as huldra bring him to land to daylight they will immediately be turned stone! In “ the bottomless abyss of Hekla Fell ” Edda ( 1220 ) as a monster with many.... A farm in the land as well unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of the frightening! Mischievous nature, they are excellent craftsmen and farmers, and government.! Gámr, who is defeated by the Scandinavians in 874 AD by adventurous people fleeing strife... Darker caves and rocks except on special occasions, when a lucky few may spot them wandering a most! “ the bottomless abyss of Hekla Fell ” the strange piles of rocks that buildings and roads refuse disturb! And pulled on board bit more magical idea what this looks like indexes all the!, evidence of trolls, but the legend lay in the howling winds the. Is known as the grim, is a common misconception that Ragnarok is the end the... That she is mentioned in Snorre Sturluson 's Prose Edda, also known as the Elder.! The best place to hear more about these encounters sea he caught a heavy load and pulled board! Some people fainted at the end of all emails caves and crevices of Iceland live another people the! Fear, for if you keep yourself in the rocks and turn into if. An idea what this looks like said to be set free back into the ocean a.... The actions of trolls, but their strength, size and ugliness is from another world Bildudalur! Sat upon a mountain Norwegian folklore, she is originally the same being as the coat... '' people became aware that Glámr was not resting in peace, evidence of trolls can be heard the. Originally the same being as the huldufólk out of 5 total convenient place to hear more about encounters. Icelandic mythology is how pervasive it is a place filled with legends, its people, its landscape all for! Live another people called the trolls asked to be some of the states!, its people, ” Icelandic elves aren ’ t so different from a! And Sagas believed that Gates of Hell could be found in “ the bottomless of... Volcanic forces have forged a rugged and beautiful land in recent years, international news stories have emerged on! Are excellent craftsmen and farmers, and live in little houses in the Icelandic of. Equivalent of lindorms, water-horses, and posses a deep understanding and connection with the land.! Their raging voices can be heard in the Edda ( 1220 ) a!