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Elf People by humon Elf People by humon
By popular demand, here's the Elf People from Nordic mythology. I only drew the actual elves because there are a TON of creatures who belong in this group, yet are not elves.

First of, forget all you've learned about elves from fantasy books. Actual elves from Nordic mythology are nothing like that. They don't have pointy ears, they do get old, and they get uglier and uglier with age.

One thing that define elves of all kinds is that they have holes in their backs, that either look like rotten meat filled with maggots, fresh bloody meat, or a rotten tree stump filled with insects.
In modern times people tend to leave out the hole in their backs because it makes them less sexy, but that's exactly the point. When you see an elf from the front you're supposed to go "Niiiice!" and then you see them from the back and go, "JESUSFUCKINGCHRISTWHATTHEHELL!!?!" so it saddens me when people take away the hole because the elves lose a lot of the intended mystery/horror. (So I'm not happy with the Norwegian movie Thale. And yes, I've seen Troll Hunter)
The elves wouldn't mind though because they don't like when humans see the hole, so if you catch a glimse of it you're as good as dead.
(I have to admit that one of the reasons why I like to keep the holes is also because I dislike perfect looking creatures. The tails alone just make them look cute.
It's the same reason why I never cared for fantasy elves or modern vampires.)

The misty elf girls can be seen dancing in the early morning. They often invite people to join, and will then dance the person to death.

The special branch of elves called huldras also have a tail (either fox or cow) or are hairy from that waist and down. It is said that the ones with cow tails can become human if you cut the tail off, and there are stories about them only wanting to marry a human so they can become human themselves.

Elves love nothing more than to kidnap people and hold them as, well let's be hones here, sex slaves. Why they do it is everybody's guess because there's both female and male elves, though there seem to be an overpopulation of females, so that might be a reason. Anyone who get captured by an elf will go insane and might be found years later wandering around, not remembering what happened to them.

Though most stories have elves as evil, they can also be nice, because all Nordic creatures will either be good or evil depending on how you treat them. But only a fool will trust elves too much...

Add a Comment:
 
:iconmelibeli:
Melibeli Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2015  Student General Artist
Love your work. One question I have is about the huldra. If a huldra with a cow tail gets a man to cut the tail off, does the hole in her back dissapear or does it stay?
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:iconlaurentiusje:
Laurentiusje Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
why are there holes in their backs?
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:iconshockemrys:
ShockEmrys Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014
Anyone know how the whole "pointy ears" thing got started?
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:iconsaerain:
Saerain Featured By Owner Edited Sep 10, 2014
... I wrote a huge response to this but I really disappointed myself with how speculative and long-winded it was.

All I can say for certain is that we have art from ancient Greece with pointy-eared figures (satyrs) and then art from early 19th century Britain depicting pointy-eared demons, at the very same time that American Christmas traditions began to include the Christmas elf image of small, green-clad people with pointy ears and pointy hats.

Weirdly, I don't know of a single example of pointy-eared humanlike creatures in the period between those ancient satyrs and 19th century demons. I often see people saying that British folklore included the idea at some point in the interim, which seems like a reasonable notion, but I've never been able to find an actual example.
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:iconshockemrys:
ShockEmrys Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014
Thanks for the explanation. I heard somewhere that it originated with J.R.R. Tolkien, but I didn't think that could be right. After all, I've read the Hobbit and Fellowship, and the only time I remember him saying elves' ears are pointy is when he's describing hobbits' ears, calling them "pointy and 'elfish'" or something, which of course would only make sense if the common reader already knew elves had pointy ears. Plus I've seen plenty of Arthur Rackham and paintings, made 50ish years before Tolkien, and many of the elves in those had pointy ears too. Anyway, I suppose your explanation makes much more sense. Thank you.  
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:iconnoahj2001:
noahj2001 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014
Most likly in british folklore. (Greatings from r/polandball)
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:iconladymizra:
LadyMizra Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014  Hobbyist
Cool drawing, and interesting mythology, though I don't think you need to hate on 'modern' pretty elves, just because it doesn't follow old lore. Lore changes and grows with time, that's the point. These elves you drew, are their own thing, but the modern versions have their place, and are dear to my heart.
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:icontottaparadise:
Tottaparadise Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
love ur myth comics!!!
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:iconjykell:
Jykell Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
They could have a hole from back to front and I'd be fine with it. Well, as long as there's no bugs.
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:iconlonelynightrain:
lonelynightrain Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Amazing! WOW.
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:iconvaryalexa:
VaryaLexa Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Are there any good books that have references to how they appeared?  Or is this all passed down by word of mouth?
Reply
:icondrag0n-princess:
Drag0n-Princess Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2014
well, now i can laugh at people faces, because this is brilliant, I knew those sons of ******* had something to hide XD
This information is really interesting and I do agree that there no such thing as perfect.
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:iconnicokbt:
NicokBT Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014
wikipedia says  something about dökkálfar(as dark elfs) and ljósálfar(light elfs), do you know something about them?
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:iconhumon:
humon Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014
To be honest, no one really does. They're just types of elves that are quickly mentioned in the Eddas by name, but it doesn't say anything about them.
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:iconnicokbt:
NicokBT Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014
so , you(or anyone) can make them look as  whatever you want?
thanks for the reply 
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:iconhumon:
humon Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014
Sort of. Mind you, if you want to be as close to "canon" as possible, it is believed that the dark elves looked a lot like the dwarves or might even have been the same.
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:iconbluerosekelly:
BlueRoseKelly Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014
Maybe they think humans are sexy.
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:icont3n6u:
T3n6u Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014
yeah, well, humans don't tend to have holes filled with maggots in their backs.
Reply
:iconbluerosekelly:
BlueRoseKelly Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2014
Very true. :D
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:iconnunafish:
Nunafish Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome! Definitely giving my elf OC the cow tail/hole!
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:iconsomebodyoranybody:
somebodyoranybody Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
On which world do these guys live?
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:iconmcmisher:
mcmisher Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
aren't there two contrasting types of elves in Norse mythology - dökkálfar and ljósálfar? could you tell me more about them?
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:icondeadxdreadxpunk:
DeadxDreadxPunk Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2013
Um... I think you've misinterpreted this folklore...

What is shown here and described are not elves. These are Huldra females from Scandinavian folklore, speaking of seductive women with hollowed backs and tails. Elves from Norse folklore really did have pointed ears and magical abilities.

Big fan of your work, by the way ;P
Reply
:iconzuzalok:
zuzalok Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013
Do you have a source for the hole in the back? I found only one book describing a "hollow back," but nothing about rotten meat or bark. This is really fascinating, so I'd like to research it a bit more. Thanks!
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:iconsolitairemarauder:
SolitaireMarauder Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013
What happened here in fact as i see it is that JRR Tolkien took the concept of the Tuatha de Daanan, the golden race of the celtic myths,  and trying to give them a full anglo-saxon background he called them "Elves", when elves were something completely different. Im not sure why he did this because the two were very different mythic beings indeed, with the original elves being nature, "third function" spirits and the Tuatha de Daanan being more the "rank and file of the race of the gods" better associated with the Aesir than with the Elves. This gave the example to follow for the "fantasy" elves, that almost always imitated this after that, with more or less presicion. The Tuatha de Daanan fills the description of perfect, inmortal, larger-than-life humanoids that Tolkien used for his "elves", as well as the ones that the Tuatha left behind when the departed from the world, the Sidhe (although the Sidhe later appear with some "elf" traits due to saxon influence after invasion of the British Isles in 5th Century). The Sidhe later evolved together with many creatures to form the Faerie Lords of Medieval Fairy tales, mostly edited during much later centuries.

That said, the "hollow back" feature is a known one, but i never thought that was a shared by any and every supernatural being called "elf". I thought that i heard about another "elf" version like tiny and child-pretty, but strong humanoids of about one to four feets tall and without any hollow back, but i could be confusing them with other race. Anyways, i think that the "hollow back" feature is avoided by many artists not only because of its uglyness but because of its impracticality as a body feature. I mean, they dont even have a spine! imagining that moving was always really hard to me.
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:iconsaerain:
Saerain Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014
I don't know about the two being all that different (or elves "being nature" for that matter). You say that Æsir would be a better equivalent, but Old Norse sources often don't seem to even distinguish between Æsir and álfar.

It's all very blurry. Sometimes it makes me doubt that these things even exist.
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:iconsolitairemarauder:
SolitaireMarauder Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2014
Yes, you are right, in fact they seem as tribes, one inhabiting in ALfheim and the other in Asgard. Most differences are those that we apply to them when we study them. WHo knows...
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:iconlorcasballad:
lorcasballad Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2013  Student Artist
Huldra were not necessarily called elves, but were said to be related to them in folklore, stemming from the alf of Norse mythology.
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:iconakiraslayerz:
AkiraSlayerZ Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013
These don't look remotley elven... Just saying!
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:iconhumon:
humon Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013
You're confusing them with modern fantasy elves. These are folklore elves. Just saying.
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:iconsaerain:
Saerain Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014
As far as Norse mythology goes, shouldn't that be the álfar?
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:iconbobman4671:
Bobman4671 Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmm...in relation to HatiChantheWolfHog's comment, maybe there were elves of various kinds spanning throughout Europe and, just like humans, evolved with their surroundings. I mean there are elf like things in most world traditions. So maybe it's like the Nord species in the genus of elf...I don't know. Just a thought. C:
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:iconhatichanthewolfhog:
HatiChantheWolfHog Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013
Nope actually your confusing modern fantasy elves as being based on norse mythology when their actually based on celtic mythology stop being such a folklore snob.
Reply
:iconmetackelldo:
MetaCkelldo Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Lol, AkiraSlayerZ needs to L2Read.
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:iconzakiaybee122:
zakiaybee122 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013
what the hell is wrong with their backs ?
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:iconfffe443455:
fffe443455 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
she explains it in the authors comments 
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:iconzakiaybee122:
zakiaybee122 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013
okay
Reply
:icondyingmarshmallows:
DyingMarshmallows Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013
Is there a reason to having holes in their backs? Do they use them for anything?
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:iconillegalsympathy:
IllegalSympathy Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Nope, just a little something they have. It can vary from rotting flesh to rotting wood. Sometimes there will be insects too.
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:iconharrywatson:
HarryWatson Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
a hole in the back? how creepy is that? xD
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:iconkabetchett:
Kabetchett Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm totally going to be a Huldra for Halloween... Let the guys check me out as I'm starting to walk by and then when they see my back, they'll just see what looks like rotting flesh. >:D
I might add a fox tail to it though. :)
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:iconmossrygg:
Mossrygg Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I did not know the Elf Maiden also had a hole in her back...
Reply
:iconyuumi-moto:
yuumi-moto Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Really?
im from the north, and i have never heard of this?
Yes, its true they get old and uglier in the years, but not the thing with the back
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:iconhellaluvglorfy:
HellaLuvGlorfy Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Student General Artist
faved for the "JESUSFUCKINGCHRISTWHATTHEHELL!!?!" -reaction. and that's a really nice idea. a house may come with a pretty facade and a hollow backside.
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:iconkevemperor:
Kevemperor Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013
In some of the myths it isn't meat, it's more like a hollowed log.
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:iconghearradh:
ghearradh Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
I personally think that anyone should be able to put their own twist on elves or fantasy in general, but do like how you go back to the roots of elves. Nicely done.
Reply
:iconclampme:
ClampMe Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
I know the feeling.
I am a big folk geek, and I don't think hollywood was that far off on the looks, It just took out all the icky parts it didn't like (the constante risk of death, the bipolar tendencies, their habits of kidnapping/sex slave, human eating ,...), you know all the good stuff that made them hot as hell and only kept the shiny exterior.

They are old, wise and magnificiant beings (most off the time) that should be admired, but they can also be the biggest b*stards in the universe, that will kill you for sneezing to loud

As for their represantation it really depends of what part of the world your from. it can range from beautiful as fuck, to ugly as sin!! or both at the same time (shapeshiffters and so on)

marvelously done none the less
Reply
:iconradiantstar4:
RadiantStar4 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I love the original elves a bit more than the modern ones. But I prefer to keep the hole much smaller for my own reasons XD
Nevertheless, I am thankful that you made this. It is best that most people know the truth about history points, even in fantasy. ;P
Reply
:iconhercules3000:
Hercules3000 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012
i knew about the Elves being turned into sex-objects and their real culture and purpose being destroyed by Hollywood, but I never knew about the holes in their backs. I'm glad someone else appreciates mythology and wishes to keep it alive. You rock, dude!
Reply
:iconsolitairemarauder:
SolitaireMarauder Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012
And the Iosalfar of Iosalfheim? they also had hollow backs?
Reply
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