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Submitted on
February 12, 2012
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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...

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ShockEmrys Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014
Anyone know how the whole "pointy ears" thing got started?
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.
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.  
noahj2001 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014
Most likly in british folklore. (Greatings from r/polandball)
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.
Tottaparadise Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
love ur myth comics!!!
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.
lonelynightrain Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Amazing! WOW.
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?
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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