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Submitted on
August 1, 2013


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A short list of things that will help you better understand Scandinavian folklore creatures. Some I've talked about before, others are new.

1) They are people. While they could turn invisible to humans they weren't considered spiritual creatures, but people with their own cultures. The troll culture, the elf culture, the gnome culture, and so on. They were believed to live normal everyday lives with their own conflicts and struggles, much like fantasy races in modern fiction.

2) They will treat you like you treat them. While some creatures are more dangerous than others, they always respond to respect with respect, kindness with kindness, and rudeness will be severely punished. This goes for ALL of them, even those popular media has taught you are either nice or evil.

3) They are connected with sex. Some like the huldra are inherently sexual, but even those that are not sexual in nature like gnomes still hold a stronger power over people who think a lot about sex, such as young people and those about to get married.

4) They don't care about gender. Don't think that just because you're a woman the elf girl won't ask you to dance with her, and the huldrekarl will be happy to take you to his home even if you are a man.

5) While most are magic users, it seems to drain them. Trolls and elves are very good with magic, while most others can only use it for a few minutes. Gnomes are so bad at it that a lot of stories involve them turning into calf or foal and suddenly changing back in front of humans because they couldn't keep it up.

6) While most of the creatures can be found in Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish folklore, they don't act exactly the same. A rule of thumb seem to be that the creatures are nicest in the south and becomes meaner the further up north you get.

Hope that helped those of you who have asked a lot about the nature of Scandinavian folklore. :)
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levelupbuck5 Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013
Folklore and mythology are indeed very interesting. I would just like to note that "huldre" is a Norwegian (Danish as well?) term for the rulers of the forests. In southern and middle Sweden they are called "rå/rådare", literally "rulers". They ruled over wild, untamed nature (forests, caverns, lakes etc) and were actually almost always female. There was a certain degree of sexuality connected with them, more in some stories than others, but they were more generally thought of as powerful godlike beings that ought to be respected. In northern Sweden, however, we had a group of beings that had attributes which were assigned to various different beings in the southern parts of the country: vittra. They were by far the most common and predominant species up here. Trolls, tomtar/nissar/gnomes, elfs and giants took (so to speak) a backseat to the vittra ("vittra" is otherwise linguistically related to "vättar", which in turn is related to the English "wight" and "goblins" - essentially a general term for supernatural beings). Check out Ebbe Schön or kiremaj on his blog for more info. 
Mysteriumhex Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2013
Um no.That first one runs counter to everything I have ever found in research, not to mention the people who did said research. Christendom did so love to degrade the sacred spirits of old.
VeeXanya9 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Very interesting! :] It's cool how they aren't always good or evil and have their own cultures..
ValentinesQueen Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Seriously, can snuggle up in a blanket and ready us cups of cocoa to listen to you talk about these things passionately for hours? 
usserio Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013
Hi, I was wondering if you could provide some sources for no.4 because I've never came across folklore like these before ( or at least I think I've never)  and I'd really like to look it up,thank you very much!:)
AvalonsWinter Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah humon, you a fountain of knowledge for us all
Talkerwolf Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013
This is really cool. Thank you for taking the time to write it :)
Pentelk Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013
I always like learning about different creatures (real or fake) so thanks =3
cuddlykitt Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013
thanks XD
G0atboy Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013
There exist such a thing as Sex-Gnomes, got it.
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