Jun 3, 2013

The Mystical Reality Of Folklore Creatures

Today I saw a link a face book-friend of mine posted about the mystical creatures of the Scandinavian folklore. That reminded me that I for some time now, wanted to write a post about these strange phenomenons. Norway has a long list of various creatures. Trolls, of course (the wally where I live in Norway, is the very place with the surrounding mountains, where the stories about trolls origin from), "Nökken" (Wiki-link), a scary creature living mainly in deep ponds, and waters, that comes up to the surface only to lure humans into it, and so drown them. "Nisser" (Wiki-link), which is the same word we use for Santa Claus. But, these are not the classic Santa. They are more like "Goblins". We often call them "Lender's". It's because they live in our barns, our attics. Under the surface where your home is built, or inside the mountain rocks, where you have built your mountain cabin on top of. They are said to protect, and look after your place, and home. Or, if you live at an old farm place, like I do when I'm in Norway, they look after, and take care of the animals. The horses, sheep's, lambs, cows. But, there is a catch about these protectors, and their service. You also need to take care of them. They tend to "borrow" your things. The strangest things. It can be your most precious and finest tool. Or a bowl. A lamp, or even a rack sack. Maybe your knife. If something disappears, let it do so. Let them borrow it. Suddenly, it will turn up again, most times, at the very same place you left it before it disappeared. If you start looking for it too much after it goes away, you will hurt the goblins' feelings. And, if you try to look for those who borrows your things, and you disturb them, it will be worse. Then they won't be taking care of you, and your place anymore. You will hurt their pride, and feelings. If you do, unfortunate things will surly happen...

An illustration of a goblin, or "Nisse". In Scandinavian folklore, a "household spirit" responsible for the care and prosperity of a farm.

Another of the maybe most famous, and discussed creatures to this day, that is in Norwegian Folklore, is "Huldra", or the "Hulder" (Wiki-link). It doesn't happen too often, but it's not many years ago, that Norway's largest and most trusted newspaper VG, had a whole page on a close encounter with this mystical being. And, it doesn't stop there. Still today, people tell stories about encounters with this female creature, having no doubt it was a Hulder they saw. My dad is one of those persons. All though my dad is farly reserved about these things, he still has no doubt about it. Also, by seeing ghosts (if you prefer that word) several times, makes him "used" to strange encounters over the years. I believe him. He hasn't lied once to me, as far as I know. Anyway, the Hulder is a creature that has a legend going back in time as far as to the bible, and Adam and Eve. It is said that Eve had many children, and that some of them was banned from "Paradise", because Eve held some of her children hidden from a visit by God. As she lied to Him directly, when He asked her if those children she had with her during His visit was all of them, he out casted the rest of them to stay where they were hidden, for all eternity. Eve, had hidden her other children under the ground in a cave. 

It is said that the Hulder is a beautiful woman. A beautiful woman, who are after those who cheat on their wife's, or women. She turns up in the strangest places, and most often in the mountains, or deep woods, and forests. She will try to court you, and if you are one of those who doesn't stay faithful, as they say the Hulder will know, she will bring you to her cave. Once inside it, she will reveal her true self - which, according to legend, isn't really anything beautiful. And you, you are by that time, already doomed...

She normally wears a long dress. And, the one and most distinct thing that can reveal her true identity, is what she hides under it on her back. A cow-like tale! No, it's not even a joke. That tale, is the true sign of what you really are dealing with. It's the one and only thing she can not remove, or hide, in any other way then keeping it under her clothes and out of sight. When the newspaper VG had it's story, it was about two young women and their children camping out in the mountains in an old cabin, during mid-winter. It was 25below freezing, lots of snow, and it was late at night. Just as the women were sending their kids to their bunks, one of the women saw another young woman outside, sitting in the snow. Wearing only a white dress, and barefoot, she sat outside the entrance of the cabin. Dark, long hair. The woman shouted to her friend to come to the window and have a look. That someone that seemed to be hurt was sitting outside in the freezing snow. Because that was what she thought at first. That it was someone who needed help. But, as they all stood there looking at her, the young woman in the snow outside, smiled at them. As it at this point certainly became more scary then strange, one of the women inside the cabin went carefully out on the porch, while trying to keep a distance. She asked the woman if she was OK. No answer. She then asked her if she needed help, or if she wanted to come inside, so they cold help her get warmed up, and help her  at least with some real clothes for the cold. No answer. Then, as the other woman in the cabin came out on the porch too, she had opened the door behind her more widely. The light hit the woman sitting in the snow in the face. As the smiling woman got the light from inside the cabin in the face, her eyes revealed her true nature. The most scary, evil eyes they could imagine. Dark. Not dark, as like in dark brown of colour, but black. The site made the women tumble back words into the cabin again, and lock the doors. As they went to the window again, the woman in the snow stood up. She smiled at them, as she turned around. And, as she on light feet stepped back into the dark forest surrounding the cabin, she was wawing her tale at them! Standing out from underneath her dress, the tale was wawing as she disappeared into the darkness. There was even a picture with the story, clearly showing the woman walking back into the forest in the snow, having the tale behind her. One of the women managed to get her camera and take a picture before she disappeared...

It's truly an amazing story! Of course you can't think other then that it has to be a hoax. But, the paper it self is known for it's authenticity. It never prints lies. It's just not one of those papers. It's just all a very strange story...

 Illustrations of "Huldra".

My dad. Well, let me say that when he was younger, he used to go hunting. He love the outdoors and the mountains, and used to hike them a lot. Especially the higher parts, or the deep woods. Once as he was in the higher parts of one of our mountains, he was hiking over a rocky path, that lead down into a mountain pass, and a grass plain. This is a beautiful tiny spot, hidden behind steep mountain walls, and the only way to get in, or out of there, is more or less climbing. He wanted to go there to cook some food, and relax for a while, before he continued further down into the area. As he came to the rig of the pass, he saw something he says he will never forget. Cows! Beautiful, well fed, big cows. They were gathered together at the grass plain, walking around feeding. The problem is only, that in this "pot", there is no way it is possible to lead a flock of cows. It's difficult for us humans to get into the area. And, my dad, that grew up in a family that had  mountain farm where they lived all summer every year when he was young, with cows, goats and sheep's, know life stock well. And he saw, that these big and beautiful cows, were no ordinary life stock. As he climbed down to the plains, he tried to see if there were anyone around that was with these animals. As he turned around, he suddenly saw straight into the eyes of a young lady. How she could turn up there just like that, is still to this day a mystery for him. As he was struggling out a "hello" , the woman smiled at him and said Hi! The conversation went something like this:

L: Are you a local?
D: Yes... Are these your cows?
L: Yes. Beautiful, aren't they?
D: Yes...
L: So, what are you doing here?
D: I wanted to come down here to relax, and get something to eat, before I hike down to the wally again.
L: Maybe you want some coffee?
D: No thank you, that's OK... I didn't know anyone was here.
L: You can stay, if you'd like?
D: No thank you, I think I will keep on going. 
L: Are you sure?
D: Yes, I think so. How did you get your cows down here?
L: Well, you know...

After the last sentence, she smiled at him again, and asked him if he was married. My dad answered, "happily so", and said that he had three boys. The young lady answered, according to my dad, that "she  wouldn't tell on anyone". My dad backed up, and said to her that he was flattered, but was happy with his life as it was. The young lady then replied, "I'm glad to hear that", and then they said goodbye, and my dad turned around to climb over the pass again. As he was at the start of his "climb", he turned around to see what the lady was doing. There she stood, in the middle of the hoard of cows, waving and smiling at him. Then she turned around, and as she was happily jumping ahead and went behind a part of huge bolder rocks, she was wawing her tale. My dad says that, even though he didn't believe his own eyes, he saw it as clearly as everything else he sees every single day. When he had gathered his mind, he continued to climb over the edge of the pass, and down to the path on the other side. As he still couldn't even believe him self, and what he had seen, after a little while, he decided to go back up, and get down into the pot again. When he came up to the ridge of the pass, and was able to look down into the pot, he was stunned. There was nothing there. No cows. No life stock. And no lady. It is said that the Hulder has a life stock traveling with her. They are beautiful milking cows, extremely well fed and healthy, and she lets them grass at places that are naturally impossible for life stock animals to get to. They can be there one minute, and the next they can be gone, without a trace. It's just strange, and should be impossible. But my dad aren't alone having these encounters, neither as it comes to life stock, or the Hulder her self. Another man my mom knows, has seen these animals too. Well fed, beautiful milking cows. Life stock. Grassing at an impossible place. Then, as he returned to the same place a little later, they were all gone - with out a trace...

 All though as stunning as she is, be aware of her true nature...

Me? You remember I mentioned those goblins? Or "Nisser" as we call them. One time, years ago, I was visiting a friend at her cabin. It was an old place, built by her great-grand father, on sturdy rocky ground. I was sleeping in a little cabin, secluded from the main building, that used to be a place where they cooked food, made candles and those sort of things. A very little, but amazingly cosy place. I slept so well there, in that little bed, until I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night. Facing the timber log wall, I felt something wasn't right in the cabin, so I turned my head around so I could see out into the room. If you believe this or not, I'm in no doubt of what I saw. In the middle of the floor, a small, thick little fellow, with long gray beard, rack sack and a pointy hat was looking at me. Wearing clothes made out of rough, gray fabric, leather shoe like things on his feet, with cords twinned around his legs. From the early dawn light coming in to the cabin from it's small window, I saw busty eyebrows, and an old wrinkled face. I think I looked at him closely for maybe thirty seconds. Then I remember I smiled at him, and I turned my head back facing the wall, and went back to sleep. He was there checking on me, I'm sure of it. He would protect me, as long as I didn't do him, or the place any harm. 

In the morning, I went back to the main building for breakfast. As we were talking as we always do, I wasn't sure if I wanted to mention my "visitor" to my friend, but, I did. I asked my friend carefully, if she ever had experienced any "supernatural" while staying there. And then I added, "or what about goblins?"
Her eyes turned big, and she stopped drinking her milk. What she then told me, surprised even me:

"My grandfather told me, that when he was young, his father taught him how to keep the place in symbiont with the goblins living in the rock and the mountains where the cabin is built. They always left food, and lockers and things inside the cabin open for them, so they could borrow, and use it as well as take care of it. My grandfather told me once that he had seen a goblin, that woke him up in the middle of the night when he was a child. What is it that you have seen, Sindre?..."  


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Til Next time :)

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