It seems Icelanders have always loved a good elf story. Icelandic folklore is chock full of weird stories about elf encounters, and while some of them are pretty tame, others are quite creepy and bizarre. We took a gander at the collection of Icelandic elf-tales and picked out five pretty weird ones for you. All these stories originally come from Jón Árnason's Icelandic Folktales.
5: Kidnapped by an elf
This story is called „The child with mark on its face“ and it goes like this: One time, late in the summer, a 5-6 year old child was left alone at home, while the grownups went out to work in the fields. Since Au-pairs were not around then, the child was left unattended with a silver cup to play with.
When the people returned, the child had vanished. Understandably, everybody panicked and started looking everywhere for the child. This continued for some days, but the child was nowhere to be found. Eventually, they got a guy called „Latin-Bjarni“ to look for the kid. This latin fellow finally returned with the child a while later, unharmed, but with a blue mark on its face, resembling a bruise.
When asked where the heck it was, the child stated that a woman, eerily resembling its mother, came and silently led it away to a strange house. There it was taken care of well, but when it refused to drink some milk, the woman struck the child, leaving a blue mark on its cheek. The mark supposedly never disappeared.
Appearantly nobody ever questioned the child further or investigated that Latin dude who found the child or even the woman who looked suspiciously much like the mom. “Nah, it was probably just the elves.”
4: “What the hell are you looking for?!”
Þorsteinn, a farmer’s son in Möðruvallasókn, had trouble sleeping one night. As he lay in his bed, he notices a beam of light appear in the doorway. There he sees a young elf-woman walk in, holding a candle. He notices that she’s quite well dressed, with braids in her hair. In fact, he said that this was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life. Appearantly this woman was looking for something, using the candle to light up the room.
Þorsteinn, who appearantly did not enjoy late night visits from beautiful women, was having none of the elf-lady’s shenanigans and wanted to get some sleep. “What the hell are you looking for?!” he screamed at her. The elf-lady took exception to the shouting, and abruptly left the room. Þorsteinn finally got some shut eye and slept until the next morning, when he woke up and told his parents about the late night visit from the elf chick. His parents said that this had obviously been a elf-priestess, and were not too happy with their son shouting obscenities at a high ranking member of the elf community.
3: Kidnapping Elves Return Baby
What’s the deal with Icelandic elves and stealing babies? This story tells of a farmer who lived in the East of Iceland. He had to travel south, which in those days of course took forever. He asked that his new born baby would never be left alone. Maybe he’d heard the story about the elf kidnapping, or maybe he was just sensible. Who knows.
But of course, the baby was left alone one time, and when the people returned, the child cried and shouted relentlessly, almost madly. The farmer returned, and was told that the one rule he set was broken like, the moment he left. He was really annoyed and felt betrayed. According to the story, he took a look at the child and saw something wasn’t right. He grabbed a stick, ran out to a rock near the farm and started thrashing it while shouting obscenities. The only right thing to do in the situation I guess. After that he asked everybody to leave the farm for one night and leave the baby alone there. When everybody returned, the baby was back to normal and all was well.
2: Seduced by a Lard Elf on Christmas
According to Icelandic folklore, if you sit down at a crossroad in Iceland where you can see four churches, elves will appear and offer you some of their finest elf-swag. They will offer you gold, silver or jewels, while others will morph into your mother or sister and ask you to come with them. This might sound like a great deal, but there’s a catch. If you accept any of their gifts, you’ll go insane. But if you make it through the night without accepting any of their gifts, you should stand up and utter the words: “Thank God, now it is daytime everywhere.” The elves will then disappear, leaving all that sweet elf-booty behind. Score.
One time, a guy called Fúsi attempted the challenge and sat down at a crossroad. He was doing good, rejecting one tempting elf-offer after another. But then, an elf came bearing the most tempting offerings of them all, a hardened piece of lard (a delicacy at the time). This time, Fúsi gave into temptation and took a huge bite out of the lard, and spoke the famous words “Seldom have I denied the lard”. He of course, went insane.
1: Don’t stick your hand through an elf’s window
This one is rather creepy and shows you just can’t trust elves. One time, three children were playing by a small mound. The youngest one, a girl, sticks her hand in a small hole and says something along the lines of “put in my palm, man, who shall not see”. When she took her hand out a large golden button had been placed in her hand. The oldest child saw this and thought he must try it for himself.
So he sticks his hand in and utters the same words as the girl, expecting a prize at least as good as she got. But apparently that elf was a bit sadistic, so instead of giving the other child a golden button too, the child’s arm became withered and deformed.
So the takeaway from these stories? Don’t trust an elf you meet in Iceland.