Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Yuletide Lads -- Icelandic trolls

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
December 12 is the first day of arrival of the Jólasveinar trolls, gnome-like beings that come at the rate of one a day right up to Christmas Eve. It is said they like to eat bad girls and boys.

About 60 different names of Yuletide Lads are known, but the number varied in olden times from one region of Iceland to another. The number 13 is first seen in a poem on Grýla (the Lads' mother, an ogre; their dad is Leppalúði) in the 18th century, and their names were published by Jón Árnason in his folklore collection in 1862. Some of their names are Sausage Sniffer, Pot Scraper, and Window Peeper. They were once seen as cannibals, but the Yuletide Lads are now gift givers – although still mischievous.

The Jólasveinar start arriving in town this morning, one each day ... The first, today, is Stekkjarstaur (Sheepfold Stick), who would try to drink the milk from the farmers' ewe ...

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