regndoft: (Frigida {A Cold Place Called Home})
Do any of you remember the good old days when I used to post stories and other tidbits of trivia related to the folklore of my beloved Scandinavia?

I'm asking because it's seven in the morning, I've stayed up all night and I feel like killing some time.

So earlier... Yesterday, following exchange was had on MSN:

[ profile] taiyou_to_tsuki: But I was reminded of this (... by the Thor fandom), and now I've wanted to find material and write something about it on LJ for a long time.
[ profile] nevermore_1106: About what?
[ profile] taiyou_to_tsuki: Eventual connections between hammers and fertility rites in Norse religion and Scandinavian folklore. >3>
[ profile] nevermore_1106: Haha! That was a very nice way of saying "I HAVE MJOLNIR IN MY PANTS".

A summary of the conversation/explanation that followed behind cut )

... I've often seen people who are a bit more well-acquainted with Norse mythology state that Thor was not only a thunder god and slayer of giants, but a fertility god as well and a sort of "patron" of peasants. However, I have never once seen anyone elaborate on what that fertility aspect means. Above is a possible explanation.

Þrymskviða is btw indubitably one of the most popular myths in Northern Europe, and has been for about a millennium. Several medieval ballads based on it from Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland survived to the 19th century, resulting in some edits and changes. Some day, I might compile and translate them if anyone is interested.

Another fun trivia about hammers: they were, as stated above, mainly protective symbols against evil. While not as prevalent as crosses (obviously), they still sometimes appeared in everyday rituals. The by far most recent example was recounted by an informant whose 92-year-old grandmother still carved hammers into the dough before baking bread in the early 1990s (!!!).

(Bread in itself was considered protection against evil, so the process of baking it was very delicate and required safety measures. Bread = Srs business in rural Scandinavia).
regndoft: (Nøkken {Han Kunde ju Kläda Sig så Grann})
- It was terrible to behold how the blood poured down her breast while she greedily drank.

The comment was made by an old man when describing an indelible memory from his childhood. [...] It occurred in Hova, Västergötland, when the last public execution was performed some time circa 1870. The man, at the time a young man aged 12-14, was hired as a guard at the event. Those who were to be executed were husband and wife, sentenced to death for familicide. The husband was beheaded first and when the head rolled a man immediately ran forth. In a small bowl he collected the warm, running blood and handed it over to a soldier's wife.

- Hardly had she had time to drink up, the narrator continues, before two hussars on horses, one of them her brother-in-law, closed up on both sides of her.

They took her by one arm each and started riding down the road while the woman ran between them as well as she could. The man tells that the purpose of that action was to make the blood mix well with her own.

Blood was thought to contain life force and was used to heal the sick in Scandinavian tradition.

As morbid as the above story may seem, the thing that gets to me most is how this was not an in any way unusual occurrence. There are witnesses describing how guards had to fight back the pressing masses trying to collect blood in bowls, bottles, spoons etc. at public executions.

Usually, though, the blood of a slaughtered animal would do. Drinking the blood of a recently killed cow was a custom still practised in Sweden as late as the 1930s.
regndoft: (Nøkken {Han Kunde ju Kläda Sig så Grann})
... "A particularly cruel method was to catch a snake, stick a needle and a thread through both of its eyes and then let it go. The man murmured during this despicable ritual a verse, for example:

"Like the snake longs for its sight,
So you shall always long for me".

He then fastened the needle to the woman's clothes, in the hope that a strong, burning love would soon light up in her heart."

- Ebbe Schön, "Folktro om Ödet och Lyckan" (2002).

... Love magic. It is kind of terrifying.

Poor snakes.
regndoft: (Min Lille Havfrue [I Havsfruns Gård])
Today was boring.

Have some Swedish legends.

Dalsland )

Närke )

Östergötland )
regndoft: (Nøkken {Han Kunde ju Kläda Sig så Grann})
Girlfriend wanted to hear this story; I thought I could just as well make a complete post about it here.

In the 1670s, in Småland, the south of Sweden, the mistress of the Röckla estate died while giving birth to her first child. This doesn't seem like a particularly special event, but for some reason there would be many stories and rumours to circle around her death, even when her widowed husband was still alive.

The priest of Virestad parish back then was called "Master Nils" by the local population. There were lots of stories told about him too; that he knew magic both of the good and bad kind. Maybe this was what originally spurred the legend around Röckla.

The forests of Småland are old and big. The trees are tall and the rocks are big and covered with moss; in some parts the light may come trickling down through the crowns of pines and aspen. They are real troll forests, and trolls are in my experience more usual in Småland than anywhere else in southern Sweden.

The story of Per and Kersti of Röckla is no exception. The first time I heard about it, was in a folk song from the 1800s that I decided to upload and translate.

Sent om en afton... )

Google Maps tells me, that Röckla still stands down in southern Småland, Virestad parish. But if Per's family lives there to this day, I do not know.
regndoft: (The Reason {History})
So, in the spirit of recent time's ficcage, and because someone asked me, I got down to writing this entry.

I think that part of what fascinates me the most about the Stockholm Bloodbath is how deeply imprinted it actually is in people's minds, at least here in Stockholm. People don't THINK about it but at least to me it has been present for a long time. In third grade, when we were working with the history of Stockholm, that was the only event that would stick with me for years.

If you look at local legends about the event, it's also probably quite evident that it's something that has always tickled the imagination of people over almost 500 years. What bloody execution wouldn't?

And the background story is at least as provocative, isn't it? After more than a century of struggles, the powerful men of Sweden one after another goes over to the Danish king, helping him to regain control over the country in exchange for the promise of amnesty. Three days after he's crowned, the coronation feast turns into an execution, starting with the bishops that put the crown on his head to begin with! And this is after a great feast has been thrown to his honour, people have been eating and drinking thinking that they're safe and that things will look up.

I think that's why it has stuck for so long, too. Not as much the number of the executed, the pillaging of Stockholm - bloodbaths were not an unusual event in Medieval Europe - but the betrayal it meant. The bloodbath would be brought up centuries later, still echoing clear in people's minds; don't forget what they did, don't forget what the Danes are like.

It's with this in mind I bring up these tales: just a couple of those that haven't been forgotten over the years. The first one is even well and alive to this day.

There are ghosts in this town. )

... Now I need to run to school.
regndoft: (Nøkken {Han Kunde ju Kläda Sig så Grann})
Found this interesting little record of south-Swedish folklore in the ethnological study on Näcken and thought I'd share it with you. It was recorded in Skåne in 1881, and is relating to how women who haven't yet been to church after childbirth are extra vulnerable to the menacing watersprite:

"Some wives are, when they have yet to be taken to church, so vulnerable to the Stream man's intrusiveness that they, for protection, when there is nothing between them and the sky, wear one of their husband's clothes; for if they wear as much as his hat, the rascal doesn't have any power over them. In Rebbelberga parish, Bjäre county, the village of Skörpinge, there served a farm maid many years ago now, I knew her very well, who was always so exposed to the Stream man's impudence, that she always walked around dressed in men's clothing and couldn't stand anyone calling her by her real name."

Now, I'm not going to draw any conclusions here. These beliefs are spread by oral tradition; it's impossible to tell if the person who told this snippet on information is really recalling something s/he had personal experience from.

I'm just saying, that from a queer historical point of view, that last sentence is quite intriguing though.
regndoft: (Nøkken {Han Kunde ju Kläda Sig så Grann})




Interactive Icelandic folklore map, gogogo!

Also, because it was some time ago, I translated a Swedish folk tale. From northern Scania this time; I was kind of thumbing through the book looking for something short to work with for an hour or two, and so the story didn't end up being... Particularly unique or exciting. The language is also older and more advanced than what I'm used to and drawing from the medieval storytelling method, it having been recorded during the Romantic movement, and therefore really tricky to translate. Actually, there's a certain verse in it which rhymes in the original, but I was completely unable to convey the meaning in English without ruining the poetic influence.

It's also late now and I'm tired, so there might be some mistakes in the text. Feel free to point them out in that case.

The typical tale of princesses, good helpers, impossible tasks and enchanted items, it is called "Guldäpplen med Silverblad".

Or simply... )
regndoft: (Default)
Guy, guys. I was bored. And I've been meaning to look into this for... A long time. Out of morbid curiousity.

And now I've done it.

My task: compiling a list as long as possible of different words for ghosts in the Swedish language and folklore.

I found 46. Plus two extras.

So behind the cut is a colourful mix of different ghosts and other dead things; the creatures, the different names for them, the majority of them dialectal. Some of them only differ in like, one letter, but they've been USED, and that was the point of this investigation. I have not included modern, spiritual terms, or ghostly phenomenons and places with connections to death in folklore; if I had, the list would probably be double as long.

Actually, I think the list could be a LOT longer; I know very little of Swedish dialects and I am sure there could be more words locally spread.

I'm putting these in alphabetical order, but since there are variations of different creatures, you might have to look through it all to understand. xD

This is actually a bit frightening. )

Also, have two extra words for creatures that I'm quite sure don't count as ghosts, but are still kind of spooky. xD

Gastonge: When a woman met a dagståndare and was subjected to it, ("gastkramad") it is said that she could become pregnant. The child born was called gastonge. "Onge" is a dialectal form of "unge", meaning child. (From "ung"; young.)

Glyx: A special word and creature from Älvdalen that basically just... Walked around slamming doors and causing a lot of ruckus. Huh.

... Oh God, what the Hell have I done? .__.; If I find more I'm sure as hell updating this. XDDD

June 2016

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