Nordic folklore

Supernatural beings and beliefs from the nordic countries that isn’t part of any specific religion.

Nordic folklore is also called Scandinavian folklore and is the more modern beliefs resulting from the mythology of the Vikings. It was kept in place into the 20th century when the people started moving into the cities.

What Nordic folklore is

Nordic folklore is the folklore of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands. In other words, the folklore of Scandinavia together with Iceland and Faroe Islands, which is why I call it Nordic folklore instead of Scandinavian folklore–to include Iceland and Faroe Islands.

The tales mostly originated in the farmers and their world and environment and was a kind of guideline for them to follow. It covered things such as folk medicine as well as deep-rooted traditions and the reason they keep doing them. It explains everyday things such as why there is a dense mass of shoots in a single point on plants and trees, or why some people get what we today know is oral herpes or sleep-paralysis.

There is a lot of different beings in the Nordic folklore, which are called Väsen, and some are called Oknytt (google translate it into goblins) if they are mischievous and some can turn invisible or change their shape.

At the farm there exists Vätte or a Gårdstomte, in the forest, the Skogsrå ruled while the mountains were the home for the Troll. Streams and lakes were often visited by either Näcken, a Bäckahäst, or the Sjörå. Lyktgubbarna guarded the boundaries of the estates.

Some of these could sometimes be helpful, but if they felt dissatisfied they could cause harm. If you where Trollkunnig you could create enchanted items such as Bjäror or Mjölkharar to steal the neighbour’s milk.

There were also beings that were pure animals such as the Gloson, the Kyrkogrim, and the Lindorm.

The 20th century

When people started moving into the cities in the early 1900s, the tales and traditions stopped being as relevant as they used to be. When fewer people lived on the farms, there was no need to make sure the Gårdstomte was given his porridge, or if the Mara rode the horses. People no longer had horses, nor a farm the Väsen could take care off.

Some beings were still relevant, especially telling them to children so they would be careful. To be wary of Näcken when close to the water was one such thing.

Many of these beings have transformed over time, and if they were to be told today, Tora Wall speculates that where the beings once were the bad guys in the stories, it might be the opposite today. Instead of being fearful of running into a Skogsrå in the forest because she is out to get you, you might see her as the protector of the forest. That these beings are the protector of the environment, and we as humans are now the bad-guys in the tales.