Icelandic folk tales and legends
Iceland has a reach tradition in folk-tales. These include stories about the hidden people, elves, ghosts and witchcraft. As a foreigner visiting Iceland, you will be surprised to learn that some of the Icelanders still consider the existence of elves and ghosts to be a possibility or at least don’t deny their existence. This is not so strange when you keep the following in mind. Firstly, Iceland was one of the poorest and most isolated countries in Europe, right up until the second world war. With the arrival of British and American occupying forces in 1940, Icelandic society was dramatically transformed forever. Roads and airports were built. People moved to the towns to work for the military and Iceland received considerable financial aid from the U.S. in the form of martial aid. Literally, overnight, Icelandic society made a leap from medieval times into the twentieth century. So, while Icelanders today may seem very modern, their roots to a past acknowledging the existence of trolls, elves and ghosts are still very much intact. Remember too, that from the time of settlement Icelanders have been farmers and fishermen, ways of life that have a special and intimate bond with the natural environment and all its forces, seen and unseen. And then, is the country’s weather and landscape. Iceland’s winters are long and dark, its landscape wild and lonely. Combined, all these features with the nation’s age old passion for storytelling and you end up with endless tales of the supernatural.
We made a selection of the most interesting folk tales to guide you through the countless stories of the fantastic encounters that Icelanders had with hidden people, elves and ghosts.
Make yourself comfortable and listen to these stories. Hope you enjoy it!