Theme ~ Swedish Rhapsody
A book of Swedish folktales from the 1800s
In Swedish folklore, many different creatures lived in the forests and around the farms. I will tell you about the two most common, Tomtar and Troll, when we get to the letter T.
If you venture out into a Swedish forest on a light summer's night, you will see mist twirl over the water of a small lake and you may see fairies dancing. Or you may come upon a huge boulder, a left-over from the ice age, and you may see a giant. A flick of a fleeing deer's tail could convince you that you just saw a wood nymph turn and flee as you came close. The song of the rushing stream and perhaps a fallen tree limb could make you believe you saw and heard Naecken or Stromkarlen, playing his fiddle. There is a special light in the Northern hemisphere during summer and I absolutely understand how people truly believed they saw these creatures of the forest.
Fairies were usually benevolent beings that would bestow good luck on their chosen humans with a flick of their magic wand.
Giants could be dangerous, but they had to go back to their caves before the sun came out or they would melt.
Wood nymphs were seductive beings that you had to be aware of if you were a man. Encountering a wood nymph from the front, you would see a beautiful woman who could bedazzle any man. But when she turned around, you would see that her back was hollowed out and she had a tail. A wood nymph could put an unfortunate man under her spell and there was no way of knowing what would happen then.
By Swedish Artist John BauerMy favorite of these creatures is Naecken, or Stromkarlen, a sad being, who was doomed to live in streams, waterfalls, and rivers. His only chance to escape from his involuntary life in the water was contact with a human being. Thus, he played sad and haunting tunes on his fiddle, trying to lure a young girl to his side. Naecken has come to represent our longing for the unattainable.
By Swedish artist John Bauer
My book that I pictured above, contains many ghost and other scary stories from around Sweden. Imagine the days before electric light, TV, and all the other noisy entertainments of today, sitting around a slowly dying fire and listening to these scary/fun tales being told. What a different life........
That was fun and magical to read! Really enjoyed it Inger.ReplyDelete
Fascinating! Thanks for the interesting read. Regards to you,ReplyDelete
Fun post. I'm a sucker for faeries. I have a portion of my garden dedicated to them.ReplyDelete
I had never heard of these beings before, but I will be very careful from now on!ReplyDelete
Vilken fin bok du har!! Måste vara roligt att ha. Jo vi har ju massa tomtar, troll och sägner både här och där.ReplyDelete
Jag mailar dig om en stund.
I love reading all your Swedish orientated entries.ReplyDelete
lots of great forest folklore. :)ReplyDelete
Lovely trip into the world of nature's reality. Love the descriptions and the stories. thanks.ReplyDelete
What a beautiful book -- enchanting illustrations and mysterious goings on. I expect it has a wonderful smell, too. Very enjoyable post!ReplyDelete
Inger....I bet they were pretty scary but how fascinating. Tell me, did you have that book when you were a little girl? The photo is lovely!ReplyDelete
I think you brought up an important point.... with all of our media we just don't have the same opportunities to enjoy the written word. Your post made me think back to bedtime stories at camp - no TV and no radio. Just a chapter from a good book that left you hanging until the next evening. Such fun!ReplyDelete
Your book is a treasure!ReplyDelete
"our longing for the unattainable", why do we humans do that? I really enjoy you blogging about Sweden. It is a country that I know very little about so I find it interesting.ReplyDelete
Lovely post Inger, and thank you for the reminder of Svenska sägner/folksagor.ReplyDelete
Ha en skön Påsk!
Thanks for your comments and all the nice words. I really appreciate them. I have been to our little town both yesterday and today. I come home tired, so I haven't had a chance to read too many blogs today. Will try to catch up tomorrow.ReplyDelete
I love all types of folklore. Cannot wait for your "T" entry!ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing all the stories, in reply, an old Celtic prayer.ReplyDelete
"From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver us."
A different life indeed - luckily I never lived in Sweden as I probably would have been a victim of the Wood Nymph ...ReplyDelete
Indeed it was different. But imagine as I'm sure you have Inger, the warmth and coziness of being read to.ReplyDelete
I'd love to see a fairy! I'll keep looking.ReplyDelete
Hi Inger .. love the book and those drawings by John Bauer .. folk stories, fairy tales - always a wrench in our hearts .. even if we're reading quietly in daylight if we get drawn right in to the story as we can so easily as a child ..ReplyDelete
Life would be so different hearing these orally in the depths of the night .. times long ago ..
Happy Easter and an easier Spring .. Hilary