Through generations in my Scandinavian family, I have heard some really odd sounding names pertaining to Scandinavian folklore. I am a sucker for these tales! Most people don’t hear a whole lot about that topic. Most legends stem from Ireland or the United Kingdom, but did you know that Scandinavian folklore is filled with witches, elves, and even their version of the devil? I know it’s not everyone’s “thing” but I’m a writer, and I thrive on these tales.
These tales have fallen from the lips of many Scandinavians, young and old, especially when the children gather around the storyteller, listening intently to the tale of love or warning. Most folklore or mythology is based on something real such as an event that took place such as someone or something that intruded the mind of a dreamer. When that person woke up, they placed it as a vision and not an over-acted imagination.
Let me share with you a tale about a woman banished from her Swedish village in the early 1600’s.
She was a beautiful girl. Eyes of night and pale blond hair that was soft as satin. She fell in love – but not with the boy she was to marry. The girl became pregnant. Here is where the tale takes a dark turn. Rumors fueled a fire within the village. It raged through the people’s minds and burned from their lips each time they shared the story with a neighbor or family member.
Her parents tried to hide her away. They tried to protect her. But failed. The farm boy, who told her that he loved her and wanted to run away with her and their child, had disappeared into the thick of the woods, leaving her alone. The village people drug her from the safety of her small home and told her the truth of the boy. They told her he was the devil himself, and he could shift into anything he wanted. Some called him “Fanden”. The girl was cursed and her entire blood line would be filled with darkness and evil until the end of days.
They spared her life, for they were frightened that the devil would return and kill them all if they harmed her or the child. So, they banished her. Told her to take her wicked child away from their village and never return. So, she did and never saw her family again.
Most tales have a meaning or moral behind them. This one isn’t different. Young, un-wed girls stayed away from farm boys or any boys for that matter. They agreed with their parents who they should marry, and they never caused trouble or disobeyed. The people would say “Love is the in the heart of God. And lust is on the lips of the Devil.” I am confident that there is some truth to the tale but I can assure you, my blood isn’t filled with darkness or evil.
Do any folklore tales fall from your family tree?