The spirits from Norway
Here are some of the most common nature spirits from Norway
Huldra (the forest nymph)
Watch out guys, this forest nymph has not only the ability to break your heart, but also your arm.
Huldra, who often appears as an astonishingly beautiful woman with raw natural elegance and a seductive figure, has amazing strength. She can lift huge rocks or straighten a horseshoe with her bare hands.
Well hidden from her irresistible features are an animal’s tail and a back as hollow as an old tree trunk. Huldra is constantly luring men to fall in love with her. She will even change her appearance in order to do so, for example into the wife of a farmer she wants to have a child with. Huldra has also the ability to become invisible, so when she appears, it seems to be straight from out of nowhere.
- can make her self invisible
- attracts people and animals with her chanting
- takes care of animals and chidren
Nøkken (the evil water spirit)
If you want to pick water lilies floating on a pond on a lovely summer night, beware the Nøkken.
He could be lurking in the water, ready to drag you into the pond and then drown you. The Nøkken is a fresh water creature that is able to transform himself into almost anything. He could appear as a handsome young man, a magnificent white horse or even an old wooden rowboat.
His real appearance is hideous, with glowing yellow eyes, a large mouth with sharp teeth and wet grass clinging to a body with skin like that of a drowned man who´s been in the water for some time. If you´ve been caught by the Nøkken there is still hope. You can escape by calling him by his name. By doing this you will kill the Nøkken.
Troll (the giant)
A huge monster who appears when the dark arise.
You´ve probably heard the expression “two heads are better than one”. Well, it doesn´t always apply to trolls. This two-headed troll although big in size, is not so big in the brain department, or should I say brains department. Like other trolls he is extremely strong but moves slowly.
On top of that, his two heads have a tendency of arguing with one another, so it can take a while before they agree on anything. Actually it often takes much longer than a while, because this two headed troll is really a three-headed troll, with a third head sticking out from his back. The third head always joins in whenever the two other heads start arguing. Even though this can seem a bit funny, don´t be fooled - he is still very dangerous.
Should you by accident come upon him in his remote mountain residence – beware. He has a nasty habit of eating humans when he gets the chance. So if you are unlucky enough to find yourself in the awful situation of becoming his next meal remember; his weakness is, if exposed to sunlight he will turn into stone.
- extremely strong
- can eat humans
- can become very old
The Fossegrimen (the fiddle master)
This magnificent musician can captivate you with his music.
The Fossegrimen is a good natured but moody spirit that dwells in waterfalls. He is so skillful at playing the violin that he has the power to enchant people with it. His youthful good looks along with his playing are an irresistible combination. This sometimes results in him leaving his waterfall to live with a woman or a man who has fallen in love with him.
But the relationship never lasts long because he becomes gloomy and depressed if he doesn´t have regular contact with his water source, so he always moves back to his beloved waterfall. If you are an aspiring musician, this should be of interest: It is said if properly approached, the Fossegrimen will teach a musician to play so beautifully that the music will make the trees dance and even stop waterfalls.
- extremely strong
- can eat humans
- can become very old
Tusse (the little trubblemaker)
Looking for trouble… look no further. The Tusse might be small in size but they’re big in making mischief.
These often half naked creatures from the underworld might be unpleasant to look at but with their wild hair and almost constant naughty grin, they´re in an odd way, cute. Although mischievous, the Tusse are not evil, but when annoyed or aggravated they don´t hesitate to create havoc and trouble for those who have annoyed them. The Tusse live underground in small communities and go about their daily life much like we humans did, hundreds of years ago. They inhabit both secluded woods and rural areas near people, such as farms and pastures. They possess magical powers; one of these is ability to make them invisible. This is why we seldom see them but often see the result of their mischief making. A word of advice; should you come upon an area inhabited by The Tusse, you will probably be left alone if you are polite and treat the nature there with respect. Those who do this gain the trust of the Tusse and are sometimes given the opportunity to work together with them. If they choose to do so, they will discover the Tusse can be quite helpful instead of mischievous.
- can get invisible
Dragon (the guardion of treasures)
Most of us know that dragons live underground or in deep caves, guarding treasures and fly through the air spewing out either fire or poison.
If you should see a fireball streaking across the sky it just might be a Norwegian Dragon and if it is, you can be pretty sure it´s guarding a treasure either in the bottom of a lake or deep in a mountain nearby.Dragons have cape like wings, either snake or lizard – like bodies, dangerously sharp claws, glowing eyes and a mouth that spews out fire.In Nordic mythology there is the famous story of the hero Sigurd the Dragon slayer who slays the dragon Fafnir. Fafnir had once been a dwarf but was turned into a huge dragon by an enchanted ring and sentenced to guard a large treasure deep in a cave. After killing Fafnir Sigurd drinks some of the dragon´s blood and by doing this gains the ability to understand the language of birds. The Norwegian film “The Littlest Viking “ has it´s main character named after Sigurd Dragon the slayer and is loosely based in a time period after Fanfirs death.Another famous dragon is Nidhogg, from the Viking manuscript “The Edda”, who constantly gnaws at the roots of the tree of life, Yggdrasil, hoping to bring about, Ragnorak, the end of the world.There are a number of stories about woman who bath in springs or river streams used by dragons as their hiding places. These woman tend to give birth to very strong but wild children often with red hair.
- can fly
- spew out fire or poison
Elves are a race of beautiful beings with magical powers.
Bless their lovely pointed ears. Elves are smaller than humans, fair skinned, with thin, almost transparent wings and of course pointed ears. Among their many attributes is a keen sense of sight and hearing, the ability to fly, make themselves invisible and shape shift. They can also change the appearance of an object so it will seem more appealing to the beholder. Elves like to keep to themselves, usually far away from humans, whom they feel have a lack of respect for nature. Elves are great music lovers and most of them play an instrument more than proficiently. They are generally peaceful, but if threatened they become fierce warriors who fight to the death.
Elves detest daylight and if trapped or for some reason are caught in it, –they become mischievous and wicked. Fortunately this only lasts until the sun sets again, when they turn back into their old selves. Elves are immortal and can only die in battle or in deep grief. They can also choose to become mortal, if they fall in love with a human and wish to marry.
- can fly
- a keen sense of sight and hearing
- they are immortal
Draugen (the evil sea monster)
This creature, with skin somewhere between a fish´s scales and rotting flesh, a giant mouth with razor sharp teeth and tentacles for feet, is the last thing you want to meet and if you do,… it probably will be.
The Draugen is a sea creature that´s dead but unlike ghosts, he has a material body with physical abilities. He posesses superhuman strength and can increase in size at will. The Draugen has only two interests – guarding his treasure beneath the sea and drowning helpless victims.
At sea nothing is safe from the Draugen, not even dreams. The Draugen has the ability to enter the dreams of the living and when he does he always leaves behind a gift, as a tangible memento of the visit. If this isn´t enough, the Draugen has numerous magical abilities such as shape shifting, controlling the weather and seeing into the future. He also has the ability to go through anything even solid rock as if it was air or water.
- ability to go through anything even solid rock
- shape shifter
- can controll the weather
- can see into the future
- can enter dreams of the living
Sjøorm (the giant sea serpent)
These snake or reptile like creatures, are huge in size and some have even capsized large ships, drowning those onboard.
The largest sea serpent was the “Midgard serpent”, written about in the Viking manuscript –“The Edda”. The serpent was so long that it encircled the earth. Throughout history there are countless accounts of those who have seen sea serpents not only along the Norwegian coast but also in Norway’s many deep lakes.
In Norway’s largest lake, “Mjøsa”, there have been numerous sightings. One of the oldest is from 1522 and tells of a sea serpent that was shot in the waters there, from the monastery, outside the town of Hamar. The dead serpent washed ashore on an island nearby and lay rotting for weeks. Later there have been a number of other sightings of sea serpents from the Lake Mjøsa. These sea serpents probably have their hiding place in an area below the Skreia mountains where the water is very deep, more than 400 meters. Maybe these sea serpents are descendants of the famous Midgard Serpent”.
Today there are still many sightings of sea serpents and lake monsters in Norway; the most famous of them is “The Seljord Serpent” (called Selma) who inhabits the local lake in the township of Seljord in the district of Telemark. The Seljord serpent is in fact so popular that an image of it decorates the township´s coat of arms.
- extremely fast and strong
- can stay under water for months without surfacing