Iceland – Elves’ home
According to the legend, the Elves are the ancient people of Iceland who came to the island with the Vikings. These are respected inhabitants of the country who should be treated exceptionally. They live in harmony with the nature and fight against human interference in Icelandic nature.
Although, there are few Icelanders who would openly admit to believing in the fairy-tale creatures, according to the study, most of the inhabitants of the island do not deny that they exist. All of Iceland is full of so-called fact. álagablettir, or enchanted places inhabited by otherworldly creatures called Hidden People (isl. Huldufólk) – elves, trolls, gnomes, dwarfs, nykurs (water horses) and other mysterious characters, one can read about in the Icelandic mythology or hear about in the legends circulating around the island. Interestingly, in the Icelandic tales Hidden People are closely associated with Christianity. According to the legend, these are the children of Adam and Eve who weren’t washed by Eve and hidden from God.
Not without a reason did Hidden People choose Iceland for their home. Endless rocky area of the island is just the right place to live by mysterious creatures wishing to remain invisible to the human eye.
Elves is the largest clan of Invisible People on the island. Their world official capital is Hafnarfjordur the third largest city in Iceland. As respected residents of the city, they have rights and privileges equal to other members of the community.
Elves are considered beautiful and friendly creatures, but if you do not show them the required respect, you can get into real trouble. Many Icelander have already been convinced about this. Elves live mainly in the mossy hills and rocks so. “elf rocks.” They are very unhappy when people disturb their peace. This happens most often when people try to build new roads in Iceland. There are so many elves on the island that almost every planned road investment crosses areas of their occurrence. Just one rock under the Hidden People live is enough to suspend construction, until the time they move away. Sometimes you need even mediation with the elves, because they can threaten to sabotage the investment. Hidden People really care about the environment. Once they give ultimatum, they will move away if workers resign using the explosives. To avoid trouble with the elves you have to live with them in harmony. Many times they have disturbed various investments on the island. The machines broke down and the workers were ill. Numerous incidents involving elves, strange coincidences and perpetual bad luck make the Icelanders prefer not to mess with them.
The belief in the Hidden People in Iceland flourished in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was a tough time for the island. Iceland was ruled by Denmark, the king forbade Icelanders trade with other countries, which in fact sentenced citizens to hunger and poverty. Additionally, in 1783 there was a great explosion of the Laki volcano, which destroyed 75% of all crops.
„Originally [elves] were associated with magical powers, health and wealth, and this was at a time when Icelanders were still a very poor nation. In the eyes of starving farmers in cabins of peat, these beings embodied the dream of a more prosperous world, co-created a parallel community living in palaces and gorging themselves with good food”.
professor Jacqueline Simpson
Over the centuries the elves have changed in the eyes of Icelanders. They are now the model of modesty, wear nineteenth-century wool shepherd costumes and oppose consumerism. They are allies of environmentalists, because they are in favor of life in harmony with nature. Faith in elves protect Iceland against uncontrolled human intervention in its natural beauty. With fairy-tale beings the island has a chance to retain its natural beauty for the next centuries.
I have met in Iceland dwarfs very nice and funny creatures :) They lived in a rock just off the main road. Supposedly they have lived here for a very long time.
The government of the island supports its citizens in defending human belief in supernatural beings. It is very important that this tiny nation (just over 300 thousand people) be proud of its tradition.
Icelanders believe that nature is a force which must be respected and defended. There are places that should never be taken by a man, as the frozen lava field is much more important than the new road. Being in Iceland and admiring the beautiful scenery I had no difficulty in imagining that in some corners live the fairy-tale creatures. This is a truly magical place.