Here follows the third part with a list and some explanation concerning characters in Norwegian folklegends.


Originally is ”draug” a word for a ghost. In Norwegian folklore, it is now one particular character, sometimes described as headless, but not always. Draugen is a drowned man who was never buried. He howls terribly at sea as a warning. He can scream like it sounds as if someone is in distress. He may have an arm with a claw, be green and roar awfully as he rolls into a boat. In the boat he can make himself so heavy that it is about to sink. He has a hat on his head, and fisherman’s clothes and a beard reaching down to his chest. Draugen was also described as overgrown with seaweed and with shells on his back, these told how old he was. The only advice legends can offer when you meet draugen is to throw human feces at him, then he runs away.

Dverg/The dwarf

The dwarf was the very best at forging and he cried every time he heated his iron. Small in stature but with great power, he was very strong, specially when the cows calved, the legends tells. He had a booming voice, and was wearing soft fine clothes. A big broad hat on his head (which!might make!you invisible) and a belt that he never removed. Except when he was fishing. Did you manage to get this belt, it could do something with you, but legends do not say what.

Dodmanns lys/dead man’s light

No character, but a burning candle which was shining blue. It moved like someone was carrying it and it was a warning of death.

Faurtru – no english translation

That being, I have only found in legends from a region of Norway called ”Nordmore”. Faurtru is the dead persons white soul which leaves the body by floating away.

Feigde/Feigda – no english translation

This might be difficult to define as a separate character. This is a warning of death. In the legends I have read this alert comes in the form of a vision of the person who will die. A legend tells, for example, of a woman who sees another young woman. The second turns out to be her own mother as young, who dies shortly afterwards. Those who were to die could not see their own feigda.

Foring – no english translation

A legend tells of an early morning 1901, when a man saw a woman walk in front of him, the woman was carrying a small bucket. The wanderer approached her and saw the woman’s face. That is, he did not see the face, she lacked her head. Where the head should have been there was only piece of cloth. ”Foring” has slightly different meanings according to different areas where the legends have been told. It is described as people who had no peace in their grave. They had their own Christmas mass at Christmas night. What tends to recur, is that they were missing their head.

Fossegrim – a sort of water spirit.

Fossegrimen also goes under the name: Kvernknurr, Fossekall, Vassraaen and Kvernkall. It can be easy to mix with ”noekken” mentioned later in this list. But Fossegrimen is not of the same danger as ”noekken”. Fossegrimen stayed in the mills and waterfalls. Appearance will vary slightly. Some legends describe it as a very high buck or old man with large, gray /white beard. Fossegrimen cried and laughed from the waterfalls and could be troublesome in the mill. But you could also learn to play music (the!fiddle) very well by Fossegrimen. If you visited the Fossegrimen three Thursday evenings in a row with a piece of meat, you could learn the art of playing the fiddle. During the grinding of flour, you could sacrifice some beer to Fossegrimen and you would get more flour than usual.

Continued next Thursday.