Here follows the fifth part with a list and some explanation concerning characters in Norwegian folklegends. Hopefully these characters can inspire others to for instance be used in new fiction.


The interesting part of this collection of legends, is that there are quite many legends about mermaids from the place where I come from, the islands called Hvaler, where I this moment is spending my summer holiday. There she was seen primarily in the sunrise. Then she would sit on a stone and braid her long hair. Her face was beautiful and down her back, she had long wavy hair. She was half human and half fish. Sometimes she would walk out of the sea like a queen, the folk legends tells. She could come ashore. Around Christmas eve, she would come and dance around a chopping block and sometimes she would steal calves. She could warn you about danger on sea, bad weather etc. You could if you saw her, ask her some questions and if you were lucky she would answer you.

Havhesten/Sea Horse

There are several folk legends about how the seahorse was in battle with the seamonster/seaserpent. However there are not many descriptions of the seahorse. In one folk legend it is described as a colossal horse with a big “mouth” with double rows of teeth. It had a long swaying mane and small yellow eyes. When it arrived, there would be thund and winds from the west.


In one folk legend merman is described as a person with webbed feet and toes, but mostly he is described as half human and half fish. He had a broad chest and a long beard and long hair that was either brown or black. His eyes were big and bright as

sidelights. He shivered slightly and if you gave him some clothes he would in return warn you about bad weather.


This is probably the character you find most folk legends about in Norway, a wood nymph, and sometimes she is called “the misses of the forrest”. She is consistently described as young, beautiful with long hair, preferably yellow or bright. Her ”trademark” is a cowtail and in a few cases described with a foxtail.

Huldra could get a special “tie” to both men and women. She could share both pasture and «things» with women as a kind of ”if you give me this, I will help you with that”. Often huldra was observed with cows, extraordinarily beautiful cows,

Most of the folk legends deals with relationships between men and huldra. They were (sexually) attracted to men and would sometimes marry them. On a mountain farm, they

could they could sneak up to a man and stay with him all night. The man would not discover that the woman staying in his bed, was a huldra before she left him in the morning and he would see her long tail. And several years later he would accidentally

discover that he actually had a child with huldra, tells several legends. He would then be

responsible for his huldra child.

It also happened that she turned herself into someone the man knew, like his wife or girlfriend. He would notice that she was unusually happy and laughed a lot.

There could be a marriage between a man and huldra. In one legend it is said that it was huldra blood on a farm through nine generations. The people there were apparently extraordinarily wise.

In a marriage like that the man had to treat his wife well, otherwise it could be bad. If the

marriage was good, there would be good fortune for the family. During the marriage ceremony conducted by a priest, the tail would fall off huldra.

One priest noted that the beautiful huldra wife was considerably less beautiful when she

was married to her husband.

If a man wanted huldra, he could capture her by throwing steel over her.