As you may have seen, I participate in the “twitter project” #FolkloreTursday. Here I have submitted a list of the characters found in Norwegian folklore, primarily Norwegian folk legends.
Now I thought I would go a little more in depth of each character. What I so far have presented is a short description. I follow the characters alphabetically according to their Norwegian names, which is suggesting that I start with alv/elf.

In Norwegian folk legends, I have found only one description of the elf. There are elves described as small naked boys with big hats on their heads. An eyewitness saw them dancing in the moonlight. Because you can not find elf as a term in Norwegian folklore, it might be so that the fairy folk or the hidden people have taken over their (elf) presence in Norwegian folklore?

You have to go back into Norse mythology to sense the presence of an elf, though they do not play an essential role. And in the confusion of information from this area, the word “Alv” is also a firstname on human beings. P. A. Munch writes in ”Norrøne Gude – og heltesagn” (Munch 1996), with strong reference to Snorri Sturluson, that elves usually stayed among the people and “caused” partly good and partly bad. The elves were divided into two categories: The bright and the dark. The bright elves lived in Alvheim and black elves lived the underground with dwarves.

In the article ” The Extreme Emotional Life of Volundr the Elf” by Àrmann Jakobsen (Jakobsen 2006) we find a mention of the most famous elf: Volund the blacksmith. Jakobsen does explain the little of selection we have of elves in Norse mythology. He writes: “According to sparse examples in the King’s Sagas, a cult of dlfar was also believed to have existed in Norway before Christianity.” (Jakobsen 2006) Based on the few sources that exist, Jakobsen continues: The elves were considered to be shy creatures resembling humans and could have intercourse with people. There are no myths about how the elves were created like with dwarves and other creatures in Norse mythology. According to Snorri Sturluson the good elves were extremely beautiful.
In these ancient saga about Hrolf Krake (Tore-Nilssen and Ólafsson 2007) the Danish king Helgi gets a visit by an elf one night. I have retold the tale for a release of erotic traditional stories, which you can read more about here.

It was Christmas Eve. The wind was howling outside, it was freezing cold. This cold that penetrates into the body and the only thing that can help you keep warm is to be close to another human being. In a shed surrounded by wind the king Helgi was trying to sleep. King Helgi lay there alone because he was grieving. He was there because he wanted to be alone.

Suddenly there was a cautious knocking at the door. King Helgi thought it was not much regal to let the poor be out there in this weather, when he could offer some shelter. The King Helgi rose up, went and opened the door. Outside stood a poor woman in ragged and dirty clothes with large dark eyes that looked at him and said: “It is good what you have now done, my king” and then she slipped into the little hut as a quick as a shade without King Helgi managing to stopp her or talk with her first. A stench came from her and she was horrible to look at. The king was almost scared. The king Helgi did not consider that she knew he was king or who she really was. The thought of cold was stronger and the king said: “Take some straw and bearfur over you, so you do not freeze.” She stared at the king: “Lend me your bed, lord, I will rest with you. My life depends on it.” The king who was both man and king said: “I do not feel like doing this, but if it is like you say, sleep in your clothes close to the wall; it will not hurt me.”

The woman curled up in the king’s bed. Now this was not a much of royal bed, it was narrow and creaky. The king went to bed and turned away from her. He stared at the one light that burned. He felt the wind that managed to penetrate into the hut. He wanted to concentrate on his grief, still he felt the gentle and slow heat flowing from another person, from a young woman. A woman who shaped her body tightly against his back. The bed was narrow. King glanced over his shoulder at her. In the glow it he saw a woman so beautiful that he did not think he had seen such a beautiful woman. Now she lay in a silk robe she wore. The king turned quickly toward her and was suddenly cheerful. He did not think about the magic that lay behind it all. A thirst was awakened in him, a hunger for closeness to another human being.

She said: “Now you have freed me from the curse that lay over me. I can now go away. You were a king who dared to receive me as a guest.” King Helgi put his arm heavily over her and leaned toward her. ” No, “said the King,” “the choice of leaving so soon you do not have, we skall not leave each other like this. I like you very much.” “It is you who decide, sir,” she said, and so they stayed together that night. If it was not for the howling wind and the cold that kept people inside that night, if they’d passed they would have heard the sound of the bed.
In the morning she said: “You have now done what you wanted out of lust, but you should know that we will have a child. Now do as I say, O king, visit our child next winter in this place; otherwise you will have to pay, if you do not do this.” After this she left. Although this event made the king happy, it would have serious consequences later in the saga. He had a daughter with elf named Skuld, a daughter with not so good intentions. King Helgi never came back to see his daughter. And in the epic of Beowulf, this daughter is the monster in the kingdom of Denmark.

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