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Tales From The Lands Of Snow And Ice

Northern Europe



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Goodman Axehaft








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This volume, Tales from the Lands of Snow And Ice is part of a set of collections covering the Scandinavian story-telling tradition. In this volume I’ve pulled together some of my favourite stories as told by Andersen, Asbjørnsen, Zacharias Topelius and Andrew Lang. The stories have been drawn from Lang’s Coloured Fairy Books, Andersen’s Fairy Tales, from The Birch and the Star, and Other Stories, and from Asbjørnsen collaboration on Tales from the Fjeld.

Reading Scandinavian fairy tales and legends can be a fascinating and enriching experience.

Scandinavian folklore provides insight into the cultural heritage of the Nordic countries, including Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland. These tales reflect the traditions, values, and beliefs of the Scandinavian people throughout history.

The mythology of the Norse people, which includes gods like Odin, Thor, and Loki, is a significant part of Scandinavian folklore. Reading these myths allows you to explore the complex pantheon of Norse gods, the creation of the world, and epic tales of gods and heroes.

Scandinavian literature is known for its epic sagas, which are prose narratives that often recount historical and legendary events. Reading these sagas can provide a deeper understanding of the historical context, societal structures, and heroic ideals of the Scandinavian people.

Scandinavian folklore is rich in mythical beings and creatures such as trolls, elves, and dwarfs. Exploring these fantastical elements adds a sense of magic and wonder to the stories, showcasing the unique creatures that inhabit the Nordic imagination.

Many Scandinavian folk tales and legends are connected to the Viking Age, offering a glimpse into the lives and adventures of the seafaring Norse people. These stories can provide historical context and a sense of the Viking spirit.

Scandinavian tales often feature the region's natural landscapes, including fjords, mountains, and forests. Reading these stories can create a connection to the environment and geography of Scandinavia.

Like fairy tales from various cultures, Scandinavian stories often convey moral lessons and insights into human nature. Themes of bravery, honor, and the consequences of one's actions are prevalent in many tales.

Scandinavian literature, including folklore, has made a significant contribution to world literature. Reading these tales allows you to appreciate the literary qualities of the narratives, including poetic language and storytelling techniques.

While there are common themes in Scandinavian folklore, there are also regional variations and differences. Exploring tales from different Scandinavian countries provides a diverse and nuanced perspective on Nordic cultures.

Scandinavian fairy tales are filled with adventure, magic, and memorable characters. Whether you're interested in cultural exploration, mythology, or simply enjoy a good story, these tales offer a captivating and entertaining experience.

In summary, reading Scandinavian fairy tales and legends offers a unique and immersive journey into the cultural, mythological, and historical aspects of the Nordic region. It allows for a deeper appreciation of the storytelling traditions that have shaped the identities of these countries.


The Haunted Mill

Once on a time there was a man who had a mill by the side of a force, and in the mill there was a brownie. Whether the man, as is the custom in most places, gave the brownie porridge and ale at Yule to bring grist to the mill, I can’t say, but I don’t think he did, for every time he turned the water on the mill, the brownie took hold of the spindle and stopped the mill, so that he couldn’t grind a sack.
The man know well enough it was all the brownie’s work, and at last one evening, when he went into the mill, he took a pot full of pitch and tar, and lit a fire under it. Well! when he turned the water on the wheel, it went round awhile, but soon after it made a dead stop. So he turned, and twisted, and put his shoulder to the top of the wheel, but it was all no good. By this time the pot of pitch was boiling hot, and then he opened the trap-door which opened on to the ladder that went down into the wheel, and if he didn’t see the brownie standing on the steps of the ladder with his jaws all a-gape, and he gaped so wide that his mouth filled up the whole trap-door.
"Did you ever see such a wide mouth?" said the brownie.
But the man was handy with his pitch. He caught up the pot and threw it, pitch and all, into the gaping jaws.
"Did you ever feel such hot pitch?"
Then the brownie let the wheel go, and yelled and howled frightfully. Since then he has been never known to stop the wheel in that mill, and there they ground in peace.

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