Older Folklore of Sweden

What creatures were the most common ones here and what did people think of them? This is what one can read about in this paper, and also the role of witches and the witch hunts and what we can still see of them today. What will also be discussed is what traces of the folklore’s we can see in modern society here in Sweden, what all these old stories have led to, so to say. The most common folklore’s in Sweden Since there were so many various stories told about different supernatural creatures and even more different versions of them depending on where in Sweden they were told, it would be almost impossible to describe them all.

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Therefore, only the most common ones are described here. One should keep in mind that these are only a few interpretations of the old legends and that they may look a little different in other contexts. These are the beings that have managed to stay alive in people’s minds and that we still tell some stories about in Sweden today (You can find more about Swedish folklore here. Flashnews is a very convenient source for learning by using flashcards) : Nkeen is one of the most common legendary figures found in Swedish folklore. He has often been described as a little man wearing grey clothing and a red hat, or as young and handsome, but the descriptions of him differ strongly depending on where in the country they were told.

A proficient shoplifter, he could take shape of various different animals. The most famous animal that he is described as (mostly in the southern parts of Sweden),almost more than as a human, is as a horse, called “BcakeSteen” (“baka” refers to the Swedish word for rill and “hSST” means horse). 1 This horse was white and grew longer and longer as more people, usually children, climbed onto his back. He then carried them to a lake with thin ice or something Simi liar, where he could drown them. 23 Menace was believed to be living in lakes and streams, where he tried to entice people into the water.

He enchanted them by playing on his violin, more beautiful and sad than anyone else in the world, making the people want to get closer and closer until they basically walked into the water by themselves, then he dragged them down into the deep and drowned them. His music could also make them dance until they died from exhaustion. Therefore, parents thoroughly told their children not to go too close to the water or to ride any unfamiliar horse. 4 F-did leers could learn to play the violin from Nkeen, but that was a risky mission. One had to sacrifice something into the water where Nkeen lived.

The sacrifices could be things such as three drops of blood, a black animal, brandy or a bone of meat. Though, the learning process was not a dance on roses. The music performed by the mysterious man could be dangerous and the person trying to learn it could be enchanted and jump into water or dance himself to death just by hearing it. 5 Gross;et- The Wood Nymph The Wood Nymph, or “Gross;et”, as she is more often called in Sweden, was another mysterious and dangerous creature, who was believed to be lurking around in the woods.

The stories about her are more common in the outworn parts of Sweden and she becomes less and less known the further up north the country one comes. She was a female creature with a very beautiful and alluring look, mostly wearing only light clothes or nothing at all. But that was only the front of her. As she turned around, a hollow and rotten wooden back with an animal tail (which animal varies in different versions of the tales about her, it could be a fox tail or a cow tail, for example) was revealed, a horrible and frightening sight. 7 This often young-looking woman twisted the minds of men with her eye-catching beauty, which made hem extremely attracted to her, and she used this attraction to tempt them to follow her into the woods. Not watching out for her was a bad idea, since she tricky and only had evil ideas. Tricks used to keep her away were reading the pray “Our Father or scaring her off with fire. If a man had already been misled by the Wood Nymph, he could take off some of his clothing and turn it inside out. This was believed to help him find his way back again. 8 Tales of trolls frequently appear in the Swedish folklore.

These typical fairytale-creatures were believed to live in the woods swell, but often under he ground or in rocks or mountains. Swell as Nkeen and the Wood Nymph, the descriptions differ depending on where in the country one comes. But what is common in most of the descriptions is that trolls are ugly, filthy and disgusting, with big feet and long tails. 910 Though, they could also be described as beautiful, human-looking, beings, wearing nice clothes. 11 12 They were mean, nasty and mendacious. No difference, trolls were rich and had big treasures hidden in their mountains.

They were very dangerous and you had to watch out for them. Trolls liked the human ‘s food and drinks, and often tried stealing it. They were also very fond of human babies, and it could, according to the tales, happen that a tradeswoman took a human baby and left her own ugly cub with the humans. These cubs were called “abrogating;. Something that was very useful to avoid trolls was to do things that had to do with Christianity, such as praying grace before eating and baptizing your children, because that was something the trolls hated.

Therefore, it was really important to baptize children and being a good Christian. 13 14 Witches The probably most known belief in history, not only in Sweden, but also in other parts of the world, is the belief in witches. Witches were in company with the devil himself and so extremely dangerous. They were good magicians and could spread diseases and death among the people using powers that they obtained from the devil. The witches were, according to the beliefs, most active during Easter.

On the Amanda Thursday, people thought that the witches went to a place called “Bal;kulak”, where a big feast with Satan himself was held. They went there using a broomstick, so the night before, people were careful to put these away. 1 5 Often, the old and wise women in the villages were claimed to be witches, especially if they worked with lands or herbs (since these could be used in potions, for spells, and such). 16 The belief in witches is the most serious one, and the one that really affected the society the most.

The women that were accused to be witches had to suffer from horrible punishments, torture and rituals to confirm their “magicians”. One test that was used in order to determine whether a woman was a witch or not, was by tying her hands and feet together and throwing her into a lake or such. If the woman floated, she was a witch and needed to be killed, and if she sank she was no witch, but obviously drowned. 17 Big aster-fires were lit to scare away the witches, especially during Easter, since that was when the witches were the most active.

It was also common to dance around the fire. 18 In Sweden, the biggest time for the witch hunts was during the 17th century. Tomato -” Gnomes Last, but not least, we have the gnomes, or “tomcat<‘ as they were called In Sweden.. They were usually described as small, elder men with long beards wearing grey clothes and a red woolen hat. 19 20 The gnome was a hermit and he lived in the barn or at the loft. He kept an eye on the animals and was very dedicated to the care of the farm. Therefore, one had to be nice to him, because if you were, he could help you with the work on the farm.

Upsetting the gnome had very bad consequences, the people believed. He could then make the animals unhappy and then the cows, for instance, would not give any milk, which could be devastating for the household. The perhaps most important thing to do in order to stay friends with the gnome was to put out a bowl with porridge for him on Christmas eve, and there should be a large knob of butter on top of it, or the gnome would become very, very mad. He could even become so mad that he killed a cow. But just putting out porridge or the gnome at Christmas eve was not enough.

Throughout the year, the humans had to show respect and do their best or he would have his revenge on them. 21 22 Analysis-What traces of the folklore’s can we see in the modern Swedish society? So, as one can See, many different figures can be found in the history of the Swedish folklore. The stories had a very strong effect on the people and their way of living, but have they made any impact on the society we live in today in Sweden? Yes they have! Quite many actually… The tales and stories about Nkeen had strong raising uses.

They told children not to go ear the water and the adults the possible danger that water in lakes and such could bring with it, giving the humans a respect towards the water, a respect that we still have today. We are careful when being in the water and know what bad consequences not being careful can have, such as drowning. Also, the legend about “BcakeSteen” was used to teach children not to ride unfamiliar horses, and we have something similar to that today, but we tell our children not to go with strangers in their cars and often not to talk to strangers at all.

But the principle is the same, that one should not tempt the oath by going with people (or horses) that are not familiar because you never know what they might do to you. The Wood Nymph is very unusual for the time when these stories were told and believed in, because she was an independent woman figure who could “rule” over men and make them do what she wanted them to. This goes against the stereotypes of men and women which were strong and common everywhere in Sweden (and the rest of the world swell) during this time.

It was the men who ruled in the house and over the family, and the women did not have any power against them, forced to do what their husbands told them to. Therefore, this picture of a strong and independent woman was a rarity. Today, though, we are very keen that women should be equal to men and the women are being brought forward as Strong individuals who are not depending on their husbands. Therefore, one can look at the stories about the Wood Nymph as one of the many steps towards the much more gender-neutral society that we see in Sweden today, though, as mentioned, it is only one of many steps.

It was not only the stories of the Wood Nymph that made today s society so neutral to gender, and one should keep that in mind. Also, this legend can have the usage that everything may not be what it appears to be. We often say that “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is”, a saying that is very shown in the story about the Wood Nymph. One can see a strong connection between her admirably beautiful front and something that seems good, and her awful, hollow back and the hidden truth about things.

An example of something that may seem too good to be true and also turn out to be, is a cell phone that only costs one Swedish crown, but turns out to be bound to a us absorption that costs a lot. The Wood Nymph might also describe that people may not be as they try to seem. This is commonly seen in modern society in Sweden, that you choose your friends carefully and do not trust anyone before getting to know them. Parents today thoroughly teach their children not to trust strangers and that is what the stories about the Wood Nymph told men hundreds of years ago (in principle).

So the Wood Nymph can have been one Of the things that has given people today the ability to think twice about things that seem too good to be true. Trolls are today very common in stories and fairytale, but not so much in the real society. Though, any sayings about trolls are still used today, such as telling children to do certain things or the trolls will come and get them, which refers to the tales of troublesome that take human babies and leave their own. We have many traditions in Sweden today that originate from the belief in witches.

For instance, we light big fires around Easter, called “p;skilled’ at some places in the country, and even more common are these fires at Valuatorssaffron, which is the last day in April. These fires probably originate from the time when big fires were lit to scare witches (and other magical creatures swell) way. Another tradition that we have in Sweden is that on the Amanda Thursday each year, children dress up as witches and walk around the streets, and asking for sweets.

They are then called “paskearning” and one can assume that this tradition is thanks to the old thought that the witches flew to Bal;kulak on this day. The Santa Claus that people dress up as in Sweden is believed to partly originate from the gnomes. People today dress up in costumes that remind a lot about the old descriptions of the gnomes on Christmas eve and act Santa for the children. The Santa comes on Christmas eve, the same day as the gnomes wanted their porridge in the old stories, and has a long, white beard and a red woolen hat, just like the gnomes, but the clothes are also red, and not gray as in the old stories.

Still today, it is a tradition in many families to put out a bowl of rice pudding for Santa when he comes in the middle of the night delivering Christmas presents, and the chi lilied believe in it, just like people did back in the Old days. The Christmas gifts have nothing to do with the old tales of gnomes, though, therefore the Santa that we have in Sweden today only partly originates from he old folklore’s. The myths about gnomes also have connections to modern society with a moral: that you should show respect towards others and be thankful for the help you get from them.

This is something that is discussed quite much today. The old stories can also be seen in many of today’ s fantasy movies and books. Especially trolls and witches are frequently appearing. Examples of books with witches are the famous Harry Potter books by J. K Rolling (U K), but there are many, many more. Also, the famous books and movies about n he Lord of the Ring’ by J. R. R. Tolkien display for example trolls very often. Of course, there are also many Swedish books and movies about these creatures, such as the very popular book “Crinkle” that has taken the society of the country with storm.

This book is about witches as well. Conclusion So, as explained above, the old folklore’s have left a bunch of traces in the modern Swedish society. They appear in literature and media very often and we have got many of our traditions and feasts partly from them, as can be seen especially in the Easter and Christmas traditions here in Sweden, where the gnomes and the witches have left their marks. From Nkeen and Gross;et, we can draw connections between sayings and morals, swell as feminism, with the modern society today.

Though it cannot be assumed that they originate from the old myths, because it is the combination of varying different things that have led to what we have today. The trolls are most common in movies and books today, where they appear very often (usually in the fantasy genre), and they have also left us with some sayings that we still use today when we talk. Despite all that, the folklore of Sweden stays in our hearts as wonderful, amazing stories, unlike the ones that are being Ritter today in the sense that they have deeper roots and have been told from mouth to mouth for ages.

Abstract This paper has discussed the most common Swedish folklore’s and how they have affected the modern society that we live in today. Examples of this are how our traditions originate from the old beliefs and which of today’s morals that they can be connected to. Bibliography Sources used in this paper were: Passersby. R, Cheeks. M – “Folded ouch Folklore” http://meddle. Spray. SE/beatable/witching. HTML Nordic T. “Seven’s Almoners Life – Folded ouch Folklore” http://paranormal. SE/topic/magi/hoax. HTML such¶n. E, “F-lotions BBC” http://www. kaneshembygdsforbund. SE/PDF/handholding_folklore. PDF http://www. Ungallant. SE/natures/ Source criticism Because of a lack of time, not all of the sources used in this paper can be discussed, but some of the sources were not very reliable and only used to compare facts with the main sources, which were these three: 1 . “Folded ouch Folklore” by Raglan Passersby and Margaret Cheeks (Stockholm, 1969) This book was used as one of the main sources for this paper, as seen in the many footnotes referring to it, and it was considered a good source for information.

Firstly, one can read in the beginning of it “Grandsons Lkebob”, which means that it has been used as a school book to teach children about old Swedish folklore’s and traditions, and not to convince them about an opinion or something like that. Therefore, the information in it must be reliable, since the purpose of it is to inform and teach, and it would just be a waste of time, really, if it was unreliable. The teachers could have chosen many other books instead of this one, therefore the writers and producers must have been very keen to make a good book with reliable facts, so that the cheers would choose to buy it.

Secondly, this book is only about folklore’s and traditions, therefore one can know that it is focused on this and that the information used is not just some side information to something else, which may not have been completely true since side information is not of a big importance. The language is very formal and the authors do not show any opinions in their text, which concludes that the book is objective. This makes it more reliable, since it is not affected by what the writers think, and so only based on true facts. One can rely on that the facts are true nice the authors are well educated in the subject.

Raglan Passersby was a history teacher, with folk culture as his special interest, and therefore he should probably knew a lot about history and traditions and folklore’s. Margaret Cheeks is difficult to find information about, but since at least one of the writers is reliable, one can still rely upon the contents of the book. So one can know that the book is not written by someone who just made the information up. The book is not relatively new, but since the subject is history, it should not be able to change, or at least not much at all.

The other ay round, it might be more true than newer sources since it was written closer in time to the things it is talking about. There is some contact information in the beginning to the book to the producers and such, and even if they might be dead by now, this information makes the book more reliable, since people could contact them if they had questions about the text, which confirms that they knew what they were writing about. Lastly, the information in this book matches the information from many other resources and therefore it is more probable to be true. 2 . Http://ovum. skaneshembygdsforbund. SE/PDF/handholding_folklore. Dif Folklore ouch senergy FRR;n b;dad sided Keenan – Stranglehold’s f¶r lrare) This compendium was also used as a main source. It says on the front paper “stranglehold’s f¶r Irare”, which means that it has been made for teachers to get ideas and information from to include in their teaching. Therefore, the information should be appropriate for that, and true. One can trust that it is a good source since it would be useless for the author to write it if the information was not true. Since it is not written to entertain, persuade, or such, one knows that the text is written with a serious purpose, and is therefore more reliable.

The paper is given Out by a quite big “company’ and therefore one can assume that they have people working there that know about the subject. For example, it has been put together by Bent Hansson from a muses company, who probably knows about history since he works in a museum, but if he would just have been a private person, like a flogger for example, one would not have been sure about whether he really knew anything at all, which would have made the source much less reliable. The compendium is relatively new, and one can therefore assume that the information has not changed after it was written.

Though, this does not make an as big difference in history as in other subjects, since history cannot change a lot. The language used in the text is serious and does not bring forward any opinions, which makes it more reliable because the author has not written it to convince the reader about something (for which incorrect information might be used). There is a list of references in the end, which makes the paper more reliable since one can check that the information origins from a good place, something that is also does. The information also matches with what can be read in other books and websites. 3.

Seven’s Almoners Life i Folded, Folklore ouch Blindfolding’ by Tibias Nordic (1912) probably, the first thing one think when seeing this book is that it is very old. Since it is written in 1912, it really is old, but one can still use the information in it and rely on it because, as mentioned above, history generally does not change over time. This book is written even earlier than the first one mentioned in this source criticism, and therefore much closer in time to when the people actually believed in the folklore’s and so it gives a more “true” kick into how people actually thought back in that time.