Icelandic Roads Rerouted Due To Elves Tradition

According to the latest reports, the Icelandic elves beliefs are the main reason for rerouting many of the roads in the country.

By    July 19th, 2005 11:03 GMT
According to the latest reports, the Icelandic elves beliefs are the main reason for rerouting many of the roads in the country, in order to avoid disturbing rocks where the fantastic creatures might live. (monsters and critics.com)

Most residents of Iceland Polls are not willing to rule out their existence. Many children told their parents about the little inhabitants of the rocks, but more adults have also stated their encounter with elves, as well.

Foreigners are invited to tour known elf locations at Hafnarfjordur, a port on the outskirts of Reykjavik, where a large rock described as an elf habitat led to plans for a nearby road being changed so as not to disturb its supernatural residents.

Some mysterious accidents were also reported in front of one particular stone, which brought work to a standstill at the construction site at Ljarskogar, about three hours drive north of Reykjavik. The constructors have previously called a medium, to find out if the elves were to blame for the disruptions.

According to Birgir Gudmundsson, an engineer with the Iceland Road Authority, the administration treads carefully. "Our basic approach is not to deny this phenomenon. (…) There are people who can negotiate with the elves, and we make use of that.", the engineer told Reuter agency.

The medium who talked to the elves told the workers that the creatures moved nearby the stone and asked the authorities not to blow it up, but to find another way, so the elves community would not be harmed.

Erla Stefansdottir, another medium and part-time consultant to the road authorities, believes that elves want people to preserve nature, as "they are nice and sweet, the other side of nature, they are like light on the trees and the flowers". The piano teacher described the elves she had seen as small human beings. (Variety)

Iceland, the fairy side of the world
A recent survey points out that 80% on this windswept North Atlantic outpost either have no opinion or refuse to rule out their existence, and only 10% strongly believe in elves and other supernatural beings.

Iceland's President Vigdis Finnbogadottir once described her people as fond of telling stories although few really believed in folklore. "But to lose it would be to lose a jewel," she added.

According to Arni Bjoernsson, head of the Ethnological department of the National Museum of Iceland, popular belief in elves, gnomes, dwarfs, trolls and other beings often reflected the simple farmer's dream of a better world alongside his own.

His interviews with people from Iceland lead to a book which lists 500 supernatural beings. "Their houses are nice and clean. They often possess gold and other valuables. This is the wishful thinking of the poor", Bjoernsson concluded.

Tourists can also find in Iceland a real Elf School. With a curriculum, classrooms, textbooks, diplomas, and ongoing research, Álfaskólinn (Elf School) teaches about the five different types of elves, hidden people, and other invisible beings that inhabit this island nation.

There are special textbooks with elves, light-fairies, hidden people, dwarfs, gnomes, and mountain spirits. In fact, the materials describe 13 types of elves, 3 kinds of hidden people (including the Blue People), 4 varieties of gnomes, 2 forms of trolls, and 3 types of fairies.

While scouting locations in Iceland, filmmaker Jean Michel Roux was enchanted by the beautiful landscapes, but also intrigued by the sincerity of the people he interviewed.

He discovered that many Icelanders truly believe in the existence of pixies and elves, so he decided to pursue his investigation. The result is the 2002 documentary Investigation Into The Invisible World, a feature-length documentary about the relationship between humans and invisible beings such as elves, ghosts, angels, water-monsters and extra-terrestrials.

The French director relates stories of spooky, supernatural doings in a country where clairvoyants and mediums regularly report communing with spectral entities, and presents a portrait of the Icelandic soul, as well as a metaphysical meditation on the frontiers of existence.

Myths, legends, folklore

According to the Icelandic mythographer Snorri Sturluson, people used to believe in dwarves (dvergar) as "dark-elves" (dökkálfar) or "black-elves" (svartálfar); whether this usage reflects wider medieval Scandinavian belief is yet uncertain. Elves who are not dark-elves are referred to by Snorri as "light-elves" (ljósálfar); this usage has often been connected with elves' etymological connection with whiteness.

There are many splendid dwellings. One is there called Alfheim. There dwell the folk that are called light-elves; but the dark-elves dwell down in the earth, and they are unlike the light-elves in appearance, but much more so in deeds. The light-elves are fairer than the sun to look upon, but the dark-elves are blacker than pitch.

Evidence for elves in Norse mythology outside Snorri's work, and in earlier evidence, comes from Skaldic poetry and the Poetic Edda, where elves are linked with the Æsir, particularly through the common phrase "Æsir and the elves", which may mean "all the gods".

The elves have abeen compared or identified with the Vanir (fertility gods) by some scholars, as well. However, in the Alvíssmál ("The Sayings of All-Wise"), the elves are considered distinct from both the Vanir and the Æsir, as revealed by a series of comparative names in which Æsir, Vanir, and elves are given their own versions for various words in a reflection of their individual racial ethoi. Possibly, the words designate a difference in status between the major fertility gods (the Vanir) and the minor ones (the elves). Van Freyr was suggested to have been the lord of Álfheimr (meaning "elf-world"), the home of the light-elves. According to some stories, he had as servants two elves: Byggvir and Beyla.

While some speculate that Vanir and álfar belong to an earlier Nordic Bronze Age religion of Scandinavia, and were later replaced by the Æsir as main gods, others argue that the Vanir were the gods of the common Norsemen, and the Æsir those of the priest and warrior castes.

In Scandinavian folklore, which is a later blend of Norse mythology and elements of Christian mythology, an elf is called elver in Danish, alv in Norwegian, and alv or älva in Swedish (the first is masculine, the second feminine), a word which is etymologically related to elv/älv ("river").

Meanwhile, the Post-Tolkien fantasy elves (popularized by the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game) appear as beautiful, fair, slender, human-sized or only slightly smaller creatures. All of them have long and pointed ears, and most of them are known for their greater depth of knowledge (especially regarding magic) than their human counterparts, due to a racial inclination as well as their extreme age.

Capable warriors, with special archery skills, the elves portrait follows Legolas, arguably Tolkien's most well-known elf.

As in the Norse lore, elven-human unions were possible in Tolkien's saga (a notable example being Elrond, the lord of Rivendell), while in many RPG's, half-elven is a possible race for player characters. A common theme in fantasy literature and especially games are also "dark elves", which are known through TSR as drow. Apart from malice, drow or dark elves are mostly recognized for their dark or blue skin color, and by an underground abode.
(Source: wikipedia)

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