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Folk-Lore and Legends; Scandinavian   By:

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W. W. Gibbings 18 Bury St., London, W.C.



Thanks to Thiele, to Hylten Cavallius and Stephens, and to Asbjörnsen and Moe, Scandinavian Folklore is well to the front. Its treasures are many, and of much value. One may be almost sorry to find among them the originals of many of our English tales. Are we indebted to the folk of other nations for all our folk tales? It would almost seem so.

I have introduced into the present volume only one or two stories from the Prose Edda. Space would not allow me to give so much of the Edda as I could have wished.

In selecting and translating the matter for this volume, I have endeavoured to make the book such as would afford its readers a fair general view of the main features of the Folklore of the North. C.J.T.


The Wonderful Plough (Isle of Rugen)

How a Lad stole the Giant's Treasure (Sweden)

Tales of Cats (Denmark)

The Magician's Daughter (Sweden)

The Hill man invited to the Christening (Denmark)

The Meal of Frothi (Norway)

The Lost Bell (Isle of Rugen)

Maiden Swanwhite and Maiden Foxtail (Sweden)

Tales of Treasure (Denmark)

Holger Danske (Denmark)

Tales from the Prose Edda

The Gods and the Wolf

The Strange Builder

Thor's Journey to the Land of Giants

How Thor Went a Fishing

The Death of Baldur

The Punishment of Loki

The Origin of Tiis Lake (Denmark)

There are such Women (Norway)

Tales of the Nisses (Denmark)

The Dwarfs' Banquet (Norway)

The Icelandic Sorceresses (Eyrbiggia Saga)

The Three Dogs (Sweden)

The Legend of Thorguima (Eyrbiggia Saga)

The Little Glass Shoe (Isle of Rugen)

How Loki Wagered his Head (Edda Resenii)

The Adventures of John Dietrich (Isle of Rugen)

How Thorston Became Rich (Thorston's Saga)

Gudbrand of the Hillside (Norway)

The Dwarf Sword Tirfing (Hervarar Saga)


There was once a farmer who was master of one of the little black dwarfs that are the blacksmiths and armourers, and he got him in a very curious way. On the road leading to this farmer's ground there stood a stone cross, and every morning as he went to his work he used to stop and kneel down before this cross, and pray for some minutes.

On one of these occasions he noticed on the cross a pretty, bright insect, of such a brilliant hue that he could not recollect having ever before seen the like in an insect. He wondered greatly at this, but still he did not disturb it. The insect did not remain long quiet, but ran without ceasing backwards and forwards upon the cross, as if it was in pain and wanted to get away.

Next morning the farmer again saw the very same insect, and again it was running to and fro in the same state of uneasiness. The farmer began now to have some suspicions about it, and thought to himself

"Would this now be one of the little black enchanters? It runs about just like one that has an evil conscience, as one that would, but cannot, get away."

A variety of thoughts and conjectures passed through his mind, and he remembered what he had often heard from his father and other old people, that when any of the underground people chance to touch anything holy they are held fast and cannot quit the spot, and so they are extremely careful to avoid all such things.

"But," thought he, "you may even be something else, and I should, perhaps, be committing a sin in taking the little insect away."

So he let it stay where it was.

When, however, he twice again found it in the same place, and still running about with the same signs of uneasiness, he said

"No, it is not all right with it, so now, in the name of God."

He made a grasp at the insect, which resisted and clung fast to the stone; but he held it tight, and tore it away by main force, and lo! then he found he had, by the top of the head, a little ugly black chap, about six inches long, screeching and kicking at a furious rate... Continue reading book >>

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