Duende - Description, History, Myth and Interpretations | Mythologie.net (2023)

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In the woods, you come across a clearing filled with strangely beautiful people. At first you think they might be human, but upon closer examination you discover that their features are too beautiful and perfect to come from a mortal man. You enter the clearing to get a better look and introduce yourself, but end up walking into a circle of mushrooms and flattened grass. Their expressions quickly change from curiosity to furious anger.

Suddenly you start to feel bad. You apologize and explain your actions, but they are already disappearing into the depths of the forest. It's too late. As punishment for your offense, an elf shot you.

What is a leprechaun?

An elf is a mythical creature that appears to be human in nature, but has magical powers and does not age (or at least ages very slowly). Goblins seem to have their origins in Germanic folklore, but they are also commonly found in other European folklore.

Elves are seen as a "luminous" group of people known for having fair complexions, much more perfect than the most beautiful human features. They are sometimes referred to as "the whites." This is believed to be a reference to her pure morality, or perhaps a reference to her beauty and pale features.

Elves were seen as a point of fear and curiosity in primitive societies. They were often known to be sociable and even friendly towards humans, but they were still greatly feared for their temperament. If they sensed that a human had hurt or offended them in any way, they were quick to retaliate with punishment. Common punishments included diseases, night terrors, and cruel tricks and attacks directed at the victim. It is noted, however, that goblins sometimes helped cure diseases in some cases.

Elves and Birth

Elves are a curious legend indeed. Although they are believed to never age (or live hundreds of years, depending on which story you follow), elves need human help to bring their children into the world. Such help was often thought to be needed from midwives who could deliver children safely and from wet nurses. While midwives are often married to preachers, wet nurses are often women who have recently given birth. This caused great fear in many early European homes.

While both sets of women had something to fear when traveling to the elven world, the wet nurses were especially terrified of their fate. Usually, they were taken from their newborns and families to the elf world to take care of newborn elf babies. While this doesn't seem dire, it would have been terrifying for any woman to put herself in this situation. It was rumored that eating any food offered in the world of elves or accepting any hospitality from them would prevent a person from returning to the world of humans. It's unclear if these rules applied to wet nurses, who obviously had to spend an extended period on their world, but the fear of being prevented from returning to their families would have been enough to scare them off.

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It was also common for midwives to be called upon to help bring elf babies into the world. It is not known why a midwife was needed, but at the time it was common knowledge that a human midwife was needed to give birth to an elven child. Usually a midwife married to a preacher was called in to perform the necessary duties. It was important that the called midwife not eat or drink while she was in the elf world for the above reasons. Some stories say that the midwives (who usually had time to prepare, unlike the kidnapped wet nurses) would sometimes pack food and water to prevent them from going hungry. There are several stories of conscripted midwives that were widely accepted in their day.

Peter Rahm's wife is summoned

A cleric named Peter Rahm is known to have told a story that his wife was summoned to help a mythical being give birth. She went with the creature and fulfilled her duties. After the child was born, the grateful couple offered food and drink to the midwife. She kindly refused. She was offered other forms of hospitality, which she also declined. She was sent on her way and returned home. The next day, she found a stack of silver coins, a gift from the new parents for the birth of her child.

A Danish story of an elf and his earth wife

A Danish tale tells of an earthling (a leprechaun) who sought the help of a midwife on Christmas Eve. He took the midwife into hiding and had her care for her earthly wife during her labor. When the child was born, the elven husband took it away, trying to steal a newlywed couple's good fortune for the child. While he was gone, the elf wife gave the midwife a warning. She warned the woman not to eat or drink anything while she was below the surface of the earth. She told the midwife that she, too, had been a Christian woman before being invited to the elf kingdom, but that she had made the mistake of eating her food during the visit. Having accepted her hospitality, she was unable to return to her own world. When the husband returned, the midwife refused her offers of hospitality. Because of this, she was allowed to return to her house.

Elves and their relationships with humans.

While there seemed to be many ways elves could threaten a human's safety, there were some elves who lived in peace with humans and even entered into relationships with them.

While there are some accounts of elves attempting to seduce humans into having sex with them, it seems that there were some humans and elves who consensually had children. These children were known to be especially beautiful and often did great things.

For the most part, the half-elf, half-human children were human-like in their features (although they were often quite beautiful) and were capable of great magical feats. Sometimes they became magicians, sorcerers and healers.

There are various ballads and stories about elves mating with humans. They usually involve some kind of riddle that the person must solve in order to become your lover. Some stories also require the character to rescue a human-turned-elf in order to win the hand of his lover in marriage.

the elf knight

The Elfin Knight is a story that can be told in two ways. The first is that the knight threatens to rob a woman so that she will be his mistress unless he can complete an impossible task. The second is that a woman must complete an impossible task to win the Knight's hand in marriage. Over time, the second became more popular.

The story begins with the Knight blowing a magical horn that arouses desire in the maiden's heart. She wishes she could marry the Knight. Suddenly, the Elfin Knight appears and tells her that he will marry her if he can accomplish several tasks, all of which are impossible.

In return, the maiden responds with various impossible tasks for the Knight to complete and wins the Knight's hand in marriage.

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Tam Lin's Tale

Tam Lin's story begins with a warning that Tam Lin is an elf who takes possession or the virginity of any maiden who travels through Carterhaugh Forest. One day, a young woman travels through Carterhaugh Woods and plucks a double rose from the ground. Tam Lin appears and asks her why she entered her forest and took her belongings. She replies that Caterhaugh belongs to her, it was a gift from her father. The young maiden continues on her way, only to find out later that she is pregnant.

Go back to the forest and pick up another bunch of roses from the ground. Tam Lin appears again to challenge her actions. She asks if he was ever human or if he was always an elf. She tells the maiden that he was once a mortal, but the fairy queen has captured him and turned him into an elf. She also reveals that he fears he will be sacrificed in a tithe to hell this year if she doesn't save him.

Together, they devise a plan to rescue Tam Lin from thePalacioQueen. They carry out the plan and the maiden wins the love of Tam Lin. The Fairy Queen acknowledges her defeat and releases Tam Lin.

Lady Isabella and the Elf Knight

Unfortunately, not all relationships between elves and humans end well. The story of Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight begins in the same way as 'The Elf Knight' with the Knight blowing a horn which sparks desire in Lady Isabel's heart. She wishes that she could marry the Knight and he appears and tells her that she will be his wife if she goes with him to the green grove.

Arriving at the grove, Lady Isabel is shocked when the Knight reveals that he has killed the daughters of seven kings to steal their treasures and possessions and intends to make her the eighth. Fortunately, Lady Isabel thinks fast and tells the Knight to rest her head on her knee before she dies. She then lulls him to sleep with a spell, ties him up with her own belt, and kills him.

How are the elves?

Most elves described in folklore are female, although male elves certainly existed as well. The description of an elf's appearance varies depending on the time period and the location in which the story takes place. It seems that most elves are known to be beautiful creatures. They typically have blonde hair and blue or gray eyes (these are also traits they value in humans) and have been known to have human-like features but much more perfect in nature. There are, of course, some variations in their appearance. These traits, however, are the most used in fairy tales.

Male elves were often depicted as old, although this is not the case for all elves that have appeared in literature. There are also extremely handsome elves who appear and seduce women like Tam Lin's elves and The Elfin Knight.

Most of the literature will describe elves as human in shape and size. They are known to have especially beautiful features, and are sometimes described as being even taller than the average human. However, the writers of Shakespeare's day took a different approach when describing elves. They transformed into small beings that often had wings and were surprisingly fairy-like. This version of the elf was known to enjoy playing pranks on humans.

Modern literature tends to have a mixed perspective on elves. While you can still find occasional references to elves as small beings, there are also plenty of stories that feature elves as being roughly the size of a human.

Where do elves live?

Most stories state that elves inhabit homes deep in the forest, carved out of hollow trees or underground (usually on a hill). This was pretty standard for most supernatural creatures in early Europe.

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Most people have lost faith in the existence of elves, but there is still a large population that believes in, or at least is open to, the possibility of elves in Iceland. The people of Iceland have taken special precautions to ensure that the homes of their beloved huldufolk are protected today.

The construction of the Huldufolk bus stop near Álftanes

On the Álftanes peninsula, roadworks have been proposed in an area believed to be frequented by Icelandic elves. There were many protests against the construction, claiming that it would ruin the elves' habitat, as well as the natural landscape. The protest brought the entire project to a halt until the Icelandic Supreme Court ruled on the case.

This is not an isolated event. Other roads that were proposed to be built in areas where elves were thought to live were interrupted by freak equipment failures or tools that were suddenly stolen from the workplace. Some think that these incidents were caused by the elves themselves.

Interestingly, in 2012 a law was passed prohibiting construction in any area believed to be inhabited by elves or culturally or historically significant to Iceland.

Dangers posed by elves

elves and diseases

Elves were often thought to be the cause of many diseases that a physician could not properly diagnose or treat. It was thought that elves could live in parallel to the human world (although invisible to the human eye) and would make a person sick if offended by the individual. This was said to be accomplished in various ways. Sometimes a person would get sick if an elf cast a spell on them. Other times, however, an elf might shoot a man with an invisible arrow that carries disease. Therefore, it was not uncommon for people to be misdiagnosed as 'elf shots' when they were ill.

Elves were also thought to cause other health-related misfortunes, specifically sleep. The German word Alpdruck means "nightmare", but the literal translation means "oppression of the elves". done by them or as a cruel joke.

Interestingly, it seems that elves were often blamed when an individual suffered from epilepsy. This is possibly due to the complicated nature of the disease and the lack of medical resources available to treat it.

Elves and Alchemy

Elves were known to be magical beings, so it is not surprising that various types of magic are often attributed to them. There are many different types of magic attributed to elves, but one of the most popular by today's standards is alchemy.

Alchemy was a scientific and philosophical practice aimed at purifying different elements. One of the most popular types of alchemy recognized by humans was the practice of taking an earth element (usually some type of metal) and trying to turn it into a precious metal like silver or gold.

The elves' link to alchemy is probably why so many stories reference an elf giving a human something that seemed useless (like coal) that magically turned to gold when they returned home.

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elves and seduction

Another common threat elves were believed to have over humans was seduction. For whatever reason, the elves had a strong desire to lure humans into having sex with them and were often warned in tales.

Some elves were recorded to be very strong with this wish. At some point, the idea arose that male elves would impose themselves on female elves while they slept. This problem was reported in Scottish witch trials, and the elves in the tales were interpreted as a pseudonym for the elves.Devilthe same.

Elves and Changelings

Interestingly, it was thought that elves sometimes valued human babies above their own kind. There was a lot of speculation as to why this happened, but there were two main theories. The first was that elves liked the human babies they stole for their light hair and blue or gray eyes. The second was that the children were stolen to be used as tithes in Hell so that the elves would not have to sacrifice one of their own. Regardless of their motivation, human parents came to fear the thought of losing their children to elves.

It was thought that when a goblin came to steal a child, he would leave one of his own in the place of the stolen child. This elf boy was known as a 'change'. These children appeared to be human, but often suffered from unexplained illnesses. Discovering a changeling in the place of a human baby was a serious situation. Often, due to the many problems that arose with changelings and their remarkable need to eat more than a human baby, changelings were killed before they had a chance to reach infancy. It was thought that letting the changeling live was jeopardizing the resources of the entire family, so infanticide was the best option for the unfortunate couple.

Origin of the myth of the goblins

Arising from the murder of Able by Cain

Some sources seem to think that the elves may have arisen from Cain's murder of Able. This is the case with Beowulf, who clearly states that the elves became a race because of this unfortunate event.

semi-forbidden angels

Other sources seem to think that the elves may have been the angels who chose to remain neutral in the fight forParadisewith God in frontLucifer. They were banished from Heaven because they did not help God, but because they did not betray him, they were not condemned to Hell. Instead, they were banished to Earth, where they would be known as elves.

Eva's Lost Children

An old Icelandic tale suggests that the elves may be the lost children of Eve. The story tells that one day, when God was walking through theEden's garden, Eva was ashamed that her children were dirty. She told them to go and hide from God so she wouldn't be ashamed of God seeing them in her condition.

When God came to Eve and asked where her children were, she lied and said she didn't know. Angry that she dared to lie to him, God said, "What man hides from God, God will hide from man." From that day on, Eva never saw her children again.

The story goes on to suggest that the children became the Huldufólk (the hidden people [elves]) of Iceland.

reborn into elves

The Germanic tales that supposedly inspired the first goblin stories suggest that these beings could be created by raising the dead. Old Norse texts seem to suggest that elf worship and dead ancestor worship are the same thing. This suggests that a person can be reborn into a supernatural creature such as the elf upon passing into the afterlife.

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Evidence for this belief can be found in tales such as 'The Saga of Olaf the Holy', in which the king's ancestor has a grave marked 'Olaf the Elf of Geirstad'. This reflects the belief that the king's ancestor became an elf in the afterlife.

The explanation of strange events.

Last but not least, it's certainly possible that elves were simply created as a way to explain the unexplainable at the time. This is evidenced by some of the more common events that were attributed to elves, such as the elf locks (when a lock of hair was found with a knot in it).

It would also have helped people accept unfortunate events like the birth of a deformed baby. Surely it would have been easier to get rid of a child who was putting the new family at risk if he had been a changeling elf instead of his own offspring.


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