2013-05-12

Seductive Swedish monsters - MMM



For my second installment of May Monster Madness I thought I would
talk a little bit about a couple of our Swedish mythological creatures.
 It is unclear just how much of the information that can be found now
are old legends from pre-Christian times, and how much is Christian "scarytales".
However, these creatures were part of our belief system long before Christianity.

There are many different interesting creatures in Nordic mythology, and for this blog hop
I have chosen two beautiful, seductive and solitary creatures; Skogsrå and Näcken.
You might never look at a forest or a river quite the same again :)



Skogsrå (also Huldra) is a wood dwelling female elven species, who has an English counter-part in 'Wood-wives'. She has a deep bond with the forest, so deep that it is said that if one twists a living branch until the bark breaks, a Skogsrå will die. Even though a Skogsrå can appear as a beautiful woman sometimes, she is actually quite the monster - with hoofed feet, a tale protruding from a back "like a rotten tree stem", and some say she has horrible claws.

The Skogsrå interacts with hunters and anyone else trying to pass through her area of a forest. If you help her out or offer her some good food she might help you safely on your way. Hunters treating her well might even be rewarded by her leading a deer their way. But if you treat her badly, or offer her half-eaten food, she will bring misery and death to your entire family.

Parts of the mythology surrounding the Skogsrå portray her like a succubus, akin to sirens, banshees and vampires. There are tales about men entering into relationships with a Skogsrå and every night coming back a little paler and weaker from their trysts. There are also stories about the Skogsrå having the most seductive call, impossible to resist.


Näcken is also an elven creature, somewhat a male equivalent to the Skogsrå, but who lives close to rivers and lakes. He often appears as a beautiful young man playing a violin, the sweetest music you have ever heard. Really though, he is a shape-shifter, other times appearing as a horse, a dog or a cat - or even a bull.

This creature is known to seduce young women who are never heard from again, but to musicians Näcken might sometimes be persuaded to teach his craft, for a payment of a few drops of blood. Of course there is a chance that Näcken might take more than that, especially if you cross him.

In southern Sweden, we are told about Näcken playing his violin, calling all the town's children to the river. Once there he transforms into a large beautiful horse called Bäckahästen, beckoning the children to jump on. With every child he grows a little longer, until he finally has all the children on his back. Then he jumps into the river and drowns them all.








It's a blog hop, join us!








12 kommentarer:

  1. They are so freaky! We should set them up... that way they can leave the human population alone! So very interesting. I have been hearing a great deal about mythological creatures from around the world lately... but not these ones!

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. I don't know, it seems that would be a clash of two dominant personalities.. ;)

      Radera
  2. Never heard of the Näcken-creature, but a couple of months ago, I've seen that weird Norwegian movie "Thale" which actually is about a Huldra-like creature.

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Yes, I've heard about that movie (Norwegian). But a film centering on a naked woman throughout doesn't make my watch-list.

      Radera
  3. The Skogsrå sounds so much like the Dominican ciguapa--from the woods; beautiful and helpful if treated well, horrible and monstrous if mistreated.

    I love the way mythologies translate from culture to culture.

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. I'm gonna have to look up the Ciguapa :)

      Radera
  4. Awesome...
    Thanks for your comment

    SvaraRadera
  5. That was a great insight into monster-like Swedish mythology creatures..I got scared of both Skogsrå and Näcken! The believe in them reflects human's fear of nature's power. We have a Rusalka in Russian mythology who resembles Skogsrå . Our Rusalka lives in the river, she is a beautiful creature who entices young men and they will never be seen again...

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Thank you, it seems most countries have seductive dangerous creatures living in the wild.

      Radera
  6. One of my WIP's is based on Norse mythology. I have Nokkens, are they similar? Love this post!

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. In Scandinavia we don't really use "Norse mythology" to lump all of the countries diverse creatures together. Though the gods (that came later) are the same, we don't share all the same creatures. "Nokken" looks like a Norwegian word, but I've never heard of them.

      Radera
  7. Ooooo, very cool post! Thanks for the information darling!

    SvaraRadera

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