A land’s topography speaks of the forces that have formed it and how it has endured; in Iceland, the shape of people’s beliefs and the ways folklore bisects and enriches everyday life is as striking and memorable as the volcanic landscape. Mythology reflects and refracts the dangers of the natural environment.
Exploring the vast realm of folklore has never been easier with the tools available in the digital world of libraries, museum collections and social media.
orever immortalised in Washington Irving’s ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ the Headless Horseman has undoubtedly become one of horror fiction’s most iconic spectres. This monstrous phantom which torments and pursues the lanky figure of Ichabod Crane set against backdrop of Tarrytown New York has become a staple of Americana. Whilst it’s said Irving was influenced […]
I first caught the perfume of my wild twin by walking with muddy boots through wet grasses to my scrubby woodland den as a six-year-old. As the trees swirled I caught a scent and started to cry without understanding. I wove a pheasant feather in my hair. I hear it now in the owl court who hoot across the frost grass and moon-touched lawns of my cottage. There’s more than book smarts in that chill delirium. These are not domestic tones, not corralled sounds, but loose as Dartmoor ponies on the hill. They give me ecstasy. Not safety, not contentment, certainly not ease, not peace, but ecstasy. It’s almost painful. Makes me restless.
The Norwegian folktale, “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” in which a white bear comes to take a poor girl away, is loved by people the world over. It is also part of a huge cycle of folklore and myth that has spanned Eurasia in the last 2500 years.