The Heimurinn Chronicles
Wights and Spirits
Spirits that take the appearance of small men. Said to give good fortune to a household should the family leave them a meal. Mostly active during the month of Ylir and Yuletide.
Huldra (plural: Huldren)
A seductive female wight that lives in the forests. She offers rewards to those who satisfy them sexually and death to those who fail to do so. From the front, the huldra is a beautiful young woman but also has a fox’s tale and whose back appears to be like a hollowed out tree. Most men would most likely run away once they caught sight of the tail.
These longhaired blonde beauties lure men into the woods by their lovely singing and appearance to do their bidding or simply as mates or pets. If betrayed, the huldra are known to punish their victims severely. Ouch, you don’t want to upset this gal.
She is prone to stealing human babies and replaces them with her own child (a huldrebarn).
If she decides to marry a human man, the huldra can no longer keep her identity secret because during the marriage ceremony when a priest blesses her, the glamour leaves her revealing who she really is. Some sources say she looses her tail if she is blessed, but her nature remains and if the man mistreats her, she will turn incredibly ugly and the man will suffer.
Krampi (plural: Krampar)
The Krampus is a creature known mostly to the Fjallar, but the stories have trickled into Skaldar folklore. The Krampus is told to punish naughty children for disobeying their elders. Children are often told, “You better do as I say or the Krampus will come and steal you away to his cave and eat you!” He is hairy, usually brown or black, and has the cloven hooves and horns of a goat. His long pointed tongue lolls out.
The Fossgrim is a spirit who lives in waterfalls and is neither good nor evil. The Fossgrim is a magnificent musician who plays the fiddle day and night. If an aspiring fiddle player ventures to seek his help, the Fossgrim will gladly help, for a price of course. He must go to the waterfall and offer him a nice meal, usually a good plump joint of meat. Many stories tell of travelers who have tried to palm the Fossgrim off with an inadequate piece of meat, resulting in the him just teaching the student how to tune his fiddle rather than play it. He is said to be young and handsome though never leaves his waterfall.
Nokkar, is a fresh water dwelling relative of Fossgrimar, but unlike his kinsman, the nokk is both dangerous and clever. The nokk plays a violin to lure his victims out onto thin ice or in leaky boats and then draws them down to the bottom of the water where he is waiting for them. The nokk is also a known shapeshifter, usually changing into a horse or a man in order to lure his victims to him.
In the depths of the sea, lives the draugr or the Strandvaskare. The draugr is the spirit of a person who died at sea. He sails through the sea in half a boat. If a man happens to see a draugr, he is in mortal danger unless he races the draugr and wins.
The Nisse is a good wight who takes care of the house and barn when the farmer is asleep, but only if the farmer reciprocates by setting out food for the nisse and he himself also takes care of his family, farm and animals.
If the nisse is ignored or maltreated or the farm is not cared for, he can sabotage a lot of the work on the farm to teach the farmer a lesson or two.
Although the nisse should be treated with respect and some degree of kindness, he should not be treated too kindly. In fact, there’s a Skaldic story in which a farmer and his wife enters their barn an early morning and finds the little grey old man brushing the floor. They see his clothing, which is nothing more than torn rags, so the wife decides to make him some new clothes but when the nisse finds them in the barn he now thinks he is too elegant to perform any more farm labour and thus disappears from the farm.
Nisser are also usually associated with the yule time. It is normal that farms may place bowls of rice porridge on the doorsteps.
A type of wight from Northern Kjallnor, called Vittra lives underground, is invisible most of the time and has its own cattle. Most of the time Vittra are rather distant and do not meddle in human affairs, but are fearsome when enraged.
This can be achieved by not respecting them properly, for example by neglecting to perform certain rituals (such as saying “look out” when putting out hot water or going to the toilet so they can move out of the way) or building your home to close to or, even worse, on top of their home, disturbing their cattle or blocking their roads. They can make your life very very miserable or even dangerous – they do whatever it takes to drive you away, even arrange accidents that will harm or even kill you.
Luktandi (a.k.a. Will-O’-Wisp)
The Luktandi are atmospheric ghost lights seen by travelers at night, especially over bogs, swamps, marshes or forests. It resembles a flickering lamp and is said to recede if approached, drawing travelers from the safe paths.
Considered to be bringers both of good and bad fortune, they could either help or hinder rural and marine communities. The creatures were said to be shape changers which could take the appearance of black horses, goats and rabbits. They may also take a human form, which includes various animal features, such as ears or a tail. Said to live near standing stones.
A Banshee is a female face usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the underworld. If a banshee’s cry is heard someone is about to die. She appears as a spectral woman with white hair and dark cloak. Legends tell that the first Banshee was a Fae maiden called Agava who killed herself after her lover was killed and children were stolen from her.
Changelings are fae who have the ability to shape-shift. While relatively passive, a pact can be made with a changeling to do certain tasks. The are often used as assassins. No one knows the true form of a changeling. It is also said that changelings can read minds.
A leprechaun is a tiny fae who is supposed to know the whereabouts of hidden treasure—usually a pot of gold (Not to be confused with its cousin the Redcap). A leprechaun is typically pictured as an old man wearing a bright red vest, an old-fashioned cocked hat, a leather apron, and heavy leather shoes with silver buckles.
According to most legends, a person who catches a leprechaun and threatens him may be able to convince him to reveal the location of the treasure. However, finding a leprechaun is not easy. The best way is to sneak up while he is mending his shoes, the only time he sits still for very long. After catching a leprechaun, a person must stay alert because leprechauns are very clever and can easily outsmart humans.
Leprechauns are great mischief makers who often play pranks on people, such as riding their sheep or dogs during the night or causing small accidents around the house. Occasionally they “adopt” a family and faithfully follow the members during their travels. However, if not treated well, a leprechaun will abandon the family after causing trouble.
The Redcap is a type of malevolent murderous fae. They are said to inhabit ruined castles and battlefields. Redcaps are said to murder travelers who stray into their homes and dye their hats with their victims’ blood (from which they get their name).
Redcaps must kill regularly, for if the blood staining their hats dries out, they die. Redcaps are very fast in spite of the heavy iron pikes they wield and the iron-shod boots they wear. Outrunning a redcap is supposedly impossible.
Dullahans are headless. Although the dullahan has no head upon its shoulders, he carries it with him, either on the saddle-brow of his horse or upraised in his right hand. The head is the color and texture of stale dough or moldy cheese, and quite smooth. A hideous, idiotic grin splits the face from ear to ear, and the eyes, which are small and black, dart about like malignant flies. The entire head glows with the phosphorescence of decaying matter and the creature may use it as a lantern to guide its way along the darkened laneways of the Irish countryside. Wherever the dullahan stops, a mortal dies.
The dullahan is possessed of supernatural sight. By holding his severed head aloft, he can see for vast distances across the countryside, even on the darkest night. Using this power, he can spy the house of a dying person, no matter where it lies. Those who watch from their windows to see him pass are rewarded for their pains by having a basin of blood thrown in their faces, or by being struck blind in one eye.
The dullahan is usually mounted on a black steed, which thunders through the night. He uses a human spine as a whip. The horse sends out sparks and flames from its nostrils as it charges forth. All gates fly open to let rider and coach through, no matter how firmly they are locked, so no one is truly safe from the attentions of this fae.
A handsome male fae, the Gancanagh typically has red, brown or black hair (although blond ones are occasionally seen). It is more handsome than the average man, and can often be seen with a wooden smoking pipe in its mouth.
However, fay cannot stand smoke, and so the Gancanagh will never actually use the pipe (this is undoubtedly just to appear more suave or charming to any potential lovers).
The Gancanagh is fairly laid-back and has no problem with males (of their own or another species); it especially enjoys, among men, the opportunity to hear and tell raunchy jokes. It is also very flirtatious with women, but often refrains from physical contact with a woman, unless it finds her attractive.
The only true problem the Gancangh has with other beings, in fact, is an overwhelming phobia of commitment, responsibility and serious relationships. While the Gancanagh loves mating with women (sometimes even numerous partners at a time), it prefers to sow its “wild oats” as much as possible; being too affectionate frightens it away; and being with the same woman for too long results in it getting bored (and eventually emotional cruelty; in particular, manipulating the woman for entertainment).
Endowed naturally with highly attractive physical characteristics, it is more than easy for the Gancanagh to find the mates it so desires. Moreover, it is gifted with a silver tongue, capable of talking its way into nearly any woman’s heart (and her bed).
Among this fae’s primary abilities, however, is its production of an addictive, intoxicating substance from its skin. When sexually-mature females come into contact with it, they are instantly hooked. Then, the Gancanagh may allow its female followers to bear its children, turn them against one another for its own amusement, or even have them fight for it or otherwise serve it…all in exchange for them to make physical contact with it.