Tuesday, 9 April 2013

G is for Grýla

I'm getting a little behind with these posts, aren't I? I'm having one of those crazy weeks full of sleeping and essay writing and marshmallows and reading and more writing and sleeping and lollipops. I've hit that stage where I'm not sure whether I've had too much coffee, or not enough. 

I've decided to take a little break from it all to tell you about a certain horrid Icelandic giantess, Grýla.

Believe it or not, this terrifying witch of a woman is a Christmas character from Icelandic mythology. If I was an Icelandic child, I think Christmas would be a horrifying time of year for me. Grýla's favourite food is naughty children and she is never full. During the Christmas period she leaves her home in the mountains and hunts for naughty children, which she likes to boil into stew. She became linked to Christmas in the 17th century but her character dates back to at least the 13th century. During the 17th century it actually became prohibited to tell tales of Grýla because it was just too scary for the children. 

Here is a folksong about her, it's a nice example of the beautiful Icelandic language, just be thankful you can't understand it or you might not be able to sleep tonight!

the little nordic cabin


  1. There is a scary one in Russian Fairy Tales -- Baba Yaga. She has a peg leg, also eats children and lives in a house in the woods. It seems that many countries have these characters to scare children into behaving.

  2. Wow...way to scare your kids into behaving!

  3. I can't believe she is a Christmas character- she would scare me too!