In Norse mythology there are not only gods and giants.
Norse myths and folk tales have many species. The most famous of them are the gods and the jotnar – their enemies. The two races represent good and bad. However, in between these two species, there are many other mysterious creatures of all shapes and sizes.
Some of the mystical creatures of Norse mythology have become famous as the inspiration for many modern authors, including J.R.R. Tolkien with the Lord of the Rings novel series.
Dwarves and Elves
Dwarves and elves are perhaps two of the most famous mythical creatures of Norse. Dwarves are depicted as master blacksmiths, often living in underground cities. They are short in stature, men always have long beards. However, at first dwarves are often depicted as pale and ghastly. Some theories suggest that the dwarves are descended from an ancient Indo-European custom of ancestor worship.
Unlike dwarves, elves are depicted as more elegant and graceful. Norse mythology says that elves often live in grasslands or forests. Although elves are often depicted as gentle, peaceful creatures, there are some Norse folktales that portray elves as perpetrators of evil deeds.
Another creature in Norse mythology that is also very familiar to many people is the troll. Although the troll’s appearance may differ slightly between stories, they all have in common that they are large and ugly. In addition, despite their large stature, their intelligence is quite modest. Therefore, trolls are often seen as slow and stupid creatures.
The Huldra is another strange creature mentioned in Norse folk tales. They are described as beautiful, charming and often live in the forest. Huldra resembles a normal woman in appearance, except for a long tail behind. Huldra often lured men into the forest and took away their souls.
Another story tells that Huldra was originally the daughter of Adam and Eve. One day, Eve bathed her children and God came to visit. Since not all children are clean, Eve hides the dirty ones. Seeing Eve’s children, God asked if there were any more, and Eve replied “no”. So God said, “Let the hidden continue to be hidden”. The hidden children became “De Underjordiske” (meaning: Children living underground) and Huldra was one of them.
Some other mystical creatures
In addition to the above mystical creatures, Norse myths and folktales also mention some creatures such as:
Kraken, Trolual and Draugen: Mysterious creatures living in the sea. Kraken and Trolual are giant monsters, and Draugen are the souls of those who died at sea.
Tusser: A sly goblin that lives underground.
Nissen: The pranksters live in the barn. They can easily make friends and play Santa during the Christmas season.
Pesta: The embodiment of disaster and disease.
Night Raven: Giant bird associated with death and disasters.
Nokken: Underwater creatures that often drown humans.