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Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 1:02 am


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A huldra and Näcken. Artist not identified.

In Scandinavian folklore, the huldra (the common Norwegian name, derived from a root meaning encovered or secret) or skogsrå or skogsfru (meaning "lady (ruler) of the forest", the common Swedish name) or Tallemaja (pine tree Mary) is a seductive forest creature in Scandinavian folklore. Seen from the front, she is a stunningly beautiful, often naked, woman with long auburn hair, but seen from the back, she is hollow like an old tree-trunk. In Norway she has a cow's tail, and in Sweden either that or a fox's tail. The huldra lures men to walk into the forest and have sex with her. If satisfied she can give the man a gift in return. However, the liaison can also result in madness. A more positive side is that she could give good hunting, which may have been her original function. A blow from the huldra down the pipe of a huntsman's rifle resulted in that weapon never missing a shot thereafter.
She was kind to charcoal burners who needed a rest, because then she watched the charcoal stack for the burner. He knew that if the process started to go wrong, the lady would knock on the door to wake him up, but this was under the condition that he shared his provisions with her, by leaving them at a certain spot.
The huldra could be very kind, especially if treated with respect, as a tale from Nerike illustrates (Hellström 1985:15).

A boy in Tiveden went fishing, but he had no luck. Then he met a beautiful lady, and she was so stunning that he felt he had to catch his breath. But, then he realized who she was, because he could see a fox' tail stick out below the skirt. As, he knew that it was forbidden to comment on the tail to the lady of the forest, if it was not done in the most polite manner, he bowed deeply and said with his softest voice: Milady, I see that you petticoat shows below your skirt. The lady thanked him gracefully and hid her tail under her skirt, telling the boy to fish on the other side of the lake. That day, the boy had great luck with his fishing and he caught a fish every time he threw out the line. This was the Huldra's recognition of his politeness.
In contrast, the huldra is not liked by the old Scandinavian god Odin, whose main occupation after the introduction of Christianity in Scandinavia was to chase down and kill as many huldras as possible in the Wild Hunt. The rationale behind this antipathy is never clearly explained in the accounts.
There were also other kinds of (keeper, warden), for example the aquatic sjörå (or havsfru), later identified with a mermaid, and the bergsrå in caves and mines, who made life tough for the poor miners.
The huldra may be connected with the German Holda.[edit]

See also


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