Nordic Tales: Folktales from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark

Title: Nordic Tales: Folktales From Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark

Writer: Various, illustrated by Ulla Thynell

Publishing House: Chrinicle Books

Date of Publication: August 13th 2019 

Rating: 5 stars

‘’In the days of our forefathers, when there was nothing but wretched boats up in Nordland, and folks must needs buy fair winds by the sackful from the Gan – Finn, it was not safe to tack about in the open sea in wintry weather. In those days a fisherman never grew old. It was mostly womenfolk and children, and the lame and halt, who were buried ashore.’’

The Forest Bride: The Story of a Little Mouse who was a Princess (Finland): A very well-known tale about an enchanted princess who was turned into a mouse until a young man became her husband willingly. Versions of this tale can be found in Ukraine, Russia and the Czech Republic.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon (Norway): If you love fairytales and folktales, this one must surely be one of your favourites. A young woman is given to a white bear as a bride but her curiosity makes her travel East of the Sun and West of the Moon to save her beloved. The Nordic version of the Eros and Psyche Greek myth is a tale about the forces of love and evil.

The Magician’s Pupil (Denmark): When your son doesn’t like any job in the world, make him an apprentice to a mighty wizard.

…or don’t…

Hildur, the Queen of the Elves (Iceland): The queen of the elves has been cursed to see her people and her family only once in a year at the expense of a murder in the land of the mortals. A clever herdsman is the only one who can lift the curse in an atmospheric, bittersweet tale.

The Widow’s Son (Norway): An inquisitive young man finds himself in the centre of unfortunate adventures…

Toller’s Neighbours (Denmark): In this lovely tale, a farmer’s family and the Mount – Folk live together in peace and prosperity until the sound of the bells becomes too loud…

Mighty Mikko: The Story of a Poor Woodsman and a Grateful Fox (Finland): Mikko sees his fortune turned following his father’s blessings and aided by a delightful fox.

Old Nick and the Girl (Sweden): The Devil should have known better before he decided to mess with an intelligent, resourceful girl.

The Way of the World (Norway): A tale that teaches us that the ways of the world are unbelievably unfair and arbitrary.

Death and the Doctor (Norway): Death is willing to make a pact but when you try to trick him the end is not going to be in your favour. A whimsical, yet deeply sad tale.

‘’All I Possess!’’ (Sweden): A husband’s greed becomes his doom when his clever wife decides to put an end to his cruelty once and for all.

The Old Woman and the Tramp (Sweden): The sheer genius of a tramp rewards him with a hearty meal and a bright silver coin. Also, soup. Soup is magic, I tell you!

The Honest Penny (Norway): In this famous Norwegian tale, a boy is rewarded for his honesty and, for once, a mother’s advice is horribly wrong. And cats. Cats always save the day.

The Boy Who Did Not Know What Fear Was (Iceland): A boy meets corpses, ghosts, goblins, dead warriors, hags and remains unperturbed in a classic tale from Iceland.

The True Bride: The Story of Illona and the King’s Son (Finland): A magnificent, lavish tale about two siblings, an evil forest witch, the kingdom of the Sea and a brilliant dog.

The Giant Who Had No Heart (Norway): A clever boy stands up to a giant and saves her brothers and six princesses.

Jack of Sjöholm and the Gan-Finn (Iceland): In the most impressive tale of the collection, a young man is faced with the strangest of adventures, aided by a dark-haired maiden. Mystical, haunting, almost arcane like the Northern Lights.

Let us travel to the North in the company of beautiful legends…