danish fairytale

manic-entity  asked:

Do you know of any kinds of mermaids or sirens or other sea dwellers in Norse myth? (If there's two things I love, it's mermaids and Norse myth)


Off the top of my head, I cannot think of specific mermaids in Norse mythology. I can, however, recall that there is a Danish fairytale from which Disney made “The Little Mermaid,” and that is called the same thing in Danish: Den lille havfrue. You can read a translation of that for free by following the link.

Yet, there are plenty of sea-related beings and figures in Norse mythology. I am not familiar with specific creatures, like mermaids or sirens, but there are a lot of figures who may fit those roles. After all, Scandinavia has always been a place that had close connection with seafaring. I won’t be able to cover them all, but I can speak of and mention a few of these sea-related figures, at the very least.

As for my sources, you may see them below. All the page numbers listed throughout this post correspond to footnote 1.(1.)

I will start with the major figures, which are two gods that have very strong connections to the sea. There may be others, but I will just limit the discussion to those which are most prominently sea-based. The two gods that I speak of are Njörðr (Njord) and Ægir.

Njörðr (Njord):

Njord is a Vanir, and he is mentioned by Snorri more directly (that is, not just in the Skáldskaparmál section). Here is what is said about him:

“He lives in heaven in a place called Noatun (Enclosure of Ships). He rules over the motion of wind and moderates sea and fire. It is to him one must pray for voyages and fishing. He is so rich and wealthy that he can grant wealth of lands or possessions to those who pray to him for this.” (23)

There is more about him later in this text, in a section called Skáldskaparmál, which is about poetic dictation:

“How should Njord be referred to? By calling him the god of chariots or descendant of Vanir or a Van and father of Freyr and Freyja, the giving god.” (75)

I tend to see Njord as pertaining more to the riches of the sea. In other words, he, perhaps, represents the reward that the sea offers people; control of the sea and its resources would bring great wealth.

There is more, but that mostly pertains to how he came to be included among the Æsir, or other stories that he is a part of, but not playing a central role in. Ægir on the other hand, of whom we will shortly speak, is perhaps even more associated with the ocean than Njord.

Ægir (Also called Hler or Gymir):

He is generally considered to be the god of the sea, and he is best known for his feast with the Æsir (which goes badly thanks to an eagle that was actually a giant). Him and another god, one named Bragi, talk in great length about the details of poetry. Anyway, Ægir lives on an island, according to Skáldskaparmál, which is called Hlesey. For the most part, Ægir seems to play more of an ‘asker’ role in this text, asking Bragi questions and providing an opportunity for an explanation that will help the reader learn about poetics and mythology. 

Although Snorri (the author of this source I am discussing) kind of negates Ægir’s role quite a bit, once we look into the ways that the sea itself can be poetically referred to, it is obvious that he has strong connections with the sea.

Ægir is actually used as a personification for the ocean or sea at times. Note that these are where his three names come from. For example, this is from Skáldskaparmál:

“What terms for sea are there? It is called mere, ocean (ægir), engulfer (gymir), roarer (hler), main, road, depth, salt, water, swell.” (139)

To quote the poet Arnor:

“Let the court learn how the keen-spirited king of earls pursued the sea, the irresistible prince did not cease to oppose the ocean.” (139)

To quote the poet Ref:

“Gymir’s spray-cold spae-wife (Ran) often brings the twisted-rope-bear (ship) in Ægir’s (Ocean’s) jaws when the wave breaks.” (91)

Here, too, is a portion of a poem in Old Norse containing a reference to Ægir as the ocean:

Alfas began verr ægis
ítr báls haai málu;

The splendid hater of the fire of the sea (he who likes to rid himself of gold, the generous prince) defend the beloved pf the enemy of the wolf (Odin’s wife Jord-earth or land); (168)

Furthermore, Ægir has nine daughters with his wife Ran. Here are their names:

  1. Himinglæva (Heaven-bright)
  2. Dufa (Dip)
  3. Blodughadda (Blood-haired)
  4. Hefring (Lifting)
  5. Unn (Wave)
  6. Hronn (Wave)
  7. Bylgia (Billow)
  8. Drofn (Comber)
  9. Kolga (Cold One)

Ran (Ægir’s wife):

I am doing this an edit, so I shouldn’t really do too much to change the original post (since some won’t see the edits), but Ran should be considered on her own and not always associated through Ægir. After all, she is considered to be a goddess in her own right, so she ought to be given that respect. 

@bewareimfrench suggested that Ran could be a suitable candidate for a mermaid, and that honestly may not be a far stretch because she is equally as associated with the ocean as Ægir is. Here is a poem of her personified:

Segl skekr of hlyn–Huglar–
(hvast drífa skip) rasta,
en föll–of gram–Gylli
grunn (djúp) hata unna.
Rán viðr hafhreinum
háraust–skapar flaustum–
(hrönn fyrir húfi þunnum
heil klofnar) frið–deilu.

Sail shake above the prince on the current-maple (ship); tall ships drive keenly; the shallows near Hugl are dangerous to the waves’ horse (ship). Noisy Ran does not create peace for the sea-deer (ships); she causes conflict for cruisers, the entire wave breaks before the slender bow. (180)

I must say, though, that she is not an evil figure, even though that poem may seem a bit negative. It does show, however, that she has considerable power.

There is also Jormungandr (also called the Midgard Serpent):

Jormungandr is a giant serpent who is a child of Loki’s and the giantess Angrboda. This is said about Jormungandr:

“…[Odin] threw the serpent into that deep sea which lies round all lands, and this serpent grew so that it lies in the midst of the ocean encircling all lands and bites on its own tail.” (27)

Jormungandr is involved in a few stories, such as being magically disguised as a giant’s cat that Thor could not pick up or also Thor’s fishing trip with a giant named Hymir. Jormungandr is often used poetically to refer to both Thor (because Jormungandr is arguably Thor’s greatest foe, besides giants in general) and Loki (the father of such a creature).

There are also figures known as Sea-Kings and these are their names:

I believe that most of these names don’t refer to actual deities, but rather famous semi-historical figures (namely Vikings) that came to be used to refer to the ocean and sea. A Viking, after all, is a king of the sea, for it is the sea that guide a Viking to treasure and wealth (and perhaps Njord guides them to this as well, since it is treasure they seek).

“Atli, Frodi, Ali, Glammi, Beiti, Ati and Beimuni, Audmund, Gudmund, Atal and Gestil, Geitir, Gauti, Gylfi, Svendi.

Gæir, Eynef, Gaupi and Endil, Skekkil, Ekkil, Skefil and Solvi, Half and Hemlir, Harek and Gor, Hagbard, Haki, Hraudnir, Meiti.

Hiorolf and Hraudung, Hogni, Mysing, Hunding, Hviting, Heiti, Mævil, Hialmar, Moir, Hæmir, Mævi, Rodi, Rakni, Rer and Leifi.

Randver, Rokkvi, Refiner, Leifnir, Næfil, Ræfil, Nori, Lyngvi, Byrvil, Kilmund, Beimi, Iorek, Iosmund, Thvinnil, Yngvi, Teiti.

Virfil, Vinnil, Vandil, Solsi, Gautrek and Hun, Giuki, Budli, Homar, Hnefi, Horvi, Sorvi. I can see no more sea-kings.” (155)

These name often appear in poetry, especially in Icelandic sagas. Here is an example from Brennu-Njáls saga, and now you will understand the reference (I have bolden their names):

The shaping gods drove ashore
the ship of the keeper of bells (Thangbrand);
the slayer of the son of the giantess (Thor)
smashed Bison on the sea-gull’s rest (sea);
no help came from Christ
when the sea’s horse (ship) was crushed;
I don’t think God was guarding
Gylfi’s reindeer (ship) at all.

Thor drove Thangbrand’s beast (ship)
of Thvinnil far from its place;
he shook and shattered
the ship and slammed it ashore;
never will that oak (ship) of Atal’s field
be up to sea-faring again;
the storm, sent by him (Thor),
smashed it so hard into bits.

And lastly, these are the various ways to which the sea or ocean can be referred to, poetically speaking (Kennings). 

Most we have discussed in some manner, but such references give interesting insight into the figures of Norse mythology that are actually associated with the sea (I have bolded names of personified figures):

“How shall sea be referred to? By calling it Ymir’s blood, visitor to the gods (Ægir), husband of Ran (Ægir), father of Ægir’s daughters (Ægir),…, land of Ran and of Ægir’s daughters and of ships and of terms for sea-ship, of keel, steam, planks, strake, of fish, ice, sea-kings’ way and roads, no less ring of the islands, house of the sands and seaweed and skerries, land of the fighting-tackle and of sea-birds, of sailing wind.” (91)

“What terms for sea are there? It is called mere, ocean (ægir), engulfer (Gymir), roarer (Hler), main, road, depth, salt, water, swell.” (139)

“Sea, every-lying, salt, ocean (Ægir), main, wetness, swim, flat one, dead calm and bay, resounding, overhang, emptiness, brawler, rocker and mere, sucker, suck, same, swallower, maelstrom and fjord.

Sound, creek, good passage, fluid and expanse, tempest, depth, breaker, dark, flood and surf, swell sparkler, engulfer (Gymir) and flower, rumbler and unquiet, surge, fen, snatcher.

Crashing, wake, league, fishing-ground, inlet and fishing-bank, water, deep and submersion, cove, tarn and canal, storm, ditch, pool, current, stream and brook, channel, spring, fount, eddy, waterfall and firth.

Herfring (lifting), roller, white one and offing, Hronn (wave), Ran (plunderer), Kolga (cold one) and Himinglæva (heaven-bright), Drofn (comber), Unn (wave) and sweller, Dufa (dip), Bylgia (billow), shoal and bore, Bloughadda (bloody-haired). (160-1)

Of course, I have by no means have covered everything (even what I have covered is only a summary of what is actually said), but that should give you more than enough of an idea about the role of the sea, and related figures/  creatures, in Norse mythology. I hope this has been interesting! I enjoyed researching the information for you.

Vera vitur og reika langt.
(Be wise and wander far.)


1. Snorri Sturluson, Edda, Anthony Faulkes trans. (repr., 1987; London: J.M. Dent, 1995). You may also read this for free online via Viking Society for Northern Research.

2. Robert Cook trans., Brennu-Njáls saga, in The Complete Sagas of Icelanders, vol. 3, edited by Viðar Hreinsson, Robert Cook, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, and Bernard Scudder. (Reykjavík: Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, 1997), 125.

fairytales (denmark) - Den Lille Havfrue

Hans Christian Andersen, 1837

“We have not immortal souls, we shall never live again; but, like the green sea-weed, when once it has been cut off, we can never flourish more. Human beings, on the contrary, have a soul which lives forever, lives after the body has been turned to dust. It rises up through the clear, pure air beyond the glittering stars. As we rise out of the water, and behold all the land of the earth, so do they rise to unknown and glorious regions which we shall never see.”

Seeing as Frozen was loosely based on a Danish fairytale, ‘The Snow Queen’, I thought up this little DenNor headcanon because I’m just that sappy :P –

Denmark worked closely with the Disney team working on 'Frozen’ to make sure every detail was perfect. Everything that was done was checked by him, but his priority was Character Design. He made sure that some of his closest friends had a character similar to them, but Elsa was the character he needed to be perfect. All of his attention went into the detail in the hair, clothes, characteristics etc. as she was the most important to him. He let the fact that she was based on Norway slip to the man himself by accident, but was not rewarded with the pulling of the tie he’s used to. Instead, he got something much rarer… a smile. And not just a small one. Needless to say, Denmark was overjoyed.

DenNor Week Day 2: Faiytale

Even though Denmark loves his traditional danish fairytales, he also enjoys listening to Norway making up completely new tales whenever he asks him to. He absolutely adores watching Norway’s eyes slowly light up and him getting completely lost in the story the more he talks. And even though Norway pretends to be annoyed by the Dane’s requests, he secretly likes having Denmark’s undivided attention.

blaarghmiriam  asked:

I just want to enlighten people that sami people do not come from Denmark. Sapmí, which is the sami's name for the area they live in, stretches over Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, not Denmark. It is only in these four countries sami people are recognized as an official minority. And although Frozen is based on a danish fairytale, I think "Arendelle" is reffering to a norwegian place called Arendal. So sami people should definitely have been given a bigger place and better representation.


anonymous asked:

since you're a big fan of frozen (me too) what would you say to people who argue that it's sexist/racist?



10 reasons Frozen is absolutely the opposite of sexist/racist:

  1. The people who are calling it racist absolutely astound me because to start with it is a Danish fairytale set in a fictional kingdom that appears to mirror a renaissance-age European kingdom. Historically renaissance-age European kingdoms didn’t have people of color among them.
  2. The absence of people of color in a movie is not racism in the same way that the absence of gays, lesbians, or transgendered people is not homophobia. There’s an infinite amount of different people in the world you aren’t going to put them all in one movie. Period.
  4. Elsa is a strong, independent woman who spends the entire movie shattering stereotypes. She doesn’t even end up with a love interest at all.
  5. Anna, while young and naive and in search of love, also doesn’t sit in a corner and wait for her prince to save her. She goes off into a brutal storm in search of sister and persuades a man she’s never met before to take her up a dangerous mountain toward a sister whom she’s just learned has very unstable ice powers.
  6. Also Disney says a big fuck this to the notion that a prince’s kiss solves everything. In fact they literally make fun of that idea. Anna eventually ends up with a regular man from the mountains, she is the higher power, and if you didn’t notice they are awkward and adorable like a normal couple.
  7. HEY BITCHES ANNA ISN’T SAVED BY THE LOVE OF ANY MAN. Anna gives her life for her sister. And in return her sister’s love for her is so strong that IT becomes the act of true love that thaws her. Neither guy is the solution, it’s pure, family love.
  8. Elsa’s character arc mirrors that of someone with depression, anxiety, or a secret that society dictates as wrong. She goes through waves of self-acceptance, fear, sadness, and shutting everything out. Tell me to my face that isn’t representation
  9. The kingdom is literally the most diverse Disney has ever made. The people are of all different shapes and sizes. And for those who don’t believe me:

  10. The entire movie emphasizes how everyone can help make each other stronger, that we need our family and friends. Fixer Upper literally states that no one is perfect, but we can help make each other better people with love and compassion

So excuse me for not buying your poor, deprived shit about Frozen being racist and sexist. Do you see a KING of Arendelle?

Yeah. I didn’t think so.

anonymous asked:

Could you also do Denmark with symbols ☮,♦, ☯ , ▼, ♒, ൠ? Thanks again! :-D

No problem friend, I could babble about Denmark all day. :3

☮ - friendship headcanon

Denmark is one of those friends that can’t sit still and do nothing. He has to be out and doing something, anything, with his friends. Sometimes it drives people like the other Nordics, or the Netherlands up the wall but Prussia is exactly the same way so they make good use of their excessive energy together.

♦ - quirks/hobbies headcanon

Denmark loves building things. Legos, Lincoln Logs, Kinects. He loves it all. Den is a fantastic story teller. He tells stories about times long gone, from his time as a Viking, as well as Danish fairytales and stories from Hans Christen Andersen. He gets really into the telling as well, throwing his whole body into it and doing dramatic voices. When not goofing around and letting out his inner child, Den keeps in shape by going for jogs in the evenings.

☯ - likes/dislikes headcanon

Denmark likes being around friends and family. It comforts him and makes him feel safe and secure. He absolutely cannot stand being alone. When he’s alone he begins to start thinking and that inevitably leads to him thinking about his inadequacies and his failings which leads to him beginning to spiral.

He also loves watching comedy and action flicks with the others but is terrified to watch horror and psychological thriller flicks. 

His favorite holiday is Midsummer’s Eve and he’s not a huge fan of winter. (How he’s managed to be so close to the Nordics despite this is amazing.)

▼ - childhood headcanon

When Den was a kid, he really didn’t like the dark. He was terrified of what laid in the shadows that he couldn’t wrap his head around and understand. As such, he would always gather Sweden and Norway close to sleep snuggled in between them. It was the only way he would feel protected, since Norway wasn’t afraid the beasties that lay in the dark and Sweden was intimidating enough to ward them off if the beasties came close. For the longest time it was the only way he could sleep.

♒ - cooking/food headcanon

Denmark isn’t the best cook in the world. He can produce meals that are edible and are… okay. They’re nothing like what the more gourmet countries can produce, but the meals are hardy and are filling. Good for what ails ya. Where Denmark does excel is in baking. He was the one who invented Danishes after all. He loves baking breads and cakes, especially during the winter, and filling the house with the sweet smell of baking dough. He always makes the most elaborate cakes and pies for his friend’s and family’s birthdays and feels the most magnificent sense of pride when he sees his loved ones enjoying what he creates.

  ൠ - random headcanon

Denmark actually keeps a remarkably cool head during crisis situations. He may give the illusion that he’s panicking, but actually he’s formulating the best way to fix the problem. He may get short-tempered with people but that’s just because he puts himself under a lot of pressure to help the best he can. He’s also the one to keep others calm when they are panicking. He knows just the right way to speak to people to soothe them and keep their heads level. If something bad is going on, Denmark is probably someone you’ll want on the scene.

Send me a character and some symbols and I’ll talk about the headcanons I have for them!