goat herding

Twilight Princess, first play through, part one.

Thoughts on playing Twilight Princess.
What is this? Where did my beautiful toon link go?
Throwing rocks at the villagers is wonderful. They bend and bounce back like those punching clowns!
Rapid fire slingshot is as wonderful as ever.
Midna’s character design is…odd. Unsure why.
In the Twillight Realm people become spirits, Link becomes a furry, and Zelda becomes a member of Organization XIII.
Also Zelda, really, who do you think you were fooling? 

Real quotes my wife collected as I played.
“Oh a silver rup- *abrupt and hilarious halt as it is revealed to be a BLUE RUPEE!*
*While herding goats*: “Hey you little shit-NO
*Threatening, to a goat* …YOU.
“Never thought I’d have to put ‘get pussy’ on a Zalda Quest List. I thought it just happened naturally” (in response to having to find the neighbor’s cat).

Current location: Just met Zelda.

I don’t understand why twilight princess Link is always headcanoned as like the Grouchy Emo like he’s just a simple farm boy who plays with a slingshot to entertain the kids and drinks milk and whistles on grass and herds goats for fun the boy is Pure and Good and just happens to turn into a wolf occassionally nbd

Inktober 2017, 17/31: The Hare and the Hound
A HOUND started a Hare from his lair, but after a long run, gave up the chase. A goat-herd seeing him stop, mocked him, saying “The little one is the best runner of the two.” The Hound replied, “You do not see the difference between us: I was only running for a dinner, but he for his life.”
Incentive spurs effort.
– Aesop’s Fables, translated by George Fyler Townsend

High Fantasy concept

A kingdom of Dwarves are cursed by a god to never set foot below the peak of a mountain, cutting them off from their mines, their caves, and even most surface settlements. So, being stubborn, they begin to grow and breed vast trees on the tips of their mountains, living in tunnels insides the trunks. Farming the wood and refining it they in particular treasure sap, and sap and amber craftwork replaces jewels and gold for them. They also tame a local herd of goats, farming not just milk and hide but their methane, to refine crude alcohol for warm controlled fires on the cold nights. And also drinking. Eventually centuries later they manage to use the methane to make hot air balloons poured by simple Diesel engines, allowing them to spread beyond their mountainous trees to drop saplings in the surrounding lands, letting them expand their wooden mountain range. Elves and druids prefer these dwarves over their underground companions, though some feel the dwarves ruined forests by engineering this new breed unnaturally.

So yeah, tree dwelling airship riding dwarves. It’s a thing I think about.

Title: Late For the Date
Character: Jake Peralta
A/n: It was a lot harder than I thought to manage school and this because i can no longer procrastinate writing during the day and then just stay up till 2am to finish a story.

Previous Part: http://ofnifflersandkings.tumblr.com/post/164424008027/title-minor-set-back-character-jake-peralta

In retrospect, it might have been a bad idea to invite you over to Jake’s place for the date. The whole building was unpredictable and he legitimately had nothing planned.

Jake slumped down in his seat, hands dragging down his face as he tried to formulate an idea in his head.

That or which persona he would take up when he inevitably makes a total and complete fool of himself in front of you therefore causing him to flee the country and herd goats to avoid the shame.

It’s just that he was so attracted to you, that sometimes he didn’t even know what he was saying to you half the time. He hadn’t felt that way about anyone in what felt like forever. Jake wanted to do this date right, and not halfass it like he did with everything else.

“Hey, Cassanova,” Gina said as she gracefully plopped into the seat next to his desk. “Little bird told me you managed to snag a date with (Y/n).”

“Is this little bird Charles?”

Gina laughed while her and Charles exchanged a quick glance at each other. “Maybe, anways tell me all the details of what you have planned.”

Jake huffed. “Funny you mention that, cause I got nothing.”

“That’s surprising coming from you. You’re usually the top guy when it comes to setting up dates.”

“That’s just it though, all my previous dates have been total flops. And I really want this one to work out,” He said, casting her a hopeful glance. “Any ideas?”

“Oh, you want a full on thing? Then no, I cannot be of help to you. But, Amy and her are good friends, so trying asking her,” Gina said, standing up and stretching. “But I mean if things don’t work out, send her my way.”

Jake only nodded, too distracted by his thoughts but when he did his head shot up. “Wait, what’s that supposed to mean?!”

To say it was chaos in the Peralta apartment would be a drastic understatement for the situation at hand. He had been taking better care of the apartment, but now it felt like every little thing was out of place and had to be taken care of asap.

God, is this how Santiago felt all the time?

That poor woman.

Jake pulled up his sleeve to check the time and saw that be still had an hour left before you were gonna arrive.

After his small discussion with Amy, he was fairly certain that the date would be pretty good. He learned that grand or extravagant gestures tend to make you uncomfortable, and if he treated this like a more casual hang out then you would enjoy yourself a lot more.

That was Jake’s main goal for the evening, to make you comfortable around him so you both could enjoy yourselves.

With everything done all he had to do was sit and wait for you to show up.

Jake checked his watch for the fifth time in the span of a three minutes. His knees jolted up and down nervously as he continued to glance at the door of his apartment, barely listening to the silly sitcom he had playing on the television.

You were almost twenty minutes late, something very unusual since Amy and Captain Holt would boast about your punctuality to him, in hopes something might rub off on him.

Another ten minutes passed and Jake tried not to let the hurt settle in, there weren’t any messages from you and if it was something serious he knew you would have called.

Jake let out a deep sigh and went to turn off the television when there were a few frantic knocks at the door.

His whole heart jumped at the sound and he tried to not seem too eager as he went to open the door. Taking a small moment to clear his throat and smoothen out his hair, Jake finally opened it.

“I am so sorry!” You said with a large huff. “So much was happening, I got lost in a bit of my work and then my aunt called me just as I was about to leave and the woman can talk for ages.”

Jake couldn’t keep back the smile, he was just so happy to see you and that he could avoid the potential heartbreak over you standing him up.

“It’s totally cool,” Jake said, trying to seem nonchalant while his heart felt like it was ready to hop out of his chest and take off screaming. “I mean I don’t have any aunts but I can imagine they would be delightful ladies who would talk to me a ton too.”

Jake brought you inside his apartment and gave you a small tour of where everything was. “Bathroom’s on the second door to the left if ya need it and bedroom is the last door of the hall if you need a quiet place to have a mental breakdown like I do twice a day.”

Jake’s ears perked up whenever you laughed and he noticed you open up your bag to pull something out.

“First of all, I wanted to say thank you for being so sweet about me being unbearably late for our date,” You then took out a paper bag and held it out to him, Jake couldn’t help but smile at the brightly colored chalk that stained your hands. “Secondly, I got this for you because I felt really bad about it.”

Jake feigned a suspicious look as he opened the bag and looked inside. “It’s an everything bagel!” He said with a happy laugh as he unwrapped it. “Look! It even has beef jerky! Where did you get this at?”

You gave him a wink and tapped the side of your nose. “I know a guy, makes anything I ask him to really. And I remember you talking about wanting one so I thought it would make up for me.”

Jake’s whole system was being overflooded with pleasant affection for you that he couldn’t help but lean over and give you a big hug.

Though when he realized what he did he almost dropped the bagel. “I’m sorry, that was really awkward and I dunno how comfortable you are with that kind of stuff.”

You smiled at him and shook your head. “No it’s fine, I thought it was pretty cute.”

Jake set the food aside and helped you out of your coat. “Now the date can officially begin!”

You stiffled a laugh as you reached out to move Jake’s head back to it’s former position. “Jake Peralta, if you’re going to be my muse then you have to sit still.”

After watching a couple comedies and spending a good few of hours just talking and exchanging funny stories while the two of enjoyed each other’s company. Then you finally managed to convince Jake to let you draw him.

Trouble was, he kept making silly faces or intentionally moving poses to try and get a reaction out of you. “I’m your muse? I’m not an overly kinky man, but I must say, I do like the sound of that.”

You shot him a look and pushed on his shoulder so he’s stumble out of his weird position on the couch. “Hush up, you’re distracting me from my art.”

Jake placed his chin in his hand and watched your hands float around the sketchbook and how your eyes would quickly switch between his face and the page. “You’re incredibly attractive like this, did you know that?”

You smiled, still keeping your gaze on the paper. “Why Mr. Peralta, you are quite foward.”

Jake chuckled, tilting his head ever slightly. “It’s true, Gina was telling me about the whole attractive artist thing and I gotta say that I’m into it.”

“Guess that’s lucky for me then.” You said, smudging one part of his shirt while you debated what to do next, missing Jake’s content sigh while he watched you.

“Just a bit more,” You said, taking one last glance up at him and then tossing your pencil aside. “Done!”

Jake eagerly waited for you to flip the sketchbook over but when you didn’t he raised an eyebrow. “Well? Aren’t you gonna show me?”

“Should I?” You asked, placing it close to your chest so it was totally concealed. “I don’t think you’ve earned it.”

“Not fair! I am the best muse an artist could have!” He argued, trying to steal the book away from you.

“Lemme see!”

“Nah, I don’t feel like it.”


Jake started tickling your sides. “Show me! Let me gaze upon my beautiful face!” His laughter mixing with yours whenever you tried to swat him away.

“Fine! Fine!” You wheezed, pushing him off of you enough to plop the page onto his lap.

“Aw man,” Jake said as he held the picture close to him. “I look absolutely dreadful, is this what I look like all the time because I should really work on that.”

You nudged him. “Shut up, you’re not that bad.”

Jake wiggled his eyebrows. “(Y/n), are you trying to tell me that I’m pretty.”

“Would you mind if I was?”

Jake blushed, and cleared his throat. “N-Not at all.”

You leaned against him. “Well you’re pretty handsome, Peralta.”

Jake looked down at you and smiled. “You’re not too bad yourself.”

“Thank you, I try my best,” You said with a smile, leaning over to look at the clock on the microwave. “Oh wow, I think I should be heading home.” You announced, rolling off the coach and springing to your feet.

He stood up, handing you your sketchbook and helping you retrieve your things. “You’re leaving me so soon?” He asked once the two of you were at the door. “I didn’t get to turn my charm on.”

You smiled over your shoulder while putting your coat on. “I think you were charming enough, besides if I hang around you too much I’ll lose the allure.”

Jake leaned against the doorframe while you finished getting situated. “Well, you’re welcome at my place any time. I’d be happy to have you over again.”

“I might take you up on that offer, Detective Peralta,” You said, smiling whenever he chuckled. “Anyways, thank you for a very fun evening.”

“It was fun for me too. Definitely ranks pretty high on my best date list.” Jake said, your gazes meeting briefly as he decided weither or not to kiss your goodnight.

“I’ll see you later then.” You said before he could make up his mind.

“Goodnight, let me know when you get home safe.” Jake told you, awkwardly shaking your hand.

You smiled and nodded before turning around for breif second, then quickly facing him again, lightly tugging on the front of his shirt to give him a small kiss on his cheek.

“Will do.” You said, letting him go and walking down the hallway.

Jake leaned over the doorframe to make sure you were gone before fist bumping the air and closing the door.

Definitely the top of his best date list.


Sustenpass, Switzerland

September 23th 2016 with @tamingthetides and @hulahooch

It was the first trip with Amber and Kristi after they arrived in Switzerland. Originally we set off on a hike somewhere in the mountains above Lake Lucerne, but because the girls were still rather jet-lagged (they literally spent the whole previous day sleeping) and because it was super hazy around the lake, we decided to just go for a ride around Sustenpass further down in the Alps. It turned out to be a great decision, as it was the perfect way to show the typical Swiss alpine landscape of glacier topped mountain peaks, little alpine villages full of wooden huts, breathtaking mountain roads and most importanly - cows. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone filled with this level of excitement as Kristi whenever she saw a cow. I’m not quite sure anymore for how long Kristi took photos of the cow in photo #2, but it was long enough to make me wonder if Kristi had ever even seen a cow before lol. Then, after driving through a series of twists and turns in the road and ascending up the mountain, we finally set off on a little hike around the mountain, looking for the famous view view of the Steingletscher and the little lake. However, all that we could find at the beginning was a really cool swing right on the edge of the mountainside, a herd of goats, and another alpine hut, where a nice young waitress/ housekeeper was kind enough to answer to my broken German where to go. We finally managed to catch a glimpse of the lake and then of course we started to take pictures, me of the lake and Amber with Kristi of each other … because they’re actually good at portrait photography. Anyways, this wasn’t quite the angle that I wanted as you couldn’t see the glacier behind the lake, so we got back in the car and found what I believed must have been the perfect spot. but to this day I don’t know if that was the case, because all we saw were clouds. At least there was enough space to pop up some camping chairs and snack on some baguettes. Even after exploring a bit of the surrounding rocks and flora in the fog, we grew a bit impatient and gave up hope of the clouds actually moving, so we drove further down, managing to find a cool little mountain stream free of the misty fog, for at least five minutes. We kept driving further down until we reached the end and it was clear than we wouldn’t get to see the view for which we actually drove here as the clouds simply would not go away. So we turned around, me a little disappointed, but on the way back we actually found the spot from the road where the lake does actually look like a little heart - the spot I was looking for all along. But the lake was still hidden in a rather heavy layer of mist, but thankfully this time the patience paid off as a slight window between the clouds opened just for a brief moment, and not only did we get an unobstructed view of the lake, but you we even saw the very a little bit of the Stein Glacier! So in the end, all was good and I left Sustenpass all happy, and why wouldn’t I after a fun trip filled with amazing landscapes and more importantly great memories of getting to show your friends what the Alps are like for the first time! 

anonymous asked:

I hear the term "weights" often in heathen circles. I know little more than that they are land-spirits. I would like to learn more about them and how they were honored and their place in old nordic practices. I thought you might be willing to share some of what you know, or some resources you recommend I explore? If it's not a hassle.

Velkomin(n), vinur minn!
(Welcome, my friend!)

No question is ever a hassle, my friend. I am more than happy to share my knowledge regarding vættir (nature spirits). Not all vættir are land sprits, though, for those are often referred to as landvættir. Still, vættir of the land seem to be the most common and most often interacted with, so I will focus our discussion on them specifically. To be honest, they are a particularly favorite subject of mine! I wrote a lot, so I am structuring this answer as an essay, which I hope you do not mind. It should help to organize the content!

On Landvættir: An Exploration of Primary Source Examples and Suggestions for Further Reading.

It is not surprising that we know fairly little about them, because they are quite elusive in our surviving texts. This is mainly because they are not always referred to directly being ‘landvættir’, but rather are referred to indirectly. The landvættir, from what I know of them, do not even appear in our eddic sources, but perhaps indirectly and vaguely, if they do. I also do suppose some people align the landvættir with the álfar (elves), which is reasonable. If this is done, they do appear in eddic material, in a way. Yet, even so, they still remain quite vague even in those sources. In the end, references to the landvættir seem to mostly be hidden gems scattered throughout other materials, such as Landnámabók (Book of Settlements) and the Íslendingasögur (Sagas of the Icelanders).

What are ‘Vættir’?

It is good to begin with solid footing, so let’s begin with a bit of an introduction to what a vættr (weight, or nature sprint) is:

“There were various kinds of nature spirits that the Icelanders (and other Scandinavians) believed in, and sometimes gave sacrifices to. There are early references to elves (álfar) in mainland Scandinavia. Like their modern-day equivalents, the “hidden people” (and expression used in both Norway and Iceland), these would have been of human size. Even close to nature were the guardian spirits of the land, or landvættir which inhabited the landscape. The welfare of the inhabitants of the country depended on their welfare and support, as can be seen in Egil’s Saga, ch. 58, when Egil raises a scorn-pole (níð) facing the guardian spirits of Norway. According to Ulfljot’s Law, people approaching Iceland by sea had to remove the dragon-heads from the prows of their ships to avoid frightening the guardian spirits.”(1.)

From that, we can gather a few things: that there are many more types of vættir than just those who inhabit the land (although those will be the ones I mostly focus on in this discussion), that there is a long, evolving tradition surrounding them that lasts even into current times, and that they held considerable influence over the lands they inhabited, and even over the people who lived in those lands.

The Landvættir Today (Iceland):

Speaking of modern-day representations, the landvættir live on in Iceland’s coat of arms (a dragon, a bird, a bull, and a mountain giant):

Their story is told in Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla, or more precisely in The Saga of Olaf Tryggvason contained therein:

“King Haraldr (as in Bluetooth, the son of Gorm) told a man skilled in magic to go in changed shape to Iceland and  find out what he could tell the king. He went in the form of a whale. And when he came to the land, he went westwards round the north of the country. He saw that all the mountains and hills were full of land-spirits (landvættir), some large and some small. And when he came opposite Vápnafjǫrðr, then he went into the fjord and was going to go ashore. Then there went down along the valley a great dragon, and with it many snakes, toads and vipers, and spat poison on him. And he swam away and westwards along the coast, right up to Eyjafjǫrðr. He went in along that fjord. There a bird went against him, so large that its wings reached out to the mountains on both sides, and a multitude of other birds both large and small. He went away from there and westwards round the coast and so south to Breiðifjǫrðr and made to go into that fjord. There a huge bull went against him and waded out into the sea and began to bellow horribly. A multitude of land-spirits came with it. He went away from there and southwards round Reykjanes and tried to go up onto Víkarsskeið. There a mountain giant came against him with an iron staff in his hand, and his head rose higher than the mountains, and many other giants with him. From there he went eastwards along the whole length of the coast.”(2.)

Thus, these landvættir have a long history, stetting far back into at least the medieval period. From this example, we can tell that they were very powerful. Not only that, though, but that the land was “full of landvættir.” Yet, this example shows their menacing power to outsiders, but what about those living among them? For this, we shall turn to the Landnámabók.

Examples from Landnámabók:

Iceland seems to have provided us with the unique opportunity of gaining some minor insights into how native settlers treated the landvættir. Below are three examples of three different settlers interacting with these spirits:

Bjorn Gnupsson (Hafr-Bjorn):

“One night Bjorn dreamed that a cliff-giant came and offered him partnership, and that he accepted the offer. Afterwards a strange billy-goat came to join his herd of goats, and his livestock began to multiply so fast that soon he was a wealthy man. After that he was called Hafr-Bjorn (Goat-Bjorn). People with second sight could see that all the guardian spirits of the land accompanied him when he attended the Althing, and Thorstein and Thord (his brothers) when they went out fishing.”(3.)

In this example, Hafr-Bjorn befriends a landvættr that is referred to as a cliff-giant, or, in some other versions I believe, as a cliff or rock-dweller. He was actually offered this friendship from the landvættr itself in a dream, which demonstrates a possible method for communication with a landvættr. Furthermore, this example reveals the benefits to such a relationship, which was usually prosperity in land-related activities, such as the raising of livestock and fishing. Hafr-Bjorn and his brothers must have treated these spirits with great respect to have earned their friendship, and the benefits of such relations are clearly worthwhile. Also, this example shows us that seeing the landvættir required a special skill, or “second sight,” so not everyone could nor can see these spirits.

Olvir Eysteinsson:

“Olvir Eysteinsson took possession of land east of Grims River where no one had dared to settle for fear of land-spirits, since Hjorleif was killed there.” (4.)

Hjorleif was a blot-brother of Ingolf’s, the alleged first settler of Iceland.(5.) He was killed by a another man’s (Dufthak) slaves while looking for a bear in the woods.(6.) Yet, it was also mentioned earlier that he “would never sacrifice to the gods.”(7.) Regardless, his death laid a bad omen across that land, which is felt even when, many years later, a settler named Olvir comes along (as told above). This example, although short, demonstrates even the native fear of the power that the landvættir held, and that if their land was disrespected, it would likely not result in peaceful times for the settlers living there.

Thorstein Red-Nose (son of Hrolf Red-Beard):

“Thorstein Red-Nose was a great sacrificer. He used to make sacrifices to the waterfall and all the left-overs had to be thrown into it. He could see clearly into the future. Thorstein had all his sheep counted and they numbered 2400; after that they all jumped over the wall of the fold. Thorstein had so many sheep because each autumn he could see which of the sheep were doomed to die, and he had those slaughtered. That’s why he always had so many. The last autumn of his life, he said at the sheep-fold, ‘Now you can slaughter any of the sheep you life. Either I’m doomed to die or the sheep are doomed, or all of us are.’ The night he died, all the sheep got swept into the waterfall by a gale.”(8.)

This example is fascinating, because we kind of must piece things together to truly get the depth behind it. Thorstein was sacrificing the a landvættr that lived in a waterfall. It seems that this landvættr granted him this ability of foresight to enhance his skill in maintaining his sheep. I find this to be the case because, at the end of this example, the sheep are ‘returned’ to the waterfall once Thorstein passes away, therefore connecting the sheep to the waterfall through Thorstein. Once he was gone, the connection was broken and the landvættr took what was rightfully its.

All of these examples serve to demonstrate the various aspects of the landvættir that you asked about. They were honored much like the gods themselves were, it seems, although suitable information to ‘prove’ this is still to be desired. They either came to you in a dream, like one did with Hafr-Bjorn, or they would be won over through generous sacrifice, as was seen with Thorstein. They were respected and given appreciation to keep them in good spirits. After all, when angered or ignored, they could cause fear, as seen with the case of Olvir, or even destructive and threatening, as seen in the Saga of Olaf Tryggvason.

Examples from Icelandic Sagas and Tales:

If Landnámabók was not quite satisfying enough, there are still a few examples to be explored from Egil’s Saga and The Tale of Thorvald the Far-Travelled. For those reading this that are already well-read, it may seem odd for me to be leaving out Bard’s Saga. That example deals with vættir-related subject matter intensively, and I would rather recommend that as a full reading than except it as an example on this post, so I will return to Bard momentarily.

Egil’s Saga, chapter 58:

“He (Egil) took a hazel pole in his hand and went to the edge of a rock facing inland. Then he took a horse’s head and put it on the end of the pole.

Afterwards he made an invocation, saying, ‘Here I set up this scorn-pole (nið) and turn its scorn upon King Eirik and Queen Gunnhild’ - then turned the horse’s head to face land - ‘and I turn its scorn upon the nature spirits (vættir) that inhabit this land, sending them all astray so that none of them shall find its resting-place by chance or design until they have driven King Eirik and Gunnhild from this land.’

Then he drove the pole into a cleft in the rock and left it to stand there. He turned the head towards the land and carved the whole invocation in runes on the pole.”(9.)

In this example, we can see that people can actually ‘control’ the wrath of vættir, and they can even turn this wrath onto others, if they are skilled enough. Yet, in the case of Egil, he was wronged, and so he had right on his side (see footnote 9 for detail). Perhaps, then, vættir have a sense of justice even. Nonetheless, I suppose this is a sort of ritual, in which one would target their enemies with strong words, runes, and insulting imagery. Yet, it does hint that the vættir did play a social function as well. This was already indicated by the landvættir, who often protect the land and the people who dwell there, if they have a good relationship with them, of course. Thus, vættir can either protect people or attack them, depending on their relationship with the user and his or her skill.

Thorvald the Far-Travelled, chapter 3:

In this example, the ‘theme’ of a vættr is used very strategically by the author, so we must take caution in how we read this source. In the quote below, Thorvald talks with his father, Kodran, about converting to Christianity. Kodran responds (at first) by telling Thorvald that he has a ‘prophet’ who lives in some nearby stone, and that this prophet helps him in many ways. The author treats this prophet as a demon, although it seems that this figure is being built upon the tradition of the vættir.

“ ‘But I have another prophet of my own, who is very beneficial to me. He tells me many things which have not yet come to be. He takes care of my cattle, and reminds me what I should do and what I should avoid. That is why I have great faith in him and have worshipped him for a long time, but you are your prophet (a bishop named Fridrek) and your religion disparage him a great deal, and he dissuades me from making any agreements with you, and especially from taking your faith.’

‘Where does your prophet live?’ asked Thorvald.

‘He lives here, close by my farm,’ said Kodran, ‘in a large and imposing stone.’

Thorvald asked how long he had been living there.

Kodran said he had lived there for a long time.”(10.)

A few things should sound familiar by now. This is a landvættr, for he dwells within a stone. It also seems that we can conclude that landvættir are prophetic, because both here and with Thorstein Red-Nose in Landnámabók. The landvættir also tend to earthly things, such as livestock and farms, as we have seen with Hafr-Bjorn (goats), Thorstein Red-Nose (sheep), and now here with Kodran (cattle). The ‘prophet’ is also very old, which would not be surprising for a landvættr. Thus, it is not unreasonable to notice the connection here with landvættir, even though this tale never explicitly uses the term, which brings back a point made earlier that references to landvættir are like hidden gems scattered throughout our sources.

Recommendations for Further Reading:

It may be troublesome to randomly read sagas and tales with the hopes of stumbling upon one of these gems. Of course, I have already named a few that touch on the topic, but they are generally centered around other ideas and motives. If you want the short-cut method (other than just reading this post), I highly recommend you take a look into this source:

H.R. Ellis Davis, Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions(Syracuse University Press, 1989). 

This book would be the best way to learn about the material from a reliable place, and without scavenging the primary source material for information. Google has an eBook version that contains a preview, if you would like to check that out before purchasing. For the most direct information on landvættir, I recommend special attention be given to pages 102 through 133. In fact, I tried to make use of the examples discussed in her book as well, so that, if you choose to read it, things should be more familiar to you already. The whole book seems to be quite the gem, though, so you may be interested in that text for other purposes as well.

Regarding primary sources, you can investigate any of the sources I covered in this post by looking at the relevant footnotes. I will say, though, that I have mostly pulled what is relevant from the sources that you would have easy access to. For example, I would hate to recommend Egil’s Saga just for you to only have that portion of chapter 58 to read about regarding landvættir.

As I mentioned briefly before, I do highly recommend a complete reading of Bard’s Saga, although it may be difficult to acquire the text. I have done research on what English translations are available for all the Icelandic sagas and tales (you can see that information on this post), and, in this endeavor, I found that Bard’s Saga seems to only be reasonably accessible (in English) via this book: 

Ralph O’Connor, Icelandic Histories & Romances. (Tempus, 2004).

If you have trouble, don’t hesitate to let me know, because I would be more than happy to try to help you find a way to read that saga.


So, in the end, what have we learned?

  • Vættir are nature spirits, and people often sacrificed to them. Many of these vættir were called landvættir, but only those who lived in features of the land, such as waterfalls or large stones.
  • Landvættir (at least) can be in the form of animals, so they do not always take a human form.
  • Vættir could be friendly, but they could also be spiteful when angered, ignored, or disrespected.
  • Some landvættir protected entire regions or countries, whereas others protected local farmsteads. Sometimes they did not protect for the sake of humanity, but for themselves, and so if you are not on friendly terms with them, they will likely cause you great trouble.
  • Many people gave offerings to the landvættir to build a stronger relationship with them and the land. These offerings were not always material, but could also be offerings of respect and recognition, because some landvættir became friendly with people without the need for a formal sacrifice. Sometimes they would come to people in dreams, but only if they wished to.
  • A landvættr could offer a friend many gifts, but mostly prosperity in regards to the raising of livestock, in farming, and even in advice. Another frequent gift they would offer would be the gift of prophecy or foresight.
  • The vættir could be ‘manipulated’ in such a way to incite trouble for a foe, although this seems to require careful skill, for the user would not wish to disrespect the vættir him- or herself, lest they wish to incur their wrath. Yet, this could also be due to good relations.
  • Not everyone could see vættir, for this required a special ability referred to as “second-sight.”
  • Despite not holding a prominent place in Eddic material, other sources suggest that the vættir placed a very central and regional role within the confines of Norse heathenism, and even beyond. Many of the practices told above would ahem been a part of daily life, and can best be summed up as a deep respect, and sometimes fear, of the power of nature.
  • The tradition surrounding the vættir has lived on for quite a long time, existing likely even before Iceland was settled. The vættir still live on today in folklore and in national images such as Iceland’s coat of arms.

Seems like we have learned quite a bit! Of course, this is perhaps only just the surface of the complexity that surrounds the vættir, but it is still quite rich and rewarding. Besides, I have only discussed examples from Iceland. Nonetheless, I do hope that you and others benefit from this post, despite its possibly daunting length. Feel free to reach out to me in the future if the need arises. I am always happy to discuss these things!

Með vinsemd og virðingu,
(With friendliness and respect,)
– Fjorn

1. Viðar Hreinsson, Reference Section: Glossary, in The Complete Sagas of Icelanders: Including 49 Tales, Vol. V, edited by Viðar Hreinsson, Robert Cook, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, and Bernard Scudder, (Reykjavík: Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, 1997), 413.
Fig.1. Coat of Arms of Iceland, Wikimedia Commons.
2. Snorri Struluson, The Saga of Olaf Tryggvason, in Heimskringla, Vol. I, translated by Alison Finlay and Anthony Faulkes. (Viking Society for Northern Research: University College London, 2016), 168. (Chapter 33)
3. Hermann Pálsson and Paul Edwards trans., The Book of Settlements: Landnámabók. (repr., 1972; Manitoba: University of Manitoba Press, 2012), 125. (Chapter 329, Sturlubók)
4. Ibid., 126. (Chapter 330, Sturlubók)
5. Ari Thorgilsson, The Book of the Icelanders: Íslendingabók, translated by Siân Grønlie. (Viking Society for Northern Research: University College London, 2006), 4.

“It is said with accuracy that a Norwegian called Ingólfr travelled from there [Norway] to Iceland for the first time when Haraldr the Fine-Haired was sixteen years old, and a second time a few years later; he settled in the south in Reykjarvík.”

6. Pálsson trans., The Book of Settlements, 20. (Chapter 8, Sturlubók)
7. Ibid., 19. (Chapter 7, Sturlubók)
8. Ibid., 134. (Chapter 329, Sturlubók)
9. Bernard Scudder trans., Egil’s Saga, in The Complete Sagas of Icelanders: Including 49 Tales, Vol. I, edited by Viðar Hreinsson, Robert Cook, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, and Bernard Scudder, (Reykjavík: Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, 1997), 114. (Chapter 58) I recommend referring to the Penguin edition (page 119), due to the expense of the version I have used in writing this post.

I actually stubbled upon another bit of information, a poem this time, contained earlier in this chapter (Verse 29, page 110. Penguin: page 114). This actually explains why Egil did not incur the wrath of the landvættir, because he had right on his side. Think of it as a treat for actually reading these footnotes:

“Land spirit, the law-breaker        – (‘land spirit’ appears here as ‘landalfr’).
has forced me to travel 
far and wide; his bride deceives
the man who slew his brothers.
Grim-tempered Gunnhild must pay
for driving me from this land.
In my youth, I was quick to conquer
hesitation and avenge treachery.”

10. John Porter trans., The Tale of Thorvald the Far-Travelled, in The Complete Sagas of Icelanders: Including 49 Tales, vol. V, edited by Viðar Hreinsson, Robert Cook, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, and Bernard Scudder, (Reykjavík: Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, 1997), 360. (Chapter 3)


anonymous asked:

Hi! So I’m a new follower and uh I’m a bit confused about the reindeer thing? Do you have reindeer? Are you gonna buy one?? Can you really train them to be ridden like a horse? It sounds really cool but I am completely lost lol 😅

Hi there!! Welcome to the blog.

So, reindeer are domesticated caribou. They’re actually the only deer to ever be domesticated, because they’re chill, trainable, and strong.

This is a caribou. 

This is a reindeer:

Do you see the difference in face shape? Pretty cool, right? Reindeer are 3-4 inches smaller than caribou, and are distinctly less… elk-like. They also come in a few other colors.

Reindeer were domesticated around 2000 years ago to be a source of meat and milk (reindeer milk has a lot less lactose in it, making it healthier), like cows, and beasts of burden, like horses, donkeys, and mules. Their unique hoof shape allows them to move over snow easily, and their hollow hair shafts (like polar bears) keep them super warm in the cold, so they’re ideal for the tundra.

Nomadic tribes in northern Eurasia have herded reindeer for thousands of years, and there are still some doing it today: x x x

Reindeer have been trained to pull a sled, individually (used for slower work) or in teams (used for speed, especially sled racing):

They have also been trained to ride, just like a horse! Though, of course they are deer, so the mechanics are a bit different. A reindeer halter looks like this:

usually, but western countries often opt for the more horse-like style (though I struggled to find one that was fitted well). These are used, from what I’ve seen, only for handling and somewhat for driving:

There are some other variants, but these are the main two that I see. Now, reindeer have no room in their mouths for a bit, so they have to be ridden off the halter. Most images of reindeer riding have only one rein, attached to the bottom of the first deer halter. That makes it kind of like bronc riding with the lead rope: you don’t have subtle control, and have to use brute force to turn an unwilling deer.

I do not currently have a reindeer (but I have been bugging the hell out of my mom about it lol) and probably won’t until I’m in late college or out of school. However, I DO plan on getting one, preferably a bottle-fed calf so that it’s more imprinted on humans. If you go back in my #reindeer tag, you can see that I emailed a program which sounds like exactly what I want.

My Plan/Dream:

Get the deer young (after I already have at least one horse or goat because they are herd animals), and socialize the shit out of it. There’s gonna be lots of treats, lots of +R, because I probably won’t get another chance at my dream deer for a while after my first one. Teach the deer how to respond to a sidepull (I like this horse bridle because of how out of the way it is, and this goat bridle. Though, I doubt I would get a good fit from either and may need something custom-made.) and then introduce weight on the back, probably at 2 years old like a horse, though I will introduce the concept of moving off the leg earlier than that, and desensitize him to things going on near/on his back way beforehand. I’d also like to teach lunging, and see how much dressage-y motion I can get out of a deer. I think that would be a neat experiment. I imagine that breaking a deer would be much the same as breaking a colt, and I will use +R to fill in any holes that might be caused by the different species, and to keep my deer as calm as possible through the whole ordeal. I don’t imagine the deer will be nearly as confident or calm as a horse would be as a mount. I’d like to take him on light trail rides and ride him around my town to be a spectacle.

Eventually, I’d like to get a breeding pair and produce calves off my farm– all very socialized and used to humans, and maybe offer training these babies to the niche market that wants a riding or driving reindeer in the West. When my stock gets old, I’ll likely butcher them for meat and sell or keep their hide as saddlepads. Because they shed their antlers once a year (males in the fall, females in the spring– that’s right, all of santa’s reindeer are girls!) and these can be pretty pricey, I’ll have a decent income by collecting and selling those as well, to no harm to my animals.

Tl;dr: No, yes, and yes, lol. Feel free to ask any more questions or come off anon and we can chat! I could go on about deer for days.

The new babies meet the herds den mother! Donkeys are such delightful, underappreciated animals. I’ve told people before how gentle, and even maternal, the donkeys are with their tiny charges, but this illustrates it perfectly. Look how careful she is when the tiny babies get near her hooves! I really think caring for her little herd of goats helped her get over the loss of her own baby. Latte is wonderful