Jolasveinar: The 13 Trolls of Christmas
You know Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen … but do you know the Yule Lads?
Christmas is a bright and fluffy holiday for most, but we know the darker side of the coin. The origins of the holiday were not always presided over by the “Coca-Cola Santa.”
We’ve recently visited one of our favorite mascots of the holiday, the terrible Krampus. Now, let’s skip over to Iceland for more Christmas troublemakers.
Santa isn’t the only one coming to town…
The Yule Lads, or Jolasveinar, are 13 troll brothers who were known to terrify and rob households during the merry season. Seen today as almost cute and comical, the original depiction of the group reminds us a lot of angry house spirits or poltergeists, moving things around the house, terrorizing barn animals, and slamming doors. With names like Sheep-Cote Clod and Stumpy it was only a matter of time until they were seen as more mischievous than dangerous.
Below are the most commonly touted names of the Lads. There are around 70 in total, and they’re not terribly inventive as you’ll see, but they get the job done.
Sheep-Cote Clod – A lanky, long legged klutz who terrorizes the barn.
Gully Gawk – The troll who watches from the gutter for the perfect chance for burglary.
Stubby – We can’t help but think of the Seven Dwarves here… Stubby is, well, short. He also steals pie pans to eat the leftover crust.
Spoon Licker – Um…licks spoons. Also, due to his underwhelming diet, is malnourished.
Candle Stealer – This one stalks the shadows, creeping up behind children to steal their candles and eat them.
Pot Scraper – Scrapes pots for leftovers.
Bowl Licker – Licks bowls. Also, he hides under your bed, watching. (Not terrifying at all.)
Door Slammer – The poltergeist fan of the group, Door Slammer (or Hurdaskellir) runs around slamming doors in your household. Oh, but in the dead of night.
Skyr Gobbler – This guy loves skyr, which is like yogurt. THE HORROR!!
Sausage Swiper – I have to wonder how this rafter-dweller gets away with his tricks. His name is self-explanatory, but he steals the meat while it’s being smoked.
Meat Hook – Sounds more terrifying than he is. Meat Hook simply steals meat. With a hook.
Window Peeper – While a simple thief, @MichaelMcGannon hates this one, even though he is certainly not afraid of things hiding in the windows…not at all!
Doorway Sniffer – Michael also hates things that lurk in doorways. Hehe…
Like Krampus, the Jolasveinar are tied to older legends of Santa Claus, some of those legends suggesting that Mr. Claus could have been one of the trolls himself. We’re not surprised by this at all. After all, the guy does break into houses and eat your cookies, just like many of the Yule Lads.
All in all, if you begin to suffer mischief and troublemaking during your holiday season, take a closer peek in your cupboards, your attic, in the bushes, or under your bed … you may just have a troll infestation of the Northern kind!
Interested in more of those “scary ghost stories” the famous Christmas carol reminisces? Keep a look out, soon we introduce you to the Yule Goat, the kallikantzaroi, Gryla and the Yule Cat as we continue our sleigh ride toward Yule and Christmas celebrations! and
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