Folktales of Norway
Reidar Christiansen & Pat Shaw Iversen
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Often lacking the clear episodic structure of folktales about talking animals and magic objects, legends grow from retellings of personal experiences. Christiansen isolated some seventy-seven legend types, and many of these are represented here in absorbing stories of St. Olaf, hidden treasures, witches, and spirits of the air, water, and earth. The ugly, massively strong, but slow-witted trolls are familiar to English-speaking readers. Less well-known, but the subject of an enormous number of legends, are the more manlike yet sinister “huldre-folk” who live in houses and try to woo human girls. These tales reflect the wildness of Norway, its mountains, forests, lakes, and sea, and the stalwart character of its sparse population.
“The translation is excellent, retaining the traditional Norwegian style . . . the tales themselves will also appeal to the interested layman.”—Library Journal