Greinasafni: Icelandic Times
Have you seen those Yule Lads?

Perhaps its not just by  coincidence that the Yule Lads or  Jólasveinar, as they are known in  Icelandic, are virtually unheard of  outside Iceland! Their parents are  Grýla and Leppalúði, trolls who  live in the mountains with their  black cat. They have all sorts of  funny names like Skyr-gobbler,  Window-Peeper, Gully-Gawker,  Meat-Hook, Spoon-Licker,  and Door-Sniffer, their names  describing their modus operandi  over the Christmas Season,  starting on 12th December.  Each one arrives in turn, leaving  2 weeks later, with the last one  leaving on 6th January. I won’t tell  you here what kinds of mischief  they have been up to over the  centuries .....let me tell you, you  do NOT want to know what they  have been up to!  Lately, it has been rumoured that  these naughty guys are to blame for  much of Iceland’s economic woes.  “We just thought the Yule Lads were  rather harmless and had no idea they  would have such disastrous effects  on the moral fibre of our children,”  lamented one parent.  In 1857, around the time a man  named Klaus from Finland was  awarded the international “Best  Choice Ever” for Santa Claus award,  the Yule Lads noticed that they still  had a ways to go if they ever hoped  to compete for the pre-eminent role  of Father Christmas in their latter  years. It has been very touch and  go for them in this department as  the kind and benevolent qualities of  Saint Klaus have been a bit beyond  them. However, to their credit, we  have noticed some changes over  time, including the donning of the  de rigueur red suit and the placing of  gifts in children’s shoes if they have  been good. They who? The Yule  Lads or the children? A profound  question.  A few days before Christmas, two  Yule Lads came to our house!  These guys are still up to tricks and  managed to pilfer a type of sausage  that they helped themselves to from  the fridge, - without asking mind  you! After that, they opened all the  kitchen cupboards and filled their  sacks with canned goods!  Then, they got into the chest freezer  and seized the leg of lamb that was  meant for Christmas dinner! They  don’t bring you stuff at Christmas, like  a proper Santa would. They march in  and make off with your Christmas  dinner! Can you believe these guys?  Taking our Christmas leg of lamb in  hopes of making off with it without  me noticing?  Hey! That’s our leg of lamb you got  there! Note the sack bulging with  canned goods they are not bringing  to us-- they are taking from us!  This story does have a happy  ending however. In a rare display  of repentance they decided to give  everything back, (except for two  candy canes which they took from the  Christmas tree). They also decided  that putting all their loot back into  the washing machine, was of course,  the most logical place.  You see? I told you they are making  progress in their moral development!  After doing somersaults, they roared off  in their rescue jeep. That’s the jeep that  rescues them out of all their disgracefully  un-Christmas-like behaviour.  The last one, named Candle-Beggar,  steals candles or at least used to  when they were made of tallow,  which is edible. He must have been  desperately poor to have to eat  candles.....but that was then and this  is now. Really not sure what he does  now with wax candles, but the good  news is that he leaves on 6th January,  when we can all rest easy.....sort of.....  until next year.

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