May 15, 2019

The Illvveli, which in Icelandic means Evil Whales, are a very special group pf sea monsters with a set of common attributes:

1. They all play important roles in Icelandic Folklore, and many of them appear in Viking Sagas alongside other very important monsters and mythical beings (not to mention gods and goddesses).

2. They are all inedible. First, because they are extremely hard to hunt and kill, but also because their meat is at times poisonous, or it may disappear as it is being cook, and beca...

May 7, 2019

Another of the feared illhveli (a.k.a. evil whales) of Iceland is the Skeljúngur, meaning Shell Whale.

There a fundamental difference between this a all the other illhveli: the skeljúngur is safe to eat, even tasty, hence this is most dangerous of the edible whales cruising the Northern Seas. Moreover, even if catalogued as evil, the Skeljúngur has helped humans on occasion. Notably, a young skeljúngur aided Hjalmper and Olvir in their battle against a vicious hrosshvalur (i.g., Horse Whale).


April 30, 2019

Of all the illhveli, evil whales, that plagued Icelandic waters in ancient times, the Raudkembingur, the Red Crested Whale, was the most savage and bloodthirsty. It may not had the size or raw power of some of the other illhveli, but its ferocity and determination to hunt and harm boats was unmatched by any other living creature in the sea.

The raudkembingur is an abomination, and eating its inedible flesh is not only deadly but forbidden. Those desperate enough to try, came to discover that boi...

April 7, 2019

The katthveli, a name that means Cat Whale,  has been described as having the shape of a bulky seal, short dolphin, or stocky whale. It has strong forequarters and narrower hindquarters, with the mouth of a leopard, the strength of a lion, and the hunger of a hound.

However, its name mostly comes from the presence of long whiskers on its snout and the sounds it makes, ranging from a purr when it exhales to mews and hisses when agitated.

Compare to other illhveli, the Katthveli is fairly small, wit...

March 31, 2019

The Taumafiskur, which translates as “bridle fish,” is one of the illhveli --evil whales-- of Iceland. This, however, is the most dangerous and feared of them all, and like all the others its flesh is inedible, but it comes with the added evil-bonus that speaking its name at sea will attract its unwelcome attention.

Its name derives from the white, at times pink, stripes extending from its eyes to its mouth and outwards that, contrasting sharply against its coal-black color, give the appearance o...

March 1, 2019

The Lyngbakur is the largest of all the illhveli, and indeed one of the largest creatures in the sea. In Icelandic lore only the Hafgua is bigger than the Lyngbakur.

However, despite its enormous size, the lyngbakur is rarely seen, and it does not go out searching for ships to sink the way the smaller illhveli do. Most often, the single part of this colossal beast that can be seen over the surface of the water is its back, a large hum like an island covered with a growth of heather.  Its eyes, d...

February 15, 2019

The Selamóðir also known as the Seal Mother, is a species protector of harbor seals and grey seals of Iceland. Their general appearance es that is that of a seal, but its dimensions are all but normal. The Selamóðir are beasts of terrifying size, large like small elephants, with short legs that end in fins, and with skin that is leathery and of reddish-pink in color. When angered, their necks turn bright red and their eyes flash like burning coals, arching their back, that when underwater, look...

January 31, 2019

The name Skeljaskrímsli, which translates from Icelandic as shell monster, is a name used for a number of Icelandic seashore monstrous animals.  Despite the differences in shape, two things link all these animals together:

-They are always observed dragging-hoping along the beach,

-They all have a hump on the back,

-They all possess a coat of shells that rattle as the creature moves.

Shell monsters have been sighted along the coasts of all the main regions of Iceland.  In their book Meeting with Mon...

January 14, 2019

The Sverdhvalur, which translates as swordwhale, is another of the illhveli (evil whales) lurking off the coasts of Iceland.

Like all other illhveli, its meat is uneatable, poisoning those who dare try it.

Its most distinctive feature is the sharp bony fin growing out of its back.

After reaching maturity, sverdhvalurs are as large as a sperm whale, and like this whale they have a  large mouth set with vicious teeth.

The blue whale (Steypireyður in Icelandic) is its mortal enemy.  Most of those who...

January 7, 2019

The Nautshval or Nauthvalur, which translate as cow-whale or ox-whale, is one of the many evil whales of Icelandic folklore. This particular one, the second biggest of them, will show up if its name is said out loud.

The nautshval is a toothed whale. It has a face with large nose with two big rounded nostrils that work as a fog horn. Male nautshval have large heads, that like in bulls, present a type of horn, in this case two long nodules. Some has described this whale as having a wormlike body,...

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