The skoffín is the fierce, dreaded offspring of an Arctic Fox and a cat, and resembles both of them. But attention, because the skoffín is born from a male Arctic fox mating with a female tabby cat, the other way around (male cat, and vixen) would produce a Skuggabaldur; a different creature altogether.

Skoffíns could be partially hairless, are all covered in fur, with formidable teeth and claws. However, its exact appearance varies; for it may even change color with the seasons like the Arctic fox does.

The skoffín’s gaze is deadly, so much everything it looks at dies instantaneously. They are supposedly able to kill humans simply by looking directly into their eyes. If you encounter a skoffín, to save yourself of certain death, you must avert your gaze and run.

To protect themselves, skoffín kittens are born with their eyes wide open. Newborn skoffíns will hide quickly, sinking into the ground, and it may not resurface at their place of birth but far from it. They will resurface after three years, and start feasting on any nearby animal. So it is imperative to kill sighted kittens before they can disappear into the ground.

Skoffíns are inherently vile and malicious, and satisfy their appetite for destruction by killing humans and livestock alike.

Most skoffín are killed before they get to maturity, but if they do reach adulthood, killing them is not so easy. They are best shot from a safe distance, ideally with a silver bullet and after having made the sign of the cross in front of the barrel, or having a human knuckle bone on the barrel. Hardened sheep dung makes equally effective bullets. If firearms are not at hand, the potentially risky strategy of using one skoffín against another is also an option. The plan is to trick the skoffíns into a fatal staring encounter. This, because skoffíns are not immune to their own gaze, and an encounter between two skoffíns will lead to the death of both of them.

As with basilisks, mirrors are also well-known weapons against skoffíns.

Accounts from a remote church in Iceland indicate that once a skoffín stationed itself on the roof of the church, and the parishioners started dropping dead as they left the building. The deacon understood what was going on, and had the rest of the congregation wait inside while he tied a mirror to a long pole and extended it outside to the roof. After a few minutes he gave the all-clear, and they were able to leave the church safely, as the skoffín had perished immediately upon seeing its reflection.


-The Icelandic Sea-Monster Museum in Bíldudalur

-Boucher, A. (1994) Elves and Stories of Trolls and Elemental Beings. Iceland Review, Reykjavik.

-Hermansson, H. (1924) Jon Gudmundsson and his Natural History of Iceland. Islandica, Cornell University Library, Ithaca.

-Hlidberg, J. B. and Aegisson, S.; McQueen, F. J. M. and Kjartansson, R., trans. (2011) Meeting with Monsters. JPV utgafa, Reykjavik.

-Stefánsson, V. (1906) Icelandic Beast and Bird Lore. The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 19, no. 75, pp. 300-308

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