Ellerwomen

March 12, 2017

 

The Ellerwomen, name which is a crude translation of the Danish Ellekvinder, meaning Elf Women, belong to the Fair Folk of Scandinavia. However, contrary to most Scandinavian Elves, the Ellerwomen don’t like to live in bogs or forests, nor they have accommodation in mounds and hills, for they prefer to live in abandon buildings and ruins.

 

Although the Ellerwomen look like normal-sized women, they are completely hollow. There is nothing inside them not even a heart.

 

Most farmers know about the Ellerwomen, for they are one of the most dangerous magical creatures a single man can meet on his way home from work in the field or forest. They are incredibly beautiful and incredibly evil. They will do everything in their power to lure their victim out into the swamp where he will drown, or to take their victim back to where their lair, for in those ruins, the poor guy will be forced to dance until dawn to the music of invisible instruments, which often ends with a man dying of exhaustion or losing his mind.

 

However, as dangerous as it is to surrender to the charms of an Ellerwomen, to reject her can be deadly as well. If you find the willpower to reject an Ellewomen, if you are not enticed by her appearance and charm, she may become so mad as to touch you, cursing you for life.

 

If you meet a Ellerwomen, the only way to escape is to invoke the gods' protection and run to a church or cemetery. According to tradition, Ellerwomen are not able to tread on hallowed ground, and if you can just keep them at bay until dawn, they will rush back to their lair with the first ray of sun, leaving  you alone and safe.

 

The first mention to Ellerwomen in literature comes from the Danish Demonology, written by Vicar Hans Lauridsen in 1587 and published in 1596. The Danish Demonology is a Christian handbook useful when dealing with evil creatures and demons, and although similar titles where circulating through Europe since the early 1500s, the Danish Demonology, Lauridsen’s life-long work, became popular for it was the first to present a list of various Nordic demons, unknown to most, which included the Ellerwomen as well as the werewolves.

 

References:

-Lise Busk-Jensen, Knud Bjarne Gjesing, Johannes Nørregaard Frandsen, Henrik Wivel, Anne Birgitte -Richard (2007) Dansk litteraturs historie, Volume 1, Gyldendal A/S,

-Kegan Paul (1884) A Danish Parsonage, Trench & Company, - 356 pages

 

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