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"There are all sorts of beings beneath our stones," said Brynjolfur Snorrason, a folklorist often asked to advise contractors on how best to avoid the lairs of Iceland's elves and other seldom-seen creatures whose presence nonetheless still seems to permeate this far northern island nation.
Highway engineers in recent years have been forced to reroute roads around supposed elf dwellings. Similarly, builders of the country's first shopping mall took care to lay electrical cables and other underground installations well away from suspected abodes of gnomes and fairies. Couples planning a new house will sometimes hire "elf-spotters" to ensure the lot is free of spirit folk.
In Iceland, such precautions are seen as simple prudence.
"It can be a strange country," said Arni Bjornsson, head of ethnological studies at the National Museum of Iceland. "Even hard-headed engineers, who say they don't hold with superstition, will build a road around a certain hill or boulder rather than take the risk of offending elves."
Icelandic elves, for example, can have long, spindly legs, big ears, or crazy hair but they don’t wear pointed hats or shoes. Such garb is found on an Icelandic dwarf, perhaps, but he could just as well be wearing a long cloak or a beard.
Hidden people are dressed like old-time, country folk, even though these same hidden people have been known to label us regular mortals as the "primitive" ones. In fact, there are so many variations that an entire flora has been described: 13 types of elves, 3 kinds of hidden people (including the Blue People), 4 varieties of gnomes, 2 forms of trolls, and 3 types of fairies.
Today, 54% of Icelanders believe in elves and hidden people and a full 90% of the population "takes notice" of this shadow community, which is said to number anywhere from 7000 to 20,000 inhabitants
Originally posted by TheWalkingFox
Careful; she's painfully adorable.
"There's a very good reason why we don't piss off the elves, isn't it?"