Phantoms and Fairies
from Norwegian Folklore

Tor Åge Bringsværd

124 Pages, ISBN 978-8251808538     
Published by Johan Grundt Tanum Forlag, 1979     

The Hidden Norwegians

Officially Norway has some 4 million inhabitants, but the real number is far greater. From times immemorial this country has been peopled by a host of curious creatures, sometimes visible, sometimes invisible. But they are not registered by the census taker and you will look for them in vain in the telephone book. They are The Hidden Norwegians.

The visitor who would like to have a glimpse of them must go about it very carefully. Neither police nor tourist information office can give any help, and travellers´ cheques are not taken. He enters a world with a different set of rules, where black is white and in is out. In the big mountain hall of Dovregubben, the troll of trolls, he will be scratched in the eye by a splinter of rock, an operation which gives him a second sight, a new view of his surroundings. A mountain is no longer just a mountain, it is also the dwelling of trolls and giants. Through the din of the waterfall he will hear a trembling violin. It is the mysterious fiddler, the Fossegrim, who is playing. And by the river with the moss-grown stones he will see three beautifull maidens with cow-tails who want him for partner in a wild and wanton dance.

But don't forget the time! An hour with the hidden people may equal a week, even a year among ordinary humans. Many a troll-taken visitor has come back after what he believes to be a few hours and discovered that he has been declared lost and dead and that his wife has married again.

This book is meant to be a guide for everyone who wishes to meet the hidden people, the strange beings who live on in Norwegian lore and literature and in the subconscious depths of the national character. In addition to good advice, you will find descriptions of the best known characters. Read this carefully. It will save you a lot of trouble and unnecessary misunderstandings.

Tor Åge Bringsværd      

(The text above comes from the intro of the book)     

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