Iceland has a rich history of believing in the hidden people—invisible elves hidden amongst their landscapes.
In fact, environmentalists camped on volcanic rock to protect the paranormal creature dwelling inside of the volcanic debris. The surrounding lands hold an important elf church, and thousands populate the area. Locals fear that if holy relics are destroyed unnecessarily, the elves will retaliate.
This sounds like a radical belief, but a 1998 survey reported more than half of Icelanders said that they believed in fairies. Paring this with an academic paper, “The Elves’ Point of View” by Valdimar Hafstein in 2000, the folklorist professor said, “If this was just one crazy lady talking about invisible friends, it’s really east to laugh about that. But to have people through hundreds of years talking about the same things, it’s beyond one or two crazy ladies. It is part of the nation.” In 2007, the University of Iceland conducted a study that estimated 62% of the country believed elves were more than fairy tales.
The reason for the high rate of believers is that their versions of hidden people is because they look and behave similarly to humans but live parallel to us. In Faroese folklore, the fae are large, wear gray clothes, and have black hair. They dwell in mounds.
Another justification for so many believers is that Iceland has four holidays that feature the fae. On New Year’s Eve, elves moved to new locations and Icelanders provided candles to pave their paths. On the Thirteenth Night, January 6th, elf bonfires are a common part of the festivities. The people clean their houses and leave food out on Christmas so that elves who invade their farmhouses can hold wild parties. Finally, Midsummer Night provides an opportunity to seduce elves by laying food and gifts at crossroads.
Now, my Icelandic mound is one of the last independent mounds left in the Broken World. My giant leprechaun, Boden, is from the Icelandic mound and returns there in his own short story. There, he remembers an important bit of the monarchy’s history—one that threatens the safety of his home in book four.
The queen is revealed to be as ruthless as the other queens present in the series, but the princess, Asdis, turns out to be a helpful and insightful person and leader. She also has some interesting connections to my protagonist, Ria.
This mound holds the last remnants of the old fae union and the great magickal council that governed the research, the laws, and the justice for the coalition. They also maintain the traditions of apprenticeships within their society, which has been lost to the majority of the fae that had to flee their mounds and, therefore, their customs. The underground mounds, although independent, have a watered-down version of these practices, they don’t have the capabilities of maintaining the rigid control that Iceland holds.
In fact, the Icelandic mound was built for that purpose. They were the strategic mound to fend off invasions and preserve the fae’s history and knowledge.
I’m pretty excited about some of the connections to come from this mound in the last treks of the story. Most thrilling is exploration of how the fae are more similar to gods than they are to paranormal creatures, which are formed from the primordial Greek gods and Atlantean pantheon. I wonder what will happen when they mix…
Do you know anything about faerie mounds, politics, or lore? Tell me about them in the comments below!