German and Scandinavian Legendary Creatures: Elf, Troll, Tomte, Jörmungandr, Draugr, Myling, Changeling, Wild Man, Neck, Huldra, Kraken

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General Books LLC, 2010 - 188 pages
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Chapters: Elf. Source: Wikipedia. Pages: 186. Not illustrated. Free updates online. Purchase includes a free trial membership in the publisher's book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Excerpt: An elf (plural elves) is a being of Germanic mythology. The elves were originally thought of as a race of divine or semi-divine beings (wights, vaettir) endowed with magical powers, which they use both for the benefit and the injury of mankind. In pre-Christian mythology, they appear to have been divided into light elves and dark elves, difficult to delineate from the AEsir (gods) on one hand and the dvergar (dwarves) on the other. In early modern and modern folklore, they become associated with the fairies of Romance folklore and assume a diminutive size, often living underground in hills or rocks, or in wells and springs. 19th-century Romanticism attempted to restore them to full stature, often depicting them as very young, probably adolescent (lack of facial hair on male elves), men and women of great beauty. From their depiction in Romanticism, elves entered the 20th-century high fantasy genre in the wake of the publications of J. R. R. Tolkien, especially the posthumous publication of his Silmarillion where Tolkien's treatment of the relation of light elves, dark elves, black elves and dwarves in Norse mythology is made explicit. The name elf is from Old English aelf (plural ylfe), ultimately from a Common Germanic *alboz (also *albiz), corresponding to Old Norse alfr, Old High German alb. It survives as an element in given names such as English and German Alfred, Alfwin, Elfreda, or Scandinavian Alfhild, Alvar. There are no obvious cognates outside of Germanic, but some have compared the bhu, a type of genii in Hindu mythology. Jacob Grimm discusses "Wights and Elves" comparatively in chapter 17 of his Teutonic Mythology. He notes that the Elder Edda couples the AEsir and the alfar, a conjunction ...More: http: //

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