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Old 20 December 2006, 19:55   #1
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Something for the kids

In Iceland we have some 13 santa claus and they are not as good as the one we know today and the first came down from their homes in the mountain on the 13th.

Jólasveinar first appeared in the 17th century as the sons of Grýla and Leppalúđi, who themselves had appeared in the 13th century and had earned a reputation for stealing and eating naughty children.

The Jólasveinar were tallied at either nine or thirteen, but their names are at least 70.

(Grýla and Leppalúđi
This pair of child-eating, bloodthirsty ogres are the supposed parents of the Jólasveinar. The dominant member in the relationship is Grýla, who according to some sources had another husband before Leppalúđi. His name was Boli. Boli, and later Leppalúđi, were bedridden and Grýla went around the countryside begging to support her husbands. At Christmas time she stole children who had been naughty during the year. Through the centuries Grýla has been a very popular means of making children behave. There are numerous lays and stories about Grýla and her exploits, but she never really gets her hands on the children. Either they have been very well behaved throughout the year or they manage to escape.)



Thirteen of the most commonly accepted names of the Jólasveinar are:

The Illustrations

The illustrations by Tryggvi Magnússon show life as it was in Iceland in the last century. They were made in 1932 to illustrate a poem by Jóhannes úr Kötlum about the Jólasveinar, and the verses accompanying each of the Jólasveinar are from that poem. This poem and illustrations are very popular among Icelandic children and have been almost constantly available since 1932.

December 12th:
Stekkjarstaur - Gimpy
The old Icelandic sheep enclosure was not a palace. In the middle you can see the manger, where the hay was placed before the sheep to eat. You are not seeing things, Icelandic sheep have very short tails.

December 13th:
Giljagaur - Gully Imp
In the past centuries almost everything was kept in wooden containers, such as the milk pail, from which Giljagaur is stealing the froth.
This building form with pillars, rafters and beams has existed in Iceland since the settlement over 1100 years ago.

December 14th:
Stúfur - Short-Stuff
The inside of an old Icelandic kitchen. The housewife is stirring a pot over hlóđir, an open fire surrounded with stones or bricks. The barrel on the floor is a water container, at that time there was no running water in the houses, and one of the duties of the children in some households was to carry the water to the house, from a nearby brook or stream.

December 15th
Ţvörusleikir - Pot-Scraper Licker
Another view of an old kitchen. You can see the stone surrounded fire clearly, and the cast iron pot, a cauldron, really. And you can also see the ţvara, pot-scraper, which our friend Ţvörusleikir is licking. This was used to scrape the sides of the iron pot, in which something boiled almost around the clock. And as this was not done very often, the name of ţvara has enriched the Icelandic language: "To stand like a ţvara", means to stand still and do nothing.

December 16th:
Pottasleikir - Pot Licker
Pottasleikir cleaning the cast iron pot. Cleaning the pot was considered a treat for the children. As he is sitting on the stone fireplace, this has to be at night. The fire was "hidden" at night, i.e. the embers were covered with ashes, so as to keep until the next morning. If the fire went out, that was a major disaster, as matches or lighters were not everyday items.

December 17th:
Askasleikir - Bowl Licker
The inside of the old living room of the Icelandic farmhouses. Everybody slept in this room, men and women alike. Their bed was the place where they kept their possessions, either up against the wall, or in a chest under the bed. The askur, or bowl, on the floor was a personal possession, the food for the day was put into the bowl, and people then ate from it at mealtimes. Often put before the cats and dogs at night.

December 18th:
Hurđaskellir - Door Slammer
The doors in the old Icelandic farmhouses were heavy and creaky, and slamming them reverberated through the house. Very often there was only one door to the house, the front door, and that was closed before nightfall. A slamming or creaking door at night was not good news, most probably a visiting ghost.

December 19th:
Skyrgámur - Skyr Gobbler
This a a large barrel, used to make and store skyr, which is an Icelandic form of yoghurt, but much thicker. Skyr was one of the mainstays of the Icelandic diet for centuries.

December 20th:
Bjúgnakrćkir - Sausage Snatcher
Mutton and sausage were hung up among the rafters to be smoked. This was done in every farmhouse, and several even had special houses for this smoking of the mutton and sausages. Smoking, and later salting and pickling, were the only means of conserving meat products for the long winter.

More to follow tomorrow and will until December 24th

Bogi
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Old 21 December 2006, 03:24   #2
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Very interesting, keep it coming.

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Old 21 December 2006, 17:17   #3
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December 21:

Gluggagćgir - Window Peeper
The windows in old Icelandic farmhouses were not large display windows, they were small and usually covered with a thin skin of some sort, so there was not much light that shone through.
The table in this illustration is a work table, not a dining table. People ate sitting on their beds.
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Old 22 December 2006, 14:25   #4
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December 22nd:

Gáttaţefur - Doorway Sniffer
This is the Icelandic göng, or hallway. A building style peculiar to Iceland, called "gangnabćr" - Hallway Farmhouse. These farmhouses were designed to conserve heat, only one door to the outside, and then a hallway, and all rooms of the farmhouse were accessible from the göng.

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Old 23 December 2006, 07:01   #5
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December 23rd:

Ketkrókur - Meat Hooker
The roofs of Icelandic farmhouses were covered with grass for insulation. The contraption on top of the chimney is for preventing the wind from blowing down into the chimney.
The mutton to be smoked was placed high in the rafters near the chimney, which was really just a hole in the roof, with a duct extending just above and below the roof.

(In Icelandic)
Ketkrókur, sá tólfti,
kunni á ýmsu lag. -
Hann ţrammađi í sveitina
á Ţorláksmessudag.
Hann krćkti sér í tutlu,
ţegar kostur var á.
En stundum reyndist stuttur
stauturinn hans ţá.

(English translation)
Meat Hooker, the twelfth one,
Knew a thing or two. -
He marched into the country
On St. Thorlak's Day.
He hooked a bit of meat
Whenever he could.
But often a little short
was at times his staff.
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Old 23 December 2006, 07:11   #6
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Noticed the Poem did not follow so here are they

December 12th:

Stekkjarstaur kom fyrstur,
stinnur eins og tré.
Hann laumađist í fjárhúsin
og lék á bóndans fé.
Hann vildi sjúga ćrnar,
ţá varđ ţeim ekki um sel,
ţví greyiđ hafđi staurfćtur,
- ţađ gekk nú ekki vel.

Gimpy was the first,
Stiff like a tree.
He snuck into the stables,
And fooled the farmer's sheep.
He wanted to suck milk from them,
- They did not care for that,
And because he had peg-legs
- It did not go too well.

December 13th:

Giljagaur var annar,
međ gráa hausinn sinn.
- Hann skreiđ ofan úr gili
og skaust í fjósiđ inn.
Hann faldi sig í básunum
og frođunni stal,
međan fjósakonan átti
viđ fjósamanninn tal.

Gully Imp was the second,
With his grey old head.
He crept down from the mountain,
and into the cow shed.
He hid in the stables
- And stole the froth,
While the milkmaid chatted
Up the stable boy.

December 14th:

Stúfur hét sá ţriđji,
stubburinn sá.
Hann krćkti sér í pönnu,
ţegar kostur var á.
Hann hljóp međ hana í burtu
og hirti agnirnar,
sem stundum brunnu fastar
viđ barminn hér og ţar.

Itty Bitty was the third,
That short fellow.
He borrowed a pan,
When he could do so.
He ran away with it
And picked and ate the food-bits
That sometimes stick
To a pan here and there.

December 15th:

Sá fjórđi, Ţvörusleikir,
var svakalega mjór.
Og ósköp varđ hann glađur,
ţegar eldabuskan fór.
Ţá ţaut hann eins og elding
og ţvöruna greip,
og hélt međ báđum höndum,
ţví hún var stundum sleip.

The fourth, Pot-Scraper Licker,
Was a very skinny lad.
And he was very happy,
When the cook went away.
He ran like lightning
And grabbed the pot-scraper,
Held it fast with both hands,
As it was sometimes slippery.

December 16th:

Sá fimmti, Pottasleikir,
var skrítiđ kuldastrá.
- Ţegar börnin fengu skófir
hann barđ dyrnar á.
Ţau ruku' upp, til ađ gá ađ
hvort gestur vćri á ferđ.
Ţá flýtti 'ann sér ađ pottinum
og fékk sér góđan verđ.

The fifth, Pot Licker,
Was a weird cool lad.
As the children received scrapings,
He knocked at the door.
They rushed off to see
If a guest was dropping in.
Then he hurried to the pot,
And had a filling meal.

December 17th:

Sá sjötti, Askasleikir,
var alveg dćmalaus. -
Hann fram undan rúmunum
rak sinn ljóta haus.
Ţegar fólkiđ setti askana
fyrir kött og hund,
hann slunginn var ađ ná ţeim
og sleikja á ýmsa lund.

The sixth, Bowl Licker,
Was without a peer. -
From under the beds, he
Pushed his ugly head.
When the bowls were placed
In front of cat and dog,
He cunningly snatched them
And licked till he was full.

December 18th:

Sjöundi var Hurđaskellir,
- sá var nokkuđ klúr,
ef fólkiđ vildi í rökkrinu
fá sér vćran dúr.
Hann var ekki sérlega
hnugginn yfir ţví,
ţó harkalega marrađi
hjörunum í.

Seventh was Door Slammer,
- He was a little brash.
When people in the dark
Wanted to nap.
He was not one bit
Sorry for that,
If loud, creaking noises
Came from the hinges.

December 19th:

Skyrgámur, sá áttundi,
var skelfilegt naut.
Hann hlemminn o'n af sánum
međ hnefanum braut.
Svo hámađi hann í sig
og yfir matnum gein,
unz stóđ hann á blístri
og stundi og hrein.

Skyr Gobbler, the eighth one,
Was a terrible bull.
The lid off the skyr tub
With his fist he smashed.
Then he gobbled up
As much as he could,
Till he was close to bursting
And moaned and grunted.

December 20th:

Níundi var Bjúgnakrćkir,
brögđóttur og snar.
Hann hentist upp í rjáfrin
og hnuplađi ţar.
Á eldhúsbita sat hann
í sóti og reyk
og át ţar hangiđ bjúga,
sem engan sveik.

Ninth was Sausage Snatcher
Artful and quick.
He hied up to the rafters
And snatched a little there.
On a kitchen beam he sat
In smoke and soot
And ate a smoked sausage,
That was very good.

December 21st:
Tíundi var Gluggagćgir,
grályndur mann,
sem laumađist á skjáinn
og leit inn um hann.
Ef eitthvađ var ţar inni
álitlegt ađ sjá,
hann oftast nćr seinna
í ţađ reyndi ađ ná.

Tenth was Window Peeper
A grumpy lad,
Who sneaked to the window
And looked through it.
If anything was inside
Nice to look at,
He usually later
Tried to get that.

December 22nd:

Ellefti var Gáttaţefur,
- aldrei fékk sá kvef,
og hafđi ţó svo hlálegt
og heljarstórt nef.
Hann ilm af laufabrauđi
upp á heiđar fann,
og léttur, eins og reykur,
á lyktina rann.

Eleventh was Doorway Sniffer
- Who never had a cold,
Even though he had a funny
And enormous nose.
The scent of Leaf Bread
He smelled in the hills,
And lightly, like the smoke,
He followed that scent.
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Old 23 December 2006, 07:17   #7
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Bowl Licker
Door Slammer
Doorway Sniffer
Gimpy
Gully Imp
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Old 23 December 2006, 07:22   #8
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Itty Bitty
Meat Hooker
Pot Licker
Pot-scraper Licker
Sausage Snatcher
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Old 23 December 2006, 07:23   #9
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Skyr Gobbler
Window Peeper
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Old 24 December 2006, 03:40   #10
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December 24th:

Kertasníkir - Candle Beggar
Another view of the old Icelandic living room. Kertasníkir is a great favourite with Icelandic children, they often leave a candle for him in the shoe they place on the windowsill.

---------------------

Ţrettándi var Kertasníkir,
- ţá var tíđin köld,
ef ekki kom hann síđastur
á ađfangadagskvöld.
Hann elti litlu börnin,
sem brostu, glöđ og fín,
og trítluđu um bćinn
međ tólgarkertin sín.

Thirteenth was Candle Beggar,
- The weather would be cold,
If he was not the last one
On the day of Yule Eve.
He followed the little children,
who smiled, happy and gay,
And tripped around the house
With their candles.

--------------------------------

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Bogi
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