Thursday, August 8, 2013

Elves - Lords of Nightmares

Article by Ty Hulse

Cute prancey dancey little wisps of beings, or funny nosed cartoon characters, or wise and beautifully stoic
Druid by Damascus 5

Elves have been portrayed in many ways by popular culture, but they have almost never been portrayed the way they are portrayed in fairy tales.

In "Childe Rowland." The Elf King calls out the famous lines Fee Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an English Man, at which point he threatens to make the mans brains into a delicious pudding. (Yum.....?)

This is of course after the elf king kidnapped a beautiful mortal girl in order to force her to be his slave in fairyland.

In the ballad of "Lady Isabel" an elf knight plays the part of a serial killer, seducing woman away with him, than after making them undress he drowns them.

Elves stalked the night much as vampires.

In Germany Elf's (known as Alp's) were the cause of nightmares, for they enjoyed attacking people in their sleep in order to terrify them. In addition to enjoying the flavor of fear in their victims these elves had a taste for blood which they would drink from the nipples of children and men. But their favored food was milk which they would drain from cows and the breasts of woman. (Which is actually much like the vampire monsters of Eastern Europe which would drain milk from cows as well).

The Alp's stalked the night because they didn't like light, any light, even a nightlight could help keep them away. They were not destroyed by the light, however, as they did come out in the day time in order to fire their infamous invisible arrows which caused illness in people and animals.

As magical beings these Alps used a magical hat to turn invisible and could shapeshift to take any form they wanted, however, whether they appeared as a horse or snake their hat was always a dead giveaway of their origins.

Their often dark nature is not to say that elves weren't elegant, beautiful beings. They were mentioned as a tribe of beings similar to the gods of old Germanic lore such as Odin. Loki was even called an elf. Although it's perhaps telling that Loki the one who betrayed the other gods and is raising an army to bring about the end of the world was called an elf.

The point of this is that elves can be an elegant and beautiful villain. Far too often villains are portrayed as loners (like vampires) or ugly like goblins. But the truth is that some of the scariest beings in ancient lore were the most beautiful.