After Mudslides and Flooding in Iceland, Elves Are Suspects

Posted by K R on

When Siglufjordur, a small mountain town in northern Iceland, was hit by a series of storms last summer, construction workers clearing a roadway soon found themselves dodging mudslides and contending with a flooded river. A crew member was injured, then a bulldozer broke down. A TV reporter, who arrived to survey the damage, sank into a mud pit and had to be rescued. Clearing the debris stretched into a 10-day ordeal and became a spectacle. The culprit, locals knew, had been heavy rainfall. Or elves. It turns out that construction workers had unwittingly dumped dirt on a rock that is special enough to have its own name in Icelandic folklore: Alfkonusteinn. The rock even has a back story that involves a human, a fairy and an enchanted elf cloth. Icelandic elves, also called hidden people or alfar, are not tiny, pointy-eared creatures, Alda Sigmundsdottir, a journalist and the author of “The Little Book of the Hidden People: Twenty Stories of Elves From Icelandic Folklore,” said in an email. They are thought to be regal and humanlike, and a good way to think of them, Ms. Sigmundsdottir said, is as “the Icelanders’ version of karma.” Elves have been blamed for wreaking havoc on construction projects across Iceland for decades.

Read More: The New York Times

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