I read a lot of Fantasy, I also write Fantasy and, one day, aspire to be published in Fantasy; some may even say my aspirations are complete Fantasy. But, for all of that, I’m fairly sure that some of the fantasy elements that interest me so much don’t really exist; goblins, ogres and even orcs.
However, this piece of news proved that, in some countries, beliefs are different. Here, in Iceland, the elves are alive, well and getting in the way of a road being built. Who, as a child, never dreamed of weird and wonderful things living in grids, under beds, at the bottom of the garden? Well, in Iceland, it seems that elves (or Huldufolk) look very much like us, are invisible, and are often thought to live beneath / in rocks.
I admit that a brief read of the text will explain the finer elements of the story, but I’m absolutely inspired by the way Iceland isn’t ashamed of its folklore and encompasses those beliefs that have been passed down throughout the centuries. When the nights are dark, the rain is falling, and the wind is rattling the shutters, who doesn’t want their mind to travel to magical places?
Personally, I live near a place called Pendle Hill which is steeped in historic tales of witchcraft. It is often ‘closed’ at Halloween which I think is a shame as it highlights the same want, or need, of other people to get closer to these stories. Unfortunately, as we get older, we’re told that they are simply children’s stories and we that should ‘grow up’.
But, it seems, if you want to be able to proudly embrace the inner-child, and still dream of a place where things may not be all that they seem, then Iceland may just be the country for you. After all, who doesn’t want a diploma from Elf-school?