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Thursday, 9 June 2016

An Evening Hour in the District Governor’s Kitchen

The text linked below is probably the longest in the whole collection[not even close], but it is full of legends:

  • Horses held by the hulder folk (×3)
    • Bold Hans, who is abducted by the hulder folk, so that he may steal blessed food for them
      • The hulder girl who follows Bold Hans, to marry him
  • The nis, and some of his more unusual physical characteristics
  • The benefit of having hulder folk living on the farm
  • How the hulder folk send messages of woe to each other (×2)
    • The hat of invisibility and silver beer bowl
  • Jo, who stops playing his fiddle, after being threatened by the hulder folk
  • The hulder folk at pasture, who hoodwink a dragoon into marrying their daughter

The teller of most of these tales, Kristen the smith, was a historical figure. He was one of Peter Christen Asbjørnsen’s informants. Among these and other tales, he gave us “The Princess No One Could Dumbfound.” Asbjørnsen is somewhat unfair in his fictionalisation; history does not otherwise characterise Kristen as a self-medicating drunk.

Asbjørnsen is more unfair in his characterisation of his former employer Ole Grinder, the district governor. The truth of the matter is that Asbjørnsen and Grinder were on reasonably good terms, and that both were involved in the “patriotic work” that Asbjørnsen ridicules.

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