Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Hidden Children of Adam

(Elen Johnsdatter Ucce, 1926, Kautokeino.)

“First it was so that I was herding reindeer, and then I caught sight of a person who lay on the other side of a pit. I thought it was a proper person—that it was he who I worked for—and I went over. When I reached the pit, I fell, and I did not get to speak with him. Then he disappeared, but I had seen him plainly, both his figure and his face. He was ruddy and had a crooked nose, and he wore a gákti [the traditional Sami tunic] and a shirt. He got up and took a lasso and his tobacco pouch and binoculars up from the ground, hung the lasso over a shoulder and one arm, and smiled so furtively at me. Then he disappeared, and I did not manage to reach him.

“When I came to my tent, I asked my husband what he had been doing there, what he had seen.

“‘Well, I have not been there,’ he replied.

“Then I began to think that it had been the husband in the other tent. He came over to our tent. Then I asked him, too, if he had been there. He replied that he had not been there. Then we began to guess at who it might have been. We decided that it could not have been a proper person, but one of the hidden children of Adam, as the háldier [hulder] are called.”

— Brita Pollan (ed.). Samiske beretninger. Oslo: Aschehoug & Co. 1997. p. 341f.

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