“A typeface I’m currently working on based on old Icelandic car licence plates. Each letter represented a part, district or county of Iceland so you could recognize were people were from by looking at their plates. They were used from 1950 till 1989”
Back in the long ago, Westrobothnian mothers would warn their sons and daughters of a water dwelling, fiddle playing elf, often referred to as Näcken (the Naked One) or Vaatunwiitra (The Water Elf). The elf, who always appeared as a handsome, dark-haired young man, more often naked than not, was known to use his appearance to seduce people, only to take them with him to his home, where, lest the victim knew how to protect him- or herself against the elf, s/he would be drowned.
And to protect oneself, one only needed to carry a piece of steel, or a ring of brass, as these things worked as magical antidotes. And if the Näck still tried to drown you, you would be able to kill him by using the water around you, and baptise him, as the Näck was allergic to the Lord.
But the Näck was not always an ill-mannered, homicidal elf. More often than not he would help humans if they treated him and his home - i.e. the river or lake he was living in - with respect, and if someone offered him three drops of their own blood, a bottle of vodka, a horse or tobacco he would teach them how to play the fiddle. And considering the fact that the Näck’s fiddle playing had magical powers, this was something many people did.
Other stories talk of women who married the Näck, and the children of a human and the Näck would become wonderful fishermen and swimmers.
Meanwhile in Iceland of the Day
Fifteen-year-old Blaer Bjarkardottir (shown left in the photo) is suing Iceland for the right to use her given name, which means “light breeze” in Icelandic. The Scandinavian state has replaced her name with “Stulka” (“girl) on all of her official documents, as “Blaer” is not listed on the country’s Personal Names Register, or a list of 1712 male and 1853 female names that Icelandic officials believe “will protect children from embarrassment.”
Blaer’s mother, Bjork Eidsdottir (shown right) did not realize her daughter’s name wasn’t pre-approved on the list until a panel turned it down on the grounds that “Blaer” takes a masculine article. This case marks the first time an Iceland resident has challenged a names committee decision in court.
Happy St. Lucia’s Day!
Image: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se
Cabin in Eskifjörður, Iceland.
Submitted by Chris Rhodes.
A salvaged window house in Christiania, Denmark.
From Tiny House Blog:
A town within a city, a rebel neighborhood within a well-ordered society. This is Christiania (Freetown), Denmark, a small community smack dab in the middle of Copenhagen, Denmark. Within this community are tiny houses, built by hand and with whatever materials are within reach. Christiania began in 1971 as an occupation of disused army barracks in the southern portion of Copenhagen near a lake. The 900 or so freethinking individuals who inhabit the area are a self governing community who refuse to pay taxes to the Danish government, run their own businesses and schools, live without cars on unpaved roads, build their own houses, restaurants and civil buildings and even have their own currency.