Friday, 20 June 2014

Writing - How elves stopped a road building project!

I have a soft spot for stories of the fantasy genre. I'm currently reading Jim Butcher's Denison series and have greatly enjoyed the work of Philip Pullman and others so there should be no surprise that I was intrigued by the story about elves in Iceland.

"Plans to build a new road in Iceland ran into trouble recently when campaigners warned that it would disturb elves living in its path. Construction work had to be stopped while a solution was found.
From his desk at the Icelandic highways department in Reykjavik, Petur Matthiasson smiles at me warmly from behind his glasses, but firmly.
"Let's get this straight before we start - I do not believe in elves," he says.
I raise my eyebrows slightly and incline my head towards his computer screen which is displaying the plans for a new road in a neighbouring town. There are two yellow circles marked on the plans, one that reads Elf Church and another that reads Elf Chapel. Petur sighs.
"Ok," he acknowledges wearily. "But it's not every day in Iceland that we divert roads for elves. It's just in this case we were warned that elves were living in some of the rocks in the path of the road - well, we have to respect that belief." He grins shyly and picks up his car keys.
"Come on, I'll show you where the elves live," he says indulgently."

Just part of the Icelandic legends concerning elves. There are numerous tales such as the headteacher and his families elf. She used to protect his family and as a teenager he became somewhat sceptical but learnt his lesson after a camping trip. The young man went camping with his father to a remote part of the country, the weather was dull and misty and so when his father suggested that he go give thanks to the family elf, he 'forgot'. The shock came the following day when he woke feeling sore and itching covered in what appeared to be blisters from sunburn. 

Elf houses, Papey Island, East Iceland

The problem for the would-be road builders was the Elf Chapel and Elf Church the former which turned out to be a 70 ton piece of volcanic lava. A local lady who communes with the elves held necessary discussions and it was decided that the road project could go ahead if the Chapel was moved!

God Bless