onsdag den 9. september 2009

Fairy, Alf or Fe

I have been working on a Danish translation of my story about Nidlongdir, and I have stumbled up on some interesting problems.

In Danish the word fairy is translated into the word fe. (a fairy = en fe)
In Denmark a fe is believed to be human sizes, and it's not a character we actually believe in, this character belongs to the fairy tales.
We have another character called an Alf. In English an alf would be like a flower fairy or a nature spirit.

In the Norse Mythology there were two kinds of Alfs; the Lightalfs, and the Svartalfs. The Svartalfs lived under the ground together with the Dwarfs, and the lightalfs lived among plants and animals.
The alfs were nature spirits and the believe in them goes back to the Stone age in Scandinavian. Later they became minor gods in the Norse Mythology. They lived in the house Alfheim in Valhalla, but the god Frey was handed over the house and he sends the alfs into the human world. The Alfs were given a body and a mind like the humans, but they could have many sizes and some could even change teir shape into the shape of an animal or plant.

The Svartalfs are related to the Danish gnomes and the modern Christmas Elfs. The Lightalfs are related to the modern flower fairies, but in Scandinavian we see them more like nature spirits.
In English you also have the Elven people; in Denmark they are called Elver Folk.
In the Scandinavian countries: Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark, the elves were of human size. In (Old Norse), Rolf Kraki or Rolf Krake was a legendary king at Lejre on the isle of Zealand in Denmark. He has been described in several old sagas, and other documents such as the Leire chronicle and Gesta Danorum by Saxo Grammaticus. In the sagas, the Danish king Helgi finds an elf-woman on an island and rapes her. Famous men could be elevated to the rank of elves after death, and in one such case, the full-sized smith hero Võluen is called an elf.

In the Norwegian Heimskringla there are notions about a line of local kings who rule over Álfheim, situated between Gautelfr and the present border between Norway and Sweden on the Swedish west coast. The last king was named Gandalf.
So when I am going to translate Nidlongdir into Danish the problem is how to translate the word fairy. Should it be fe or alf? I have decided on alf as I find this character more Scandinavian, and I am after all a Viking ;)

King Apple Strong is related to the Lightalfs, and so is some of the Dragonians, but the gnomes and some of the alfs/fairies in Dragonia are Svartalfs, and closely related to different kind of animals.

I would like to know if you have the word alf in the English or Irish Mythology.

The Nine Worlds of Norse Mythology
• Upper level
Asgard (Aesir, the land of the gods),
Alfheim (elves/alfs),
Vanaheim (Vanir),
• Middle Level
Midgard (men),
Jotunheim (giants),
Svartalfheim (dark-elves/alfs),
Nidavellir (dwarves),
• Lower Level
Muspleheim (fire, a bright, flaming, hot world in the southern region), and
Niflheim (the dead, the lowest level)

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