These strange and mischievous characters live, for most of the year, deep in the Icelandic highlands, far from human contact. Only in the darkest part of the year, in the run-up to Christmas, do they descend on towns and villages and even then, they only do so at night. Their behaviour ranges from the delinquent - the one named Hurdaskellir, or Door-slammer, likes to slam doors in the middle of the night - to the downright criminal, like Ketkrokur (Meat-hook) who makes a game of stealing the Christmas ham. Like many folk stories in modern times, the Jolasveinar have been softened to a more child-friendly group. So much so that they now bring little presents for the good children and a potato for the naughty ones (sound familiar?). However, that shouldn't get in the way of us knowing what they really are: a thieving, pranking, sheep-rustling bunch of bastards.
Original art work by Striga
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