Many stories are told of the hulder in Norse folklore. They are the attractive young females of the huldre people.
    ( "huldre" from "huldrefolket" -- hidden people; descendents of the trolls )

It is said that hulder are "well equipped up front" for attracting men; and that their special netherworld beauty is capable of bewitching any man. Doesn't sound half bad, eh? Unfortunately (according to legend anyways) the hulder also has a cow's tail. Not surprising, since in Norse Folklore all trolls come equipped with tails.

What usually happens is this: a hulder's main goal in life is to become human. To that end, she will ply her desired mate with the finest food, drink, flattery, and sensual temptation.

If she can convince a man to marry her in a church, the hulder will lose her tail and become human. Some reports assert that there is no better wife than a humanized hulder (I tend to disagree: the pre-humanized form sounds fine to me); other stories claim that a hulder's beauty is lost along with her tail. This is very disappointing to the husband who now finds himself married to an incredibly ugly woman. (with no more tail! damn!)

It's not all bad for the ex-hulder though. She may sacrifice the tail and the beauty, but it seems she is able to keep her magical abilities, her great strength, and her wisdom.


"The hulder is often portrayed as the temptress -- the passionate, bewitching female whose charms and passes no man can resist. In other words -- she was someone for the men to blame when they needed an excuse for not controlling their passions. In that respect, the image of the hulder blended with the image of the seductive witch, even if there originally was no connection between the two."

from Sons of Norway Heritage Programs, InfoBank 17, Trolls and Other Norwegians, prepared by Liv Nordem Lyons

On the other hand, some accounts describe the good fortune and prosperity granted to the man who marries a hulder. The crops and livestock of a farm cared for by an ex-hulder are the envy of other, less fortunate, Norse folk. Some of these same benefits can be had by welcoming a nisse into one of your outbuildings.

this node inspired by a lovely children's book Trolls and their relatives
written by Jan Bergh Eriksen
illustrated by Per Aase
published by Dreyer Bok - Stavanger - Norway
ISBN 82-09-09352-5

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