We have another brilliant guest blog around our theme of Myths and Legends this week. Anika Hussain delves into her history and relates this to the stories she retells in her book, Norse Folktales, Myths and Legends. Imagine curling up with a roaring fire, hot drink and this book!
It doesn’t matter where you go, stories are everywhere. This is especially true for Scandinavia, where myths, legends, and folktales are especially prevalent. It was once common to whisper stories around a blazing fire during harsh winters, when you could barely feel your fingers. But with the stories told, bodies on the edge of the seat to hear what comes next, the cold was suddenly forgotten even if just for a moment. With better clothing and better heating today, the need for blazing fires is no longer necessary, but the desire to hear these stories remains.
It’s easy to see why—they’re absolutely brilliant. Throughout the stories I retell in Norse Folktales, Myths & Legends, readers will discover themes ranging from bravery, heroism, trickery and magic while also enjoying fun banter between family members and friends. Aside from that, there are so many different types of characters to meet along the way, not only gods and royalty, but also trolls and talking animals!
My favourite Norse folktale must be The Squire’s Bride. The first time I read it, I couldn’t stop laughing! The story had it all: meddling parents, a clever daughter, and a cow in a wedding dress. A perfect laugh for those times when you need a reminder that tricking your daughter into marrying a man she doesn’t like is a bad idea!
Similarly, The Fox Who Cheats the Bear out of His Christmas Fare had me giggling while making me wish for a cold, Scandinavian winter where I could drink hot cocoa while wrapped in a fluffiest blanket.
Not only do these stories taken me back to my childhood in Sweden – the crunch of my boots against snow-crusted ground being my favourite sound – but they also transport me back to my childhood. When I wrote and researched Norse Folktales, Myths & Legends, I was reminded of the times I struggled to sleep, my insomnia playing up at such a young age, and how my grandmother had just the remedy. As we cuddled in a single bed, surrounded by the sounds of the night, my grandmother told me tales of courage, friendship, and more.
My grandmother has since passed but my love of stories remains. Reading into the wee hours is still a part of my nightly routine, not only to entertain myself but also to keep in touch with her and remember all the stories we shared in the darkness, lightening the darkness with our stories.
My hope is that you will share these stories with someone you love as well.
Norse Folktales, Myths and Legends is written by Anika Hussain, illustrated by Kate Forrester and is published by Scholastic.
Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation.