Of Elves and Sheep in Iceland


Ever wondered if there are elves who herd sheep? No point asking the elves. They’re not talking.

Elves at Home in Helissandur

Should we ask the sheep? This guy’s at Hraunhafnartangi.

Does he look like elves are moving him from field to field? No. No point asking the trolls, who do herd sheep. Their languages are too slow.

And horses, that appear mysteriously wherever you stop, and, surely, are hanging around with elves, being out there day and night and all, and elfishly mysterious, should we ask them?

Maybe not. The horses at Eiðar below are grazing on an elf city, of all things, and what are they doing? Sneaking grass from the ditch.

I mean, the elves are definitely herding grass and purslane, such as at ValÞjofsstaðir below.

And the moss that covers the lava fields radiates elfishness.

But the elves? Such as this bunch at ? Are they herding sheep?

Oh. Yeah. They are.

But, of course, the question is, really, do they heard living sheep? That humans have to romp after to collect? Well, kind of. Even the trolls, such as this dark and light pair at Klausturhamrar, send sheep on their way to left and right.

And the elf city at Álfaborg…

… leads sheep, and people both, in quite specific ways.

Do sheep see elves and take commands from them, though? Why not. Humans do.

It’s just that these commands are not the same as walking across the grass to pasture. Elves aren’t safe like that.  They lead you out of your own mind.

They can keep you on the path or lead you off it, such as at Fagurhóll, in the images above and below.

What do the sheep follow?

We might as well call it elves.


8 thoughts on “Of Elves and Sheep in Iceland

    1. Harold Rhenisch Post author

      The images at Helissandur, Eiðar, Skutustaðir and Álfaborg are all official locations, so, yes. Helissandur shows the sort of building code you are talking about. It’s not that most Icelanders believe in elves. They are fully modern people, likely moreso than Canadians. It’s more like an adult in Canada affirming belief in Santa Claus. Some things you don’t mess with. But, do remember, that ‘elves’ are an Enlightenment re-telling (for nationalist purposes) of old folk understandings that came with a mixture of people from a mixture of locations across the European northwest, in a country that was settled in rather isolated fjords and communities, which is a way of saying that elves are everywhere, not just where the Icelandic building code, neo-pagans or the Icelandic Tourist Board says they are. Churchyards and school yards and playgrounds are good places to find them. That being said, wouldn’t it be great to go seek them out together by combining our visual and spiritual senses. I have more photos of other official places. Would they interest you?


  1. Diane Stewart

    Oh!…oh! This is a sheep subject! Thank you for this wonderful post! I look forward to reading it again over breakfast, with coffee. And mysterious horses, how delightful!

    1. Harold Rhenisch Post author

      It’s good to read of your sheep love in the morning light. There’s not enough sheep love out there. Blessings, Diane!



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