Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Elves among us

I read a very interesting article in the NY Times today, titled "Building in Iceland? Better Clear It With the Elves First." Apparently, the existence of elves in Iceland, Reykjavik in particular (a hotbed of elf activity), is well-known, or at least open for debate. One woman is quoted as saying "If you ask people if they believe in elves, they will say yes and no. If they say yes, maybe they don't, and if they say no maybe they do." Clear as mud, no? She then goes on to tell us about an elf who lives in a rock in her garden, a woman elf who dresses in "1930's national costume."

The article relates a few incidents where elves thwarted road work near their rock homes, making necessary the use of "elf communicators" to arbitrate, and related beliefs in spirits and the predictive powers of dreams. Bjork is even quoted, though not, as you would probably expect, with enormous coherence.

Now, I'm not trying to make fun of Icelanders here, far from it. I loved this article. I think our daily modern lives are sadly deprived of magic and wonder, and I would love to recapture some of that. Isn't that why so many of us write, to transcend, to imagine? I've never been to Iceland, or even thought about it much, but now I am quite keen to check it out one day. I like Bjork, and I've never seen an elf. If there ever WAS one in my own garden, I'm pretty sure my poodle would eat it, national costume and all.

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