Strange & Unusual Spotlight:
Using scary stories to frighten children into behaving can be seen all around the world, from the threat of coal from Santa Claus in America to the even greater danger of Krampus in Central Europe. Iceland is no stranger to folklore and fables, being home to some of the most exciting mythology in human history, and it is in the former home of the Vikings that Grýla can be found.
Grýla is a giantess living in the Dimmuborgir lava fields of Iceland. Her name appeared in Snorri Sturluson’s famous Edda, but she wasn’t directly connected to the Christmas/Yule season until the 17th Century.
The legends warn that Grýla watches children all year long, looking for naughty boys and girls. Once winter arrives, she ventures into the villages where she devours the naughty children. Apparently, her favorite meal is a stew made of naughty kids and there is never a shortage of food for her.
Like many fables of yore, Grýla has seen an influx in popularity over the last few years, and there is even a Troll Park in Fossatún, Iceland where you can get a kitschy little photo with the Christmas giantess, herself.
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