Sari (herecirm) wrote in little_details,

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The elf in Anglo-Saxon England

Right; this is my first post here and may be something of a long shot, but I figured I have nothing to lose in putting the question out there to you good folk. :)

I am researching the elf in Anglo-Saxon folklore; specifically, I want to know what their powers were believed to be, any distinguishing features, just ... interesting facts, you know. Only it's been quite a difficult thing to research because it's such a narrow area. I don't want to know about elves - just elves according to the Anglo-Saxons.

So far I have discovered: that they were believed to be human sized and shaped, almost always portrayed as male, attractive, equally capable of either hurting or helping, similiar to elves in Norse mythology, linked with shapeshifting, and apparantly in some legends Weyland the Blacksmith was an elf. In German mythology the elf was more akin to the succubus and incubus (although I have nothing to say whether this belief pre-dates the Saxons, or comes after them).

While Googling I actually stumbled across a book entitled 'The Elf In Anglo-Saxon England' (yeh, I know. What are the chances? :P) which really excited me because it sounds like exactly what I'm looking for - only it costs £42! Or £28, second-hand. Which is an awful lot for a book that may be no help at all. So if anyone has it and can recommend it...

Story setting: Modern fantasy set in England (East Anglia area) - the fantasy element is intended to be grounded in historical fact, which is why I don't want to completely make it up. I'd like some recognised facts about what the Anglo-Saxons believed when it came to elves, and then weave them into my own thing.
Searched: "Elf in Anglo-Saxon mythology", "elves and Saxons". I found relevant (but not 100% helpful, hence why I've come here) pages on, Fortean Times and the WiccanWeb wiki.
Tags: uk: folklore, uk: history: middle ages

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