I’m having some technical problems again. I can’t upload a new comic so I’m posting the last Yule Lads as a blog post.
I hope you all have had a great holiday!
p.s. Hopefully I’ll get this fixed in a day or two
Gluggagægir (Window Peeper) is the tenth Yule Lad in the list. He’s one of my faves too. Maybe he actually is the Lad I like the most.
The tenth was Window Peeper,
a weird little twit,
who stepped up to the window
and stole a peek through it.
And whatever was inside
to which his eye was drawn,
he most likely attempted
to take later on.
The Window Peeper is a classic figure in literature, music and cinema. If you don’t like the classic window peeper’s approach, just think about James Stewart in Rear Window, but reversed. There are many elements at play when this kind of characters are involved so I can safely say Gluggagægir is the Lad with more potential: with a little of invention you could have a whole series of Christmas thrillers or horrors made after him.
Some consider Gluggagægir just a very nosy guy, but completely harmless – although he does like to steal when something he sees arouses his fancy. Some others prefer to add a sinister aura to his curiosity, describing him as a hardcore voyeur… Whatever the truth, you are now aware of his habit of peeping through windows at night. So, unless you’re OK with it, maybe you’ll feel more comfortable drawing your curtains on December 21.
Gáttaþefur (Door Sniffer) is a big-nosed fellow that, instead of developing a nose complex and turning to rhinoplasty, used his protuberance to his own advantage.
Eleventh was Door Sniffer,
a doltish lad and gross.
He never got a cold, yet had
a huge, sensitive nose.
He caught the scent of lace bread
while leagues away still
and ran toward it weightless
as wind over dale and hill.
Gáttaþefur ‘s nose not only is noticeable enough to make any Cirano look like a mere amateur, but it is also extremely sensitive: this dude can smell Christmas delicacies as accurately as a truffle hog. But Gáttaþefur doesn’t care much for truffles. He prefers laufabrauð (the traditional Icelandic bread that is eaten during the Christmas period), cookies and cakes. And of course when he finds something edible he likes, he doesn’t content himself with the smell…
Gáttaþefur will be around sniffing on the night of December 22. Be sure to lock all your cookies in a safe if you don’t intend to eat them all before this darling arrives.
Another Yule Lad, another story of gluttony. Oh boy, aren’t these dudes a little repetitive? This time is Ketkrókur’s (Meat Hook) turn. He comes down from the mountains on December 23, Saint Thorlak’s Day.
Meat Hook, the twelfth one,
his talent would display
as soon as he arrived
on Saint Thorlak’s Day.
He snagged himself a morsel
of meat of any sort,
although his hook at times was
a tiny bit short.
Ketkrókur is cunning and resourceful, even for the Lads’ already high standards of cunning and resourcefulness. What Ketkrókur does better than any other is “fishing” the traditional smoked lamb with a hooked pole. His favorite strategy consists in lowering his hook through the kitchen chimney. He can steal heaps of this Icelandic delicacy using this peculiar technique. If you have no chimney is your festive dinner safe then, you’ll ask? I don’t honestly know.
Last but not least! Kertasníkir (Candle Beggar) arrives just in time for Christmas celebrations, on December 24. Be careful: this Lad is perhaps one of the wickedest of the gang.
The thirteenth was Candle Beggar
– ’twas cold, I believe,
if he was not the last
of the lot on Christmas Eve.
He trailed after the little ones
who, like happy sprites,
ran about the farm with
their fine tallow lights.
What Kertasníkir does is stealing candles. He does it not only because he finds their glow attractive, but also because in the past candles were obtained from animal fat thus they were very appetizing. Maybe Kertasníkir doesn’t eat candles anymore, but he still likes to steal them when he comes to town.
This may appear like a frivolous kind of prank to our contemporary civilized ways, but in the old days candles were in many cases the only source of lighting available. In Iceland, especially in the darkest days of the cold season, darkness was a danger and an enemy that one couldn’t underestimate. A candle could indeed make a difference in more than a few cases. Also, let’s not forget darkness is one of the classic fears of humans by instinct. Being deprived of light has always been for human beings quite a serious matter.
And now… That’s all, folks! We had a good time talking about the Yule Lads, these unrepentant rascals! I am disappointed that they forgot to leave anything for us during these thirteen days. I was honestly looking forward to receive a good amount of potatoes, the present they , since I’ve been so bad in the course of year 2010 — I was hoping I could be given enough potatoes to mash or fry them for Christmas, that is. Maybe it wasn’t enough. Next year I’ll do my worst, I promise.