In ancient time there was elf folk in this area, and they came with their flowing hair here up from Kvindehøj here right above town, and they went down to a creek they call Nørbæk and gathered water. They drew their hair over their shoulders, and when you saw from their front, they were pretty, but when seen from their back, they were hollow and so terrible for its was ugly to look at (Danish folklore story collected in 19th century).
There are many stories about elves in Danish folklore. It is a goldmine of curious stories, and often rich in the elements that are foreign to our modern socierty – and it is a great source for roleplaying games.
Based on my post about butter magic and butter witches I here present a new Mystery for Vaesen: Nordic Horror Roleplaying, that is The Butter Feud or better known as Revenge of the Elf King. This mystery explores the folklore about elves. In Danish folklore they are known as elverfolk or ellefolk with a distinct reference to alder trees (elletræ – ellefolk). Now folklore doesn’t bother with sharp distinctions between different groups of folklore beings, and elves or ellefolk have traits overlapping with trolls, dwarves and mares, and several tales collected in 19th century have stories with ellefolk doing things commonly associated with other beings.
In the old days there was in forest at Rydhave an ellepige (elf maid/alder maid). In the evening people could hear her sing and dared not enter the forest. A farmhand who worked at the farm found the song pleasant and went one evening to the forest, where he met the ellepige. She followed him against his will back home to his room and it was not possible to get her to leave until three priests arrived, who made her leave the farm (Danish folklore story collected in the 19th century)
Ellefolk or elves can strike people with an elfshot (elleskud or hekseskud in Danish: witch shot), that drives people mad, that is ellevild sort of meaning ‘alder wild’ or ‘elf mad’. They reside in hills, most famously Elverhøj (elf hill or elf rise), and these hills can rise on glowing pillars, they dance in the mists on meadows, their backs are hollow. They like to tempt people astray into bogs or in among alder trees, and those who follow may be lost for years.
In Vester-Assels is a large hill on which the ellepiger (elf maids) dance at night. Some have heard hammer blows from inside and a wife have seen the smith drive a glowing wagon inside the hill. Old people often spoke about the smith. (Danish folklore story collected in the 19th century)
These are just a few of their traits, and these ideas I merged with the tradition that Stevns, a region on Zealand, Denmark, is the land of the Elf King and combined them with the folklore surrounding butter and butter witchcraft. This brings us to the mystery Elf King’s Revenge, which is a tale about the dangers of wronging the elves, and how getting what you want may be your downfall. It is an investigative scenario, where the players are trying to find out what is going on before it is too late and too many people have suffered from the anger of the elf king. It is a more complicated but also more dynamic scenario with many moving parts allowing the players to solve the mystery in many different ways.
You can find Elf King’s Revenge at DriveThruRPG.
And one final story – and remember these are not made up, just translated from the original collection:
At Knud Andersen’s farm in Bubbel there were ellefolk in the old days. One time the wife on the farm had been in labor and she went out before she had been to church. Then came one of the ellefolk after her and grabbed her men she tore herself free and ran all she could home towards the kitchen door yelling for them to open. But before it happened the ellemand (elf man) took her. (Danish folklore story collected in the 19th century)