The Hidden People (Huldefolk) Of Iceland

The Hidden People (Huldefolk) Of Iceland

“All writers have this vague hope that the elves will come in the night and finish any stories.” Neil Gaiman

 Iceland is a country that believes in elves and the hidden people. The stories are part of a shared history and cultural memory.  (Snæfellsjökull)

“The first story finds Adam and Eve at home in their beautiful garden. One day, God comes to visit and asks to meet all the couple’s children. However, Eve had only finished bathing a few of her children, and was embarrassed to show her Creator the dirty ones. So she introduced the clean children and hid the others.

“Are there any children I haven’t met yet?” God asked. Eve said no.

Of course, being omniscient, God knew that he was being tricked and declared, “Those who you hide from me shall also be hidden from men.”

And so, the hidden children became invisible, taking to the hills and moors and rocks. It is from these children that the Hidden People are descended, while humankind is descended from the children whom Eve showed to God.” (Djupalonssandur)

 Hidden People can only be seen by human eyes if they want to be. Humans and hidden people started as relative contemporaries. In the common view today, they live in turf houses, ride horses, and wear nineteenth-century national dress. (Glaumbaer Turf House Museum)

They are beautiful and have more comfortable lives, but they have never gotten cell phones, cars and internet. They represent the rural world with its connection to nature. There are many stories of people who have seen them.(Dimmuborgir)

In 2013, a group protested a road that was scheduled to cut through the homes of a huldufólk community located in a lava field. It’s generally believed that elves and huldufólk make their homes inside large rocks found mainly on beaches and lava fields.(Snæfellsjökull)

The construction was halted while the government worked to find an amicable solution.

 Outside of Reykjavik, my taxi driver Stefan takes me to his old neighborhood where they coexisted with an elf neighborhood.(Hafnarfjordur)

His grandfather had an elf seer come and see if there were elves on his property before he built his house. She signed a paper saying that she had seen them and he built the house around the rocks.(Hafnarfjordur)

Undisturbed lava rocks dot the yards of many of the houses. I wasn’t looking for the elves but more for a reason people believed in them. (Hafnarfjordur)

 Iceland is a country controlled by nature, – earthquakes, volcanoes and moving glaciers.They have significance for the people who live near them. I think the elves help them coexist with and protect the harsh landscape.(Dimmuborgir)

When rocks and volcanic action form twisted and scary shapes, it is better to imagine an elf community living  in them.  (Dimmuborgir)

Icelanders love and protect their environment.  The landscape is so powerful that you know you are insignificant and that the world has things in it that you can’t understand.(Vesturdalur)

It is easy to believe in magic when you are young and Iceland is a magical place.(Dimmuborgir)

I know that I spoke more softly, walked more carefully and experienced more deeply the areas where I was told there were elves. I guess the elves are doing their job. (Dimmuborgir)

Fly safe,


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