Welcome to the third installment of [u]Vette of the Month[/u]! This is a feature which will be published monthly up until NordicFuzzCon 2015, where our theme is Scandinavian Folklore: the Enchanted Forest.
Vette (plural: vetter) is an archaic Norwegian word which serves as catch-all term for supernatural beings. In these installments we will introduce you to a different creature (or vette) from Scandinavian folklore every month, as well as giving you an artist's interpretation of said creature.
Without further ado, we would like to present you to this month's vette:
Have you ever wandered alone in the woods at night and heard faint sobs or wails? Then you might have had a close encounter with a myling (also known as ihtiriekko in Finland or utburd in Norway). Mylings are the ghosts of children who have not been baptized, thus denied access to the afterlife and unable to find rest. Often the children were either murdered, or had been left to die in the woods by their parents—perhaps because the child was born out of wedlock or the parents did not have the resources to care for the child.
Mylings may appear as phantasmal, bleak, malnourished and mournful creatures. While they might have died as young infants, they will usually appear as slightly older children. Though not necessarily evil, mylings are considered highly dangerous, and they may in fact be the most menacing ghosts found in Scandinavian folklore. Like children they do not know their own powers, and they will selfishly follow their goal of finding rest, paying no heed to the health and safety of others.
Mylings are known to attack lone wanderers, latching onto their backs and not letting go until they have been brought to a cemetery, hoping to find peace on hallowed ground. As the wanderer gets closer to a cemetery, the myling will grow heavier and heavier. The myling might grow so heavy that the wanderer is unable to keep on going, collapsing in place. If this happens, the myling will become enraged and kill the traveler.
However, some say that in order for a myling to truly find peace, the body of the child (or what's left of it) must be buried. Other records indicate that a mylings can sometimes be heard mournfully crying out "Give me a name!" If you then respond by offering them your own name, they will thank you and leave you be, presumably able to pass on.
The best advice is to not wander the woods alone at night, because if you see a myling, chances are it is already too late to run.
Illustration by foxery