1 October 2014 at 06:18:43 MDT
Welcome to the sixth installment of Vette of the Month! 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:
Everything that has a beginning also has an end. The Vette known as the Helhest is drawn to those that face this grim, but unavoidable, end to their mortality.
Once it was a white horse of trotting grace, now it walks with a sagging belly, a bony stump for a leg, and cloudy marbles for eyes. These creatures of decay consider graveyards their homes and are known to hobble along sacred ground, in search of peace it cannot find.
Legend say that a church steeple will not stand, unless a white horse, in the prime of its youth, is buried beneath its foundations. It was not unheard of for the horse to be buried alive with one of its legs cut off, which was believed would ensure that it would enter a state of limbo, with the horse's restless spirit serving as both a guardian and guide for lost souls.
While Helhests stem from this (admittedly horrific) ritual of good luck, like vultures, they have been given a reputation as harbingers of death. Many fear these creatures, believing that merely seeing a Helhest will bring death and decay upon themselves and their loved ones. But what if their intention is misconstrued? What if they simply wish to offer condolences? Or if they seek comfort among others destined to face an unfair and untimely demise?
Illustration by sarrukh