When AAH was little, she totally bought into the whole Yule Lad thing. When her little friends, aged nine or so, started whispering that maybe there was no such thing as the Yule Lads, AAH vehemently opposed them. She had proof. Not only did the Yule Lads leave presents [or occasionally a potato – very occasionally] in her shoe, they also left her letters. Written in Old English font. And who else but the Yule Lads wrote letters in Old English font.
Guilty as charged. That’s right: when little AAH had fallen asleep one evening, YT – on a whim – sat herself down and wrote a letter from the Yule Lad of the day. Undoubtedly I had an ulterior motive – it was already obvious that Icelandic children were on their best behavior all through December, and the Yule Lads were used shamelessly by parents to manipulate and coerce.
Of course, they could also be used for positive reinforcement, to wit:
Oh how wonderful it is to come into such a tidy and beautiful room. I can see you’ve done a great job of tidying up. Congratulations. Now that you’re learning how to read, we can start leaving you letters. I only hope you can read our lettering. [Heheh.] I’m leaving something you’ll like in your shoe – something you can use for crafts. Thank you very much for the ginger snap and the glass of milk. Both were delicious. Goodbye, your Gimpy
Problem was, I wasn’t really planning on doing it every night. But little AAH soon grew quite insistent:
Obviously I had passed the point of no return. It turned out that AAH looked forward to reading the letters in the morning almost as much as she looked forward to the gift in the shoe. So YT continued with her brazen agenda:
I could have given you something very nice in your shoe tonight. I happen to know that you’re a good girl, really. But we Yule Lads have certain rules we must follow. We’re not allowed to give kids presents in their shoes unless they’ve been really good all day long. And unfortunately you were a little naughty yesterday. For example, I know you like to go swimming, but you do have to obey your mom when she says it’s time to get out of the water. Do you know what my mother did when me and my brothers refused to get out of the pond back home? She grabbed us by the nape of the neck, pulled us out, and then spanked us on our bare bottoms. That was not fun, let me tell you. You know, your mom loves you very much and sometimes it’s really hard for her when you’re sulking like you do. Today you should try to be good and we’ll see if you don’t get something nice in your shoe the next night. Goodbye, your Pot-Scraper Licker. PS. Thank you for the cookie and the milk, both were delicious. I’ll make sure Itty-Bitty gets the nut you left for him.
I seem to remember that this worked exceptionally well – for a few days. At that point, AAH started taking preventitive measures before the Yule Lad came:
I’m sorry, dear Yule Lad, that me and Sunna were so angry and so naughty today. I think you’ll want to have this song. [?!] Please give me a letter.
Now, if only there was something like this that could work on the importunate teenager…
THERE IS A STORM HAPPENING AS WE SPEAK
And there has been a lot of drama in the last 24 hours. A huge transport vessel stranded just off the south coast of Reykjanes and this is Very Bad News. A Danish defense ship was nearby and went to provide assistance; tragically one of the Danish marines drowned during the rescue effort. The weather is terrible at the scene, and there are fears that the ship will break apart and spill oil. Meanwhile, rivers in south Iceland have grown exponentially and there were fears of flooding that thankfully seem to be abating. Around 100 horses were rescued from where they were trapped by a growing river, but sadly three horses drowned. And finally, landslides have fallen on farms in the north – 10-20 calves were killed in an outhouse and a mudslide hit a farm today and filled the house with a couple feet of mud. The weather is supposed to stay this way until Saturday. So you see, boys and girls – it’s not always fun and games up here! Temps 9°C and sunrise was at 11.21 and sunset at 15.30.