Pity the poor parents who have to put prezzies into the shoes of their young children these days, because they are duty bound to memorize the names and – worse – order of all the Yule Lads. This can be difficult, as the DJ on Rás 2 [State radio] found out yesterday; he mentioned that the wrong Yule Lad was coming and was practically tarred and feathered by an irate listener who called to inform him of his mistake.
Fréttablaðið has the same problem today. Clearly they have not been reading their rival Morgunblaðið, which performs its very own brand of community service by pasting an illustration of the day’s Yule Lad each morning:
… Plus, lest anyone forgets, the number of days until Christmas.
SO NOW WE KNOW…
That today’s Yule Lad is Giljagaur, or Gully Imp in English translation. Thus named because he hid in the gullies and waited until milking duties commenced in the stables. When he saw the milkmaid heading over he snuck in and hid in one of the pens. He hung out there until the stable boy came along and started chatting up the milkmaid. When their backs were turned he snuck over, grabbed the bucket with the milk, and slurped all the froth off the top.
Hence the proliferation of glasses of milk beside the many little shoes in the windowsills of Icelandic children last night. Because they are not averse to a little bribery in return for a good gift-in-shoe.
AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT OF COMMUNITY SERVICE
Here’s a tip from oh-so benevolent Iceland Weather Report: if you wish to send a very cool e-card this Christmas, check out the selection on mbl.is. Pics of all the Yule Lads, plus more traditional [and many absolutely lovely] Iceland pictures. No guarantees that they will not be infected with spyware [shocking report on spyware in e-cards here] but I find it unlikely. And as an added bonus, you may be able to win a camera [no guarantees that this applies internationally, though].
SO, CAN THE WEATHER GET ANY MORE GLOOMY?
I fear not. Yesterday, daylight barely went above twilight levels and the same appears to be in the cards for today. The good news is that it’s mild and calm and not raining. Not a branch is moving on the spindly bushes outside my window. Current temps are 5°C, sunrise was at 11.13 and sunset due for 15.31.