The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian




In many parts of Sweden, these cup-marked boulders are known as elf-stenar, and are still believed by the common people to possess curative powers. They say prayers, and make vows at them, anoint the cups with fat (usually hog's lard), place offerings of pins and small copper coins in them, and when they are sick, they make small dolls or images of rags, to be laid in them. These facts are stated in the Manadsblad of the Swedish Academy of Science. Miss Mestorf, as quoted by Mr. Rau, is more explicit:-

"The elfs are the souls of the dead; they frequently dwell in or below stones, and stand in various relations to the living. If their quiet is disturbed, or their dwelling-place desecrated, or if due respect is not paid to them, they will revenge themselves by afflicting the perpetrators with diseases or other misfortunes. For this reason, people take care to secure the favour of the "little ones" by sacrifices, or to pacify them when offended. Their claims are very modest: a little butter or grease, a copper coin, a flower, or ribbon, will satisfy them. If they have inflicted disease, some object worn by the sick person, such as a pin, or button, will reconcile them.

A Swedish proprietor of an estate in Uppland, who had caused an elf-stone to be transported to his park, found, a few days afterwards, small sacrificial gifts lying in the cups. in the Stockholm Museum are preserved rag dolls, which had been found upon an elf-stone."
In Nature v26 (1882).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th September 2012ce

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