Folklore and Myth Thursday – E

Elle Folk, Élivágar, Enki and Ea, and Epona

Elle Folk

“Known as Elle Folk, in Denmark, Elf women are human-sized with long blond hair and an entirely hollow back” (Rosen, 2009:269). The Elle men, however, are shorter and look “like little old bearded men wearing dark, close-fitting hats” (Rosen, 2009:269). Hunters are often ensnared by the Elle women’s charms, especially while the women are singing and playing music. The Elle Folk also live in mounds, called Ellemounds (see also Rosen, 2009:269) “on the country’s windswept moors” (Rosen, 2009:269). “They are dangerous to humankind because they can blow their breath as a fog of sickness over any person who comes too close to their dwellings” (Rosen, 2009:269).


The Élivágar are “[m]ythic rivers, associated with the proto-giant Aurgelmir/Ymir or with the ends of the world” (Lindow, 2009:108). These rivers are names and discussed in Vafthrúdnismál, Gylfaginning, Hymskvida, and Bergbúa tháttr (see Lindow, 2001:108-109). “The association with the proto-giant is explicit in Vafthrúdnismál… From the Élivágar spurted poison drops, / Thus it grew, until a giant emerged.” (Lindow, 2001:108)

Lindow (2001:108) further notes “[t]here is little useful direct discussion of the Élivágar, but it is clear that they are meant to be far removed in time, space, or both”.

Enki via Wikipedia Commons – Public Domain Image

Enki and Ea

Also known as Ea, Enki, is a Sumerian water god. Ea was one of a trinity of creator gods that also included the sky god Anu and the wind god Enlil (see further Cotterell and Storm, 2007:275). “Ea is usually represented as a goat with a fish’s tale or as part human, part fish.” (Cotterell and Storm, 2007:275) His consort was Ninki (Lady of the Earth) (see also Cotterell and Storm, 2007:275). Cotterell and Storm (2007:275) also notes “Ea was introduced into the Hittite pantheon by the Hurrians”.

According to Sumerian myth, “Enki and Ninki were believed to live together on the island of Dilmun, a paradise land sometimes thought to be present-day Bahrein” (Cotterell and Storm, 2007:301).

Enki and flood myths

“Flood myths are found throughout the ancient world, from Greece to India. The story of a flood destroying earth appears in the epic of Gilgamesh as well as the myth of the Sumerian water god Enki…” (Cotterell and Storm, 2007:303).


Epona is “the Celtic horse goddess, [who] was adopted by the Roman cavalry who spread her cult across Europe” (Cotterell and Storm, 2007:130). Cotterell and Storm notes that, “[in] the Welsh myth of Pwyll there is a connection between Epona and Rhiannon, who is made to carry visitors into the palace” (Cotterell and Storm, 2007:130). Her festival day was 18 December. She may have also been a goddess of fertility (see Cotterell and Storm, 2007:130).

Epona via Wikipedia Commons, QuartierLatin1968


Cotterell, A. & R. Storm. (2007). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology. London: Hermes House.

Lindow, J. (2001). Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rosen, B. (2009). The Mythical Creatures Bible: The Definitive Guide to Legendary Beings. New York: Sterling Publishing.

By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.

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