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December 14th – Þvörusleikir


I have to admit that it’s more difficult to write about some of the Yule Lads than others. First of all, the information we have about each one of them mostly comes from 8 (short) lines in a poem I’ve mentioned before by Jóhannes úr Kötlum. The rest we kind of have to read between the lines or people have made up new stories about the brothers as the years go by.

Image via Brian Pilkinton from the book The Yule Lads
Image via Brian Pilkinton from the book The Yule Lads

The Yule Lad that comes to town tonight is Þvörusleikir or Spoon licker. He was extremely thin which is not great when you have to brave crazy weather like we’ve been having in Iceland the last few days. I hope he has heavy boots.

Þvörusleikir gets his name from the fact that he would sneak into the kitchen and look for spoons that had not been cleaned to lick the leftovers off. I’m starting to get a little bit concerned about the cleanliness of Icelandic homes back then, based on the tales of Stúfur and Þvörusleikir (and some brothers you have yet to meet), but it seems like washing the dishes and such was not really a priority in those days. At least they always found something to lick.

Maybe Þvörusleikir is also so very thin because most homes have dish washers now so people have stepped up their game when it comes to the dishes. And spoons.

Þvörusleikir is also the name of the Christmas beer from Borg brewery this year. It’s a red ale and I’ve heard it’s really good. Maybe something worth checking out.


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