Yulelads are coming to town

Keep your sausages in the fridge and your sheep locked in the barn for the troublesome Yulelads, or Jólasveinarnir, of Icelandic folklore are on the prowl this time of year

Around the festive period do you ever get bored of that rather over-friendly old fellow Santa Claus with his benevolent smile and highly trained pack of reindeer? Then let us introduce you to the Yule Lads (Jólasveinarnir) of Icelandic folklore. Thirteen sons of mountain-dwelling trolls Grýla and Leppalúði, one of these lads visits Icelandic homes every night before Christmas to play pranks and cause mischief. If you’re really bad they may even bring their Yule Cat ( Jólakötturinn) with them, who’ll eat you if you’re not wearing your finest new Christmas clothes. Here are four of Ernest’s favourite Jólasveinarnir.


Arriving on 12 December, Stekkjarstaur or the ‘sheep worrier’ will try to suck your sheep dry, although he is often impaired by his stiff peg legs.


The ‘doorway sniffer’ will use his massive nose to locate any laufabrauð (Icelandic bread eaten over Christmas) and snaffle it when you’re not looking.


Akin to the Ernest team, this chap has a deep love for the wholesome Icelandic yoghurt Skyr so be careful to keep that fridge door firmly shut.


The sausage pilferer hides in the eaves and beams of your house and steals sausages and any other meats you have left hanging up for smoking.

Words: Duncan Wright
Illustrations: Aaron Bagley and Cellar Door Mercantile

This was taken from the second print issue of Ernest Journal, available to buy now.