- Dark elves
Dark elves (Old Norse: Dökkálfar, usually called the
Svartálfar"black elves") are known as a class of elves living underground in Old Norse mythology, the counterparts to the " Ljósálfar" ("Light-elves"). They are very similar to dwarves as they mainly live in places were there is little light, though unlike both high elves and dwarves the dark elves are an evil race that like suffering and pain.cite book |title=The Norse Myths |first=Kevin |last=Crossley-Holland |publisher=Pantheon Books |year=1980 |isbn=0394500482] The dark elves originated in the Eddic and Germanic myths. They are more recently described as a race of elves and sometimes counterparts to the " high elves" in fiction and modern popular culture.
Dark elves are also now a common character in modern
fantasyfiction, although usually very highly embellished with outside influences and rarely displaying many elements of the ancient folktalesthat inspired their inclusion, throughout fantasy fiction of many types. Their appearance varies considerably from representation to representation, as does their given background.
Origins In Folklore
Norse mythology, Svartálfar("Swart-elves" or " black elves"), sometimes considered synonymous with "duergar" (" dwarves"), are subterranean creatures who dwell in the world of Svartálfheim. They may be either benevolent or malevolent. The original Svartalfar worked the forges on the lowest level of the world tree. Their roles and countenance vary throughout Germanic folklore but are sometimes mentioned with Black or Dark skin as a result of working at the forge.
The Dökkálfar ("Dark-elves") are male ancestral spirits who may protect the people, although some can be menacing, especially when one is rude to them. They are generally light-avoiding, though not necessarily subterranean.
In the prose Edda
Gylfaginning, Snorri Sturluson, author of among other things the Younger Edda, distinguishes them from the " Ljósálfar" ("Light-elves") of Álfheim, in most sources simply known as elves.
Orkney Islands, the "Trow" or the black elves or drows are similar to the "Svartalfar" or to Scandinavian trolls or dwarves, and inhabit mines and caves. They may be either helpful or harmful but stories regarding harm are more common.
The "Drow" or the dark elves are the Shetland Isle equivalent of the Trow, but unlike the trow, they are thought of as exclusively malicious. They are tiny elves known for their mining and metal-working, not unlike dwarves.
Scottish Gaelic language, the terms "Daoi-Sith" (loosely interpreted as "dark elves" [http://www.maryjones.us/jce/daoisith.html] ), and "Du-Sith" (loosely interpreted as "black elves" [http://www.maryjones.us/jce/dusith.html] ) exist. Both terms are obscure, and the latter seems to have been used as a proper name. Apart from an ambiguous folktale of uncertain origin involving one Sir Lachlan Mor M'Clean [http://www.answers.com/topic/du-sith] , there are no known surviving myths or stories associated with these creatures.
* (The Fooling Of Gylfe) by Sturluson, Snorri, 13th century Edda, in English. Accessed Apr. 16, 2007.
* Gylfaginning in Old Norse [http://www.cybersamurai.net/Mythology/nordic_gods/LegendsSagas/Edda/ProseEdda/Icelandic/GylfaginningXI-XX.htm] ) Accessed Apr. 16, 2007.
* Bulfinch, Thomas (1834). "Bulfinch's Mythology." New York: Harper & Row, 1970, p. 348. ISBN 0-690-57260-3.
* Marshall Jones Company (1930). "Mythology of All Races" Series, Volume 2 "Eddic", Great Britain: Marshall Jones Company, 1930, pp. 220-221.
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