Tuesday, June 2

wind witch

After my post on ionic winds at HM, i wanted to share this story with you...

IN bygone days there was something in Närke the like of which was not to be found elsewhere: it was a witch, named Ysätter-Kaisa. The name Kaisa had been given her because she had a good deal to do with wind and storm – and these wind witches are always so called.

She was no dark, mournful witch, but gay and frolicsome; and what she loved most of all was a gale of wind. As soon as there was wind enough, off she would fly to the Närke plain for a good dance. On days when a whirlwind swept the plain, Ysätter-Kaisa had fun! She would stand right in the whirl and spin round, her long hair flying up among the clouds and the long trail of her robe sweeping the ground, like a dust cloud, while the whole plain lay spread out under her, like a ball-room floor.

Of a morning Ysätter-Kaisa would sit up in some tall pine at the top of a precipice, and look across the plain. If it happened to be winter and she saw many teams on the roads she hurriedly blew up a blizzard, piling the drifts so high that people could barely get back to their homes by evening. If it chanced to be summer and good harvest weather, Ysätter-Kaisa would sit quietly until the first hayricks had been loaded, then down she would come with a couple of heavy showers, which put an end to the work for that day.

It was only too true that she seldom thought of anything else than raising mischief. The charcoal burners up in the Kil mountains hardly dared take a cat-nap, for as soon as she saw an unwatched kiln, she stole up and blew on it until it began to burn in a great flame.

Although Ysätter-Kaisa was fond of all sorts of tantalizing games, there was nothing really bad about her. One could see that she was hardest on those who were quarrelsome, stingy, or wicked; while honest folk and poor little children she would take under her wing. Old people say of her that, once, when Asker church was burning, Ysätter-Kaisa swept through the air, lit amid fire and smoke on the church roof, and averted the disaster.

Then she would laugh wildly and, chattering like a magpie, would rush off, dancing and spinning from one end of the plain to the other. When a Närke man saw her come dragging her dust trail over the plain, he could not help smiling. Provoking and tiresome she certainly was, but she had a merry spirit. It was just as refreshing for the peasants to meet Ysätter-Kaisa as it was for the plain to be lashed by the windstorm.

Nowadays 'tis said that Ysätter-Kaisa is dead and gone, like all other witches, but this one can hardly believe. It is as if someone were to come and tell you that henceforth the air would always be still on the plain, and the wind would never more dance across it with blustering breezes and drenching showers.

excerpted from over here


  1. I really enjoyed this...I have a great visual of her merry-making with her mischievious winds...

  2. What fun! Love the imagery. I'll never think about the wind the same again :-)

  3. Oh I can't wait to share this story with the girls!

  4. Lovely :)

    (must get a collection of Nordic/ Icelandic sagas and stories, I miss them...)


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