As the days towards Christmas are counted down in Iceland, the number of Yule Lads bringing fear and trouble around the country only go up. In other places around the world, children rejoice that Christmas is just eleven days away. In Iceland, however, they shiver in the knowledge that a third half-troll set out from the mountains last night.
With his two brothers, Stekkjarstaur and Giljagaur, bringing terror to farms around the country, targeting sheep and cows respectively, Stúfur, or ‘Stubby’, cares not if the homes he breaks into are rural or urban. He has but one goal; steal the household pans for the delicious crust that remains on them.
While this may not seem like a terrible crime these days, historically, pots and pans were incredibly valuable in Iceland. The country has no mining industry of its own, and such goods had to be imported and were very expensive. For some impoverished families, they were the only possessions worth anything that they had.
Stúfur’s name comes from the fact he is considerably shorter than his brothers. This, however, says nothing about the fear he inspires; being short for a half-troll still makes him a formidable character. It also does not change the violent, selfish nature for which he and his family is known.
Stúfur steals pots and munches on their crunchy edges until the 27th of December, when he returns to Dimmuborgir. However, it will be ten days after that date when Icelandic children can finally relax, as ten more Yule Lads are still planning on starting their own, unique reigns of terror throughout the island.