If you have been following our day-by-day rundown of Iceland’s mischievous Yule Lads—the thirteen half-trolls who descend from the mountains on the days up to Christmas—you’ll have started to notice a pattern.
By the evening of the 16th, five Yule Lads have already started causing trouble around the country and largely, most of their antics revolve around food.
Gully-Gawk is out stealing milk; Stubby is munching on the crust of pans; Pot-Scraper is scoffing down leftovers; and Spoon-Licker is doing exactly what his name suggests. In hunt of an easy morsel, however, the sixth brother, Askasleikir, is perhaps the creepiest thus far.
Askasleikir’s name in English is ‘Bowl-Licker’. Like Spoon-Licker, his name explains the full extent of his behaviour. While yes, he has a reputation for slurping the remains of whatever is left in bowls—or of ‘askurs’, an Icelandic type of bowl with a lid, to be specific—the way he does so is reminiscent of a childhood nightmare.
Each night, Askasleikir will lay beneath a child’s bed, waiting in gruesome excitement for them to finish their nighttime soup or pudding. When they are satisfied, he will readily snatch up the remaining food to guzzle down himself. Of course, the best way to avoid his greedy and traditionally terrifying antics is to ensure your children finish their dinner at the table and do not snack afterward.
Maintain your vigilance and, for your child’s health in this season and this season alone, make sure that they finish that last crumb of food, every time.