Norwegian version of this page

Folktales and legends

In the Norwegian Folklore Archives you will find fairy tales and legends from all over the country that have been passed on in oral tradition.


A folktale is a prose narrative with fictional content that was passed on in an oral tradition. A folktale will often take real life as its starting point, only to transcend the framework of reality during the story.

Most of the Norwegian folktale material is to be found stored away in the drawers of the Norwegian Folklore Archives. Here lie the original notes and records of Peter Chr. Asbjørnsen, Jørgen Moe, and Moltke Moe, as well as copies of Rikard Berge’s cultural heritage records.

In addition there are numerous folktale records from the first half of the twentieth century, including cultural heritage records collected by Knut Hermundstad from Valdres and Edvard Langset from Nordmøre, to name but two. 

In the Norwegian Folklore Archives’ folktale database (only in Norwegian) you can find 700 folktales from all over Norway.


A legend is a brief narrative that follows a more or less set pattern and that has existed in the collective consciousness, often passed down orally. The legend purports to be true and ostensibly recounts something that actually happened. The legend is usually connected to a specific place and often pertains to specific, named people. Legends do not exist in an authorized form, but in a certain number of variants that belong to the same archetype.

The digital archive of legends (only in Norwegian) consists of a selection of around 1,300 records of legends from the entire country. The archive is organized in accordance with Reidar Th. Christiansen’s 1958 catalogue of orally transmitted Norwegian legends. All the archetypes from this catalogue are represented in the selection.

The map of Nordic Legends

Screenshot of the map of Nordic Legends that shows a part of Norway.

Witches, sorcerers, ghosts, werewolves, devils and trolls. The map of Nordic legends is a digital platform with thousands of legends from Norway and Sweden.

The map is a cooperation between the Norwegian Folklore Archives at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, UiO and the Institute for Language and Folklore in Göteborg, Sweden.

Go to the map of Nordic Legends (, in Norwegian)