Folktales and legends
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 you can find 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.
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 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.