Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag


December 20: Sausage Swiper, yet another thieving Yule Lad comes to town

By Staff

  • Modern day Bjúgnakrækir Cartoonist Halldór Baldursson has Sausage Swiper switching from traditional sausages to modern hot-dogs. Photo/Halldór Baldursson

On December 20 the ninth Yule Lad, the notorious Bjúgnakrækir comes down from the mountains. Like six other of his 12 brothers Bjúgnakrækir specializes in the theft of food: Sausages. He is therefore known as Sausage-Swiper.

Engage in different anti-social behavior
Out of the thirteen Yule Lads seven are known for lurking in the corners or hiding in the rafters to steal unattended food. Four of these specialize in stealing utensils and kitchenware: Stubby steals pans and pots to scrape food from their bottoms, Spoon-Licker steals spoons to lick, Pot Scraper steals pots for leftovers and Bowl Licker does the same for bowls. Three just swipe the food items outright: Skyr Gobbler, Sausage Swiper and Meat Hook steal skyr, sausages and unattended legs of lamb.

Read more: Instead of a friendly Santa Iceland has 13 mischievous Yule lads and an evil Christmas Cat

Two Yule Lads prey on the livestock: Sheep Cote Clod and Gully Gawk steal milk from the cows and sheep. Three Yule Lads cause engage in more disturbing activity and invasion of privacy: Door Slammer, Window Peeper and Doorway Sniffer. The thirteenth Yule Lad, Candle Beggar steals candles.

This is how Sausage Swiper is described by the poet Jóhannes úr Kötlum: 

The ninth was Sausage Swiper,
a shifty pilferer.
He climbed up to the rafters
and raided food from there.

Sitting on a crossbeam
in soot and in smoke,
he fed himself on sausage
fit for gentlefolk.


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