Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice!

1912 John Bauer (Swedish 1882-1918) ~ Julbocken (Yule Goat) from “A Polar Bear’s Tale”

Today is December 22nd - the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the official beginning of Winter or Winter Solstice. Bring on the Winter tales and folklore up here! I'll start with "A Polar Bear's Tale", except I can't find any online text for this tale; just a few wonderful illustrations and ink studies by John Bauer. Obviously I need far more research time... (hint, hint to my fellow-researchers out there ;). I think it's in Swedish Folk Tales, which I have but can't reach to confirm as it's in storage.

Frost fairies, Jack Frost tales, snow-maidens, Father Winter, Snow Queens and ice palaces... enchanted bears visiting your doorstep (either in need of a good brush or to help scare off pesky trolls), frozen hearts and magic footprints in the snow and Yule goats... I love it all. :)  

Bonus: For a little "Google Magic" this season, if you use Firefox or Chrome, type "Let it snow" into the Google search box ( and hit return. It should start snowing (and fogging up!) on your screen. You can even make smiley faces with your mouse and when your Google goggles have had enough there's even a "defrost" button to help bring you back to cyber-reality. ;) If only I could just make it work while having a fairy tale page open - then it really would be magical! (Still very cool though. Heh.)

Do you have favorite Winter or snow-based/years-end tales? (Or any info on the tale the Bauer illustration was done for?)

Happy Wintertime Northern Hemisphere Folks!
(All those south of the equator: prep the barbie- it's Summertime and the rellies are due over any minute..! ;)
Yuletide blessings to you and yours this season, wherever you are.

1 comment:

  1. I just received this lovely mail from Jacob Popcak and thought I'd post it on the blog to share the fantastic info it had. Hope that's OK Jacob! (Let me know if not and I'll take it down, no worries.)

    Merry Christmas!

    I'm assuming that the characters in the image are Julenissen and his goat. Julenissen is a small, Scandinavian gnome who plays pranks on those who behave badly in order to keep everyone good and on their toes in the days leading up to Christmas eve, (in preparation for St. Nicholas, of course). Gnomes like Julenissen predate Christianity in Norway, but were later adapted into the Christian tradition of St. Nicholas bringing gifts on Christmas eve. Often, Julenissen, who rides a goat, is seen pulling a Christmas tree behind him.

    Hope this helps. Please keep us posted on the Polar Bear story, as it sound fantastic!

    - Jacob

    Thanks again Jacob and Merry Christmas to you too. :)