Valravn - raven of the slain

Christian Skredsvig (1854-1924)
Study for 'Ola Velland', 1896


In Danish folklore, a valravn (raven of the slain) is a supernatural
raven. The ravens appear in traditional Danish folksongs, where they
are described as originating from ravens who consume the bodies of the
dead on the battlefield, as capable of turning into the form of a knight after
consuming the heart of a child, and, alternately, as half-wolf and half-raven
creatures. According to Danish folklore recorded in the late 1800s, when a
king or chieftain was killed in battle and not found and buried, ravens
came and ate him. The ravens became valravne. The valravne that
ate the king's heart gained human knowledge and could perform
great malicious acts, could lead people astray, had superhuman
powers, and were 'terrible animals'. In another account, a
valravn is described as a peaceless soul in search of
redemption that flies by night (but never day)
and can only free itself from its animal
countenance by consuming the
blood of a child

by Edward Okuń (1872–1945)


Ida said...

Why do people invent such horrible stories?

Aputsiaq said...

Well, it's a way to make order in a world full of danger, I think...not all things in life are good (...as we know...) and those stories help explaine why it is like that. I believe that we in our time and age do a lot of things to make our world look like bad things do not happen...but they do...people die, men in "their best age" and also young children...

The story is also a tale of rebirth, the closeness of animals and human beings - and how things can get bad if you don't take care...and things are not always what you think they are...etc, etc.

I adore and cherish folklore..."good" and "bad"...

Sieskja said...

I know a danish band called Valravn, but I did not know the story behind!!

Thank you for this interesting article and the always beautiful pictures!!!

Marcus said...

This illustration of the bird inn is simply divine, a thousand congratulations to those who created it. It was infinitely happy.

Aputsiaq said...

I wish I could take such a wonderful photo, Marcus...it is so fab!!!

Aputsiaq said...

Sieskja, thanks for your comment...I also know that band...but I didn't know that story either...before now, that is.... ;O)