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Episode 63 Elias And The Draug by Jonas Lie
Episode 6322nd August 2020 • Classic Ghost Stories • Tony Walker
00:00:00 00:34:43

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Elias And The Draug

I got this tale from Roald Dahls' Book of Ghost Storieswhich is a very well-curated collection. Often, ghost stories collections are just a rehash of the same old tired stories, but Roald Dahl put some goodies in this one. Of course, Dahl was of Norwegian descent, so it is perhaps natural he should include a Norwegian writer.

This story Elias And The Draug was published in 1870. Of course, the 19th Century was a time of a revival in traditional folk stories, often Germanic such as Hans Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, and often very grim. This story is a horror story, absolutely, and a ghost story in that it features a supernatural creature, a resident of faerie, the draug. And in its style, it is definitely akin to fairytales which are one of the sources of the ghost story form.

Jonas Lie was born at Hokksund in Norway in 1833, and he died in 1905. he is considered to be one of the four greats of Norwegian literature. His father was appointed sheriff of Tromsø which is a very northern part of Norway with chunks of the region within the Arctic circle. This area has a rich Sámi heritage, and we note the reference to the Lapp girl in the story whom the surviving child Brendt marries and settles down, never going to sea again.

Lie wanted to go in the navy, but his eyesight was so weak he never succeeded in going to sea professionally. Instead, he became a lawyer, which was probably more lucrative. He went to University in Christiania and got to know the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen and Bjornsterne Bjornson, another famous Norwegian author less known outside Norway than Ibsen.

He published his first novel in 1870, Den Fremsynte, which like much of his work focuses on Norwegian life, the traditions and folklore and the constant encounter with the sea. 

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