Sunday, February 24, 2013


A dwarf is a mythical creature.  Humanoid in form, but short and stocky, they are connected with the Earth and are often said to be miners, engineers, and craftsmen. The dwarf is common in mythologies, fairy tales, fantasy fiction, and role-playing games, and recently were made popular by the collective works of twentieth century fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien.
Dwarfs are small creatures made from the maggots in the giants Ymir dead body.  They generally look like old men with long beards or are sometimes ugly or misshapen.  The dwarves were said to inhabit Svartalheim, one of the Nine Worlds created by the Gods, though they also seemed to live in Midgard as well, the world of men.  They live in caves or in holes under the ground and sometimes in hollow trees.  Like dark elves, some dwarves also fear the sun light.  Though usually associated with Scandinavian mythology, dwarfs and elves appear in the myths of many cultures, along with similar creatures such as fairies, gnomes, pixies, and leprechauns.

Dwarfs are sometimes represented as helpful creatures or wise advisers as, for example, in the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. More commonly, though, they are unpleasant, stubborn, and distrustful with an air of mystery about them. They may act in deceitful ways, or they may be openly hostile.  In some stories, dwarfs steal food or carry off children and beautiful maidens.
Dvalin is the ruler of the dwarves.  He is one of the most powerful dwarves. He was also a skilled smith and able to read runes before any other dwarf.

Dwarfs and elves of the mountains are highly skilled metalworkers and artisans who have supernatural powers and make special gifts for the Gods, such as a magic spear for Odin, the king of the Gods; a ship for Freyja, the Goddess of love and beauty; and a hammer for Thor, the God of thunder.  
Four dwarves, Nordri, Sudri, Austri and Vestri, hold up the sky.   But dwarfs and elves of the mines, who keep guard over underground stores of gold and precious stones, are unpredictable and spiteful. This association of dwarfs and elves with mining and precious metals exists in many legends and fairy tales.

Their role during Ragnarok is not clear.

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

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