Nix (also known as Näcken, Nøkken or Nixe) are water creatures in German and Scandinavian folklore, usually shown in human form. The name is related to Anglo-Saxon nicor, and Old High German nihus, all designating some kind of water fiend. more...
The Scandinavian näcken, nøkken, strömkarlen, Grim or Fosse-Grim was a male water spirit who played enchanted songs on the violin, luring women and children to drown in lakes or streams.
If properly approached, he will teach a musician to play so adeptly "that the trees dance and waterfalls stop at his music"Sacred-Texts.com
It is difficult to describe the actual appearance of the nix, as one of his central attributes was thought to be shape shifting. Perhaps he did not have any true shape. He could show himself as a man playing the violin in brooks and waterfalls (though often imagined as fair and naked today, in actual folklore he was more frequently wearing more or less elegant clothing) but also could appear to be treasure or various floating objects or as an animal — most commonly in the form of a "brook horse" (see below). The modern Scandinavian names are derived from an Old Norse nykr, meaning "river horse." Thus, likely the brook horse preceded the personification of the nix as the "man in the rapids".
The enthralling music of the nix was most dangerous to women and children, especially pregnant women and unbaptised children. He was thought to be most active during Midsummer's Night, on Christmas Eve and on Thursdays.
If you brought the nix a treat of three drops of blood, a black animal, some brännvin (Scandinavian vodka) or snus (wet snuff) dropped into the water, he would teach you his enchanting form of music.
The nix was also an omen for drowning accidents. He would scream at a particular spot in a lake or river, in a way reminiscent of the loon, and on that spot a fatality would later take place.
Some stories tell how the nix sings about his loneliness and his longing for salvation, which he purportedly never shall receive, as he is not "a child of God." In a poem by Swedish poet E. J. Stagnelius, a little boy pities the fate of the nix, and so saves his own life.
In Scandinavia, water lilies are called "nix roses" (näckrosor/nøkkeroser). A tale from the forest of Tiveden relates of how the forest had its unique red waterlilies through the intervention of the nix:
- At the lake of Fagertärn, there was once a poor fisherman who had a beautiful daughter. The small lake gave little fish and the fisherman had difficulties providing for his little family. One day, as the fisherman was fishing in his little dugout of oak, he met the Nix, who offered him great catches of fish on the condition that the fisherman gave him his beautiful daughter, the day she was eighteen years old. The desperate fisherman agreed and promised him his daughter. The day the girl was eighteen, she went down to the shore to meet the Nix. The Nix gladly asked her to walk down to his watery abode, but the girl took forth a knife and said that he would never have her alive, stuck the knife into her heart and fell down into the lake, dead. Then, her blood coloured the waterlilies red, and from that day the waterlilies of some of the lake's forests are red (Karlsson 1970:86).
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