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Ships, Fogs, and Traveling Pairs: Plague Legend Migration in Scandinavia

Ships, Fogs, and Traveling Pairs: Plague Legend Migration in Scandinavia

By Timothy R. Tangherlini

Journal of American Folklore, Vol.101 (1988)

Abstract: This article examines the various forms the plague assumes in the legend traditions of Scandinavia. Eight new legend types are proposed in an effort to expand the existing type-index to more adequately describe the legend corpus. Common to all traditions are legends concerning the aftermath of the plague. The legends of Norway and Sweden often present the plague as a wandering woman or as a pair of children with a rake and broom. These legends are nonexistent in the Danish corpus. Instead, the Danish legends often present the plague as a celestial phenomenon, primarily fog or mist. The forms the legends take are possibly linked to the areas of disease provenance. The legend migration may have followed the migration of the disease.

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