Letesgubbe v Trolls
Corrected by Blair (Canada 2006)
They are NOT related to trolls.
The second part of the three-part Nordic series of miniature
sheets on the theme Nordic mythology features "mythical
beings". The Åland miniature sheet shows a 'letesgubbe'.
Letesgubbar were mythical beings who lived in the archipelago.
By banging walls, jangling and throwing objects to attract
people's attention, they warned for oncoming storms.
'Letesgubbar' were short old men, who looked a lot like the
ordinary Kökar man. They lived around fishing villages and
were named after the place on which they were seen, the
Ör-gubbe or the Skarvskärs-gubbe for instance.
'Leten' are a kind of floats used for herring-nets. The word
'lete' has been generally used in Åland and even in the
archipelago both east and west of Åland. The word seems
to derive from the word 'lätte', which means to lighten or to
lift up. The stamp shows a 'letesgubbe' who rattles his
'leten', his floats, to warn for an oncoming storm.
A troll is a fearsome member of a mythical anthropomorph
race from Scandinavian folklore. Their role ranges from
fiendish giants - similar to the ogres of English fairy tales -
to a devious, more human-like folk of the wilderness, living
underground in hills or mounds, inclined to thieving and the
abduction of humans which, in the case of infant abductees,
was substituted with a changeling. They could also be known
as hill-folk or mound-folk. In Shetland and Orkney tales, trolls
are called trowe.