Been watching Countryfile this morning whilst doing the ironing (little vignette of life chez WithaY there for you), and it was all about Iceland. Not the cheap and slightly bizarre food shop, but the country. Amazing.
The thing that impressed me the most was not the reliance on natural geothermic power supplies, or the whale-related stuff (watching and shooting), or even the truly incredible landscape over there.
No. It was their elf-related tourist industry.
They take it very seriously, the Icelanders. To the extent that buildings are designed to avoid the places where elves are known to live, and roads have been diverted around particular rocks and stones that they like.
They interviewed an Icelandic lady who is an expert on elves, asking her lots of questions about what they like, dislike, where they live, and so on.
So far so good. The interviewer adopted a sort of half-jokey approach, obviously not being rude to the lady in question, but equally obviously wanting to make it clear that she thought it was all just a bit of fun.
"And are they good, these elves? Are they kind?" she asked.
"Oh yes" replied the Icelandic elf expert. "As long as you don't upset them. Then they do bad things...you know...make you lose all your money, break your legs, that kind of thing."
In one moment it went from Nordic Whimsy to Terrifying Otherworld Protection Racket.