Icelandic authorities have decided to halt a highway project out of concern that the new road will displace the local elf population.
Says the Independent:
Elf advocates have joined forces with environmentalists to urge the Icelandic Road and Coastal Commission and local authorities to abandon a highway project because it might disturb the creatures’ habitat.
The activists are particularly concerned about an elf church that sits on the potential site. … [T]he project has been halted until the Supreme Court of Iceland rules on a case brought by a group known as Friends of Lava.
The activists cite a cultural and environmental impact – including the plight of the elves – as a reason for regularly gathering hundreds of people to block workers from bulldozing the area.
I have to believe that the whole thing is a wind-up, a national running joke, a tongue-in-cheek folkloristic game played on outsiders.
Or not. When asked in a 2007 survey, 62 percent of Icelanders said they thought it was at least possible that the so-called Huldufólk (“hidden folk”) are real.
The best little Huldufólk nugget I found is this one, on Wikipedia:
Icelandic gardens often feature tiny wooden álfhól (elf houses) for elves/hidden people to live in. Some Icelanders have also built tiny churches to convert elves to Christianity.
Gnome more of this folly! In the interest of spreading rationality among the Icelandic elf community, I propose we finance itty-bitty libraries and stock them with teensy copies of Dawkins’ and Harris’s books. Who’s with me?