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The Yule Lads of Iceland #10: Window-Peeper

Hopefully, by now, you’ve seen my post last Tuesday with an overview of the Icelandic tradition of the Yule Lads. If you haven’t, go back and read that first so this will make more sense. According to folklore, today — December 21 — is the day when the tenth Yule Lad arrives.

The tenth Yule Lad’s name is Gluggagægir, which translates as Window-Peeper. His particular brand of mischief is being snoop who looks through windows in search of things to steal.

Here’s how he’s described in the 1932 Icelandic poem, “Yule Lads,” by Jóhannes úr Kötlum:

The tenth was Window Peeper,
a weird little twit,
who stepped up to the window
and stole a peek through it.
And whatever was inside
to which his eye was drawn,
he most likely attempted
to take later on.

Window-Peeper arrives each year on December 21, and leaves again on January 3.

And here’s a more thorough explanation, from Iceland24:

Tenth was Window Peeper
A grumpy lad,
Who sneaked to the window
And looked through it.

If anything was inside
Nice to look at,
He usually later
Tried to get that.

Gluggagægir (Window Peeper) is the tenth Yule Lad in the list. He’s one of my faves too. Maybe he actually is the Lad I like the most.

The Window Peeper is a classic figure in literature, music and cinema. If you don’t like the classic window peeper’s approach, just think about James Stewart in Rear Window, but reversed.

There are many elements at play when this kind of characters are involved so I can safely say Gluggagægir is the Lad with more potential: with a little of invention you could have a whole series of Christmas thrillers or horrors made after him.

Some consider Gluggagægir just a very nosy guy, but completely harmless – although he does like to steal when something he sees arouses his fancy. Some others prefer to add a sinister aura to his curiosity, describing him as a hardcore voyeur…

Whatever the truth, you are now aware of his habit of peeping through windows at night. So, unless you’re OK with it, maybe you’ll feel more comfortable drawing your curtains on December 21.

So, this guy may be looking in your window between Dec 21 and Jan 3, so give him a friendly wave and wish him Gleðileg Jól (Happy Holidays)

The 13 Yule Lads, Mom, Dad and Cat:

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