Iceland's powerful Elf Lobby wins fight to unearth Elfin Lady Stone buried by construction workers

An elf door leans against a rock in the Icelandic countryside outside the village of Selfoss October 1, 2006. Belief in the unseen runs so high in Iceland that the Public Roads Administration sometimes delays or reroutes road construction to avoid what locals believe are elf habitat. 2006. REUTERS

Bowing to intense pressure from elves and the people who believe in them, the government of Iceland will unearth a purportedly magical “Elfin Lady Stone” buried by highway workers by mistake. The inadvertent burial of their sacred site seriously pissed off the mythical creatures, according to reports.

Angry Icelandic elves incensed by the offensive construction site error are blamed of causing a series of mishaps throughout the country. Their sacred stone was covered over as workers were clearing landslide debris, Morgunbladid daily reports today.

Elves are a big thing in Iceland, and this isn't the first time that a construction site has been altered or moved to avoid disturbing the creatures.

The rock was unearthed from layers of mud after it disappeared from view one year ago. Mbl.is/ Sigurður Ægisson

The rock was unearthed from layers of mud after it disappeared from view one year ago. Mbl.is/ Sigurður Ægisson

From Agence-France Presse via Telegraph:

Sveinn Zophoniasson, who works for the Bass road construction company, told the paper that his woes began in August 2015 in Siglufjordur, close to the site of the so-called "elfin lady stone" that was covered with earth following efforts to cleat a mudslide from a highway.

After the landslide was cleared, the road was subsequently flooded and a colleague of Zophoniasson who came to clear the route was injured. Then industrial machinery began to fail and a journalist who came to cover the growing chaos fell into a mud pool and had to be pulled to safety.

"Nobody even thought of the rock," even though the area is regarded as a sacred place in local folklore, said Zophoniasson.

The decision was made that the Iceland Road Administration would unearth the rock - an artefact according to a 2012 law to protect Iceland's elfin heritage - and it was subsequently cleaned with a pressure washer last week.

The rock being hosed down and cleaned

The rock being hosed down and cleaned

Speaking to Morgunblaðið, Sveinn Zóphóníasson, one of the owners of the construction firm Báss hf explains the events of last August.

"First, in the morning, the police called to tell me that the road at Hvanneyrarströnd had been closed down. It had been raining since eight pm the night before and mud slides had started falling on the road. When we arrived at the site we couldn't believe our eyes. I'd never seen the road like that before. When we were returning, the man who was accompanying me fell and hurt himself and couldn't work for a few days. Then we decide to go out there with equipment to dig but the weather was so bad that we had to turn back. The machinery was just standing there. This was around noon. The next thing that happened is that the river floods over the road. That's when we get a call to sort out a digger for something else. When we arrive into town we see that the river has flooded all the way down there. We then saw that more mudslides had fallen on the Hvanneyri road and I decide to move the bulldozer in case something should fall on it. I had just gotten into the vehicle when I see a mudslide coming toward me, like a gigantic ball. When it hit the river flood it exploded and water and rocks went everywhere. We fled."

On August 29th, the day after, they started clearing the road. In the afternoon, one of the bulldozers broke down and was repaired the next day. The task took around ten days, both clearing the road and repairing it, as well as repairing electric cables and such.

"No one had been thinking about the rock, Álfkonusteinn (The elfin lady stone)," says Zóphoníasson. "No one knew about it or had forgotten. It was all about completing the task in a short space of time." A reporter from RÚV national television attempted to climb up the rocks to shoot some footage but sank into a pit of mud, right up to his waist and had to be rescued.

"I never saw anything like it. I've seen mudslides and flooding before but nothing like this."

In light of these occurrences the town council were urged to make note of these kind of artifacts and to put up signs. The elfin lady stone is classified as an artifact according to laws from 2012 which note that all places reputed for magic or are connected to folklore, folktales, customs or national beliefs should be protected for their cultural heritage.

The town where all of this happened is supposed to be a pretty great ski destination.

From Duldýrasafnið (“Hidden Beings Museum”) by artist Arngrimur Sigurðsson. An  Interview.

From Duldýrasafnið (“Hidden Beings Museum”) by artist Arngrimur Sigurðsson. An Interview.

ART: The Museum of Hidden Beings. "Arngrímur Sigurðsson´s paintings reach into the mists of Iceland's mythological history."