In contrast with Skyrgámur‘s habit of eating tons of healthy skyr, Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage Swiper), the Yule Lad arriving on the 20th night of December, prefers his snacks high in cholesterol. Nobody knows exactly what his preference is: rumors say he will ravenously eat all kinds of sausages, without any exception. His appetite can make him reckless sometimes.

Smoked sausages are a brilliant way to preserve meat in a place like Berk (or most of the North Atlantic Islands) where it may snow and hail and rain locusts (or whatever Hiccup dreams up in his snarkfest), but it rarely gets cold enough to freeze food. So smoking, pickling, drying, curing are all ways to keep food stashed through the winter.

Bjúgnakrækir - Icelandic Yule Lads (December 20th)

The rafters are an ideal place to store the lamb meat and fish meat sausages once they are prepared. Then the cook just snags down dinner from the ceiling and dumps it in a pot to boil. Sometimes you have to climb a bit to get dinner. At the Haddock household it´s a good thing there is a tall chieftain and a willing Night Fury to help with this. And a few cleverly designed long hooks for those days when the chief dragon tamer/chef does not want dragon drool on the sausages.

Until December 20, of course. Then Bjúgnakrækir makes his way into the farms and the village, ready to snatch some sausages. It’s a good thing he’s an acrobat so he can climb WAAAY up into those rafters and reach for the prize. He just, unfortunately, is a leeetle bit afraid of heights. But singing usually helps him deal with the situation, and also keeps the watch dragon fast asleep.

So, if you are planning to make sausage stuffing or simply hot dogs between Dec 20 and Jan 2, keep ’em hidden. This guy’s on the prowl!

Bjúgnakrækir - Icelandic Yule Lads (December 20th)

Luckily for this chap, there’s not much need for recklessness in recent times: in Reykjavík you can find near the harbor the famous Bæjarins beztu pylsur (Best hot dog in town in English) stand, described by many satisfied customers as one of the best in the world. I’m pretty sure Bjúgnakrækir knows very well and he visits the stand regularly during his annual excursions.


Níundi var Bjúgnakrækir,
brögðóttur og snar.
Hann hentist upp í rjáfrin
og hnuplaði þar.

Á eldhúsbita sat hann
í sóti og reyk
og át þar hangið bjúga,
sem engan sveik.


Ninth was Sausage Snatcher
Artful and quick.
He hied up to the rafters
And snatched a little there.

On a kitchen beam he sat
In smoke and soot
And ate a smoked sausage,
That was very good.

Berglind, Iceland24
December 2015