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  The Sorcerous Finfolk

Hildaland - the summer home

"Hid's only the e'e that sees the unseen dat can see Hildaland"
Anonymous Orcadian

Summer Isles: 3D Illustration by Sigurd TowrieOrkney's Finfolk were a nomadic race, with two distinct homes they flitted between throughout the seasons.

In the summer time they were believed to dwell on the magical, invisible island of Hildaland, returning to their beloved undersea kingdom of Finfolkaheem in the winter.

Although it may be that their summer residence, Hildaland - meaning Hidden Land - was made up of a number of distinct islands, in time it came to be regarded as just one.

Eventually Hildaland became associated with the now uninhabited island of Eynhallow, between Rousay and the Orkney Mainland.

The vanishing island

Through the magic of the Finfolk, Hildaland was kept hidden from mortal eyes, though the shores of this earthly paradise were often glimpsed by travelling Orcadians.

The accounts of these sightings vary, some stating that the island rose from the depths of the sea, with others saying it was simply invisible and could not be seen by mortal man. From the various tales that come to us today it would appear that Hildaland was surrounded by a magical bank of fog that enveloped the unwary traveller and shifted them from the mortal world to the world of the Finfolk.

However it was hidden, Hildaland was generally believed to be a beautiful green island of glistening streams and fertile fields. There, the sun always shone with rich fields of corn and barley growing in the warm breeze, while wandering herds of cattle grew fat.

Although certain Finfolk tales are clear that Hildaland and Eynhallow were one and the same, others are less certain. These recount episodes in which travellers encounter the magical isles of the Finfolk in locations far from the geographic location of Eynhallow.

The tale A Close Tongue Keeps a Safe Head, for example, has the Finman's home somewhere in the vicinity of the island of Sanday.

These days, however, one of the best-known tales of Hildaland tells how it was wrested from the grip of the Finfolk by a daring farmer from the parish of Evie.

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Finfolkaheem - The Ancestral Home