Monsters and Mythical Beings – Tilberi - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Monsters and Mythical Beings – Tilberi

Monsters and Mythical Beings – Tilberi

Published February 13, 2009

 This eleventh instalment in our Hugleikur Dagsson illustrated series of Iceland’s monsters and mythical beings (or are they?) tells of the Tilberi. And boy, is that one fucked up being.  
Listen: Tilberi are magical creatures, made exclusively by women out of dead men’s ribs and a bunch of wool, no less. They can be used to steal milk and wool, so as to save the household some much needed resources. Tilberi are usually associated with the isolated, witchcraft-heavy region of Strandir in the Westfjords, and tales of them are rampant in the area’s folklore. If you are female struck by a bad case of Kreppa and want to learn how to make your very own, read on.
To make a Tilberi, you must steal a dead man’s rib-bone out of the cemetery, at the morning of Pentecost. You wrap a bunch of grey wool around that rib and place it firmly between your breasts. You must then approach the altar at church three Sundays in a row, and spit some of that tasty mass wine in the being’s mouth. The second time you do it, the Tilberi will stir a little. The third time, it’ll spring to life so energetic that you’ll have to hold it back so you won’t get noticed and burnt at the stake.
Once Tilberi is alive, you can’t keep it between your breasts any longer. You must draw blood from your thigh and make a little teat out of the sore. From now on, Tilberi will enjoy sucking on that faux teat, feeding off your blood whenever he’s at home. You will eventually develop a limp, as well as a third nipple on your inner thigh, but you’ll hardly notice what with all the flow of tasty, free milk.
Now to put Tilberi to use. Once you let him loose, he will seek out any cow and sheep in the area and suck out their milk. Once full, he will return home and shout: “Full belly, momma,” to which you must reply, “vomit in the churn, boy!” Tilberi will vomit the day’s loot into your butter-churner, and you can in turn churn out as much Tilberi-butter as you like. Those in the know say it’s quite rich in flavour.  
Your Tilberi, versatile as it is, can also steal some wool for you. It’ll jump on a sheep and wrap its coat around its bony self, skipping home in delight.
Now, as you grow older you will grow tired of Tilberi sucking on your thigh. Older women aren’t built to handle that stuff. So you’ll need to get rid of him, and the best way to do so is to send him to the mountains and tell him to collect all the sheep droppings within a certain range. Tilberi is eager to serve his momma, so the unfortunate chap will fill up on the dried faeces until he bursts. According to legend, folks often stumble upon human ribs surrounded by sheep droppings on mountaintops, which lends some credit to the stories.
We got most of our Tilberi info from the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft. Check out their web site, www.galdrasyning.is

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Book your day tours in Iceland right here!

Next:
Previous:


Go travel with Grapevine tried and recommended tours by Grapevine. Fund Grapevine journalism by booking with us.


Show Me More!