“They believe in elves in Iceland,” claimed Stephen Colbert on the latest episode of The Late Show. It is one of the more tiresome of the many clichéd claptraps that exist about Iceland, with “do you get paid to marry an Icelander?” and “do you have an app to make sure you don’t have sex with your cousin?”
We don’t know where these things originated from, we just work here, but we regularly have to answer questions about them. And as it is with all fairytales, the answers come in threes so—no, no and no.
This is why it was pleasing to see British comedian Ricky Gervais answer Colbert with a “they don’t really.” Despite that Colbert claimed that roads in Iceland were laid around the homes of elves and that we made a large effort to keep their lives undisturbed.
I know dear foreigners that you want us to be these incestuous fantasy people who live in huts in the ground and want nothing more than to marry a foreigner. Who spend their evenings conversing in whale song, discussing how we can turn the Icelandic Sagas into a series of concept albums in which all the instruments are played by farm animals. We could call it the Farmyard Saga Sessions and the lead singer’s name could be Cowdin.
But the reality is, we are not nearly that exciting. People here watch Netflix, eat Dominos and work in boring offices, just like you. The only difference is we have excellent PR … and elves.