As a little girl I was captivated by the tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Cut out figures of the Walt Disney characters decorated the walls of my bedroom and at night, once the lights were out, they became my guardians helping to keep the boogey man at bay. I can still hear Snow White singing, "Some day my prince will come."
Disney may have capitalized on the characters Grumpy, Sleepy, Happy, and Doc, but he certainly didn't invent these magical creatures. Ultimately Snow White's protectors were portrayed as benevolent and helpful, but not so the case in Scandinavian mythology where dwarfs are more commonly depicted as unpleasant, stubborn, and distrustful small humanlike creatures. They generally look like old men with long beards and are often ugly or misshapen.
In Norse mythology, dwarfs are usually male and often live in forests, in mountains, or in out-of-the-way places. Dwarfs who dwell in the mountains are highly skilled metalworkers and artisans who have supernatural powers and make special gifts for the gods, such as a magic spear for Odin, the king of the gods and a hammer for Thor, the god of thunder. Dwarfs also appear in Germanic history, Central American mythology, North American legends, and even Hawaiian lore.
These stories are ancient but still they persist and I can't help but admire the brilliance of the storytellers who created these fanciful beings that are still relevant today. How about you, do you believe in fairies, elves, and other magical or supernatural creatures?