Scandinavian Folklore – Myling
A myling is the spirit of a small child, or infant forced to walk the earth until they could persuade someone to help put their soul to rest. A child would only become a myling if they were killed by their mother and their remains hidden away. In the old days this was a fairly common way for an unmarried or poverty-stricken woman to get rid of an unwanted child.
The stories tell of the mothers horrible deed being revealed when the myling sings a song about their fate. Mylingar were believed to exist in places were a young mother were most likely to hide away a dead infant, such as mires, outhouses, cairns and forest valleys. From these you could sometimes hear a child crying.
Sometimes the unnamed, unwanted child would call for help; ‘’Give me a name!’’ they would scream. You would then have the opportunity to save them by answering;
‘’You can take mine! My name is XXXX’’
You could also help their soul find rest by finding their corpse and giving the child a proper burial.
The name myling derives from myrding, the old norse myrða, which literally means ‘’to murder’’.