The Legend of the Yule Cat

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a cat person. Not the kind who has at least 20 running rampant around her front yard and scaring off the neighbors, but let's just say that I've spent a fair amount of time putting off daily chores by wrestling or snuggling with a furry feline friend – and loving every second of it.

Of course, there are tons of other types of feline creatures out there aside from your typical (mostly) friendly domestic housecat. Tigers, jaguars, cheetahs and lions are just a few bigger cats that you probably don't want to mess with in fear of meeting an untimely and rather painful death. And then there are mythical cat-like creatures crafted from folklore, such as the sphinx.

One fabled feline predator I recently learned about just in time for the holidays is the Yule Cat. Known as the "Jólaköttur" in its country of origin, the Yule Cat is a giant monster cat derived from Icelandic folklore. Legend has it that this furry beast would lurk about snowy country towns during Christmastime in search of people who didn't have new clothes to wear in time for Christmas Eve. The clothed ones would be spared, but the unfortunate folks with outdated style would be devoured by the Yule Cat. Yikes!

Allegedly, the threat of being gobbled up by a very large and terrifying cat served as motivation for farm workers to finish processing their autumn wool before Christmas. It may seem a bit backwards that the ones who didn't have new clothes in time for the holiday would perish, but the idea was that those who worked hard to meet their deadlines would be rewarded, while those who were lazy would suffer the consequences.

Now if that's not motivation to get your weaving done before Christmas, I don't know what is.

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