Alfheim (Old Norse: Ālfheimr, "elf home") is one of the Nine Worlds and home of the Light Elves in Norse mythology and appears also in Anglo-Scottish ballads under the form Elfhame (Elphame, Elfame) as a fairyland, sometimes modernized as Elfland (Elfinland, Elvenland).
In Old Norse texts 
Álfheim as an abode of the Elves is mentioned only twice in Old Norse texts.
A tooth-gift was a gift given to an infant on the cutting of the first tooth.
That which is called Álfheim is one, where dwell the peoples called ljósálfar [Light Elves]; but the dökkálfar [Dark Elves] dwell down in the earth, and they are unlike in appearance, but by far more unlike in nature. The Light-elves are fairer to look upon than the sun, but the Dark-elves are blacker than pitch.
The account later, in speaking of a hall called Gimlé and the southernmost end of heaven that shall survive when heaven and earth have died, explains:
It is said that another heaven is to the southward and upward of this one, and it is called Andlang [Andlangr 'Endlong'] but the third heaven is yet above that, and it is called Vídbláin [Vídbláinn 'Wide-blue'] and in that heaven we think this abode is. But we believe that none but Light-Elves inhabit these mansions now.
It is not indicated whether these heavens are identical to Álfheim or distinct. Some texts read Vindbláin (Vindbláinn 'Wind-blue') instead of Vídbláin.
Modern commentators speculate (or sometimes state as fact) that Álfheim was one of the nine worlds (heima) mentioned in stanza 2 of the eddic poem Völuspá.
In Icelandic books called Kjalnesingasaga (Kjalnesing stories), Búi, 13 year old enters Álfheimr in order to find a token, property of Dofri, king of the elves. There he meets daughter of the Dofri, Fríður was her name which means beautiful, and when night falls they would go to her room, and "Have fun all night long". Later she helps Búi find the token and at the same time she tells Búi that she is carrying his baby. Búi must then return with the token to king of Norway and when they say goodbye, she tells him that if the baby was a girl, she would raise it, but if it was a boy, she would send it to Búi at 12 years of age. If Búi would not welcome him, he would suffer. 12 years later a boy named Jökull sails from Norway to meet Búi. Jökull claims that he is Son of Búi and Fríður but Búi denies, "My son is not small and lousy, he is strong and mighty!" he said. Búi insisted on a battle to prove his words but Fríður was with him.
In English and Scots texts 
In several Scots and in Northern Middle English folkoric ballads, Álfheim was known in as Elphame or Elfhame. In later English publications it has been called Alfheim, Elfland or 'Elfenland. The fairy queen is often called the "Queen of Elphame" in ballads such as that of Thomas the Rhymer:
'I'm not the Queen of Heaven, Thomas,
That name does not belong to me;
I am but the Queen of fair Elphame
Come out to hunt in my follie.'
On 8 November 1576, midwife Bessie Dunlop, resident in Dalry, Scotland, was accused of sorcery and witchcraft. She answered her accusers that she received tuition from Thomas Reid, a former barony officer who had died at the Battle of Pinkie some 30 years before and also from the Queen of the Elfhame which lay nearby. It resulted in a conviction and she was burnt at the stake in 1576.
Elfhame or Elfland, is portrayed in a variety of ways in these ballads and stories, most commonly as mystical and benevolent, but also at times as sinister and wicked. The mysteriousness of the land, and its otherworldly powers are a source of scepticism and distrust in many tales. Examples of journeys to the realm include "Thomas the Rhymer" and the fairy tale "Childe Rowland", the latter being a particularly negative view of the land.
Use by J. R. R. Tolkien 
The 20th-century fantasy writer J. R. R. Tolkien anglicized Álfheim as Elvenhome, or Eldamar in the speech of the Elves. In his stories, Eldamar lies in a coastal region of the Undying Lands in the Uttermost West. The High King of the Elves in the West was Ingwë, an echo of the name Yngvi often found as a name for Frey, whose abode was in Álfheim according to the Grímnismál.
- Wikisource:Prose Edda/Gylfaginning (The Fooling Of Gylfe) by Sturluson, Snorri, 13th century Edda, in English. Accessed Apr. 16, 2007
- Gylfaginning in Old Norse
- Robbins, Rossell Hope (1959). The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.
- Bulfinch, Thomas (1834). Bulfinch's Mythology. New York: Harper & Row, 1970, p. 348. ISBN 0-690-57260-3.
- Marshall Jones Company (1930). Mythology of All Races Series, Volume 2 Eddic, Great Britain: Marshall Jones Company, 1930, pp. 220–221.
- Chalmers, Alexander (1885). Domestic Annals of Scotland. Edinburgh : W & R Chambers. p. 70.
- Chalmers, Alexander (1885). Domestic Annals of Scotland. Edinburgh : W & R Chambers. p. 72.
- "Gylfaginning XI-XX". cybersamurai.net. Retrieved 18 November 2010.