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In Swedish folklore, a rå is a spirit connected to a place, object or animal; examples are the skogsrå (a forest being) and sjörå (a water being). Thus, the word rådande or råande may derive from rå and ande, "spirit". It may also be a corruption of trädande (plural trädandar), meaning tree spirit). Rå and råd-ande (with a hyphen) are attested in Jacob Mörk's political satire novel "Adalriks och Göthildas Äfventyr" published in Stockholm in 1742.
Benjamin Thorpe translates rådande as "elf" and identifies them with löfjerskor, or grove-folk. He explains that sacred groves were supposed to be protected by deities. A tree that grew unusually fast was a "habitation-tree" or boträd, and an invisible Radande was believed to live in its shade, rewarding those who cared for the tree and punishing any who harmed it.
- "RÅDANDE". Svenska Akademiens ordbok. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
- Mörk, Jacob-Henrik (1742). Adalriks och Göthildas Äfventyr. Stockholm.
- Thorpe, Benjamin (1851). Northern Mythology, Comprising the Principle Popular Traditions and Superstitions of Scandinavia, North Germany, and the Netherlands. Vol.2 Scandinavian popular traditions and superstitions. London: Edward Lumley. pp. 71–73.
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