What does "the Neck" mean in the phrase "The spawn of the Neck and the Devil"?

I've met it in the translation of the Swedish song Herr Mannelig (video).

Af Neckens och djävulens stämma

The spawn of the Neck and the Devil

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    Necken is a variant spelling of Nixie, a type of water sprite or faerie, according to the Herr Mannelig page on Wikipedia.
    – Adam Burke
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 5:36

1 Answer 1


Here the neck means something like water-nymph or mermaid or some kind of spirit living in the water.

In the Wikipedia page for Herr Mannelig, the following quote is linked to the page for "Neck (water spirit):

verse 6 is in the man's voice, rejecting the proposal, calling the troll "of the tribe of the neck and the devil" (af Neckens och djävulens stämma, while in the Näshulta he declines because he swore not to marry a heathen)

The link goes to this page, which says:

The Nixie [...] are humanoid, and often shapeshifting water spirits in Germanic mythology and of folklore. [...] The form neck appears in English and Swedish (näck or nek, meaning "nude"). [...] The Scandinavian näcken, näkki, nøkk were male water spirits who played enchanted songs on the violin, luring women and children to drown in lakes or streams. However, not all of these spirits were necessarily malevolent; many stories indicate at the very least that nøkker were entirely harmless to their audience and attracted not only women and children, but men as well with their sweet songs.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! I've edited your answer to add some actual info from the two pages you linked. Here, we generally prefer answers to be self-contained: including some links to support your claims is good and encouraged, but the necessary info should also be contained in the answer itself.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 7:05

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