Prior to the 20th century, when food was scarce and children born outside of marriage were shunned, infanticide was a common crime in the Nordic countries. The souls of the unfortunate children killed for these reasons became Mylings.
Left in the woods to die, drowned at the hand of their mother (as it was often unmarried women who had been left to fend for themselves that had to resort to such terrible acts) or murdered by an “angel maker” (who was paid by the mother to find the child a good hope but then murdered the infant when the mother had left), the souls of these children returned as Mylings to haunt the areas they had once known with horrible wailing noises, crying for their mother to breastfeed them (which would set them free).
They appeared as orbs of light similar to an Irrbloss (will-o’-the-wisp) and would lead the curious follower astray. But a person who helped a Myling to pass over to the afterlife would be left with a gift.
Artwork by Simon Flesser of simogo.com