Årolilja

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Norwegian/Finnish
(aw-ro-LEEL-ee-yah); (aw-roh-LEEL-yah)

Some sources believe the name is either derived from a Finnish word or an Old Norwegian word for the prairie lily.

The name appears in a 700 hundred year old Norwegian ballad, entitled Bendikt og Arolilja.

It recounts the exploits of a knight by the name of Bendikt who goes out to seek a wife.

Bendikt decides to visit the King of Soland to see what brides the king has to offer and, while at the court, Bendikt catches the eye of the beautiful princess Årolilja, but the king will not allow his daughter to marry the knight.

The king locks Arolilja away and blocks the entrance of her chamber with golden stairs. He edicts that anyone who climbs the stairs will be put to death. However, each night, Bendikt manages to visit his beloved in her little prison by dressing as a woman.

The lovers are betrayed by a servant and in some sources, by the younger son of the King, and Bendikt is punished by being tortured. The King finally has Bendikt tied up, but Benedikt somehow manages to break through the ropes.

The King then decides to chop off Årolilja’s hair and use it as the rope to bind Bendikt. The King knows that Bendikt loves Årolilja’s hair so much, that he would not have the heart to break through it.

In desperation, Årolilja begs her father for Bendikt’s life. Even the king’s wife begs for Bendikt’s life, but the king adamantly refuses to spare the knight. Finally, the whole kingdom begs the king for the life of the knight but to no avail.

Bendikt is put to death and Årolilja dies of grief at the very moment Bendikt dies, unbeknownst to the king. When the king realizes how much Årolilja loved the knight he decides to bury the two together.

Bendikt was buried to the north of the church and Årolilja to the south and from their graves grew the prairie lily. The two plants entwine, representing the everlasting love of Bendikt and Årolilja.

In recent years, the ballad has been revived by a few Norwegian Folk rock bands, bringing the name back into the spotlight. As a result, Årolilja has become more common in Norway.
The name has the possible nickname option of Lilja, Lily or even Aro.