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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fairy Tales express some of our most deep-seated yearnings: knowledge of the future, especially at the New Year

Today's highlights:

Stories about the New Year
Folk traditions to predict the future.
Designing your own New Year's celebration based on folk traditions.
New Year's Resolutions

Fairy Tale Justice
In these stories, characters are driven by a desire to know the future. There are many folk sayings and proverbs warning that it's not such a great idea to see too far ahead. In fact, much is to be said about ignoring the future altogether so as not to lose sight of the present. "Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once." (William Shakespeare) or "Hardly anyone knows how much is gained by ignoring the future." (Bernard de Fontenelle) or "Neither in the life of the individual nor in that of mankind is it desirable to know the future." (Jakob Burckhardt)

The fairy tale follows this sentiment but for the strong of heart or socially deviant there are certain rules to augur the future successfully. It is usually the breaking of these rules that leads to the destruction of the fairy tale character.

Divining the future in fairy tales & literature

There are various ways to divine the future in a fairy tale: dreams can reveal an answer to a question, signs or auguries can be interpreted or a medium can be consulted to communicate with a ghost or spirit. An early account of communicating with a ghost is told in 1 Samuel 28. Often the person most anxious to know the future is undone by the information received. The story of Saul and the "woman of spirits" is a good example. See the link for the entire Biblical story.
Link: http://www.bartleby.com

Friday, December 28, 2007

In these Fairy Tales, folk traditions are followed to predict the New Year

Frau Holla's predictions are kind to the diligent and sincere:
5. Frau Holla zieht umher
5. Frau Holla is stirring....
Frau Holla begins her wanderings on Christmas Eve, for this is when goodwives bind new scraps of cotton or flax around their spindles. The spindles are then left out over night. If Frau Holla sees them, she says:
"So many a hair,
So many a good year."
Frau Holla repeats this every evening until New Year's or Three Kings' Day. Then she must return to her Horselberg; but when she returns if she finds flax on the spindle she becomes very angry and says:
"So many a hair,
So many a bad year.
"That is why every evening when work is done the maidservants carefully remove from their spindles whatever they have not spun so that the spindles are bare and no evil befalls them. But it's even better if they are able to spin off all the bound batting before the end of the day.
In these tales, superstitious maids use breadcrusts and dreams to predict their fortunes in the New Year...
In the early morning on Christmas Eve Day, superstitious maids buy a roll in the baker's shop for a Pfennig and always a bun with an end piece that is closed off. They cut off a bit of the crust, tie it under their right arm and work diligently the entire day. Afterward when they go to bed, they place the crust under their pillow on Christmas Eve and say:"Now I lay down to sleep with bread by me,If only my true love came and ate with me!"At midnight some of the bread crust should be gnawed and in the morning you can tell whether or not the maid will marry her true love during the year. If the bread was left untouched, there is little hope. It also supposedly happened (in 1657 in Leipzig) that two slept in one bed. One had such a bread crust under her pillow, the other not. The other one heard a creaking and gnawing and was afraid and shook her bedfellow until she awoke from her dreams. When they looked at the bread in the morning, the form of a cross had been eaten out of it. The woman soon found a soldier as husband.An old woman in Saale Fields says that others take a vessel with water and measure out the water with a certain small measuring cup, pouring it into another vessel. They do this endless times to see whether in the repeat measurements they find more water than the first time. From this they tell whether the following year will increase their possessions and goods. If they find the one and same measure, they believe their fate will stand still and bring neither fortune nor misfortune. But if in the end there is less water, they believe that their prosperity will decline. The Saale Field woman had the second thing happen to her.Others take a bowl of peas and a ball of twine, bind the twine fast to the bowl and wind the ball until it can run no more than before. Now they let go it, releasing one yard or six. They now hang the contraption out of the window and move it from one side to another on the outer walls and say: "Listen, listen!" From the side area they should hear the voice, to whom they must come to free and to live with. Others reach their hands out of the door and when they pull their hands back in, have several hairs from their future true love.
Secrets, magic and knives may pose risks to those seeking to identify their future true loves:
Nr. 116 Der Liebhaber zum Essen eingeladen
The lover invited to dinner and augury to foretell one's fortunes in the New Year

There once lived a woman who earned her living as a tax collector. Secretly this woman had fallen in love with her bookkeeper. She wanted to win his heart through magic and so she had a fresh loaf of bread baked on Holy Christmas Eve. She then stuck two knives into the loaf, cross-wise while murmuring quite a few words of incantation. The bookkeeper came to her from his sleep, completely unclothed, sat down at the table and looked at her severely. She stood up and ran away but the bookkeeper pulled both knives out of the bead and hurled them after her and almost wounded her. Afterward, he returned home; her aunt, who was present in the chamber, was so violently frightened that she lay in bed for several weeks unable to move. The following day the bookkeeper was heard to inquire of the household servants: he would like to know the woman who had scared him so in the past night. He was so tired that he could hardly speak, he should have escaped easily but could not defend himself; he tried, but pray as he would, he was instead driven out into the night.The same old woman, who told this tale, added: On Christmas Eve in Coburg several young noble women kept something back from their dinner meal and got up at midnight and sat down at the table. Soon, their dearest came, each one brought a knife and wanted to sit down beside their girl. The noble women were frightened and fled; but one took the knife and threw it back. She turned around and looked at him and picked up the knife. Another time, instead of the invited swains, the physical incarnation of death came into the room and placed an hour glass next to one of the girls, who then died during the year.In Silesia three ladies of the court sat down at a covered table on Christmas Eve and waited for their future true loves. For each a place had been set at the table. They had appeared in response to an invitation, but only two came and they sat down next to two ladies. The third did not appear. But the one who was left out became sad and impatient and finally got up after waiting in vain. When she went to the window and looked out, she viewed a coffin across the way, a young woman was lying within, who looked just like her. The young lady became ill immediately and died soon thereafter. According to oral tradition, the death chest comes into the room, the girl approaches it, the boards of the chest open up and the maid falls dead inside.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The First Adam and Eve

And Adam looked through the crack and saw that it was God.

180 Die ungleichen Kinder Evas
No. 180 Eve’s unequal children

When Adam and Eve were driven out of paradise, they had to build a house on unfertile ground and eat their bread with the sweat still clinging to their brows. Adam tended the field and Eve spun wool. Eve bore a child every year, but the children were not equal. Some were beautiful, others ugly. After some time had passed, God sent an angel to the couple and let them know that He was coming and wanted to look at their household. Eve, was happy that God was so gracious, busily cleaned her house, decorated it with flowers and spread rushes on the clay floor. Then she fetched the children, but only the pretty ones. She washed and bathed them, combed their hair, dressed them in freshly washed clothes and warned them to act properly and behave modestly in the presence of God. They should bow politely before Him, offer their hand and answer His questions simply and understandably. But the ugly children were not to show themselves. One hid behind the hay, the other under the roof, the third in the straw, the fourth in the oven, the fifth in the cellar, the sixth under a sled runner, the seventh under a wine barrel, the eighth under an old fur, the ninth and tenth under the cloth, from which Eve made clothes for her children and the eleventh and twelfth under the leather, from which she made their shoes. Everything was just finished when there was a knock at the door. Adam looked through the crack and saw that it was God. Respectfully he opened the door and the Heavenly Father entered. There stood the beautiful children in a row, bowed, offered Him their hands and knelt down. And God began blessing them. He placed His hands on the first child and said, “You will become a mighty king”. To the second “You will become a prince,” to the third “You will become a count,” to the fourth “You will become a knight,” to the fifth “You will become a nobleman,” to the sixth “You will become a buerger,” to the seventh “You will become a merchant,” to the eighth “You will become a scholar.” He dispensed to them all his rich blessings. When Eve saw that God was so mild and gracious, she thought “I also want to bring my plain children. Maybe God will also give his blessing.” She ran and fetched them from the hay, straw, oven and wherever they were hidden. The entire flock came, rough, dirty, grimy and sooty. God laughed and looked at them all and said “I want to bless them, too.” He placed his hands on the first child and said “You shall become a farmer,” to the second “You shall become a fisher,” to the third “You shall become a blacksmith,” to the fourth “You shall become a tanner,” to the fifth “You shall become a weaver,” to the sixth “You shall become a shoemaker,” to the seventh “You shall become a tailor,” to the eighth “You shall become a potter,” to the ninth “You shall become a wagon driver,” to the ninth “You shall become a shipman,” to the eleventh “You shall become a messenger,” to the twelfth “You shall become a servant your life long.” When Eve heard this she said “God, why do you divide your blessings so unequally? These are all my children, and I have borne each and every one of them: your grace should touch them all equally.” But God said “Eve, you don’t understand. It is right and distresses me that I see the entire world filled with your children: if they were all princes and nobles, who would plant, thresh, grind and bake the corn? Who would forge, weave, work the wood, build, dig, sew and mow? Each should have his trade, so that the one sustains the other and all are nourished, like the limbs on a body.” Eve responded “Oh God, forgive me, I was too rash when I went on. Your will be done also with my children.”


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Pass on to friends or link to.
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Adam and Eve

And Adam looked through a crack and said that it was God.

Nr. 180 Die ungleichen Kinder Evas
No. 180 Eve’s unequal children

When Adam and Eve were driven out of paradise, they had to build a house on unfertile ground and eat their bread with the sweat still clinging to their brows. Adam tended the field and Eve spun wool. Eve bore a child every year, but the children were not equal. Some were beautiful, others ugly. After some time had passed, God sent an angel to the couple and let them know that He was coming and wanted to look in on their household. Eve, who was happy that God was so gracious, busily cleaned her house, decorated it with flowers and spread rushes on the clay floor. Then she fetched the children, but only the pretty ones. She washed and bathed them, combed their hair, dressed them in freshly washed clothes and warned them to act properly and behave modestly in the presence of God. They should bow politely before Him, offer their hand and answer His questions simply and understandably. But the ugly children were not to show themselves. One hid behind the hay, the other under the roof, the third in the straw, the fourth in the oven, the fifth in the cellar, the sixth under a sled runner, the seventh under a wine barrel, the eighth under an old fur, the ninth and tenth under the cloth, from which Eve made clothes for her children and the eleventh and twelfth under the leather, from which she made their shoes. Everything was just finished when there was a knock at the door. Adam looked through a crack and said that it was God. Respectfully he opened the door and the Heavenly Father entered. There stood the beautiful children in a row, bowed, offered Him their hands and knelt down. And God began blessing them. He placed His hands on the first child and said, “You will become a mighty king”. To the second “You will become a prince,” to the third “You will become a count,” to the fourth “You will become a knight,” to the fifth “You will become a nobleman,” to the sixth “You will become a buerger,” to the seventh “You will become a merchant,” to the eighth “You will become a scholar.” He bestowed all his rich blessings. When Eve saw that God was so mild and gracious, she thought “I also want to bring my plain children. Maybe God will also give his blessing.” She ran and fetched them from the hay, straw, oven and wherever they were hidden. The entire flock came, rough, dirty, grimy and sooty. God laughed and looked at them all and said “I want to bless them, too.” He placed his hands on the first child and said “You shall become a farmer,” to the second “You shall become a fisher,” to the third “You shall become a blacksmith,” to the fourth “You shall become a tanner,” to the fifth “You shall become a weaver,” to the sixth “You shall become a shoemaker,” to the seventh “You shall become a tailor,” to the eighth “You shall become a potter,” to the ninth “You shall become a wagon driver,” to the ninth “You shall become a shipman,” to the eleventh “You shall become a messenger,” to the twelfth “You shall become a servant your life long.” When Eve heard this she said “God, why do you divide your blessings so unequally? These are all my children, and I have borne each and every one of them: your grace should touch them all equally.” But God said “Eve, you don’t understand. It is right and distresses me that I see the entire world filled with your children: if they were all princes and nobles, who would plant, thresh, grind and bake the corn? Who would forge, weave, work the wood, build, dig, sew and mow? Each should have his trade, so that the one sustains the other and all are nourished, like the limbs on a body.” Eve responded “Oh God, forgive me, I was too rash when I went on. Your will be done also with my children.”


Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.org
Please read and enjoy this article.
Pass on to friends or link to.
Please do not plagiarize, copy or pilfer. Thanks and enjoy!

In these Christmas stories, knives are hurled and a coffin appears.

Nr. 116 Der Liebhaber zum Essen eingeladen
The lover invited to dinner and Christmas Eve augury

There once lived a woman who earned her living as a tax collector. Secretly this woman had fallen in love with her bookkeeper. She wanted to win his heart through magic and so she had a fresh loaf of bread baked on Holy Christmas Eve. She then stuck two knives into the loaf, cross-wise while murmuring quite a few words of incantation. The bookkeeper came to her from his sleep, completely unclothed, sat down at the table and looked at her severely. She stood up and ran away but the bookkeeper pulled both knives out of the bead and hurled them after her and almost wounded her. Afterward, he returned home; her aunt, who was present in the chamber, was so violently frightened that she lay in bed for several weeks unable to move. The following day the bookkeeper was heard to inquire of the household servants: he would like to know the woman who had scared him so in the past night. He was so tired that he could hardly speak, he should have escaped easily but could not defend himself; he tried, but pray as he would, he was instead driven out into the night.

The same old woman, who told this tale, added: On Christmas Eve in Coburg several young noble women kept something back from their dinner meal and got up at midnight and sat down at the table. Soon, their dearest came, each one brought a knife and wanted to sit down beside their girl. The noble women were frightened and fled; but one took the knife and threw it back. She turned around and looked at him and picked up the knife. Another time, instead of the invited swains, the physical incarnation of death came into the room and placed an hour glass next to one of the girls, who then died during the year.

In Silesia three ladies of the court sat down at a covered table on Christmas Eve and waited for their future true loves. For each a place had been set at the table. They had appeared in response to an invitation, but only two came and they sat down next to two ladies. The third did not appear. But the one who was left out became sad and impatient and finally got up after waiting in vain. When she went to the window and looked out, she viewed a coffin across the way, a young woman was lying within, who looked just like her. The young lady became ill immediately and died soon thereafter. According to oral tradition, the death chest comes into the room, the girl approaches it, the boards of the chest open up and the maid falls dead inside.