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Monday, June 29, 2009

Fairy Tale of Prince and Horse Chapter 8: In the Werewolf's Den

Walpurga, the Abbess of Heidenheim


Fairy Tale of Prince and Horse Chapter 8, in the Werewolf’s Den.As the brightness of day faded, the horse carried the prince further and further into the woods. The sun was hanging low in the sky, when the prince awoke as from a dream. Horse and rider continued on a crooked path twisting deeper and deeper into the woods. At last they left the cold and dewy forest and emerged on a steep road, which became stonier with each step. As a full moon rose in the sky, a small hut could be seen and through its window glimmered candlelight.

The prince dismounted from his exhausted horse, its body damp from exertion. Looking through the window, he spied an old woman setting the table with what looked like a banquet feast. He heard a raspy voice command from within “Enter! The food is ready and you shall be fed the very best!”

She was a hunched woman with a mane of silvery-brown hair. Shuffling back and forth through the room, she never looked into the prince’s face as she carried heaped platters of food and pitchers full to the brim. A broad leather belt girdled her dark and dank dress. Her hair was matted, her skin wrinkled and moist. The prince returned to the horse, who whispered in his ear: “I would advise using a silver spoon when you eat her fare!” The prince removed from the horse’s saddlebag a shiny silver spoon and entered the clammy and dark hut. A chill ran down his spine as he sat at the table. Although a fire burned in the fireplace, the room was cold and the prince could not shake the chill that seized him.

True to her promise, the food was indeed delicious and plentiful. But alas, the old woman placed a tin spoon on the table. Carefully slipping the silver spoon from his pocket, the prince began eating from the splendid assortment. He was soon satisfied and somewhat drowsy from the strong drink.

“You were hungered!” the woman said approvingly. Her chest heaved with each word and her breathing was loud and uneven. “It is good to understand true hunger, food tastes better,” she muttered. The old woman then began a raspy monologue while she cleared the table. She said her name was Walpurga and had lived in the region since birth. She was the last surviving member of a noble family. The prince dozed off as she prattled on about her extensive land holdings, the servants who tended the fine herd of sheep, the succulent little lambs, the sinewy cattle. Soon the prince was snoring. The old woman cautiously rose from her chair and unbuckled her leather belt. It slipped from her waist and she was a wolf.

With lightening speed the wolf lunged across the table toward the sleeper. In the nick of time the prince, now roused and still gripping the silver spoon, held it up to ward off the blow of the wolf’s powerful body. The dreaded snout hissed, the stench and foulness of its breath could be felt against the prince’s cheek. In the last second, the animal veered off to the side howling pitifully. “Quick!” the horse cried out, “You are no match for a werewolf! We must invoke the mistletoe.

“Mistletoe, Mistletoe, Where do you grow?” the steed cried out.

With the prince still holding the silver spoon to keep the wolf at bay, the horse chanted this magic charm:

“Mistletoe, mistletoe, where do you grow?
Neath the full moon glittering?
Neath the owl twittering?
Climb up and around,
Without a sound.

Mistletoe, mistletoe, where do you grow?
Neath the full moon glittering?
Neath the owl twittering?
Form strong bands,
Round werewolf hands.”

Grow fast,
Grow round,
Grow up,
Grow down.
Mistletoe, Mistletoe grow!”

Small voices could be heard from the floor of the cabin as buds sprouted swiftly around the werewolf, who stood subdued by the shining silver spoon:

“Here we grow, here we grow.
All fat-stemmed blossoms.
Your cry was heard,
Like cuckoo bird.
We grow fast,
We grow round,
We grow up,
We grow down. “

The mistletoe grew up on all sides of the werewolf, encircling the beast in a ring of green leaves. The wolf could not step beyond the ring of vegetation and the silver spoon sparkling in the candlelight seemed to terrify the creature even more.

“You must shout out her Christian name three times to break the werewolf spell. Then, she shall serve you and you both will be allied!”

“Walpurga, Walpurga, Walpurga!” the prince screamed out as loudly and forcefully as his lungs permitted.

Where the wolf had stood, a young woman in an abbess’s frock now appeared. At that moment a warmth spread through the room and the prince could feel it in his bones.
“I am Walpurga, the Abbess of Heidenheim. Welcome!” she said.


Read Chapter 7:
http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2009/06/fairy-tale-of-prince-and-horse-chapter.html

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fairy Tales to Read Under a Full Moon: The Werewolf Stone and Werewolf Lullaby


Grimm’s Saga No. 215: The Werewolf Stone
Otmar, pages 270 – 276

Near a village in Magdeburg called Eggenstedt, not far from Sommerschenburg and Schoenigen, a huge rock juts out of the Anger Mountain near Seehausen. Folks call it the W o l f or W e r e w o l f Stone. A long, long time ago a stranger was staying near the Brandsleber Forest (otherwise known as a place where the pick axe was used). No one knew this stranger or where he came from. They only knew him as the “old man”. He often appeared in villages, offered his services and then accomplished his tasks to the utmost satisfaction of the townspeople. He especially liked to tend the sheep.

Now it happened that there was a nice little dark-hued lamb among the herd that Shepherd Melle tended. The stranger relentlessly urged the shepherd to give the lamb to him. The shepherd wouldn’t hear of it. On shearing day, Melle brought along the old man who was helping him. When he came back, everything was as he had left it and the work was done; only the old man and the lamb could not be found. No one heard from the old man for a long time. Finally he appeared unexpectedly to Melle, who was grazing his flock in the Katten Valley. He called to him scornfully “Good day, Melle, your colorful lamb sends greetings!” In anger the shepherd reached for his staff to take revenge. Suddenly the stranger changed shape and lunged at him in the form of a werewolf. The shepherd recoiled in fear but his hounds fell upon the wolf in rage and the wolf fled. Pursued, the wolf ran through forest and valley until he was close to Eggenstedt. The hounds surrounded him there and the shepherds cried “Now you must die!” But suddenly the old man stood there again in human form and pleaded for his life. He cried out for mercy to all. The shepherd in his rage fell upon him with his staff – but before him now stood a budding rose bush. The shepherd was bent on revenge and did not stop, but brutally cut down the branches. Once more the stranger turned into a man and asked that his life be spared. The hard-hearted Melle was unyielding. The werewolf attempted to flee but one blow from Melle struck him dead and he fell to the earth like a stone. Where he fell and was buried, a rock marks the spot and has been called the Werewolf Stone for all ages.

The Werewolf Lullaby
If I were, were, were, were a werewolf,
Not werebear or were-mouse,
Not were-pig or were-louse,
Free of wem, stainless,
Free of scar, blameless,
I would walk with the wedders and their sheep wives,
Always even-tempered past the bee hives.
I would do no harm, ther'd be no alarm.
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fairy Tales to Read Under a Full Moon: The Werewolf



Grimm’s Saga No. 213: The Werewolf

Oral tradition from Hessen.
See Braeuner’s Curiostiy Pages

A soldier told the following story, which supposedly happened to his own grandfather. His grandfather once went out into the forest to cut wood with his cousin and a third person. They both suspected something wasn’t right with this third person, but couldn’t lay their finger on it. Now the three had finished their work and were tired. The stranger proposed that they should all sleep it off. And so it happened, each lay down on the ground. The grandfather lay down and only pretended to sleep and opened his eyes a little. The stranger looked around to see whether the others were sleeping and when he believed that they were, he threw off his belt and became a werewolf. A werewolf doesn’t look exactly like a natural wolf but looks a bit different. He ran away to a nearby meadow where a young foal was grazing. He attacked and ate it, skin, hair and all. Returning to his two sleeping comrades, he buckled the belt around his girth and lay there as before in human form. After a short time they all got up and made haste to get to their homes in town. As they stood at the edge of the town, the stranger complained about a fearsome bellyache. The grandfather whispered secretly into his ear: “That I do believe, when one devours a horse, skin and all!” But the stranger replied: “If you had said those words in the forest, you wouldn’t be speaking now.”

A woman took on the form of a werewolf and fell upon the flock of a shepherd, whom she hated. She would have done him enormous harm. But the shepherd wounded the wolf by throwing a hatchet into its hip and the wolf crept into the bushes. The shepherd followed the wolf into the brush and thought he would subdue him. But instead he found a woman trying to stop blood from flowing out of a hip-wound with a torn-off scrap from her dress.

Two magicians were executed in Luettich in 1610 because they had turned themselves into werewolves and killed many children. They kept a young boy of twelve years their captive, whom the devil transformed into a raven when they tore to pieces and devoured their prey.



To read more tales about wolves and werewolves:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2010/09/men-who-become-wolves.html


To read a fairy tale about a prince and his horse:

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reading the German Fairy Tale Hans-My-Hedgehog

Terracotta Hedgehog, National Museum, Athens


The Artist as Hedgehog

It has been said that the blessings of money and property give rise to both leisure and art. But in the poignant tale of Hans-My-Hedgehog, the birth of a musically gifted young poet-hedgehog is not perceived as a blessing by the rich farmer.
According to the wisdom of this folk tale, prosperity without offspring makes for a meaningless life. But life with a sickly child or a child that does not match the physical ideal poses its own challenges. Both parents are embarrassed by their misshapen son, let him languish behind the stove because they do not know what to do with him and finally wish him dead. Below the prickly surface of his hedgehog skin lies a deep poetic temperament and musical ability, but all his parents see are the rough edges. His outward appearance is not the only thing that places the young hedgehog in a peculiar class all by himself. Rather, it his quiet self-confidence and focus on becoming who he is that set him apart. Taking his destiny in his own hands, he decides to dedicate his life to the study of bagpipe playing and donkey and pig-herding. In these endeavors he is peerless. His life, which seemed so useless and embarrassing to his parents, confers practical riches on the community in the form of his greatly enlarged herd. But his beautiful music feeds the soul. Music was long considered a gift from the gods and the first musicians were believed to be gods or demi-gods. Hans-My-Hedgehog shares some attributes of the Ancient Greek god Pan, who was the herders’ god and therefore lived in wild and remote places. Travelers through desolate mountain or woodland settings attributed unusual sounds in the forest to Pan’s beautiful pipe playing. The god was also constantly falling in love but rejected by those he wooed because of his ugliness.
In the end, Hans-My-Hedgehog distinguishes the true bride from the false bride (in a rather grisly way) and his wedding culminates in a startling transformation through fire. He sheds his hedgehog skin and becomes a beautifully shaped young man. Only then is the wedding feast celebrated. This might be based on a long-forgotten wedding ritual, where the marriage partner is reborn or becomes a new person through the symbolical removal of old skin. In his new, all-human form, he now seeks out his father. Although he has pledged never more to return and his father was glad to be rid of him, their reunion is a happy one, attesting to the powerful bonds of love and family.




To read the fairy tale:  

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2009/06/german-fairy-tale-of-hans-my-hedgehog.html


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Thursday, June 11, 2009

The German Fairy Tale of Hans-My-Hedgehog


Grimm's Fairy Tale No. 108: Hans-My-Hedgehog

Once there lived a farmer, who was blessed with plenty of money and property. But as rich as he was, there was one thing missing from his fortune: he and his wife had no children. Often when he went into the city with the other farmers, they mocked him and asked why he didn’t have any children. Finally he became so angry that one day when he returned home he said “I want a child, even if it’s a hedgehog.”

And so it was, his wife soon bore a son. But the top of the child’s body was a hedgehog and only the lower part was a boy. When the farmer’s wife saw the child, she recoiled and said “See what you have brought down upon us!”

The man replied “It's no use complaining now! The boy must be baptized and I doubt very much we will be able to find a godfather.”

His wife answered “That doesn’t matter because the only name we can use to baptize him is Hans-My-Hedgehog.”

When the child was baptized the pastor said “Because of the barbs on his back, he won’t be able to sleep in a real bed.” So, a little straw was placed behind the stove and Hans-My-Hedgehog was placed there. He couldn’t drink his mother’s milk because he would have pricked her with his barbs. So he lay behind the stove for eight years. His father became tired of him and thought if only he would die. He didn’t die, but remained lying there.

Now it happened that there was a market in the city and the farmer wanted to go. He asked his wife what he should bring her. “A bit of meat and a few rolls, those things we need for our household,” she answered.

Then he asked the maid. She wanted slippers and a few socks.

Finally he asked “Hans-My-Hedgehog, what do you want?” “Dear father,” he said “Bring me a bagpipe.”

When the farmer returned home, he gave his wife what he had purchased, meat and bread. Then he gave the maid the slippers and stockings. Finally he went behind the stove and gave Hans-My-Hedgehog the bagpipe. And when Hans-My-Hedgehog had the bagpipe, he said “Dear father, go to the smithy and have him shoe my rooster, because I want to ride away and never more return.” The father was pleased that he would be rid of him and had the rooster shod. When it was finished, Hans-My-Hedgehog mounted the bird and rode away. He took with him several pigs and donkeys, which he wanted to graze in the forest. Once in the forest, the rooster flew with him up into a high tree. There he sat and guarded the donkeys and pigs and sat many years until, finally, the herd was very large. But his father didn’t know anything about him. As he passed his time sitting in the tree, he blew into his bagpipe and made music and it was very beautiful. Once a king came riding by. He became lost and heard the music. In amazement, he sent his servant and said he should look around and see where the music was coming from. But the servant found nothing else than a small animal sitting up in a tree. It looked like a rooster on which a hedgehog sat playing music. The king told his servant he should ask why he was sitting there and whether he knew the way back to his kingdom. Hans-My-Hedgehog climbed down from the tree and said he would show the way if the king would promise to write down and promise to him the first thing he encountered at the royal court when he returned home. The king thought “That will be easy. Hans-My-Hedgehog can’t read and I can write down whatever I want.” The king took a quill and some ink and wrote something down and when it was done, Hans-My-Hedgehog showed him the way and he arrived happily at home. But it was his daughter who saw him from afar and was so happy that she ran to meet him and kissed him. The king thought about Hans-My-Hedgehog and told her what had happened and that the strange creature told him to write down the first thing he encountered. And the little animal sat on a rooster like a horse and played pretty music. He intended to write down something but Hans-My-Hedgehog couldn’t read it anyway. The princess was happy with this solution and said, she never wanted to leave the king’s castle.

But Hans-My-Hedgehog continued to tend the donkeys and pigs and was content. He sat in the tree and blew his bagpipe. Now it happened that another king was passing through the forest. He soon got lost with his servants and runners and entourage. In utter dismay, he wandered about the woods because they were so immense. All at once he heard beautiful music in the distance and commanded his runner and to go and ask what it was. The runner went and in the tree he found Hans-My-Hedgehog sitting on the rooster. The runner asked him what he was doing. “I am guarding my donkeys and pigs; but what are you doing?” The runner said, that the king and his companions were lost and could not find the way back to their kingdom. Couldn’t Hans-My-Hedgehog show them the way?

Hans-My-Hedgehog climbed down from the tree and said to the old king, he would show him the way if he would give him the first thing he encountered once he was home and standing before his royal castle. The king said “yes” and promised Hans-My-Hedgehog that he should have it. After this had happened, the king arrived happily again at his kingdom. When he entered the court, the people were jubilant. Now his only daughter, who was very beautiful, ran to meet him, embraced him and rejoiced that her father had returned. She also asked him where he had been so long and he told her. He had become lost and almost wouldn’t have returned if he hadn’t met a creature, half hedgehog, half man, sitting on a rooster up in a high tree, playing beautiful music. This creature helped him and showed the way home. In return he promised to give him the first thing he encountered once he had returned to his royal castle. That thing was his daughter. But she promised him, she would gladly go, because she loved her father so dearly.

But Hans-My-Hedgehog tended his pigs and the pigs in turn had more pigs and their numbers grew until the entire forest was filled with them. Hans-My-Hedgehog no longer wanted to live in the forest and sent word to his father, they should clear the stable in the village. He was returning with such a large herd, that each person could slaughter whatever he wanted. His father was saddened, when he heard this news, because he thought Hans-my-Hedgehog had died a long time ago. But Hans-My-Hedgehog sat on his rooster, drove the pigs back to the village and had them slaughtered: Hu! That was a feast day and it took several hours for the work to be done. Afterward Hans-My-Hedgehog said “Dear father, let me have my rooster shoed once more by the smithy, because I want to ride away and will never return as long as I live.” His father had the rooster shoed and was happy that Hans-My-Hedgehog wouldn’t return again.

Hans-My-Hedgehog rode away to the first king’s castle. The old king there had commanded that if a creature came riding on a rooster and if he had a bagpipe, then everyone should shoot at him, hew and stab so that he could not enter the castle. When Hans-My-Hedgehog came riding, they thrust their bayonets toward him, but he gave the rooster the spur and flew up over the gate before the king’s window. There he landed and called to him, that the king should now deliver what he had promised. Otherwise, he would take the lives of the king and his daughter both.

The king spoke soothing words to his daughter. She should go out to him to save both their lives. She put on a white dress and her father gave her a wagon with six horses, wonderful servants, money and property. She mounted the carriage and next to her were Hans-My-Hedgehog, his rooster and bagpipe. They then said goodbye and departed. But the king thought gleefully to himself, he was now rid of them and would never see them again. But things happened a bit differently from what he thought. When they were a short distance from the city, Hans-My-Hedgehog bristled his barbs and poked her all over with his hedgehog skin. Soon her clothes were ripped to shreds and she was covered in blood. “That is the reward for your falseness. Now go back, I don’t want you,” he said. And he chased her home and she was held in contempt her entire life long.

Hans-My-Hedgehog rode on with his rooster and bagpipe to the second kingdom, where the old king lived, to whom he had also shown the way. But this king commanded that when Hans-My-Hedgehog arrived, they should display royal arms and escort him in. Call out Vive! And bring him into the castle in pomp and ceremony. When the king’s daughter saw him, she became terrified because of the oddity of the creature’s shape. But a promise is a promise and it could not be changed. She welcomed Hans-My-Hedgehog and they were married. He sat at the royal table and she sat by his side. They ate and drank together side-by-side.

When night fell, they wanted to go to sleep. She feared his barbs but he said, she should not be fearful and she would not be harmed. He told the old king, four men should stand guard outside their chamber door and make a huge fire. When he entered the chamber and wanted to go to bed, he would take off his hedgehog skin and place it next to the bed. The men should then come quickly and throw the skin into the fire and wait until it was entirely consumed by the flames.

When the clock struck eleven, Hans-My-Hedgehog went into the bedchamber, took off his hedgehog skin and placed it beside the bed. The men came and quickly threw it into the fire. When the fire had consumed it, he was redeemed. He lay in bed entirely in the shape of a man. However, his skin had been burned as black as charcoal. The king sent him his doctor, who washed him and rubbed him with salve and oil until his complexion was clear and fresh like a beautiful young man. When the king’s daughter saw him, she rejoiced. The next morning they rose in happiness, ate, and drank and only then was the wedding feast celebrated. Hans-My-Hedgehog received the kingdom from the old king.

After many years passed, Hans-My-Hedgehog led his wife back to his father and told him that he was his son. But the father said, he didn’t have a son. He only had one a long time ago. But he was a hedgehog, born with barbs all over his body. He had left him a long time ago and went out into the world. The son then revealed himself to his father and the father rejoiced and returned with him to his kingdom.

To read about the artist as hedgehog:

 http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2009/06/reading-german-fairy-tale-hans-my.html

To read about another fairy tale wedding:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2009/08/french-tale-of-fairy-sisters-july.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/06/grimms-fairy-tale-130-one-eye-two-eyes.html


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Friday, June 5, 2009

Fairy Tale of Prince and Horse, Chapter 7, in which the prince being forewarned by the Ant King takes refuge in the shielding forest.

But he did not know where he was or whither they were going.


Fairy Tale of Prince and Horse Chapter 7, in which the prince being forewarned by the Ant King takes refuge in the shielding forest.
The Ant King, having finished his song, looked up at the prince and spoke: “Do not lose a precious minute, flee immediately. The king is rallying his army of witches, werewolves and giants and their power should not be underestimated!”

“But Ant King, where shall I begin? Where shall I go?” In the distance a faint humming could already be heard. The noise swelled and the very ground they stood on began to shake as the frightening sound approached.

“Quickly!” the Ant King cried to his underlings. “Submerge, submerge!” With that, his entire colony rushed to their ant hole and soon vanished underground.

With no ant hole of his own for protection, the prince looked around and saw a forest at some distance. He ran for it and just as he reached its edge, he turned back to see an immense army on the horizon. Dust spun up creating black clouds around the throng; the creak and crackle, whoof and whoompf of war vehicles melded into one loud roar. And still the mob rushed toward him. With no time left to lose he turned and ran into the shielding forest. After running for some time, he thought the menacing cacophony had diminished somewhat. But still he ran on, breathless and with heart beating. Surely now he had lost them in this impenetrable maze of trees and bushes and thickets. Soon he heard a new sound, meager at first but cheery. Was it a song or was it the sighing of the wind passing through the dense treetops? Now he thought it was a lark, now he thought it was a woman’s beautiful song. He followed the sweet music and could almost discern words in the melody. The source was just over the next hillock or in the next grove, behind that jagged rock or down the next valley. But when he reached the next hillock or the next grove, the melody seemed to be further ahead and so he pushed on, drawn to its sweetness and purity. The shadows of early evening soon descended and the prince found himself hopelessly astray. As blackness enveloped the woods, the prince sank down beside an enormous oak tree in complete exhaustion. Soon he was fast asleep. He dreamt he could see his bride walking ahead of him in the forest. It was she who was singing. As he got nearer and nearer to her, the song became clearer and more beautiful. He felt a deep calm come over him and smiled peacefully because he knew he would soon be with her. And then he felt her warm embrace like a slowly enveloping cocoon. At first, warmth spread through his body but soon it felt more like a stranglehold and then he could barely breathe. Awakening he found the oak tree had sprouted woody arms, which had grown tightly around him while he slept. He choked, he struggled, to no avail. The tree had been bewitched by the king’s hexes. It would now destroy him as he lay there helplessly. In this blackest of hours he remembered the magic horse charm. Barely able to gasp out the words, he beseeched the horse to come to his aid:

Huzza, huzza, hinny-whinny.
Fly like a hawk, shake like thunder.
Eyes like the sun,
Hooves swift-footed.
Come to me horse,
Where I am rooted.

Huzza, huzza, hinny-whinny.
Fly like a hawk, shake like thunder.
Legs are leaping,
Ears are keeping.
Come to me horse,
Where I lay weeping.

As the prince lay gasping for breath in the wooden embrace of the oak tree, he could finally discern the words of the song that had lured him to his demise. The witches sang:

You four-footed beasts,
And two-tailed creatures,
You creeping things,
And winged leeches,
Fly from the sky,
Come nigh.
Choke, strike, hew,
Choke, strike, hew!

But above the witches’ wicked cries could be heard another more hopeful and familiar sound. It was the swooshing sound of the prince’s steed as he hurtled through the air. It was the sound of his hooves alighting on firm ground. It was the neighing of the horse as he battled the witches, four-footed beasts, two-tailed creatures, creeping things and winged leeches. When the prince awoke, he found himself lying on the back of his horse, but he did not know where he was or whither they were going.


Read Chapter 8:
http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2009/06/fairy-tale-of-prince-and-horse-chapter_29.html

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