One of the most wonderful things about folktales is how at times they become fragments of universal tales and mythology from places far from its origins, preserving old wisdom and wonder where science and logic can’t reach.
Today’s tale bares similarities in its themes with Lucius Apuleius’ Metamorphoses in which is included a story regarding the overcoming of obstacles between Psyche and Eros and their union at last in sacred marriage.
So here begins…
Perchta, Berchte, Berta among other names. In modern days is a totem for the righteous. “Rewarder of the generous and punisher of the bad, particularly lying children.”
Very well, “Winter Witch Season” can be overly dramatizing but it is a fact that until the 6th of January, in various parts of the world there were celebrations related to winter witches and goddesses.
While some of these witches were nice others were very admonishing, but most did call to your best behaviour. They protected the weak -and children’s souls who passed away among other traits- and maybe more importantly for the lucky ones, deliverers of good fortune and blessings. Unless you decided to stick to bad deeds and stepping out of your way to forsaken their specific rituals of the season.
Some entities would not be as forgiving, as among the benevolent ones there would be some like Berchta or Perchta – a goddess of Alpine paganism from the upper parts of the Alps- whose punishment could be somewhat absolute, as it involved having your stomach open, your insides pulled out and replaced with straw and pebbles…
Naughty or nice had a whole different kind of pressure. Quite an incentive to do good instead!
Nice try, but a mask won’t hide a voice she can recognize!
Portugal is a land of many traditions and among them, there’s one in particular that has been officially recognized as part of the “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO this month of December 2019! It is none other than the Caretos from Podence, in Trás-os-Montes e Alto-Douro, Portugal. A millenarian tradition celebrated in Winter, but festivities are more intense on Shrove Tuesday and its previous day.
There are several speculations about its origin and it’s believed to have Celtic roots, from a pre-Roman period. Probably related to the existence of the Gallaeci and Bracari in Galicia and North of Portugal.
A rather interesting theory also speaks of the connection to the Roman Saturnalia, the agricultural god Saturn and Lupercalia festivities, in honour of Pan, god of shepherds and flocks. And when you think of satyrs and their chase on the nymphs… Well, let’s keep going.
The Caretos are creatures that blur the lines stipulated by religion and profanity, born yearly when groups of men and boys dress in Continue reading
He that gives his goods before he’s dead, take up a mallet and knock him on the head (Scottish verse)
Elderly people who trick their ungrateful children into caring for them is yet another recurrent theme in the world of folktales.
The first records of such tales appear in the Middle Ages and spread across Europe, but the theme also appears in places as far as Kashmir and Sri Lanka.
As for the Portuguese version, we found one nearly identical to the German story, though the latter is shorter and provides dialogue to the characters, and also sets the number of daughters to three, unlike the Portuguese version, where there are only two daughters (guess the Portuguese decided to be more cost-effective).
Let us narrate the StarTwo translated adaptation of the next folktale.
This is the linework where you can see clearly all the elements we picked for this Magician’s apprentice illustration.
Each one of them is meant to link to the story, so make sure you don’t miss it by reading the tale and see the full version of the original illustration. You can quickly go there by clicking on the link below!
Click here to see the story and full colour illustration!
Our Enchanted Moorish Maiden still lingers waiting for someone to break the curse, knowing that freedom will require someone with bravery – and knowledge of the dangers. Here are the lines from her Creature Feature full colour post.
Today’s folktale was first transcribed in 1879 and it’s a recurrent theme in folktales around the world, this theme being of a magical restraint.
It also happens that similar versions of this tale can be found in Russia, Italy and Great Britain and here from Portugal there are two main versions: one from the south of the country and another from the north.
We present to you our translation (and adaptation) of the southern version since it’s a bit cheekier, in our opinion!
Without further ado, let’s begin!