Why Christmas is a time for horny devils

christmas-520946_1920

Image: Pixabay

It’s that time of year again.

The Advent calendar’s out, our’s being a felt hanging with numbered pockets which I’m expected to fill with chocolate every night up until the ‘Big Day’ (because, according to my son, carrot sticks and tiny boxes of raisins are ‘not appropriate things to wake up to in December’. Fussy.)

I keep eyeing the ‘Christmas box’, that treasure trove of shimmering nonsense filled with glass teardrops and stars and snowflakes, wondering if I need to buy more fairy lights – even though we have a couple of strings of white, three multi-coloured, one green – because you can never have enough lights up, can you?

And I’ve spent this morning searching the net, ordering books I can collect from bookshops and DVDs straight from the BBC, just so that I can avoid using that global behemoth named after a big, sweaty jungle, because they don’t pay their taxes, the grabbing devils.

And all the while I’m doing this, I am NOT thinking of a monster. This monster does NOT have long, matted hair and cloven hooves and a protruding, serpentine tongue. He does NOT have long, twisted horns and thick chains binding him. He does NOT have a basket on his back and does NOT have a tall, kindly bishop in a red gown as his best mate.

 In fact, the creature I am NOT thinking of does NOT look like this – 

krampus-1054885_640

Image: Pixabay

But if I was an Austrian child, and Christmas was just round the corner, maybe that’s exactly who I would be thinking of.

Today’s Wednesday Word Tangle is

KRAMPUS

Good word, isn’t it? According to National Geographic, it comes from krampen, the German word for claw.

In several parts of Europe, dear old Krampus is a friend and opposite number to Father Christmas. Whereas in many parts of the world, if a child is on the naughty list, they’ll find a lump of coal in their stocking or nothing at all, our Germanic cousins had to up the ante.

If you’re bad in Austria and Bavaria, Krampus will come to your house, swishing his bundle of birch twigs.

He will hunt you down.

He will snatch you up.

He will stuff you in his basket …

And he will deliver you to HELL!

Ooookay, then.

This grim edge to festive cheer should surprise no one. Germany also brought us Grimm fairy tales, which included such classics as

The Girl Without Hands

Godfather Death

And the snappily titled

Wie Kinder Schlachtens miteinander gespielt haben (in English somthing like The Children Who Played Slaughtering) in which children murder each other as part of a butchering game.*

Makes you grateful for the invention of the Playstation.

I’m guessing this demonic, pre-Christian scare-monger was invented to ensure children behaved themselves and I’d applaud that intention – if it wasn’t evident that German children are no better behaved than any other nation’s kids.

Though, if threat of a six foot Devil means I can put carrot sticks in that Advent calendar … 

***

 

*This story is no longer included in collections of Grimms’ tales – I wonder why …

With eternal gratitude to Kat, the founder of W4W

 

 

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus

31 thoughts on “Why Christmas is a time for horny devils

    1. Haha! Thank you. Well, you have to try to combat the sickly sweet nature of the season – though inviting horned devils to take kids to Hell just for being naughty is perhaps a bit far!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is also the culture thatbrought us Struwelpeter with its very naughty ScissorsMan who cut off the thumbs of children who sucked their thumbs …

    Good — if rather suggestive — title for this post, certainly grabs the attention!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, sorry about the title. One of my posts with the highest views had the word ‘sex’ in the title (for legitimate reasons!) I’m afraid, it sells 🙂 I’ve never read Struwwelpeter, though I know the distinctive illustrations – all of these stories come from times when there was no helath and saftey etc. I suppose you had to terrify kids into being good in an attempt to keep them alive a bit longer. Do you remember this from years ago? One of the best adverts I’ve ever seen – based on a grand European storytelling tradition https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yovNUABeCrU

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t remember the advert, but I like its referencing of old silent films. I wish I can remember the title of a spooky Central European film (shot in Prague, perhaps) of Pinocchio using marionettes, but that was great too. I’ll try searching for it …

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Krampus rocks. There’s a microbrewery that does an overpriced seasonal with this demon and his rolling eyes and fangs, and it’s like 9% but good to try at least once or twice, and to say Krampus as you’re ingesting it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 9%? Something that strong will rot your socks off, surely. And damage a fair few brain cells along the way, of course 🙂

        Like

      2. Moscow in winter is the very definition of brutal, isn’t it? Strong alcohol must be compulsory over there, dolled out each morning along with vitamins 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, I saw this. meant to put a link to it on my post. Sounds like fun nonsense, though maybe not one to take the kids to as a pre-Christmas treat. Then again …

        Like

      4. Haha! You make it sound like you cast some kind of magic spell – ‘drink this potion, say Krampus three times, turn anti-clockwise and …’ What happens next Bill? Does every naughty kid in a ten mile radius get toasted?

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      5. Whoa, that’s harsh. Imagine coming to that full, soul crunching realisation all in one go rather than a slow attrition of years of bitter experience. There’s definitely a story there, Bill 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, interesting – especially if you have some little darlings around who won’t behave on the run-up to Christmas. Mind you, you might have to move to Germany for Krampus to visit – not sure he travels outside of Europe 🙂

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  2. Not only do they avoid paying taxes, they single-handedly demolished independent bookstores. Christ, I sound like a broken record. Haven’t we had this conversation already?

    Where’s there’s good there’s evil. You can’t have good without evil. That’s like toast without jam.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, they didn’t do any independant anywhere much good. They’ve probably snapped up a fair market share of what DVD and CD sales are left, too.
      We’ll always have good and evil. It’s just sometimes recently it’s felt as if we have more of the bad than the good swishing around

      Like

  3. My son is with me. I was reading this post. I read “Krampus” out loud just to hear the sound of it and Paul started telling me all about him as I was reading. I’ve never heard of him before! Paul seemed to think he was quite a helpful character…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He could be right, the only facts about Krampus I’ve learned were from the net. I believe Krampus has gone through a period of rehabilitation and is somewhat of a reformed character – he’s becoming more comical now, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I suppose it was good preparation years ago for a life filled with horrors, hadrship and the possibility of an early death – the world was a terrifying place, after all. Oh, hang on, it still is.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The difference is that these days we’re not just confronted by the horrors in our own back yards; we have the benefit of the mass media to show us that the whole world is consatantly in danger.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, very true. And that makes us feel just as threatened as our forebears must have felt, whilst actually living safer lives.

        Like

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