Every country has its own special folklores and fairy tales, but one interesting thing about Germany is that it is one of the few countries where most of the fairy tales that we are told as children originated from, with Grimm’s Fairy Tales making up the bulk. With many legends and tales that make up much of the country’s nostalgic culture, it’s important that you know a bit about Germany’s heritage if you’re considering moving to the country. Germany folklore has developed over the centuries as a tradition, and the traditions tend to have a Scandinavian feel to them. We’ve put together a list of some of the most interesting German folklore that you may have the privilege to hear about when you move to Germany.
Rumpelstilzchen is more of a fairy tale character than folklore, but it is an interesting one at that. The tale was first collected by the Brothers Grimm in the 1812 edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and depicts a little man who helped a miller’s daughter to spin straw into gold in return for the girl’s first born child. The name Rumpelstilzchen is a variation of the German name for a goblin that made booming noises by rapping planks of wood. Rumpelstilzchen has been a popular character throughout time with many films and TV shows replicating the character as an evil creature.
The Morbach Monster
This legend depicts that Morbach was the last place a werewolf was killed, and a single candle burns brightly in the village as a reminder. In 1988 the candle went out and a wolf figure was soon spotted at a US airbase, staring at the soldiers before returning to the forest. The candle was re-lit and the monster hasn’t been seen since, and to this day the candle hasn’t gone out since. The legend of the Morbach monster begins with a soldier known as Thomas Johannes Baptist Schyzter, who was cursed by a farmer’s wife who watched as the older and the rest of the army brutally slaughtered her husband and sons. After this, Schyzter abandoned civilisation after his bloodlust became too intense for his fellow men and it was with the curse that he began to live his days as a werewolf.
The Pied Piper of Hameln
The tale of the Pied Piper is well known and has been relayed through the ages in various books, TV-shows and films. However the tale actually originates in a small town in Germany known as Hameln. It was in this town that masses of children disappeared without a trace, with no reasoning behind it. Nobody knew where they went, or how many disappeared, but legend has it that the rat catcher lured them away after the King refused to pay him for his services.
The Legend of the Rosstrappe
There is a hoof shaped imprint on the mountain of Rosstrappe, which is said to be from a princess’ horse as she fled from the giant she was due to marry. The story of Princess Brunhilde is well known in Germany and also in many Scandinavian countries, and re-enactments of the tale can be seen in Wagner’s opera. The story revolves around the princess whose beauty was well-known and celebrated around the land. A fearsome giant named Bodo decided he wanted to marry her, and the princess’s father could not say no through fear that the giant would destroy all that he loved. The princess and the giant began to ride together on giant horses, and it is on one of these horses that she fled the day of their wedding. Bodo chased her to the cliff edge in the Harz Mountain range, where her white stallion jumped across and reached the other side leaving the infamous horse shoe print. The giant however, fell to his death.