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Re: Weird Folklore
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 24 January, 2021 08:08PM
Well, I had in mind the sense of the uncanny, the eerie, dreadful, etc. Allowances may need to be made, when one reads a folktale in stark print, for the story's having earlier been told aloud, perhaps in a dwelling less brilliantly-illuminated than our homes tend to be, at night, without distracting noises from appliances, etc. (When my children were little, I might brush up on a story, then go up to one of their rooms, have a candle as sole illumination, and tell the story with some improvisation, trying to conjure the sense of deep woods or whatever. I certainly didn't try to creep them out traumatically.)

Here's another folktale:

There once was a woman from Stausland in the county of Vest-Agder, who was to attend the sermon on Christmas morning. In the middle of the night she woke up, and saw a light coming from inside the church. Not a single churchgoer was in sight.
Believing that she had overslept, she rushed out of bed, threw on her best coat, and hurried down to the church.
Once inside, the church was full of people as she had anticipated, but she wondered why she did not know any of those who were there. When the priest had stepped up to the pulpit, she cast a glance at the old woman who was sitting beside her. Rather bewildered, she saw that it was a neighbor of hers, who had passed away some time ago. “Get on your coat,” said the old hag, “and get out before the priest has finished his sermon. For this is the Mass of the dead, and they will kill you if they catch you here!”
The woman did as her neighbor had said -- before she had stood up from her seat, they were after her. Just as she rushed out the door, they tore off her coat, and she ran home like crazy.
In the morning when people came to the church to attend the morning Mass, only bits of the coat were left behind on the church steps.

Abigel Stokkeland, (b. 1844), as told to Peter Lunde in 1919
[legendsofthenorth.blogspot.com]
Norsk Folkeminnesamling: ml4015. De dødes messe. Id: SIN228. År: 1919. Sted: Søgne, Vest-Agder. Informant: Abigel Stokkeland, f. 1844. Samler: Peter Lunde


Here's a link to one that reminds me rather a lot of Blackwood's "Wendigo":

[52books.blogspot.com]

One more:

[www.pitt.edu]



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 24 Jan 21 | 08:14PM by Dale Nelson.

Re: Weird Folklore
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 24 January, 2021 10:33PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well, I had in mind the sense of the uncanny, the
> eerie, dreadful, etc.

Well, I think the examples I gave in my last post would count to some extent.

There's also "The Fiend" (or less correctly, "The Vampire") which is one of the Russian stories collected by Alexander Afansayev in the 19th Century.

Speaking of Russian Stories, Baba Yaga is a pretty grisly character, if you don't think she's too cartoonish.

There is also "The Princess in the Chest", which is one of the fairy stories collected by Andrew Lang, from the Danish, in his PINK FAIRY BOOK. He did not tone it down too much. If you want to know what you are missing, I think you can probably find a more-faithful translation under the title "The Princess in the Coffin". I also recall a Polish version, under the title "The Pitch Princess".

Also, thanks for the links.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 24 Jan 21 | 10:35PM by Platypus.

Re: Weird Folklore
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 25 January, 2021 01:38AM
Russia is filled with grisly stories, some of which would have easily made a home in the pages of Weird Tales. Was "The Fiend" about a young woman courted by a dashing gentleman who did some hellish things at a church?

Baba Yaga, and her emaciated male counterpart Koshchei the Deathless, are some nightmarish characters. Baba Yaga's house alone sounds eerily anomalous, with its one or more legs, its hidden entrance, and its fence of glowing skulls. The tale of "Vasilisa the Beautiful" is a good example of this witch. I think the "cartoonish" quality of Baba Yaga, and quite a few Russian folk tales, makes the atmosphere all the more anxiety-evoking, detaching me further from the reality I know. But I understand this might not have the same effect on others.

The Russian tale of "Father Frost" always gave me chills, and that pun was not at all intended but very much appropriate. I can't think of any other story, folkloric or not, that so perfectly conveys the oppressiveness and even horror of an increasingly cold winter.

This subject made me realize that CAS visited eastern Europe in exactly one story: "The Tale of Sir John Maundeville." It takes place in a fictional province of Georgia, directly below Russia, and I think it has the most folkloric atmosphere of all his fiction:

[www.eldritchdark.com]

Other than this, CAS didn't seem to acknowledge eastern Europe.

Speaking of which, the Finnish Kalevala has a few grisly stories, between its tales of magical creation and domestic drama. There are several which take place in the Finnish underworld, Tuonela, home to a black river filled with strange creatures, and a dark land with creepy characters who are more than eager to keep the witless living among the ranks of the dead. Meanwhile, the story about Kullervo, a cursed young man who brings death and despair everywhere he goes, has some rather disturbing scenes that would probably suit a modern horror film. His story, by the way, reminds me a lot of Scandinavian sagas, so I wouldn't be surprised if there was some connection there.

Regarding the matter of "weird" folklore, I admit I must have been a little reckless when I made that title. I'm fine with any example of folklore in this thread, from raunchy jokes to lullabies. It's interesting to consider what counts as "weird" or suitable to the tastes of HPL, REH, etc. but I'm not picky!

Edit:

I think this painting by Akseli Gallen-Kallela is a fitting expression of the haunting character of Kullervo:

[en.m.wikipedia.org]



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 25 Jan 21 | 01:48AM by Hespire.

Re: Weird Folklore
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 25 January, 2021 12:53PM
I read "The Vampire" (as it's called in my Russian Fairy Tales Pantheon paperback. Whew! "Ghoul" would be more accurate than "vampire," I suppose, but I wonder what the actual Russian word is.

I wonder if this is worth looking up: Perkowski, Jan L., Vampires of the Slavs. Cambridge, Mass.: Slavica, 1976.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 25 Jan 21 | 01:14PM by Dale Nelson.

Re: Weird Folklore
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 25 January, 2021 02:39PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I read "The Vampire" (as it's called in my Russian
> Fairy Tales Pantheon paperback. Whew! "Ghoul"
> would be more accurate than "vampire," I suppose,
> but I wonder what the actual Russian word is.

Nechistol (literally, "The Unclean"):
[www.gutenberg.org]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 25 Jan 21 | 02:45PM by Platypus.

Re: Weird Folklore
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 25 January, 2021 02:54PM
Thanks, Platypus, that's interesting. I see the editor of that edition commented, "Marusia’s demon lover will be recognized as akin to Arabian Ghouls, or the Rákshasas of Indian mythology."

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