The Wendish Research Exchange

Wendish Folklore Portfolio 6. PŘIPOŁDNICA - The Noonday Lady

mersiowsky - 7-22-2014 at 08:45 AM

6. PŘIPOŁDNICA - The Noonday Lady
Translated by Elmer Hohle

Pripoldnica.jpg - 1.5MB

The noonday woman was a demon of the fields. Often, when the shimmering, flowing noon heat lay over the fields, and some poor maiden would be weeding the small strip of flax in the field that had been allotted her as her annual wages, the Připołdnica would appear in a flowing white garment with a sickle in her hand. She would demand that that maid pause an hour to talk about flax and how it was processed. If the maid refused, her life was taken. Of course, we know that heat stroke and sun-stroke demanded many such sacrifices during the peak of the harvest season. That's why this mythical tale developed and was promulgated.

She was always hostile-minded toward humans. But in a windfall account, we are told she once took up for some martyred, enslaved farmhands. It happened in the vicinity of Muskau. There she discovered how the harvesters had to labor in the sweat of their brows for the slave-driving estate owner throughout the noon hour. She came to the laborers and engaged them in conversation. They had to tell her everything about the harvest: how they sowed it and harvested it, how the seed came up, bloomed, and ripened. Then she wanted to know all about how they mowed, bundled, threshed and ground the grain.

Her sole purpose for doing this was to keep the harvesters from working during the noon hour. As they conversed with and answered the questions of the Připołdnica, there were naturally angry glances form the Overseers. They supervised this unscheduled work-break with mutterings. But woe be it if they so much as entertained the thought to accuse the laborers of laziness and so much as tried to make them go back to work. For then, the noon lady used her awesome power and swiftly "turned around the neck" of the slave drivers, whether overseer or even the landlord himself.

So, ever since it happened to a young maid that she once explained for an hour to the noon lady all about flax and its cultivation until the clock on the village steeple struck 1 p.m., she has vanished and has never appeared again.