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Author: Subject: Wendish Folklore Portfolio 3. WÓDNY MUŽ - The Water Muse
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[*] posted on 7-22-2014 at 08:54 AM
Wendish Folklore Portfolio 3. WÓDNY MUŽ - The Water Muse

3. WÓDNY MUŽ - The Water Muse
Translated by Elmer Hohle

Wodny muz.jpg - 1.2MB

The legends about "Waterman" are as numerous as the ponds and pools. He was a demonic figure, partly a friend, partly an enemy of humans. His abode or dwelling was founded on the waters. He had a wife and child, and lived there like a human. His garments were mostly green - in many legends, also red. Thunder and lightning were lethal to him. Many a poor heather-farmer would offer him thanks in times of need by sowing a couple of bushels of corn. However, many a person died under the maliciousness of his home.

In earlier times, many coal miners searched the meadows for white water. The farmers in the surrounding poor areas set pine logs in a conical pile, covered them with grass and earth. Then they let the wood smolder until it was transformed into charcoal. Then they took the charcoal to the wood market in Bautzen, where especially blacksmiths and tin-smiths were good customers.

Once there was a farmer from Nochten who, because of crop failure, could not satisfy the hunger of his children. He then tried to make charcoal wood in the black forest near Muskau. He hoped to buy bread with the proceeds. Suddenly there stood before him the Hrodniks - that's what they called the waterman there. He must have been aware of the poor farmer's needs, for he spoke to him thusly: "I will loan you three bushels of corn. On a certain designated day after the harvest, you will return this to me again. At that occasion you will call out three times, `Jacob.' If I don't appear, I'm dead; and you can confidently take the corn back home with you. For if lightning strikes the water in a thunderstorm, that is the death of my kind."

The farmer thankfully took the seed and returned again on the appointed day to pay back his debt. Three times he called out over the water, "Jacob." But no waterman ever appeared again.

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