Have you noticed you can’t go far this Christmas season without seeing the krampus, a devil-like consort to Saint Nicholas? All of the sudden, the devilish fellow seems to be everywhere.
But it is far less likely that you have encountered another Christmas-time mythic character, that of Frau Perchta. She makes the Krampus seem amiable to boot.
Perchta asks,”have you been weaving your flax little girl? Have you been good? Are you eating the awful gruel and fish that are to be consumed on my holiday?” If the answer is no, the poor children are disemboweled, and their insides are stuffed with straw and stones. So, you know. Don’t mess up. By comparison to the two of them, Saint Nicholas’ ‘present’ of coal seems benign.
We may wonder what the sense is in these dark figures, during a time that we mistakenly assume should be lighthearted and merry.… Read the rest