Date: c. 1845
Technique: Oil on canvas, 64.4 x 39.9 cm
Rübezahl (Polish: Liczyrzepa, Czech: Krakonoš) is a folklore mountain spirit (woodwose) of the Krkonoše Mountains (Giant Mountains, Riesengebirge, Karkonosze), a mountain range along the border between the historical lands Bohemia and Silesia. He is the subject of many legends and fairy tales in German and Czech folklore.
In legends, Rübezahl appears as a capricious giant, gnome, or mountain spirit. With good people he is friendly, teaching them medicine and giving them presents. If someone derides him, however, he exacts a severe revenge. He sometimes plays the role of a trickster in folk tales.
The stories originate from pagan times. Rübezahl is the fantastic Lord of Weather of the mountains and is similar to the Wild Hunt. Unexpectedly or playfully, he sends lightning and thunder, fog, rain and snow from the mountain above, even while the sun is shining. He may take the appearance of a monk in a gray frock (like Wotan in his mantel of clouds); he holds a stringed instrument in his hand (the storm harp), and walks so heavily that the earth trembles around him.
Near Mount Sněžka on the Czech-Polish border a botanical locality with an especially large variety of plants bears the name "Rübezahl's Garden". Some unusual stone buildings in the area are named after him as well, for example the Rübezahlkanzel an den Schneegruben.
In Czech local fairytales Rübezahl (Czech: Krakonoš) gave sourdough to people and invented traditional regional soup kyselo. There is also mountain named Kotel (Polish: Kocioł, German: Kesselkoppe) which means cauldron. When fog rises from valley at bottom of the Kotel, people say that Rübezahl is cooking the kyselo.
Labels: Moritz Ludwig von Schwind
Edmund Joseph Sullivan, Illustration from A dream of fair women, & other poems, by Alfred Lord Tennyson, London, 1900.
But in dark corners of her palace stood
Uncertain shapes, and unawares
On white-eyed phantasms weeping tears of blood,
And horrible nightmares…
(The palace of art)
Labels: Edmund Joseph Sullivan
Illustration from Les misérables, by Victor Hugo, Paris, 1867.
Labels: Gustave Brion