Warning: This Post Is Not For the Faint of Heart
As of late, I’ve been trawling (and yes, that is the word I want to use) through Jacob Grimm’s Deutsche Mythologie. It’s an expansive, three volume work which sets out to catalog all of German mythology and its evolution. Needless to say, some parts are very dull. Some parts are also in very dull Latin, with no translations provided. At the end of these passages, Jacob tends to say something like: “There you have it! That explains everything.”
*Dae shakes her head in despair.*
But wait! It gets racy. Moms, don’t read it to your kids! For, hidden away in volume two, is a section about witches. Or, as I like to think of it, “Cool Tricks You Can Perform at Parties.” That’s right! This section has a lot to do with heart-eating. The how to’s, the benefits, the down-side, and why garlic is not the heart eater’s friend. Observe!
“Was aber in unsern hexensagen schon zurücktritt, dass sie den leuten das herz aus dem leib essen…Fortis cap. 8 erzählt, dasss zwei hexen einem schlafenden jüngling das herz wegnahmen und braten wollten, ein geistlicher hatte ohne es hindern zu können alles mit angesehn, erst beim erwachen des jünglings löste sich der zauber, und als nun der geistliche den hexen näher trat, salbten sie sich aus einem krüglein und entlohen. er zog das halb gebratne herz vom feuer und hiess es eilig den jüngling verschlucken, der dadurch völlig wieder hergestellt wurde.”
So basically, this boy falls asleep, two witches come up, take out his heart, and want to cook it and eat it. A spirit watches on, unable to do anything. But the boy wakes up, the witches scatter, and the spirit takes the half-cooked heart and has the boy swallow it. Pop! 100% better. Elsewhere in the text, Grimm tells about how the Witches are allergic to garlic (I thought that was vampires…), and how certain people made it a practice of smearing their armpits and chest cavities with garlic, so that witches wouldn’t open them up and eat their hearts. See? Told you this post wasn’t for the faint of heart…oh, that was bad…
In other parts of this section, Grimm talks about how the souls of witches wander in their sleep. The mouth opens, out comes a Schmetterling (butterfly), which flies about until the witch is ready to wake. Then the butterfly crawls back inside the witches mouth.
You just can’t make this stuff up, folks. Fairy Tales are the craziest things out there.