Werewolves, Too?

Werewolves are perhaps my favourite of all folkloric creatures, and I consider them (excuse the pun) the underdogs of all the fable creatures out there.

I’m doing some snooping around, and what I find really interesting is that there is little documentation about werewolves in Great Britain in the Middle Ages.  Probably because the beasts were hunted to (or nearly to) extinction.  Werewolves, in seemly all European cultures are men and evil ones at that.

The Latvians folklore is documented mostly after the 19th century, but they speak of a beast called a Vilkacis, a wolf-like creature but not always evil.

What’s really cool is a translation of a Serbian document from 1818 says the werewolves and vampires are one in the same, because both go back to the grave to fornicate with his widow (ew!).

There is a Lais of Marie de France entitled “Bisclavret” (written around 1200) and it’s about Bislclavret, a Baron in Brittany who disappears for several days without anyone in the household knowing where he’s going or where he’s been.  The Baron’s wife gives him the 3rd degree (as only a wife can!) and the Baron reveals his secret.  What’s most interesting about this tale is that the Baron needs to hide his clothes in a hollow rock, and cannot transform back into a man without them.  The wife (being rather two faced herself) sends a knight to steal the clothes, thus trapping the Baron in his wolf form.  The King goes hunting a year or so later, and the Baron begs for mercy (for wolves were killed in those days) by licking the King’s legs and feet.  Everyone, including the King, is astounded by the gentility of the wolf.  In the end, the Baron/wolf, attacks the knight who stole his clothes (and married his traitorous wife) and just when there couldn’t be any more poetic justice, the Baron bites off the nose of his former wife as the King was visiting her.  After a bit of (delicious) torture, the clothes are returned to Bisclavret and he returns to his human form.  The wife and knight are exiled, and their children were said to be born without noses.

 

Going to have to look more in depth at werewolves and see what else I can come up with.

I think I figured out what I like best about this time period!  The folklore.  Hello, awesome!

 

 

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