The Impact of German Legends

I have always been fascinated with German culture and my heritage - I mean, hello? Look at my business. 

One of the things that I find most thrilling is the mythology and folklore that came out of the middle ages in Northern and Western Europe. German mythological stories are about creatures who are some of the most mischievous, thoughtful, interesting, or even scary characters. They were likely written in middle high German and created and popularized as a way to understand life around them and to entertain those around them. 

A book of popular folklore

A Few German Folklore Characters 

Those creatures include the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Trickster, Till Eulenspiegel, the Town Musicians of Bremen, and the German Alp.

German fairytales and stories image

They all have such exciting backstories and were translated into a  modern English translation to help those who don't speak German learn more about these legends. One German legend is the Pied Piper of Hamelin. This story is about a rat-catcher hired by the town. His job was to lead the rats out of the village with his magical instrument. However, afterwards the citizens refused to pay, and he retaliated by using it on their children and leading them away. 

statue based on literary works

The Story of  Town Musicians of Bremen

Another story is the Town Musicians of Bremen - it's the story of four animals who were neglected and mistreated by their former masters after a lifetime of hard work. Eventually, they ran away and became town musicians!

German fairy tales and stories image

The (Scary) Story of the Alp

The Alp may be the scariest of them all, though - Alps were traditionally male creatures who would appear to people while they were sleeping and press on their chest to keep them from moving or making noise; they would cause nightmares and steal their victims life force and spirit. The story of the Alp was to help understand sleep paralysis. 

German fairytales and stories about the German Alps

The Brothers Grimm and Their Collection of Fairy Tales 

If you haven't heard of these creatures before, they make appearances in stories like The Brothers Grimm and their collection of fairy tales. The Trickster is the archetype for the one and only Bugs Bunny, and the Alp is the German word for an elf!

wilhelm grimm and jacob grimm

Krampus Meets His Match

I love folklore. I love how these stories and characters were the building blocks to so many stories that we grew up watching or reading about, and it’s a big source of inspiration when it comes to my designs! 

This isn't the first time German folklore inspired me. In 2018 I published my first children's book titled "Krampus Meets His Match." It was about the infamous Krampus, a horned figure who works with Saint Nicholas. During the Christmas season, Saint Nicholas gifts the well-behaved children with chocolate and other treats; Krumpas would scare the ones that misbehaved. 

woman reading Krampus meets his match to a little girl

I thought the story was terrifying! So I wrote a children's book based on the German legends where Krampus goes to a young Sandra's home to scare her into good behavior, but instead is greeted by her little sister Susi who is (much to Krampus's dismay) utterly unafraid of him. 

Krampus aside, German folklore inspired me once more, not with a book, but with a new fabric! I love how inspiration can strike from anything, whether it be Mötley Crüe, Steampunk fashion, or in this case, the stories I grew up reading or recently learned about. It's a magical, mysterious, and oh-so-fabulous pattern, and I cannot wait to share it with you all!

household tales based on German mythology
statues of supernatural beings from german myths

brüder grimm



May 02, 2022 — Erika Neumayer

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