Legends of the German Alps | Rare Dirndl
Legends of the German Alps

Legends of the German Alps

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 created and popularized as a way to understand life around them and to entertain those around them. 

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

They all have such exciting backstories - for example, the Pied Piper of Hamelin is a story 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. 

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!

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. 

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!

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. 

image by @katiekreep

I thought the story was terrifying! So I wrote a children's book 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!

Sources: 

​​https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_folklore 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trickster#In_literature_and_popular_culture
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Till_Eulenspiegel
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_Musicians_of_Bremen

Erika Neumayer

Please note that some of the links in select posts are affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

As always, ideas and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. - Erika

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