Episode 69: Solitary Fae: Krampus
The folklore of krampus in a nutshell, and how I reimagined it for my writing.
Written and narrated by Ronel Janse van Vuuren.
Copyright 2023 Ronel Janse van Vuuren — All rights reserved.
Learn more about krampus in folklore here.
Get the transcript here.
Music: Secrets by David Fesliyan (FesliyanStudios.com) and Dramatic Heartbeat by FesliyanStudios.com
You’re listening to the Faeries and Folklore podcast by Ronel.
I’m dark fantasy author Ronel Janse van Vuuren. With nearly a decade of digging around in dusty folklore books, researching creatures of imagination that ignited my curiosity, I’m here to share the folklore in a nutshell and how I reimagined it for my writing in an origin of the fae.
This is the Faeries and Folklore podcast.
Hi, I’m your host Ronel Janse van Vuuren. You can just call me Ronel. In today’s episode, we’re continuing our exploration of the fae realm.
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We’re continuing our exploration of Solitary Fae.
Today’s Faery: Krampus
Folklore in a nutshell by Ronel
Though Krampus is mostly found in Alpine folklore, his origins go back to Norse mythology. As the grandson of Loki, mischief is what you expect – with a dose of fear.
Krampus (or Prechten or Tuifl) is the son of the Norse goddess, Hel. He has been linked in folklore with St. Nikolaus (Father Christmas) as both arrive around December 5th. St. Nikolaus fill the shoes of good children with gifts and bad children’s shoes with a rod. Krampus, however, beats naughty children with the birch bundle he carries with him before he stuffs them into his basket and carries them off (either to eat them or to the underworld). He is also said to leave behind a lump of coal.
Krampus has a monstrous look: horns, matted dark hair covering his body, cloven hooves, fangs, claws – the stuff of nightmares. Besides his birch sticks, he also has a chain and bells to complete his look.
And now for my interpretation of the fae in an origin of the fae: Krampus
Krampus is the son of Hel, Goddess of the Underworld. He goes to the Mortal Realm during Yuletide to whip naughty children with a bundle of birch twigs or to give them a lump of coal. He works with the gift-giving witches Befana and Bertha.
He loses his power during the Winter Solstice and leaves the mortal realm soon after.
He has dark fur, twisted horns, reddish eyes and a forked tongue. His claws can rip through anything. His cloven hoofs can be heard in the dark, as can the chains he is covered with.
When no offerings are left during Samhain to appease him, he will abduct and even eat the naughty children instead of whipping them into shape. The Yule Riders will be released to find him when this happens. Sometimes he will weave baskets to keep the children in, other times he’ll throw them in a bag.
Krampus, like the Yule Riders, knows exactly what is in the hearts of mortals.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode of the faeries and folklore podcast and that you’ve learned something new about faeries.
Remember that you can get a transcript of this episode in the description. If you’re new to the podcast, why not go and grab your free copy of Unseen, the second book in the Faery Tales series, on my website ronelthemythmaker.com? Loads of folklore, magic and danger await! Take care!
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