Werewolf Myths and Legends of Germany

Now, when reading these little fables, keep in mind that Germany – or the Germanic nation – was actually fairly large and took up a lot of land in Europe, including Poland and Slavic areas. So, some of these stories may be Germany, but others may be Polish in origin.

The Werewolf Who Ate a Colt – There were once two herdsmen and one of them possessed what was called a “wolf strap”. If a human donned the wolf strap, they would turn into a werewolf. This wasn’t necessarily frowned upon in this culture, because the wolf strap was a way for people to go out hunting as a wolf, which was more efficient. But, it just so happened that these two herdsmen grew drowsy after tending their herd for hours. The one who possessed the wolf strap fell asleep while the other pretended to fall asleep. The awake herdsman stole the wolf strap, turned into a wolf and went out to hunt. The herdsman who was asleep woke up in the middle of it and watched as the wolf killed and devoured a whole colt. He promptly went back to sleep (thinking nothing of this obviously). The wolf came back, took off the strap and napped as well. When he awoke, he had a terrible tummy ache and the other herdsman said “The devil himself would have a stomach ache if he had eaten an entire colt in one sitting too!”

The Morbach Werewolf – In Wittlich, there is a shrine with a candle ever burning. It’s said that this town is where the last werewolf killing took place and if that candle should ever go out, the beast would return. It so happened that in 1988, a security guard detail was stationed around Wittlich and noticed that the candle was burnt out. They made jokes, but sometime later in the night they witnessed a doglike beast jump over a 7.5 foot tall chain link fence. The beast was reportedly somewhere around eight feet tall and when the military brought in training tracking dogs to find the beast, they flipped out and wanted nothing to do with it.

Werewolf Widow – There was once a widow named Trine who was poor, but always managed to feed herself and her visitors with fresh meat. One day, a male relative came to visit her and asked how she was able to come by such fresh meat. She said that she would show him, but he needed to go on the roof first. He did and in the distance, he saw a herd of sheep in a field. Then, he saw a wolf emerge and try to drag off one of the sheep. The shepherd and his dog came out to defend his flock. Knowing that this wolf was his relative, he cried out “Trine, watch out!”. In this mythology, if a werewolf’s given name is spoken, they return to human form. Well, when Trine’s name was called out, she turned into a woman again and was beaten senseless by the shepherd. She was barely able to crawl back home.

Wrong Quarry – A fox hunt was organized and they set out the carcass of a horse to lure foxes out in the open. A man who possessed a wolf strap (or belt) had transformed into a wolf and found the carcass and ate it all. When the hunters found out, they shot the wolf but it got away. When they went to the house of the man they suspected of being the werewolf, they found him laying in bed with a bullet wound.

Domestic Violence – A wife suspected her husband of being a werewolf. One day when they were out in the fields, her husband disappeared. A wolf emerged from the bushes, grabbed her red woolen skirt and tossed her about. The wife screamed and beat back the wolf until it let go and ran away. Soon, her husband emerged again from the same bushes where the wolf fled. The wife told her husband about what happened. The husband only laughed and showed her the bits of red thread stuck in his teeth. She reported him to a judge and he was burned at the stake.

Brotherly Love – Two brothers were out working. One was a woodcutter. The brother who was not, ran off and a wolf appeared a short time later. The woodcutter hacked at the wolf’s front right leg and it limped away. The woodcutter returned home that evening and found his brother in bed with his right arm wounded. The woodcutter reported him to the judge and he was burned at the stake.

The Werewolf of Klein-Krams – A group of huntsman often hunted around the area of Klein-Krams and spotted a wolf several times that they could never kill, even if they were within shooting range. They once watched it steal some of their quarry and take it into town – which they thought unusual. Around the same time, the hussar from Ludwigslust was visiting this town and came upon the house of Feeg. When he opened the door, a rush of children came out screaming. When he asked the head of the house about it, he reported that the little son of the Feeg family played chased away the other children when his family wasn’t home. The hussar talked to the little boy and learned that he chased the others away by turning himself into a wolf with the wolf strap that belonged to his grandmother. The hussar wanted to see it, so the boy asked him to stay up in the loft and watch. He went into a room and came out as a wolf, scared the children away and then returned to the main room. When the hussar examined the strap, he found nothing odd about it. When he returned home, he told a forester about the boy and the wolf strap. The forester immediately thought of the invincible werewolf from Klein-Krams. On the next hunt, he loaded his gun with silver bullets. When the other hunters fired at the wolf and proved unsuccessful, the forester fired and brought down the wolf. But, the wolf didn’t stay down for long and ran back into town. They chased the wolf into the Feeg home and found the wolf in the grandmother’s bed. Having not taken off the strap, she unwittingly revealed her secret.

The Werewolf Witch – Once, a wish was crossing a farmer’s field in the form of a werewolf to bewitch a farmer’s cow. When her husband saw her in the form of a wolf, he asked “Marie, Marie, what are you doing here?” Afraid, the witch transformed back into her human form but long red fur still hung from her chest and shoulders and her eyes glowed a deep gold. (What a lovely image that paints)

The Werewolf and the Shepherd – A woman had transformed herself into a wolf and attack a shepherd’s flock, causing much chaos and damage. The shepherd managed to wound the wolf in the hip with his axe and it ran away. The shepherd chased after it, thinking to finish it off, but found a woman in the woods trying to stop the bleeding of an axe wound with a piece of her dress. (I love this story because it’s so open ended and could easily be turned into a potential love story)

If you would like to read more, you can go to this link. Many of these stories were taken from the first half of the page. http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/werewolf.html

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