Methusalem journey into the unknown - CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Biblical Chronology


  • Temme does not give this tale a title. It is part of a larger section entitled "The Earth Spirits in Greifswald."
  • Temme's source: "Oral."
  • Greifswald, a city in northeast Germany, lies near the mouth of the Ryck River, which empties into Greifswalder Bay on the Baltic Sea.
  • Return to the table of contents . Dwarf Holzrührlein Bonneführlein Germany In a great forest there once lived a cowherd and a shepherd, and they helped one another in times of need. The cowherd had a daughter and the shepherd a son. From their childhood on they were inseparable, and the older they became the fonder they grew of each other. Thus, when they came of age the shepherd's son proposed to the shepherd's daughter, and she was promised to him in marriage. Some time later an ugly dwarf approached the cowherd and asked for the daughter's hand in marriage. He brought many valuable presents for the mother and the daughter. The daughter could not stand the dwarf, because he was so ugly, and she did not want to marry a dwarf in any event. The mother did not like him either, but that did not stop her from accepting his presents. One day he returned, again with many costly things, but this time the mother said, "You are not going to get my daughter, no matter how many presents you bring." The daughter added, "I do not want your presents at all, and I want you even less!" Then the dwarf became very angry, threw the costly things on the floor, and replied to the mother, "It's not that simple to get rid of me! Earlier you accepted my presents, and I want to be paid for them. I will return tomorrow at noon. If by then you know my name, then you may keep your daughter, otherwise I will take her by force!" With that the dwarf disappeared. Great concern now ruled the cowherd's household. Now the shepherd's son, while watching over his sheep in the forest, had often seen the dwarf, but every time he had approached him, the dwarf had disappeared. On this day he was watching over his sheep in the vicinity of a cave, and this was the dwarf's cave. The shepherd stood there, leaning on his staff, when suddenly the dwarf came by, as though he were being driven through the forest by a windstorm, and he disappeared into the cave. At the cave's entrance there was a yellow flower that the shepherd's son had often admired because of its unusual color and shape. Before entering the cave, the dwarf had touched the flower. A loud sound came from within the cave. The shepherd's son listened, and he heard the dwarf sing: Here I sit,
    Carving gold,
    My name is
    Holzrührlein Bonneführlein.
    If the mother knew that,
    She could keep her daughter. The shepherd's son took note of the name, because it seemed so very unusual to him. That evening when he visited his sweetheart, and noticed her concern, he told her everything that had happened, and comforted her. The mother repeated the name over and over again until it came easily to her, and now they were no longer fearful about the dwarf's return. The next day at noon he appeared as announced. He stepped up to the mother and said sarcastically, "Now my dear lady, do you know my name?" The mother pretended to be afraid and answered, "Oh, what could your name be? Are you not called Mäuserich?" The dwarf laughed and said, "Not even close!" "Is your name perhaps Ruppsteert?" "Wrong again!" laughed the dwarf. "Oh, what are you called then? Your name wouldn't be Holzrührlein Bonneführlein, now would it?" The dwarf disappeared in an instant, and he was never heard from nor seen again. The shepherd's son married the cowherd's daughter, and they lived long and happy lives together.
    • Source: Carl and Theodor Colshorn, Zwerg Holzrührlein Bonneführlein , Märchen und Sagen aus Hannover (Hannover: Verlag von Carl Rümpler, 1854), no. 29, pp. 88-89.
    • Return to the table of contents .
    Nägendümer Germany Once upon a time there was a girl whose task it was to spin a certain quantity of flax every day. However, she could never complete her work. Then one day a man came to her who promised her that he would spin the flax for her every day if she could guess his name. But the girl could not guess his name. Then the man went away and turned himself into a bird. Flying happily back and forth it cried out:

    The Name of the Helper Folktales of type 500, and related tales, in which a mysterious and threatening helper is defeated when the hero or heroine discovers his name


    Methusalem Journey Into The UnknownMethusalem Journey Into The UnknownMethusalem Journey Into The UnknownMethusalem Journey Into The Unknown

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