2010/1 Summaries


De Hellejongen. Een Vlaamse duivelssage als casus

The Hell Boy: A Flemish Devil Legend as Case Study Concerning Literacy versus Orality
With his epic poem ‘Legend of the Hell Boy’ (1883), the common practitioner Karel de Gheldere (1839-1913) has witten the following fascinating story. An angry step-mother hates her lazy son and wants her husband to hire him out as a servant, even if it were to the devil. And so it happens. During his three years as porter of heli, the boy has seen and experienced much. He makes an account of these experiences after his return home. This poem contains all kinds of traditional legend elements, which proves that the author was much familiar with the narrative popular culture of his time. This legend has become rather well-known in Koekelare, where the story is said to have taken place around 1820, and in the surroundings. The story is even known in other parts of Flanders. The interesting thing is that the narratives from the oral tradition are not a dull retelling but a very creative account of this story. This illustrates a good example of how literature has evolved through primary education to a good specimen of narra­tive popular culture.



De bok der zonde. Satanisch ritueel misbruik in de orthodox-protestantse vertelcultuur

The Scape Goat• Satanic Ritual Abuse within Orthodox-Protestant Narrative Culture
The mainstream media hardly write about satanic ritual abuse (SRA) these days after a hype and a barrage of abuse between believers and disbelievers in the eighties. Nowadays scholars and most journalists interpret the stories about the subject as urban legends. They see Satanists in the tales as misfits, the ones who are to blame for indecent behavior like porn and incest. In the field of folk narrative research, the tales are categorized as Satanic Panic. However, amongst many Dutch orthodox Christians, the tales about SRA are still widely spread. Within the Christian conduit, stories about SRA move rapidly and the number of tales even seems to grow within specific Christian denominations. The stories are hardly known outside the Christian community, although believers can also still be found outside Christian society. Many popular Christian books are being published about the occult, the devil (as a real entity), Satanism in general, and exor­cism. In these books, the most horrible stories about SRA are being told. Next to that, pastors and vicars spread the word in divine services and at Christian confe­rences. The author also collected tales amongst the so-called victims of SRA, who can be found quite easily within Christian healthcare and by contacting Christian church­es. Due to the stories, the act of deliverance by exorcism, priesthood, and the help of the so-called victims is growing even within traditional Christian churches.



“Met bloed uwen naem van onder op dit perkament zetten”
Si gned in Blood: Tales of the Devil in Oral and Written Tradition
Since in 1942 Maurits de Meyer analysed Flemish, Dutch, German and French variants of The Smith and the Devil (ATU 330), this provided the focus of the Flemish debate about the oral versus literary provenance of fairy tales. In this article De Meyer’s evidence is re-examined. It leads to the conclusion that he downplayed the considerable influence of the Smith and Devil story in the Amusante kinder­vertellingskens, a volume with mostly Perrault tales published in several editions in Ghent around 1800. Moreover, throughout the nineteenth century teachers and priests were eager to publish this story as a genuine popular tradition, which also contributed to its popularity. Oral retellings diverged only slightly. De Meyer’s maxim, postulating an almost complete separation between printed works and popular tradition, can no longer be upheld. The restudy of The Smith and the Devil is flanked by a discussion of two other dusters of stories in which men managed to elude a pact with the devil. The Feathered Wife (also known as Bringing an Unknown Anima’, ATU 1091), containing re­ferences to similar aid provided by the Holy Virgin, was dispersed in several versions through jest-books from the sixteenth century onwards. A rare Flemish Faust legend contains motifs that belong to the same group, such as paving a road in front of a carriage and demolishing it immediately afterwards. This story was distributed as a song text. In the Protestant Faust chapbook tradition, however, the magician could not be redeemed and the legends echo this, too.