While less well known than their priestly counterparts, German folklore also had plenty of “secular” exorcists who resorted to magic to drive unruly ghosts away. The following tale from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has a closer look at this profession, along with its associated hazards.
Caerleon: The location is steeped in history and archaeology with its impressive Roman ruins, and its later associations – it’s the site where Geoffrey of Monmouth’s twelfth-century chronicle of British monarchs, Historia regum Britanniae, places the court of King Arthur, and where, some 350 years on, Thomas Malory staged the legendary figure’s coronation in Le Morte D’Arthur.
The story of William of Cloudesly is found in a 16th century ballad, Adam Bell, Clym of the Cloughe and Wyllyam of Cloudeslee, but may be older. It was included in the influential 19th century collection, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, as ballad 116, by Francis James Child. Although it is a male dominated, rip-roaring, all action story, three women play a significant part, emerging at points to influence events. Presented here is a short retelling followed by a brief discussion on the influence of the three females on the story.
In broad terms, folklore—or rather its constituents—comprise legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales, stories, tall tales, and customs that are the traditions of a culture. Folklore is a vital feature of our lives.
alking deep into a mine, when the last gleam of sunlight is eclipsed by the next turn, reveals the overwhelming weight of being underground. When all signs of the outside world are gone, the bulk of the mountain above seems even more menacing as it threatens to crush the wooden supports that keep miners alive. […]