The Devil as Colorful Ribbon

A farmer went back to Neumühlenkamp from Sydow. Then he saw a beautiful, many-hued silken band lying on the road. Without saying “Help God, Lord Jesus Christ” as it is proper under such circumstances, he picked it up in order to bring it to his wife as a gift. She was indeed very happy about it, and put it into her box.

It was strange that from this day onwards, nothing was in its proper order in the farmer’s household. In the morning, while getting up, one piece of clothing was missing, and soon the next, and they were impossible to find despite thorough searches of the house. The same occurred with the implements for cutting straw, plowing, cutlery, and so forth.

It did not take long until this haunting escalated to a larger scale. In the chambers, chairs and tables were thrown over. To sum it up, there was such an infernal ruckus that no one could bear to stay there. An old, wise woman was asked for advice in this matter. She immediately asked if the farmer had perhaps found something and took it home without a blessing. Instantly, the man remembered the colorful ribbon. He told of it, and got the advice from the woman to pay close attention to this very thing.

When the farmer came home, the mischief was active in full force. Hurriedly, he opened the box into which the ribbon had been placed, but it could not be found there. Only after the noise had died down could the silken ribbon be found at its usual spot in the box. Now it was clear that the ribbon was the kobold or the Devil himself. The man thus blessed himself with the words: “Help God, Lord Jesus Christ”, took it into his hand, and carried it to the same spot where he had taken it from in the first place. Since that time, he did not notice any trace of the haunt.

(Oral tale from Sydow, in the Schawe[5] district.)


Source: Jahn, U. Volkssagen aus Pommern und Rügen. 1886, p. 134f.

Notes and commentary: Possessed Objects