Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Devil's Sleigh Ride


On January 26th, 1667 it was proclaimed in Vienna that it was strictly forbidden to drive a sleigh after ten o’clock at night. This should keep the town safety and should assure that the inhabitants weren’t disturbed in their sleeping hours.

But still - there moved a sleigh with loud ringing and rattling through the streets between eleven and twelve o’clock every night. That sleigh made as much noise as a hundred sleighs would have made. And soon people knew – the coachman of that sleigh was the devil himself.

Winter in Vienna, Rudolf von Alt
People who had seen it reported that the devil in his bodily shape had a big head of a boar and that he spit out fire as if he had twelve storm lamps inside.

They also told that he had a woman at his side. On her head she wore a diadem which glowed red and was covered with golden lice and fleas. Instead of curly hair, ribbons and feather ornaments snakes and lizards crawled on the head of the devil’s companion. An ugly toad sat on her chest where a medallion is usually placed. And two big snakes gnawed at the upper part of her body.

Once a dutiful night-watchman dared to stop that sleigh and asked the devil to obey the law.

The satanic figure answered with a devilish laughter. Then the bogey blew at the poor man till the one dropped dead.

Copyright © 2011 Ingrid Prohaska
Special thanks to JRD Skinner and the Flash Pulp Crew for including this curiosity in their 'FlashCast47 - Spielbergian Whimsy' !

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