A Legend and A Werebeast Makes an Immortal Monday

As students head back to school and parents get back into the groove of studying and homework, let’s indulge in a little story of old today on Immortal Monday. A legend, if you will.

The Way of the Werebeast

(Warning : Not for the faint of heart. Vivid content)

Image via ClipArt

In a century long past, there sat the fortress town of Magdeburg in Prussian Saxony. With its half-timbered steep roofed homes, cobblestone streets and crowded canals, it was deceptively agreeable. From the center, the town gradually fanned out to the surrounding fields of grain. Beyond that, however, awaited another region… the slopes of the Harz Mountains, then haunted by wolves. For all its comfort and sunshine, the small town of Magdeburg would prove it was not immune to old magic one solemn winter.

It began in January when the streets were cushioned with snow, the canals frozen with ice and people gathered round their stoves in early twilight to stay warm. A child disappeared from a nursery without a word. The next night was the same thing…and the next…and the next. There were no cries, nothing was out of order, the only clue came from outside – the tracks of a lone wolf in the snow. Since wolves usually hunt in packs, this went against their nature, making it hard to explain what would drive a wolf into man’s territory.

People were upset, distraught. They questioned the Magistrate of Magdeburg repeatedly, a man by the name of Berber. He had no answers. Handling it the best he could, he set and enforced curfews as well as posted armed men in the streets. Nothing he did made a difference. The child thief still triumphed, young ones still vanished and the children of the town were not safe.

So many children were taken, from all ranks and stations, that the people’s appeal to the magistrate turned from appeal to reproach. Even his beautiful golden-haired wife, who had no children to lose, seemed to turn her back on him. She withdrew, kept to her own room at night and he hardly saw her.

Still, a brave and conscientious man, he took to the streets, walking patrol, searching for the predator, when he happened to notice a flicker in the alleyway. When he caught up with the bundle of rags, he recognized it as the mother of the first child taken. She was half mad and yammered, “The night has teeth. The night has claws, and I have found them.”

Taken back, Berber released the woman and she ran off, he quickly followed her, making chase, winding through the streets until they were on the outside fringes of town. The woman ran like a dog with a scent, finally veering from the path, she dove into the underbrush. Moments later she dragged a hooded figure out, bearing something of bulk in its mouth. Suddenly they were running again. The hooded figure darting off with the woman in pursuit.

Image via Wikipedia

The chase came to an end at an old lodge Berber knew well. He approached to the sounds of many screams. He burst through the door to the most gruesome discovery of his career. I will spare you the details. Just know the old mother didn’t survive. She came apart at the seams. Or, something created new seams for her. Anyway, the thing stood hunched amidst a bloody carnage as it continued to shift shape. Not quite man, nor not quite wolf. It was something in between. A small shivering child close by its side.

Berber reeled backwards at the sight. This thing with the head of a wolf, cold glittering eyes, enormous teeth meant for killing , blood dripping fangs, gray hairy shoulders, melded with the bosom of a woman who had soft pale hands, yet lupine clawed extensions. 

Raising its head, the thing snarled and lunged. Being a quick man, Berber thrust his sword deep into the she-beast’s heart. Watching the creature scream and wither at his feet, he wrenched the blade out, preparing to behead the beast. But Berber’s heart stilled as the thing at his feet began to change form. The beast was gone. There was no wolf, no half-wolf. Only a woman. His wife!

Mrs. Berber was a werewolf. He quietly carried the screaming child back to Magdeburg and told the people what happened. He then returned for his wife, removing her from the premises, never to speak of her again. But the villager often did. They said it happened on one of the Magistrates hunting trips Mrs. Berber attended. It is said that Berber’s wife drank water from a mountain spring in the Harz Mountains and for it paid a fearful price.

Werebeasts are common all over the world. Parts of Europe fear the wereboar and werebear, in addition to the werewolf. In India they fear the weretiger. China and Japan are territories for the werefoxes.

Some are believed to be cursed from birth to make the shift between animal and human form. Others are victims of curses, and more seek the power through witchcraft and sorcery. In these cases, it’s the power of the beast they seek. Norse armies were known to do this by cloaking themselves in the hide of the powerful bear before battle in order to capture the animal’s power. These men, known as berserks – for “bear shirt”, would go out into battle wearing nothing but the animal skin. It is said they lost their humanity and showed a strength incomprehensible to others.

The other animal of great power is the wolf. Known for its sharp eye, keen hearing, strong teeth, powerful jaws, great resourcefulness and deadly efficiency. They’ve been referred to as death bringers. Some believe them to be the souls of ancient savageries. For their power, men have at times sought to join the wolf in its mastery.

Depending on which road you chose to travel where the werebeast is concerned, you can determine your thoughts on immortality. If you’re a Stephanie Meyers fan, well, then Jacob can choose to live forever – right? Or did I read that wrong. If you subscribe to the ancient theories weres live on after death, only in the form as a vampire. In the cartoons and shows I grew up watching, a were died when you shot it with a silver bullet – end of story. 

Never the less, they are kin to immortals and worthy of a spot on Immortal Monday.

Putting yourself in Berber’s shoes, what would you have done differently? Do you think he should have seen it coming? Werebeasts – good, bad, or misunderstood (just like the rest of us humans)?

Looking for more fun with werewolves and lycanthropy? Check out these neat links:

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    Thor is traveling the world. He was in the UK last week and is headed to Canada now. We’re looking forward to his next check-in. Add your stop to the list! You could blog all about Thor’s visit and I’ll promote you here on my blog, as well as track his progress. Let me know and we’ll add you to the list. Our Norse god will be getting his own page here on the blog soon. Be on the look out for that.

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    In other news: this blog will be relocating to a self-hosted site at some point at the end of October, beginning of November. I hope you’ll follow us to the new digs. My fabulous designer, Laird Sapir, and I have some pretty amazing ideas (I think) and I hope you’ll enjoy what we create there.

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    ~oOo~

    I love hearing from you! If you enjoyed this post or any of my previous posts, I’d be delighted to have you hit the follow button or add this blog to your RSS feed! You may also find me on twitter at @DebraKrist. Tootles! Thanks for stopping by!

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About Debra Kristi

Debra Kristi is a mother, an author, a Pinterest addict, and sometimes DIY home decorator. Hang with her to organize your everyday and leave your mind open to the fantastical.
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25 Responses to A Legend and A Werebeast Makes an Immortal Monday

  1. I had neve read this story, Debra. wow. lots of blood and gore and sadness. thanks for finding it for us.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      I meant to put a warning up. Thanks for reminding me, Louise. My test reader said the same thing. I softened it from the original legend, if you would believe that. You’re welcome, and thanks for always supporting my blog.

  2. Coleen Patrick says:

    Cool story Debra! Before reading this my only frames of reference on the werebeast were Michael J. Foxx as teen wolf and Jacob! 🙂

  3. susielindau says:

    While working on a sewing project which is generally the case near Halloween, I watched a really old werewolf movie. It was a little different than the classic tale.
    Loved your post!

  4. Emma says:

    Excellent, spooky tale. I imagined the setting from the movie, Red Riding Hood as I read along.

  5. Great story, Debra! I think you did a wonderful job with the telling of this legend. And thanks so much for the blog-love!

    Concerning that medical report link… all I can say is… Wow! I had to wonder how that woman put her life back together after such a bizarre time.

    Another fascinating post 🙂

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Thanks, Laura. Wasn’t that medical report something else? I’m thrilled you swung by there and checked it out. I was happy to send you the blog love. I’ve had this post in the back of my mind ever since I saw your post way back when.

  6. What a sad story, but I think it does a great job of showing the dark side of yet another creature that’s been romanticized in more recent writing. Don’t even get me started on vampires that sparkle 😉

    • Debra Kristi says:

      LOL. Vampires don’t sparkle! Traditionally they were dark, ugly creatures. They are dead after all! Thanks, Marcy. That really seems to be the trend these days, doesn’t it? So many dark creatures are being romanticized. It’s what sells. I’m probably guilty of it myself.

  7. Well now, that’s an interesting story! I remember being told that a were could be killed with a silver bullet as well. That’s why I keep a steady supply on hand, just in case.

    Fun stuff you learn here on Immortal Mondays. Can’t wait for Thor’s visit. Is he getting excited about his trip south? I know I am.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Fun stuff! Glad you enjoyed it. Now I know who to call when I need a supply of silver bullets. Too bad you aren’t a little closer.

      Thor is very excited. I am trying to keep track of the timing so that I can arrange his arrival to fit your big “holiday” plan. Thanks for stopping in!!

  8. I hadn’t heard this story before – I find it especially interesting that the werewolf was a woman! Although it occurred to me that Berber should have at least have warned the villagers about the pond he though this wife drank from. Thanks for another intriguing installment of IM!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Indeed. I think she was probably drawn to the children because her human half was barren. It doesn’t mention that in the legend, but it has the feel to me. And she pulled away from him because of her guilt. Whether he knew which pond she drank from is hard to say. That part of the story is speculation on the part of the villagers.

  9. Wow. I think I seriously like today’s ‘monsters’ more than the ones written about in earlier times. Give me sparkling vegetarians, give me 6-pack abs, the Salvatore brothers and Tyler. I want my folklore watered down, lol. Can’t get into nightmares.

    I’m not sure Jacob counts as a werewolf though. I think someone said he and the others in Twilight were shape shifters, and could have taken on any form. It doesn’t matter though. Jacob makes me wish I were a teenager. I have a poster of him on a shelf on my desk. I keep wondering if people will think I’m weird if I hang it up. 🙂

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Jacob is a shape shifter, so is a werewolf. All weres are shape shifters. The way I read the legend of Jacob and his tribe was that they shifted into wolves – period. There was no mention of them having the ability to shift into other shapes, unlike Sam on True Blood who can be anything he chooses. He can be a fly on the wall. No that is the kind of shape shifter to be.

      I think the reason you mentioned is why these creatures are so watered down today. People want the romance without the nightmare. They find the power sexy, but the other end of it, well… It’s interesting. It’s created different camps for fans. Personally, I enjoy them both. I’m Switzerland. 🙂

  10. Weres are my favorite paranormal creature. Great story, Debra!

  11. Great post, Debra. Wonderful storytelling!

  12. Pingback: Are you immortal? | ITSOGS

  13. paywindow7 says:

    Thanks Debra, I was needing a fun read tonight.
    I have long felt that there was “something”, “out there”. I spent many years backpacking solo in a lot of wilderness areas of the Chisos, Cascades and the Rocky Mountains and I’ve felt on numerous occasions that I was being tracked and watched. The fact that a human is observed by animals and birds native to that area is totally understandable but the other feeling is the vibe coming from a….something else. You tell yourself that it’s just a deer or racoon, owl or on one occasion, I think, a puma. But sleep that night is light and troubled behind a fire that is much larger than usual.. Is their such a thing as a shape shifter? Dunno, I really don’t believe in them but if someday if it’s found that they do exsist I will not be surprised.

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