Bearskin [German Folk Tale]

July 14, 2016
On tonight's podcast, we'll be looking at Bearskin, a German folk tale brought to us by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen. 

Bearskin was originally published in 1670, under the title, "The Origin of the Name Bearskin." It's a folk tale of type 361, which are stories about people who get into deals with the Devil, and come out at the other side with wealth and a beautiful bride -- a rarity indeed. 

Before getting into the rest, it's worth taking a moment to mention that Hans Jakob is also the author of, "The life of an odd vagrant named Melchior Sternfels von Fuchshaim: namely where and in what manner he came into this world, what he saw, learned, experienced, and endured therein; also why he again left it of his own free will." which is not only one of the longest subtitles I've ever had the pleasure of relating, but is also said to be one of the finest pieces of German literature of the 17th century.

Bearskin is a story about a soldier who desserts, runs off to the woods, nearly starves to death, meets the Devil, neglects his hygiene and marries a princess. 

It's also one of those rare times when the Devil gets his due, but not on the person who actually made the deal.

This is ultimately a tale about how failing to listen to your father, can be more dangerous than taking up with Satan himself.

I hope you enjoy.

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