Maank Peten / Between Petes

Wat ik ju töt no to seyn låten heb binnen eyglyks körte lapkes tekst, ouk allenig van uut et Grönnegerland. Körte sagen, wat ouk definitsy van en sage is: en körte vortelling, süms neet mear as en lüddeke meadedeylen. Wårelk groute episke sassiske dichtwarken binnen der neet vöäl. Heliand meskeen, of sümmige dichters van nodestyds lykas D.S. Hovinga. Disse bornen sillen wy us låter eys en mål ankyken. Vöär no heb ik eyn vortelling dee wydergeit up de sage van leste mål, dat ouk bysünder is. Volksvortellingen binnen oft neet so stark med mekander involveard, dat eyn vortelling de ander upvolgt. Ditmål hebben wy et geluk dat et wel so geit. De sage, vannys upteykend döär E.J. Huizenga-Onnekes, geit um Peet (up et Grönnegsk: Pait), dee van kårtspöälen med Düüvel torüch når huus geit, låt up åvend. Dit is wat hey teagenkümt:

Pait mos noa Fledderbosterpòlder. Dou e noar hoes gong, zag e op de Grasdiek n hail grode en mooie börg, n pelaais was t kant. Dat was doar nou dat òl hoeske staait, mor dou ston der nòg niks. Pait gong veur t glas stoan, en zag doar haile mooie doames aan t wien drinken. Wien haar Pait van zien levent nòg nait had, en zokke mooie vraauwlu haar e nòg nooit zain. ‘Doar mout ik in,’ dòcht e. Hai haar aan ain les nòg nait genog. Hai luip ter ook in, en hai kreeg ook vot n beker vol wien. Hai huil de wien veur de mond, en tòt zien gelok zee e: ‘Gòd zegent joe!’ Dou was ales verdwenen, want kiek, bie de Duvel mag Gòds noam nooit nuimd wòrden. t Wazzen vanzulf apmoal heksen en spouken, dij bie de Duvel op verziede wazzen. Pait is vrij bleven.

E.J. Huizenga-Onnekes, Groninger Volksverhalen (1981), p. 253-254.

Up earste blik likt disse vortelling en bült up en klassisk morålvortelling. Peet krigt heksen en geysten vot döär sik up God to beropen. Skane dat hey geyn wyn pruwen kon. Et is koamisk dat Peet dit düt. Vöärigmål binnen wy Peet ouk tweymål teagenkoamen, ouk al weyten wy dat meskeen neet. Kyk vannys en mål når vortelling van vöärig mål (en andre versy):

Op n oavend zat ter weer es n haile kòppel [te koartspeulen], en ze wonnen alemoal. Dat was al gek. Pait luit n koart valen, bokte zok onder toavel, en zag in t donker hail dudelk n peerdepoot. Dat was nòg gekker. Hai wör bot kel, mor zee niks. Zo gaauw as e kon, gong e vot … en de aandern brakken ook op.

E.J. Huizenga-Onnekes, Groninger Volksverhalen (1981), p. 253.

In disse versy worden paerdebeynen neet med Düüvel assosieard, mor wel in dee andre versys. Dår vinden wy de nåmen ‘Düüvel’ en ‘de Olle’. Disse leste nåm is eyn deyl van en ander bekende Düüvelsnåm up et Grönnegerland, nåmelk òl Pait, old Peet (Ter Laan, Nieuw Groninger Woordenboek (1952), p. 625). Villicht um neet nog mear vorwarring to måken hebben beide karakters en andre nåm. Mor as vorteller sik wat aans in kop haar, den haren wy meskeen en vortelling med twey Peten: en olle en en ‘normåle’.

Disse beide karakters, Peet en Old Peet, lyken meskeen earst so teagensteld to weasen. Old Peet is de Düüvel, dee elkeneyn verdomen wol. Peet, dårteagen, wol syn eygen redden, umreaden hey röpt töt God up et jüüste momint, vöär hey wyn drinkt. Disse teagenstellens binnen wichtig in sükse volksvortellingen neavens Claude Lévi-Strauss. Disse vortellingen tonen us watvöär såken vöär en kultuur wichtig weasen, en mediearen tüsken höär teagenstelde tendentsys (Lévi-Strauss, ”The Structural Study of Myth” (1955), p. 440; The Savage Mind (1966), p. 95). Neavens Lévi-Strauss mediearen verskydene genres vortellingen up verskydene wysen. Lévi-Strauss måkt hyrmed benåm en underskyd tüsken myten up eyne syde, en legenden en volksvortellingen up de andre. Myten bepråten de oppositsys up kosmologisk en natüürlik nivå, terwyl volksvortellingen en legenden dit up sosiål, lokål, en morål nivå doon (Lévi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology: Volume 2 (1973), p. 128).

As wy disse vortelling as en klassisk morålvortelling en dus volksvortelling neamen, den is eyn der wichtigste moreale oppositys dee tüsken et kristelke en et unkriskelke leaven. Disse teagenstelden binnen stark med enkander vorbonden döär de nåm Peet, dår Düüvel (Old Peet) et unkristelke is, en mensken-Peet et kristelke, umreaden hey krigt heksen en geysten vot döär to seggen “God seagent ju!”.

Mor no gå ik my to vlot. Der binnen sükse detais in de vortelling, dee såk wat bemöyliken. Alderearst, ik heb my no annomen dat Düüvel en kwoie is, mor echt vöäl kwåds düt sik neet vöär in de vortelling, in elk val neet når use standård. Kårtspöälen, wyn, skyre wichter, dår blivt et wel by, neet wårelk kwåd in use ougen dus. An andre kant is mensken-Peet neet echt de ambassadöär van et goie. Hey was earstens an et kårtspöälen, Düüvel syn spel. Dernåst geit hey sikkom stea up dår of wyn dronken wordt. En den neet Kristus syn blood, mor et lekkere spül. Nee, et likt my dat mensken-Peet neet glyk en Goierd is. So as ik dammea skreaven haar, kent disse volksvortelling en mediatsy maank et kristelke en onkristelke, en ik glööv my dat mensken-Peet disse mediatsy is. Disse mediatsy is nimmer en kompromis, mor altyd wordt eyn van beide termen bevöärrecht, en kümt der beater of as de ander. In dit val is det et unkristelke. Up et end düt et neet sovöäl dat mensken-Peet sik med Old Peet syn såken inlåt – as hey up et end mor God syn nåm in eare holdt. Et düt ouk neet sovöäl dat hey sik det eyglyks vöäral uut beleafdigheyd düt, neet umreaden hey is so Godsvreasend. Dårin seyn wy ho of disse vortelling de mensk seyt: maank kristelk en unkristelk is en mensk swår sündig, mor et düt neet sovöäl, as lü mor up et jüüste momint sik weyten God syn nåm up to seggen. Wårelk Godsvreasend weasen binnen der mor en pår, mor net asof doon is good genog. Åmen.

What I have shown you up to this point are just short narratives, also only from the Groningen area. Short tales, which is also the definition of a sage: a short tale, sometimes not more as a mere notification. Truly grand epic Saxon poems are rare. Perhaps the Heliand, or modern poets like D.S. Hovinga. We will examine these sources at another time. Right now I have a story that is a continuation of the one from last time, which is rather unique. Folktales are often not interconnected with one another, in the sense that one continues where the other stops. This time we are that lucky. The tale, again recorded by E.J. Huizenga-Onnekes, is about Pete, who is walking back home after playing cards with the Devil, late at night. This is what he saw:

Pete has to go to the Fledderbosterpolder. When he went back home, he saw an enormous and beautiful stronghold on the Grasdijk, it almost was like a palace. That was at that place where you now find that little old house, but during those days there was nothing there yet. Pete stood in front of the window, and he saw captivating ladies drinking wine. Pete never had wine before in his live, and ladies of this level of beauty he had never seen before. ‘I have to get in,’ he thought. One lesson wasn’t enough for him. He went inside, and quickly received a cup full of wine. He held the wine in front of his mouth, but luckily he said ‘God bless you!’ Then everything disappeared, because at the Devil’s place the name of God may not be uttered. Of course all these ladies were witches and ghosts who visited the Devil. Pete remained free.

E.J. Huizenga-Onnekes, Groninger Volksverhalen (1981), p. 253-254.

This story looks a lot like a classical moral tale on first glance. Pete does away with the witches and ghosts by calling upon God. Shame for him, though, for he never got to taste wine. It is kinda funny that Pete is the one to do this. Last time we met Pete twice as well, although we were not aware about it. Look again at one of the stories from last time (another version):

One night a big group were [playing cards] again, and everyone won. That was strange already. Pete dropped a card, bent down underneath the table, and saw clearly in the dark a horse leg. That was even stranger. He turned bleak instantaneously, but didn’t say anything. As soon as he could, he went home … and the others also left.

E.J. Huizenga-Onnekes, Groninger Volksverhalen (1981), p. 253.

In this version the horse legs are not associated with the Devil, which does happen in those other versions. In those we find the names ‘Düüvel’ (Devil) and ‘de Olle’ (the old one). This last name is one part from another known Devil’s name in the Groningen area, namely ol Pait, old Pete (Ter Laan, Nieuw Groninger Woordenboek (1952), p. 625). Perhaps in order to not confuse the audience any further, both characters have a different name. But if the informant would have some different ideas, then we could have had a tale with two Petes: an old one and a ‘normal’ one.

Both these characters, Pete and Old Pete, seem to be opposites at first sight. Old Pete is the Devil, who wants to lead everyone to damnation. Pete, on the other hand, wants to save himself, by means of calling out to God at the right moment, before drinking wine. These oppositions are important in such folktales according to Claude Lévi-Strauss. These stories show us what the concerns of a culture are, and mediate between its opposed tendencies (Lévi-Strauss, ”The Structural Study of Myth” (1955), p. 440; The Savage Mind (1966), p. 95). According to Lévi-Strauss the different genres of stories mediate these oppositions in different fashions. Lévi-Strauss primarily creates a distinction between myths, on the one hand, and legends and folktales on the other. Myths discuss the cosmological and natural oppositions, while folktales and legends discuss social, local, and moral oppositions (Lévi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology: Volume 2 (1973), p. 128).

When we take this story to be a classical moral tale, thus being a folktale, then one of the most important moral oppositions is the one between Christian and non-Christian live. These opposites are strongly connected to one another through the name Pete, in which the Devil (Old Pete) is non-Christian, and human Pete is Christian, because he gets rid of the witches and ghosts by saying “God bless you!”.

But now I’m going too fast. Some details in the story complicate things. First of all, I have assumed that the Devil is evil, but true evil is not really found in the narrative, at least not according to our judgements. Playing cards, wine, beautiful women, not much more, and not truly evil according to most of us. On the other hand, human Pete is not really an ambassador of the Good either. First of all, he was playing cards, the Devil’s game. Next to that, he nearly enters a place in which wine is drunk. Not even the blood of Christ, but the good stuff. No, I don’t reckon that human Pete is the Good one. Just as I wrote above, this folktale features a mediation between that which is Christian and that which is non-Christian, and I think that human Pete is the mediation. This mediation is never merely a compromise, but one of the sides will have the advantage and ends up in a better position. In this case it is the non-Christian side. In the end, it doesn’t really matter whether human Pete gets involved in the Devil’s business – as long as he calls upon God’s name in the end. It also doesn’t matter that he does so just out of politeness, not because he is proper and God-fearing. This shows us the view on humanity in this story: between being Christian and non-Christian a human is a heavy sinner, but it doesn’t matter much, as long as people call upon God’s name at the right moment. Only a few are truly God-fearing, but pretending works just fine. Amen.

“Wien haar Pait van zien levent nòg nait had, en zokke mooie vraauwlu haar e nòg nooit zain”
“Pete never had wine before in his live, and ladies of this level of beauty he had never seen before”
(Models: HildeMarie, Gerrie, Annemieke, Arjan, Margriet, Annemieke, HildeMarie, Gerrie, Monique)

Spookplåtkepråt

Um et måken van de foto

In us dörp hebben wy en breiklüb med apmål nüvere, skone, leeve vrauwlü. Myn earste idea was glyk um disse breiklüb to vrågen um de skone vrauwlü med wyn uut de vortelling to weasen. Disse breiklüb haar ouk ‘breiwyn’ uutdocht (et glåske wyn – of twey – dat wy drinken up et end van de åvend). Ik wol my gaern et beald neamen in desülvde upstellen as by Leonardo da Vinci syn Leste Åvendmål. Umreaden Leonardo da Vinci was der eyn med verdypens en ik hom as en grout meyster sey. Et perbleam was dat ter mor vyv skone vrauwlü kommen konden. Ik heb sülv en lanke tåvel med en bült stolen. Do heb ik myn kamera up en statyv plåtst vöär tåvel en de foto in twey stukken noamen. Earstmål linkerhalv, dernå rechterhalv med en pår van desülvde lü. Vöär uplettende kykers: Arjan Sterken spöält de rol van de vermeande Maria Magdalena döär as de eynigste man in en groop vrauwlü to weasen. Med et fotobewarkingspergram heb ik de twey fotos by enkander vöögt, en ik kin seggen: kon minder! Ik bun my heyl blyde um de foto: et is krekt worden wat of ik wol!

Spooky Spectral Speculations

About creating the picture

In our village we have a knitting club in which all the women are nice, beautiful, and lovely. My first idea right from the start was to ask this club to depict the beautiful women drinking wine. This is the same knitting club that invented “knitting wine” (the glass of wine – or two – that we drink when the evening is coming to an end). I wanted to take the picture in the same setup as Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, because Leonardo da Vinci was a very smart guy and I see him as a great master of arts. The problem was that only five women were able to show up for the photoshoot session, but I came up with a solution. I own a large table with a lot of chairs. I put my camera on the tripod in front of the table and took the picture in two takes: first the left half, and then the right half with partly the same people. For those who like to look at the details: Arjan Sterken is impersonating the supposed Mary Magdalene by appearing as the only man in a group of women. Using the photo editing software I put the two pictures together and I can honestly say: very good! I am very happy with the picture: it ended up just the way I wanted!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Cynthia Leurs says:

    I love the story and the picture and the motivation behind it. Well done !

    Like

  2. Arjan Sterken says:

    Thank you so much! Next week we’ll publish a new story, so get excited for that!

    Like

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