Vöärloupen uut de Tyd / Omens about our Last Hour

Vöärloupen. Et sel toch skyr weasen, as wy unse wyrd weyten kinnen döär wat of wy seen in de wearld um us hin? Et perbleam is, meynstyds doon wy neet een sood med dee vöärloupen dee vöär us loupen, en anders to låt. Of, villicht, berüsten wy uns in et onvormydelike. Kyk mor eyns een mål når disse vortelling uut Dreante:

Veurbeduudsels leuf ik wel aan, omdat ik zoiets zulf beleefd heb. Mien vrouw weet et ook wel, dat wie op een oavend geklop op et raam heurden. Ik van t bedde af om te zien, wat of er buutn was. Niks tezien; t was n mooie nacht en de moan scheen; ik kon ver kiekn, maar gien mens te bekennen. Enkele weekn later heurden wie etzulfde geklop opnei. Aan t zulfde roam en t was t zulfde geluud. Ik zeg teegn de vrouw: “Maar es weer zien, of er nou dan iene is.” k Schoot uut bedde en gung hen buutn. Ja, daar stun een buurman, die zee, dat er iene sturvn was in de buurte; ik mus eevn met om te helpn.

Een ander geval is ons gezin ook overkomen. Wie harn n keer twee kinder ziek. En toen kwam er elke dag een hond te joeln. Ie ging dichte bie ons huus zitn en hoelde erbarmeliek. Iene van de kinder is overleden; de ander is geneezn. Maar et gekke is toch wel, dat die hond er nooit weer west is. Ik moet er voak aan denkn; zol zo’n beest er weet van hebben, dat er wat gebeurn zel?

Verleden jaar was de buurvrouw arg ziek. Sie hebben ook n hontien en dat beest jankt nooit. Maar toen wel, allernoarst. Ik zei teegn de vrouw: “Ik vertrouw et niet met buurvrouw; t zel wel verkeerd afloopn.” Ze is beter worn en t jankn is ook opholn; in dit geval kwam et dus niet uut.

Uut de Kollektsy van Wever, vorsåmelår van volksvortellingen in Dreante en Süüd-Grönn

Wy hebben hyr twey arten vöärloupen: et bunken rund et huus, en een hünd dee juult as een pudje, so vöäl. Dit binnen beident vortellingen dee wy ofter höyren in Nedderland en Düütskland, en villich ouk dårbuten. Ik wil my een mål fokuseren up dee hünd. Disse vortelling likt een heyl sood up wat of wy in Oldengelske en Nornse poetiske bornen vinden oaver de sogeheyten krigsbisten. Dit binnen bisten dee höär med de krygers når et slaktveld gån, um dår to feasten up de gevallenen (John Niles, “Pagan Survivals and Popular Belief,” in The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature, Second Edition (2013), p. 127). Et meynst bekinde bist dat so deynst düt is de råv, dee ouk oft wårelk up et slachtveld was, um dår de achterblyvende liggåmen to behappen. Dit kinnen ju byvübbeld seen in et dichtwark Beowulf vers 3026b-3029b:

Ac se wonna hrefn

Fus ofer fægum | fela reordian

Earne secgan | hu him æt æte speow

Þenden he wið wulf | wæl reafode

Born: link

Råven binnen geheyl swartbedekt, en düs dee bisten dee höär rund de douden begeaven. See binnen in de Nedderlanske kontekst oft ulen worden, umreaden der binnen neet een sood råven up dit laege land.

Ouk de wülv is hum oft to vinden up et slachtveld in dichtwarken lykas Beowulf. Et is düs logisk, dat disse bisten teakens (in Peircianske beteykenis) vöär de nådernde doud werden. Vanuut disse kontekst wordt et düdelik, dat disse bisten ouk in andre situåtsys, et neet weldådige, dågelks leavent, höär torechtkommen binnen. Now binnen et swarte hünden in stea van wülven, dee höär de douden uutjulen. Süms kin dit bist ouk een doude weasen, lykas in disse vortelling uut Brandenburg:

Wen dië Schummeringe ran kam, den mokte jiëder, det e inne Schtoue kam … den kam int Dörrep där grote schwarte Hunt, un vör dän reet jiëder uet. Där woar so groet wi en eenjärijet Kallef, un det Füër brende em ümmer uten Rachen so ruet, un dië Ouen brendn wië in Poar Kiënbalster. Wuë oendes noch eender allene uppe Schtroate jink, doa woar där Hunt bëi em un jink met bes vörre Döäre, wuë man hen jink; doa bleech e schtoan, un wen man wedder ruet kaem, den woar där oek wedder doa, un jelette enen wedder noa Hues … Där Nachtwechter het em äber kene Ro jeloatn, där het ümmer jeseäd: ‘Wat wert etten förn Hunt sin? In older verwünschter Eddelman is et, där mut nou als Hunt rum loepn.’

August Engelien en Wilhelm Lahn, Der Volksmund in der Mark Brandenburg (1868), p. 17

Et is möyglik dat et vüür, beident uut de mund en de ougen, een ofspeigling is van et vagevüür, dår elk meansk in de Katoliske vöärstellen in branden sel vöär et intreaden in himmel. Et låt seen dat de noabele seakers vervlööked is, dår hee brandet med et vüür uut et helleryk van de Düüvel.

Wat is et an disse bisten dat sy perfekte doudsvöärloupen weasen kinnen? Is et wårlik en old, vöär-Kristelk idea? Of glöven wy dat bisten höär dichter by natüür stån, en düs med höär willekören medgån. Kumt eyn de tyd uut, dan düt dit wat med de balans in de natüür, en bisten volen det. Sy begünnen düs lewai to maken, lykas sy doon by aerdbeavens of astu to lang van huus vot blivt (in beide valen so as de hüüntys van myn huusmedbewoaner). Wat et ouk weasen mag, wy hebben der mor geluk med: et erinnert us an uns tydelk vorblyv up disse wearld, en dat wy de volgende weasen kinnen dee uut de tyd komt. Gaern dank dårvöär.

Omens. Wouldn’t it be great when we could know our fates by what we see in the world around us? The problem is that we don’t do anything with the omens that present them to us, or otherwise too late. Or, perhaps, we resign ourselves in the inevitable. Like this story from Drenthe:

I do believe in omens, because I’ve experienced something like that myself. My wife also knows that we, one night, heard knocking on our window. I got out of bed to see what was going on outside. I couldn’t see anything: it was a beautiful night and the moon was out; I could see far and wide, but no one in sight. A couple of weeks later we heard the same knocking again, at the same window and the exact same sound. I said to my wife: ‘Let’s see if something is there now.’ I shot out of bed and went outside. Indeed, a neighbour stood outside, who said that someone died in the neighbourhood; I had to come along to help.

Something else happened to our family as well. Once two of our kids were ill. And every day a dog came howling. He sat close to our home and howled miserably. One of our children died; the other recovered. But the strange thing is that we never saw that dog again. My mind often wanders off to it; would such an animal know what is going to happen?

Last year our neighbour was very ill. They also had a dog who never howled. But then it did, terribly. I said to my wife: ‘I don’t trust this; it’s not going to end well.’ The neighbour recovered and the howling also ceased; in this case nothing came of it.

From the collection of Wever, a collector of folktales in Drenthe and the south of Groningen.

We have two kinds of omens here: the knocking around the house, and a dog who cries like a baby, so much. These kind of stories occur a lot in the Netherlands and Germany, and perhaps also in other countries. I’m going to focus on that dog. This story is quite similar to what we find in Old English and Old Norse poetic source about the so-called Beasts of Battle. They are animals who go with the warriors to a battlefield to feast on the fallen (John Niles, “Pagan Survivals and Popular Belief,” in The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature, Second Edition (2013), p. 127). The most well-known creature that does so is the raven, which actually often would appear on a battlefield, to nibble on the remaining bodies. This can be seen in the poem Beowulf, verses 3026b-3029b:

But the black raven

Eager over those doomed to die | feasting much

Tells the eagle | how at his prey he succeeded

When he with the wolf | ravaged the battlefield

My translation

Ravens are completely covered in black, and also those animals that surround the dead. They often become owls in the Dutch context, because there are not many ravens on our low country.

The wolf is also often found on the battlefield in poems like Beowulf. Therefore it is logical that these animals became symbols (in a Peircian sense) for death approaching. From this context it becomes apparent, that these animals also appear in non-violent, everyday situations. Now they are black dogs instead of wolves who cry over the dead. Sometimes this beast can also be a dead person, like in this story from the area of Brandenburg:

When twilight was arriving, everybody made sure that they were inside … then a big black dog arrived in the village, and everybody fled for it. It was as big as a stirk, and a fire was always burning out of its throat, and the eyes burned like a pair of straight-burning pine splinters. Whoever went on the street alone at night, the dog would join him and want up to the door, where one went to; the dog remained standing there, and when one came out again, the dog was also there, and followed that person back home … The night watcher could not leave it alone, he has always said: ‘What kind of dog is that? It is a cursed noble, who has to thread around as a dog now.’

August Engelien en Wilhelm Lahn, Der Volksmund in der Mark Brandenburg (1868), p. 17

It is possible that the fire, from both the mouth and the eyes, is inspired by Purgatory, where every person in the Catholic cosmology will burn before entering Heaven. It shows that the nobleman is surely cursed, for he is burning with the fires associated with the kingdom of the Devil, Hell.

What is it about these creatures that makes them perfect death omens? Is it truly an old, pre-Christian idea? Or do we believe that animals are closer to nature, and thus go along with her every whim. When one is about to die, this affects the balance in nature, and animals feel that. So they start making noise, like they do at earthquakes or when you stay away from home too long (like the dogs of my housemate, in both cases). Whatever it is, we struck gold: it reminds us about our temporary residence in this world, and that we could be the next one to perish. Thanks for that.

Ie ging dichte bie ons huus zitn en hoelde erbarmeliek / He sat close to our home and howled miserably
(Model: Nikita)

Spookplåtkepråt

Um et måken van de foto

Vöär disse foto heb ik een nåricht up unse lokåle Facebook-group plåtst, vrågend um en swarte hünd-model. Vlut kryg ik een antwoard van eyn van de medleaden, dee een skyre swarte hünd to gast haar dee as model dynen kun.

En so hebben wy Nikita mööt, een entusiaste, blyde, en gehöärsåm hüünty, dee modellearen kin as een pro. See posearde vöär us vöär een beste tyd and het us hulpen de perfekte foto to krygen!

Myn kamera haar wat prebleamen med et fokusen, mor we haren beslouten dat dit wåsige effekt eyglyks de foto ten goode kwam, umreaden et is en ofgryslike foto van en swarte hünd in de nacht.

Spooky spectral speculations

About creating the picture

For this photo I turned to our local Facebookgroup to ask for a black-dog-model. Soon one of the members replied that she had a beautiful black guest dog that could model.

And thus we met Nikita, a very enthusiastic, happy en obedient dog, that can model like a pro. She posed for us for quite a while and helped us to get the perfect picture!

My camera had some focusing issues, but we decided that this effect actually benefitted the picture, being a spooky picture, of a black dog at night.

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