De Roggemoder / Lady of the Rye

Sassisk

Kinders mogen höär en bült neet doon. Neet eaten vöär et åvendsmål, neet rennen in höär sündagske påskepronk, neet med dee katholiske lüde spöylen, dår wy protestanten binnen – ju kennen et al, en villicht vorbeyden ju now al jun eygen kröyst disse såken. En kinders lüüsteren good når ow, höär. See weyten doch, dastu höär anders upvreaten solst, lykas wy vöärig mål seen haren. Mor olders dee dreigen med gewald is neet altyd genug. Oft is der wat meyr nöydig, um kinders up et jüüste pad to krygen. En dårüm binnen er de kinderskrikken.

En kristen holdet men up et jüüste pad döär med de Hel to dreigen. By kinders geit et beater, um med ytswat minder abstrakt to dreigen. Dårvöär binnen der kinderskrikken. Disse süpernatuurlike weasens jagen kinders skrik an, um to sorgen, dat see neet up en bepålde stea kommen. Et givt en heyle bült van sükse kinderskrikken: vöär et wold, vöär et wåter, mor ouk vöär et veld. En, anders as de Engelske naam denken düt (bogeymen), givt et ouk wyvlike kinderskrikken. In Grönn in Nedderland givt et de roggemoder, en ard monster dat kinders upeat as see to wyd et roggeveld up gån. Et is ouk in Düütskland to vinden. Wilhelmine Siefkes skrivt derum: kinders mutten geyn roggeblumen pikken, dår see de plant stukkend maken en boor minder ougst har (Ostfriesische Sagen (1968), s. 20). In Nedderland is et en wat betuund weasen, dee neet oft in dee gedaante vöärkümt. Andre vörms, lykas de seeman of kourenwulv, kümt ofter vöär. Neavens Voskuil is disse vörm, as roggemoder, allennig up de sandgrunden in et noordousten van Nedderland to vinden (Voskuil, ‘De Roggemoeder’, in Volkskunde 65 (1964), s. 153-180). Mor ouk dår givt et neet en bült vortellingen. D.S. Hovinga hev sik der en mål en dichtwark um maaked. Dår et süksen sköyne, smükke rymdery is, heyldaal neet oldmoudsk of kliché of uninventyv, sullen de meynste oldmoudske lüde, dee wat med et sassisk düt, dit seakers machtig skyr vinden:

Roggemouer

“Doar deur het hooge koren

Dat bog in d’ oav’mdwind

Lopt lang ’n laange loane

Allain, ’n lutje kind …

“Dei mooie blaauwe bloume

Zag ’t lutje kind doar stoan.

Ze stapte dou in ’t koren,

Och haar ze ’t moar nait doan.

“En ’n èndje wieder zag ze

Nog net zo’n bloume stoan;

En aal moar wieder, wieder

Lopt z’ oaf van laange loan.

“De hooge smuie oaren

Boegen veur het kind oet zied;

De roggeboaren zingen

Van nacht en vrouger tied.

“Doar vlogt wat over ’t koren,

Oet d’ oaren dook het op:

’n Swaarte groote spoukwief

Mit hoareg roege kop.

“’t Kind vuilt ’t onhaail komen,

Bloumen valen heur oet haand.

Het koorn begunt te swaaien

’t Is duuster op het laand

“Om ’t kind slagt ’t wief heur handen

En rit ’t deur ’t koren mit.

‘De rogg’mouer,’ broest het koren,

‘Dei onder d’ oaren zit.’

“De wind soest deur de rogge

Dat golft nog as ’n zee.

Doarboven aan hooge lochtdak

Schoot ’n steern van zien stee.”

D.S. Hovinga, Störm en Stilte (1950), s. 21-23

Goh, wat sköyn doch. In de engelske oaversetting heb ik myn best dån, um de kwalität van et originaal ouk når et engelsk oaver to setten – dat ouk et neet sassisk-nöylende publikum höär weyt, watvöär kwalität wy in rymderys hebben.

Et is neet altyd düdlik, of lüde in låtere tyden noch altyd good wisten wat de roggemoder was. In en wat låtere vortelling, vorsåmmeld döär Wever in 1966, liket et wårlik en ander ard weasen to weasen:

“n Poar vroulu binnen ook es vreselk schrokn onderweg. t Was al loat en mien voar gung op huus of. Toun luipn door drei vroulu mit de appelsienekörven … Inains begonnen ze haard te giern; de “rogge-mouers” zatn achter heur heer. Mien voader bleef stoan en zee: “Holt joe moar vaaste bie de moaze van t peerd; griep de steert.” De vroulu greepn t peerd vaaste; de appelsienekörfkes bungelden op de rugge. Peerd klaude dr van deur en zo ontluipn ze de rogge-mouders.”

Kollektsioon Wever, 132. map, 2. vortelling

Hyr binnen de roggemoders vöäl meyr as witte wyven: see gån achter elkeneyn an, neet länger allennig kinders up et roggeveld.

Neavens Voskuil is de roggemoder allenig up et noordousten van Nedderland to vinden. Voskuil syn undersök werd inparked döär de ståtsgrüppen. Up de düütske syde givt et nåmlik ouk en roggemoder. In Ostfriesland givt et de roggmoor of roggmöhm (Wilhelmine Siefkes, Ostfriesische Sagen (1968), s. 20). Mannhardt givt dårby an, dat et wyder in Düütskland to vinden is (Die Korndämonen (1868), s. 20-21). Landsgrüppen binnen düs eyglyks mor dumme såken. See låten us neet de wårlikheyd seen how of såken med enkander vorbunden binnen. Unse språk, et sassisk, huldet neet up by eyn grüppe of de andre. Etsülvde med disse süpernatuurlike weasens: see glydet höär eenfach oaver sükse artificiale grüppen hen. Nå my dunked is et nöydig tyd, dat wy uns neet länger allennig up us et arfgood van uns eygen stea kyken. Neet allennig de språk en vortelling up us eygen loog, mor dee van us heyle sassiske umråd is machtig interessant. Ik blyv my hyrmed noch en heyl lange tyd söt. Dugst du med?

English

Children are not allowed to do many things. Don’t eat before dinner, don’t run in your Sunday’s best, don’t play with those Catholics, since we are Protestants – you all know this, and perhaps you are forbidding your offspring these things right now. And surely your children do listen to you. They know that otherwise you will eat them, as we have seen last time. But parents threatening with violence will not always be enough. Most often something more is needed to get children on the right path. And that is why there is such a thing as a bogeyman.

A Christian is kept on the right path by being threatened by Hell. For children it is better to threaten with something not as abstract. That is why there are bogeymen. These supernatural creatures scare children in order to make sure that they do not traverse onto certain places. There is a wide range of these bogeymen: to prevent children from entering the woods, or near bodies of water, and even the fields. And, contrary to what the English name suggests (bogeymen), there are also female bogeymen. In the Groningen area in the Netherlands there is the ‘lady of the rye’, a kind of monster that eats children when they get too far into the rye fields. The creature can also be found in Germany. Wilhelmine Siefkes wrote about this: children should not pick rye flowers, because they will harm the plant and the farmer will lose a part of his harvest (Ostfriesische Sagen (1968), p. 20). It is quite a rare creature in the Netherlands, that does not appear often is the form of the lady of the rye. Other forms, like the Seaman or the korenwolf, appear more often. According to Voskuil, this form, the lady of the rye, only appears in the Netherlands in those north-eastern parts of the country where the bottom consists of sand (Voskuil, ‘De Roggemoeder’, in Volkskunde 65 (1964), p. 153-180). But even there we do not find many stories featuring this creature. D.S. Hovinga created a poem about it. Since it is such a beautiful poem, definitely not old-fashioned or cliché or uninventive, most old-fashioned folk, who do something with the Saxon language, will like this immensely:

Lady of the Rye

“There, through the tall stalks of wheat

Bowing in the evening winds so wild

Walks along a long street

All alone, a small child …

“Those beautiful blue flowers

That the small child saw standing there

She up and entered the wheat field

Oh, what is she never had come near?

“And a little way along the path she saw

Another flower, just like that

And ever, ever walking on

She continued away from that long path.

“The tall, smooth ears

Bowed so that the child could pass;

The ears of rye sang

About the night and the past.

“Something flew over the wheat,

From the ears it arose:

A dark, giant ghost lady

With a head so morose.

“the child felt disaster coming,

The flowers fell from her hand.

The wheat started storming

The darkness spread across the land.

“The lady clasped her hands around the child

And dragged her through the wheat.

‘The lady of the rye’ the stalks of wheat fizz,

‘Who has underneath the ears her seat.’

“The wind whizzes through the rye

Which in the field left its trace

High up there in the vault

A star shot from its place.”

D.S. Hovinga, Störm en Stilte (1950), p. 21-23

Oh, such pure beauty. I have tried to transmit the same level of quality of the original to the English translation, so that the non-Saxon-speaking public can experience and appreciate the quality of these rhymes.

It is not always clear whether people later on really know who the lady of the rye was. In a younger story, collected by Wever in 1966, she seems to be a different kind of creature altogether:

“A couple of women once got scared while being on the road. It was late already, and my father went home. Three women were walking there with orange crates … suddenly they started screaming loudly: the ‘ladies of the rye’ were chasing them. My dad stopped in his tracks and said: ‘hang onto the hind of the horse; hang onto the tail.’ The women held onto the horse; the orange crates dangled on their backs. The horse stove away and thus they managed to escape from the ladies of the rye.”

Collection Wever, 132nd folder, 2nd story

Here the ladies of the rye are way more alike white ladies: they will chase anyone, no longer limiting themselves to children in the rye fields.

According to Voskuil, the lady of the rye is only found in the north-east of the Netherlands. Voskuil’s research was limited because of the national borders. There are also ladies of the rye on the German side. In East Frisia we find the roggmoor or roggmöhm (Wilhelmine Siefkes, Ostfriesische Sagen (1968), p. 20). Borders of countries are merely silly limits. They don’t show us the reality of how things are connected to each other. Our language, Saxon, is not limited by one border or another. The same goes for these supernatural creatures: they simply float over these artificial borders. I believe it is about time that we stop staring blindly upon just the heritage of our own place. Not only the language and stories from our own village, but those from our whole Saxon area is amazingly interesting. I will be occupied with these things for the next coming lifetimes. You too?

‘De rogg’mouer,’ broest het koren, ‘dei onder d’ oaren zit.’ / ‘The lady of the rye’ the stalks of wheat fizz, ‘who has underneath the ears her seat.’ Model: Ilse

Spookplåtkepråt

Um et maken van de foto

Mor tweyhunderd meter van uns huus of is en grånveld. Wy haren wachted töt disse tyd van et jår med en blog um de vortelling oaver de roggemoder, umreaden et grån gröyt now. Schane, mor et givt geyn rogge in myn dörp, mor ik vund grån in stea van rogge, en up en afstand likt et krekt up rogge (de kenners weaten, dat grån dunders vöäl up rogge likt, allennig het rogge lange håren an et end van et strou). Ik har ouk glük med disse plåt: myn dochter wol wel moudel weasen! Med höär prachtige hår kon ik et neet låten, plåt swart-wit to måken en et hår höär eygen klöyr to holden låten. Et givt geyn beater Grönnen-achtig uutsicht, dan dat wat of ik up plåt set heb, en ik glööv dat et skyr past, süksen plåt to plåtsen vöär dat wy uutsoomen en verhålen van eyn grouter sassisk umråd bekyken gån.

Spooky Spectral Speculations

About creating the picture

Only 200 metres from my house there is a grain field. We waited untill this time of year to post this story because the grain is now growing. Unfortunatly there is no rye in my village but I found grain and from a distance it looks a lot like rye (the agriculturists among you know rye looks a lot like grain, but has longer hairs at the end of the straw). There is also something very fortunate about this picture: My daughter again agreed to model! With her gorgeous hair, I could not resist to emphasize it by making the picture back-and-white and keep the hair in its natural colour. There is no more “Groningen-like” view than the one I photographed here, and I think it is only fitting to post this picture before we zoom out and look at stories from the greater Saxon area.

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