Eyn van et Aulkenvolk / One of the Aulken Race

Unse wearld wurdt bevolked döär en groute bült unsichtbåre weasens. Vöäl van disse weasens hebben en nåm, dee höär meyr vatbår vöär unse ougen en fantasy maked. Oflopen twey jår hebben wy en bült van disse weasens seen, lykas de Düvel, witte wyven, reasen, UFOs, en vöäl meyr. Wy künnen allennig grüwelen by de gedachte an andre nåmlose grüwels, vorborgen achter de horisont van de språk, ungrypbår vöär de mensklike geyst.

Vansülv givt et ouk weasens dee en nåm hebben, mor noch altyd ungrypbår blyven. In de sassiske ümråden, vornåm Grönn en Ostfreeskland, leavt eyn süksen weasen. Of, in al val, leavede dår: neavens folklore binnen see al en tyd haer vurdgån. Disse weasens binnen höär swår mysteriös, dat elke volksvortellingenkollektsioon en tekst givt, üm disse weasens to vorklåren, sülvs al blyven andre süpernatuurlike weasens disse encyclopädiske behandling bespård:

“Het Aulkengeslachte is n old geslacht mit biezundere aigenschoppen. Ze leefden veur doezend joar en ze leven nog. Der bennen weerwolven onner, mannelke en vrouwelke heksen en ook nachtmerries, mor Aulken, Ollerkes, Oelken en Oabeltjes bennen ook geesten. Ze kennen allerhande gedoanten aannemen, sums zo klain as oelboartjes en sums bennen t reuzen. Ze kennen veul meer as n gewoon mensk.”

E.J. Huizenga-Onnekes, Heksen en Duivelsverhalen in Groningerland (1988), s. 223

Disse vorklåring vorklårt neet en bült: see kinnen en soud vörms anneamen, en binnen starker as gewoane lüde. Ja, villicht loupen see ouk gewoan maank uns:

“Dou ik ien Westerwolle verhoalen opscharrelde, zee men sums: ‘Doar mou tie hèn goan, want dat is nog ain van t aulkengeslachte of t aulkenvolk.’”

E.J. Huizenga-Onnekes, Heksen en Duivelsverhalen in Groningerland (1988), s. 223

Wat näher töt et ousten, in Ostfreeskland, weyten lüde wat meyr üm höär groutte en herkumst:

“De Aulken dat bünt de lüttken Lüde; un de lüttken Lüde dei bünt hier in’t Emsland bekannt … mine Grotmouder … de häff mi dor unner annern uk vertellt, wo nu de Aulken äigentlick up de Welt kaomen bünt.

“Dat was to de Tiet, as use Herrgott hier noch in Person up Erden wandelte. Do köm hei es äines gouden Dages an’n Huus; in dat Huus da wören tein Kinner. Fiewe van de Kinner woren heel moi, de annnern fiewe wören eislick. De fraochde hie, wie hei bi de Frau köm: ‘Waor bünt ju Kinner?’

“De Frau de här aower de eislicken van de Kinner, wie se den Herrn säöch, in’n Keller stoppet; un do sech se: ‘Düt bünt mine fief Kinner!’ …

“Do säinde us Läiwe Heer de fief Kinner un sä: ‘Wat baoben is, schall baoben bliewen; wat unner is, schall unner bliewen.’ Domit güng he sinen Patt up.

“As us Läiwe Heer nu ne kurze Tiet wäg was, do köm de Frau in Uprohr un kreech Angst, weil sie nich bi de Waohrheit blewen wör. Se löppde, wat se könn, in’n Keller, un as se de Dör upmök, do säöch se, dat de fief Kinner Aulken wören, un dat so in Erfüllung gaohn wör, wat us Läiwe Heer secht här. Un van düsse fief Kinner stammt ale Aulken, die wi hier in’t Emsland kennt häbbt.”

Gottfried Henssen, Volkserzählungen aus dem westlichen Niedersachsen (1963), s. 15

Aulken, now et wat düdliker is, binnen lüddike lüde (lykas dwergen) dee vorvloked binnen, sünt höär moder höär lillike kinder vorbergen wilde, dår see et in de kop har, dat see et neet waerd waren, vöär God to vorskeinen. Mor noch altyd binnen aulken mensken, gedåntevorandrårs, dee sik maklik mengen kinnen med andre lüde in de mensklike såmenleving. Wårüm höyren wy dan neet en bült meyr üm disse weasens? Now, eyglyks vöär en heyl enkelte readen: de aulken binnen vurdgån.

“Man sech, et was in de Tiet, wo hier das Christentum käöm, un man sech, man häff dor in de Noiker Sandberge faken klaogen hört:

‘Evangelien, Lüden un Klangen

Driewet us hier ut de Lannen.’

“Un in dei Tiet was dat uk, dat de Dahlmer Fährmann eines Aobends van günt Siet de Ems roupen hörde: ‘Hal äöwer!’ Hei kick ut de Döre un hei sütt nüms, un et is Maondlecht, un is lecht, so dat hei seihn möß, wer röpp. He geiht an’t Öwer nao dat lüttke Schipp, un in densülwigen Oogenblick do röppt’t: ‘De Pünte mitbrengen!’

“He denkt ‘do kump noch en Wagen naoh’ un nimmt de Pünte un föhrt mit äöwer. As he günsiet an’t Öwer sticht, do sütt hei in’t Maondlecht en lüttken Mann staohn. Hei verschrecket sück, hei sütt: et is ‘n Aulk; et is ‘n Aulk, so as ‘t öm immer secht is, as de Aulken utseiht: ‘n lüttken, spitzen, rouden Hout up mit ne lange Fäer dran.

“De Aulk steiht un wartet; de Fährmann lech dat Brett un de Pünte an’t Öwer, un in densülwigen Oogenblick hört he ‘n Trippeln un Trappeln, as wenn hunnert un aberhunnert lüttke Lüe äöwer de Planke van’t Öwer in die Pünte gaoht.

“He steiht vull Verwünnerung un sütt, wie de Pünte immer däiper un immer däiper in’t Water geiht; hei sütt nüms, un as sei nu baordvull is, do secht dei lüttke Aulk, dei immer kägen öm stönd: ‘Stieg in, föhr äöwer!’ …

“As sei güntsiet bünt, lech hei de Planke dor äöwer un weer dat Trippeln un Trappeln, un nu treckt de ganße grote Zug nao’t Westen tou, un as hei wiet wäg is, do hört hei nu ganz wiet ‘n Klagen un ‘n Schreien van de Heseper Kante, un ‘n Roupen: ‘Icke-Aake is dot! Icke-Aake is dot!’ Icke-Aake was de König van de lüttken Lüe, un weil Icke-Aake dot wör, tröcken nu de ganßen lüttken Lüe mit Icke-Aake tosamen ut, un nao däm häff nüms mehr ‘n lüttken Mann in’t Emsland seihn.”

Gottfried Henssen, Volkserzählungen aus dem westlichen Niedersachsen (1963), s. 17-18

Kristendum höär ankumst was wårlik al en martelgang, mor dow höär könink ouk noch uut tyd kwam, wür et aulken genug: döär de Eems öäver to gån westenkants up, houpen see höär glük up en ander stea to vinden, villicht krekt de grüppe öäver in Nedderland.

How of et ouk weasen mag: eyglyks kombineart disse vortelling twey vorskydene traditsionen. Eyrste kümt van nourdlike sassiske ümråden: de båt, dee töt up rand an to vüld wür med unsichtbåre passanten of låding, töt the båtsrand håst sülv to wåter geit. Dit tema givt et meyr gebruuklik in vortellingen üm seelen, dee når höär nye stea nå et leavensende geit. En lange versioon van disse vortelling givt et in Hovinga’s Balloaden, Mythen, Overleverns, Gedichten en Laiden van ‘t Kustvolk (1980, s. 21-45).

De tweyde traditsioon is, sou wyd ik weyt, neet per se sassisk. Et givt vortellingen üm lüddike lüde, dee höär olde stea achterlåten nådat könink uut tyd kommen is, in et nedderlanske süden. Dit motyv givt et in meyrere indeksen as ATU 113A Kattenkönink kümt uut tyd, F451.9.1.15 Dwergen emigrearen, dow höär könink uut tyd kümt, and SINSAG 102 Zwerge ziehen fort, nachdem ihr Köning gestorben ist (vom Jäger getötet ist). Dit leste motyv givt an, how of wy meynstyds disse vortelling vinden. En jåger skeyt en kaboter (en weasen lykend up en aulk). Dow dit lösgeit, rouwt elke kaboter döär et heyle land, skreiend ‘Kyrie is doud!’, en låten dit land achter höär, üm nimmer weader seen to wurden.

Vortellen disse vortellingen uns noch wat meyr? Binnen et romantiske fantasyen van monarchisten, dee höär wünsket, üm vannys en heyrsend köninkshuus öäver et land to hebben? Beteykent de könink syn doud, en de uuttocht van disse magiske weasens, dat der en magiske haertyd, dee nimmer weader kommen kin, vorloren is? Meskeen, mor wel sel et seggen? Aulken neet, sünt dee uns achterlåten hebben, höär geheimnissen medneamend.

Our world is inhabited by many unseen creatures. Many of those creatures sport a name, which makes them more tangible to our eye and imagination. Over the last two years, we have seen a multitude of these beings, like the Devil, witte wyven, giants, UFOs, and a whole lot more. We can only shudder at the thought of those other nameless horrors, hidden behind the horizon of language, incomprehensible to the human mind.

There are, of course, also those beings that we have named, but remain elusive nevertheless. In the Saxon areas, especially the Groningen area and Ostfriesland, such a creature is found. Or, at least, was found, since folklore has announced their departure some time ago. These creatures are so mysterious, so concealed, that every collection of folklore dedicates a section to explaining their nature, while other supernatural creatures are saved from such an encyclopaedic treatment:

“The race of aulken is a very old lineage with special powers. They were around a thousand years ago, and they still are. Among them are werewolves, male and female witches, and also nightmares. But aulken, ollerkes, oolken, and åbelkes are ghosts too. They can assume manifold visages, sometimes as small as huulbårdkes (another type of ghost), and sometimes they are giants. They are capable of so much more than any ordinary person.”

E.J. Huizenga-Onnekes, Heksen en Duivelsverhalen in Groningerland (1988), p. 223

This explanation does not clarify a lot: they can take on quite a lot of shapes, and are more powerful than ordinary people. Yes, they might even be walking among us:

“When I was collecting stories in the Westerwolde area, people would say: ‘You should go there: that person is still one of the aulken lineage or people.’”

E.J. Huizenga-Onnekes, Heksen en Duivelsverhalen in Groningerland (1988), p. 223

Just a little more to the east, in Ostfriesland, people are more certain about their size and origin:

“The aulken are little people, and these little people are known in the Emsland area … my grandmother … told me, among other things, about where the aulken actually came from.

“It was in the time during which our Lord still walked the earth in human guise. Upon a good day he comes upon a house, and in that house there were ten children. Five of the children were truly beautiful, while the other five were very ugly. Then he asked their mother: ‘Where are your children?’

“The woman, however, when she saw the Lord approaching, hid her ugly children in the basement. Thus she says: ‘These are my five children!’ …

“Thereupon our sweet Lord saw the five children and said: ‘That which is above, will stay above; that which is below, will remain below.’ With that he departed on his voyage.

“After our sweet Lord was gone for a short while, the woman started panicking and being frightened, since she did not tell the truth. She ran as fast as she could to the basement, and when she opened the door she saw that her five children had turned into aulken. And so it had come to pass what has been foretold by our sweet Lord. And from those five children all the aulken stem of which we know of in the Emsland area.”

Gottfried Henssen, Volkserzählungen aus dem westlichen Niedersachsen (1963), p. 15

Aulken, as it becomes clear here, are little people (like dwarves) that were cursed because a mother wanted to hide her ugly children, thinking that they were not worthy of appearing before God. Still, they are people, even shapeshifters, and they can intermingle easily with the rest of human society. So why don’t we hear more about that? For a very simple reason: the aulken have left our lands.

“People say that, in the time that Christianity arrived in these lands, one could loften hear laments arising from the sandhill of Nordhorn:

‘Evangelies, sounds, and the bell

Drive us out of here to hell.’

“And in that era the ferryman from Dalum heard, upon one evening, calls from the other side of the Ems river: ‘cross over!’ He peered from out of his door but sees nobody, even though the moon is out and it is so light out that he should have seen who’s calling. He walks to the shore to his small boat, and in that very moment there is more shouting: ‘bring the punter (a ship with a flat bottom)!’

“He thinks ‘a carriage will appear later’ and takes the punter across. When he sets down on the other side at the shore, he sees a little man standing in the moonlight. He is startled, he recognizes it: it is an aulk, it is an aulk, appearing in the fashion as he has been always told: wearing a little, pointy, red hat with a long feather on it.

“The aulk stands there waiting. The ferryman parks the punter at the shore, and he instantly hears the pitter-patter of hundreds and thousands of little people crossing the plank from the shore into the punter.

“He looks on in amazement as the punter sinks deeper and deeper into the water, while he sees nobody entering it. As soon as the punter is filled to the brim, the small aulk, who kept standing across from him, orders him to ‘get on, and bring us across!’ …

“As soon as they arrive on the other side, he puts the plank across, and again he hears the pitter-patter, and its drone is drifting off to the west. Once the ferryman is at quite some distance, he hears lamenting and crying and shouting far-off: ‘Icke-Aake died! Icke-Aake died!’ Icke-Aake was the king of the little people, and as Icke-Aake died, all the little people departed together with Icke-Aake, and since that time nobody has ever seen a little man in the Ems region again.

Gottfried Henssen, Volkserzählungen aus dem westlichen Niedersachsen (1963), p. 17-18

The arrival of Christianity was already a torture, but once their king died, the aulken had enough: crossing the Ems river in a westward direction, they’ll try their luck elsewhere, perhaps just over the border in the Netherlands.

Being as it may, this story actually combines two different traditions. One of these traditions actually stems from the Saxon north: the boat being filled to the brim with invisible passengers or cargo, up to the point that the brim of the boat reaches the level of the water. This theme is more commonly found in stories about souls that depart towards their next destination after life. A long rendition of this tale can be found in Hovinga’s Balloaden, Mythen, Overleverns, Gedichten en Laiden van ‘t Kustvolk (1980, p. 21-45).

The second tradition is, as far as I know, not necessarily Saxon. There are stories of little people departing after their king has died in the south of the Netherlands. This motif can be found in different indexes as ATU 113A King of the Cats is Dead, F451.9.1.15 Dwarfs emigrate when their king dies, and SINSAG 102 Dwarfs move away when their king has died (is killed by a hunter). This last motif denotes how we often find the story. A hunter shoots a kabouter (a creature similar to an aulk). Once this happens, kabouters all over the land cry out mournfully ‘Kyrie died!’ and depart, never to be seen again.

Do these stories denote something more? Is it a romantic fantasy of monarchists, wishing to have a ruling royal house again over their lands? Does the death of the king, and with it the departure of those magical creatures, mean the loss of a magical past, which can never return? Perhaps, but who’s to tell? Not the aulken, who left us behind, taking their secrets along with them.

Het Aulkengeslachte is n old geslacht mit biezundere aigenschoppen / The race of aulken is a very old lineage with special powers” Model: Huub

Spookplåtkepråt

Üm et måken van de foto

Het kwam net so uut dat in uns dörp eyn aulk-achtige kearl woont. Hee het eyn bård en vrümde mütsen. Het groutste vorskil is wel dat hee arg lang is. En üm dee “bysundere eygenskoppen”? Wy sollen het wel nimmer weyten, how of et now precys sit med myn model Huub, mor der bennen vorhålen… 😉 en vorhålen sollen der wel altyd blyven!

Spooky Spectral Speculation

About creating the picture

It so happens thatin my village, there lives a very aulk-like person. He wears a beard and funny hats. The most outstanding difference is that he is very tall. And about those “special powers?” We will never know exactly how things are with my model Huub, but there are stories… 😉 and stories there will ever be!

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