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The Hödeken (also Hödekin , Hüdekin , Hütchen , after the felt hat that he should always wear) is a legendary figure from the Leinebergland .


The Hödeken is a dwarf-like figure ( goblin ) who also sent messages between Hildesheim and Winzenburg as a messenger . The path between Winzenburg and Hildesheimer Domhof , which Hödeken is said to have hurried along after the death of the last Count of Winzenburg to deliver the news of death, is called " Rennstieg ". It is continuously marked as a hiking trail, in the Sackwald partially with the stylized figure of Hödeken. The Hödeken is also shown in the coat of arms of the community Woltershausen , which is close to the "Rennstieg".

The Brothers Grimm describe the legend in their collection of sagas from 1816 as follows: The Hödekin was a helpful family spirit of the Bishop of Hildesheim . He prevented the night watch from falling asleep, gave the bishop military advice and warned him of impending dangers. Occasionally he also helped other Hildesheimers. Once someone asked the Hödekin to protect his wife while he was away. The woman was visited by several lovers. The Hödekin jumped around between them, conjuring up terrible figures or throwing them to the ground before the woman could be unfaithful. When the man returned, Hödekin complained that he would rather tend all the pigs of Saxony than another woman like that. The Hödekin was not to be trifled with: he strangled a kitchen boy who had irritated him, cut him into pieces, and boiled the meat over the fire.

Hödeken in literature

In his novel Der Zwerg (1803) Goethe's brother-in-law Christian August Vulpius has a “little hut” appear, a dwarf who only appears to be helpful and who at the end reveals himself to be the devil .

In Heinrich Heine's On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany , Hödeken is mentioned under the name "Hüdeken" and counted among the Kobold. Heine calls the Hüdeken saga "particularly amusing" compared to other German goblin sagas.

In the opera It's all the fault of the hat! by Siegfried Wagner , the title character "Hütchen" is a goblin who plays jokes with a couple of lovers. The opera was premiered on December 6, 1917 and contains allusions and characters from around 40 fairy tales, mostly by the Brothers Grimm.

The writer Petra Hartmann published the book Hats off, Hödeken! , in which she retells old Hödeken legends and embellishes them into extensive stories. In it she also expresses understanding for the somewhat more brutal acts of Hödeken, such as the slap in the face for a farmer who attacked Hödeken or his revenge on the kitchen boy.

The Harvard literary scholar George Lyman Kittredge suspected in the 19th century a connection between the figure of Hödekin and that of Brother Rausch , an evil demon in the form of a monk from the Danish and Germanic legends; a similarity which, according to Kittredge, was mentioned as early as 1584 in Reginald Scots' Discoverie of Witchcraft .

The literary historian Sir Sidney Lee (1859–1926) suspected in his entry on Robin Hood in the Dictionary of National Biography (1885) that the name Robin Hood originally belonged to a wood elf and pointed to the etymological similarity of Hood (cap) with Hodekin / Cap down. Such mythical creatures wearing caps also exist in Norway ( Nis ) and Spain ( Duende ). The stories of Robin Hood, however, have no magical traits.


See also


Individual evidence

  1. Yannik Behme: The dwarf . In: Other Classics - The work of Christian August Vulpius (1762-1827) . Edited by Alexander Košenina. Hanover 2012, p. 177f.
  2. ^ Heinrich Heine: On the history of religion and philosophy in Germany. In: HH: Complete works in four volumes. According to the text of the last edition. Text revision: Jost Perfahl. Volume III. Munich: Winkler, 1972. pp. 415f.
  3. Kittredge: The Friar's Lantern and Friar Rush , Publications of the Modern Language Association 15 .4 pp 415ff, after Frank Wadleigh Chandler, The Literature of Roguery (1907, vol. I: 56ff)
  4. James C. Holt: Hood, Robin (supp. Fl. Late 12th – 13th cent.). In: Henry Colin Gray Matthew, Brian Harrison (Eds.): Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , from the earliest times to the year 2000 (ODNB). Volume 27: Hickeringill – Hooper. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2004, ISBN 0-19-861377-6 , p. 927, ( oxforddnb.com license required ), as of January 2007
    Sidney LeeHood, Robin . In: Sidney Lee (Ed.): Dictionary of National Biography . Volume 27:  Hindmarsh - Hovenden. MacMillan & Co, Smith, Elder & Co., New York City / London, 1891, pp 266 - 269 (English, (page allocation error, S. 258-261 on paper)).