I decided to go for a legend that is well known in the area I grew up, the Veluwe, although there are other places in the Netherlands where these creatures are known as well. They are also known in other places in Europe, although their name and characteristics can be a bit different. These creatures are Witte Wieven, which means white women. They dance around in forests, swamps and moorlands, but also hang around at old burial sites or old, desolate buildings. They are often connected to 'grafheuvels' (hills with graves in them) and 'hunebedden' (English: dolmen; a bunch of very larges stones stacked on top of each other) here in the Netherlands.
Witte Wieven are always female and are dressed in white clothes. I am not sure about how they look like, but they appear as ugly, old ladies most of the time, sometimes even with claws. I can't draw old people, so they appear younger in my drawing. 'Witte wieven' is also the name of those vertical columns of fog that can often be seen above water, and Witte Wieven are associated with them. I therefore drew them as if these women are born from the mists, ready to dance around in their forest.
They are not good or evil, but always wise; 'wit' means 'white', but can also come from the verb 'weten' which means 'to know'. People brought them gifts and they will help you in return, but they will haunt you if you harm them or do something else that's rather stupid. The best thing is to just leave them alone. Witte Wieven were turned evil rather than wise by the Christian Church, which wasn't very fond of local folklore. The church might also be responsible for the 'old ugly lady with claws' look
Here are some links with info about Witte Wieven:
here is a short fairytale starring Witte Wieven. It's from a town called Zwiep, in the eastern part of the Netherlands.
The Witte Wieven live in a pit close ro Zwiep. They were not visible during the day, but they awake at night and fly around like banks of mist. There were also two children living in that town, Herbert and his sister, that came to visit the Witte Wieven quite often. The Witte Wieven never harmed them (maybe they even liked those kids hanging around there ) so the childeren were not afraid of the Witte Wieven, even when they turned into grown-ups.
Herbert fell in love with Johanna, a girl living next door (which was, unlike Herbert, very much afraid of the Witte Wieven). Unfortunately, Herbert was a poor farmer's boy, while Johanna's family was wealthy. Chances that these two would get married were therefore small; a wealthy woman does not marry a poor man. The parents of Johanna picked a different guy for her which they found more suitable; his name was Albrecht. He was the wealthiest man in the area, and the parents invited him to meet Johanna. Unfortunately for the parents, Johanna did not love him. Actually, she did not even like him, so their conversation must have been quite awkward. Until the subject of the conversation changed, because Scholte Loddink, Johanna's father, heard quite an interesting story about Herbert.
Herbert's horse got scared by a sudden movement and screams of a bird (stupid horse...) and ran away. Herbert did not fall off though, but only because the horse ran into the pit of the Witte Wieven. The oldest of the Wieven caught the horse and made him stop before Herbert could fall off. Herbert got home safe and sound, and asked his sister if she could bake a driekoningenkoek (no idea what that is in English, a three-kings-cake?) to give to the Witte Wieven to thank them. He placed the driekoningenkoek in the middle of the pit. He returned the next day and saw that the driekoningenkoek was gone; only the plate on which it was served remained.
Johanna's face lightened up when she heard about Herbert and how brave he was; she would never go near the Witte Wieven! Scholte Loddink looked at his daughter and realized that she would be much happier with Herbert. His wife still prefered Albrecht though. The parents therefore came up with a challenge; both men must go to the Witte Wieven, throw a haarspit at them (again, no idea what this is in English; it is a metal pin thing that is used to sharpen scythes. I have also no idea why it has to be a haarspit and not just something simple like a brick). The one that would return to Johanna's home the fastest, would marry her. This was a test of bravery, which is more important than money. Albrecht and Herbert agreed, although Herbert wasn't very happy; his horse was old, while Albrecht had an expensive, fast horse. However, Albrecht turned out to be a pussy; he threw the haarspit in the bushes and turned around before he even got close to the Witte Wieven. Herbert on the other hand did get to the Witte Wieven and threw his haarspit at them. The Witte Wieven did not like this of course, and followed him. Herbert's old horse ran as fast as it could. Eventhough it was an old horse, it seemed that the Witte Wieven could not overtake him. Herbert arrived at Johanna's house, without getting caught. The Witte Wieven threw the haarspit at Herbert though, which almost hit him. Herbert and Johanna married each other, and they found out that the Witte Wieven left them a little wedding gift; there was a plate (used for the driekoningenkoek) with a haarspit on it in front of their house. Both the plate and haarspit were made of gold.
and for the 'driekoningenkoek' some words just don't translate into English, kind of like some words of my local dialect would not translate into Dutch
I really love your artwork and the misty effect is very good at creating a dramatic and spookie atmosphere, the yellow in the top left corner offers a good bit of focus to the art too
true that, translating stuff can be quite annoying sometimes. I don't even know what a driekoningenkoek is, which doesn't really help...
"Aboriginal spirituality does not consider the Dreamtime as a time past, in fact not as a time at all. Time refers to past, present and future but the Dreamtime is none of these. The Dreamtime is there with them, it is not a long way away. The Dreamtime is the environment that the Aboriginal lived in, and it still exists today, all around us. It is important to note that the Dreaming always also comprises the significance of place.
The Dreaming also explains the creation process. Ancestor beings rose and roamed the initially barren land, fought and loved, and created the land’s features as we see them today. After creating the ‘sacred world’ the spiritual beings turned into rocks or trees or a part of the landscape. These became sacred places, to be seen only by initiated men."
The following is the story of how the sun was made.
"Long ago in the Dreamtime, when the animals were first on the earth which were very much bigger than they are today, there was a time when there was no sun, only a moon and stars.
One day, Dinewan the emu and Brolga the beautiful dancing bird, were out on a large plain arguing and fighting. Brolga got so angry that she ran over to Dinewan's nest and grabbed one of her large eggs and threw it up into the sky with all her might. It landed on a heap of firewood breaking, spilling the yellow yolk that burst into flames. This lit up the whole world below to the astonishment of all the creatures as they had only been used to the semi-darkness and were dazzled by such brightness.
A good spirit who lived in the sky saw how beautiful the earth looked when it was lit up by this blaze. He thought it would be a good thing to make a fire every day; which he has done ever since. All night the good spirit and his helpers collect wood and stack it up. When the stack is nearly big enough, the good spirit sends out the morning star to let them know on earth that the fire will soon be lit.
However, the spirits found that sending out the morning star was not enough because those who slept did not see it. The spirits decided they must have a noise made at the dawn of each new day to announce the arrival of the sun that would wake the sleepers - but what noise.
Then one day the spirits heard the laughter of Goo-goor-gaga, the kookaburra ringing through the air. This was the noise the spirits were looking for. They asked Goo-goor-gaga that as the morning star faded and the day dawned, every morning would he laugh his loudest to awaken all the sleepers before sunrise. Goo-goor-gaga agreed and has done so ever since - making the air ring with his early morning laughter."
There is a further part to this story, saying that the kookaburra called forth the sun. If anyone were to try and mimick the kookaburras laugh, he would become offended and refuse to do it anymore, and we would have only darkness.
Here are links to two versions of the Rainbow Serpent story:
I hope you enjoy.
There is this magical creature living in the woods, who is known as Blauwe Gerrit. 'Blauw' means blue, and Gerrit is just a common Dutch name. He looks like a monkey or demon, has glowing eyes, Blue skin or blue clothes and can make himself invisible. He isn't really evil, just very mischievous. He likes to destroy cart wheels, push travelers from the road, that kind of stuff. He also has this magical ability to make himself heavier, so he likes to sit on someone's back (or cart) and make himself very heavy, so that this person cannot walk further until the next morning or so.
Once upon a time, there was a woman gathering firewood in the forest. Her family was poor and it was hard for them to gather enough food, but still, she was very pretty. I completely forgot her name, so lets call her Susan. A nobleman spotted Susan when he traveled through the woods. I also forgot the name of this guy, so let's call him Bob Bob also thought that Suzan looked pretty, and thought it was a good idea to abduct her and probably rape her somewhere. Very nice guy... He grabbed Susan, put her on his horse and drove off. He didn't get far; his horse suddenly stopped and was sweating and breathing heavily. Then Bob saw a blue guy with burning eyes sitting on the neck of his horse. That was kinda scary, so Bob jumped off his horse. Blauwe Gerrit jumped after him, and landed on Bob's neck. Bob couldn't move anymore; Blauwe Gerrit was too heavy for him. Meanwhile, Susan took control of the horse and went back to the safety of her house, while Bob stood there in the forest until next morning. Bob's horse was returned later by Susan, and Bob gave her quite a lot of gold in return. Susan and her family were no longer poor anymore, jeey!