Sunday, May 13, 2012


Now with Dreizehdax (I guess I should try to provide an approximate pronunciation: DRY-tsay-DAX, with DRY being the primary stress and DAX being a secondary stress) has fled, we observe overnight tonight the arrival of Vatzehvedder (FAHT-tsay-FED-dahw with the primary stress on FAHT and secondary stress on FED. The ending –er sound in Deitsch differs strongly from an –er ending in either English or Deutsch).

The interpretation of this Frost Giant’s name is one that has posed some challenges. A literal reading of it would present the name of “Fourteen-Fathers,” but that makes little sense in the context of the oral lore. An audio transmission of the name would provide another option: “Fourteen-Feather” or, perhaps more significantly, “Fourteen-Quill.” The current-era spelling of this name would thus be “Vatzehfedder,” however.

In the case of “Fourteen-Quill,” there is a possible link between the reference to the quill and a porcupine. If this is the case, then the understanding of the Frost Giant’s name would reflect upon his disposition as “Fourteen-Porcupine.” This is, however, only a theory.

The lore of Vatzehvedder, as transmitted with the Oley Freindschaft Braucherei guild, is very similar to that of Dreizehdax. The Frost Giant attempts to bring chaos to the land but is forced by Dunner to retreat.

A variation of the lore is transmitted through the Parryville-Harrity Freindschaft. The Dreizehdax portion is the same, and, indeed, Dunner does force Vatzehvedder’s retreat. However, in this version, Dunner provides instruction to the Butzemenner (plural of Butzemann or the scarecrow that was spiritually activated at Groundhog Day) on how to combat the Frost Giant. This is seen as part of the Butzemann’s preparation for protecting the property and crops throughout the season. The Butzemenner learn from Dunner and observe Him removing the chaotic threat from the land.

The last Frost Giant will visit tomorrow night.

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