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Rübezahl is a mythical creature that has been a part of German, Czech, and Polish folklore for centuries. He is a mountain spirit known for his unpredictable nature and his ability to control the weather. According to legend, Rübezahl is the lord of the mountains, and he is known to send lightning, thunder, rain, snow, and fog from the mountain above, even when the sun is shining.

The stories surrounding Rübezahl are said to have originated from pagan times, and the creature has been a prominent figure in German, Polish, and Czech folklore ever since. He is known for his benevolence towards the meek and his wrath towards the insolent. Rübezahl is said to be a guardian spirit of the Krkonoše Mountains, which is a mountain range along the border between the Czech Republic and Poland.

According to legend, Rübezahl abducted a princess and planted a big field with turnips to please her. She asked him to count the turnips, and while he was thus occupied, she escaped. This is said to be the reason behind his ironic name, Rübezahl. Despite his unpredictable nature, Rübezahl remains a beloved figure in German, Czech, and Polish folklore, and his stories continue to be told to this day.

Origins of the Rübezahl Legend

Cultural Roots

Rübezahl is a mythical creature that originated in the cultural beliefs of the Germanic people. The legend of Rübezahl has been passed down through generations and is still popular in the Silesian region of Poland and the Czech Republic. The creature is believed to be the lord of weather in the mountains and is associated with the Wild Hunt.

First Recorded Accounts

The first recorded accounts of Rübezahl date back to the 16th century. The legend gained popularity during the Renaissance period and was later incorporated into various literary works. The most famous literary work featuring Rübezahl is the German play “Der Rübezahl” by Johann Karl August Musäus, which was published in 1783.

Rübezahl is often depicted as a friendly giant, but he can also be wrathful towards those who disrespect him. The legend of Rübezahl has been used to teach moral lessons, such as the importance of humility and gratitude. The creature has become an important part of the cultural heritage of the Silesian region, and his legend continues to captivate the imaginations of locals and visitors alike.

Characteristics of Rübezahl

Physical Description

Rübezahl is a mythical mountain spirit from the Giant Mountains, a mountain range along the border between the Czech Republic and Poland. He is often depicted as a tall, thin man with a long beard and wild hair. He wears a green coat and hat, and carries a walking stick. His appearance is similar to that of a woodwose, a wild man of the woods from European folklore.

Powers and Abilities

Rübezahl is known for his control over the weather and his ability to shape-shift. He can send lightning and thunder, fog, rain, and snow from the mountain above, even while the sun is shining. He is also said to be able to appear and disappear at will, and to be able to transform himself into different animals, such as a wolf or a bear.

In addition to his powers, Rübezahl is known for his mischievous nature. He enjoys playing pranks on humans, but is also known to be benevolent to the meek and humble. In some stories, he helps those who are in need, but in others, he punishes those who are greedy or arrogant.

Rübezahl in Folklore

Rübezahl is a mythical creature that has been a part of German, Polish, and Czech folklore for centuries. The creature is often depicted as a mountain spirit that guards the Krkonoše Mountains in Bohemia and Silesia. The creature has been a subject of many stories and tales, which are passed down from generation to generation.

Stories and Tales

One famous story involves Rübezahl abducting a princess and planting a field of turnips to please her. This tale is often used to teach children about the importance of kindness and the consequences of greed. Rübezahl is also known for his playful nature, often sending lightning, thunder, fog, rain, and snow from the mountains above, even while the sun is shining.

Another story tells of a traveler who encountered Rübezahl on a mountain path. The creature challenged the traveler to a game of riddles, and if the traveler lost, he would be thrown off the mountain. The traveler managed to solve all the riddles and was rewarded with a bag of gold.

Symbolism and Morals

Rübezahl is often seen as a symbol of nature’s power and the need to respect it. The creature’s wrathful nature towards the insolent teaches the importance of humility and respect towards others. The creature’s playful nature also serves as a reminder to enjoy life and find joy in the simple things.

In conclusion, Rübezahl is a fascinating creature that has been a part of folklore for centuries. His stories and tales are used to teach important lessons and morals to children and adults alike. The creature’s symbolism and representation of nature’s power continue to fascinate and inspire people to this day.

Rübezahl’s Influence on Culture


Rübezahl has been a popular figure in German, Polish, and Czech literature for centuries. Many writers have used the character in their works, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, E.T.A. Hoffmann, and the Brothers Grimm. In these stories, Rübezahl is often portrayed as a mischievous spirit who enjoys playing pranks on humans.

Music and Arts

Rübezahl has also been an inspiration for musicians and artists. In the 19th century, composer Carl Loewe wrote a song cycle based on the character, and in the 20th century, Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů wrote an opera about him. Additionally, Rübezahl has been depicted in various paintings and sculptures throughout history.

Modern References

Rübezahl continues to be referenced in modern culture. In Germany, there is a Rübezahl-themed amusement park, and the character has been featured in video games and other media. Additionally, Rübezahl has been used as a symbol for environmentalism and conservation efforts in the Krkonoše Mountains, where the character is said to reside.

Overall, Rübezahl’s influence on culture is significant and enduring. From literature to music to modern media, the character has captured the imaginations of people for centuries and continues to do so today.

Geographical Association

The Giant Mountains

Rübezahl is a folkloric mountain spirit, also known as a woodwose, that is associated with the Giant Mountains. This mountain range is located along the border between the Czech Republic and Poland and is also referred to as Krkonoše in Czech and Karkonosze in Polish. The Giant Mountains are known for their unique landscape and rich history, which has contributed to the development of many local legends and traditions.

Local Traditions

Rübezahl is an important figure in the local folklore of the Giant Mountains, where he is believed to have lived for centuries. According to legend, Rübezahl was a powerful and enigmatic being who roamed the peaks of the Sudeten Mountains. He was known to be benevolent to the meek but wrathful to the insolent. Rübezahl has been guarding the mountains of Bohemia and Silesia since pagan times and appears prominently in German, Polish and Czech folklore.

Local traditions associated with Rübezahl include the belief that he could control the weather, and that he would punish those who disrespected the natural environment. In some versions of the legend, Rübezahl is also credited with the ability to transform himself into various animals or objects. These traditions have been passed down through generations and continue to be an important part of the cultural heritage of the region.

Preservation of the Myth

The myth of Rübezahl has been preserved through various means, including museums, exhibits, festivals, and events.

Museums and Exhibits

One notable museum dedicated to Rübezahl is the Rübezahl-Museum in Schreiberhau, Poland. The museum features exhibits on the history and folklore of the Riesengebirge (Giant Mountains) region, including displays on Rübezahl and other mythical creatures.

Other museums and exhibits throughout the region also feature displays on Rübezahl and his place in local folklore.

Festivals and Events

Festivals and events celebrating Rübezahl and other local folklore are held throughout the year in various towns and cities throughout the region.

One such event is the Rübezahl Festival in Jelenia Góra, Poland. The festival features parades, music, dance, and other cultural events, as well as a market selling local crafts and food.

Other events include the Rübezahl Night in Harrachov, Czech Republic, and the Riesengebirge Folklore Festival in Karpacz, Poland.

Overall, these efforts help to keep the myth of Rübezahl alive and continue to share his story with new generations.