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Saturday, February 13, 2010

RICHARD FREEMAN: Monsters of Prague (Part Two)

The Burning Man


There are several of these fiery creatures in the folklore of Prague; they are humanoid figures that are covered with fire and resemble `The Human Torch` from The Fantastic Four.
One such being haunted a street called Na Porici and terrified all who met it.

One night a drunken Cobbler called Matej met the entity and commented on how beautiful its flames were, how warm they felt and how they lit up the area nicely.

"That is because I'm enchanted" said the Burning Man, surprised that the man had spoken to him.

"If you are enchanted you get nothing, no wife, no children and no home" said Matej.

"Have you ever drunk beer?" he asked.

The Burning Man sadly shook his head saying that the beer would put out his flames and no one would fear him anymore. The two walked until they reached Matej's home, chatting as they went. The Buring Man asked the cobbler about world events and news. When they got to the door Matej thanked the creature for accompanying him home.

"May God's greetings be upon you" he said.

Upon hearing that, the Burning Man's flames flickered out and he crumbled into a pile of ash. He had been waiting for a Christian greeting to free him from his curse for 300 years. Another, perhaps more pleasing version says that the comming of street lighting forced the Burning Man away to darker corners of the city where he still may lurk.

1 comment:

borky said...

As soon as I saw 'burning', I decided we're probably dealing with a djinn and, sure enough, when the drunk guy brought up the subject of beer, I recalled how Aladdin resorted to alcohol to get the Old Man of the Sea literally off his back - ditto Odysseus and the Cyclops.

As to whether this is merely patched up hand me down folklore or based on some actual incident, I can verify from personal experience it's possible for an individual to temporarily undergo a metamorphosis where they take on the appearance of apparently being made entirely out of white fire.

In such a state, they can pull off some really fancy party tricks, and some of the other Prague monsters catalogued in these pieces may be records of such antics.