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Thursday, February 25, 2010

RICHARD FREEMAN: the Monsters of Prague (Part Six)

The King's Werewolf

Rudolph II (18 July 1552 – 20 January 1612) had a royal menagerie in which he kept lions, wolves and panthers. An assistant to the head keeper was a man named Janek. Janek was dumb but had a way with animals. He was particuarly fond of the wolves. Despite never uttering a word in human speech he would ofter howl with the wolves.

One day he vanished and a massive wolf was seen roaming the area. People thought that Janek had been killed but he was later found unconcious under at tree. Each time Janek dissapeared the wolf returned and later the man would be found in a swoon. The head keeper realised Janek had become a werewolf.

Soon the beast left the grounds and was prowling further afield, and attacks on humans by a massive wolf were reported. One gamekeeper called Rickany was killed and when what was left of him was buried, a wolf was heard howling at his funeral. The werewolf was never slain and legend has it that it still prowls around the leafier areas of Prague.

1 comment:

borky said...

A lot of the elements in these stories suggest to me there may've been some sort of esoteric school operating in Prague at some time in the past.

The reference to a skin being used to make a drum in an earlier account is classic shamanism, but the story of the miser hoarding gold is a classic Sufi allusion to a teacher, a possible link made even stronger by the fact he eventually transforms into a being of fire, (the Buddhist equivalent is the Rainbow Body).

The other classic Sufi hint is the private 'zoo' - one interpretation of Noah's ark is that it was an esoteric school, the animals the types of students, (and tradition has it as a child Noah had a white fiery radiance) - which is why some paintings of Rumi depict him as wearing clothes covered in apparently living animals.