Over the last few years a chap named Mathijs Kroon has been a source of information regarding strange animals and animal/monster folklore in the Netherlands. Maybe one day he’ll be interested in putting all his findings into a book, but for now I present the latest batch of unusual stories he has passed on to me:
There are 3 species of snakes in the Netherlands;
smooth snake Coronella austriaca
common european adder Vipera berus
grass snake Natrix natrix
People believed they all have one king; the snakeking. In the province of Groningen he was known as woaterslang or otterslang
It was believed that he was much bigger and fatter than the other snakes and of lighter colour; white or yellow.
When he was threatened he whistled or shouted loudly and all the other snakes appeared, rolling like hula-hoops (they took their tails into their mouths) to protect their king.
You could only escape them by throwing a red piece of clothing or handkerchief. They would stop to shred it to pieces and then continue their journey. This distraction enabled any potential victim time to escape.
In the province of Drenthe the people believed that for every 1,000 snakes there exists a king. In the Friesland province the king snake is known as kroantsjeslang and wears a crown upon its head.