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Short Folktale: The Werewolf Who Went on a Tour of Redemption

According to a Flemish folktale a man no longer wished to be a werewolf. Howling at the moon and terrorising villages were no longer any fun. In fact, it had become boring. To cease to be transformed into a werewolf against his will the man had to revisit all the villages he had brutally attacked.…

The Legend(s) of the Swans of Bruges

Besides the medieval facades, the cobbled alleys and the charming bridges, the city of Bruges is also well-known for the elegant swans that majestically swim in the narrow canals, and several folktales tell the story how these swans came to Bruges. The first tale is my favourite and the lesser-known narrative of the two. According…

Short Folktale: The Witch Who Was a Crow

In a small town near the Belgian city of Antwerp there once lived a free-spirited lady who was feared and shunned wherever she went. Not that she minded. The unnamed woman dragged her spinning wheel outside every day and spun until the sun went down while a black cat rested at her feet. The other…

The Legend of Geeraard the Devil Castle

In the city centre of Ghent there’s a stunning piece of 13th century Gothic architecture known as Geeraard de Duivelsteen or Geerard the Devil castle. The building was named after a knight who in all likelihood wasn’t as much as a villain as legend wants you to believe, but since I’m all about folklore this…

Ghostlore: Naart Stuyck

Naart Stuyck is a short piece of fiction that is based on ghosts who are said to haunt the Belgian city of Ghent. It is part of Ghostlore: An Audio Fiction Anthology produced by the Alternative Stories and Fake Realities Podcast and edited by Lyndsey Croal. You can find part one of the podcast which…

BookWormSaturday

Dear Bookworms, we are delighted that so many of you are participating in the #BookWormSat every Saturday on Twitter. Reading all your literary tweets, what your favourites are, and discovering new novels, poems and plays to read is absolutely wonderful. Because the hashtag is growing a little bit every week we thought it would be…

The Belgian Karnemelkbrug: Ghosts, Water devils and Witchcraft

The Karnemelkbrug or buttermilk bridge in Ghent, Belgium is first mentioned in the city archives in 1199. The bridge was demolished in 1900 but fortunately the folktales that were set there didn’t disappear along with the bridge. It was a place where water devils lurked, a place associated with witchcraft and the spot where the…

Magical veils of mist and smoke in folklore

As long as you’re not driving your car on a zigzag road on a misty morning, mist can be beautiful, mysterious and sometimes even magical. There’s always this sense that something otherworldly might be hidden behind that cloudy veil. The idea that mist is something more than just tiny droplets of water that are suspended…

Book review: A Dreadful Fairy Book by Jon Etter

A Dreadful Fairy Book I started reading this book on a Tuesday evening. In the first chapter we meet our heroine Shade. She is devastated after her house burns down and all of her precious books are lost in the fire. I immediately put the book down. This wasn’t the kind of book that I…

The forest goddess of Belgium: Arduinna

Souvenir shops in the Belgian Ardennes are filled with statues, mugs, trinkets and clocks depicting fairies, elves, gnomes and other folkloric creatures that were once believed to live in the forest. If you have a drink on a terrace it won’t take you long to notice that most Belgian beers have a story behind them…

Why I write in English instead of my native language

When I was twelve I was halfway through my first novel. It was a story about witches and the struggles of secondary school (my biggest concern back then). It didn’t take me long to realise that it wasn’t any good. I came up with some sort of ritual and ceremoniously drowned these pages in the…

The Seven Ravens: a fairy tale that should be a Disney film

If there’s one story that moves me deeply it’s ‘The Seven Raves. This tale was collected by the Brothers Grimm and it deserves its own adaptation for the big screen. The fairy tales that Disney have adapted often have ballrooms, princesses marrying princes and fairies in common. Therefore it would be refreshing to see a…

Three legendary creatures who will beat you at sports (and ironing)

If you’re anything like me the thought of participating in a volleyball game makes you run to the bathroom and feign a terrible stomach ache. As we all know, sporting is healthy, so I do hope that you’re not anything like me. The only sport that has ever fascinated me is quidditch and the fact…

When humans encounter selkies

Most people have heard of Swan Maidens. These mythological creatures can change their appearance from swan into woman. The tales in which they feature often tell about a young man who steals the swan maiden’s most precious possession: her magical feathery robe which allows her to transform into a swan when she wants to. When…

Beauty and the Beast: the real life couple

What image crosses your mind when you think of Beauty and the Beast? I see a beautiful princess wearing a glittering yellow gown and a boar-like creature with tusks dancing in a splendid ballroom. It’s a fairy tale that is close to my heart. Besides being one of my favourite Disney films, Belle’s love for…

The Starbucks mermaid: Melusine

While writing my blog post about The Little Mermaid last week I couldn’t help but thinking of Melusine. Melusine’s story is very alike but also so different that she deserves a blog post of her own. Like Ariel, she has a fishtail, but unlike Ariel she doesn’t belong in the sea, but in sacred springs…

Andersen vs Disney: The Little Mermaid

As a child I was infatuated with fairy tales. I can still hear my mother sigh as I re-watched ‘The Little Mermaid’ for the third time on the same rainy Sunday afternoon. Now I’m in my late twenties and still addicted to fairy tales. Who wants to grow up anyway? What fascinated me then was…

Notebooks, and why they have improved my writing.

Notebooks are for me the place where characters get their voice, where plots are outlined, and where the story begins. That’s why I’ve a duffel bag crammed with used notebooks, and a second duffel bag crammed with unused notebooks patiently waiting to be filled with my sloppy handwriting. I’m not a writing expert, and I…

Frightening folkloric beings that wake up during winter.

In my previous post I summed up some magical wintry fairy tales. Equally enchanting, but in a scary way, are the monsters that make you shiver, the creatures that will destroy Christmas, and the beings that haunt snow-covered moors. So, here are three very fascinating but truly terrifying folkloric beings that have plagued this planet…

Fairy tales to read on Christmas Eve.

It’s said that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and I quite agree. But for me it’s not the flashing lights and glittering figurines hanging in Christmas trees, nor is it the smell of cinnamon glühwein or the image of Santa Claus smiling at me while he shouts: ‘ho-ho-ho’ that make Christmas…

Welcome

Hello everyone, Welcome to my website! I have to admit that I’m quite nervous about launching a website. Self-doubt is my biggest adversary, and it’s not an easy thing to combat. I’m trying to put all of these uncertainties aside, and go for it anyway. Introducing myself is not one of my strongest points either,…