Yes, I have returned safely from my trip to France! I have had such wonderful time and you wouldn't believe how many legends I have found during this trip. By coincidence we, me and my best friend, came in contact with a writer who knows all about the legends and mysteries of that area and for four days he drove us around -ours managed to break down- and showed us many places connected with these tales. Through the years he has written three books on the subject and of course I wanted to have these books!
Before I left I told you all I planned to keep a diary, make illustrations and of course tell you all about these legends. Because of the many, many legends I found I haven't been able to finish the drawings before my return. As it is simply impossible to show you all my work at once I will post a new drawing and legend once a week. Eventually I will combine all these drawings and stories and make one webpage for it so you can read them all if you like.
Another thing which has kept me busy lately are werewolves......
(please visit this link for a better view!)
Just before I left I made a drawing called, the Werewolf-Apocalypse, or something like that. To tell you the truth I haven't yet figured out how I would entitle the drawing. But a title is always better then no title I guess. The drawing is based on Dutch folk believes concerning werewolves. In Holland, unlike some other countries, the werewolf was strictly related to the devil (there were a few exceptions that I know of but this was the general belief amonsgt people). Only by complex rituals, in which the devil usually got invoked, one could gain the capacity of transforming itself into a wolf. About these rituals I will tell you all later when I have finished my second drawing relating to this subject.
Because of its close connection with the devil you can see demons 'leading' the pack of wolves in my drawing. Another Dutch folk belief I read about tells werewolves can't enter buildings, especial churches, which were safe havens. It was said that in Heteren, a small village in the Dutch province of Gelderland, it was quite common that these beasts used to pass the houses at night and could do nothing but stare, with their red fiery eyes, across (what we call in Holland) the "onder-deur" (literally translated 'under door'). This was a specific kind of door often seen at farmhouses which existed out of two separated parts. Often the lower part remained closed while the upper part of the door was left open. I'm not sure if I am being clear but here you can view an example of such door: link
If you were on the road and there wasn't a building near to keep you save you could simply draw a line on the ground with a stick and say : "Als je van God bent, kom dan nader!" translated: 'If your from God, aproach!' In which case the werewolf could not cross the line or would run away out of fear for hearing God's name. This is just one way to keep these creatures away, there are of course many more methods to achieve the same. If these creatures were so easily to scare away, it makes you wonder why people were that afraid..... Maybe it was because they told each other werewolves killed entire floks of cattle and this would of course have been a great loss.
Based on these believes, and some other legends I found about werewolves terrorizing local villages and there people, I made this drawing. I find the whole subject to be most intriguing so I do intend to make more drawings in the near future .
But for now I will have to try and catch up with everything before starting on a 'new project'!
Also some news about the Tell Me A Story Project and the book will follow later this week. No, I haven't forgotten about it :-)