The fantastic bestiary
This fantastic bestiary is the result of the anguish that once oppressed our ancesters. Can you even imagine what a winter night was like, when it would be dark from 4 o’clock in the afternoon to 9 o’clock in the morning, when people had no means of lighting? Noises would be amplified in the darkness, and the screams would become sinister. The grating together of two branches or the slightest crack was interpreted as voices from the after life.
The play of light and shadow was also a cause of terror. The clouds in the sky passing in front of the moon again and again would create a frightening atmosphere, where apparitions might even be seen.
As for the will-o’-the-wisps, scientifically explained nowadays, they would provoke mass panic.
Fantastic animals are everywhere in Alsatian legends. Despite their ‘anomaly’, there was a fantastical side to these beasts that bestowed a supernatural power onto them.
Whether benevolent or harmful, their character and function are always symbolic and meaningful.