Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: Classic Monsters that start with Y?

The letter Y for the A-Z Challenge post has me stumped.  I finally settled on the Yule Cat.

According to Wikipedia, "The Yule Cat (Icelandic: Jólakötturinn or Jólaköttur) is a monster from Icelandic folklore, a huge and vicious cat said to lurk about the snowy countryside during Christmastime and eat people who have not received any new clothes to wear before Christmas Eve."

The history of the cat dates back to the nineteenth century.  Supposedly, it was created to get people to work harder.  If you worked hard and did your chores, then you were spared the wrath of the bad kitty.  If you were lazy, then you got the cat's paw!  Ouch!

The Yule Cat has been referenced as a troll cat and is closely related to the mischievous Yule Lads, which are essentially trolls and remind me of Snow White's dwarfs.  Most people familiar with the hellish cat know about the poet, Jóhannes úr Kötlum and his traditional poem The Yule Cat.

The Yule Cat by Jóhannes úr Kötlum

You all know the Yule Cat
And that Cat was huge indeed.
People didn’t know where he came from
Or where he went.

He opened his glaring eyes wide,
The two of them glowing bright.
It took a really brave man
To look straight into them.

His whiskers, sharp as bristles,
His back arched up high.
And the claws of his hairy paws
Were a terrible sight.

He gave a wave of his strong tail,
He jumped and he clawed and he hissed.
Sometimes up in the valley,
Sometimes down by the shore.

He roamed at large, hungry and evil
In the freezing Yule snow.
In every home
People shuddered at his name.

If one heard a pitiful “meow”
Something evil would happen soon.
Everybody knew he hunted men
But didn’t care for mice.

He picked on the very poor
That no new garments got
For Yule – who toiled
And lived in dire need.

From them he took in one fell swoop
Their whole Yule dinner
Always eating it himself
If he possibly could.

Hence it was that the women
At their spinning wheels sat
Spinning a colorful thread
For a frock or a little sock.

Because you mustn’t let the Cat
Get hold of the little children.
They had to get something new to wear
From the grownups each year.

And when the lights came on, on Yule Eve
And the Cat peered in,
The little children stood rosy and proud
All dressed up in their new clothes.

Some had gotten an apron
And some had gotten shoes
Or something that was needed
- That was all it took.

For all who got something new to wear
Stayed out of that pussy-cat’s grasp
He then gave an awful hiss
But went on his way.

Whether he still exists I do not know.
But his visit would be in vain
If next time everybody
Got something new to wear.

Now you might be thinking of helping
Where help is needed most.
Perhaps you’ll find some children
That have nothing at all.

Cute, huh?  Well, that was the best I could do for the letter Y.  Did you have any other classic monsters you would have preferred?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

He ate you if you didn't have new clothes? Guess he was also a fashion cat.

Heather Holden said...

I love reading folklore, yet I've never heard of the Yule Cat? *shame*

Timothy Brannan said...

THAT is really cool.

Evil Christmas kitties!

Timothy S. Brannan
The Other Side, April Blog Challenge: The A to Z of Witches

S. L. Hennessy said...

Haha never heard of this one before.

Sophie Duncan said...

I've never heard of the Yule Cat before - what a strange creature to be around at Christmastide.
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mshatch said...

The Yule Cat is a new one to me. I don't think I want to run into him; I haven't had any new clothes in too long!

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

Ooh, I've never heard of the Yule Cat - sounds like something you don't want to meet.
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