The Worldbuilders charity passed a very big stretch goal for 2016 (one million dollars!), so today Neil Gaiman read a poem chosen for him by the charity: Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” Surrounded by candles, a flickering fire, and wearing the coat of a murdered prince of Stormhold, Gaiman is here to make the changing seasons more atmospheric for fans everywhere.
We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Nacktkrapp.
The Nachtkrapp or Nachtrabe, literally “night raven,” is a malevolent spirit in southern German and Austrian folklore. It is a giant raven that comes out at night to hunt, terrorizing people by beating its wings and calling loudly. In some legends, it doesn’t have any eyes, and brings death to anyone who looks at it. In other legends it has holes in its wings and spreads sickness as it flies. It is used to scare children into going to bed, because it is said that if the Nachtkrapp sees any children out at night, it will abduct them and take them back to its nest to devour them.
Another design from BLAZONED:
In Western culture, ravens, because of their black feathers, rasping call, and tendency to eat carrion, have always been harbingers of doom. Yet, ravens are extremely smart. They can be taught to speak. They learn through trial-and-error. They have been observed to play and even mourn for their dead. These behaviors have also made ravens a symbol of wisdom, as evidenced by the Norse god Odin’s two ravens who fly around the world every day and tell him of everything.
Edgar Allan Poe used the raven’s reputation to his advantage in The Raven, his poem about lost love and longing.