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Blutwölfin
Saturday, October 1st, 2005, 11:36 AM
The song of lord Halewijn was written down bij Charles de Coster in the 19th century and is based on the 13th century folksong "Van Here Halewijn".
It tells about a nobleman called lord Halewijn who lures maidens into the woods with a magical song and then hangs them, until finally he is stopped by a princess who cuts off his head.

Similar stories also exist in other parts of Europe and are believed to be derived from an old Germanic legend about a man who lures women into the forest with his magical singing and then kills them, it may be possible that this story was connected to the legends of the Wild Hunter and there are also other aspects of the story that can be found back in Germanic folklore, for instance after lord Halewijn is killed his head can still speak and asks the princess to rub salve on the wound in his neck, something similar can be found in the Edda where the severed head of the giant Mimir is kept alive by the god Wodan/Odin who asks it questions.

Unlike in most later Christian(ized) legends the main character of the lord Halewijn story is a woman, something that can also be seen in many other Germanic legends, to get a better understanding of the lord Halewijn saga I will first write down a different version of the legend, it is a Christianized version but it gives some more information about the background of the story, after that the song of lord Halewijn will follow:

A nobleman named Sieuwert Halewijn wants to be a strong handsome knight just like his father, but unfortunately he isn't so therefor he starts singing a song in which he offers the devil his soul in exchange for power, strenght, and status, with that he will be able to continue the tradition of his evil family but much to his disappointment the devil shows no interest in him.
Despite this another character makes his appearance; the Prince of the Stones (Prins der Stenen), he teaches lord Halewijn a song where he can lure maidens with and he also gives him a sickle to cut out their hearts.
Lord Halewijn uses the song to lure a maiden and kills her, for a short period the heart of the maiden gives him power and beauty and his life changes for the better; he holds parties every evening, wins all tournaments, and is loved by the "jonkvrouwen" (ladies of noble origin).

However, lord Halewijn has to keep killing maidens to prevent his strenght and beauty from fading away and it gets out of hand, lord Halewijn starts abusing his power and one day he kills Annemie, the friend of a maiden called Magtelt.
Magtelt decides that it's time to stop lord Halewijn and she visits him, just when lord Halewijn wants to kill her she chops off his head and ends his invincibility.


Het lied van heer Halewijn

Heer Halewyn zong een liedekijn,
Al die dat hoorde wou bi hem zijn.

En dat vernam een koningskind,
Die was zoo schoon en zoo bemind.

Zi ging voor haren vader staen:
'Och vader, mag ik naer Halewijn gaen?'

'Och neen, gy dochter, neen, gy niet:
Die derwaert gaen, en keeren niet!'

Zy ging voor hare moeder staen:
'Och moeder, mag ik naer Halewyn gaen?'

'Och neen, gy dochter, neen, gy niet:
Die derwaert gaen, en keeren niet!'

Zy ging voor hare zuster staen:
'Och zuster, mag ik naer Halewyn gaen?'

'Och neen, gy zuster, neen, gy niet:
Die derwaert gaen, en keeren niet!'

Zy ging voor haren broeder staen:
'Och broeder, mag ik naer Halewyn gaen?'

''t Is my al eens, waer dat gy gaet,
Als gy uw eer maer wel bewaerd
En gy uw kroon naer rechten draegt!'

Toen is zy op haer kamer gegaen
En deed haer beste kleeren aen.

Wat deed zy aen haere lyve?
Een hemdeken fynder als zyde

Wat deed zy aen? Haer schoon korslyf:
Van gouden banden stond het styf.

Wat deed zy aen? Haren rooden rok:
Van steke tot steke een gouden knop.

Wat deed zy aen? Haren keirle:
Van steke tot steke een peirle.

Wat deed zy aen haer schoon blond hair?
Een krone van goud en die woog zwaer.

Zy ging al in haer vaders stal
En koos daer 't besten ros van al.

Zy zette zich schrylings op het ros:
Al zingend en klingend reed zy doort bosch.

Als zy te midden 't bosch mogt zyn,
Daer vond zy myn heer Halewyn.

Hy bondt syn peerd aen eenen boom,
De joncvrouw was vol anxt en schroom.

'Gegroet', sei hy, 'gy schoone maegd,
Gegroet', sei hy, 'bruyn oogen claer,
Comt, zit hier neer, onbindt u hair.'

Soo menich hair dat si onbondt,
Soo menich traentjen haer ontron.

Zy reden met malkander voort
En op de weg viel menig woord.

Zy kwamen al aen een galgenveld;
Daer hing zoo menig vrouwenbeeld.

Alsdan heeft hy tot haer gezeid:
'Mits gy de schoonste maget zyt,
Zoo kiest uw dood! het is noch tyd.'

'Wel, als ik dan hier kiezen zal,
Zoo kieze ik dan het zweerd voor al.

Maer trekt eerst uit uw opperst kleed.
Want maegdenbloed dat spreidt zoo breed,
Zoot u bespreide, het ware my leed.'

Eer dat zyn kleed getogen was,
Zyn hoofd lag voor zyn voeten ras;
Zyn tong nog deze woorden sprak:

'Gaet ginder in het koren
En blaest daer op mynen horen,
Dat al myn vrienden het hooren!'

'Al in het koren en gaen ik niet,
Op uwen horen en blaes ik niet..'

'Gaet ginder onder de galge
En haelt daer een pot met zalve
En strykt dat aen myn rooden hals!'

'Al onder de galge gaen ik niet,
Uw rooden hals en strijk ik niet,
Moordenaers raed en doen ik niet.'

Zy nam het hoofd al by het haer,
En waschtet in een bronne klaer.

Zy zette haer schrylings op het ros,
Al zingend en klingend reed zy doort bosch.

En als zy was ter halver baen,
Kwam Halewyns moeder daer gegaen:
'Schoon maegd, zaegt gy myn zoon niet gaen?'

'Uw zoon heer Halewyn is gaen jagen,
G'en ziet hem weer uw levens dagen.

Uw zoon heer Halewyn is dood
Ik heb zijn hoofd in mynen schoot
Van bloed is myne voorschoot rood.'

Toen ze aen haers vaders poorte kwam,
Zy blaesde den horen als een man.

En als de vader dit vernam,
't Verheugde hem dat zy weder kwam.

Daer wierd gehouden een banket,
Het hoofd werd op de tafel gezet.


Translation
Lord Halewijn sang a song,
all who heard it wanted to be with him.

And that became known to a king's child,
who was very beautiful and beloved.

She stood for her father:
'Oh father, may I go to Halewijn?'

'Oh no, you daughter, no not you:
Who go there, do not return!'

She stood for her mother:
'Oh mother, may I go to Halewijn?'

'Oh no, you daughter, no not you:
Who go there, do not return!'

She stood for her sister:
'Oh sister, may I go to Halewijn?'

'Oh no, you sister, no not you:
Who go there, do not return!'

She stood for her brother:
'Oh brother, may I go to Halewijn?'

'I'd agree, when you would go,
as long as you keep your honour
and prove to be worthy of your crown!'

Then she when to her room
and put on her best clothes.

What did she put on her body?
A vest finer than silk.

What did she put on? Her beautiful straitjacket:
with golden bands it was adorned.

What did she put on? Her red skirt:
From stitch to stitch a golden knob.

What did she put on? Her blouse:
From stitch to stitch a pearl.

What did she put on her beautiful blond hair?
A crown of gold that weighed heavy.

She went into her father's stable
and there she chose the best steed of them all.

She sat herself astride on the steed:
And singing and clinging she rode through the forest.

When she was in the middle of the forest,
She found mylord Halewijn.

He bound his horse to a tree,
the maiden was full of anxiety and fearfullness.

'Greetings', he said, 'you beautiful maiden,
Greetings', he said, 'clear brown eyes,
Come, sit down here, untie your hair.'

As many hair as she untied,
as many tears that fell from her.

Together they rode forth
And on the way fell many word.

They arrived at a gallowfield;
Where many women hung.

Then he said to her:
'Because you are the most beautiful maiden,
you may choose your death! there is still time.'

'Well, if I will have to choose here,
Then I will choose the sword above all.

But first lay off your upper cloth.
Because a maiden's blood spreads far,
When it would stain you, It would be my grief.'

Before his cloth was taken off,
his head already lay before his feet;
while his tongue was still speaking this words:

'Go yonder in the corn
and blow there on my horn,
so that all my friends can hear it!'

'Into the corn I will not go,
and on your horn I will not blow...'

'Go yonder under the gallow
and take there a pot of salve
and rub that on my red neck!'

'Under the gallow I will not go,
your red neck I will not rub,
a killer's advice I will not heed.'

She took the head by the hair,
and washed it clear in a well.

She sat herself astride on the steed,
And singing and clinging she rode through the forest.

And when she was halfway,
Halewijn's mother came:
'Beautiful maiden, have you seen my son?'

'Your son lord Halewijn has gone hunting,
you will see him in your life's days (i.e. you'll never see him again)

Your son lord Halewijn is dead
I have his head in my lap
my lap that is red of blood.'

When she arrived at her father's gate,
she blew the horn like a man.

And when the father heard this,
he was happy that she had returned.

There was held a banquet,
And the head was put on the table.