9. Frau Perchta
Photo credit: conjurecinema.com
In parts of the German and Austrian Alps roams a terrifying character who can be either somewhat friendly or brutally mean. Frau Perchta may have her origins in the pagan religions which dominated the area before the coming of Christianity, but she has maintained a role in the modern world. And that role is horrific.
Frau Perchta is often shown as a crone with an animalistic face and a long robe. Below the robe, she keeps hidden her sharp knife. Frau Perchta tours homes during the 12 days of Christmas. If she finds a child who has been well-behaved, then she may feel inclined to leave him a small gift. If she discovers a naughty child, then she gets out her knife.
How does Perchta judge the naughtiness of a child?
She looks at your spinning. If you have not spun all your wool or flax into yarn by the end of Twelfth Night, then Frau Perchta will disembowel you with her knife. Having pulled out your innards, she will stuff you with straw and sew you back up. Gives a different meaning to feeling stuffed after your Christmas dinner.