Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Reprise: Saint Nikolaus’s Companion, Knecht Ruprecht

on December 17, 2021

From out the forest I now appear,

To proclaim that Christmastide is here!

For at the top of every tree

Are golden lights for all to see;

And there from heaven’s gate on high

I saw our Christ-child in the sky.

And in among the darkened trees,

A loud voice it was that called to me:

“Knecht Ruprecht, old fellow,” it cried,

“Hurry now, make haste. Don’t hide!

All the candles have now been lit —

Heaven’s gate has opened wide!

Both young and old should now have rest

Away from cares and daily stress;

And when tomorrow to earth I fly

‘It’s Christmas again!’ will be the cry.”

And then I said: “O Lord so dear.

My journey’s end is now quite near;

But to the town I’ve still to go,

Where the children are good, I know.”

“But have you then that great sack?”

“I have,” I said, “It’s on my back,

For apples, almonds, fruit and nuts

For God-fearing children are a must.”

“And is that cane there by your side?”

“The cane’s there too,” I did reply;

“But only for those, those naughty ones,

Who have it applied to their backsides.”

The Christ-child spoke: “Then that’s all right!

My loyal servant, go with God this night!”

From out the forest I now appear;

To proclaim that Christmastide is here!

Now speak, what is there here to be had?

Are there good children, are there bad?

Theodor Storm

Translated from the German by Denis Jackson, Isle of Wight.

BIO: Theodor Storm (1817-1888) was a German poet, novelist, and lawyer known for the lyrical quality of his work. He died of cancer in 1888. Knecht Ruprecht (Krampus) is still a popular figure seen in Germany (and other countries) at Christmas. While St. Nikolaus rewards the good children, Krampus punishes the bad.

Dawn Pisturino

11 responses to “Reprise: Saint Nikolaus’s Companion, Knecht Ruprecht

  1. Neal Saye says:

    Goodness! Now I know the picture I will use for next year’s Christmas card!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Timothy Price says:

    Oh those bad children.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. balladeer says:

    Do you like the various Krampus movies?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. incenseandevergreen says:

    If the Krampus scares children, you should read the Inuit tales my parents told me growing up. I’m half Inuit and my father told me some scary stuff. Lol 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Knecht means servant in German; Knecht Ruprecht used to be the offsider of Saint Nikolaus, carrying the sack and dishing out the punishment with a bunch of dry twigs when necessary, mostly on the bad behaving boys! They appeared at the beginning of the advents time. We children had to hang out large socks overnight so they could be filled with candy, nuts and gingerbread. The roll was usually performed by the grandparents, dressed up in white beads and large red coats. It used to be a major drama for us children if they could not act out as expected. Fond memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. […] Reprise: Saint Nikolaus’s Companion, Knecht Ruprecht — Dawn Pisturino’s Blog […]

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