The Forest Man

The Forest Man
Summary
Anton-Joseph Ilk, born in Oberwischau (around. Vişeu de Sus) in theMaramuresch,
obtained a doctorate in June 2009, fromthe University of Vienna, with a dissertation
on the subject of „The mythical story world of theWater Valley“. Storytelling had
an important function in the life of the forest workers, and in it appeared numerous
physical demons, such as the little forest women and forest men.
This chapter of the thesis describes form and appearance, traits and characteristics
of the forest men. It is followed by a detailed comparison of motives in conformity
with the rules of narrative research. The comparison of the wild man in the myths
of the Alpine countries, the area from which the Zipsers migrated in the 18th and
19th century, and in the stories of the neighbouring Romanians and Slovaks is remarkable.
If treated properly, the dangerous demon can be a helpful natural spirit. His protective
function is illustrated in the coat of arms of the town of Eferding (in UpperAustria).
He lives on in the traditional customs of the Alpine countries.

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