Alrauns - in mythology and folklore of European nations, lower-order spirits, tiny creatures living in the roots of mandrake , the outlines of which resemble human figures. Alrauns are friendly to people, but do not mind making fun of them, sometimes very cruelly. These are werewolves that can turn into cats, worms, and small children. They are distant relatives of the Kobolds .
The legend says that over the years, the Alrauns changed their lifestyle: they liked the warmth and comfort in people's houses so much that they began to move there. Before moving to a new place, Alrauns, as a rule, test people: they scatter all rubbish on the floor, throw lumps of earth or pieces of cow dung in milk. If people don’t sweep away trash and drink milk, Alraun understands that it’s quite possible to settle here. It is almost impossible to drive it away: even if the house burns down and people move somewhere, alraun follows them.
Anthropomorphic symbolism reflected the identification of alraunas with the humanoid roots of mandrake. When the root is pulled out of the ground, a loud groan of alrauns is heard. Anyone who heard this moan is destined to die, therefore, in order to divert the revenge of the Alrauns from themselves, dogs were used to dig up the mandrake, which were tied to the plant. Death was not to befall a man, but a dog.
Figures of alrauns were made as a talisman. As a rule, mountain ash served as the material for them. The magical prescription for making alrauns was: “At night, when the moon rises, draw a circle around the rowan clockwise with a ritual knife with a black handle, calling on the name of Herta. Having done this, water the tree during the lunar month with the same mixture that was used for the mandrake, choosing a branch that is thick enough for cutting and proclaiming the name of Herta. After the lunar month, separate the selected branch with a ritual knife with a black handle and cut out a small image from it, 15 to 20 cm long, using a spell, as in the manufacture of a mandrake, until you complete the work. Fumigate image in verbena smoke. To complete the manufacture of alrauna, sleep with him in your bed on the full moon. "Alraun should be placed near the hearth to cast spells and protect the house."
Alraun in Literature
Achim von Arnim introduces alrauna into literature. In the story "Isabella of Egypt, the first love of Emperor Charles V" (1812), alraun appears as a "little man" grown by a heroine from the root of a mandrake. In the story, this is an unclean spirit, seeking treasures for Charles V.
Ernest Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann compares with the hero of the novel Alrauna his novel " Baby Zahes, nicknamed Zinnober ." Little Zinnober is described as follows: “The poor woman could justly cry at the vile freak whom she gave birth two and a half years ago. What at first glance could be mistaken for an outlandish stump of a clumsy tree was actually an ugly child, no taller than two spans, lying across the basket — now he crawled out of it and grumbled in the grass with a grunt. The head went deep into the shoulders, a growth resembling a pumpkin was sticking out at the back, and immediately legs came out from the chest, thin as hazel twigs, so that it looked like a forked radish. A keen eye could not distinguish a face, but if one looked more closely, one could notice a long sharp nose protruding from under the black matted hair, and small black sparkling eyes, which, together with wrinkled, very old features, seemed to denounce the little alrauna .
One of the most famous references to this creature in literature is Hans Heinz Evers’s novel Alraune. The hero of the novel learns the legend that the mandrake (alraune) allegedly grows from the last seed of the criminals who lose it when they break the spine when they are crucified. He offers his genetic uncle to create such a creature in human guise, artificially fertilizing a prostitute (which, in the hero’s opinion, is the land from which the mandrake-alraune sprouts) the offender’s seed that he lost during the execution. As a result, a very beautiful girl with extraordinary abilities is born (and she is born at midnight): young Alraune can make people fulfill any of her desires, often very cruel and sophisticated, has the gift of suggestion, brings wealth to her guardian — genetics. At the same time, everyone who falls under her influence is doomed to death.
Also, Alraun appears in the image of a mandrake in the book of Joan Rowling " Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ."
- Encyclopedia of Supernatural Beings. M., 1997.
- Encyclopedia of Supernatural Beings. M., 2006. Kiril Korolev
- E. T. A. Hoffmann “Baby Tsahes, nicknamed Zinnober”
- Alraun // Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary : in 86 volumes (82 volumes and 4 additional). - SPb. , 1890-1907.