Werewolf Fact of the Day

Werewolf Book 2e
ISBN: 9781578593675

What is the story of a mysterious shapeshifter called "The Old Man"?

  • It takes place outside of the village of Eggenstedt, Germany.
  • The tale is centuries old.
  • The death of the character is marked with the infamous "Werewolf Rock."

Outside of the village of Eggenstedt, near Sommerschenburg and Schoumlningen, Germany, stands a large rock that has been called "Werewolf Rock" for many centuries. According to the legend, a mysterious figure known simply as "the Old Man," would venture out from the Brandsleber Forest and offer to perform tasks for the villagers, such as watching over their flocks of sheep. On one occasion, as he herded sheep for a shepherd named Melle from Neindorf, the Old Man asked for a particular spotted lamb as payment for his work. Melle refused, as he particularly prized that lamb. The Old Man repeated his request many times, and Melle always denied his wishes.

When it was time to shear the flock for the wool, Melle hired the Old Man to help out. Later, when the work was completed, the shepherd found that both the mysterious old fellow and his prized, spotted lamb had disappeared.

Many months went by without a trace of either the Old Man or the lamb. Melle concluded the obvious: his hired helper had taken his lamb and eaten it.

One day as he grazed his sheep in the Katten Valley, Melle was surprised by the sudden appearance of the Old Man, who mocked him by sneering that his spotted lamb sent its regards. Enraged, the shepherd raised his crook to give the Old Man a clout, but the strange man from the woods changed his shape into that of a wolf. Melle was frightened, but his dogs came to his rescue and attacked the wolf with fury, causing it to flee.

Melle pursued the wolf until it reached the vicinity of Eggenstedt where the dogs trapped and surrounded it. At that point, the werewolf returned its form to that of the Old Man, who begged to be spared. Melle would not be deceived by such pleas, and he began furiously to beat the man with his crook. An accomplished shape-shifter of the highest prowess, the Old Man assumed the form of a sprouting thorn bush. Knowing now that he was faced with an adversary of great supernatural powers, Melle did no back off, but continued to strike away at the branches of the thorn bush.

The shape-shifter, realizing that a mortal had hardened his heart and was determined to kill him, once again changed its form to that of the Old Man and begged for his life. Melle the shepherd continued to ignore his pleas and kept flailing away with his crook. The shape-shifter changed back into a wolf, planning to run away and escape in its four-legged form, but a fatal blow from Melle suddenly snuffed out its life. The spot where the creature dropped dead was named "Werewolf Rock."

From The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings, Second Edition by Brad Steiger, (c) 2012 Visible Ink Press(R) Steiger's homage to the beast within provides meaty facts for the lycanthropic in all of us.

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