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NAUGHTY OR NICE – KRAMPUS WAS HERE

That time of year again… I passed the Krampus test. How about you?

Schloss Neugebäude in Vienna and the Krampusse were once again on the loose. Would have enjoyed seeing all the boys aged 5 – 13 who had elbowed their ways to the front of the crowds, rush to duck behind their Dads when the beasts came galloping out, gnashing their fangs, rustling their chains, chiming their cow bells, and then charging straight for those rascals. Yep, quite a scene. Or it would have been, had I not been plagued myself with a miniscule tinge of concern that those Krampusse might do some sloppy detective work or someone could have slipped them some false intel and they could have accidentally mistaken me for someone who had misbehaved this year. Fortunately, the Katscher Krampusse filled their baskets with folks obviously much naughtier than me and I could duck off into the 73A at the end of the evening and bring some scenes fresh from the castle straight to your home or workplace or man cave, far away and safe from those hunting, hungry demons. Then again, they travel fast and you might be in a completely different time zone, so best stay alert, tune an ear for the cling of cow bells, and clang of chains and random grunts and your nose sensitized to goat odors. And if they come? Be sure to take a selfie and post. And keep your GPS on your phone switched on. The NSA, Facebook, LinkedIn or the online Christmas vendors are bound to find you eventually – and start posting you ads for goat food, ear plugs, chain cutters and a nice vacation away from the cave.

Need more Krampus facts? Check out these posts:

Krampus is Coming to Get You (+ Bonus Krampus 101 List)

18 Telltale Signs Your Guy’s Really a Krampus

How Much More Austrian Do You Want – Christoph Waltz explains Krampus

 

 

 

 

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Krampus is Coming to Get You!

Krampus misunderstanding - he thinks KC's been naughty

Krampus misunderstanding – he thinks KC’s been naughty

Making a list. Checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.

And you? Worried. Just a little. Maybe more than a little? Cause you haven’t behaved. Right? Come on, now. Admit it.

I see that smile. Oh yeah. You’ve been naughty, haven’t you?

The workout regime that always starts tomorrow. The paper you promised weeks ago (you know the one I mean). The call from Auntie Em you didn’t manage to pick up in time. The text message you never got. The last piece of double chocolate extra rich cake you didn’t eat.

Krampus takes the bad and leaves the good

Krampus takes the bad and leaves the good

Ahh, yes. You’ve been naughty, alright. And this year it won’t be a lump of coal in your stocking. Nope. This is the year you’ll be making a close encounter of a goat something or another kind. They’re coming from the mountains. Coming from their caves. Wielding their sticks. Clanging their bells. And they just LOVE naughtiness.

And you know who you are. You know exactly who you are.

Yep. While all the good kiddies did their homework, and ate their sauerkraut, you were in your man cave watching Breaking Bad, and pretending to fix the vacuum cleaner. You can fool Auntie Em but you can’t fool Nikolas. He’ll be stuffing bags filled with mandarins, nuts, chocolate and cookies in the shoes of all the shiny happy good people of the world. Nauseatingly well-behaved. You know the ones. And your shoes? They’ll remain an empty stinking reminder of missed opportunity. The opportunity to have been good and do what you were told. But you didn’t. And rarely do.

These Aussies must not have been too naughty

These Aussies must not have been too naughty

And this year, my naughty little friend, you’re gonna pay. You can try to find a place to cower and hide but that man cave of yours won’t do you any good. Not this year. Because this year…

Krampus is coming.

It starts harmless enough. An innocent suggestion to visit the advent market at the old castle. Ahh, how nice. Austria. Traditional. The Old Country. Land of Silent Nights and children who dress in sailor suits and sing Christmas carols with their angelic little voices. Where Christmas is still about the Holiday spirit. A Christmas market. A real live Christmas market. Like under the train set. Only better. With live ABBA music, hand-carved manager scenes, gingerbread hearts, and hot roasted chestnuts sold in paper cones. Quaint. Genuine.

Krampus and KC

Krampus and KC plotting to get those who are naughty

Until darkness settles in the shadows beyond the decorated trees and the cold starts nipping at our noses, and we elbow our way to the Punsch stand Austrian style. You mistake the glint in my eyes for the after-glow of Waterloo or the before glow of Glühwein, but in fact it is something far more sinister, my friend.

Schadenfreude.

Krampus Gathering

The Krampus Huddle

Because that rattle of the chain beyond the stands and through the gate beckoning throngs of parents to drag their terrified children into the courtyard, is also a summoning you, my imp, naughty old you.

Innocently, so unassumingly, I suggest, “Let’s go and see what’s up.”

And you? Tingly with Glühwein, you smile and follow.

Poor bright-eyed bushy-tailed ignorant you.

Lump of coal in your stocking. You wish.

No, you’re in Krampusland now and the furry monsters have awakened from the depths of their dungeon-like dens to come and fetch you.

The bonfire rages, and the grunts intensify as the doors to the castle shake. A poem. Someone recites a poem and I translate. At first you are tickled pink. How sweet. A poem about Nikolas rewarding the well-behaved children.

Krampus with Babies

Krampus with Babies

But wait! There’s more!

Rhymes of beatings and punishment for those –like you—who misbehave.

Yep. You can run but you can’t hide.

Boom!

Music bellows through the night – a terrifying heed to the creatures from beyond.

“Come get them! They’re here! The naughty ones are gathered and ready!” The unspoken words thunder in time to the music.

Krampus' Basket

Krampus fetches the Naughty Ones and puts them in his basket and whisks them to his cave

They are coming to snatch you up, toss you in their baskets and haul you down into their wicked caves.

The doors smash open. It’s time.

Nikolas  vanishes.

Not one, not two, a whole herd of otherworldly creatures burst into the screaming masses. Smoke and fire follow in their wake. Cow bells clang the dreadful chimes of doom. An angry sea of black, brown, grey and white goat hides. Ungodly horns sharpened to pierce the darkest souls slice the icy air. Blood-shot eyes ravenous for victims scan the trembling prey. Jagged teeth and snake-like tongues hang in anticipation.

Armed with chains, cauldrons and Ruten the demons sway and dance, and push through the screeching throngs looking for you. An hour, how long an hour can seem — like an eternity — maybe longer, they search, they target, they wave their Rute and grunt and chase.

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Krampus Clang with Cow Bells

Krampuses Clang with Cow Bells

Yes, the Krampuses have come.

Have you been good?

KRAMPUS 101:

Rute: branches tied together — the Krampus tool of choice for corporal punishment
Perchta/Perchten: another word used for Krampus
Perchtenlauf/Krampuslauf: “Krampus run” — describes the event of the Krampuses coming
Katscher Krampus: the Krampuses featured here (from the Schloss Neugebäude Krampuslauf in Vienna on Dec 7, 2013)
December 5 & 6: Krampus comes on the 5th and Nicolas on the 6th but they often come together as a team — whoever said Krampuses can’t work efficiently — but they can show up anytime from about Dec 1 – Dec 9, so be vigilant.
cow bells: Krampus must-have accessory to notify parents to “Bring out you kids”

Krampus uses a "Rute" made of jagged branches to beat naughty ones (no one dares to tell him it's forbidden)

Krampus uses a “Rute” to beat out the naughtiness (no one dares to tell him corporal punishment is now a no-no)

basket: the Krampus backpack complete with naughty-kid compartment
chains: another Krampus must-have accessory
Schadenfreude: joy at another’s (deserved) misfortune –and don’t act like you have never experienced it or the Krampus will get you for lying.
Inquisition: hard times for Krampus because he was forbidden (no one was allowed to imitate the devil but
Krampus perservered in remote villages – he’s no whimp)
Don’t tell anyone I told you- some people suspect there might be young gentlemen who dress up like Krampuses which would explain why many young ladies have often been the targets of  many a swinging Rute throughout the decades
Horns: often from chamois
Fur: from goats
Masks: usually hand-carved from wood
ABBA: indication in Austria that the party is bound to be good and worth attending– Austrians almost love ABBA more than they love the Hapsburgs and if you want to make friends and influence people in this country — know your ABBA trivia and song lyrics

Krampus with boy and girl

Krampus with boy and girl

Paper promised weeks ago — you know which one and Krampus will find you cause I gave him your name and address.
Auntie Em: a sweet lady whose phone calls you should NEVER ignore because the guilt you will suffer is far more dire than the Krampus’ wrath (right, Auntie Em?)

Krampus and a very "brav" KC

Krampus and a very “brav” KC

Krampus and Aussies

Krampus and Aussies

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Novak Saves Naughty Girls

For all the naughty girls out there in need of a Novak, a translation of the text from the Novak song from the early 50s.
Listen to the song on You Tube here: Der Novak 

Originally performed by Cissy Kraner accompanied by her husband, Hugo Wiener

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DER NOVAK

Ich habe einen Mann, den viele möchten

der immer mich bewahrt vor allem schlechten

ein jeder kennt ihn – Novak ist sein Name

ihm dank ich es, daß heut‘ ich eine Dame

ob angezogen oder als ein Nackter

der Novak hat am ganzen Leib Charakter

Ich hätt schon längst ein böses End genommen

aber der Novak läßt mich nicht verkommen

Ich hätt‘ an vielen Dingen mein Vergnügen

Ich möcht’ so gerne in der Gosse liegen

Ich möchte einmal sinnlos mich besaufen

Ich möchte mit einem Freudenmächen raufen

Ich möchte einmal Männer toll verbrauchen

Ich möchte statt Memphis Marihuana rauchen

Ich hätt auch längst schon Morphium genommen

aber der Novak läßt mich nicht verkommen

Ich möchte einmal bei Vollmond ein Vampir sein

Ich möchte Geliebte von einem Fakir sein

Damit mich, wenn ich lieg auf der Matratzen

von hinten noch die Nagelspitzen kratzen

Ich möchte Austern mit der Schale essen

Ich möchte mit einem Walfisch mich vergessen

Ich hab mir das schon alles vorgenommen

Aber der Novak läßt mich nicht verkommen

Der Novak ist zwar einerseits ein Segen

Doch andererseits läßt er mich nicht bewegen

Da stand ein Inserat in einer Zeitung

Es sucht von einem Nachtlokal die Leitung

Ein junges Mädchen brav mit nettem Wesen

Das nackert tanzt vor Negern und Chinesen

Den Posten hätt sofort ich angenommen

Aber der Novak läßt mich nicht verkommen

NOVAK

I have a man, that many would like

who always saves me from all that’s bad

Everyone knows him – Novak is his name

Because of him, I am a lady today

Whether clothed or naked

Novak’s entire body is character

I would have taken a bad end long ago

But Novak keeps me from corruption

I would have had pleasure in many things

I would like so much to lay in the gutter

I would like to get plastered

I would love to wrestle with a whore

I would like once to consume men

I would like to smoke marijuana instead of Marlboro

I would have taken morphine long ago

But Novak keeps me from  corruption

I would once like to be a vampire under the full moon

I would like to be the lover of a fakir

So that, while I am laying on the mattressThe tips of his nails scratch me from behindI would like to eat oysters with their shells

I would like to forget myself with a whale

I had planned it all for a long time

But Novak keeps me from corruption

On the one hand, Novak is a blessing

On the other, he gives me no space

An ad was in the paper

The head of a night club seeking

A young nice girl well-behaved

To dance naked in front of Africans and Chinese

I would have taken the job immediately

But Novak keeps me from corruption

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