21-Nov-2006 Filed in: Folklore
Woodcarving of Slattenpatte placed right underneath the priest's podium in Vejlø Church, Southern Sealand, Denmark (c.1670).
A particular female troll is Danish Slattenpatte who also appears under other names elsewhere in Europe and is part of a particular class of stories about ghostlike horsemen hunting at night - esp. female devils or trolls.
In Denmark stories are told of King Volmer hunting the last troll woman in the realm. Someone out walking late at night encounters this ugly troll woman, who is always characterised as having long saggy breasts (thus the name - Slatten-Patte or Saggy Breasts), then a little while later a rider appears. He introduces himself as King Volmer and asks if the late-night walker has seen the ugly troll woman he is looking for. Soon after there is the sound of a arrow followed by a scream. In some versions he soon reappears with the dead troll thrown across his horse. The stories of the nocturnal hunters are usually set at Christmas time and have been related to the belief that the dead ancestors return to participate in the celebration of Christmas. But the troll woman Slattenpatte is also related to a common Germanic creature with long breasts used to scare children (German Langtüttin, Tittenwief). Is this scary troll woman like later times' witches simply symbols of patriarchy's fear of post-menopausal women? It is anybody's guess...