Thursday, April 12, 2018

K is for Kalamona (WTF Hungary - Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales)

Welcome to this year's A to Z Challenge titled WTF Hungary - Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales! You can find all other participating blogs on the A to Z Challenge main blog.

I mentioned Kalamona earlier this week, and now I'm circling back to him. Her. It. (The Hungarian language doesn't have gendered pronouns)
Honestly, no one is even sure what Kalamona is.

Szélkötő Kalamona (Wind-binding Kalamona) is the villain of one of our famous fairy tales, to which it gave its title. Story begins with the King of All Kings, who is visited by a terrifying monster with a mouth large enough to swallow a cart. Kalamona demands the King's daughter; locked out of the castle, it comes down the chimney, and threatens to destroy the kingdom if it does not get the princess. The King still refuses. Kalamona then goes off and shackles all the winds, except for the North Wind. The crops don't grow, rain doesn't fall, the people of the kingdom begin to starve, and then to freeze.

So, obviously, a hero has to set out to free the winds.

After many adventures, our hero, Rontó arrives on his magic horse with his magic sword to fight Kalamona and release the winds. Kalamona lives in a diamond palace on a mountain; it kidnaps a princess every year, and when it is bored of her, it sends her to another palace, made of ice. The ice palace is full of old princesses, and they have to blow on the castle constantly to keep it nice and cool.
We also find out that Kalamona keeps its incredible strength in the string of its pants. Talk about symbolism. The great part in this tale is that when Rontó defeats Kalamona, he throws it to the princesses that have been living in captivity for years... and the princesses tear the villain apart.

No one is entirely sure what Kalamona is. The most popular theory is that Kalamona is a dragon, one of those part-beast part-wizard storm-related dragon archetypes we have in many Hungarian folktales. It binds the winds and creates devastation, and a hero has to fight it to set nature right again (much like all the stories where celestial bodies have to be released).


  1. My mother tongue - Bengali, doesn't have genderised pronouns either. Makes life a lot easier even though a bit ambiguous :) Besides I like a little ambiguity in my folktales...

  2. An interesting character. I love the illustration, even if nobody is sure that Kalamona looks like it :)

  3. Enjoyed this one, I tried to write a futuristic story in English where gender identifiers were no longer used - no he or she - but gave up, it just doesn't make for good writing!

  4. This is my favourite one so far. I love this character.

    Kickstarts by The Wanted

  5. Very strange! I can't help picturing all those princesses blowing on the castle to ... keep it cool? I suppose if it starts to melt, they will be in big trouble! But the image is bizarre!

    There is definitely something coarse about Hungarian folktales, if the ones you have described are any example! ;-)

    K Is For Robin Klein

  6. I'm not sure how I feel about this one, but I have to say I do like a hero who frees the winds and old princesses.

  7. Interesting that Hungarian has no gender identifiers.

  8. I like the idea of shackling the wind!

  9. Another great story. Love the "symbolism" and the sweet revenge, served cold, of the princesses.
    Jamie Lyn Weigt | Theme: Odds and Ends Dragons | Writing Dragons