Friday, April 13, 2018

L is for the Lead Monk (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.

The Lead Monk* (lead, as in the metal) is another one of those weird folktale characters that keep popping up in different stories. It is referred to as the Lead Monk, Lead-head Monk, or (my personal favorite) Snotty Lead Monk. (The snot is never explained).

*In Hungarian, we use the same word for "friend" and "monk." In this case, in context, "friend" would not make much sense, so I went with the other translation.

Trees encased in ice
The Lead Monk Who Covered the Forest in Lead, and the Old Hag
In this tale, collected from Ámi Lajos, the Lead Monk has the ability to cover everything in lead just by blowing/breathing on them. He covers forests and makes tree branches break off; covers corn fields and the corn cobs all fall down. Eventually he runs into a powerful old hag who (after flashing him her lady parts) tricks him into telling her where he keeps his power. She then proceeds to destroy the monk and scatter him on the field as fertilizer (storyteller even comments that this is how artificial fertilizers were invented). The rest of the story tells about the sons of the Lead Monk who set out to revive their father.
(I sense a winter/frost analogy here somehow)

The King and the Forster-Son
In this story, collected by Ipolyi Arnold, a prince and his friend set out to rescue a princess. On the way home the Lead Monk shows up, claiming that she was his fiance, and revealing things that will threaten the heroes - but also warns the foster brother than if he tells anyone, he will turn to stone (not lead, duh). One of the threats is Flame-headed Men jumping the couple on their wedding night... Of course the foster brother saves the princes and the princess, and then turns to stone, and then is rescued, as usual.

The Lead Monk
In this folktale, a hero named Kiss Miklós sets out to bring back the Sun and the Moon that had been stolen. On the way he is chased by the Mother of Dragons, whose terrible jaws stretch from heaven to earth (not as sexy as in Game of Thrones, huh). The hero flees into the house of the Lead Monk, who happens to have several gallons of boiling lead, which they pour down the dragon's throat, killing her. Right after, the Monk also demands to fight the hero. He has  superhuman strength, and turns out to also have the Sun and the Moon... which he is only willing to give back if the hero brings him the Green Princess. Once delivered, the princess finds out the secret of where the Monk keeps his strength (in a wasp inside an egg inside a rabbit), and helps the hero defeat him.

So, common elements of the Lead Monk:
1. Superhuman Strength
2. Strength/life placed outside the body
3. Ability to freeze/petrify things and people
4. A strong connection to lead.

I feel like this is a D&D villain in the making.


  1. It does indeed sound like a D&D character. Strength, special skills, etc.

    L Is For Margo Lanagan and Dave Luckett

  2. Lead poisoning! Only I suppose no-one was aware of that those centuries...the last definitely reminds me of eclipse tales from my own culture - Rahu and Ketu...

  3. Interesting tales .... it's like virtual computing right ? Power and physical components somewhere else ?

  4. How can the snot never be explained? You can't just put snot in there and say no more :-)

  5. Those are all interesting tales. I had to laugh at the hag showing him her lady bits. Best way to get info from a dude, eh? XD

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    My A to Z’s of Dining with IC
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  6. A wasp inside an egg inside a rabbit. What a strange power source!

    Lose My Mind by The Wanted

  7. I'm with Lauren here - Lead Monk's power source is a nice example of WTF. And after binge-watching the series Fortitude, wasps totally creep me out. Hence, I plan on avoiding any interactions with Lead Monk.

  8. Could the Snot headed be because the head was so clogged it felt leaden?

    Tale Spinning

  9. I will have to share this with my resident D&D player...he is always dreaming up new monsters and their stats.

    Thanks for the heads up about my broken Komodo dragon link. I hope it is working correctly now.

    Look forward to more dragon myths from you as the A to Z Challenge goes on...almost half-way!

  10. Well, if you use the little figurines for your D&D campaigns, ALL the monks are lead... and all the heroes, and all the elven bowmen, and all the dragons, and all the hags...

  11. Lead Monk is an interesting character - I was reminded of Midas Touch! and those superheroes Marvel and DC keep coming up with :)

    Do check out my #BlogchatterA2Z submission for letter L:

  12. He doesn't sound like a very nice fellow this Lead Monk. Don't think I would like to meet him.
    Tasha's Thinkings - Movie Monsters

  13. Hmm, all the D&D monks I've known have been quick little fellows, light on their feet, and lead is very heavy, so perhaps that's why this lead monk was so mean -- none of the other monk(ees?) would let him join in all their monk(ee) games? ;)
    Jamie Lyn Weigt | Theme: Odds and Ends Dragons | Writing Dragons

  14. I do like "Lead Monk" and I don't speak Hungarian, but it is possible that his name implies "Lead's Best Friend?"
    ólom barátja as the automatic translator suggests?