Friday, April 20, 2018

R is for Rosalia Lemonfarts, and Rosalia the Devilish (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 was browsing the Hungarian Roma Storytellers' Folktale Catalog, when I came across an entry: "Rosalia Lemonfarts." Obviously, I needed to follow up on this name, so I went to the archives of the Museum of Ethnography, and dug up the neatly typed folktale manuscripts that have never been published (*shameless self-promotion* I did the same thing for my latest book).
And there it was.

Sadly, the lady wit the awesome name is not the hero of the story. The hero is a prince named Tulipán Péter (Tulip Peter). He gets his name from his miraculous conception: His father, the king, angry at not having an heir, leave his palace and orders his wife to produce a child by the time he gets home. She picks a tulip and smells it, and lo and behold, gets pregnant. BUT when the king gets home, he somehow still manages to be angry at her for having a bastard. So, after much commotion and obscenities, Peter is exiled from the kingdom.

The prince is put into a boat with his best friend (who lives in a hollowed-out watermelon, because why not), and eventually arrives to a kingdom where all offices are held by women. Except for the king. The king is in a bad mood, because every time he sits down to eat, two jackdaws show up and break his windows (King Phineus and the Harpies, anyone?). Péter helps him get rid of the birds, and in exchange he gets to marry the princess: Princess Rosalia Lemonfarts (Citromfingó Rozália). And just so that his buddy is not left a bachelor either, he gets to marry the princess' cousin, Rozsónia Lemonfarts.

That's pretty much it.

The "lemonfarts" part is never explained. My best guess is, it was a humorous way of saying that these are delicate, sophisticated noble ladies. Because, you know. They don't stink.


I promised yesterday to circle back to a girl with Death for a godfather. Her name is also Rosalia: Ördöngös Rozália. "Ördöngös" translates as "possessed" or "devilish", and is usually used for someone with abilities/powers/knowledge that are amazing and also a little scary...

We are all thinking it...
Just like the previous one, this is also a Hungarian Roma folktale. A poor man with a lot of children gets Death to be the godfather of his youngest daughter. When Rosalia is about twelve years old, she makes a bet one night to steal the boots off a hanged man. She does it (and when the corpse says "F*** you", she cheerfully says "F*** you too!"), and in addition steals a bunch of gold from twelve robbers. From this point on, most of the story is about her trying to get away from the angry robbers - usually with the help of Death, her godfather. My favorite part is when she hides in a hollow tree, and a robber stabs it with a sword to see if it comes out bloody. He does wound Rosalia in the chest, but Death appears and licks the sword clean before the robber pulls it out.


  1. Living in a watermelon sounds cool. Lemony farts are way cooler though.

    And having Death as godparent would be useful too (btw, is Death always a male?)

    1. In this story it is, but since Hungarian pronouns are gender neutral, often it is hard to tell

  2. I saw the name and totally had to read what this was about too. I guess there's something to be said about a name. :D

    A guy living in a hollowed out watermelon? I love how fairy tales often seem like they were written the day after doing drugs.

    Thank goodness getting pregnant isn't as simple as smelling a tulip. My garden is full of them!

  3. Lemonfarts - how fragrant!

  4. Somehow I can't imagine even lemon farts smelling lovely. Sort of like when the buses in Detroit decided to perfume their exhaust with rose smell. Still smelled like exhaust, just with an overlay of horrible rose.

  5. I enjoy the smell of lemons, but I'd still rather farts not smell like lemons. LOL =P

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

  6. Tulip-induced pregnancies, lemon-farts, and watermelon-livers - that tale covers a lot of surreal botanical territory. I'm liking it. :-)

  7. What does one do about men who don't perform and then get upset when someone else does the job! The silly King should be building gardens of Tulips! Pfff..
    The title of this tale reminded me of Little Britain:)
    R is for #RallyforRivers

  8. I knew I was going to like this story. Who couldn't love a story with the word 'Lemonfarts' in it.

    Right Back in the Water by Jesse McCartney

  9. I love the detail of how the girl steals the boots, "and when the corpse says F* you, she cheerfully says F* you too!" I guess if Death is helping you, he wouldn't be so bad for a godparent.
    Jamie Lyn Weigt | Writing Dragons