Saturday, April 21, 2018

S is for a Soldier... (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.

A soldier that peed for 77 years.

In the very first folktale collection ever published in Hungarian, in the early 1800s, there is a tale titled The Green Dragoon. We never actually find out why he is "green" (which is a pity, because I was excited for another Green Man variant).

At the beginning of the tale, a powerful queen (!) is taking her army to war. No one is allowed to break formation while they march, and if anyone falls out of like, they are executed. Which is  a problem for our green dragoon, because he really, really, really has to pee (or "relieve himself" - remember, these fairy tales were told by soldiers). So, he steps out of line, runs into the forest, and does what he needs to do.

The catch? The forest is enchanted. While the soldier thinks he only spend a few minutes in it, in reality he stands there peeing for seventy-seven years. When he is done, he comes out of the woods, and is surprised to discover that the army is long, long gone. The innkeeper in town doesn't even remember the war, and his money is not good anymore.

The rest of the story is more of a classic fairy tale: The Queen has been enchanted, so the soldier has to go through all kinds of tasks to rescue her - and then she is spirited away again, and he has to go traveling to find her and win her back. It is a colorful, fun, detailed story. With a very unusual beginning.

(Note: There is such a thing, historically, as a Green Dragoon. They were British loyalists in the American Revolution. Not sure if it had anything to do with the folktale, though.)


  1. I really like this one! I think it's my favorite so far for some reason.

  2. 77 years? I can see the Queen now, telling him it serves him right for not staying in formation... another delightfully vulgar tale! 😁

    S Is For Seven Little Australians

  3. I guess I shouldn't complain about the amount of time family members spend in the bathroom any more.

  4. Not being a fan of soldier tales, this one may well be my favorite. I think the Green Dragon owes his bladder a very big thank you, as well as his feet for leading him to an enchanted forest.

  5. 77 years! What had he been drinking and how long had he been holding it in!?

  6. Can we say "Dehydrated"?

    Tale Spinning

  7. I like this story very much. Thnk you fro sharing :)
    Jui Positive Cookies

  8. Great kidneys he must have had! and the Queen must have aged a bit since he saw her last
    :) ...Seventy-seven, an interesting spiky looking number, I wonder why the writer chose it?

    1. Seven and seventy-seven are symbolic numbers in Hungarian folklore. Also, this tale doesn't have a writer, it's a folktale :)

  9. Normally I don't like it when authors try to be "realistic" by adding in realistic details like peeing - because it isn't like it's the interesting part of anyone's life... except when it is, apparently! So if it's actually an important part of the plot then bring it on.

  10. This is a fun one. Who doesn't need to pee? This could really make you think twice about when you take your next bathroom break!
    Facing Cancer with Grace

  11. Time travel works in mysterious ways... great detail that it's a queen leading them off to war, too!
    Jamie Lyn Weigt | Writing Dragons