Wednesday, April 25, 2018

V is for Villain turned into a puli dog (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.

This tale, titled The Puli Dog, was collected in 1956 from Kis Miklós in Tyukod.

Our Lord Jesus and Saint Peter are traveling the world, and they are welcomed into a rich man's house for the night. In exchange for the hospitality, they decide in the morning to give the man a son, a boy whose every wish will come true. They are overheard by a servant, János. When the baby is born, János steals it, and frames the mother by sprinkling chicken blood on her bed.

The rich man thinks she ate her own baby, and orders her to be buried alive.

Meanwhile, János flees abroad with the baby. The moment the boy is old enough to speak, János tells him what to wish for - a palace, riches, etc., - and they soon grow rich. János marries a princess. One day, she asks him what the source of his wealth is, and János tells the whole story. The boy overhears it, and grows angry. He turns János into a puli dog, and sets out to find his parents.

On the way home, every time he stops for the night, he orders food for himself, and burning embers for the puli. Everyone says "I have never seen such a pretty dog fed on embers before!" to which he always responds "Have you ever seen a woman buried alive?" Eventually, someone says yes, and the boy finds his father. Going to the cemetery, he wishes his mother to revive. The truth comes out, the family is reunited. János is turned back into a man, and is sent home to his princess. A surprisingly light ending to a surprisingly dark tale.

This story was also turned into a children's cartoon, you can watch it here.


  1. That is an unusual ending! Most fairy tales would have had the villain killed. Still, I reckon he had been punished enough to learn his lesson. Mind you, I have to wonder what would be the result of getting every wish you want. Even if you were careful, sooner or later you might wish for something you were sorry about afterwards.

    Australian children's writers: V Is For Voicing The Dead

  2. Wow, that is an odd story. I really, really like it. I especially like the part about the boy asking the people he meets if they've ever seen a woman buried alive. There is something very plaintive and touching about that. And this folktale feels like a story, which isn't always the case with folktales -- for me, anyway.

  3. That was very magnanimous to turn back the dog into man. that a moral? forgiveness is the best way forward?

  4. Unlike most children's tales, it does have a happy ending. This one is very sweet, I like it.

    V - I Won't Let You Go by James Morrison

  5. Aww, what a happy ending - you are right, very surprising!

  6. "The rich man thinks she ate her own baby," and then in the end it all settles down. Can happen only in a folktale!
    Interesting read. Why a Puli dog, though. Any special significane?

    Vas Villa, Bangalore – Then and Now

    1. It's a typically Hungarian breed, I guess :) Default sheepdog

  7. It's not often you hear about a tale where things turned out well for the villain. Hopefully, his short sprint as a pooch changes his heart to do good the rest of his days. As for János, I'm happy he was reunited with his family once more. :)

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    A2Z iPad Art Sketch 'V' Victorian Lady

  8. Very surprising way to treat the man who caused your mother to be buried alive! I guess because he could bring her back? Punished enough by being fed on hot coals? Weird.

  9. That's a very twisty story indeed - and I quite like it. Love puli dogs as well - so bonus points to begin with.

  10. Goodness a bit of blood and the first conclusion is that she ate the child! That must have been a pretty rough time to be living. I agree I am totally surprised that the villain gets to return to his riches.

  11. I agree it seems quite a leap to assume that blood at a birth means the mother ate her newborn! I'm all in favor of being merciful, but lets keep in mind that it wasn't actually Janos who killed the mother, but her own husband... and now that she's revivified she has to go back and live with the man who assumed she ate her baby and then buried her alive? If my husband had done that to me I'd find it a little difficult to forgive.

  12. That was a very good ending for the baddie of the tale - I suppose he served his penance as the dog?
    Tasha's Thinkings - Movie Monsters

  13. I agree with Anne, I don't think the mom would be too thrilled to go back to hubby there! But here's my real question -- why does everyone think it's okay to feed animals embers in your stories?! Those would hurt the animals -- wth? :P
    Jamie Lyn Weigt | Writing Dragons