P.L is one of my friends in high school. He’s half German so he knows many cultures and folklore from there. He hasn’t been to German for that long, but his parents made it so he would be culturally involved. He’s also lived in the States and Taiwan so he’s multi-culturally diverse.
This legend that P.L told is about a mountain giant. This legend only occurred in Germany. This Mountain Giant would take away if the children do not behave. In contrast, the Giant will also reward the morally sound kids. The background story of the Mountain Giant would be that he was abducted a princess who likes turnip and that how the giant got his name.
P.L’s grandmother was the one who told him this legend. Parents would usually tell this to their kids to frighten them. P.L remembered this legend as funny because there was a movie he watched about Ruebezahl, and it was funny because of the tricks the giant plays on the bad guys.
The legend is about Ruebezahl, but he doesn’t seem to be an evil character as many evil giant would. Yes, he would take away children but only ones that do not behave, and he would also reward the good ones.
This legend could be true, a giant could mean just an overly huge person, and would punish and bad and reward the good. He also has a historical content to it, as the Giant once abducted a princess. Since parents do use this legend to frighten their children, it could be all made up and was created just to force the children to behave.
For another version of this legend, see Praetorius, Johannes. Daemonologia Rubinzalii Silesii. Leipzig: Oeler, 1662. Print.