Friday, April 10, 2015

I: by Immurement (26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary)

They teach some darn cheerful songs in Music class where I come from.

Immurement, by definition, is death by being walled in. It is known from many sources in many cultures all around the world. The example Hungarians are most familiar with, however, is our very own: The folk ballad titled "Kőmíves Kelemen" (Kelemen the Stonemason). You can listen to it sung here.

The ballad starts off with the building of the Castle of Deva: Twelve (in some versions thirteen) stonemasons are hired to build it, for a payment of half a bushel of silver and half a bushel of gold. But there is a problem: What they build till noon, collapses by the evening, and what they build till the evening, collapses by the morning, and they have to start all over again every day.
The building is not progressing, and they are running out of time. The masons make a pact: Whoever's wife shows up first on site to visit them will be killed, burned, and her ashes mixed into the mortar to make the castle walls hold.
(It is assumed that the whole thing refers to some pre-Christian building sacrifice practices)
Of course the first woman to come visit her husband is the wife of the masons' leader, Kőmíves Kelemen. He watches her carriage wind up the road to the mountain, and prays that she would turn back, or that the horses would drop dead. And yet, the lady makes it to the building site and greets her husband happily... only to find out the fate they planned for her. There is no going back from the pact. The masons kill her, burn her, mix her ashes in the mortar... and the walls don't fall down anymore.
You think this can't get any worse?
Wrong.
Kőmíves Kelemen has a little son. When he goes home in the evening, the boy starts asking for his mother. Kelemen keeps telling him she'll be home later... until finally he confesses that she is never coming home. The boy climbs the mountain to the castle and calls to his mother; the mother's voice answers from the wall, telling him she can't break free. The ground shakes, the earth opens, and the boy falls to his death.
Ta-da.

Being a workaholic can really ruin your family.

(You wouldn't believe the amount of puns that exist based on this story...)

27 comments:

  1. I've heard of your blog from comments on another blog but I couldn't find you for the life of me. I'm so glad I stumbled upon you this early morning. Wow What a way to go, for both of them. I have to catch up on your other posts, and looking forward to your future letters. Happy A to Z~ing. Paula

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    1. I'm glad you found your way here! :) Welcome

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  2. A friend of mine actually posted a picture of himself at the Castle of Deva earlier today. The world is such a small place! Elle @ Erratic Project Junkie

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  3. Holy hell... that's dark. I have to wonder how it ever entered someone's head that human ashes would somehow make the wall stronger.. really, at that point, you might as well use a cow's ashes...?

    Great post, as always.

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  4. So the mother wanted her son to join her then? How ... lovely ... not. I have never heard of this kind of in Immurement before.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  5. What a 'fun' theme! :)
    Really very interesting and (as far as I know) well-researched. I'm liking this one a lot!

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  6. Wow, what a creepy and sad story. Because, you know, a dead woman in the walls isn't enough, the ground also needs to eat small children. ;)

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  7. Love your dog picture. A puli, right? My grandmother had one many years ago, named Cigány.

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    1. Yep, it's a puli :) My grandparents used to breed them, so I grew up with puppies...

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    2. I always wondered how they could see through all that hair!

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  8. What a lovely song, Csenge :D Immurement always makes me think of that Poe story... What was it called? I'll remember in a minute. No, seriously. Wait. It's coming.
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  9. I didn't know the term "immurement" before. Poor little boy.

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  10. Wow, this is interesting! Stumbled through from your other blog. And I like you comment in About - "Oh wait, I have a library card." You can guess why from:
    Anabel's Travel Blog
    Adventures of a retired librarian

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  11. Wow. That's as creepy as the Chinese Great Wall story. A fortune said that they had to sacrifice ten thousand to keep the wall up. So instead of ten thousand people that found a man that had the name ten thousand in his name.

    Okay, it's been a long time, but I'm pretty sure it was ten thousand.

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  12. Wow. Who knew that wives could be so... adhesive... :D

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  13. That ballad explains a lot about Bela Bartok's music.

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  14. I heard another version but it's the same story. Ha! workaholics are bad bad people :P

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  15. Immure was my word of the day today too. Trying to figure out if my flash fiction or this was the worse tale. I think you win. LOL

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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  16. What a way to go; she was probably just bringing him the lunch he forgot and all of a sudden she realized she was bound to be women-glue.

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    1. Which is why I make a point of never bringing lunch to the SO's workplace.

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  17. AH yes I like the jib of your blog HAR HAR HAR shiver me timbers Yo Ho Ho. . . . Ok thats enough pirate for one day. Thanks for calling by and leaving a comment. . . . . OK your now thinking who is he did I leave a comment but you did and a link to here

    Well done I like the blog . . .

    Rob Z Tobor

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  18. Such a cool theme! I really enjoyed it and will be back. I'm A-Z blogging on mystery terms. Hope you will drop in. www.samwriteaway.blogspot.com

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  19. I remember an Edgar Allen Poe story about a man who was walled in. Creepy! Just like this one. These folks would have appreciated Poe.
    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
    with the A to Z Challenge

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  20. I wish I had a witty remark, but after reading this post, I am speechless. Fascinated, riveted, keep coming back for more. But speechless. :-)

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  21. It is fascinating to know something about another country's history! You really are an interesting lady and a great storyteller :-)

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  22. Even when I think I know what's coming, you throw in a bizarre twist. I thought they would just wall her up and she'd die in there, instead they murder her first, burn her and mix her ashes with the mortar. Yikes! I guess the son died by crevice.

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