Monday, May 6, 2013

Girls, listen to your parents!

The folk tale of a women’s dance with the devil is an old legend. An early version surfaced in 1875 in Danzig, Poland. A more contemporary retelling places the devil at a San Antonio dance hall in 1975.

Folklore binds cultures, enforcing traditional values and norms. The tale of the dance is a warning against promiscuity and perhaps a paean for a patriarchal society — had the women not disobeyed her father, and been pious, she would still be alive.

The punishment for her impiety came quickly. Around midnight, she saw a handsomely dressed stranger with black hair and eyes that glistened like onyx, coming towards her to ask her for a dance. She took his arm with pleasure as they began to dance with perfect grace, but faster and faster . . .

One of the musicians watched the dancing people carefully, and one can imagine how he felt when he noticed that the stranger had the cloven hoof of Satan! He drew his comrades' attention to it, and in the very middle of the waltz they were playing, they changed the tune and broke into a religious hymn. The clock struck twelve, the devil pulled his partner close to him and in a frantic whirl crossed with her to the other side of the room and crashed through the window. The girl was found lying on the green grass in the garden covered with broken glass. The devil had disappeared.

I found a story about a DJ from McAllen who witnessed something like this in 1979; creepy that it is a little closer to home than we think.

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