Père Fouettard


Here we have another character who accompanies gift bringer, St. Nicholas. The most common legend of Le Père Fouettard first appeared in 1150 and depicts him as a butcher. Fouettard and his greedy wife live in a small village in France near a parochial school which caters to wealthy families. One day, the couple come upon three young boys who are students at the school. Anticipating the gold the boys may be carrying in their pockets, the Fouettards lure them into the shop where the wife serves the children poisoned sweets. Père slits their throats, then puts his butchering skills to use by cutting up the children and placing their remains in barrels.

St. Nicholas learns of this vile act and arrives to resurrect the children. He forces Père Fouettard into his eternal service as his sidekick. Fouettard now dispenses coal and floggings to those who have been naughty.

Photo Source: The Hans Trapp character in a 1953 photograph taken in Wintzenheim, Alsace.

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