An Introduction to Gust van de Wall Perné and the Legends of the Veluwe
An Introduction to the Legends of the Veluwe
‘Born in the heart of the Veluwe, I heard many wondrous tales there as a child, which left a deep impression on me. Despite the mocking remarks of people who apparently think it necessary to say that these stories hold no word of truth and it's therefore not worth listening to “that nonsense of farmers' superstitions”, they kept a silent and beautiful place in my memory.
After the determination had ripened in me to write down those Legends of the Pale Elder, I decided to first nose around in old books, to see what had already been written about the subject in the old days. Spread out through all sorts of books about history and folklore, in Gelder almanacs etc., I found plenty of material which clarified many things for me. I also encountered several stories familiar to me, and others which were unknown.
Afterwards I went to the Veluwe to hear those tales, which can't be found in the history books, as told by the inhabitants themselves. Regrettably, not many of the younger generation remember the old people's poetry or are even sympathetic towards it; which is why I turned to the oldest inhabitants I knew. I hereby thank these kind-hearted old friends for what they were kind enough to tell me in the respectable surroundings of their hearth fire.
In this manner, part of the material for this little book was provided by writers who, in the old days, already saved much from the hands of forgetfulness, and partly by what I heard myself. The intention of this book is however not primarily an archaeological one. This is why I want to point out to those who take up this book as material for study more than for entertainment purposes that the Legends of the Pale Lake and Goblin's Mountain are histories which were told to me as a child by an old tradeswoman from the area. Where she got them I do not know. All research, done by me twenty years later, was without result. All I came across were some vague remains. I came too late to hear them both being told again. Still, I thought the tales too beautiful not to write them down. From my own memory and the sources which aided me I have tried to honour them as well as I can.
I must further mention that about the Fairy Tale of Pomphul I was merely told: 'Near Pomphul, the white elves dance in the moonlight', but I wasn't told the reason for their merriment. For the introduction to it I used some information from the Edda.
Our country, especially the Eastern part with its extensive woods and vast heath is still full of the people's poetry, but she sleeps. Let us hope it's not forever.’
Gust van de Wall Perné, Hoog Soeren, 1909
From Legends of the Veluwe/Veluwsche Sagen by Gust van de Wall Perné, published in 1910-1912 by Scheltens & Giltay and translated by Eva Weggelaar
- The Big Hul and the Little Hul/De Groote en de Kleine Hul
- The Creation of the Uddeler- and Pale Lake/Ontstaan van het Uddeler- en Bleeke meer
- The Fairy Tale of Pomphul/Een sprookje van Pomphul
- The White Lady of Hoog Soeren/De witte juffer van Hoog Soeren
- Of Goblin’s Mountain and the Echowell/Van d'Aard-Mansberg en d'Echoput
- The Wild Hunt of the Fallow Lands/De wilde jacht
- The Wichard Saga/Wichard Sage
- The Black Lady of Staveren/De zwarte vrouw van Starveren
- Legends of the Sol’s Hollow/Legende van het Solsche gat
- The Smoke- or Buntermansmountain/De Rookberg of Buntermansberg te Nunspeet
- The Rider’s Hole/Het Ruitergat
- The High Devil and the Red Hedge/De Hooge Duvel en de Rooie Heg
- Around the Hearth/Om den Heerd
- The Trees of Drie/De Boomen van Drie
- How the Horror Got His Horse/Hoe de Gruwel aan zijn paard kwam'
- The Foresight/Veurgezicht
- The Lady of Kwadenoord/De Juffer van Kwoadenoord
- When the Skipper was taken by the Evil One/Toen de Schipper door den Booze gehaald werd
- The Warlock and the Skipper/De Toovenaar en de Schipper
- Bia as a Bride/Bia’s Bruidsvaart
- The Wild Farm/De Woeste Hoeve
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About Gust van de Wall Perné
Gust van de Wall Perné was a designer of book covers, a painter, an illustrator, and a writer. He died, his blood poisoned by the lead in his own paint, on December 27, 1911, when he was only 34 years old.
A busy man, who divided his time between his summer residence in the village of Hoog Soeren, and his work in Amsterdam, he left much unfinished. The final drafts for the second volume of the Legends of the Veluwe were ready to go to the publisher, but he never saw the last eight stories in print.
At the time, he was also working on the sketches for a summer house he planned to have built in Hoog Soeren, next to his own home, based on a castle near the French Loire. Due to financial difficulties, the tower could not be built immediately after his death, but seventeen years later his widow, Eugenie van de Wall Perné-van Vooren, managed to have it built after all, in his memory. It was finished after a design by architect Cor de Graaff from Laren, formerly from the Dutch Indies, which is where Eugenie knew him from. The building faintly recalls the old stave churches and suits the area he loved so much.
About the Veluwe
The Veluwe is a forest-rich ridge of hills, formed about 200.000 years ago and reaching up to 110 metres, in the Dutch province of Gelderland, featuring many different landscapes, including woodland, heath, small lakes and sand drifts.
The word ‘Veluwe’ comes from the Germanic word ‘falwaz’ meaning ‘pale, fallow’ and would translate to English as 'Fallow Lands'. It was affectionately called ‘Vale Ouwe’, or ‘Pale Elder’, by its older inhabitants.Its opposite is the area of the ‘Betuwe’, meaning the ‘good lands’ from the Germanic ‘bataz’, or ‘good’.