Brocken Money, 1922
As I explained in a previous post (here), Walpurgisnacht is celebrated in Germany on 30 April. On this night witches are thought to fly to the Hexentanzplatz, the witches’ dancing place, on a plateau on Brocken Mountain, deep in the Harz Mountains. This is where Goethe set the witches’ sabbat in his The Tragedy of Faust (Part 1, 1808). The Witches’ chorus at line 3744 sets the scene:
Now to the Brocken the witches hie,
The stubble is yellow, the corn is green;
Thither the gathering legions fly,
And sitting aloft is Sir Urian seen:
O’er stick and o’er stone they go whirling along,
Witches and he-goats, a motley throng,
Alone old Baubo’s coming now;
She rides upon a farrow sow.
By the turn of the century a thriving tourist industry had prompted the publication of numerous witch-themed postcards (shown in my previous posts). By the 1920s another tourist gimick was added: Brocken ‘money’ (Brocken or Thale Notgeld). The following notes, featuring some very cute witches as well as Faust and Mephistopheles, seem to have been designed by F. Juttner in 1922.
For more information on Goethe’s The Tragedy of Faust see here; for the full text of the Anna Swanwick translation of The Tragedy of Faust, Part I, see here (Project Gutenberg) or here (Bartleby.com).
[UPDATE: for another post on this subject, see More Brocken Money]