kimurho (kimuro) wrote in sluagh_aotrom,

Friar Rush

genius locus - a spirit attached to a particular place
brownie - a household spirit (genius locus) known both for the playing of pranks and the helping of chores
boggart - a household prankster (genius locus) with a vicious and low sense of fun, potentially dangerous; some sources claim that a boggart is a brownie which has been wronged and has become bitter and angry as a result
abbey lubber ** - a genius locus attached to a public house (inn, hotel, pub, tavern, monastery, etc), noted for gluttony and pranks
buttery spirit ** - see abbey lubber

In the narrative, the devil an abbey lubber enters a monastery posing as a man called Bruder Rausch (Broder Ruus and variants, in the English version Frier Rush; the Early Modern German Rusche, Rausch is the term for a loud swooshing noise[2]).

Acting as a prankster, Friar Rush causes various episodes of commotion among the monks. Working in the kitchen, Friar Rush takes to organizing women for the abbot and the other monks every night. On one occasion, he is about to chastised by the cook for being delayed. Rush throws the cook into a boiling cauldron and takes his place, working to the satisfaction of the monks for seven years, but constantly causing strife among them.

Rush's demonic identity is finally discovered by the abbot, who expels him from the monastery by means of the sacred mass. In the High German version, Rush then travels to England and possesses the king's daughter. He is again exorcized after the abbot is called in from Saxony for the purpose, who banishes the demon inside a hill near the monastery.*

Another source, found at google books (, reports that Friar Rush at one point made a number of staves which he told the brother monks were so that they could defend themselves in cases of danger. Then Rush began to make trouble among the monks, inciting them to jealousy and lust for a particular woman, such that the monks went secretly to Rush for a stave. At matins, one night, there arose a great fray, with every man among them pulling out his stave and striking his perceived rival. To increase the confusion, Rush blew out all the candles and rushed among the combatants, striking them at random and, finally, tossing a great bench among them so that many were downed with broken bones. Then he returned with lights and pretended to be concerned, offering them comfort and helping them to their beds.

He was revealed when a peasant overheard him boasting of his mis-deeds to his fellow spirits. The abbot "conjured" him into the shape of a horse and banished him from the abbey. He ended up in England, possessing the king of England's daughter. Forced to reveal his identity, he boasted that only the abbot of the old monastery had any power over him - so the abbot was sent for, he forced Rush back into the shape of a horse, locking him in that shape and forcing Rush to carry him over the ocean to Denmark.

However, according to Katharine Briggs **, the monks were so shocked to find a "devil" in their midst that they reformed and led virtuous lives thereafter (thereby starving the soi-distant Friar Rush, perhaps?). She says that the Prior it was who unmasked him and drove him out and that he ended up as a will-o'-the-wisp.

* Notice that his reign of folly lasts seven years.
* Friar Rush "organises" women for the abbot and other monks - it doesn't appear that they protest his "services" - the abbey lubber (and buttery spirit) can only prosper when the management is corrupt - when those running the properties are honest and fair, the spirit starves - unable to prosper. Is it possible that the abbey lubber/ buttery spirit is a form of boggart?
* I am disappointed that there is no real indication of how the abbot expels him, but it sounds like magic to me.
* the phouka of Ireland is another sort of prankster spirit that can transform into a horse or man.

* from wikipedia -
** Abbey Lubbers, Banshees & Boggarts: An illustrated Encyclopedia of Fairies by Katharine Briggs c@ 1979
interesting reference - Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
Giving the Derivation, Source, or Origin of Common Phrases, Allusions, and Words That Have a Tale to Tell

Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable comprises over 18,000 entries that reveal the etymologies, trace the origins and otherwise catalog “words with a tale to tell.”


Tags: brownie
  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for members only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded