A Folktale of Disenchantment: A Small Research Note



I was looking for something else and stumbled on a German folktale fragment recorded by Adalbert Kuhn and F. L. W. Schwartz in 1848 that basically puts disenchantment in folkloric form.

It is very short. Loosely/hastily translated from the German it reads:

“Now there is no more magic (Zauberei) or witchcraft (Hexerei). This is because the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses cannot be used any longer. It was these books that meticulously inscribed and recorded all witchcraft, magic, and incantations (Besprechung). These two books are sealed in Wittenberg and they are exhibited as curiosities, but cannot be borrowed.”

I’m posting it here as a small research note. One of my arguments in The Myth of Disenchantment is that the story of magic’s departure has a long history in folktales themselves. For example, as I discuss, Chaucer, The Tale of the Wyf of Bathe (ca. 1380–1400) already says that the land was once full of fairy enchantment, but by the fourteenth century, nobody could see the elves anymore.

(Continue reading for a little more on the subject of fairytales of disenchantment)

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