A werewolf incident of 1588

This peculiarity of the wound dealt to the werewolf being reproduced in the human being is emphasised by an incident which occurred about 1588 in a tiny village situated in the mountains of Auvergne. A gentleman was gazing one evening from the windows of his castle when he saw a hunter he knew passing on his way to the chase. Calling to him, he begged that on his return he would report what luck he had had. The hunter after pursuing his way was attacked by a large wolf. He fired off his gun without hitting the animal. Then he struck at it with his hunting knife, severing one of the paws, which he picked up and put in his knapsack. The wounded wolf ran quickly into the forest. When the hunter reached the castle he told his friend of his strange fight with a wolf, and to emphasise his story opened his knapsack, in which to his horror and surprise he saw, not a wolf’s paw as he had expected, but the hand of a woman which had a gold ring on one of the fingers.

The owner recognised the ring as belonging to his wife, and hastening into the kitchen to question her he found her with one arm hidden beneath the folds of a shawl. He drew it aside and saw she had lost her hand. Then she confessed that it was she who, in the form of a wolf, had attacked the hunter. She was arrested and burnt to death soon afterwards at Ryon.

In another variation of the werewolf story, the human being retains a material object acquired by his animal replica and is freed thereby from his obsession.

A man, who from his childhood had been a werewolf, when returning one night with his wife from a merrymaking, observed that the hour was at hand when the transformation usually took place. Giving the reins to his wife, he got out of the cart and said, “If anyone comes to thee, strike at it with thy apron.” Then he went away and a few minutes later the poor woman was attacked by a wolf. Remembering what her husband had told her, she struck at it with her apron, and the animal tore out a piece and ran off. Presently the man himself returned holding in his mouth the torn fragment of the apron. Then his wife cried out in terror, “Good Lord, man! Why, thou art a werewolf!” “Thank thee, mother!” replied he, “but now I am free!” and after this incident he kept human form until the day of his death.