There are plenty of werewolf facts out there, but not quite so many aimed at younger children. At savethewerewolves.com we like to think that we’re a friend to all, and so we’re going to share some of the stuff we know with our younger readers.
For that reason it will be aimed at younger readers, so don’t expect and big and fancy words!
Ok, let’s start with one of the oldest stories ever written, or perhaps it just feels as though it’s old, when in fact it’s more because it’s one that we all know of – Little Red Riding Hood.
Did you know that the story was based upon real werewolf facts? And that the writers, like many other writers of myth and legend, knew this when they wrote it?
Back in the 14th century, tales were already being told that were based upon similar characters:
- The wolf is sometimes an ogre, other times a werewolf
- There’s always a grandmother
- The little girl, Little Red Riding hood, remains the hero of the story, though she goes by different names
The stories were passed around in 14th century Italy and France, and usually went by the name of the False Grandmother or even the Story Of The Grandmother.
There are people, alive today, that suffer from a disease called Hypertrichosis. Despite being a very rare illness, some people are unlucky enough to be born with it, and that means that they grow unusual amounts of body hair all over their body.
It leaves them, as you can see from the picture, looking like a real werewolf. Of course they’re not, they’re just people under all the body hair but the illness may be why people (hundreds of years ago) became fearful of who or what they were.
Somehow there’s a lot of confusion about what a werewolf looks like. Many people seem to have their own ideas, and of course the arrival of movies hasn’t helped. In some films the werewolf is a kind of hybrid, a cross between a wolf and a man.
Sometimes one that walks upright, sometimes on all fours. Other times the werewolf is like a large wolf, only more fearsome, with evil red eyes, and much larger teeth. And what happens when a werewolf transforms? Do they suddenly, almost instantaneously transform, or is it a painful process?
We believe that the change, from human to werewolf, is a rapid one, not lacking pain, and that it leaves the werewolf completely wolf-like, with no outward resemblance to humans. Basically a werewolf is an animal, which is why they behave like them.
History Of Werewolves
Werewolves are often thought as being the servants of vampires, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. Werewolves are thought to have originated as a form of punishment, inflicted by the Gods of old.
There’s a well known story about an Ancient Greek King, Lycaon, who was punished in just such a way. The mighty Zeus turned him into a werewolf because he showed a lack of faith. There are other stories, going back into the mists of time that bear similar features.
An ancient tribe, the Neuri, were recorded as having the ability to transform into werewolves for a few days of the year. There are Roman accounts that remark on a variety of different people that were capable of becoming a werewolf:
- A man that lived several thousand years ago was gifted with the ability to transform, and he did so in order to swim the Arcadian lake (in Ancient Greece), though he wasn’t allowed to kill anyone whilst he was in his werewolf form
- There’s another record that talks of a man that became a werewolf because he’d eaten parts of a child, though he was eventually able to return to his human form after a period of ten years
- The Patron Saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, was said to have transformed a Welsh king into a werewolf for his misdeeds
The above tales are but a few that have been written down the ages, and they range from being a few thousand years old to the Middle Ages. Of course account vary from country to country, writer to writer but all have a common factor; the werewolf.
The Middle Ages were flooded with tales of horror and dreadful deeds supposedly dealt out by werewolves. Were they true? Who knows, but there are certainly a great deal of them, a few of which we’ve shared below:
- Norway had their Úlfhednar, human fighters that wore wolf skins, and that were known for their fearlessness in battle. Their existence alone would have given rise to many a tale of myth and legend
- A Belarusian prince, Usiaslau of Polatsk, was supposedly a werewolf, one that used his werewolf form to roam vast areas of land
- In Hungary werewolves were said to have been the result of a person suffering abuse at the hands of his parents during his early years
As you can see, there are so many instances of werewolves in our history it’s difficult for us to write about each and everyone. However, we can recommend some books, some of which are just fun stories and others that are more educational, that will help the young reader to gather the information that he or she is seeking.
Werewolf Books For Kids
There are dozens and dozens of books out there, some of which will suits anyone that’s looking for werewolf facts for kids, others that are more based along the lines of a good old fashioned story. A few of our favourites are the following:
- The Magic Pretzel by Daniel Pinkwater
- The Best Werewolf Short Stories 1800-1849 by Andrew Barger
- Werewolf Kid by Julie Dweck
The Magic Pretzel is a fun tale that features a collection of werewolves (the Werewolves Club members) that meet through school (one of them is a teacher) and they need to find the answer to their ‘werewolfishness’, which apparently rests on a magic pretzel. A fun story, aimed at the 7 year old and above, and the first of three werewolf books now publish by the author.
The Best Werewolf Short Stories 1800-1849 is an awesome book, filled to the brim with wonderful short stories that focus on werewolves. The author has researched a fifty year time period that was filled with an array of writers that used old tales and myth and legend to create works of werewolf fiction.
Werewolf Kid is a great little book that’s all about Johnny, a boy that dreams about becoming a werewolf. One day his wish comes true, and the story follows his adventures as those he lives among come to realise just who and what he is. The moral of this story? Be careful what you wish for!