There used to be a drawing of this statue in my grandmother’s hallway. She told me the following story about the ‘giant man’:
Lange Wapper wasn’t a real man. He was actually the shadow in front of a drunk man, walking back home from the café who had the streetlights at his back. In his fear for this giant man ‘walking behind’ him, he ran off and drowned in the river Scheldt thanks to his own drunk stupidity.
Which of course came with a warning from my grandmother: Don’t drink! Or don’t be so stupid to walk next to the river, should you by accident get drunk .
I looked up the ‘real’ history for you guys:
Lange Wapper was the city bully back in the days when the animals could speak. He could make himself really small or grow to gigantic proportions and he could shape shift into a girl and a baby. In each of these shapes he pulled pranks on the citizens.
- scaring the drunk guys, where he actually was real
- stealing breast milk in the shape of a baby and starting to grow while drinking
- cheat while playing a game of hat soccer with some children and changing the hat into a cauldron every time someone would kick it
Ok, so he was not nice guy. But he got a statue. We love our folklore!
Lange Wapper | Art & culture
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