|A look into the Wievenkuil of Barchem|
|City||Barchem, Bathmen, Luttenberg
A Witte Wievenkuil (translation: Witte Wieven Hole) is a deep hole in the ground that's inhabited by Witte Wieven. There's several of these holes in the Veluwe, such as Bathmen and Luttenberg, but the best-known hole lies in Barchem. Sagas revolving these desolate holes are more or less the same, oftentimes involving a courageous protagonist with something to prove. As a means to prove himself he provokes the ghostly Witte Wieven by throwing a sharp object (usually a spit) into their hole and adressing them with:
- "Witte wieven wit, hier breng ik oe het spit. Zie moar dat je het gebroad erbie kriegt!"
which generally translates to "Here's a spit, let's see if you can catch the roast." Some cases would not have the protagonist put his own life at risk, as he offered the Witte Wieven a balkenhaas (common name for a cat), which they would roast and eat. In most cases though, the man would be chased all the way to his doorstep where a stroke of luck keeps him from getting impaled by the spit (or in some cases an axe). They usually hit the door's removable mullion instead, which is thought to be the origin behind the Stiepelteken tradition. This Stiepelteken (translation: Mullion Symbol) is found on many old double-door farms in the area of Twente. It doesn't look like a spit however. It more resembles an hourglass and is probably a maalkruis that is meant to ward off evil magic.
A story from Barchem
One story about the Witte Wievenkuil tells of a young farmer's daughter called Johanna who was admired and proposed to by two men from the village. The farmer implored his daughter to marry the rich Hendrik, but she would rather opt for the poor Albert. To see which of these men was most deserving of his daughter, the farmer had both men visit the Witte Wievenkuil by night. He asked them both to utter the words:
- "Witte wieven wit, hier breng ik oe het spit."
after which they were asked to throw a spit into the hole and run for the farm. Whichever man was the first to arrive would marry Johanna. That night, both men equipped themselves with a spit each and made their way to the hole by horse. Whereas Hendrik quickly gave in to his fears and returned home, the brave Albert pulled through and arrived at the hole. He threw his spit into the abyss and immediately aggravated the vicious ethereal women. Albert made a run for it, being chased all the way back to the farm. With the spit in their possession, the Witte Wieven aimed it at Albert right before he arrived. In the nick of time however, the farm doors closed right behind him, leaving the spit to penetrate the sturdy farm doors. Johanna's father kept to his end of the deal. Albert and Johanna married sometime later.
Alternative versions of the story have Johanna prefer Hendrik, who's supposedly poorer than the rich Albert.
A story from Bathmen
In Bathmen they tell a story of a servant who took on a bet and rode his horse to the Witte Wievekuil to risk his life by throwing a spit into the hole, upon saying:
- "Wit wieven wit, hier breng ik oe een spit"
- (or alternatively) "Wit wieven wit, wat heb ie'j op oe spit?"
A Witte Wief replied with:
- "A'j zoo lang wacht, Dak mien eene schoe toeknuppe, en de aander toerukke. Dan zal ie'j 't gebraad wezen."
She chased him down all the way to the farm, all the while aiming the spit with killing intent. When the servant arrived at the farm, the bottom half of the Dutch door was closed, but his horse paid it no mind and jumped right over. Right at that moment, the Witte Wief fired her projectile, which got stuck in the beam that divides the top and bottom doors. The servant and his horse got very lucky.