Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in September 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Why is the beetle called the nun?

The Story of the Devil's Daughter in the Cloister.

IT IS said that the devil--may he go into the wild desert and remain there--had a very bad-tempered daughter. She was so bad that in the whole world there was none other like her to make a couple of them. When the devil saw that, devil though he was, he was yet no match for his daughter, he slyly got her into a convent and made a nun of her, in the hope that she might perchance repent and change for the better. But the daughter remained what she was; ill-tempered and bad. She kept making mischief without end. God, who could not tolerate a daughter of the devil in a convent, and seeing also that the daughter of the unclean was doing all kinds of mischief, changed her into an insect. The other sisters, seeing what had happened, called it Nun, and this has remained its name to our very days.

               It is curious that this insect should bear the name "nun" in almost all European languages. I am not aware, however, of any legend except the Rumanian explaining the name.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Why is the beetle called the nun?
Tale Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Book Title: Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories
Book Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1915
Country of Origin: Romania
Classification: unclassified

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