The back-squatting woman

Three journeyman millers, who worked at the Faulenrost Mill, once went to the Zum Kruge pub in Rittermannshagen1) after work. When they were on the way home and reached a crossroads, one journeyman called out to the others: “Look, there is sitting someone!” The two other journeyman, who couldn’t see anything, asked their comrade - who was a Sunday Child - what he was seeing. “There’s an old woman sitting in the thorn bush!” he replied, and since he was a stout-hearted fellow he walked to the thorn bush in order to talk with the woman sitting there. But as soon as he reached the bush, the two others he had left behind heard a loud yell. Deeply frightened, they fled away. Their co-worker only reached the mill a few hours later. His entire body was wet and he was barely able to stand due to his exhaustion. The next morning he told his fellow journeymen that the old woman had immediately jumped on his back and caused him great hardship. Despite trying his best to shake her off, the old hag stuck to his back as if she had taken roots in him, and he was only able to get rid of her just before he reached the mill. From now on the journeyman was no longer able to get to Rittermannshagen in the evenings without challenge, for the old haunting woman sat on his back every time. In the end she even came to the mill and waited for him there, or she called to him to come out when he was milling flour at night. In the end, this was too much for the beleaguered journeyman miller. Thus he packed his bundle, took his wanderer’s staff, and traveled out into the world.

Source: Bartsch, K. Sagen, märchen und gebräuche aus Mecklenburg, 1879. p. 218.

Notes & commentary: On Your Back - The Aufhocker

Rittermannshagen is now part of the municipality of Faulenrost. It no longer seems to have a pub these days.