Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia

Monday, November 10, 2008


When we were in Bill's hometown of Thun, Switzerland, he showed us the statue of "Fuhlehung" (lazy dog). He is a court jester wearing a devil's mask.The Fuhlehung appears every year in September at the "Ausschiesst" (Shoot-out) Festival. When Bill was a child he was told this story:
In early days when the Duke of Zaringen lived in the castle and ruled the land he ordered the court jester to wake him and his men early to go to a battle, but the jester slept in and made them late in setting off. The Duke was so angry that he chased the jester out of the castle calling him a lazy dog -"Fuhlehung".
Now days an unknown person dressed as the Fuhlehung appears every year at The "Ausschiesset" (Shoot-out) Festival in September. The Shoot-out Festival is where the town cadets have a crossbow shooting competition. This festival stops the town for 3 days while the people celebrate in many ways. There are processions, dinners and much partying but for the children the appearance of Fuhlehung is one of the highlights. They chase him through the streets calling him a lazy dog-Fuhlehung. He carries a stick and inflated pigs bladders and he (pretends to) whop the children if they catch him or do anything naughty. This practice can be traced back to the 15th century.
I have been lucky enough to have witnessed the festival a few times. I was woken at 4:00 am to the chant of hundreds of children calling "Fuhlehung,Fuhlehung, hung, hung," as they searched the streets looking for him. Then later in the day there is the procession to the Shoot-out competition. One of the Fuhlehung's jobs is to keep the crowds quiet while the cadets shoot.

Children chasing Fuhlehung calling him lazy dog.
He carries a baton and inflated pigs bladders to punish naughty people.
No one knows who is behind the mask.
Keeping the crowds quiet.
Posing with the cadet crossbow shooters.
Look out here he comes
Fuhlehung with inflated pigs bladders.
He can often be found hanging out of a first floor shop window throwing sweets down to all the children hunting for him.


  1. How interesting! And I gotta get a costume of that guy. People will never know the difference in me. They already know I like pink. :)

  2. That is an interesting tradition to say the least.;) I am a little creeped out by mask wearing people, but my son Daniel would love it.

    And the pig bladders...EWWWWW!;)

    The kids must love a three day celebration every year. I know my boys would be thrilled.

    Have a lovely day, Diane!
    God Bless,

  3. I hope that those are not real pig's bladders, they look like they are baloons dressed up as pig's bladders, am I right?

    Well it's nic eto know some history about the statue anyway.

  4. Lucy,
    Sorry to tell you but the outfit is not really pink,it is more of a bone or light brown. It must be the photo colour that has made it look pink. Non the less you would look good in it.
    They are definately pig's bladders. The Swiss don't go in for artificial stuff. They are dried and are very much like balloons, but they don't burst as easily thay just start to dent after a while.

  5. Great story! I'd never heard that one, but don't claim to be up on European folklore. the Fuhlehung celebrations sound like something that would be magical fun for children.

    Thank you for the nice comment on my blog, Diane.

    I have sent everyone I know to your blog to see the python vs. cockatoo photos. They are truly amazing.

    Warmest regards,

  6. Good Morning Diane,

    As a child I know I would have enjoyed the "lazy dog".......How is Fuhlehung pronounced as I wish to add it to my vocabulary?....Have a use for it ha ha....

  7. Thanks Michele for calling by.

    Lizzy, It is pronounced something like this...fool-e-hoong..the 'e' is a short sound like in 'leg'.
    Now don't be naughty.

  8. Have you ever heard of KRAMPUS or ZWARTE PIET?
    I think we're talking about the same guy, but expressed in differents ways... don't you think?

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Krampus is a mythical creature recognized in alpine countries.[1] According to legend, Krampus accompanies St. Nicholas during the Christmas season, warning and punishing bad children, in contrast to St. Nicholas, who gives gifts to good children.
    In the Alpine regions, Krampus is represented by a demon-like creature. Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in Austria and southern Bavaria, especially the market town Berchtesgaden, during the first two weeks of December, particularly on the evening of 5 December, and roam the streets frightening children with rusty chains and bells.[2]
    In the aftermath of the Austrian Civil War the Krampus tradition was a target of the Dollfuss regime.


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    "Black Peter" redirects here. For other uses, see Black Peter (disambiguation).

    Zwarte Piet, left, and Sinterklaas, right.
    In the folklore and legends of the Netherlands and Belgium, Zwarte Piet ( pronunciation (help·info)) (meaning Black Pete) is a companion of Saint Nicholas (Dutch: Sinterklaas) whose yearly feast in the Netherlands is usually celebrated on the evening of the 5th of December (Sinterklaas-avond, that is St. Nicolas Eve) and the 6th of December in Belgium, when they distribute sweets and presents to all good children.
    The characters of Zwarte Pieten appear only in the weeks before Saint Nicholas's feast, first when the saint is welcomed with a parade as he arrives in the country (generally by boat, having traveled from Madrid, Spain). The tasks of the Zwarte Pieten are mostly to amuse children, and to scatter pepernoten and candies for those who come to meet the saint as he visits stores, schools, and other places.
    The original Zwarte Piet is sometimes associated with Knecht Ruprecht, but in the Low Countries the tradition has not merged with Christmas.