Teutonic, or Germanic folklore tells us that an undine is a water spirit who often associated herself with humans. In these tales, they join villagers in their dancing and festive activities.

Folklore mythology also tells us that an undine who marries and bears children may become herself human.

The undine has been represented in many fashions throughout folklore, splintering off to such methods of display in literature as the mermaid, the Siren, the selkie, and others.

One popular spin on undines in legend was the story of Ondine, though through the years the name of the Knight the character falls in love with changes depending on which version you read.

The tale progresses as so:

  • Ondine falls in love with the knight, who pledges his lifelong faithfulness to his new wife.
  • Ondine bears the knight a child, which by folklore grants her a soul - as it is stated they are born without one - and also strips her immortality.
  • Ondine begins to age, as all humans do, and her husband loses interest in her.
  • One day, Ondine finds her husband in the arms of another woman, depending on the version of the story you read, either due to her having left him to return to the ocean that was her home, or by catching him in the stables, bedchamber, etcetera.
  • By her curse, or her kiss she remands the knight to a sleepless life, or to death (respectively).
It is safe to say that the undine of these stories is a jealous wife who metes out her revenge for a knight's broken code of honor in a sense that today's woman can only dream. In each of these bits of fantasy folklore, the undine begins as a sweet, romantic, beautiful creature who loses her most alluring qualities no thanks to the touch of a more base and less magical creature, Man.

Additionally, the curse presented to Ondine's husband has become an alternate name for a disease referred to in medical terminology as CCHS.

In layman's terms, Ondine's disease is the failure of automatic control of breathing. This causes breathing to become impossible without conscious control. The disease is estimated to affect one case in ten to fifteen thousand live births as reported on eMedicine.

Now let's not forget the focus, the undine. She is a fresh water fairy, beautiful and slender. She has been represented throughout history, to rise from the ocean as glorious princesses of mythos, only to have a fickle human tarnish their pure hearts.

Take a lesson from Ondine, and do not let the magic fail.

Un*dine" (?), n. [G. undine, or F. ondin, ondine, from L. unda a wave, water.]

One of a class of fabled female water spirits who might receive a human soul by intermarrying with a mortal.

<-- a water nymph -->


© Webster 1913.

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