Since Christmas is coming up, the creature compendium is taking on a holiday spin. Did you know some stories say jolly old St. Nicholas has a devilish companion? Let me introduce you to Krampus:
The name Krampus comes from the Old High German word for claw (Krampen). One legend about the origin of Krampus says that a demon terrorized the region in winter time, and climbed down chimneys to steal away children to eat. A holy man (sometimes St. Nicholas) tricked the demon into magical/holy shackles, which forced it to obey his orders. To make up for his evil deeds, St. Nicholas forced him to deliver presents to children (instead of eating them).
Modern stories say that he accompanies St. Nicholas as he delivers his presents, and while gifts are left for the good children, it is said that Krampus will beat the naughty ones with his stick (or eat them).
On Dec. 5, the legend of Krampus is still recreated in Austria (Krampusnacht). Men dress up in goat hair costumes, adorned with cowbells, baskets, and bundles of sticks, with which to scare and switch people they find in the street.
Related creatures: demon, incubus
Region of Origin: Europe, Alpine region, Austria, Germany
I think if I grew up with stories of Krampus, Christmas would be a lot more frightening.