Subject and Keywords:
The etymology of Harlequin refers to the Germanic tradition. Our analysis of Silesian folktales in the German language, which have as protagonists dwarves called ‘Herrla’, incorporates a comparison with the oldest written texts mentioning Harlequin, including those of Orderic Vitalis, Peter of Blois and Walter Map. The name ‘Herrla’ is present, and therefore analysed, in the German dialect of Silesia and in those of its nearest regions. As first demonstrated by Propp in his study of folktales, in this literary genre many elements of the tradition are reflected. These modern Silesian folktales are here compared with the customs of the Germanic populations and, as far as possible, of Slavic ones, to integrate the philological reconstruction with elements deriving from the folk tradition.