Hulda or Holda

Hulda or Holda (the friendly, or benignant), a German goddess, known in the old legends as "Frau Holle," was originally the goddess of marriage and fecundity, worshipped and invoked by maids and wives; she sent bridegrooms to the former and children to the latter. She was represented as a beautiful white woman, surrounded by great numbers of children, in her favorite haunts in the depths of the sea or the hearts of hills. She was also the patroness of agriculture and domestic life, with its manifold employments. Later she appears in the fairy tales of Hesse and Thuringia probably written by Christian priests as an old and ugly woman, with a long nose, large teeth, coarse hair, and a companion of the wild and the roaming. But even in these last tales traces of kind and pleasant ways are left. — Pierer, Univ. Lex. 8, 480; Chambers, Cyclop. 5, 453. (J. H.W.)

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