Monsier Croque-Mitaine and Dame (or Madame) Croque-Mitaine, also spelled Croquemitaine, are characters from 18th/19th century French folklore. They are bogeyman-like figures who come to take away and punish children who have been naughty. To transport the naughty children to their house of punishment, Croque-Mitaine is often depicted using a pannier, similar to Krampus, or sometimes a sack.
The Croque-Mitaine's lock the children in their house, which is a toad-and-snake-infested prison, spank them with birch rods and martinets, and mete out other punishment such as the wearing of donkey caps for shame. The folklore also knows other characters (as shown in the images), for example Madame Brique-a-Braque, with similar roles, or that of assistants who help picking out the candidates and taking them to their punishment. In one folklore, Croque-Mitaine's assistant Bras de Fer (translation: "Iron Arm") is the one who buys the rods, the donkey caps and other punishment clothes, and who metes out the punishments in their dungeon.
The traditional appearance of Mr and Mme Croque-Mitaine is that of normal adult people with no devilish or animalic attributes. (However note that nowadays, the word Croque-Mitaine is also used in French to refer to bogeyman characters in general, including those of anglo-saxon folklore and modern Hollywood.) The name Croque-Mitaine can be literally translated as "crack(ing) mitten"; the verb croquer refers to cracking noise, or to the action of biting into something (e.g. an apple). Mitaine means mitten. The origin of the name is unknown. One theory is that Mitaine actually comes from the Flemish word metjien, which means little girl. (more...)
Recently featured: Switch (implement), Ageplay, Reformatory