Are there any myths / folklore saying that a specific type of flower grows where corpses lie?

Not like the Chinese red poppy story about specifically red poppies blooming from specifically 虞美人's death location, but something for where any corpse lies.

Or am I just mixing up all the Greek stories about gods turning people into flowers and "In Flanders Fields", among other stories, into some false general folklore?

1 Answer 1


Many Grimm Kinder und Hausmärchen texts contain lilies as gave plants, symbols of life and death, etc.

In Felix Bonin’s “Wörterbuch der Märchen Symbolik” it is written: “belongs to great knightly symbols, that were liked to be carried on shields…The lily is Western expression of the lotus, symbol of the purity of the soul. As [a] swamp plant it emerges from morass ground, grows towards the (Godly) light (“golden-lily”) and opens to him the delicacy of its bloom. She [It] is with that the symbol of change and transformation. In this meaning she [it] is also used as a grave plant: “upon the golden lilies you can see, how we are: are they fresh, so we are healthy; are they wilted, we are sick; [if] they fall down, we are dead.”

Lilies are mentioned in several KHM texts. The HDA (Handbuch des Deutschen Aberglaubens) [Handbook of German Superstitions] has an entry for “Lilies” where it is described on pg. 1300 in Vol V. (loosely translated):

“2. The liliy plays an important role in religious symbology of the Middle Ages. She is as symbol of purity an attribute of the Virgin Maria and the Holy Antonius von Padua. In legends and folks songs lilies appear especially on the grave of [those] innocent killed ones. In Hildisreiden (Canton. Lucern) in the year 1430 a lily stalk is said to have grown out of the heart of a body. The out of the grave sprouting lily is commonly a symbol of a “Plfanzenseele” [plant-soul], but according to Johan Meier these “grabslilien” [grave lilies] have nothing to do with the “Seelenglauben” [belief in or of souls?]. When in the cloister Korvei a monk was to die, he found three days before lying on his place in the church a lily. Also is told, that Carl V. [at] the end of August 1558 in the cloister San Juste planted a lily bulb: in the moment where he died (on the 21st of Sept 155), the bulb shot up a two elle long stalk. Of the secretive lilies, that three Sundays after each other were standing under an oak and then suddenly disappeared, a Thüringer legends speaks. The “three lilies on the grave” are also found in blessings, so to Diebssetllung [theft prevention] or against sicknesses. With white lilies one can during Christmas Mass open enchanted locks.”

SEE KHM 1815 #10 (1857 #96) The Three Birdlets," 1812# 63 "Goldchildren, 1812 #9 "The Twelve Brothres."

Lilies have been extensively discussed in my translation of the 1812/1815 First Edition of the Grimms Kinder und Hausmärchen By Oliver Loo.

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