Elves, giants, and unicorns, all have a part in German myth. The legendary Beouwolf originated on German soil.
Changelings play an important role in Germanic legends. Elves would come steal babies from their cribs and replace them with changelings. All they were prone to do was eat and sleep. They had eyes that stared and huge thick heads. The way to get rid of a changeling was to make it laugh. Laughter brought forth a band of elves to remove the changeling.
In 1850 a nobleman had a huge crop of hay, and each summer it was to be harvested. Only a week after giving birth one of the workers knew she must help with the harvest. So she laid her child upon a clump of grass while she helped with the hay. Later as she nursed her child she realized it was not hers. It suckled greedily and made the most horrifying noise.
For several days she kept the child but it had such a mean streak that she could do nothing with it. She finally spoke with the nobleman and he suggested she return it to the clump of grass and take a switch to it. She did so and as the child screamed loudly the devil came forth and retrieved his child, returning hers in the process.
They believe changelings really exist and not all have a happy ending. Some have been beaten and driven away, some even killed.
Rip Van Winkle and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow were partly based on German folklore.. Many tales from the Brothers Grimm came from German folklore and legends, most based on unexplained events, such as disappearing children.
Take for instance The Pied Piper of Hamelin. It explains the events leading to their disappearance.
A wolf strap could turn a person into a werewolf by putting it around them. If a person recalled their name they would transform back to their human self.
The devil would give the wolf strap as a gift and once in your possession you could not rid yourself of it. The weird thing was people would voluntarily put on a wolf strap to turn themselves. They were mostly poor people and once turned they could kill fattened sheep, to fill their bellies.
There are many legends of werewolves in Germany. You have the Morbach Monster, A witch as a werewolf, the werewolf of Klein- Krams and many more.
Eileschpijjel, was an oaf, that always had contests against the devil. The devil was always trying to capture his soul and he considered Eileschpijjel to be an easy mark, especially since he only chose contests he was sure to win. Was it luck or something else that led to Elieschpijjel victories.
Hercules is their hero and it was said he actually paid the German people a visit. A song come from his visit and with each battle that song is sung as they march along.
Mercury was the diety that they worshiped the most. Not only did they make sacrifices to him, but human sacrifices.
The Germans have many tales to be told, many myths, and many legends, just beware if you have babies. Never let them out of your site.