Literature / Lúdas Matyi

Lúdas Matyi is an epic poem written by the Hungarian poet Mihály Fazekas, based on a folk tale. The poem tells the story of a peasant boy, Matyi, trying to sell his geese at the country fair. The local lord Döbrögi claims the geese for himself, and when Matyi protests, the lord orders his soldiers to beat him up. Matyi swears revenge: he will beat up Döbrögi three times. By using various disguises, he succeeds.

The poem was adapted to film a few times, including an 1977 Animated Adaptation from Pannonia Film Studio, directed by Hungarian cartoonist Attila Dargay. There is also a popular Audio Adaptation by György Schwajda.


The poem and the animated film provide examples of:

  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Döbrögi is a selfish lord who regularly abuses his subjects.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Only in the animated film, the witch accidentally turns Döbrögi's second-in-command into frogs. One person into several frogs, that is.
  • Best Served Cold: Döbrögi takes Matyi's geese and beats him up when he's a child. He returns a decade later to return the beating.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: See Baleful Polymorph.
  • Delayed Reaction: When Döbrögi threatens the Vice-Count with execution if he didn't brought him a doctor, the Vice-Count rides out with all the men in the castle to search. He's in such a panic, that they ride right pass Matyi's cart, which has a large sign saying "Doctor", making Matyi looked after them in confusion. A few seconds later he yells an order to stop, and asks his troops.
    Did you all see, what I just saw?
  • Egomaniac Hunter: In the animated film, Döbrögi is shown being one. He wants to shoot Matyi's goose too.
  • Fat Bastard: Döbrögi, a gluttonous aristocrat, is much fatter than any of his subjects.
  • Feather Fingers: The goose can make some very human-like gestures with its wings in the animated film, including picking flowers, and plucking its own feathers.
  • Folk Hero: Lúdas Matyi, the clever peasant boy who gives the evil aristocrat a taste of his own medicine, has become a part of Hungarian folk tradition.
  • Guile Hero: Matyi uses his cunning to get Döbrögi's guards away from him (sending them out to find the largest tree in the forest and to look for medical herbs), so that Döbrögi cannot defend himself.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Subverted, Döbrögi is an evil smoker with a pipe. This is in line with the setting though, since pipes were popular among Hungarian lords.
  • Inept Mage: In the animated film, a witch attempts to heal Döbrögi, but messes it up. After Döbrögi shouts Burn the Witch!, she escapes the castle on a Flying Broomstick.
  • Karmic Trickster: Matyi punishes Döbrögi for his greed by tricking him three times.
  • Master of Disguise: Matyi dons several disguises during the story, including an Italian architect and a German doctor.
  • Nonhuman Sidekick: In the cartoon the goose escapes from Döbrögi and joins Matyi. In the radio play he is a Talking Animal called Galiba.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhasodies were used for the cartoon movie's soundtrack, most extensively Number 2.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The witch talks like this.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: A fairy minor and humorous one. After Matyi, disguised as a doctor is kidnapped, the donkey pulling his cart, turns around and runs off in a panic. What makes this especially funny, is that it was completely calm during the kidnapping.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Matyi disguises himself as an Italian architect and a German doctor this way.
  • Wild Goose Chase: A non-technological variant. Matyi convinces a peasant boy with a fast steed to dress up as him and shout "I am Lúdas Matyi", to get Döbrögi's guards chase after him.

Alternative Title(s): Ludas Matyi

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