The Devil's Relatives

Julius Hübner's Melusine
Julius Hübner's Melusine

Not counting modern properties, obviously; if we include Rosemary's Baby we'd also have to include Little Nicky and Left Behind and there's no time for that sort of thing. The Devil has more descendants than ancestors, a surprisingly-even balance of genders across the tree, and seemingly no partners (sad!).


Melusine (mythological, kind of a mermaid, often sexy, sometimes a dragon, habitually marries men and then turns into a dragon and flies away if they catch her taking a bath)

Eulalie (fictional, cunning, good baker, marries the Devil's intended victim to cheese him off)

"Jean was coming back from his enlistment and knocked on a door because he was tired; Eulalie answered, and not even her statement that her father ate people persuaded him to go on. Her father, the Devil, came and would have eaten him at once, but Eulalie persuaded him to set Jean to work instead. The Devil ordered him to clean the fire irons with his bare hands. Jean told Eulalie she might as well have let him be eaten at once. Eulalie asked him to promise to marry her and take her away, and cleaned the irons with her magic wand. The next day, the Devil set him to clean the horse trappings; Eulalie got Jean to repeat his promise and cleaned them for him. Then she made two pies, and at night put one in each of their beds. They fled."

[Jean, the Soldier, and Eulalie, the Devil's Daughter, ed. Achille Millien]


Robert the Devil (fictional, badly behaved, loosely based on Robert I of Normandy)

"There was once a duchess of Normandy who was tormented with a desire to have children and yet could have none. Weary of recommending herself to God, who will not listen to her, she betakes herself to the Devil, and her wish is speedily satisfied. A son is born to her, a veritable firebrand. As an infant, he bites his nurse and tears out her hair; as a lad, he knifes his teachers; at the age of twenty, he becomes a bandit chief. He is dubbed knight, in the belief that thus the wicked instincts raging within him may be overcome; but thereafter he is worse than he was before."

[The Story of the Devil, Arturo Graf]

Sir Gowther (fictional, badly behaved, bites off mother's nipple while nursing)

"His modur fell afowle unhappe,
Upon a day bad hym tho pappe,
  He snaffulld to hit soo
He rofe tho hed fro tho brest -
Scho fell backeward and cald a prest,
  To chambur fled hym froo."

[Middle English Breton Lais, ed. Anne Laskaya

Michael "Şeytanoğlu" Kantakouzenos (real 16th-century Ottoman Greek fur trader and tax-farmer, executed for plotting against the Sultan)

Salpsan (Apocryphal, helpful)

"And when we were cast down upon the earth we were senseless for forty years, and when the sun shone forth seven times brighter than fire, suddenly I awaked; and I looked about and saw the six hundred that were under me senseless.

And I awaked my son Salpsan and took him to counsel how I might deceive the man on whose account I was cast out of the heavens."

[Gospel of Bartholomew, trans. M.R. James]


Merlin (mythological, lives backwards, basically non-evil)

"They send a devil to impregnate an innocent princess of Dyfed in Wales, but when the child is born, their evil plans miscarry as the devout mother finds a priest to baptise him before he is pulled into their evil orbit. This is Merlin, a child prodigy with magical powers and the ability to foretell the future, attributes that he decides to use on the side of good rather than evil."

[Caer Myrddin]


Unnamed grandmother (fictional, cunning, successfully coaches others into defeating her grandson)

"One soldier did as he was told. He walked into the woods, found the rock house and entered it. Inside the house he found the devil’s grandmother. He told her his story and she had pity on him. “Hide yourself and listen,” she said, “when the devil comes home, I’ll uncover his secret.”

Before long, the devil dragon came home for dinner. The two ate and drank and then began to talk. The old woman asked which riddle the devil planned to use to ensnare the soldiers. The devil gave her the answer: “In the great North Sea lies a dead dogfish, that shall be your roast meat, and the rib of the whale shall be your silver spoon, and a hollow old horse’s hoof shall be your wineglass.” The soldier escaped and ran back to the others with a key to their freedom."

["The Devil and his Grandmother," Grimm 125]

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]