The Kuppelchen or Kupelchen seems to be a Saxonian dialect derivative from the word Kumpel, which means pal. The Kuppelchen is a house spirit, a puck. Depending on the character of the inhabitants of the house it can be mean-spirited and evil, or caring and nice – so the local lore. The village elders (women) spoke the verdict of who had one in their house (see post Federschleißen). Magical abilities, from second sight to healing, tend to run in families who share their house with a Kuppelchen.
How do you know you have a Kuppelchen? Have you ever ‘lost’ an object although you exactly remember that you laid it at its usual place, and went searching high and low for it, only to find it exactly where you left it? Something falls down, preferable in the kitchen (without you having nosy cats), or small things start moving around, without a draft, or any other physical reason, are examples local lore assigns to Kuppelchen. Here are some more:
Example 1: Roomie and me had midnight pasta, before calling it a night we brought all the dishes and cutlery to the kitchen, including our big ladle. The next morning the ladle was gone, we searched for it everywhere – and this is important, also in our room under the beds – it was lost. We could not find that ladle for three weeks. Until I once again vacuumed under the bed and the ladle was (clean!) right there, peaking out from under the bed. And no it was not a joke from any other flat member, besides the fact that no one could have accessed our room, neither of them where practical jokers, or had any sense of humour we would know of. Also someone playing a trick like this usually reveals herself after some time to see the expression on the faces of the tricked.
Example 2: I have to run to school looking for a paper I have to hand in and cannot find it, although I laid it on top of the pile the night before. I am searching for about 20 minutes, went through the pile 5 times, it was not there. Close to tears I sat on my bed saying out lout, I really, really need this paper. I go to the desk to sort through the pile one more time, the paper is right on top.
Example 3: Mom’s car keys are not in the key basket, she is tired and exhausted and has to leave she sits down perplexed. Mind you after granny and her sorted this key basket (which has no more than 5 keys in it to begin with) several times together, and each on their own. After a wee break, Mom gives it a last try and the keys were in the basket, innocently as if they had waited for her all time long.
Example 4: A friend and me met up in a B&B on the Outer Hebrides, the B&B must have had some very active Kuppelchen. When we came up the landing my room was to the left and my friend’s room to the right, in the middle between the both rooms was a small bathroom. No one could have come up without us realizing it. While I took a shower, my friend unpacked his stuff. He had is room door open, no one came up. When we went into my room (which was the bigger one) to have our dinner, the knives had miraculously left the tray and lay in the middle of the room on the floor. (The house had no cats either). My friend got really scared, while I thought it was funny. After he had his shower, he came out really angry with me, yelling asking me what I did do this for. When I asked him what I was supposed to have done, he said that while he was showering someone was constantly opening and closing the bathroom door. (Which I had not heard, because I was rummaging in my room unpacking.) He got so freaked out that he left the light on sleeping. Mind you the weirdest thing was, during the night there were strange noises, which I was still not concerned about, because I thought that were seagulls on the roof or mice or so (as we were in the countryside). Yet, my friend spend the rest of the night wide awake, and when we went to breakfast the owner of the B&B asked us expectantly, if something had disturbed us during the night. I said innocently: No. Upon which she looked at us astounded asking: Really, are you sure that no one disturbed you? – That was the point I got suspicious. No one?!
The Kuppelchen tend to be what we call Schlawiner (little rascals), whilst they love to hide things and play little tricks; these tricks are never mean (as long as you are not). Kuppelchen are said to help keeping the house safe and peaceful. They also can move with a person, my family is convinced one of ours moved with me to Scotland.