Père Fouettard: Santa's Sidekick Who Beats Up Kids
The Whipping Father was the Freddy Krueger of his day
Move over, Krampus! Meet the Whipping Father, Père Fouettard if you’re nasty (or French). As one of Santa's many creepy friends, Père Fouettard travels alongside the man in red to dish out violent delights to disobedient children. Known mostly in the northern and eastern regions of France, the Whipping Father stalks through the country with his flog in hand on Saint Nicholas Day. The best that a bad child can hope to get from the Whipping Father is a lump of coal, and those who are truly wicked get---wait for it---a whipping from Santa's sociopathic buddy.
Where does a monster like this come from? In 10th-century France, stories circulated about an innkeeper, or sometimes a butcher, who kidnapped wealthy boys and drugged, tortured, and killed them before taking their money and cooking their bodies in a stew. In some variations of the story, he hangs their bodies to dry age during the wintry months, because everyone knows that rich kid tastes better when it's tenderized. Nothing escapes the ever-watchful eye of that North Pole overlord, however, so Santa Claus pounced on the child killer of indeterminate employment and carried out his own brand of Laplandic justice: He resurrected the killer's victims and forced the man who would be called Père Fouettard to work as his partner.