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Budelfrau stands ready to do the "dirty work" for St. Nicholas, if it is necessary. She is St. Nicholas' very willing female helper when he makes his rounds in Lower Austria every Christmas Eve. She carries a bundle of switches so she'll be able to exact punishment with a spanking if she and Santa should encounter any boys or girls who have been less than good citizens in the previous year. Austrian parents use Budelfrau switches as a warning to their offspring to behave, do their schoolwork, keep themselves and their rooms clean, and generally do as they are told during the weeks before Christmas. But in practice this jolly figure seldom has to do much more than chuckle and wave her switches back and forth. Sometimes Santa and Budelfrau also arrive with a devilish figure called Krampus, a horned creature with a shaggy coat. All in all, these three make quite a spectacle for Austrian youngsters to imagine as Christmas Eve approaches.
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