Cause no, it is not Gulliver’s statue at the beginning of the ascent to the main gate of Het Steen. And the men in front of him are not two scared Lilliputians. The sculpute – realized by the Antwerpenaar Albert Poels in 1963- depicts Lange Wapper, a water spirit and folckloric character , originated in the XVI century. Do you know a better way to discover and appreciate a city then listening (or reading) his oral legends? No, indeed.
Lange Wapper can change his appearance: usually he is a slim giant but he can become a baby or an handkerchief. And you must know that he is a evil spirit: one day he took a fishing boat from the Schelde and he threw it away. With the whole crew on it. However , his favourite target are the drunks who try to get home in the morning. In front of them, Lange Wapper suddenly appears and suddenly goes away, leaving behind his diabolical laughter. Not a lovely experience after few Seef beers. But there are thousands of legends with this trickster as protagonist. In another story, Lange Wapper became a handkerchief. White, clean, new and abandoned in the middle of the street. One little girl took and kept it in her skirt. She almost had an hart attack when – at home- Lange Wapper started to make noise. Or again, the giant turned into a baby lying on a bench near the Vleeshuis. A young mother saw him, she gave her milk and the infant grew, grew grew showing his real semblance. Second risky art attack.
You can see Lange Wapper on the Steenplein or early morning if you drank enough beer.
Steenplein, 2000 Antwerpen