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Hellequin (also Helething, Herlequin), a stock character in French passion plays, is one of the suggested origins for the modern Harlequin. The physical appearance of Hellequin offers an explanation for the traditional colors of Harlequin's mask; red and black.
Hellequin (The devil's horsemen), a black-faced emissary of the devil, is said to have roamed the countryside with a group of demons chasing the damned souls of evil people to Hell. The name has a Germanic etymology, from harii "troops, host", and thing "moot, assembly", suggesting an association with the Wild Hunt in Germanic paganism, first described by Tacitus in terms of the Harii who fought at night taking the appearance of an army of ghosts.