Fairy Tales; Their Origin and Meaning
by John Thackray Bunce
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Again, in the Vedas we have many accounts of the fights of Indra, the sun-god, with dragons and monsters, which mean the dark-clouds, the tempest thunder-bearing clouds, which were supposed to have stolen the heavenly cows, or the light, pleasant, rain-bearing clouds, and to have shut them up in gloomy caverns. From this source we have an infinite number of Greek and Teutonic, and Scandinavian, and other legends. One of these is the story of Polyphemos, the great one-eyed giant, or Kyklops, whom Odysseus blinded. Polyphemos is the storm-cloud, and Odysseus stands for the sun. The storm-cloud threatens the mariners; the lightnings dart from the spot which seems like an eye in the darkness; he hides the blue heavens and the soft white clouds—the cows of the sky, or the white-fleeced flocks of heaven. Then comes Odysseus, the sun-god, the hero, and smites him blind, and chases him away, and disperses the threatening and the danger, and brings light, and peace, and calm again.

Now this legend of Polyphemos is to be found everywhere; in the oldest Hindu books, in Teutonic, and Norse, and Slav stories; and everywhere also the great giant, stormy, angry, and one-eyed, is always very stupid, and is always overthrown or outwitted by the hero, Odysseus, when he is shut up in the cavern of Polyphemos, cheats the monster by tying himself under the belly of the largest and oldest ram, and so passes out while the blind giant feels the fleece, and thinks that all is safe. Almost exactly the same trick is told in an old Gaelic story, that of Conall Cra Bhuidhe.[6] A great Giant with only one eye seized upon Conall, who was hunting on the Giant's lands. Conall himself is made to tell the story:

"I hear a great clattering coming, and what was there but a great Giant and his dozen of goats with him, and a buck at their head. And when the Giant had tied the goats, he came up, and he said to me, 'Hao O! Conall, it's long since my knife is rusting in my pouch waiting for thy tender flesh.' 'Och!' said I, 'it's not much thou wilt be bettered by me, though thou shouldst tear me asunder; I will make but one meal for thee. But I see that thou art one-eyed. I am a good leech, and I will give thee the sight of the other eye.' The Giant went and he drew the great caldron on the site of the fire. I was telling him how he should heat the water, so that I should give its sight to the other eye. I got leather and I made a rubber of it, and I set him upright in the caldron. I began at the eye that was well, till I left them as bad as each other. When he saw that he could not see a glimpse, and when I myself said to him that I would get out in spite of him, he gave that spring out of the water, and he stood in the mouth of the cave, and he said that he would have revenge for the sight of his eye. I had but to stay there crouched the length of the night, holding in my breath in such a way that he might not feel where I was. When he felt the birds calling in the morning, and knew that the day was, he said, 'Art thou sleeping? Awake, and let out my lot of goats!' I killed the buck. He cried, 'I will not believe that thou art not killing my buck.' 'I am not,' I said, 'but the ropes are so tight that I take long to loose them.' I let out one of the goats, and he was caressing her, and he said to her, 'There thou art, thou shaggy hairy white goat; and thou seest me, but I see thee not.' I was letting them out, by way of one by one, as I flayed the buck, and before the last one was out I had him flayed, bag-wise. Then I went and put my legs in the place of his legs, and my hands in the place of his fore-legs, and my head in the place of his head, and the horns on top of my head, so that the brute might think it was the buck. I went out. When I was going out the Giant laid his hand on me, and said, 'There thou art, thou pretty buck; thou seest me, but I see thee not.' When I myself got out, and I saw the world about me, surely joy was on me. When I was out and had shaken the skin off me, I said to the brute, 'I am out now, in spite of thee!'"

It was a blind fiddler, in Islay, who told the story of Conall, as it had been handed down by tradition from generation to generation; just as thousands of years before the story of Odysseus and Polyphemos was told by Greek bards to wondering villagers.

Here we must stop; for volumes would not contain all that might be said of the likeness of legend to legend in all the branches of the Aryan family, or of the meaning of these stories, and of the lessons they teach—lessons of history, and religious belief, and customs, and morals and ways of thought, and poetic fancies, and of well-nigh all things, heavenly and human— stretching back to the very spring and cradle of our race, older than the oldest writings, and yet so ever fresh and new that while great scholars ponder over them for their deep meaning, little children in the nursery or by the fire-side in winter listen to them with delight for their wonder and their beauty. Else, if there were time and space we might tell the story of Jason, and show how it springs from the changes of day and night, and how the hero, in his good ship Argo, our mother Earth, searches for and bears away in triumph the Golden Fleece, the beams of the radiant sun. Or we might fly with Perseus on his weary, endless journey—the light pursuing and scattering the darkness; the glittering hero, borne by the mystic sandals of Hermes, bearing the sword of the sunlight, piercing the twilight or gloaming in the land of the mystic Graiae; slaying Medusa, the solemn star-lit night; destroying the dark dragon, and setting free Andromeda the dawn-maiden; and doing many wonders more. Or in Hermes we might trace out the Master Thief of Teutonic, and Scandinavian, and Hindu legends; or in Herakles, the type of the heroes who are god-like in their strength, yet who do the bidding of others, and who suffer toil and wrong, and die glorious deaths, and leave great names for men to wonder at: heroes such as Odysseus, and Theseus, and Phoebus, and Achilles, and Sigurd, and Arthur, and all of whom represent, in one form or another, the great mystery of Nature, and the conflict of light and darkness; and so, if we look to their deeper meaning, the constant triumph of good over evil, and of right over wrong.

———————————— [3] Oxford Essays: "Comparative Mythology," p. 69.

[4] Popular Tales from the Norse, by George Webbe Dasent, D.C.L.

[5] Popular Titles of the West Highlands. Orally collected, with a Translation by J. F. Campbell. Edinburgh: Edmonton and Douglas. 4 vols.

[6] Campbell's Popular Tales of the West Highlands, i. 112.



We have said something about the people and the countries which gave birth to our Fairy Stories, and about the meaning of such tales generally when they were first thought of. Then they were clearly understood, and those who told them and heard them knew what they meant; but, as time went on, and as the Aryan race became scattered in various countries, the old stories changed a great deal, and their meaning was lost, and all kinds of wild legends, and strange fables and fanciful tales, were made out of them. The earliest stories were about clouds, and winds, and the sun, and the waters, and the earth, which were turned into Gods and other beings of a heavenly kind. By degrees, as the first meanings of the legends were lost, these beings gave place to a multitude of others: some of them beautiful, and good, and kind and friendly to mankind; and some of them terrible, and bad, and malignant, and always trying to do harm; and there were so many of both kinds that all the world was supposed to be full of them. There were Spirits of the water, and the air, and the earth, forest and mountain demons, creatures who dwelt in darkness and in fire, and others who lived in the sunshine, or loved to come out only in the moonlight. There were some, again—Dwarfs, and other creatures of that kind—who made their homes in caves and underground places, and heaped up treasures of gold and silver, and gems, and made wonderful works in metals of all descriptions; and there were giants, some of them with two heads, who could lift mountains, and walk through rivers and seas, and who picked up great rocks and threw them about like pebbles. Then there were Ogres, with shining rows of terrible teeth, who caught up men and women and children, and strung them together like larks, and carried them home, and cooked them for supper. Then, also, there were Good Spirits, of the kind the Arabs call Peris, and we call Fairies, who made it their business to defend deserving people against the wicked monsters; and there were Magicians, and other wise or cunning people, who had power over the spirits, whether good or bad, as you read in the story of Aladdin and his Ring, and his Wonderful Lamp, and in other tales in the "Arabian Nights," and collections of that kind. Many of these beings—all of whom, for our purpose, may be called Dwellers in Fairyland—had the power of taking any shape they pleased, like the Ogre in the story of "Puss in Boots," who changed himself first into a lion, and then into an elephant, and then into a mouse, when he got eaten up; and they could also change human beings into different forms, or turn them into stone, or carry them about in the air from place to place, and put them under the spells of enchantment, as they liked.

Some of the most wonderful creatures of Fairyland are to be found in Eastern stories, the tales of India, and Arabia, and Persia. Here we have the Divs, and Jinns, and Peris, and Rakshas—who were the originals of our own Ogres—and terrible giants, and strange mis-shapen dwarfs, and vampires and monsters of various kinds. Many others, also very wonderful, are to be found in what is called the Mythology—that is, the fables and stories—of ancient Greece, such as the giant Atlas, who bore the world upon his shoulders; and Polyphemus, the one-eyed giant, who caught Odysseus and his companions, and shut them up in his cave; and Kirke, the beautiful sorceress, who turned men into swine; and the Centaurs, creatures half men and half horses; and the Gorgon Medusa, whose head, with its hair of serpents, turned into stone all who beheld it; and the great dragon, the Python, whom Phoebus killed, and who resembles the dragon Vritra, in Hindu legend—the dragon slain by Indra, the god of the Sun, because he shut up the rain, and so scorched the earth—and who also resembles Fafnir, the dragon of Scandinavian legend, killed by Sigurd; and the fabled dragon with whom St. George fought; and also, the dragon of Wantley, whom our old English legends describe as being killed by More of More Hall. In the stories of the North lands of Europe, as we are told in the Eddas and Sagas (the songs and records), there are likewise many wonderful beings—the Trolls, the Frost Giants, curious dwarfs, elves, nisses, mermen and mermaids, and swan-maidens and the like. The folk-lore—that is, the common traditionary stories—of Germany are full of such wonders. Here, again, we have giants and dwarfs and kobolds; and birds and beasts and fishes who can talk; and good fairies, who come in and help their friends just when they are wanted; and evil fairies, and witches; and the wild huntsman, who sweeps across the sky with his ghostly train; and men and women who turn themselves into wolves, and go about in the night devouring sheep and killing human beings, In Russian tales we find many creatures of the same kind, and also in those of Italy, and Spain, and France. And in our own islands we have them too, for the traditions of English giants, and ogres, and dwarfs still linger in the tales of Jack the Giant-killer and Jack and the Bean-stalk, and Hop o' my Thumb; and we have also the elves whom Shakspeare draws for us so delightfully in "Midsummer Night's Dream" and in "The Merry Wives of Windsor"; and there are the Devonshire pixies; and the Scottish fairies and the brownies—the spirits who do the work of the house or the farm—and the Irish "good people;" and the Pooka, which comes in the form of a wild colt; and the Leprechaun, a dwarf who makes himself look like a little old man, mending shoes; and the Banshee, which cries and moans when great people are going to die.

To all these, and more, whom there is no room to mention, we must add other dwellers in Fairyland—forms, in one shape or other, of the great Sun-myths of the ancient Aryan race—such as Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and Vivien and Merlin, and Queen Morgan le hay, and Ogier the Dane, and the story of Roland, and the Great Norse poems which tell of Sigurd, and Brynhilt, and Gudrun, and the Niblung folk. And to these, again, there are to be added many of the heroes and heroines who figure in the Thousand-and-one Nights—such, for example, as Aladdin, and Sindbad, and Ali Baba, and the Forty Thieves, and the Enchanted Horse, and the Fairy Peri Banou, with her wonderful tent that would cover an army, and her brother Schaibar, the dwarf, with his beard thirty feet long, and his great bar of iron with which he could sweep down a city. Even yet we have not got to the end of the long list of Fairy Folk, for there are still to be reckoned the well-known characters who figure in our modern Fairy Tales, such as Cinderella, and the Yellow Dwarf, and the White Cat, and Fortunatus, and Beauty and the Beast, and Riquet with the Tuft, and the Invisible Prince, and many more whom children know by heart, and whom all of us, however old we may be, still cherish with fond remembrance, because they give us glimpses into the beautiful and wondrous land, the true Fairyland whither good King Arthur went—

"The island-valley of Avilion, Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow, Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard lawns, And bowery hollows crowned with summer sea."

Now it is plain that we cannot speak of all these dwellers in Fairyland; but we can only pick out a few here and there, and those of you who want to know more must go to the books that tell of them. As to me, who have undertaken to tell something of these wonders, I feel very much like the poor boy in the little German story of "The Golden Key." Do you know the story? If you don't, I will tell it you. "One winter, when a deep snow was lying on the ground, a poor boy had to go out in a sledge to fetch wood. When he had got enough he thought he would make a fire to warm himself, for his limbs were quite frozen. So he swept the snow away and made a clear space, and there he found a golden key. Then he began to think that where there was a key there must also be a lock; and digging in the earth he found a small iron chest. 'I hope the key will fit,' lie said to himself, 'for there must certainly be great treasures in this box.' After looking all round the box he found a little keyhole, and to his great joy, the golden key fitted it exactly. Then he turned the key once round"—and now we must wait till he has quite unlocked it and lifted the lid up, and then we shall learn what wonderful treasures were in the chest. This is all that this book can do for you. It can give you the golden key, and show you where the chest is to be found, and then you must unlock it for yourselves.

Where shall we begin our hasty journey into Wonderland? Suppose we take a glance at those famous Hindu demons, the Rakshas, who are the originals of all the ogres and giants of our nursery tales? Now the Rakshas were very terrible creatures indeed, and in the minds of many people in India are so still, for they are believed in even now. Their natural form, so the stories say, is that of huge, unshapely giants, like clouds, with hair and beard of the colour of the red lightning; but they can take any form they please, to deceive those whom they wish to devour, for their great delight, like that of the ogres, is to kill all they meet, and to eat the flesh of those whom they kill. Often they appear as hunters, of monstrous size, with tusks instead of teeth, and with horns on their heads, and all kinds of grotesque and frightful weapons and ornaments. They are very strong, and make themselves stronger by various arts of magic; and they are strongest of all at nightfall, when they are supposed to roam about the jungles, to enter the tombs, and even to make their way into the cities, and carry off their victims. But the Rakshas are not alone like ogres in their cruelty, but also in their fondness for money, and for precious stones, which they get together in great quantities and conceal in their palaces; for some of them are kings of their species, and have thousands upon thousands of inferior Rakshas under their command. But while they are so numerous and so powerful, the Rakshas, like all the ogres and giants in Fairyland, are also very stupid, and are easily outwitted by clever people. There are many Hindu stories which are told to show this. I will tell you one of them.[7] Two little Princesses were badly treated at home, and so they ran away into a great forest, where they found a palace belonging to a Rakshas, who had gone out. So they went into the house and feasted, and swept the rooms, and made everything neat and tidy. Just as they had done this, the Rakshas and his wife came home, and the two Princesses ran up to the top of the house, and hid themselves on the flat roof. When the Rakshas got indoors he said to his wife: "Somebody has been making everything clean and tidy. Wife, did you do this?" "No," she said; "I don't know who can have done it." "Some one has been sweeping the court-yard," said the Rakshas. "Wife, did you sweep the court-yard?" "No," she answered; "I did not do it." Then the Rakshas walked round and round several times, with his nose up in the air, saying, "Some one is here now; I smell flesh and blood. Where can they be?" "Stuff and nonsense!" cried the Rakshas' wife. "You smell flesh and blood, indeed! Why, you have just been killing and eating a hundred thousand people. I should wonder if you didn't still smell flesh and blood!" They went on disputing, till at last the Rakshas gave it up. "Never mind," lie said; "I don't know how it is—I am very thirsty: let's come and drink some water." So they went to the well, and began letting down jars into it, and drawing them up, and drinking the water. Then the elder of the two Princesses, who was very bold and wise, said to her sister, "I will do something that will be very good for us both." So she ran quickly down stairs, and crept close behind the Rakshas and his wife, as they stood on tip-toe more than half over the side of the well, and catching hold of one of the Rakshas' heels, and one of his wife's, she gave each a little push, and down they both tumbled into the well, and were drowned—the Rakshas and the Rakshas' wife. The Princess then went back to her sister, and said, "I have killed the Rakshas!" "What, both?" cried her sister. "Yes, both," she said. "Won't they come back?" said her sister. "No, never," answered she.

This, you see, is something like the story of the Little Girl and the Three Bears, so well known amongst our Nursery Tales.

Another story will show you how stupid a Rakshas is, and how easily he can be outwitted.[8]

Once upon a time a Blind Man and a Deaf Man made an agreement. The Blind Man was to hear for the Deaf Man; and the Deaf Man was to see for the Blind Man; and so they were to go about on their travels together. One day they went to a nautch—that is, a singing and dancing exhibition. The Deaf Man said, "The dancing is very good; but the music is not worth listening to." "I do not agree with you," the Blind Man said; "I think the music is very good; but the dancing is not worth looking at." So they went away for a walk in the jungle. On the way they found a donkey, belonging to a dhobee, or washerman, and a big chattee, or iron pot, which the washerman used to boil clothes in. "Brother," said the Deaf Man, "here is a donkey and a chattee; let us take them with us, they may be useful." So they took them, and went on. Presently they came to an ants' nest. "Here," said the Deaf Man, "are a number of very fine black ants; let us take some of them to show our friends." "Yes," said the Blind Man, "they will do as presents to our friends." So the Deaf Man took out a silver box from his pocket, and put several of the black ants into it. After a time a terrible storm came on. "Oh dear!" cried the Deaf Man, "how dreadful this lightning is! let us get to some place of shelter." "I don't see that it's dreadful at all," said the Blind Man, "but the thunder is terrible; let us get under shelter." So they went up to a building that looked like a temple, and went in, and took the donkey and the big pot and the black ants with them. But it was not a temple, it was the house of a powerful Rakshas, and the Rakshas came home as soon as they had got inside and had fastened the door. Finding that he couldn't get in, he began to make a great noise, louder than the thunder, and he beat upon the door with his great fists. Now the Deaf Man looked through a chink, and saw him, and was very frightened, for the Rakshas was dreadful to look at. But the Blind Man, as he couldn't see, was very brave; and he went to the door and called out, "Who are you? and what do you mean by coming here and battering at the door in this way, and at this time of night?" "I'm a Rakshas," he answered, in a rage; "and this is my house, and if you don't let me in I will kill you." Then the Blind Man called out in reply, "Oh! you're a Rakshas, are you? Well, if you're Rakshas, I'm Bakshas, and Bakshas is as good as Rakshas." "What nonsense is this?" cried the monster; "there is no such creature as a Bakshas." "Go away," replied the Blind Man, "if you make any further disturbance I'll punish you; for know that I am Bakshas, and Bakshas is Rakshas' father." "Heavens and earth!" cried the Rakshas, "I never heard such an extraordinary thing in my life. But if you are my father, let me see your face,"—for he began to get puzzled and frightened, as the person inside was so very positive. Now the Blind Man and the Deaf Man didn't quite know what to do; but at last they opened the door just a little, and poked the donkey's nose out. "Bless me," thought the Rakshas, "what a terribly ugly face my father Bakshas has got." Then he called out again "O! father Bakshas, you have a very big fierce face, but people have sometimes very big heads and very little bodies; let me see you, body and head, before I go away." Then the Blind Man and the Deaf Man rolled the great iron pot across the floor with a thundering noise; and the Rakshas, who watched the chink of the door very carefully, said to himself, "He has got a great body as well, so I had better go away." But he was still doubtful; so he said, "Before I go away let me hear you scream," for all the tribe of the Rakshas scream dreadfully. Then the Blind Man and the Deaf Man took two of the black ants out of the box, and put one into each of the donkey's ears, and the ants bit the donkey, and the donkey began to bray and to bellow as loud as he could; and then the Rakshas ran away quite frightened.

In the morning the Blind Man and the Deaf Man found that the floor of the house was covered with heaps of gold, and silver, and precious stones; and they made four great bundles of the treasure, and took one each, and put the other two on the donkey, and off they went, But the Rakshas was waiting some distance off to see what his father Bakshas was like by daylight; and he was very angry when he saw only a Deaf Man, and a Blind Man, and a big iron pot, and a donkey, all loaded with his gold and silver. So he ran off and fetched six of his friends to help him, and each of the six had hair a yard long, and tusks like an elephant. When the Blind Man and the Deaf Man saw them coming they went and hid the treasure in the bushes, and then they got up into a lofty betel palm and waited—the Deaf Man, because he could see, getting up first, to be furthest out of harm's way. Now the seven Rakshas were not able to reach them, and so they said, "Let us get on each other's shoulders and pull them down." So one Rakshas stooped down, and the second got on his shoulders, and the third on his, and the fourth on his, and the fifth on his, and the sixth on his, and the seventh—the one who had invited the others—was just climbing up, when the Deaf Man got frightened and caught hold of the Blind Man's arm, and as he was sitting quite at ease, not knowing that they were so close, the Blind Man was upset, and tumbled down on the neck of the seventh Rakshas. The Blind Man thought he had fallen into the branches of another tree, and stretching out his hands for something to take hold of, he seized the Rakshas' two great ears and pinched them very hard. This frightened the Rakshas, who lost his balance and fell down to the ground, upsetting the other six of his friends; the Blind Man all the while pinching harder than ever, and the Deaf Man crying out from the top of the tree—"You're all right, brother, hold on tight, I'm coming down to help you"—though he really didn't mean to do anything of the kind. Well, the noise, and the pinching, and all the confusion, so frightened the six Rakshas that they thought they had had enough of helping their friend, and so they ran away; and the seventh Rakshas, thinking that because they ran there must be great danger, shook off the Blind Man and ran away too. And then the Deaf Man came down from the tree and embraced the Blind Man, and said, "I could not have done better myself." Then the Deaf Man divided the treasure; one great heap for himself, and one little heap for the Blind Man. But the Blind Man felt his heap and then felt the other, and then, being angry at the cheat, he gave the Deaf Man a box on the ear, so tremendous that it made the Deaf Man hear. And the Deaf Man, also being angry, gave the other such a blow in the face that it made the Blind Man see. So they became good friends directly, and divided the treasure into equal shares, and went home laughing at the stupid Rakshas.

From the legends of India we now go on to Persia and Arabia, to learn something about the Divs and the Peris, and the Jinns. When the ancient Persians separated from the Aryan race from which they sprang, they altered their religion as well as changed their country. They came to believe in two principal gods, Ormuzd, the spirit of goodness, who sits enthroned in the Realms of Light, with great numbers of angels around him; and Ahriman, the spirit of evil, who reigns in the Realms of Darkness and Fire, and round whose throne are the great six arch-Divs, and vast numbers of inferior Divs, or evil beings; and these two powers are always at war with each other, and are always trying to obtain the government of the world. From Ormuzd and Ahriman there came in time, according to popular fancy, the two races of the Divs and the Peris, creatures who were like mankind in some things, but who had great powers of magic; which made them visible and invisible at pleasure, enabled them to change their shapes when they pleased, and to move about on the earth or in the air. They dwelt in the land of Jinnestan, in the mountains of Kaf. These mountains were supposed to go round the earth like a ring; they were thousands of miles in height, and they were made of the precious stone called chrysolite, which is of a green colour, and this colour, so the Persian poets say, is reflected in the green which we sometimes see in the sky at sunset. In this land of Jinnestan there are many cities. The Peris have for their abode the kingdom of Shad-u-Kan, that is, of Pleasure and Delight, with its capital Juber-a-bad, or the Jewel City; and the Divs have for their dwelling Ahermambad, or Ahriman's city, in which there are enchanted castles and palaces, guarded by terrible monsters and powerful magicians. The Peris are very beautiful beings, usually represented as women with wings, and charming robes of all colours. The Divs are painted as demons of the most frightful kind. One of them, a very famous one named Berkhyas, is described as being a mountain in size, his face black, his body covered with hair, his neck like that of a dragon; two boar's tusks proceed from his mouth, his eyes are wells of blood, his hair bristles like needles, and is so thick and long that pigeons make their nests in it. Between the Peris and the Divs there was always war; but the Divs were too powerful for the Peris, and used to capture them and hang them in iron cages from the tree-tops, where their companions came and fed them with perfumes, of which the Peris are very fond, and which the Divs very much dislike, so that the smell kept the evil spirits away. Sometimes the Peris used to call in the help of men against the Divs; and in the older Persian stories there are many tales of the wonders done by these heroes who fought against the Divs. The most famous of these were called Tamuras and Rustem. Tamuras conquered so many of the evil spirits that he was called the Div-binder. He began his fights in this way. He was a great king, whose help both sides wished to get. So the Peris sent a splendid embassy to him, and so did the Divs. Tamuras did not know what to do; so he went to consult a wonderful bird, called the Simurg, who speaks all tongues, and who knows everything that has happened, or that will happen. The Simurg told him to fight for the Peris. Then the Simurg gave him three feathers from her own breast, and also the magic shield of Jan-ibn-Jan, the Suleiman or King of the Jinns, and then she carried him on her back into the country of Jinnestan, where he fought with and conquered the king of the Divs. The account of this battle is given at great length in the Persian romance poems. Then Tamuras conquered another Div, named Demrush, who lived in a gloomy cavern, where he kept in prison the Peri Merjan, or the Pearl, a beautiful fairy, whom Tamuras set free. Rustem, however, is the great hero of Persian romance, and the greatest defender of the Peris. His adventures, as told by the Persian poets, would make a very large book, so that we cannot attempt to describe them. But there are two stories of him which may be told. One night, while he lay sleeping under a rock, a Div, named Asdiv, took the form of a dragon, and came upon him suddenly. Rustem's horse, Reksh, who had magic powers, knew the Div in this disguise, and awakened his master twice, at which Rustem was angry, and tried to kill the horse for disturbing him. Reksh, however, awakened him the third time, and then Rustem saw the Div, and slew him after a fearful combat. The other story is this. There came a wild ass of enormous size, with a skin like the sun, and a black stripe along his back, and this creature got amongst the king's horses and killed them. Now the wild ass was no other than a very powerful Div, named Akvan, who haunted a particular fountain or spring. So Rustem, mounted on his horse Reksh, went to look for him there. Three days he waited, but saw nothing. On the fourth day the Div appeared, and Rustem tried to throw a noose over his head, but the Div suddenly vanished. Then he reappeared, and Rustem shot an arrow at him, but he vanished again. Rustem then turned his horse to graze, and laid himself down by the spring to sleep. This was what the cunning Akvan wanted, and while Rustem was asleep, Akvan seized him, and flew high up into the air with him. Then Rustem awoke, and the Div gave him his choice of being dropped from the sky into the sea, or upon the mountains. Rustem knew that if he fell upon the mountains he would be dashed in pieces, so he secretly chose to fall into the sea; but he did not say so to the Div. On the contrary, he pretended not to know what to do, but he said he feared the sea, because those who were drowned could not enter into Paradise. On hearing this, the Div at once dropped Rustern into the sea—which was what he wanted—and then went back to his fountain. But when he got there, he found that Rustem had got ashore, and was also at the fountain, and then they fought again and the Div was killed. After this Rustem had a son named Zohrab, about whom many wonderful things are told; and it so happened that Rustem and his son Zohrab came to fight each other without knowing one another; and Rustem was killed, and while dying he slew his son. Now all these stories mean the same thing: they are only the old Aryan Sun-myths put into another form by the poets and story-tellers: the Peris are the rays of the sun, or the morning or evening Aurora; the Divs are the black clouds of night; the hero is the sun who conquers them, and binds them in the realms of darkness; and the death of Rustem is the sunset—Zohrab, his son, being either the moon or the rising sun.

But now we must leave the Peris and the Divs, and look at the jinns, of the Arabian stories. These also dwell in the mysterious country of Jinnestan, and in the wonderful mountains of Kaf; but they likewise spread themselves all through the earth, and they specially liked to live in ruined houses, or in tombs; on the sea shore, by the banks of rivers, and at the meeting of cross-roads. Sometimes, too, they were found in deep forests, and many travellers are supposed to find them in desolate mountain places. Even to this day they are firmly believed in by Arabs, and also by people in different parts of Persia and India. In outward form, in their natural shape, they resembled the Peris and the Divs of the ancient Persians, and they were divided into good and bad: the good ones very beautiful and shining; the bad ones deformed, black, and ugly, and sometimes as big as giants. They did not, however, always appear in their own forms, for they could take the shape of any animal, especially of serpents, and cats and dogs. They were governed by chief spirits or kings; and over all, good and bad alike, there were set a succession of powerful monarchs, named Suleiman, or Solomon, seventy-two in number—the last of whom, and the greatest, Jan-ibn-Jan, is said by Arabian story-tellers to have built the pyramids of Egypt. There is an old tradition that the shield of Jan-ibn-Jan, which was a talisman of magic power, was brought from Egypt to King Solomon the Wise, the son of King David, and that it gave him power over all the tribes of the Jinns, and this is why, in the common stories about them, the Jinns are made to call upon the name of Solomon.

The Jinns, according to Arabian tradition, lived upon the earth thousands of years before man was created. They were made, the Koran says, of "the smokeless fire," that is, the hot breath of the desert wind, Simoon. But they became disobedient, and prophets were sent to warn them. They would not obey the prophets, and angels were then sent to punish them. The angels drove them out of Jinnestan into the islands of the seas, killed some, and shut some of them up in prison. Among the prisoners was a young Jinns, named Iblees, whose name means Despair; and when Adam was created, God commanded the angels and the Jinns to do him reverence, and they all obeyed but Iblees, who was then turned into a Shaitan, or devil, and became the father of all the Shaitan tribe, the mortal enemies of mankind. Since their dispersion the Jinns are not immortal; they are to live longer than man, but they must die before the general resurrection. Some of them are killed by other Jinns, some can be slain by man, and some are destroyed by shooting stars sent from heaven. When they receive a mortal wound, the fire which burns in their veins breaks forth and burns them into ashes.

Such are the Arab fancies about the Jinns. The meaning of them is clear, for the Jinns are the winds, derived plainly from the Ribhus and the Maruts of the ancient Aryan myths; and they still survive in European folk-lore in the train of Woden, or the Wild Huntsman, who sweeps at midnight over the German forests.

Some of the stories of the Jinns are to be found in the book of the Thousand and One Nights.

One of these stories is that of "the Fisherman and the Genie." A poor fisherman, you remember, goes out to cast his nets; but he draws no fish, but only, at the third cast, a vase of yellow copper, sealed with a seal of lead. He cuts open the seal, and then there issues from the vase a thick cloud of smoke, which rises to the sky, and spreads itself over land and sea. Presently the smoke gathers itself together, and becomes a solid body, taking the form of a Genie, twice as big as any of the giants; and the Genie cries out, with a terrible voice, "Solomon, Solomon, great prophet of Allah! Pardon! I will never more oppose thy will, but will obey all thy commands." At first the fisherman is very much frightened; but he grows bolder, and tells the Genie that Solomon has been dead these eighteen hundred years, to which the Genie answers that he means to kill the fisherman, and tells him why. I told you just now that the Jinns rebelled, and were punished. The Genie tells the fisherman that he is one of these rebellious spirits, that he was taken prisoner, and brought up for judgment before Solomon himself, and that Solomon confined him in the copper vase, and ordered him to be thrown into the sea, and that upon the leaden cover of the vase he put the impression of the royal seal, upon which the name of God is engraved.

When he was thrown into the sea the Genie made three vows—each in a period of a hundred years. I swore, he says, that "if any man delivered me within the first hundred years, I would make him rich, even after his death. In the second hundred years I swore that if any one set me free I would discover to him all the treasures of the earth; still no help came. In the third period, I swore to make my deliverer a most powerful monarch, to be always at his command, and to grant him every day any three requests he chose to make. Then, being still a prisoner, I swore that I would without mercy kill any man who set me free, and that the only favour I would grant him should be the manner of his death." And so the Genie proposed to kill the fisherman. Now the fisherman did not like the idea of being killed; and he and the Genie had a long discourse about it; but the Genie would have his own way, and the poor fisherman was going to be killed, when he thought of a trick he might play upon the Genie. He knew two things—first that the Jinns are obliged to answer questions put to them in the name of Allah, or God; and also that though very powerful, they are very stupid, and do not see when they are being led into a pitfall. So he said, "I consent to die; but before I choose the manner of my death, I conjure thee, by the great name of Allah, which is graven upon the seal of the prophet Solomon, the son of David, to answer me truly a question I am going to put to thee."

Then the Genie trembled, and said, "Ask, but make haste."

Now when he knew that the Genie would speak the truth, the Fisherman said, "Darest thou swear by the great name of Allah that thou really wert in that vase?"

"I swear it, by the great name of Allah," said the Genie.

But the Fisherman said he would not believe it, unless he saw it with his own eyes. Then, being too stupid to perceive the meaning of the Fisherman, the Genie fell into the trap. Immediately the form of the Genie began to change into smoke, and to spread itself as before over the shore and the sea, and then gathering itself together, it began to enter the vase, and continued to do so, with a slow and even motion, until nothing remained outside. Then, out of the vase there issued the voice of the Genie, saying, "Now, thou unbeliever, art thou convinced that I am in the vase?"

But instead of answering, the Fisherman quickly took up the leaden cover, and put it on the vase; and then he cried out, "O, Genie! it is now thy turn to ask pardon, and to choose the sort of death thou wilt have; or I will again cast thee into the sea, and I will build upon the shore a house where I will live, to warn all fishermen against a Genie so wicked as thou art."

At this the Genie was very angry. First he tried to get out of the vase; but the seal of Solomon kept him fast shut up. Then he pretended that he was but making a jest of the Fisherman when he threatened to kill him. Then he begged and prayed to be released; but the Fisherman only mocked him. Next he promised that if set at liberty, he would make the Fisherman rich. To this the Fisherman replied by telling him a long story of how a physician who cured a king was murdered instead of being rewarded, and of how he revenged himself. And then he preached a little sermon to the Genie on the sin of ingratitude, which only caused the Genie to cry out all the more to be set free. But still the Fisherman would not consent, and so to induce him the Genie offered to tell him a story, to which the Fisherman was quite ready to listen; but the Genie said, "Dost thou think I am in the humour, shut up in this narrow prison, to tell stories? I will tell thee as many as thou wilt if thou wilt let me out." But the Fisherman only answered, "No, I will cast thee into the sea."

At last they struck a bargain, the Genie swearing by Allah that he would make the Fisherman rich, and then the Fisherman cut the seal again, and the Genie came out of the vase. The first thing he did when he got out was to kick the vase into the sea, which frightened the Fisherman, who began to beg and pray for his life. But the Genie kept his word; and took him past the city, over a mountain and over a vast plain, to a little lake between four hills, where he caught four little fish, of different colours—white, red, blue, and yellow—which the Genie bade him carry to the Sultan, who would give him more money than he had ever seen in his life. And then, the story says, he struck his foot against the ground, which opened, and he disappeared, the earth closing over him.

Another story is that of the Genie Maimoun, the son of Dimdim, who took prisoner a young Prince, and conveyed him to an enchanted palace, and changed him into the form of an ape, and the ape got on board a ship, and was carried to the country of a great Sultan, and when the Sultan heard that there was an ape who could write beautiful poems, he sent for him to the palace, and they had dinner together, and they played at chess afterwards, the ape behaving in all respects like a man, excepting that he could not speak. Then the Sultan sent for his daughter, the Queen of Beauty, to see this great wonder. But when the Queen of Beauty came into the room she was very angry with her father for showing her to a man, for the Princess was a great magician, and thus she knew that it was a man turned into an ape, and she told her father that the change had been made by a powerful Genie, the son of the daughter of Eblis. So the Sultan ordered the Queen of Beauty to disenchant the Prince, and then she should have him for her husband. On this the Queen of Beauty went to her chamber, and came back with a knife, with Hebrew characters engraved upon the blade. And then she went into the middle of the court and drew a large circle in it, and in the centre she traced several words in Arabic letters, and others in Egyptian letters. Then putting herself in the middle of the circle, she repeated several verses of the Koran. By degrees the air was darkened, as if night were coming on, and the whole world seemed to be vanishing. And in the midst of the darkness the Genie, the son of the daughter of Eblis, appeared in the shape of a huge, terrible lion, which ran at the Princess as if to devour her. But she sprang back, and plucked out a hair from her head, and then, pronouncing two or three words, she changed the hair into a sharp scythe, and with the scythe she cut the lion into two pieces through the middle. The body of the lion now vanished, and only the head remained. This changed itself into a large scorpion. The Princess changed herself into a serpent and attacked the scorpion, which then changed into an eagle, and flew away; and the serpent changed itself into a fierce black eagle, larger and more powerful and flew after it. Soon after the eagles had vanished the earth opened, and a great black and white cat appeared, mewing and crying out terribly, and with its hairs standing straight on end. A black wolf followed the cat, and attacked it. Then the cat changed into a worm, which buried itself in a pomegranate that had fallen from a tree over-hanging the tank in the court, and the pomegranate began to swell until it became as large as a gourd, which then rose into the air, rolled backwards and forwards several times, and then fell into the court and broke into a thousand pieces. The wolf now transformed itself into a cock, and ran as fast as possible, and ate up the pomegranate seeds. But one of them fell into the tank and changed into a little fish. On this the cock changed itself into a pike, darted into the water, and pursued the little fish. Then comes the end of the story, which is told by the Prince transformed into the Ape:—"They were both hid hours under water, and we knew not what was become of them, when suddenly we heard horrible cries that made us tremble. Then we saw the Princess and the Genie all on fire. They darted flames against each other with their breath, and at last came to a close attack. Then the fire increased, and all was hidden in smoke and cloud, which rose to a great height. We had other cause for terror. The Genie, breaking away from the Princess, came towards us, and blew his flames all over us." The Princess followed him; but she could not prevent the Sultan from having his beard singed and his face scorched; a spark flew into the right eye of the Ape-Prince and blinded him, and the chief of the eunuchs was killed on the spot. Then they heard the cry of "Victory! victory!" and the Princess appeared in her own form, and the Genie was reduced to a heap of ashes. Unhappily the Princess herself was also fatally hurt. If she had swallowed all the pomegranate seeds she would have conquered the Genie without harm to herself; but one seed being lost, she was obliged to fight with flames between earth and heaven, and she had only just time enough to disenchant the ape and to turn him back again into his human form, when she, too, fell to the earth, burnt to ashes.

This story is repeated in various forms in the Fairy Tales of other lands. The hair which the Princess changed into a scythe is like the sword of sharpness which appears in Scandinavian legends and in the tale of Jack the Giant Killer; the transformation of the magician reminds us of the changes of the Ogre in Puss in Boots; and the death of the Princess by fire because she failed to eat up the last of the pomegranate seeds, brings to mind the Greek myth of Persephone, who ate pomegranate seeds, and so fell into the power of Aidoneus, the God of the lower regions, and was carried down into Hades to live with him as his wife; and in many German and Russian tales are to be found incidents like those of the terrible battle between the Princess and the Genie Maimoun.

———————————— [7] Old Deccan Days. Miss and Sir Bartle Frere.

[8] Old Deccan Days.



Now we come to an entirely new region, in which, however, we find, under other forms, the same creatures which have already been described. From the sunny East we pass to the cold and frozen North. Here the Scandinavian countries—Norway, Sweden, and Denmark—are wonderfully rich in dwarfs, and giants, and trolls, and necks, and nisses, and other inhabitants of Fairyland; and with these we must also class the Teutonic beings of the same kind; and likewise the fairy creatures who were once supposed to dwell in our islands. The Elves of Scandinavia, with whom our own Fairies are closely allied, were a very interesting people. They were of two kinds, the White and the Black. The white elves dwelt in the air, amongst the leaves of trees, and in the long grass, and at moonlight they came out from their lurking-places, and danced merrily on the greensward, and played all manner of fantastic tricks. The black elves lived underground, and, like the dwarfs, worked in metals, and heaped up great stores of riches. When they came out amongst men they were often of a malicious turn of mind; they caused sickness or death, stole things from the houses, bewitched the cattle, and did a great deal of mischief in all ways. The good elves were not only friendly to man, but they had a great desire to get to heaven; and in the summer nights they were heard singing sweetly but sadly about themselves, and their hopes of future happiness; and there are many stories of their having spoken to mortals, to ask what hope or chance they had of salvation. This feeling is believed to have come from the sympathy felt by the first converts to Christianity with their heathen forefathers, whose spirits were supposed by them to wander about, in the air or in the woods, or to sigh within their graves, waiting for the day of judgment. In one place there is a story that on a hill at Garun people used to hear very beautiful music. This was played by the elves, or hill folk, and any one who had a fiddle, and went there, and promised the elves that they should be saved, was taught in a moment how to play; but those who mocked them, and told them they could never be saved, used to hear the poor elves, inside the hill, breaking their fairy fiddles into pieces, and weeping very sadly. There is a particular tune they play, called the Elf-King's tune, which, the story-tellers say, some good fiddlers know very well, but never venture to play, because everybody who hears it is obliged to dance, and to go on dancing till somebody comes behind the musician and cuts the fiddle-strings; and out of this tradition we have the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Some of the underground elves come up into the houses built above their dwellings, and are fond of playing tricks upon servants; but they like only those who are clean in their habits, and they do not like even these to laugh at them. There is a story of a servant-girl whom the elves liked very much, because she used to carry all dirt and foul water away from the house, and so they invited her to an Elf Wedding, at which they made her a present of some chips, which she put into her pocket. But when the bridegroom and the bride were coming home there was a straw lying in their way. The bridegroom got over it; but the bride stumbled, and fell upon her face. At this the servant-girl laughed out loud, and then all the elves vanished, but she found that the chips they had given her were pieces of pure gold. At Odensee another servant was not so fortunate. She was very dirty, and would not clean the cow-house for them; so they killed all the cows, and took the girl and set her up on the top of a hay-rick. Then they removed from the cow-house into a meadow on the farm; and some people say that they were seen going there in little coaches, their king riding first, in a coach much handsomer than the rest. Amongst the Danes there is another kind of elves—the Moon Folk. The man is like an old man with a low-crowned hat upon his head; the woman is very beautiful in front, but behind she is hollow, like a dough-trough, and she has a sort of harp on which she plays, and lures young men with it, and then kills them. The man is also an evil being, for if any one comes near him he opens his mouth and breathes upon them, and his breath causes sickness. It is easy to see what this tradition means: it is the damp marsh wind, laden with foul and dangerous odours; and the woman's harp is the wind playing across the marsh rushes at nightfall. Sometimes these elves take the shape of trees, which brings back to mind the Greek fairy tales of nymphs who live and die with the trees to which they are united.

These Scandinavian elves were like beings of the same kind who were once supposed to live in England, Ireland, and Scotland, and who are still believed in by some country people. Scattered about in the traditions which have been brought together at different times are many stories of these fanciful beings. One story is of some children of a green colour who were found in Suffolk, and who said they had lived in a country where all the people were of a green colour, and where they saw no sun, but had a light like the glow which comes after sunset. They said, also, that while tending their flocks they wandered into a great cavern, and heard the sound of delightful bells, which they followed, and so came out upon the upper world of the earth. There is a Yorkshire legend of a peasant coming home by night, and hearing the voices of people singing. The noise came from a hill-side, where there was a door, and inside was a great company of little people, feasting. One of them offered the man a cup, out of which he poured the liquor, and then ran off with the cup, and got safe away. A similar story is told also of a place in Gloucestershire, and of another in Cumberland, where the cup is called "the Luck of Edenhall," as the owners of it are to be always prosperous, so long as the cup remains unbroken. Such stories as this are common in the countries of the North of Europe, and show the connection between our Elf-land and theirs.

The Pixies, or the Devonshire fairies, are just like the northern elves. The popular idea of them is that they are small creatures—pigmies—dressed in green, and are fond of dancing. Some of them live in the mines, where they show the miners the richest veins of metal just like the German dwarfs; others live on the moors, or under the shelter of rocks; others take up their abode in houses, and, like the Danish and Swedish elves, are very cross if the maids do not keep the places clean and tidy others, like the will-o'-the-wisps, lead travellers astray, and then laugh at them. The Pixies are said to be very fond of pure water. There is a story of two servant-maids at Tavistock who used to leave them a bucket of water, into which the Pixies dropped silver pennies. Once it was forgotten, and the Pixies came up into the girls' bedroom, and made a noise about the neglect. One girl got up and went to put the water in its usual place, but the other said she would not stir out of bed to please all the fairies in Devonshire. The girl who filled the water-bucket found a handful of silver pennies in it next morning, and she heard the Pixies debating what to do with the other girl. At last they said they would give her a lame leg for seven years, and that then they would cure her by striking her leg with a herb growing on Dartmoor. So next day Molly found herself lame, and kept so for seven years, when, as she was picking mushrooms on Dartmoor, a strange-looking boy started up, struck her leg with a plant he held in his hand, and sent her home sound again. There is another story of the Pixies which is very beautiful. An old woman near Tavistock had in her garden a fine bed of tulips, of which the Pixies became very fond, and might be heard at midnight singing their babes to rest amongst them; and as the old woman would never let any of the tulips be plucked, the Pixies had them all to themselves, and made them smell like the rose, and bloom more beautifully than any flowers in the place. Well, the old woman died, and the tulip-bed was pulled up and a parsley-bed made in its place. But the Pixies blighted it, and nothing grew in it; but they kept the grave of the old woman quite green, never suffered a weed to grow upon it, and in spring-time they always spangled it with wild-flowers.

All over the country, in the far North as in the South, we find traces of elfin beings like the Pixies—the fairies of the common traditions and of the poets—some such fairies as Shakspeare describes for us in several of his plays, especially in "Midsummer-Night's Dream," "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Tempest," and "Romeo and Juliet"—fairies who gambol sportively.

"On hill, in dale, forest, or mead, By paved fountain, or by rushing brook, Or by the beached margent of the sea, To dance their ringlets to the whistling wind."

But the Fairy tribe were not the only graceful elves described by the poets. The Germans had their Kobolds, and the Scotch their Brownies, and the English had their Boggarts and Robin Goodfellow and Lubberkin—all of them beings of the same description: house and farm spirits, who liked to live amongst men, and who sometimes did hard, rough work out of good-nature, and sometimes were spiteful and mischievous, especially to those who teased them, or spoke of them disrespectfully, or tried to see them when they did not wish to be seen. To the same family belongs the Danish Nis, a house spirit of whom many curious legends are related. Robin Goodfellow was the original of Shakspeare's Puck: his frolics are related for us in "The Midsummer Night's Dream," where a hairy says to him—

"You are that shrewd and knavish sprite Called Robin Goodfellow. Are you not he That frights the maidens of the villagery, Skims milk, and sometimes labours in the quern, And bootless makes the breathless housewife churn; And sometimes makes the drink to bear no harm, Misleads night wanderers, laughing at their harm? Those that Hob-Goblin call you, and sweet Puck; You do their work, and they shall have good luck."

In the "Jests of Robin Goodfellow," first printed in Queen Elizabeth's reign, the tricks which this creature is said to have played are told in plenty. Here is one of them:—Robin went as fiddler to a wedding. When the candles came he blew them out, and giving the men boxes on the ears he set them fighting. He kissed the prettiest girls, and pinched the ugly ones, till he made them scratch one another like cats. When the posset was brought he turned himself into a bear, frightened them all away, and had it all to himself.

The Boggart was another form of Robin Goodfellow. Stories of him are to be found amongst Yorkshire legends, as of a creature— always invisible—who played tricks upon the people in the houses in which he lived: shaking the bed-curtains, rattling the doors, whistling through the keyholes, snatching away the bread-and-butter from the children, playing pranks upon the servants, and doing all kinds of mischief. There is a story of a Yorkshire boggart who teased the family so much that the farmer made up his mind to leave the house. So he packed up his goods and began to move off. Then a neighbour came up, and said, "So, Georgey, you're leaving the old house?" "Yes," said the farmer, "the boggart torments us so that we must go." Then a voice came out of a churn, saying, "Ay, ay, Georgey, we're flitting, ye see." "Oh!" cried the poor farmer, "if thou'rt with us we'll go back again;" and he went back.—Mr. Tennyson puts this story into his poem of "Walking to the Mail."

"His house, they say, Was haunted with a jolly ghost, that shook The curtains, whined in lobbies, tapt at doors, And rummaged like a rat: no servant stayed: The farmer, vext, packs up his beds and chairs, And all his household stuff, and with his boy Betwixt his knees, his wife upon the tilt, Sets out, and meets a friend who hails him, 'What! You're flitting!' 'Yes, we're flitting,' says the ghost (For they had packed the thing among the beds). 'Oh, well,' says he, 'you flitting with us, too; Jack, turn the horses' heads and home again.'"

The same story is told in Denmark, of a Nis—which is the same as an English boggart, a Scotch brownie, and a German kobold— who troubled a man very much, so that he took away his goods to a new house. All but the last load had gone, and when they came for that, the Nis popped his head out of a tub, and said to the man, "We're moving, you see."

The Brownies, though mischievous, like the Boggarts, were more helpful, for they did a good deal of house-work; and would bake, and brew, and wash, and sweep, but they would never let themselves be seen; or if any one did manage to see them, or tried to do so, they went away. There are stories of this kind about them in English folk-lore, in Scotch, Welsh, in the Isle of Man, and in Germany, where they were called Kobolds. One Kobold, of whom many accounts are given, lived in the castle of Hudemuhler, in Luneberg, and used to talk with the people of the house, and with visitors, and ate and drank at table, just like Leander in the story of "The Invisible Prince;" and he used also to scour the pots and pans, wash the dishes, and clean the tubs, and he was useful, too, in the stable, where he curried the horses, and made them quite fat and smooth. In return for this he had a room to himself, where he made a straw-plaited chair, and had a little round table, and a bed and bedstead, and, where he expected every day to find a dish of sweetened milk, with bread crumbs; and if he did not get served in time, or if anything went wrong, he used to beat the servants with a stick. This Kobold was named Heinzelman, and in Grimm's collection of folklore there is a long history of him drawn up by the minister of the parish. Another Kobold, named Hodeken, who lived with the Bishop of Hildesheim, was usually of a kind and obliging turn of mind, but he revenged himself on those who offended him. A scullion in the bishop's kitchen flung dirt upon him, and Hodeken found him fast asleep and strangled him, and put him in the pot on the fire. Then the head cook scolded Hodeken, who in revenge squeezed toads all over the meat that was being cooked for the bishop, and then took the cook himself and tumbled him over the drawbridge into the moat. Then the bishop got angry, and took bell, and book, and candle, and banished Hodeken by the form of exorcism provided for evil spirits.

Now there are a great many other kinds of creatures in the Wonderland of all European countries; but I must not stop to tell you about them or we shall never have done. But there is one little story of the Danish Nis—who answers to the German Kobold—which I may tell you, because it is like the story of Hodeken which you have just read, and shows that the creatures were of the same kind. There was a Nis in Jutland who was very much teased by a mischievous boy. When the Nis had done his work he sat down to have his supper, and he found that the boy had been playing tricks with his porridge and made it unpleasant. So he made up his mind to be revenged, and he did it in this way. The boy slept with a servant-man in the loft. The Nis went up to them and took off the bed-clothes. Then, looking at the little boy lying beside the tall man, he said, "Long and short don't match," and he took the boy by the legs and pulled him down to the man's legs. This was not to his mind, however, so he went to the head of the bed and looked at them, Then said the Nis— "Short and long don't match," and he pulled the boy up again; and so he went on all through the night, up and down, down and up, till the boy was punished enough. Another Nis in Jutland went with a boy to steal corn for his master's horses. The Nis was moderate, but the boy was covetous, and said, "Oh, take more; we can rest now and then!" "Rest," said the Nis, "rest! what is rest?" "Do what I tell you," replied the boy; "take more, and we shall find rest when we get out of this." So they took more corn, and when they had got nearly home the boy said, "Here now is rest;" and so they sat down on a hill-side. "If I had known," said the Nis, as they were sitting there, "if I had known that rest was so good I'd have carried off all that was in the barn."

Now we must leave out much more that might be said, and many stories that might be told, about elves, and fairies, and nixes, or water spirits, and swan maidens who become women when they lay aside their swan dresses to bathe; and mermaids and seal maidens, who used to live in the islands of the North seas. And we must leave out also a number of curious Scotch tales and accounts of Welsh fairies, and stories about the good people of the Irish legends, and the Leprechaun, a little old man who mends shoes, and who gives you as much gold as you want if you hold him tight enough; and there are wonderful fairy legends of Brittany, and some of Spain and Italy, and a great many Russian and Slavonic tales which are well worth telling, if we only had room. For the same reason we must omit the fairy tales of ancient Greece, some of which are told so beautifully by Mr. Kingsley in his book about the Heroes; and we must also pass by the legends of King Arthur, and of romances of the same kind which you may read at length in Mr. Ludlow's "Popular Epics of the Middle Ages;" and the wonderful tales from the Norse which are told by Dr. Dasent, and in Mr. Morris's noble poem of "Sigurd the Volsung."

But before we leave this part of Wonderland we must say something about some kinds of beings who have not yet been mentioned—the Scandinavian Giants and Trolls, and the German Dwarfs. The Trolls—some of whom were Giants and some Dwarfs— were a very curious people. They lived inside hills or mounds of earth, sometimes alone, and sometimes in great numbers. Inside these hills, according to the stories of the common folk, are fine houses made of gold and crystal, full of gold and jewels, which the Trolls amuse themselves by counting. They marry and have families; they bake and brew, and live just like human beings; and they do not object, sometimes, to come out and talk to men and women whom they happen to meet on the road. They are described as being friendly, and quite ready to help those to whom they take a fancy—lending them useful or precious things out of the hill treasures, and giving them rich gifts. But, to balance this, they are very mischievous and thievish, and sometimes they carry off women and children. They dislike noise. This, so the old stories say, is because the god Thor used to fling his hammer at them; and since he left off doing that the Trolls have suffered a great deal from the ringing of church bells, which they very much dislike. There are many stories about this. At a place called Ebeltoft the Trolls used to come and steal food out of the pantries. The people consulted a Saint as to what they were to do, and he told them to hang up a bell in the church steeple, which they did, and then the Trolls went away. There is another story of the same kind. A Troll lived near the town of Kund, in Sweden, but was driven away by the church bells. Then he went over to the island of Funen and lived in peace. But he meant to be revenged on the people of Kund, and he tried to take his revenge in this way: He met a man from Kund—a stranger, who did not know him—and asked the man to take a letter into the town and to throw it into the churchyard, but he was not to take it out of his pocket until he got there. The man received the letter, but forgot the message, until he sat down in a meadow to rest, and then he took out the letter to look at it. When he did so, a drop of water fell from under the seal, then a little stream, and then quite a torrent, till all the valley was flooded, and the man had hard work to escape. The Troll had shut up a lake in the letter, and with this he meant to drown the people of Kund.

Some of the Trolls are very stupid, and there are many stories as to how they have been outwitted. One of them is very droll. A farmer ploughed a hill-side field. Out came a Troll and said, "What do you mean by ploughing up the roof of my house?" Then the farmer, being frightened, begged his pardon, but said it was a pity such a fine piece of land should lie idle. The Troll agreed to this, and then they struck a bargain that the farmer should till the land and that each of them should share the crops. One year the Troll was to have, for his share, what grew above ground, and the next year what grew underground. So in the first year the farmer sowed carrots, and the Troll had the tops; and the next year the farmer sowed wheat, and the Troll had the roots; and the story says he was very well content.

We can give only one more story of the Trolls. They have power over human beings until their names are found out, and when the Troll's name is mentioned his power goes from him. One day St. Olaf, a very great Saint, was thinking how he could build a very large church without any money, and he didn't quite see his way to it. Then a Giant Troll met him and they chatted together, and St. Olaf mentioned his difficulty. So the Troll said he would build the church, within a year, on condition that if it was done in the time he should have for his reward the sun, and the moon, or St. Olaf himself. The church was to be so big that seven priests could say mass at seven altars in it without hearing each other; and it was all to be built of flint stone and to be richly carved. When the time was nearly up the church was finished, all but the top of the spire; and St. Olaf was in sad trouble about his promise. So he walked out into a wood to think, and there he heard the Troll's wife hushing her child inside a hill, and saying to it, "To-morrow, Wind and Weather, your father, will come home in the morning, and bring with him the sun and the moon, or St. Olaf himself." Then St. Olaf knew what to do. He went home, and there was the church, all ready except the very top of the weather-cock, and the Troll was just putting the finishing-touch to that. Then St. Olaf called out to him, "Oh! ho! Wind and Weather, you have set the spire crooked!" And then, with a great noise, the Troll fell down from the steeple and broke into pieces, and every piece was a flint-stone.

The same thing is told in the German story of Rumpelstiltskin. A maiden is ordered by a King to spin a roomful of straw into gold, or else she is to die. A Dwarf appears, she promises him her necklace, and he does the task for her. Next day she has to spin a larger roomful of straw into gold. She gives the Dwarf the ring off her finger, and he does this task also. Next day she is set to work at a larger room, and then, when the Dwarf comes, she has nothing to give him. Then he says, "If you become Queen, give me your first-born child." Now the girl is only a miller's daughter, and thinks she never can be Queen, so she makes the promise, and the Dwarf spins the straw into gold. But she does become Queen, for the King marries her because of the gold; and she forgets the Dwarf, and is very happy, especially when her little baby comes. Directly it is born the Dwarf appears also, and claims the child, because it was promised to him. The Queen offers him anything he likes besides; but he will have that, and that only. Then she cries and prays, and the Dwarf says that if she can tell him his name she may keep the baby; and he feels quite safe in saying this, because nobody knows his name, only himself. So the Queen calls him by all kinds of strange names, but none of them is the right one. Then she begs for three days to find out the name, and sends people everywhere to see if they can hear it. But all of them come back, unable to find any name that is likely, excepting one, who says, "I have not found a name, but as I came to a high mountain near the edge of a forest, where the foxes and the hares say 'good-night' to each other, I saw a little house, and before the door a fire was burning, and round the fire a little man was dancing on one leg, and singing:—

"To-day I stew, and then I'll bake, To-morrow shall I the Queen's child take. How glad I am that nobody knows That my name is Rumpelstiltskin."

Then the Dwarf came again, and the Queen said to him, "Is your name Hans?" "No," said the Dwarf, with an ugly leer, and he held out his hands for the baby. "Is it Conrade?" asked the Queen. "No," cried the Dwarf, "give me the child." "Then," said the Queen, "is it Rumpelstiltskin?" "A witch has told you that!" cried the Dwarf; and then he stamped his right foot so hard upon the ground that it sank quite in, and he could not draw it out again. Then he took hold of his left leg with both his hands and pulled so hard that his right leg came off, and he hopped away howling, and nobody ever saw him again.

The Giant in the story of St. Olaf, as we have seen, was a rather stupid giant, and easily tricked; and indeed most of the giants seem to have been dull people, from the great Greek Kyklops, Polyphemos the One-Eyed, downwards to the, ogres in Puss in Boots, and Jack and the Bean Stalk, and the giants in Jack the Giant Killer. The old northern giants were no wiser. There was one in the island of Rugen, a very mighty giant, named Balderich. He wanted to go from his island, dry-footed, to the mainland. So he got a great apron made, and filled it with earth, and set off to make a causeway from Rugen to Pomerania. But there was a hole in the apron, and the clay that fell out formed a chain of nine hills. The giant stopped the hole and went on, but another hole tore in the apron, and thirteen more hills fell out. Then he got to the sea-side, and poured the rest of the load into the water; but it didn't quite reach the mainland, which made giant Balderich so angry that he fell down and died; and so his work has never been finished. But a giant maiden thought she would try to make another causeway from the mainland to an island, so that she might not wet her slippers in going over. So she filled her apron with sand, and ran down to the sea-side. But a hole came in the apron, and the sand which ran out formed a hill at Sagard. The giant maiden said, "Ah! now my mother will scold me!" Then she stopped the hole with her hand and ran on again. But the giant mother looked over the wood, and cried, "You nasty child! what are you about? Come here, and you'll get a good whipping." The daughter in a fright let go her apron, and all the sand ran out, and made the barren hills near Litzow, which the white and brown dwarfs took for their dwelling-place.

There are many other stories of the same kind. One of them tells of a Troll Giant who wanted to punish a farmer; so he filled one of his gloves with sand, and poured it out over the farmer's house, which it quite covered up; and with what was left in the fingers he made a row of little sand hillocks to mark the spot.

The Giants had their day, and died out, and their places were taken by the Dwarfs. Some of the most wonderful dwarf stories are those which are told in the island of Rugen, in the Baltic Sea. These stories are of three kinds of dwarfs: the White, and the Brown, and the Black, who live in the sand-hills. The white dwarfs, in the spring and summer, dance and frolic all their time in sunshine and starlight, and climb up into the flowers and trees, and sit amongst the leaves and blossoms, and sometimes they take the form of bright little birds, or white doves, or butterflies, and are very kind to good people. In the winter, when the snow falls, they go underground, and spend their time in making the most beautiful ornaments of silver and gold. The brown dwarfs arc stronger and rougher than the white; they wear little brown coats and brown caps, and when they dance—which they are fond of doing—they wear little glass shoes; and in dress and appearance they are very handsome. Their disposition is good, with one exception—that they carry off children into their underground dwellings; and those who go there have to serve them for fifty years. They can change themselves into any shape, and can go through key-holes, so that they enter any house they please, and sometimes they bring gifts for the children, like the good Santa Klaus in the German stories; but they also play sad tricks, and frighten people with bad dreams. Like the white dwarfs, the brown ones work in gold and silver, and the gifts they bring are of their own workmanship. The black dwarfs are very bad people, and are ugly in looks and malicious in temper; they never dance or sing, but keep underground, or, when they come up, they sit in the elder-trees, and screech horribly like owls, or mew like cats. They, too, are great metal-workers, especially in steel; and in old days they used to make arms and armour for the gods and heroes: shirts of mail as fine as cobwebs, yet so strong that no sword could go through them; and swords that would bend like rushes, and yet were as hard as diamonds, and would cut through any helmet, however thick.

So long as they keep their caps on their heads the dwarfs are invisible; but if any one can get possession of a dwarf's cap he can see them, and becomes their master. This is the foundation of one of the best of the dwarf stories—the story of John Dietrich, who went out to the sandhills at Ramfin, in the isle of Rugen, on the eve of St. John, a very, very long time ago, and managed to strike off the cap from the head of one of the brown dwarfs, and went down with them into their underground dwelling-place. This was quite a little town, where the rooms were decorated with diamonds and rubies, and the dwarf people had gold and silver and crystal table-services, and there were artificial birds that flew about like real ones, and the most beautiful flowers and fruits; and the dwarfs, who were thousands in number, had great feasts, where the tables, ready spread, came up through the floor, and cleared themselves away at the ringing of a bell, and left the rooms free for dancing to the strains of the loveliest music. And in the city there were fields and gardens, and lakes and rivers; and instead of the sun and the moon to give light, there were large carbuncles and diamonds which supplied all that was wanted. John Dietrich, who was very well treated, liked it very much, all but one thing—which was that the servants who waited upon the dwarfs were earth children, whom they had stolen and carried underground; and amongst them was Elizabeth Krabbin, once a playmate of his own, and who was a lovely girl, with clear blue eyes and ringlets of fair hair. John Dietrich of course fell in love with Elizabeth, and determined to get her out of the dwarf people's hands, and with her all the earth children they held captive. And when he had been ten years underground, and he and Elizabeth were grown up, he demanded leave to depart, and to take Elizabeth. But the dwarfs, though they could not hinder him from going, would not let her go, and no threats or entreaties could move them. Then John Dietrich remembered that the little people cannot bear an evil smell; and one day he happened to break a large stone, out of which jumped a toad, which gave him power to do what he pleased with the dwarfs, for the sight or smell of a toad causes them pain beyond all bearing. So he sent for the chiefs of the dwarfs, and bade them let Elizabeth go. But they refused; and then he went and fetched the toad. Then the story goes on in this way:—

"He was hardly come within a hundred paces of them when they all fell to the ground as if struck with a thunderbolt, and began to howl and whimper, and to writhe as if suffering the most excruciating pain. The dwarfs stretched out their hands, and cried, 'Have mercy, have mercy! we feel that you have a toad, and there is no escape for us. Take the odious beast away, and we will do all you require.' He let them kneel a few seconds longer, and then took the toad away. They then stood up, and felt no more pain. John let all depart but the six chief persons, to whom he said, 'This night, between twelve and one, Elizabeth and I will depart, Load for me three waggons with gold, silver, and precious stones. I might, you know, take all that is in the hill; but I will be merciful. Further, you must put into two waggons all the furniture of my chamber (which was covered with emeralds and other precious stones, and in the ceiling was a diamond as big as a nine-pin bowl), and get ready for me the handsomest travelling carriage that is in the hill, with six black horses. Moreover, you must set at liberty all the servants who have been so long here that on earth they would be twenty years old and upwards, and you must give them as much silver and gold as will make them rich for life; and you must make a law that no one shall be kept here longer than his twentieth year.'

"The six took the oath, and went away quite melancholy, and John buried his toad deep in the ground. The little people laboured hard and prepared everything, and at midnight John and Elizabeth, and their companions, and all their treasures, were drawn up out of the hill. It was then one o'clock, and it was midsummer—the very time that, twelve years before, John had gone down into the hill. Music sounded around them, and they saw the glass hill open, and the rays of the light of heaven shine on them after so many years; and when they got out they saw the first streaks of dawn already in the East. Crowds of the underground people were around them, busied about the waggons. John bid them a last farewell, waved his brown cap in the air, and then flung it among them. And at the same moment he ceased to see them; he beheld nothing but a green hill, and the well-known bushes and fields, and heard the church clock of Ramfin strike two. When all was still, save a few larks, who were tuning their morning song, they all fell upon their knees and worshipped God, resolving henceforth to lead a pious and Christian life." And then John married Elizabeth, and was made a count, and built several churches, and presented to them some of the precious cups and plates made by the underground people, and kept his own and Elizabeth's glass shoes, in memory of what had befallen them in their youth. "And they were all taken away," the story says, "in the time of the great Charles the Twelfth of Sweden, when the Russians came on the island, and the Cossacks plundered even the churches, and took away everything."

Now there is much more to be told about the dwarfs, if only we had space—how there were thousands of them in German lands, in the Saxon mines, and the Black Forest, and the Harz mountains and in other places, and in Switzerland, and indeed everywhere almost—how they gave gifts to good men, and borrowed of them, and paid honestly; how they punished those who injured them; how they moved about from country to country; how they helped great kings and nobles, and showed themselves to wandering travellers and to simple country folk. But all this must be left for you to read for yourselves in Grimm's stories, and in the legends of northern lands, and in many collections of ancient poems, and romances, and popular tales. And in these, and in other books which deal with such subjects, you will find out that all these dwellers in Wonderland, and the tales that are told about them, and the stories of the gods and heroes, all come from the one source of which we read something in the first chapter—the tradition's of the ancient Aryan people, from whom all of us have sprung—and how they all mean the same things; the conflict between light and darkness, the succession of day and night, the changes of the seasons, the blue and bright summer skies, the rain-clouds, the storm-winds, the thunder and the lightning, and all the varied and infinite forms of Nature in her moods of calm and storm, peace and tempest, brightness and gloom, sweet and pleasant and hopeful life and stern and cold death, which causes all brightness to fade and moulder away.

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