Grimm's Goblins (1876)/Notes
Preface.—We have another popular song to the Lady-bird under a different name,
Bless you, bless you, Burnie-bee
Tell me where your wedding be;
If it be to-morrow day.
Take your wings and fly away.
Hans in Luck, p. 1.—The "Hans im Glück" of MM. Grimm; a story of popular currency communicated by Aug. Wernicke to the Wünschelruthe, a periodical publication, 1818, No. 33.
The Travelling Musicians; or, The Waits of Bremen, p. 6.—The "Bremer Stadtmusikanten" of Grimm; current in Paderborn. Rollenhagen, who in the 16th century wrote his poem called Froschmäuseler (a collection of popular satirical dramatic scenes, in which animals are the acting characters), has admirably versified the leading incidents of this story. The occupant parties who are ejected by the travellers are, with him, wild beasts, not robbers. The Germans are eminently successful in their beast stories. The origin of them it is not easy to trace: as early as the age of the Minnesingers (in the beginning of the 13th century) a collection of fables, told with great spirit and humour by Bonner, was current; but they are more Æsopian, and have not the dramatic and instructive character of the tales before us, which bear the features of the oldest Oriental fables. In later times Reineke de Voss seems to be the matured result of this taste, and whethor originating in Germany or elsewhere, it had there its chief popularity. To that cycle belong many of the tales collected by MM. Grimm; and accordingly the Fox is constantly present, and displays everywhere the same characteristics. The moral tendency of these delightful fables is almost invariably exemplary; they always give their rewards to virtue and humanity, and afford protection to the weaker but more amiable animals, against their wily or violent aggressors. Man is sometimes introduced, but generally, as in "The Dog and the Sparrow," to his disadvantage, and for the purpose or reproof and correction.
The Golden Bird, p. 10.—" Der Goldene Vogel;" a Hessian story; told also with slight variations in Paderborn. The substance of this tale, in which the Golden Bird is generally called the Phœnix, is of great antiquity. Perinskiold in the catalogue to Hickes mentions the Sagar of Artus Fagra, and describes the contents thus: "Hist. de tribus fratribus, Carolo, Vilhialmo, atque Arturo, cogn. Fagra, regis Angliæ filiis, qui ad inquirendum Phœnicem, ut eâ curaretur morbus immedicabilis patris illorum, in ultimas usque Indiæ oras missi sunt." It appears that the same subject forms a Danish popular tale. The youngest and successful son is a character of perpetual recurrence in the German tales. He is generally despised for diminutive stature, or supposed inferiority of intellect, and passes by the contemptuous appellation of the "Dummling," of whom we shall have occasion to say more hereafter.
The Fisherman and his Wife, p. 17.— "De Fischer un siine Fru," a story in the Pomeranian Low German dialect, admirably adapted to this species of narrative, and particularly pleasing to an English ear, as bearing a remarkable affinity to his own language, or rather that of the Lowland Scotch. Take the second sentence as a specimen: "Daar satt he eens an de see, bi de angel, un sach in dat blanke water, un he sach immer (ever) na de angel," &c. During the fervour of popular feeling on the downfall of the power of the late Emperor of France, this tale became a great favourite. In the original the last object of the wife's desires is to be as "de lewe Gott" (der lieb Gott, le bon Dien). We have softenod the boldness of the lady's ambition.
The Tomtit and the Bear, p. 23.—"Der Zaunkönig und der Bär;" from Zwehrn. We have Reynard here in his proper character, and the smaller animals triumphing by superior wit over the larger, in the same manner as in many of the Northern traditions the dwarfs obtain a constant superiority over their opponents the giants. In Tuhti Nameh's 8th fable (Calcutta and London, 1801), an elephant is punished for an attack upon the sparrow's nest, by an alliance which she forms with another bird, a frog, and a bee.
The Twelve Dancing Princesses, p. 26.—"Die Zertanzten Schuhe;" a Munster tale; known also with variations in other parts, and even in Poland, according to the report made by Dobrowsky to MM. Grimm. The story is throughout of a very Oriental cast, except that the soldier has the benefit of the truly northern Nebel, or Taru-Kappe, which makes the wearer invisible. It should be observed, however, that in the Calmuck, Relations of Ssidi Kur, we have the cap, the wearer of which is "seen neither by the gods nor men, nor Tchadkurrs," and also the swiftly moving boots or shoes.
Rose-bud, p. 31. —"Dornröschen;" a Hessian story. We have perhaps in our alteration of the heroine's name lost one of the links of connection which MM. Grimm observe between this fable and that of the ancient tradition of the restoration of Brynhilda, by Sigurd, who pierces the enchanted fortifications, and rouses the heroine. "Who is it," said she, "of might sufficient to rend my armour and to break my sleep?" She afterwards tells the cause of her trance. "Two kings contended; one hight Hialmgunnar, and he was old but of mickle might, and Odin had promised him the victory. I felled him in fight; but Odin struck my head with the sleepy thorn (the Thorn-Rose or Dog-Rose, see Altdeutche Wälder, l. 135) and said I should never again be victorious, and should be hereafter wedded." (Herbert's Miscell. Poetry, vol. ii., p. 23.) Though the allusion to the sleep-rose is preserved in our heroine's name, she suffers from the wound of a spindle, as in the Pentamerone of G.B. Basile, v. 5. The further progress of Sigurd's or Siegfried's adventures will be seen in "The King of the Golden Mountain."
Tom Thumb, p. 35.—The "Daumesdick" of Grimm, from Mühlheim, on the Rhine. In this tale the hero appears in his humblest domestic capacity; but there are others in which he plays a most important and heroic character, as the outwitter and vanquisher of Giants and other powerful enemies, the favourite of fortune, and the winner of the hands of the King's daughters. We should have been glad, if it had been consistent with the immediate design of this publication, to have given two or three other stories from different parts of Germany, illustrative of the worth and ancient descent of the personage who appears with the same general characteristics, under the various names in England of Tom Thumb, Tom-a-lyn, Tamlane, Tommel-finger, &c.; in Germany of Daumesdick, Däumling, Daumerling, and Dummling (for though the latter word bear a different and indepondent meaning, we incline to think it originally the same); in Austria of Daumenlang; in Denmark of Svend Tomling, or Swain Tomling; and further north, as the Thaumlin, or dwarfish hero of Scandinavia.
We must refer to the Quarterly Review, No. XLI., for a speculation as to the connection of Tom's adventures, particularly that with the cow, with some of the mysteries of Indian mythology. It must suffice here briefly to notice the affinities which some of the present stories bear to the earliest northern traditions, leaving the reader to determine whether, as Hearne concludes, our hero was King Edgar's page, or, as tradition says, ended his course and found his last home at Lincoln.
In one of the German stories, "Des Schneiders Daumerling Wanderschaft" (the Travels of the Tailor's Thumbling), his first wandering is through the recesses of a glove, to escape his mother's anger. So Thor, in the 23rd fable of the Edda, reposes in the giant's glove. In another story, "Der junge Riese" (The Young Giant), the hero is in his youth a thumb long; but, being nurtured by a giant, acquires wonderful power, and passes through a variety of adventures, resembling at various times those of Siegfried or Sigurd (the doughty champion who, according to the Heldenbuch, "caught the lions in the wood and hung them over the walls by their tails"), of Thor, and of Grettir (the hero who kept geese on the common), and corresponding with the achievements ascribed in England to his namesake, Jack the Giant-killer, and Tom Hycophric (whose sphere of action Hearne would limit to the contracted boundaries of Tylney, in Norfolk), and in the Servian tale, quoted by MM. Grimm from Schottky, given to "the son of the bear," Medvedovitsh.
He serves the smith, whose history as the Velint (or Weyland) of Northern fable is well known; outwits, like Eulen spiegel (Owl-glass), those who are by nature his betters; wields a weapon as powerful as Thor's hammer; and, like his companion, is somewhat impregnable to tolerably rude attacks. He is equally voracious, too, with Loke, whose "art consisted in eating more than any other man in the world," and with the son of Odin, "when busk'd as a bride so fair," in the Song of Thrym.
Betimes at evening he approached.
And the mantling ale the giants broached;
The spouse of Slfia ate alone
Eight salmons and an ox full grown,
And all the cates on which women feed,
And drank three firkins of sparkling mead."
Herbert's Icelandic Poetry, i. p. 6.
In one of the tales before us, a mill-stone is treacherously thrown upon him while employed in digging at the bottom of a well. "Drive away the hens," said he; "they scratch the sand about till it flies into my eyes." "So in the Edda, the Giant Skrymmer only notices the dreadful blows of Thor's hammer as the falling of a leaf, or some other trifling matter. In the English story of Jack the Giant-killer, Jack under similar circumstances says that a rat had given him three or four slaps with his tail.
In the story of "The King of the Golden Mountain," it will be seen how the giants are outwittted and deprived of the great Northern treasures, the tarnkap, the shoes, and the sword, which are equally renowned in the records of the Niebelungen-lied and Niflunga Saga, and in our own Jack the Giant-killer. The other Thumb tales are full of such adventures. They are all exceedingly curious, and deserve to be brought together in one view as forming a singular group. At present we can only refer to the pages of MM. Grimm, and particularly to the observations in their notes.
The Grateful Beasts, p. 42.—"Die treuen Thiere;" from the Schwalmgegend, in Hesse. It is singular that nearly the same story is to be found in the Relations of Ssidi Kur, a collection of tales current among the Calmuck Tartars. A benevolent Brahmin there receives the grateful assistance of a mouse, a boar, and a monkey, whom he had severally rescued from the bands of their tormentors; Quarterly Review. No. XLI., p. 99. There is a very similar story, "Lo Scarafono, la Sorece, e lo Grillo," in the Pentamerone, iii. 5. Another in the same work, iv. 1, "La Prota de lo Gallo," embraces the incidents of the latter part of our tale. The Gesta Romanorum also contains a fable somewhat similar in plot, though widely different in details. The cunning device of the mouse reminds MM. Grimm of Loke, in the form of a fly, stinging the sleeping Freya, till she throws off her necklace.
Jorinda and Jorindel, p. 47.—"Jorinde und Joringel." This is taken from Heinrich Stillings Leben, i. 104–103; but a story of precisely the same nature is popular in the Schwalmgegend.
The Waggish Musician, p. 51.—"Der Wunderliche Spielmann (the wayward musician);" from Lorsch, by Worms. The story seems imperfect, as no reason appears for the spite of the musician towards the animals who follow his Orphean strains.
The Queen Bee, p. 54.—"Die Bienen-königin;" from Hesse, where another story of similar plot is current. The resemblance to that of "The Grateful Beasts" will of course be obvious. We have here the favourite incident of the despised and neglected member of the family, who bears the name of "Dummling," setting out on his adventures, and overcoming all disadvantages by talent and virtue. (See note on "The Golden Goose," in which story we have left the hero his name, as perhaps we ought to have done here.) MM. Grimm mention a Jewish tale of Rabbi Chanina, who befriends a raven, a hound, and a fish, and receives similar tokens of gratitude. In the Hungarian stories, collected from popular narration by Georg von Gaal (Vienna, 1822), there is one (No. 8) to the same effect. The incident of picking up the pearls will remind the reader of the task of Psyche, in Apuleius, lib. iv., in which she is assisted by the ants.
The Dog and the Sparrow, p. 57.—"Der Hund und der Sperling;" told with variations in Zwehrn, Hesse, and Göttingen.
Frederick and Catherine, p. 61.— "Der Frieder und das Catherlieschen;" from Zwehrn and Hesse. Some of the incidents in this story are to be found in that of Bardiello, in the Pentamerone, i. 4. We have frequently heard it told in our younger days as a popular story in England.
The Three Children of Fortune, p. 67.— "Die drei Glückskinder;" from Paderborn. It is not necessary to point out the coincidence of one of the adventures of this story with that of Whittington, once Lord Mayor of London. But it is not merely in Germany that the same tale is traced. "We learn from Mr. Morier's entertaining narrative that Whittington's cat realised its price in India." In Italy, the merry priest Arlotto told the story in his Facezie, before the Lord Mayor was born or thought of; he describes the adventure as happening to a Geneway merchant, and adds that another upon hearing of the profitable adventure made a voyage to Rat Island with a precious cargo, for which the king repaid him with one of the cats.—Quarterly Review, XLI., p. 100.
King Grisly-beard, p. 70.—"König Drosselbart;" from Hesse, the Main, and Paderborn. The story of "La Soporbia castecata," Pentamerone, iv. 10, has a similar turn. There are of course many other tales in different countries, having for their burthen "The Taming of the Shrew." "It hardly need be observed that our title is not meant as a translation of the German name.
Chanticleer and Partlet, p. 75.—This, comprises three stories, "Das Lumpengesindel," "Herr Korbes," and "Von dem Tod des Hühnchens," from Paderborn, the Main, and Hess, placed together as naturally forming one continuous piece of biography. We shall perhaps be told that the whole is tolerably childish; but we wished to give a specimen of each variety of these tales, and at the same time an instance of the mode in which inanimate objects are pressed into the service. The death of Hühnchen forms a balladised story published in Wunderhorn, vol. iii., among the Kinderlieder. Who "Herr Korbes" is, or what his name imports, we know not; and we should therefore observe that we have of our own authority alone turned him into an enemy, and named him "the fox," in order to give some sort of reason for the outrage committed on his hospitality by uninvited guests.
Snowdrop, p. 81.— "Schneewitchen;" told with several minor variations in Hesse; also at Vienna with more important alterations. In one version, Spiegel (the glass) is the name of a dog, who performs the part of the queen's monitor. The wish of the queen, which opens this story, has been illustrated in the Altdeusche Wälder, vol. i., p. 1, in a dissertation on a curious passage in Wolfram von Eschenbach's romance of Parcifal, where the hero bursts forth into a pathetic allusion to his lady's charms on seeing drops of blood fallen on snow,
Trois gotes de fres sanc
Qui enluminoient le blanc,
as Chretien de Troyes expresses it in the French romance on the same subject:
——panse tant, qu'il s'oblie;
Ausins estoit en son avis
Li vermauz sor lo blanc asis,
Come les gotes de sanc furent,
Qui desor le blanc aparurent;
Au l'esgarder, que il faisoit,
Li est avis, tout li pleisoit,
Qu'il veist la color novelle
De la face s'amie belle."
Several parallel wishes are selected from the ancient traditionary stories of different countries, from the Irish legend of Deirda and Navis, the son of Visneach, in Keating's History of Ireland, to the Neapolitan stories in Pentamerone, iv. 9, and v. 8.
"O cielo!" says the hero in the latter, "e non porria havere un mogliere acossi janco, e rossa, comme o chella preta, e che havesse li capello o le ciglia acossi negro, comme fo le penne di chisto cuervo," &c. The unfading corpse placed in the glass coffin is to be found also in the Pentamerone, ii. 8 (la Schiavottella): and in Haralds Saga, Snäfridr his beauteous wife dies, but her countenance changes not, its bloom continuing; and the king sits by the body watching it three years.
The dwarfs who appear in this story are of genuine Northern descent. They are Metallarii, live in mountains, and are of the benevolent class; for it must be particularly observed that this, and the mischievous race, are clearly distinguishable. The Heldenbuch says, "God produced the dwarfs because the mountains lay waste and useless, and valuable stores of silver and gold with gems and pearls were concealed in them. Therefore he made them right wise, and crafty, that they could distinguish good and bad, and to what use all things should be applied. They knew the use of gems; that some of them gave strength to the wearer, others made him invisible, which were called fog-caps; therefore God gave art and wisdom to them, that they built them hollow hills," &c. (Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, p. 41.) The most beautiful example of the ancient Teutonic romance is that which contains the adventures, and the description of the abode in the mountains, of Laurin the King of the Dwarfs. These who wish to obtain full and accurate information on the various species, habits, and manners of these sons of the mountains, may consult Olaus Magnus, or at far greater length, the Anthropodemus Plutonicus of Prætorius.
We ought to observe that this story has been somewhat shortened by us, the style of telling it in the original being rather diffuse; and we have not entered into the particulars of the queen's death, which in the German is occasioned by the truly Northern punishment of being obliged to dance in red-hot slippers or shoes.
The Elves and the Shoemaker, p. 89.—"Die Wichtelmänner—von einem Schuster dem sie die Arbeit gemacht," a Hessian tale. We have no nomenclature sufficiently accurate for the classification of the gobelin tribes of the North. The personages now before us are of the benevolent and working class; they partake of the general character given of such personages by Olaus Magnus, and of the particular qualities of the Housemen (Hausmänner), for whose history we must refer to Prætorious, cap. viii. These sprites were of a very domestic turn, attaching themselves to particular households, very pleasant inmates when favourably disposed, very troublesome when of a mischievous temperament, and generally expecting some share of the good things of the family as a reward for services which they were not accustomed to give gratuitously. "The drudging goblin" works, but does so
To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
when in one night, e'er glimpse of morn,
His shadowy flail had thresh'd the corn,
That ten day labourers could not end.
The Turnip, p. 92.—"Dio Rübe." The first part of this story is well known. The latter part is the subject of an old Latin poem of the 14th century, entitled "Raparius" (who was probably the versifier), existing in MS. at Strasburg, and also at Vienna. MM. Grimm think they see, through the comic dress of this story, various allusions to ancient Northern traditions, and they particularly refer to the wise man (Runa capituli) who imbibes knowledge in his airy suspension.
Veit ek, at ek hiek vindga meidi a
Nätur allar niu
Tha nam ek frevaz ok frodr vera.
"I know that I hung on the wind-agitated tree nine full nights; there began I to become—wise."
Old Sultan, p. 96.—"Der alte Sultan;" from Hesse and Paderborn: in four versions, each varying in some slight particulars.
The Lady and the Lion, p. 99. — "Das singende, springende Löweneckerchen;" from Hesse. Another version with variations comes from the Schwalmgegend, and from this latter we have taken the opening incident of the summer and winter garden, in preference to the parallel adventure in the story which MM. Grimm have adopted in their text. We have made two or three other alterations in the way of curtailment of portions of the story. The common tale of "Beauty and the Beast" has always some affinity to the legend of Cupid and Psyche. In the present version of the same fable the resemblance is striking throughout. The poor heroine pays the price of her imprudence in being compelled to wander over the world in search of her husband; she goes to heavenly powers for assistance in her misfortunes, and at last, when within reach of the object of her hopes, is near being defeated by the allurements of pleasure. Mrs. Tighe's beautiful poem would seem purposely to describe some of the immediate incidents of our tale, particularly that of the dove.
The incidents in which the misfortune originates are to be found in Pentamerone, ii. 9 (Lo Catenaccio), and still further in v. 4 (Lo Turzo d'Oro). The scene in the bridegroom's chamber is in Pentam. v. 3 (Pintosmauto). Prætorius, ii., p. 266, gives a Beauty and the Beast story from Sweden.
The Jew in the Bush, p. 105.—"Der Jude im Dorn." The dance-inspiring instrument will be recognised, in its most romantic and dignified form, as Oberon's Horn in Huon de Bordeaux. The dance in the bush forms the subject of two Old German dramatic pieces of the 16th century. A disorderly monk occupies the place of the Jew; the waggish musician is called Dulla, whom MM. Grimm connect with Tyll or Dyll Eulenspiegel (Owl-glass), and the Swedish and Scandinavian word, Thulr (facetus, nugator), the clown and minstrel of the populace. In Herrauds ok Bosa Saga, the table, chairs, &c., join the dance. Merlin in the old romance is entrapped into a bush by a charm given him by his mistress Viviane.
In England we have A mery Geste of the Frere and the Boye, first "emprynted at London in Flete-streete, at the sygne of the Sonne, by Wynkyn de Worde," and edited by Ritson in his Pieces of ancient popular Poetry. The boy receives
Byrdes for to shete.
and a pipe of marvellous power:
All that may the pype here
Shall not themselfe stere,
But laugh and lepe aboute.
The third gift is a most special one for the annoyance of his stepdame. The dancing trick is first played on a "Frere," who loses
His cope and his scapelary
And all his other wede.
And the urchin's ultimate triumph is over the "offycyall" before whom he is brought.
The King of the Golden Mountain, p. 109—"Der König vom Goldenen Berg;" from Zwehrn and other quarters. There are many remarkable features in this story, more especially its striking resemblance to the story of Sigurd or Siegfried, as it is to be collected from the Edda, the Volsunga Saga, Wilkina Saga, the Niebelungen Lied, and the popular tale of The Horny Siegfried. It is neatly abridged in Herbert's Misc. Poetry, vol. ii., part ii., p. 14. The placing upon the waters; the arrival at the castle of the dragon or snake; the treasures there; the disenchantment of Brynhilda (see our tale of Rosebud); the wishing ring; the gift of the ring or girdle; the separation from which jealousy and mischief are to flow; the disguise of the old cloak, which we can easily believe to have been a genuine tarn-cap; the encountering of the discordant guardians of the treasures, as in the Niebelungen Lied; the wonderful sword Bulmung or Mimung;
(Thro' hauberk as thro' harpelon
The smith's son swerd shall hew;)
the boots "once worn by Loke when he escaped from Valhalla;" and the ultimate revenge; are all points more or less coincident with adventures well known to those who have made the old fables of the North the objects of their researches. It should be recollected, however, that both the cap of invisibility and the boots of swiftness are to be found in the Relations of Ssidi Kur. The Hungarian tales published by Georg von Gaal (Vienna, 1822), contain one very similar to this in many particulars. Three dwarfs are there the inheritors of the wonderful treasures, which consist of a cloak, mile-shoes, and a purse which is always full.
The Golden Goose, p. 115.—"Die Goldene Gans;" from Hesse and Paderborn. "The manner in which Loke, in the Edda, hangs to the eagle is," MM. Grimm observe, "better understood after the perusal of the story of the Golden Goose, to which the lads and lasses who touch it adhere."—Quart. Rev., XLI. They add that the Golden Goose, buried at the root of an oak, and fated to be the reward of virtue, and to bring blessing on its owner, seems only one of the various types by which, in these tales, happiness, wealth, and power are conferred on the favourites of fortune. The prize is here poetically described as so attractive that whatever approaches clings to it as to a magnet.
The Dummling is drawn with his usual characteristics; he is sometimes inferior in stature, sometimes in intellect, and at other times in both; his resemblance to the Däumling or Thumbling is obvious; and though his name has now an independent meaning, perhaps we should suspect it to have been originally the same; unless the appearance of the character in the Pentamerone, iii. 8, by the unambiguous name of "Lo Gnorante," be against our theory. We leave this singular personage in the hands of MM. Grimm, referring also to the Altdeutsche Wälder, where our hero is pointed out as appearing under the appellation of "Dummeklare" in the romance of Parcifal.
Mrs. Fox, p. 119.—"Von der Frau Füchsin." A popular fable in several places, clearly belonging to the class of which Reynard the Fox is the chief.
Hansel and Grettel, p. 123.—The first part of "Brüderchen und Schwesterchen;" the remainder we omitted as branching into a new series of distinct adventures. The story is very common in Germany, and is also known in Sweden. Prætorius, vol. ii., p. 255, will give the curious the whole art, mystery, and history of transformation of men into animals. This story is one of a most numerous class, in which a stepmother unsuccessfully exerts a malicious influence over her charge.
The Giant with the three Golden Hairs, p. 128.—"Der Teufel mit den drei Goldnen Haaren;" from Zwehrn, the Main, and Hesse. We have taken the appellation "Giant" to avoid offence, and felt less reluctance in the alteration when we found that some other versions of the same story (as the Popanz in Büsching's Volkssagen) omit the diabolic agency. For similar reasons we have not called the cave by its proper name of "Hölle," the Scandinavian Hell. The old lady called in the German the "Ellermutter," we suspect has some connection with the Scandinavian deity "Hela," or "Hella," whom Odin (when he "saddled straight his coal-black steed"), Hermod Huat, and Brynhilda, after crossing the water as here, severally found in the same position, at the entrance of the infernal regions.
The child is described in our translation as owing its reputation to being born under a lucky star. In the original it is born with a Glückshaut (caul). The tradition in Iceland is that a good genius dwells in this envelope, who accompanies and blesses the child through life. The giant's powers of scent will of course remind the curious reader of the
Snouk but, Snouk ben,
I find the smell of earthly men,
in Jack and the Beanstalk.
So in Mad Tom's ballad in Shakespeare,
Child Rowland to the dark tower came—
His word was still—"Fie, Foh, Fum,
I smell the blood of a British man," &c.
Is Child Rowland the "Liebste Roland" of the German popular story, No. 56 of MM. Grimm's collection? The similarity of the "Child's" adventures with those of Danish ballads in the Kämpe Viser has been pointed out by Jamieson in his Popular Ballads, and in the Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, p. 397.
The Frog-prince, p. 134. — "Der Froschkönig, oder der Eiserne Heinrich." This story is from Hesse, but is also told in other parts with variations. It is one of the oldest German tales, as well as of extensive currency elsewhere. Dr. Leyden gives a story of the "Frog-lover" as popular in Scotland. A lady is sent by her stepmother to draw water from the Well of the World's End. She arrives at the well after encountering many dangers, but soon perceives that her adventures have not reached a conclusion; a frog emerges from the well, and before it suffers her to draw water obliges her to betroth herself to him under penalty of being torn to pieces. The lady returns safe; but at midnight the frog-lover appears at the door and demands entrance, according to promise, to the great consternation of the lady and her nurse.
Open the door my hinny, my heart,
Open the door, mine ain wee thing;
And mind the words that you and I spak
Down in the meadow by the well-spring.
The frog is admitted, and addresses her,
Take me upon your knee, my dearie,
Take me upon your knee, my dearie.
And mind the words that you and I spak
At the cauld well sae weary.
The frog is finally disenchanted, and appears as a prince in his original form. (See Complaint of Scotland, Edin. 1801.) "These enchanted frogs," says the Quarterly Reviewer, "have migrated from afar, and we suspect that they were originally crocodiles: we trace them in The Relations of Ssidi Kur." The name "Iron Henry" in the German title alludes to an incident which we have omitted, though it is one of considerable antiquity. The story proceeds to tell how Henry, from grief at his master's misfortune, had bound his heart with iron bands to prevent its bursting; and a doggrel is added in which the prince on his journey, hearing the cracking of the bands which his servant is now rending asunder as useless, inquires if the carriage is breaking, and receives an explanation of the cause of the disturbance.
"Heinrich, der Wagen bricht!"
"Nein, Herr, der Wagen nicht:
Es ist ein Band von meinem Herzen,
Das da lag in grossen Schmerzen.
Als ihr in dem Brunnen sast
Als ihr eine Fretsche (Frosh) wast."
In several of the poets of the age of the Minnesingers the suffering heart is described as confined in bands; "stahelhart," according to Heinrich von Sax.
The Fox and the Horse, p. 137.—"Der Fuchs und das Pferd;" from Munster. See the story of "Old Sultan."
Rumpel-stilts-kin, p. 139.—"Rumpelstilzchen." A story of considerable currency, told with several variations. We remember to have heard a similar story from Ireland in which the song ran,
Little does my Lady wot
That my name is Trit-a-Trot.
In the "Tour tenebreuse et les jours lumineux, Contcs Anglois tirez d'une ancienne chronique composée par Richard surnommé Cœur de Lion, Roy d'Angleterre" (Amst. 1708), the story of "Ricdin-Ricdon" contains the same incident. The song of the dwarf is as follows:
Si jeune et tendre femelle
N'aimant qu'enfantins ebats,
Avoit mis dans sa cervelle
Que Ricdin-Ricdon, je m'appelle,
Point ne viendroit dans mos laqs:
Mais sera pour moi la belle
Car on tel nom ne sçait pas.
There is a good deal of learned and mythologic speculation in MM. Grimm, as to the spinning of gold, for which we must refer the reader to their work. The dwarf has here, as usual, his abode in the almost inaccessible part of the mountains. In the original he rends himself asunder in his efforts to extricate the foot which in his rage he had struck into the ground.
The Goose-Girl, p. 142.—"Die Gänse-magd" of MM. Grimm; a story from Zwehrn. In the Pentamerone, iv. 7, there is a story which remarkably agrees with the present in some of its circumstances. The intended bride is thrown overboard while sailing to her betrothed husband, and the false one takes her place. The king is dissatisfied with the latter, and in his passion sends the brother of the lost lady (who had recommended his sister) to keep his geese. The true bride, who has been saved by a beautiful mermaid, or sea-nymph, rises from the water, and feeds the geese with princely food and rose-water. The king watches, observes the fair lady combing her beautiful locks, from which pearls and diamonds fall; and the fraud is discovered. The story of the Goose-Girl is certainly a very remarkable one, and has several traits of very original and highly traditional character. Tacitus mentions the divination of the ancient Germans by horses. Saxo Grammaticus also tells how the heads of horses offered in sacrifices were out off: and the same practice among the Wendi is mentioned by Prætorius. The horse without a head is mentioned by the Quarterly Reviewer as appearing in a Spanish story, and he vouches for its having also migrated into this country. "A friend," he adds, "has pointed out a passage in Plato de Legibus, lib. vi., in which the sage alludes to a similar superstition among the Greeks." Where the horse got his name of Falada MM. Grimm profess not to know, though the coincidence of the first syllable inclines them to assign to it some consanguinity with Roland's steed. The golden and silvery hair is often met with in these tales, and the speaking charm given by the mother (which is in the original a drop of blood, not a lock hair) is also not uncommon.
In the original, an oath is extorted by force from the true bride, and it is that which prevents her disclosure of the story to the king, who finds out a plan for her evading the oath, by telling the tale into the oven's mouth, whence of course it reaches him, though in a sufficiently secondhand way to save the fair lady's conscience.
Faithful John, p. 149.—"Der getreue Johannes;" from Zwehrn. Another somewhat similar story is current in Paderborn. The tale is a singular one, and contains so much of Orientalism that the reader would almost suppose himself in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments.
In the Pentamerone, iv. 9, is a story very much resembling this: the birds who foretell and forewarn against the disasters are two doves; and the whole happens by the contrivance, and is finally remedied by the power of an enchanter, the lady's father, who had sent the perils that menace the prince, in revenge for the carrying away of his daughter.
It should be added, that in the original, the father really cuts off the heads of his two children, who are restored to life in reward for his faith.
The reader will observe the coincidence of one portion of the story with the Greek fable of the Garment of Dejanira.
The Blue Light, p. 158.—"Das blaue Licht;" a Mecklenburg story. In the collection of Hungarian Tales of Georg von Gaal, it appears that there is one like this, called "The Wonderful Tobacco Pipe."
Ashputtel, p. 163.—"Aschen-puttel." Several versions of this story are current in Hesse and Zwehrn, and it is one of the most universal currency. We understand that it is popular among the Welsh, as it is also among the Poles; and Schottky found it among the Servian fables. Rollenhagen in his Froschmäuseler (a satire of the sixteenth century) speaks of the tale of the despised Aschenpössel; and Luther illustrates from it the subjection of Abel to his brother Cain. MM. Grimm trace out several other proverbial allusions even in the Scandinavian traditions. And lastly, the story is in the Neapolitan Pentamerone, under the title of "Cennerentola." An ancient Danish ballad has the incident of the mother hearing from her grave the sorrows of her child ill-used by the stepmother, and ministering thence to its relief. "The Slipper of Cinderella finds a paralled, though somewhat sobered, in the history of the celebrated Rhodope;"—so says the Editor of the new edition of Warton, vol. i. (86).
The Young Giant and the Tailor, p. 171.—This is compounded of two of MM. Grimm's tales, "Der junge Riese" and "Das tapfere Schneiderlein," with some curtailments, particularly in the latter. The whole has an intimate connection with the oldest Northern traditions, and will be recognised as concurring in many of its incidents with the tales of Owl-glass, Hickathrift, &c., so well known, and on which a good deal was said in the notes to the earlier portion of the volume. The service to the smith is a remarkable coincidence with Siegfried's adventures; and the mill-stone that falls harmless, reminds us of Thor's adventure with Skrymmer. The giant, moreover, is in true keeping with the Northern personages of that description, for whom the shrewd dwarf is generally more than a match; and the pranks played belong to the same class of performances as those of the hero Grettir when he kept geese upon the common. MM. Grimm quote a Servian tale given by Schottky, which resembles closely the conflict of the wits between the giant and the young man.
See further on the subject of the smith, the remarks of the Editor of the new Edition of Warton's History of English Poetry, in his Preface (p. 89).
The Crows and the Soldier, p. 183.—"Die Krähen;" a Mecklenburg story. MM. Grimm mention a similar tale by the Persian poet Nisami, recently noticed by Hammer; and they also notice coincidences in Bohemian and Hungarian tales.
Peewit, p. 187, is a translation of a story called Kibitz, from the Volks-Sagen, Märchen, und Legenden, of J.G. Büsching; but the tale in almost all its incidents coincides in substance with "Das Bürle" of MM. Grimm, who give two versions of it. It resembles in some instances the "Scarpafico" of Straparola, i. 3; and also Pentamerone, ii. 10; as well as an adventure in the English History of Friar Bacon and his Man.
Hans and his Wife Grettel, p. 192.—This comprises the three stories of Grimm, "Die kluge Grethel," "Der gescheidte Hans," and "Die faule Spinnerin," which we have taken the liberty of ascribing to one couple. The first is taken immediately by MM. Grimm (though a story also of popular currency) from what they describe to be a rare book, Ovum Paschale (Salzburg, 1700). It is also a subject of a Meistergesang in a MS. in the possession of Arnim, and of one of Hans Sachs' tales, "Die Vernascht Köchin." The second resembles two different stories given in books printed in Germany in 1557 and 1565. "Bardielio," in the Pentamerone, i. 4, resembles the story in several particulars. The third is from Zwehrn, and resembles Pentamerone, iv. 4, as well as an old German tale printed in the Altdeuche Wälder.
Cherry, or the Frog-Bride, p. 201.—This is a translation of "Das Märchen von der Padde," from Büsching's Volks-Sagen; changing the heroine from "Petersilie " (Parsley) into Cherry.
Mother Holle, p. 207.—The "Frau Holle" of MM. Grimm: from Hesse and Westphalia, and several other places, but with variations. It is a common saying in Hesse, when it snows, "Mother Holle is making her bed." Mother Holle, or Hulda, is a potent personage of some repute, excercising her power for the public good, in rewarding the industrious and well-disposed, and punishing the slovenly and mischievous. MM. Grimm have collected some of her traditions in vol. i. of their Deutsche Sagen; and the same will be found in Prætorius. She seems to be of heathen origin.
The Water of Life, p. 211.— "Das Wasser der Lebens;" from Hesse, Paderborn, and (with variations) other places. The story has in many particulars a very Oriental cast. It resembles one of the Arabian Nights; but it is also connected with one of the tales of Straparola, iv. 3. Another of MM. Grimm's stories, "De drei Vügelkens," with which it coincides in several respects, has still more of the Oriental character. The "Water of Life" is a very ancient tradition, even in Rabbinical lore. In Conrad of Wurtzburg's Trojan War (written in the 13th century), Medea gets the water from Paradise to renew the youth of Jason's father.
Peter the Goatherd, p. 218, is the "Ziegenhirt" of Otmar's Collection of the Ancient Tales and Traditions current in the Hartz. The name of Frederic Barbarossa is associated with the earliest cultivation of the Muses in Germany. During the Suabian dynasty (at the head of which he is to be placed), arose and flourished the Minnesingers, or poets of love, contemporary with the Troubadours, whom they rival in the quantity, and far excel in the quality, of their compositions. Frederic was a patron of the minstrel arts; and it is remarkable that the Hartz traditions still make him attached to similar pursuits, and tell how musicians, who have sought the caverns where he sits entranced, have been richly rewarded by his bounty.
The author of The Sketch Book has made use of this tale as the plot of his "Rip van Winkle." There are several German traditions and ballads which turn on the unsuspected lapse of time under enchantment; and we may remember, in connection with it, the ancient story of the "Seven Sleepers" of the fifth century (Gibbon, vi. 32). That tradition was adopted by Mahomet, and has, as Gibbon observes, been also adopted and adorned by the nations from Bengal to Africa, who profess the Mahometan religion. It was translated into Latin before the end of the sixth century, by the care of Gregory of Tours; and Paulus Diaconus (de gestis Longobardorum), in the eighth century, places seven sleepers in the North under a rock by the seashore. The incident has considerable capability of interest and effect, and it is not wonderful that it should become popular, and form the basis of various traditions. The next step is to animate the period dropped from real life—the parenthesis of existence—with characteristic adventures, as in the succeeding story of "The Elfin Grove;" and as in "The Dean of Santiago," a Spanish tale from the Conde Lucanor, translated in the New Monthly Magazine for August 1824, where several similar stories are referred to.
The Four Clever Brothers, p. 222.— "Die vier kunstreichen Brüder;" from Paderborn. There is a story exceedingly like this in the Pentamerone, v. 7, "Li cinco Figlie;" and in Straparola, vii. 5. In another old German story, a smith arrives at such perfection, as to shoe a fly with a golden shoe and twenty-four nails to each foot. In the Persian Tuhti Nameh, there is also a story closely resembling the one before us. In a fabliau (to which we cannot refer at the moment), we recollect the thief is so dexterous as to steal off his companion's breeches without his observation.
The Elfin Grove, p. 227.—This is an abridgment of a story in Tieck's Phantasus, founded on an old and well-known tradition, but considerably amplified by him. We have reduced it nearer to its primitive elements; but it is, of course, to a great extent, a fancy piece, and does not pretend to that authenticity of popular currency which is claimed for the other stories. The principal incident resembles that in "Peter the Goatherd;" and, more closely, that which has been turned to so much account by Mr. Hogg, in the Queen's Wake. The song is written by a friend, and has been adapted to a German popular air.
The Salad, p. 234.—The "Krautesel" of MM. Grimm. The transformation will of course remind the reader of Apuleius. See also Prætorius, ii. 452, where the lily has the restorative power. But the whole is only another version of the story of Fortunatus, the origin of which is not known, though the common version of it was probably got up in Spain, if we may judge by the names Andalusia, Marsepia, and Ampedo. One version of it is in the Gesta Romanorum.
See some observations, on the nature of the precious gifts, on which the plot of this and the following story turns, in the preface to the new edition of Warton's History of English Poetry (p. 66),
The Nose, p. 240.—This story comes from Zwehrn, and has been given by MM. Grimm only in an abridged form in their notes; but we wished to preserve the adventures substantially, as connected with the last story, and as illustrating the antiquity and general diffusion of the leading incidents of both. The usual excrescence is a horn or horns; not as here, "nasus, qualem noluerit ferre rogatus Atlas."
The Five Servants, p. 247.—In MM. Grimm there are six, but we have omitted one for delicacy's sake. The story was heard by them in Paderborn. In several other places they found a story agreeing with it in general character, as do also "Lo Gnorante" (Dummling), in the Pentamerone, iii. 8, an Arabian story translated in the Cabinet des Fées, tom. xxxix., p. 421; and another in the Gesta Romanorum.
The Robber Bridegroom, p. 261.— "Der Raüberbraütigam," of MM. Grimm. This tale has a general affinity to that of Bluebeard; most of the incidents of which story are found in others of the German collection. It should, perhaps, be observed, that in the original, the finger is chopped off, and is carried away by the bride, as well as the ring upon it.
The Seven Ravens, p. 267.—"Die sieben Raben," of MM. Grimm. This story, wild and incoherent as it is, will perhaps be considered curious, as peculiarly Northern and original in its characters and incidents. The "Glasberg," or Glass Mountain at the World's End, receives from MM. Grimm some interesting illustrations.
Roland and May-bird, p. 270.—We must apologise to the reader of the original, for the way in which three stories, viz. "Fundevogel," "Der Liebste Roland," and "Hänsel and Grethel," have been here combined in one. Several of the incidents will be familiar to the English reader; indeed, they are common to almost every country, and are found as well in the Neapolitan Pentamerone as in the Hungarian Collection of Georg von Gaal. We apprehend that the concluding part of the story is not quite correctly preserved; and that, for the credit of the hero, the maiden who seduces him from his old attachment, ought to be, as in "The Lady and the Lion," an enchantress, whose spell is broken by the sound of the true mistress's voice. These who wish to trace the dance-inspiring instrument of music, through all its forms of tradition, must be referred to "The Editor's preface" to the new edition of Warton (p. 64).
The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage, p. 278.—This is translated here only as a specimen of the whimsical assortments of dramatis personæ which the German story-tellers have sometimes made.
The Juniper Tree. p. 280.—"Van den Machandel-Boom" of MM. Grimm. We must acquaint the reader that in the original the black broth which the father eats, is formed by the stepmother from the limbs of the murdered child. This incident we thought right to omit, though it must be noted here as one of the curious circumstances of coincidence with other traditions. The bones buried by Margery are those which the father unconsciously picks and throws under the table. The song in the original is as follows:—
Min Moder de mi slacht't,
Min Vader de mi att.
Min Swester de Marleeniken
Söcht alle mine Beeniken,
Un bindt see in een syden Dook,
Legts unner den Machandel-boom,
Kywitt! Kywitt! ach watt een schön Vagel bin ick!
A literal translation of which would be,
My mother me slew;
My father me ate;
My sister Margery
Gather'd all my bones,
And bound them up in a silken shroud,
And laid them under the juniper tree.
Kywit! Kywit! ah, what a fine bird am I!
On this story we meant to have added some observations of our own; but as the Editor of Warton has reviewed us by a sort of anticipation, wo will with pleasure content ourselves with a quotation of his remarks (Preface, 87). "The most interesting tale in the whole collection, whether we speak with reference to its contents, or the admirable style of the narrative, 'the Machandel-Boom,' is but a popular view of the same mythos upon which the Platonists have expended so much commentary—the history of the Cretan Bacchus, or Zagreus. This extraordinary tale will be found at p. 280 of the present volume. The points of coincidence may be thus briefly stated. In the Cretan fable, the destruction of Zagreus is attributed to the jealousy of his stepmother Juno; and the Titans (those telluric powers who were created to avenge their mother's connubial wrongs) are the instruments of her cruelty. The infant god is allured to an inner chamber, by a present of toys and fruit (among these an apple), and is forthwith murdered. The dismembered body is now placed in a kettle, for the repast of his destroyers; but the vapour ascending to heaven, the deed is detected, and the perpetrators struck dead by the lightning of Jove. Apollo collects the bones of his deceased brother, and buries them at Delphi, where the palingenesy of Bacchus was celebrated periodically by the Hosii and Thyades. (Compare Clemens Alex. Protrept. p. 15. ed. Potter; Nonnus Dionys. vi. 174, &c, and Plutarch, de Isid. et Osirid. c. 35. and De Esu Carnium, i., c. 7.) But this again is only another version of the Egyptian mythos relative to Osiris, which will supply us with the chest, the tree, the sisterly affection, and perhaps the bird (though the last may be explained on other grounds). (Plut. de Isid. &c. c. 13. et seqq.) Mr. Grimm wishes to consider the 'Machandel-Boom' the juniper tree, and not the 'Mandel,' or almond-tree. It will be remembered, that the latter was believed by the ancient world to possess very important properties. The fruit of one species, the Amygdala, impregnated the daughter of the river Sangarius with the Phrygian Attys (Paus. vii. 17); and another, the Persea, was the sacred plant of Isis, so conspicuous on Egyptian monuments. (For this interpretation of the Persea, see S. de Sacy's Abd-allatif, Relation de l'Egypte, p. 47-72, and the Christian and Mahommedan fictious there cited.) This story of dressing and eating a child is historically related of Atrens, Tantalus, Procne, Harpalice (Hyginus, ed. Staveren, 206), and Astyages (Herod. i. 119); and is obviously a piece of traditional scandal borrowed from ancient mythology. The Platonistic exposition of it will be found in Mr. Taylor's tract upon the Bacchic Mysteries (Pamphleteer, No. 15)."
E.D. Maddick & Co., Printers, 1 and 1a, Crane Court, Fleet Street, London.
- "Ettin Langshanks," translated from the Kämpe Visir in the Illustrations of Northern Antiquities.