most dreadful manner; and in an instant the Fairies were heard moaning on every side, and rattling at the windows, door and chimney. "In the name of God, bring back the bairn," cried the lass. The window flew up, the real child was laid on the mother's lap, and the wee dcii flew up the chimney laughing.
In this--and there are scores of other stories of the same character--one can hardly doubt that the conclusion is fictitious, and was added to soften the account of a real murder of a babe that was objectionable in appearance, manner and habits.
That the Small People, who have been called brownies, pixies, elves, kobolds, but which really were a race of people living in the north of Europe, did occasionally steal the children of the Aryan settlers, is possible enough. The gipsies are accused of doing the same thing nowadays; and the Jews were similarly accused in the Middle Ages.
I will pass on now to some marriage customs. In the North, Skimmington, or Riding the Stang, is illustrated by Rowlandson in Dr Syntax's Tour in Search of Consolation.
A procession is formed of youths and maidens, beating drums, rattling canisters filled with pebbles, blowing trumpets, and