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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/52

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of the numerous tales of werewolves, and witches becoming cats or hares.

Among the Norsemen it was believed that witches could take even the shapes of seals--the only portion of them that they could not change was the eyes, and by them they might be recognised.

The word employed among the Norsemen for such as could change their shape was eigi einhamr, that is, "not of our skin". There were various ways in which they could change their shape. The original was that described in the Ynglinga Saga of Odin. "He could change his appearance. There his body lay as sleeping or dead. But he became a bird or a beast, a fish or a serpent, and at a moment's notice could go into distant lands on his own business or on that of others."

King Harold of Denmark required some information about the procedure in Iceland, and he induced a warlock to assume the shape of a whale and go thither. In the great battle in which Hrolf Krake fell in Denmark, one Bodvar Bjarki assumed the form and force of a bear, and fought furiously, whilst in the tent of the king his body lay as though dead. It was only when taunted because he appeared inactive that he rushed out into the midst of the fight in his human form, and fell.