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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/410

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402
Folk-lore Miscellanea.

not unlike the Duergar, is, however, much more familiar, for dwarfs hold a distinct place in Hindu mythology; they appear sculptured on all temples. Siva is accompanied by a bodyguard of dwarfs, one of whom, the three-legged Bhringi, dances nimbly. But coming nearer to Northern legend, the cromlechs and kistvaens which abound over Southern India are believed to have been built by a dwarf race, a cubit high, who could nevertheless move and handle the huge stones easily. The villagers call them Pândayar. In the Chingalpat district, near Madras, there is a large mound said to be inhabited by a bearded race of Pândayar, three feet high, whose king lives in the top of the mound. This nearly approaches the traditions of hill-dwarfs in Norway; but no skill or habit of working in metal is associated with them. The late Mr. Fergusson (Tree and Serpent Worship, p. 79) held that "all the Fairy Mythology of East and West belongs to the Turanian races"; and the late learned Bishop Caldwell, who laboured for a lifetime amongst the people in Southern India, suggested that the Tamil word pey—demon or goblin—may be the origin of the word "fairy", but their attributes respectively, as popularly understood, seem too widely diverse. It may be noted, however, that in Scandinavian mythology we hear of the dark Alfar, or malignant elves. Brotier thinks the word "Alf" may be derived from the Teutonic deity Alcis, mentioned by Tacitus (Germania, 43), identified by him with Castor and Pollux in their jack-o'-lantern appearances.

Dwarfs in the West.— The Rev. Baring Gould, in his pleasant and instructive volume, In Troubadour Land, published in the present year, relates a curious experience of his boyish days. While sitting on the box of his father's carriage crossing the Cran, a wide, desolate, stony tract in Provence, he suddenly saw a number of little figures of men with peaked caps, running about the horses and making attempts to scramble up them. For some time he continued to see these dwarfs running among the pebbles of the Cran, jumping over tufts of grass, or careering along the road by the carriage, making faces at him; but gradually their number decreased, and he failed to see any more (pp. 65-6). They were visible only to him, and on saying something about it to his father, he was sent inside the carriage, on the supposition that the sun was too hot for his head. Mr. Gould adds an anecdote of his wife, "who never deviated from the truth in her life, and who walking one day, when a girl of thirteen, beside a quickset hedge, her brother on the other side looking for birds' nests, all at once saw a little man dressed entirely in green, with jacket and high peaked hat, seated in the hedge staring at her. She was paralysed with terror for a moment, then called her brother to come round and see the little green man. When he arrived the dwarf had