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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/220

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[After relating the legend of Knockgrafton from Crofton Croker's Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland, and a parallel Japanese tale, given by Mitford, Tales of Old Japan, vol. i. p. 276, called "The Elves and the Envious Neighbour," the writer turns to the German story of the Wild Huntsman, of whom he says: "Almost every European country has its legend.' He then proceeds:—]

The same story, but with a more ghastly ending, is told if we may trust an account which appeared in a Devonshire newspaper one day last spring, on the Dartmoor, where the foaming river Plym rushes through a ravine under the tall cliffs of the Dewerstone. This wild spot is haunted by the Black Huntsman, who with his "Wish-hounds" careers over the waste at night. A story is told of this phantom that a farmer, riding across the moor by night, encountered the Black Hunter, and being flushed with ale, shouted to him "Give us a share of your game!" The Huntsman thereupon threw him something that he supposed might be a fawn, which he caught and carried in his arms till he reached his home, one of the old moorland farms. There arrived, he shouted, and a man came out with a lantern. "Bad news, master," said the man; "you've had a loss since you went out this morning." "But I have gained something," answered the farmer, and getting down brought what he had carried to the lantern, and beheld—his own dead child! During the day his only little one had died. This version recalls the "Erl King," translated by Scott.

Nations have ever been unwilling to believe that their heroes, especially of legend and romance, could in death disappear and perish entirely. Nearly every country has its great king or famous chieftain, whose exploits once filled the popular ear, surviving still in charmed sleep in some