Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/262

This page needs to be proofread.

238 Ghost Lights of the West Highlands.

By eating an eel pasty and touching her eye with her greasy finger she acquired the power of seeing clearly under water. When allowed to return to her husband she saw this drac in the market place of Beaucaire, and recognising him, he, to prevent her again doing so, destroyed her eye.^

From the South of France to Roumania. Here we find that the drac is the devil in person, who instructs certain persons to be magicians and medicine men in a college under the earth. Of these, one in eight receives instruction during fourteen years, and on his return to earth he has the following power. By means of certain magical formulae he compels a dragon to ascend from the depths of a loch. He then throws a golden bridle with which he has been provided over his head, and rides aloft among the clouds, which he causes to freeze and thereby produces hail. People who are by report " Solomonars," as these are styled, are avoided by the Roumanian country people, and if at all possible liberally fed, in order that they may not destroy the crops by hail-storms. When the Solomonar has poured out the hail over the locality desired (that is where some person lives who offended him) he returns, covered in a thick cloud, to the earth, back to the loch, where he removes the bridle from the head of the dragon and drives him back into the waters."

The Solomonar's dragon is in reality hail and cloud. In Esthonia, Grimm tells us^ that " red stripes in the sky show that the dragon marches out ; dark colour of the clouds that he returns with booty. Falling stars are little dragons." This latter is a belief of a Finnish population from the shores of the Baltic. Among the Celtic population of Brittany the rainbow is a large serpent which comes to refresh itself on the earth, w^hen water fails it above. When

' Folk-Lore, vol. i. p. 209.

- Am Ur-Quell, vol. vi. p. 109.

' Appendix, ed. 1878, vol. iii. p. 491.