Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/707

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SLAVONIAN FAIRIES.

hardly admire him enough. The Vilas took him away and taught him for twelve years to dance, but he would not and could not learn. On the first day of the thirteenth year, about eleven o'clock in the morning, he escaped from them, took refuge in a wood, and hid in a large, hollow oak-tree. About eleven o'clock at night the Vilas came up to him like clouds, and tried to get him away. They called to him: "Come, love, to us; don't be afraid." But he would not answer. At daybreak he started again on his road, and came to a pasture where some herdsmen were watching swine. He asked them to protect him. They gave him something to eat and drink. He lay down, and they posted themselves in a circle around him. The Vilas came again about midnight and asked him to go with them, but he refused. In the morning he paid the herdsmen well for their care, went on, came to an inn, and asked for a lodging. The landlord answered that he could not accommodate him, for he had only one chamber, which no one dared to sleep in, for whoever spent a night in it never lived to see another day. The Magyar replied: "I am not afraid; only give me enough smoking-tobacco, candles, a table, a chair, and a bundle of kindling-wood. You need not trouble yourself about me." He lit the candles, sat down, and went to smoking. The Vilas came about ten o'clock, alarming the whole house, and cried to him, "Ah, now we have caught you!" and they carried him off and made a male Vila of him.

The dances, to which persons allied by sworn brotherhood are admitted, take place in the night-time. The participants must not talk of the matter, under penalty of death. The Podborje Hill, at the baths of Daruvar, at the foot of which is a church of the old believers, was recognized some thirty years ago as a place where such dances were held.

A young woman of fifteen, in Drenovci, was accustomed to go out every night, as soon as her husband was asleep, and soar around with the Vilas. On one of these occasions the husband awoke, and, not finding his wife at his side, remained awake till she came back at dawn. In the morning he asked her if she had slept well. She said no, she had had a restless night. The next evening she went out again with the Vilas. The husband lay awake, and on her return at dawn asked her where she had been. She made no answer, but was found dead in the morning.

Whatever once comes into the possession of the Vilas is lost to men; and if a man gives an unsuitable thing to them, he will have to suffer for it. A peasant girl told my mother that, when her little Catherine was fretful and could not sleep, she took her in the evening, when the cattle were coming home, into the front yard, gave her a swing, and said, "God and the Virgin help us. The Vila marries their son and invites Catherine to the wedding.