The Science of Fairy Tales/Chapter 9
THE SUPERNATURAL LAPSE OF TIME IN FAIRYLAND (continued).
The story not an early one—Its weirdest developments European—Stories of short time appearing long—Mohammed's night-journey and its variants—The Sleeping Hero, a heathen god—The Wild Hunt—The Enchanted Princess, a heathen goddess.
The visits to Fairyland recorded in Chapter VII differ only in one respect from those mentioned in earlier chapters of this book. Like them, they are visits of business or of pleasure. Mortals are summoned to perform some service for the mysterious beings whose dwelling is beneath the earth, such as to stand sponsor to their children, or to shoe their horses; or they go to take a message from this world, or to bring a message back. Or else they are drawn into the regions over which the power of the supernatural extends, by curiosity, by the desire of pleasure, or else by the invitation, or unconsciously by the spell, of their superhuman inhabitants. The point at which the visits differ from those we have previously considered, and from a hundred others precisely parallel in all other respects, is in their length. To the entrammelled mortal the visit seems to last but a moment; for while under the fairy sway he is unconscious of the flight of time. In other stories deception is practised on the sight. The midwife, without the ointment, is deceived like Thor by Utgard-Loki: nothing is as it appears to her. Parents and husbands are deceived by changelings: they are made to believe that images of dead wood are living creatures, or human corpses. In these stories, on the other hand, the magic is directed against the sense of time. A subtler, a weirder, a more awful horror is thus added to the dread of communion with the supernatural.
This horror is one arising comparatively late in the history of culture. The idea of time must first grow up and be elaborated. Time is dependent on number. A savage who can barely count beyond five cannot know anything of stories which deal with the lapse of centuries. Even the vaguer, but shorter, period of a generation will be an idea he cannot grasp. We have therefore found no such tales in the lower savagery; and even among the Lapplanders and the Siberian tribes the stories we have been able to collect speak only of short periods, such as the transition from autumn to spring, where a man had slept through the winter, and the expansion of a day into a month, or a year. In these two cases not only the phases of the moon and the measurement of time by them, which must have been early in development, but also the cycle of the seasons had been observed. But the idea lying at the root of this group of tales is as yet only in germ. The full terror of the situation, as exhibited in the traditions of the more highly organized societies of Europe and of the extreme Orient, is unforeseen. For it is in proportion to the organization of society that such a catastrophe as the loss of years, and thereby of kindred and friends, becomes really dreadful. Indeed, it would seem to have been reserved for the European nations to put the final touches of gloom and horror upon the canvas. It may be sufficient to refer this to the more sombre imagination of Western peoples. But we ought not to overlook the influence of the Catholic Church in darkening the general tone of the imagination, and particularly the tone of the fairy sagas, by the absolute and unquestioned supremacy she demanded, and the frightful penalties, temporal and spiritual, she invoked upon those who dared to indulge in cults she was unable to incorporate. To men under such an influence, intercourse with fairies would be a thing unholy; and the greater the temptations to it, the severer, they would deem, should be the penalties. This is the frame of mind which would, if with shuddering, yet without a murmur, acquiesce in the justice of the doom suffered by Herla, to put an extreme case—a frame of mind undoubtedly countenanced by the equally uncompromising claims of various forms of Protestantism. But, while reprobating commerce with unhallowed spirits, intercourse with spirits sanctioned by the Church was believed to be almost equally possible, and was encouraged as much as the other was denounced. If such intercourse sometimes resulted in severance between the favoured mortal and his human friends, this was only an extension of the monastic idea; and, as in that case, the loss was held to be abundantly compensated by the favour of Heaven and the bliss received. At all events it is certain, from whatever cause, that the deepest depths and the loftiest heights of which this story-plot has been found capable, have been reached only under Christian influences. Pliny and Mohammed, the Taoist and the Shintoist, have recorded no tale that sways our emotions like those of Herla, the Aged Bride, and the Monk Felix.
But the magical power over time operates now and then in the contrary way, by making a short time appear long. A few examples may be interesting, though they will in no way affect the foregoing conclusions. In the tenth part of a night Mohammed, it will be remembered, was taken up to Paradise on the back of the beast Alborac, and passed through all the seven heavens into the presence of Allah himself, with whom he had a conversation, which could not have been a very short one, and was then brought back by the way he had gone. He remained long enough in each heaven to give a full, true and particular account of it and of its inhabitants, and performed various other feats during the journey. Nor will it be forgotten how one of the Sultans one day expressing doubts on the possibility of so much having happened to the Apostle in so short a time, a learned doctor of the Mohammedan law caused a basin of water to be brought and requested him to dip his head into it. When the Sultan dipped his head he found himself in a strange country, alone and friendless, on the sea-shore. He made his way to a neighbouring town, obtained employment, became rich, married, lived seven years with his wife, who afterwards, to his great grief, died, and then he lost all. One day he was wandering in despondency along the sea-shore, where he had first found himself; and in his despair he determined to cast himself into the sea. Scarcely had he done so when he beheld his courtiers standing around his throne: he was once more Sultan, and the basin of water into which he had dipped his head was before him. He began furiously to reproach the learned doctor for banishing him from his capital and sending him into the midst of vicissitudes and adventures for so many years. Nor was it without difficulty that he was brought to believe that he had only just dipped his head into the water and lifted it out again.
This type of story is less frequent than the other, but it is known in countries far apart. A stripling, in Pembrokeshire, joined a fairy dance, and found himself in a palace glittering with gold and pearls, where he remained in great enjoyment with the fairy folk for many years. One restriction was laid upon him: he was not to drink from a certain well in the midst of the palace gardens. But he could not forbear. In that well swam golden fishes and fishes of all colours. One day the youth, impelled by curiosity, plunged his hand into the water; but in a moment fishes and all disappeared, a shriek ran through the garden, and he found himself again on the hillside with his father's flocks around him. In fact, he had never left the sheep, and what seemed to him to be years had been only minutes, during which the fairy spell had been over him. In Count Lucanor, a Spanish work of the fourteenth century, is a story of a Dean of Santiago, who went to Don Illan, a magician of Toledo, to be instructed in necromancy. Don Illan made a difficulty, stating that the dean was a man of influence and consequently likely to attain a high position, and that men when they rise forget easily all past obligations, as well as the persons from whom they received them. The dean, however, protested that, no matter to what eminence he attained, he would never fail to remember and to help his former friends, and the magician in particular. This being the bargain, Don Illan led the dean into a remote apartment, first desiring his housekeeper to procure some partridges for supper, but not to cook them until she had his special commands. Scarcely had the dean and his friend reached the room when two messengers arrived from the dean's uncle, the archbishop, summoning him to his death-bed. Being unwilling, however, to forego the lessons he was about to receive, he contented himself with a respectful reply. Four days afterwards other messengers arrived with letters informing the dean of the archbishop's death, and again at the end of other seven or eight days he learned that he himself had been appointed archbishop in his uncle's place. Don Illan solicited the vacant deanery for his son; but the new archbishop preferred his own brother, inviting, however, Don Illan and his son to accompany him to his see. After awhile, the deanery was again vacant: and again the archbishop refused Don Illan's suit, in favour of one of his own uncles. Two years later, the archbishop was named cardinal and summoned to Rome, with liberty to name his successor in the see. Don Illan, pressing his suit more urgently, was again repulsed in favour of another uncle. At length the pope died, and the new cardinal was chosen pope. Don Illan, who had accompanied him to Rome, then reminded him that he had now no excuse for not fulfilling the promises he had so often repeated to him. The pope sought to put him off; but Don Illan complained in earnest of the many promises he had made, none of which had been kept, and declared that he had no longer any faith in his words. The pope, much angered, threatened to have Don Illan thrown into prison as a heretic and a sorcerer; for he knew that in Toledo he had no other means of support but by practising the art of necromancy. Don Illan, seeing how ill the pope had requited his services, prepared to depart; and the pope, as if he had not already shown sufficient ingratitude, refused even to grant him wherewith to support himself on the road. "Then," retorted Don Ulan, "since I have nothing to eat, I must needs fall back on the partridges I ordered for to-night's supper." He then called out to his housekeeper and ordered her to cook the birds. No sooner had he thus spoken than the dean found himself again in Toledo, still dean of Santiago, as on his arrival, for, in fact, he had not stirred from the place. This was simply the way the magician had chosen to test his character, before committing himself to his hands; and the dean was so crestfallen he had nothing to reply to the reproaches wherewith Don Illan dismissed him without even a taste of the partridges.
A modern folk-tale from Cashmere tells of a Brahmin who prayed to know something of the state of the departed. One morning, while bathing in the river, his spirit left him and entered the body of the infant child of a cobbler. The child grew up, learned his father's business, married, and had a large family, when suddenly he was made aware of his high caste, and, abandoning all, he went to another country. There the king had just died; and the stranger was chosen in his place, and put upon his throne. In the course of a few years his wife came to know where he was, and sought to join him. In this or some other way his people learned that he was a cobbler; and great consternation prevailed on account of his low caste. Some of his subjects fled; others performed great penances; and some indeed burnt themselves lest they should be excommunicated. When the king heard all this, he too burnt himself; and his spirit went and re-occupied the Brahmin's corpse, which still lay by the riverside. Thereupon the Brahmin got up and went home to his wife, who only said: "How quickly you have performed your ablutions this morning!" The Brahmin said not a word of his adventures, notwithstanding he was greatly astonished. To crown all, however, about a week afterwards a man came to him begging, and said he had eaten nothing for five days, during which he had been running away from his country because a cobbler had been made king. All the people, he said, were running away, or burning themselves, to escape the consequences of such an evil. The Brahmin, while he gave the man food, thought: "How can these things be? I have been a cobbler for several years; I have reigned as a king for several years; and this man confirms the truth of my thoughts. Yet my wife declares I have not been absent from this house more than the usual time; and I believe her, for she does not look any older, neither is the place changed in any way." Thus were the gods teaching him that the soul passes through various stages of existence according to a man's thoughts, words, and acts, and in the great Hereafter a day is equal to a thousand years, and a thousand years are equal to a day.
We may now turn to the types in which the spell is believed to be still powerful over heroes once mighty but now hidden within the hills, or in some far-off land, awaiting in magical sleep, or in more than human delight, the summons that shall bid them return to succour their distressed people in the hour of utmost need. As to the personality of these heroes there can be no doubt. Grimm long ago pointed out that the red-bearded king beneath the Kyffhäuser can be no other than Thor, the old Teutonic god of thunder, and that the long beard—sometimes described as white—attributed to other leaders was a token of Woden. The very name of Woden is preserved in the Odenberg, to which several of such legends attach; and the hidden king there is sometimes called Karl the Great, and sometimes Woden. In other countries Quetzalcoatl and Vishnu, we know, are gods of the native cults. Oisin, Merlin, and King Arthur all belong to the old Celtic Pantheon. And if some other sleeping or vanished heroes bear the names of personages who once had a real existence, they are but decked in borrowed plumes. In short, all these Hidden Heroes are gods of the earlier faiths, vanquished by Christianity but not destroyed.
If this be so, it may be inferred that these gods were at one time conceived as presently active, and that it is only since the introduction of the new faith that they have been thought to be retired beneath the overhanging hills or in the Islands of the Blest. But this was not so. In all regions the chief activity of the deities has always been placed in the past. Upon the stories told of the deeds of yesterday the belief of today is founded. Whether it be creation, or strife against evil spirits, or the punishment of men, or the invention of the civilizing arts, or the endless amours of too susceptible divinities, all is looked upon as past and done. The present is a state of rest, of suspension of labour, or at least of cessation of open and visible activity. These gods, like men, require an abode. In the later stages of culture this abode is a Paradise on some more or less imaginary mountain-top, or effectually cut off from men by the magical tempests of the immeasurable main, or by the supreme and silent heights of heaven. But this exaltation of ideas took long to reach. At first a strange rock, a fountain, the recesses of a cavern, or the mysterious depths of the forest, enshrouded the divinity. In the earlier stages of savagery it would be almost truer to say that these were very often the divinity: at least they were often his outward and visible form. Mr. Im Thurn, who has had exceptional opportunities of observing the characteristics of the savage mind, and has made exceptionally good use of those opportunities, in describing the animism of the Indians of Guiana, says: "Every object in the whole world is a being consisting of body and spirit, and differs from every other object in no respect except that of bodily form, and in the greater or less degree of brute power and brute cunning consequent on the difference of bodily form and bodily habits." Then, after discussing the lower animals and plants as each possessed of body and soul, and particularizing several rocks which are supposed by the Indians to possess spirits like human beings, he goes on: "It is unnecessary to multiply instances, further than by saying that almost every rock seen for the first time, and any rock which is in any way abnormal whenever seen, is believed to consist of body and spirit. And not only many rocks, but also many waterfalls, streams, and indeed material bodies of every sort, are supposed to consist each of a body and a spirit as does man; and that not all inanimate objects have this dual nature avowedly attributed to them is probably only due to the chance that, while all such objects may at any time, in any of the ways above indicated, show signs of the presence of a spirit within them, this spirit has not yet been noticed in some cases." From this belief to that in which the rocks and hills and other inanimate objects are looked upon as having the relation to spirits, not of body and soul, but of dwelling and dweller, is a step upward, and perhaps a long one. But it is a natural development, and one which would inevitably take place as the popular opinion of the power of certain spirits grew, and these spirits attracted to themselves superstitions and sagas current among the people whose civilization was by the same slow movement growing too.
The development spoken of would perhaps be assisted by the erection of monuments like piles of stones, or earthen barrows, over the dead. As formerly in their huts, so now in their graves, the dead would be regarded as the occupiers. Their spirits were still living, and would be seen from time to time haunting the spot. Food would be buried with them; and sacrifices at the moment of burial and on subsequent occasions would be offered to them. In process of time among illiterate races their identity would be forgotten, and then if the barrows were not large enough to attract attention the superstitions which had their seat there might cease. But if the barrows could not be overlooked, the spirits supposed to haunt them might merge into some other objects of reverence. In Denmark the barrows are invariably regarded as the haunt of fairies; and this is frequently the case in other countries. When men once became habituated to think of a barrow as not the outward and visible form of some spirit, but simply its dwelling-place—still more, perhaps, if many interments took place within it, so that it became the dwelling-place of many spirits—they would be led by an easy transition to think of rocks, fountains, hills, and other natural objects in the same way. The spirits once supposed to be their inner identity would become perfectly separable in thought from them, because merely their tenants. Thus the gulf would be bridged between the savage philosophy of spirits described by Mr. Im Thurn, and the polytheism of the higher heathendom, represented by Mexico, Scandinavia, and Greece.
But whether they travelled by this, or any different road, certain it is that in the remoter times of the higher heathendom men had arrived no further than the belief that certain spots, and preferably certain striking objects, were the abodes of their gods. This was a doctrine developed directly from that which regarded the more remarkable objects of nature as the bodies of powerful spirits. Nor was it ever entirely abandoned; for even after the more advanced and thoughtful of the community had reached the idea of an Olympus, or an Asgard, far removed above the every-day earth of humanity, the gods still had their temples, and sacred legends still attached to places where events of the divine history had happened. Consequently some localities kept their reputation of sanctity. That they were really the abiding-places of the gods the common people would not cease to hold, whatever might be taught or held by those who had renounced that crudity. And, indeed, it may be doubted whether anybody ever renounced it altogether. Probably, at all events, most persons would see no difficulty in believing that the god dwelt on the sacred spot of earth and also at the same time in heaven. They would accept both traditions as equally true, without troubling themselves how to reconcile them.
But the gods did not always remain in their dwellings. The Wild Hunt, a tradition of a furious host riding abroad with a terrific noise of shouts and horns and the braying of hounds, common to Germany and England, has been identified beyond doubt by Grimm with Woden and his host. We cannot here discuss the subject except in its relations with the group of stories now under consideration. Woden, it will be borne in mind, is one of the figures of the old mythology merged in the Hidden Hero beneath the German hills. Now, nothing is more natural than that, when a company of warriors is conceived as lying ready for a summons, themselves all armed and their steeds standing harnessed at their sides, they should be thought now and then to sally forth. This was the sound which surprised the good burgesses of Jung-Wositz when Ulrich von Rosenberg and his train rode out by night upon the plain. In this way King Wenzel exercises his followers, and the unfortunate Stoymir vindicated his existence beneath the Blanik notwithstanding his death. In this way too, before a war, Diedrich is heard preparing for battle at one o'clock in the morning on the mountain of Ax. Once in seven years Earl Gerald rides round the Curragh of Kildare; and every seventh year the host at Ochsenfeld in Upper Alsace may be seen by night exercising on their horses. On certain days the Carpathian robber issues from his cavern in the Czornahora. Grimm mentions the story of a blacksmith who found a gap he had never noticed before in the face of a cliff on the Odenberg, and entering, stood in the presence of mighty men, playing there at bowls with balls of iron, as Rip van Winkle's friends were playing at ninepins. So a Wallachian saga connects the Wild Hunt with a mysterious forest castle built by the Knight Sigmirian, who was cursed with banishment for three hundred years from the society of men for refusing the daughter of the King of Stones. In the same category we must put the spectral host in the Donnersberg, and Herla's company, which haunted the Welsh marches, and is described by Walter Map as a great band of men and women on foot and in chariots, with pack-saddles and panniers, birds and dogs, advancing with trumpets and shouts, and all sorts of weapons ready for emergencies. Night was the usual time of Herla's wanderings, but the last time he and his train were seen was at noon. Those who then saw them, being unable to obtain an answer to their challenge by words, prepared to exact one by arms; but the moment they did so the troop rose into the air and disappeared, nor was it ever seen again.
This is a different account of Herla from that previously quoted from an earlier part of Map's work; but perhaps, if it were worth while to spend the time, not altogether irreconcilable with it. The tradition, it should be observed, appears to have been an English, and not a Welsh, tradition, since the host received the English name of Herlething. Gervase of Tilbury, writing about the same time, reports that Arthur was said by the foresters, or woodwards, both in Britain and in Brittany, to be very often seen at midday, or in the evening moonlight at full of the moon, accompanied by a troop of soldiers, hunters, dogs, and the sound of horns. This is manifestly a Celtic tradition. But these occasions are not the last on which such appearances have been seen and heard in this country. If we may believe a tract published in 1643, spectral fights had taken place at Keniton, in Northamptonshire, during four successive Saturday and Sunday nights of the preceding Christmastide. By those who are reported to have witnessed the and among them were several gentlemen of credit mentioned by name as despatched by the king himself from Oxford it was taken to be a ghostly repetition of the battle of Edgehill, which had been fought only two months before on the adjacent fields. The excitement of men's minds during periods of commotion has doubtless much to do with the currency of beliefs like this. Saint Augustine alludes to a story of a battle between evil spirits beheld upon a plain in Campania during the civil wars of Rome. As in the case of Edgehill, the vision was accompanied by all the noises of a conflict; and indeed the saint goes the length of declaring that after it was over the ground was covered with the footprints of men and horses. On the spot where this is said to have happened an actual battle took place not very long after. These two instances are unconnected with the Sleeping Host; but many of the legends explicitly declare the exercises of the host when it emerges from its retirement to consist of a sham fight. Although the legends containing this account are not all found among Teutonic peoples, it cannot be deemed irrelevant to draw attention to the fact that similar fights are mentioned as the daily occupation of the heroes who attain to Valhalla, just as the nightly feasts of that roystering paradise correspond to the refreshments provided for the warriors around the tables of stone in their subterranean retreats. Whatever may have been the creed of other European races, it is hardly to be doubted that in these German superstitions we have an approach to the primitive belief, of which the Eddaic Valhalla was a late and idealized development.
But we may—nay, we must—go further. For in the history of traditional religions goddesses have been as popular as gods; and if we are right in seeing, with Grimm, the archaic gods in the Hidden Heroes, some where we must find their mates, the corresponding goddesses. We have already had glimpses of them in Morgan the Fay, in the Emperor Frederick's lady-housekeeper (ausgeberin) and in the maid who in another saga attended on his bidding. The lady-housekeeper is expressly called in one story Dame Holle. Now Dame Holle herself is the leader of a Furious Host, or Wild Hunt, and has been identified by Grimm beyond any doubt as a pagan goddess, like Berchta.
Let us take another story in which the female companion of the enchanted hero appears. Near the town of Garz, on the island of Rügen, lies a lake by which a castle formerly stood. It belonged to an old heathen king, whose avarice heaped up great store of gold and jewels in the vaults beneath. It was taken and destroyed by the Christians, and its owner was transformed into a great black dog ever watching his treasure. Sometimes he is still seen in human form with helm, or golden crown, and coat of mail, riding a grey horse over the city and the lake; sometimes he is met with by night in the forest, wearing a black fur cap and carrying a white staff. It is possible to disenchant him, but only if a pure virgin, on St. John's night between twelve and one o'clock, will venture, naked and alone, to climb the castle wall and wander backwards to and fro amid the ruins, until she light upon the spot where the stairway of the tower leads down into the treasure chamber. Slipping down, she will then be able to take as much gold and jewels as she can carry, and what she cannot herself carry the old king will bring after her, so that she will be rich for the rest of her life. But she must return by sunrise, and she must not once look behind her, nor speak a single word, else not only will she fail, but she will perish miserably. A princess who was accused of unchastity obtained her father's permission to try this adventure, in order to prove the falsehood of the charge against her. She safely gained the vault, which was illuminated with a thousand lights. The king, a little grey old man, bestowed the treasure upon her, and sent a number of servants laden with it to follow her. All would have gone well, but unhappily when she had climbed a few of the old steps she looked round to see if the servants were coming. At once the king changed into a great black dog, that sprang upon her with fiery throat and glowing eyes. She just had time to scream out when the door slammed to, the steps sank, and she fell back into the vault in darkness. She has sat there now for four hundred years, waiting until a pure youth shall find his way down in the same manner on St. John's night, shall bow to her thrice and silently kiss her. He may then take her hand and lead her forth to be his bride; and he will inherit such riches as a whole kingdom cannot buy.
But goddesses do not always play so secondary a part. In a wood in Pomerania stands a round, flat hill called the Castle Hill, and at its foot lies a little lake known as the Hertha Lake. By its name it is thus directly connected with one of the old divinities, like that lake on the island of Rügen referred to in Chapter IV. And here, too, a mysterious lady has been seen to wash, a young and lovely maiden, clad in black not in secret, as in the former instance, but openly, as if for the purpose of attracting attention from passers-by, and of being spoken to. At last a broad-shouldered workman, named Kramp, ventured to give the maiden "the time of day," and to get her into conversation. She told him she was a princess, who, with her castle, had been from time immemorial enchanted, and that she was still waiting for her deliverer. The mode of loosing the spell was by carrying her on his back in silence to the churchyard of Wusseken and there putting her down, being careful not to look round the while; for, happen what would, he could take no harm, even if it were threatened to tear his head off. He undertook the task, and had nearly accomplished it without troubling in the least about the troops of spirits which followed him, when suddenly, as he drew near the churchyard, a hurricane arose and took his cap off. Forgetful of his promise, he looked round; and the maiden rose into the air, weeping and crying out that she could never be delivered now. A story told in Mecklenburg is more picturesque. It concerns the daughter of a lake-king, who leagued himself with other knights against a robber, the owner of a castle called the Glamburg, which was a place of some strength, being entirely surrounded by the water of the Lake of Glam. The confederates were defeated; and nine large round barrows were raised the next day over the slain, among whom was the lake-king. His daughter wept upon her father's grave, and her tears, as they touched the earth, became lovely blue flowers. These flowers still grow upon the loftiest of the nine barrows, while the others are quite destitute of them. The princess threw herself that night—it was St. John's night—into the lake; and now every year on St. John's night, between twelve and one o'clock, a bridge of copper rises out of the lake, and the princess appears upon it, sighing for her deliverance.
The typical form of the tale is as follows: In the Buchenberg by Doberan dwells an enchanted princess, who can only be released once in a hundred years, on St. John's Day between twelve and one. In the year 1818 a servant boy was watching sheep on the eastern side of the Buchenberg the day before St. John's day. About noon a white lady appeared to him and told him that he could deliver her, if he would, the next day at the same hour, kiss her. She would then come to him in the form of a toad with a red band round its neck. The shepherd promised; but the next day when he saw the toad he was so horrified that he ran away. A variant records the hour as between twelve and one at night, and the form of the lady as a snake which sought to twine round the shepherd's neck. A great treasure buried in the hill would have been his had he stood the proof; but now the lady will have to wait until a beech tree shall have grown up on the spot and been cut down, and of its timber a cradle made: the child that is rocked in that cradle will have power to save her. This is in effect the story told by Sir John Maundeville concerning the daughter of Hippocrates, the renowned physician, who was said to have been enchanted by Diana on the island of Cos, or (as he calls it) Lango, and given with so much of Mr. William Morris' power in "The Earthly Paradise." "Then listen!" says the damsel in the ruined castle to the seaman whom she meets—
"Then listen! when this day is overpast,
A fearful monster I shall be again,
And thou may'st be my saviour at the last,
Unless, once more, thy words are nought and vain;
If thou of love and sovereignty art fain,
Come thou next morn, and when thou seest here
A hideous dragon, have thereof no fear,
"But take the loathsome head up in thine hands,
And kiss it, and be master presently
Of twice the wealth that is in all the lands,
From Cathay to the head of Italy;
And master also, if it pleaseth thee,
Of all thou praisest as so fresh and bright,
Of what thou callest crown of all delight.
* * * * * *
"Ah, me! to hold my child upon my knees,
After the weeping of unkindly tears,
And all the wrongs of these four hundred years."
But the horrible apparition of the dragon was too much for the adventurer's courage:
"He cried out and wildly at her smote,
Shutting his eyes, and turned and from the place
Ran swiftly, with a white and ghastly face,"
"Never any man again durst go
To seek her woman's form, and end her wo."
It would be too tedious to run through even a small proportion of the examples of this tale, almost innumerable in Germany alone. Fortunately, it will only be necessary to allude to a few of its chief features. When the enchanted princess assumes a monstrous form, the usual ordeal of the would-be deliverer is to kiss her. A toad or a snake is, perhaps, her favourite form; but occasionally she is half woman, half toad, or half woman, half snake. Further transformations now and then take place, as from a snake into a fiery dog, or from a bear into a lion, from a lion into a snake. Sometimes as a bear alone she threatens her deliverer. In a Carinthian saga he is to cut three birch rods at the full of the moon, and then wait at the appointed place. The damsel approaches in the guise of a snake, with a bunch of keys in her mouth, and menaces him, hissing and snorting fire. Unmoved by the creature's rage, he is to strike her thrice on the head with each rod and take the keys from her mouth. In the Duchy of Luxemburg the favourite form assumed by the princess is that of a fire-breathing snake, bearing in her mouth a bunch of keys, or a ring; and the deliverer's task then is to take the keys or ring away with his own mouth. It is believed that Melusina, whose story we shall deal with in the following chapters, is enchanted beneath the Bockfels, a rock near the town of Luxemburg. There she appears every seventh year in human form and puts one stitch in a smock. When she shall have finished sewing the smock she will be delivered; but woe then to the town! for its ruins will be her grave and monument. Men have often undertaken her earlier deliverance. This is to be effected at midnight, when she appears as a snake, by taking with the mouth a key from her mouth and flinging it into the Alzet. No one, however, has yet succeeded in doing this; and meantime when a calamity threatens the town, whose faithful guardian she is, she gives warning by gliding round the Bockfels uttering loud laments.
But in many of the sagas the princess meets her hero in her own proper shape, and then the feat to be performed varies much more. In a Prussian tale she comes out of a deep lake, which occupies the site of a once-mighty castle, at sunset, clothed in black, and accompanied by a black dog. The castle belonged to the young lady's parents, who were wicked, though she herself was pious; and it was destroyed on account of their evil doings. Since that time she has wandered around, seeking some bold and pious man who will follow her into the depths of the lake, and thus remove the curse. This would seem but another form of the tradition of the lake at the foot of the Herthaburg on the isle of Rügen. In another story the lady must be brought an unbaptized child to kiss. In yet another the deliverer is led down through a dark underground passage into a brilliantly lighted room, where sit three black men writing at a table, and is bidden to take one of two swords which lie on the table and strike off the enchanted lady's head. To cut off the head of a bewitched person is an effectual means of destroying the spell. So, in the Gaelic story of the Widow and her Daughters, the heroine decapitates the horse-ogre, who thereupon returns to his true form as a king's son, and marries her. A large number of parallel instances might easily be given; but they would lead us too far afield. The lady of the Princess Hill, near Warin, in Mecklenburg, has to be held fast from midnight until one o'clock in spite of all frightful apparitions of snakes, dragons, and toads which crowd around and threaten the adventurer. In the same way Peleus, desiring to secure Thetis, had to hold her fast through her various magical changes until she found resistance useless, and returned to her true form. In a modern Cretan tale the hero, by the advice of an old woman, seizes at night a Nereid by the hair and holds her until the cock crows, in spite of her changes successively into a dog, a snake, a camel, and fire. The process of disenchanting Tam Lin, in the ballad of that name, was for his lady-love to take him in her arms and hold him, notwithstanding his transformation into a snake, a bear, a lion, a red-hot iron, and lastly into a "burning gleed," when he was to be immediately flung into a well.
We have already seen that the task is sometimes to carry the maiden to a churchyard. At the Castle Hill of Bütow she was to be carried to the Polish churchyard and there thrown to the ground with all the deliverer's might. A castle is said to have stood formerly on the site of Budow Mill in Eastern Pomerania. An enchanted princess now haunts the place. She is only to be freed by a bachelor who will carry her in silence, and without looking behind him, around the churchyard; but the spirits which hold her under their spell will seek in every way to hinder her deliverance. On the Müggelsberg is, or was (for it is said to be now destroyed), a large stone under which a treasure lies. It was called the Devil's Altar; and at night it often seemed, from the neighbouring village of Müggelsheim, to be in a blaze; but on drawing near the fire would vanish from sight. At Köpenick, another village not far off, it was called the Princesses' Stone, but the lake at the foot of the hill was called the Devil's Lake. The stone was said to occupy the site of a castle, now enchanted and swallowed up in the earth. Beneath it a hole ran deep into the mountain, out of which a princess was sometimes of an evening seen to come, with a casket of pure gold in her hand. He who would carry her thrice round the church of Köpenick without looking about him, would win the casket of gold and deliver her. The names of the stone and of the lake, as well as the attendant circumstances, are strong evidence in favour of the conclusion that we have in this superstition a relic of heathen times, and a record of some divinity believed to reside at that spot. A princess, clad in white and having a golden spinning-wheel in her hand, was believed to appear on the Castle Hill at Biesenthal, at midday. Once at midnight she appeared to a gardener who had often heard voices at night summoning him to the castle garden. At first he was frightened at the vision, but at length consented to carry her to the church, which stands near the hill. He took her on his back; but when he entered the churchyard gate he suddenly met a carriage drawn by coal-black horses, which vomited fire. So terrified was he that he shrieked aloud, whereupon the carriage vanished, and the princess flew away moaning: "For ever lost!" In a case where a prince had been enchanted, the feat was to wrestle with him three nights in succession.
But it was not always that so hard a task was set before the deliverer. To our thinking, it says little for the German way of doing business that the difficulty in unspelling the castle near Lossin, and the maiden who dwelt therein, was to buy a pair of shoes without bargaining and cheapening their price, but to pay for them exactly the piece of money which the maiden handed to the youth who undertook the enterprise. In another case a maiden was seen to scour a kettle at a little lake. She was enchanted. The man who beheld her thought the kettle would prove useful at his approaching wedding, and borrowed it on the express condition of returning it at a fixed time. He failed to do so, and the Evil One came and fetched it; and the maiden had to wait longer for her deliverance. There are stories similar to this of fairies lending such articles on this condition. If the condition be not complied with, the fairies are never seen again. Aubrey relates that in the vestry of Frensham Church, in Surrey, is a great kettle, which was borrowed from the fairies who lived in the Borough Hill, about a mile away. It was not returned according to promise, and though afterwards taken back, it was not received, nor since that time had there been any borrowing there.
A man who was in the habit of meeting in a certain wood an adder, which always sneezed thrice as he passed, consulted his parish priest on the subject. The priest advised him to say the next time, as he would to a human friend who sneezed: "God help thee!" The man did so, whereupon the adder shot forth before him with fiery body and terrible rattling, so startling him that he turned and fled. The snake hurried after him, crying out that it would not hurt him, but that if he would take (not, however, with naked hands) the bunch of keys that hung about its neck, it would then lead the way to a great treasure and make him happy. He turned a deaf ear to these entreaties; and as he ran away he heard the snake exclaim that now it must remain enchanted until yon little oak tree had grown great, and a cradle had been made out of the timber: the first child that lay in that cradle would be able to deliver it. The same incident reappears in another saga, in which some men passing through the forest hear a sneeze, and one of them says: "God help thee!" The sneeze and the blessing are repeated; but when the sneeze was heard a third time, the man exclaimed: "Oh, go to the devil!" "I believe somebody is making game of us," said another. But a mannikin stepped forward and said: "If you had said a third time 'God help thee!' I should have been saved. Now I must wait until an acorn falls from yonder tree and becomes an oak, and a cradle is made out of its timber. The child that comes to lie in that cradle will be able to deliver me." In this case all that was required was a thrice-repeated blessing. Another curious means of deliverance is found in a story from Old Strelitz. There an enchanted princess haunted a bridge a short distance from one of the gates of the town, on the road to Woldegk. Whoever in going over this bridge uttered a certain word, could unspell her if he would afterwards allow her to walk beside him the rest of the way over the bridge without speaking; but the difficulty was that nobody knew what the powerful word was.
Two other legends may be noticed on the mode of undoing the spell. The White Lady who haunts the White Tower on the White Hill at Prague was married to a king. She betrayed him, and married his enemy, from whom she subsequently fled with an officer of his army. She was, however, caught, and walled up in the White Tower. From this she may be delivered if she can find any one who will allow her to give him three stabs in the breast with a bayonet without uttering a sound. Once she prevailed on a young recruit, who was placed as sentinel before the magazine of the castle, to stand the necessary trial; but on receiving the first blow he could not forbear crying aloud: "Jesus! Mary! thou hast given it me!" Another old castle in Bohemia has twelve ladies enchanted by day as fish in the fountain of the castle garden, and appearing only at night in their true shape. They can not be disenchanted unless by twelve men who will remain in the castle for twelve months without once going outside the walls.
These bring us to a number of märchen in which the bespelled heroine is released by a youth who suffers torture on her account. The Transylvanian gipsies tell a tale of a very poor man who, instructed by a dream, climbed a certain mountain and found a beautiful maiden before a cavern, spinning her own golden hair. She had been sold by her heartless parents to an evil spirit, who compelled her to this labour; but she could be saved if she could find any one willing to undergo in silence, for her sake, an hour's torture from the evil spirit on three successive nights. The man expressed himself ready to make the attempt; he entered the cave, and at midnight a gigantic Prikulich, or evil spirit, appeared, and questioned him as to who he was and what he wanted there. Failing to get any reply, the Prikulich flung him to the ground and danced about madly on him. The man endured without a moan; and at one o'clock the Prikulich disappeared. The second night the man was beaten with a heavy hammer, and so tortured that the maiden had great difficulty in persuading him to stand the third proof. While she was praying him, however, to stay, the Prikulich appeared the third time, and beat him again with the hammer until he was half dead. Then the goblin made a fire and flung him into it. The poor fellow uttered not a single sound, in spite of all this torment; and the maiden was saved and wedded her deliverer. This is a tale by no means uncommon. Want of space forbids us to follow it in detail, but a few references in the note below will enable the reader to do so if he please. Meantime, I will only say that sometimes the princess who is thus to be rescued is enchanted in the form of a snake, sometimes of a she-goat, sometimes of a bird; and in one of the stories she herself, in the shape of a monster like a hedgehog, comes out of a coffin to tear the hero in pieces. The group is allied, on the one hand, to that of Fearless Johnny who, passing the night in a haunted house, expelled the ghosts, or goblins, which had taken possession of it; on the other hand, to that of the Briar Rose, illustrated by Mr. Burne Jones' series of paintings.
The Briar Rose, or The Beauty of Sleeping Wood, as it comes to us from Perrault's hands, is the story of a maiden who was cursed by an offended fairy to pierce her hand with a spindle and to die of it—a curse afterwards mitigated into a sleep of a hundred years. Every effort was made by the king, her father, to avert the doom, but in vain; and for a whole century the princess and all her court remained in the castle in a magical sleep, while the castle itself and all within it were protected from intrusion by an equally magical growth of brambles and thorns, which not only prevented access, but entirely hid it from view. At length a king's son found his way in at the very moment the fated period came to an end; or, as we have it in other versions, he awakened the maiden with a kiss. In the old stories of the Niblungs and the Volsungs Odin has pricked the shield-maid Brynhild with a sleep-thorn, and thus condemned her to sleep within the shield-burg on Hindfell. Attracted by the appearance of fire, Sigurd comes to the shield-burg and, finding Brynhild, releases her from her slumber by ripping up her armour with his sword. This is chronologically the earliest form of the myth of the Enchanted Princess with which we are acquainted; and it is interwoven with the very fibres of the Teutonic mythology. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Germans have given it so prominent a place in their folk-lore. So far as now appears it is less conspicuous in the folk-lore of the other European races with the exception of the Slaves, and when it does show itself it shows itself chiefly as a märchen. But, although what we know of the folk-lore of the Teutonic and Slavonic races may suggest reasons for this, we must not forget how rarely we can dogmatize with safety on national characteristics. To this rule the folk-lore of a nation is no exception; nay, rather, the rule applies with a double emphasis to a subject the scientific investigation of which has so lately begun and has yet achieved so little.
Declining this speculation, therefore, we turn to a last point in the sagas before us, namely, the propitious time for the disenchantment. Different times of the year are spoken of for this purpose. In some stories it is Advent, or New Year's night, when the lady makes her appearance and may be delivered. In a Pomeranian saga, where a woman cursed her seven daughters and they became mice, a woman, who is of the same age as the mother when she uttered the curse, must come with seven sons of the same ages as the daughters were when they were cursed, on Good Friday at noon, to the thicket where the mice are, and put her sons on a certain round stone there. The seven mice will then return to human shape; and when the children are old enough they will marry, and become rich and happy for the rest of their lives. A Carinthian tale requires the deliverer to come the next full moon after "May-Sunday"; and May-night is the date fixed in another case. But the favourite time is St. John's Day, either at noon or midnight. Some of these days are ecclesiastical festivals; but perhaps the only one which has not superseded an ancient heathen feast is Good Friday. The policy of the Church, in consecrating to Christian uses as many as possible of the seasons and customs she found already honoured among the peoples she had conquered, seized upon their holy days and made them her own. And if the science of Folk-lore has taught us anything, it is that the observances on these converted holy days external to the rites demanded by the Church are relics of the ceremonies performed in pagan days to pagan deities. In none of these instances has the proof been more conclusive than in that of St. John's, or Midsummer Day. Grimm, first, with abundant learning, and more recently Mr. Frazer, with a wealth of illustration surpassing that of Grimm himself, and indeed inaccessible in his day, have shown that the Midsummer festival was kept in honour of the sun; that it consisted of the ceremonial kindling of fire, the gathering and use of floral garlands, the offering of human and other sacrifices, and the performance of sacred dances; and that its object was to increase the power of the sun by magical sympathy, to obtain a good harvest and fruitfulness of all creatures, and to purge the sins of the people. It was, in fact, the chief ceremony of the year among the European races.
Prominent among the remnants of these ceremonies continued down to modern days are the Midsummer bonfires. These were lighted on the tops of mountains, hills, or even barrows. This situation may be thought to have symbolic reference to the solstice; but probably a still more powerful reason for it was the already sacred character of such places. But we need hardly consider whether the ceremonies of which the bonfires are the remnant, were observed on the hill-tops and other high places because the latter were already sacred, or, conversely, the hill tops and other high places were held sacred because of the ceremonies enacted there; for in either case the sanctity remains. Wells and pools, too, many of them still held sacred, were in various ways the objects of superstition at the Midsummer festival; for which the Church, when she chose to take the practices under her protection, had an ample excuse in St. John's mission to baptize. Now, whatever spots were the haunt of pagan divinities, there it was doubtless that those divinities were expected to appear; and by the same reasoning they would be most likely to appear during the favoured hours of the holy days. This is exactly what we find to be the case with Enchanted Princesses, and, so far as the days are recorded, with Sleeping Heroes. The heroes lie within the hills, which in many legends are only open on certain days. The princesses appear upon the hills, or by the sides of pools, the sites, if we believe the legends, of ancient castles where they dwelt. Once in the year, or once in a cycle of years, on a certain day, usually Midsummer Day or Midsummer Eve, they come to wash, or to fetch water, in their own form, either compelled or permitted by the terms of the curse that has bound them; and then it is that mortals are admitted to an interview and may render them the service of disenchantment. The instances in which the days are specified are so frequent we may perhaps suspect that they were originally mentioned in all, but that time and other circumstances have caused them to be forgotten. However this may be, it is only reasonable to conclude that, in the number of instances remaining, we have a tradition of the honours long ago paid to these degraded divinities on the days appointed for their worship.
I may be going too far in suggesting that the feats to be performed afford some confirmation of this conclusion; yet it seems to me there is much to be said for such an opinion. The appearance of a god in animal form—even in a loathsome animal form—would not derogate from his essential godhead. Where in these stories the deliverer has to deal with an animal, a kiss is the usual task prescribed. Kissing is a very ancient and well-known act of worship, which survives among us in many a practice of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the form of oath taken daily in our law courts; and it may be that the more repulsive the object to be kissed, the greater the merit of kissing it. Again, the lady who required to be followed into the depths of a lake may be matched with the goddess Hertha, whose slaves were drowned in the self-same waters wherein they had washed her; nor does it seem more menial to carry a princess than to wash a goddess. The ceremony of carrying may indeed be the relic of a solemn procession, or of a sacred drama. The words of blessing following on a sneeze need no explanation; and the omission to return at the promised time a borrowed kettle would be more likely to provoke the anger of a god than to retard the deliverance of a mortal. This is implied by the statement that the devil fetched the kettle himself; and we need have little doubt that in an earlier form the story so described it. I am unable to explain the unknown word which would deliver the lady who haunted the bridge at Old Strelitz, unless it be a reminiscence of an incantation.
There remain the demand for an unbaptized child to kiss, the torture to which the heroes of the two Bohemian sagas submit, the requirement in the Pomeranian tale to place seven brothers on the stone haunted by the seven mice, and lastly the personal violence to the damsel involved in striking her with a birch-rod or a bunch of juniper and in beheadal. In all these we probably have traces of sacrifice. The offering of an innocent child is familiar, if not comprehensible, enough to any one who has the most superficial acquaintance with savage rites. We have already seen that an unbaptized child is regarded as a pagan, and is an object of desire on the part of supernatural beings. The same reasons which induce fairies to steal it would probably render it an acceptable offering to a pagan divinity. No words need be wasted on the torture, or the tale of the mice. But the personal violence, if indeed the remnant of a tradition of sacrifice, involves the slaughter of the divinity herself. This might be thought an insuperable objection; but it is not really so. For, however absurd it may seem to us, it is a very widespread custom to sacrifice to a divinity his living representative or incarnation, whether in animal or human form. It is believed in such cases that the victim's spirit, released by sacrifice, forthwith finds a home in another body. The subject is too vast and complex to be discussed here at length; the reader who desires to follow it out can do so in Mr. Frazer's profoundly interesting work on "The Golden Bough." Assuming, however, the custom and belief, as here stated, to be admitted, it will be seen that the underlying thought is precisely that which we want in order to explain this mode of disenchantment. For if, on the one hand, what looks like murder be enjoined in a number of stories for the purpose of disenchanting a bewitched person; and if, on the other hand, the result of solemnly slaughtering a victim be in fact held to be simply the release of the victim's spirit—nay, if it was the prescribed mode of releasing that spirit—to seek a new, sometimes a better, abode in a fresh body, we may surely be satisfied that both these have the same origin. We may then, go further, and see in this unspelling incident, performed, as in the Enchanted Princess stories, in this way, at a haunted spot, frequently on a day of special sanctity, one more proof that the princess herself was in the earlier shape of the traditions no other than a goddess.
Finally: the myth of the Enchanted Princess has preserved in many of its variants a detail more archaic than any in that of the Sleeping Hero, and one which is decisive as to the lady's real status. If Frederick were to arise and come forth from his sleeping-place, the Kyffhaüser itself would remain. If Arthur were to awake and quit the Castle Rock, the rock itself wherein he lay would still be there. But the lake or mountain haunted by an enchanted maiden often owes its very existence, if not to her, at least to the spell which holds her enthralled. When she is delivered the place will be changed: the lake will give way to a palace; the earth will open and a buried castle will reascend to the surface; what is now nothing but an old grey boulder will forthwith return to its previous condition of an inhabited and stately building; or what is now a dwelling of men will become desolate. One of the best examples of this is the superstition I have already cited concerning Melusina. When she finishes her needlework she will be disenchanted, but only to die; and the ruins of the town of Luxemburg will be her grave and monument. In other words, the existence of the town is bound up with her enchantment,—that is to say, with her life. In the same way the bespelled damsel of the Urschelberg, near Pfullingen, in Swabia, is called by the very name of the mountain—the Old Urschel. This can only be the survival of a belief in the enchanted lady as the indwelling spirit, the soul, the real life of the spot she haunted: a belief which goes back to a deeper depth of savagery than one that regards her as a local goddess, and out of which the latter would be easily developed.
These considerations by no means exhaust the case; but I have said enough in support of conclusions anticipated by Grimm's clear-sighted genius and confirmed by every fresh discovery. Let me, therefore, recapitulate the results of the investigations contained in this and the two preceding chapters. We have rapidly examined several types of fairy tales in which the hero, detained in Fairyland, is unconscious of the flight of time. These tales are characteristic of a high rather than a low stage of civilization. Connected with them we have found the story of King Arthur, the Sleeping Hero, "rex quondam, rex que futurus," the expected deliverer, sometimes believed to be hidden beneath the hills, at other times in a far-off land, or from time to time traversing the world with his band of attendants as the Wild Hunt. This is a tradition of a heathen god put down by Christianity, but not destroyed in the hearts and memories of the people—a tradition independent of political influences, but to which oppression is apt to give special and enduring vitality. The corresponding tradition concerning a heathen goddess is discovered in the Enchanted Princess of a thousand sagas, whose peculiar home, if they have one, is in Teutonic and Slavonic countries.
- Howells, p. 120; "Count Lucanor," p. 77.
- Knowles, p. 17.
- Im Thurn, pp. 352, 354. Cf. Brett, p. 375. So Leland, p. 3: "The Indian m'téoulin, or magician, distinctly taught that every created thing, animate or inanimate, had its indwelling spirit. Whatever had an idea had a soul."
- Cf. Grimm, "Teut. Myth." p. 962, quoting Harry, "Nieders. Sagen"; Jahn, p. 228, quoting Temme. Many of the sanctuaries of the Celts were upon mounds, which were either barrows of the dead, or were expressly made for temples; and the god was called in Irish Cenn Cruaich, in Welsh Penn Cruc (now Pen Crûg), both meaning the Head or Chief of the Mound (Rhys, "Hibbert Lectures," p. 201). Many mounds in England, now crowned by churches, have been conjectured to be old Celtic temples. See an able paper by Mr. T. W. Shore on "Characteristic Survivals of the Celts in Hampshire," Journ. Anthrop. Inst., vol. xx. p. 9. Mont St. Michel, near Carnac, in Brittany, is a chambered barrow surmounted by a little chapel. From the relics found in the tomb, as well as the size of the barrow itself, some person, or persons, of importance must have been buried there. The mound may well have been a haunted, a sacred spot ever since the ashes of the dead and their costly weapons and ornaments were committed to its keeping far back in the Neolithic age. Instances might easily be multiplied.
- Müller, p. 203; Map, Dist. iv. c. 13.
- Gerv. Tilb., Dec. ii. c. 12; "Book of Days," vol. i. p. 154; Augustine, "De Civ. Dei," l. ii. c. 25.
- Jahn, p. 182, quoting Arndt.
- Knoop, p. 10; Bartsch, vol. i. p. 273.
- Bartsch, vol. i. p. 271; "Early Trav.," p. 138.
- Bartsch, vol. i. pp. 269 (citing Niederhöffer, below), 271, 272, 273, 274, 318. In this last case it is a man who is to be saved by a kiss from a woman while he is in serpent form. Niederhöffer, vol. i. pp. 58, 168, vol. ii. p. 235; Meier, pp. 6, 31, 321; Kuhn und Schwartz, pp. 9, 201; Baring Gould, p. 223, citing Kornemann, "Mons Veneris," and Prœtorius, "Weltbeschreibung; Jahn, p. 220; Rappold, p. 135. Gredt, pp. 8, 9, 215, 228, &c. In one of Meier's Swabian tales the princess appears as a snake and flings herself round the neck of her would-be deliverer—a woman—who is to strike her lightly with a bunch of juniper: Meier, p. 27. In one of Kuhn und Schwartz' collection, where the princess becomes a toad, no ceremony is prescribed: Kuhn und Schwartz, p. 9.
- Von Tettau, p. 220; Kuhn, pp. 66, 99; Bartsch, vol. i. p. 272; Jahn, p. 249; Ovid, "Metam." l. xi. f. 5; Child, vol. i. pp. 336 (citing Schmidt, "Volkleben der Neugriechen," p. 115), 340.
- Knoop, pp. 6, 57; Kuhn, pp. 113, 172; Kuhn und Schwartz, p. 1. The prohibition to look back was imposed on Orpheus when he went to rescue Eurydice from Hades.
- Knoop, pp. 51, 59; Keightley, p. 295, quoting Aubrey's "Natural History of Surrey"; "Gent. Mag. Lib." (Pop. Supers.), p. 280.
- Meier, pp. 209, 87; Niederhöffer, vol. iii. p. 251.
- Grohmann, pp. 56, 50.
- Von Wlislocki, p. 76; Campbell, vol. ii. p. 293; Luzel, "Contes," vol. i. pp. 198, 217; "Annuaire des Trad. Pop." 1887, p. 53; Pitré, vol. v. pp. 238, 248; Grundtvig, vol. i. p. 148; Schneller, pp. 103, 109.
- Meier, p. 26; Bartsch, vol. i. pp. 271, 272, 274; Jahn, p. 185; Rappold, p. 135; Bartsch, vol. i. pp. 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 283, 308, 318; Niederhöffer, vol. i. p. 168, vol. ii. p. 235, vol. iii. p. 171; Knoop, p. 10; Jahn, pp. 182, 185, 206, 207, 217, 220, 221; and many others.
- "Gent. Mag. Lib." (Pop. Superst.) p. 51; Brand, vol. i. p. 250, note; Pitré, vol. xii. pp. 304, 307; Bartsch, vol. ii. p. 288; "Antiquary," vol. xxi. p. 195, vol. xxii. p. 67. Cf. a legend in which the scene haunted by the enchanted lady is a Johannisberg on the top of which is a chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist, to which pilgrimages were made and the lady appeared on Midsummer Day (Gredt, pp. 215, 219, 225, 579).
- Von Tettau, p. 220; Kuhn und Schwartz, pp. 9, 200; Meier, pp. 6, 8; Gredt, pp. 7, 228, 281. In another story, quoted by Meier (p. 34), from Crusius' "Schwäb. Chron.", the enchanted maiden is called "a heathen's daughter"—pointing directly to pagan origin.