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herself stated before the tribunal, and promised her good it she were true to him; but she was frightened, and cried out aloud. As no one came, however, she said to him that it might be so. Another time he came as a jolly brother in the company
of many men and women, who were all very merry together, with music and good eating and drinking: She had herself once accompanied the elves, and, as she had afterwards divulged something of what she saw, she received a smart blow from one of them, which had left a mole on her left side. A cousin of hers had been carried away by the elves into the mountains, who related all that had passed, and how the elves, or Good Neighbours, had melted their salve in a pan. Her elf was a young man, and would appear to her before the trial was over. He had commanded her to
pray that she might not be carried away by the elves.”
Of the German elves Grimm says “Our manifola legends of dwarfs, elves, giants, etc., exceed those of the classical nations. They are more domestic, familiar, and naïve. What has antiquity to compare with our charming myth of the Silent People? The legends for childrenKindermärchen-were unknown to them, while to us they make
recompense for the want of other more intellectual fictions; and therefore we are disposed somewhat to over-value them. Wichte and Elves constitute a peculiar, independent, and isolated company. They have a superhuman power to injure or assist. They appeared as dwarfs or deformed, but had the power of making themselves invisible. Both the names betoken demons, something like genii. Waifh is a female spirit, With spirit, demon. Flbe, Alp, Elfenfolk, resemble the devils of the Christian system, as pale, grey, hideous shapes.”
The northern people had, as well as the southern, their water, field, and wood-spirits, their Nixes and Mermaids, with which they populated the country and nature on all sides. This kind of spirits also possess the gift of mantic and the act of prescience. Examples of these are to be found in Wolf's “ Mythologies of the Faires and Elves ;" Sir Walter Scott, on the Highlands; Horst, in his “Memorabilien," 2d Part, and the “Zauberbibliothek," etc.; and concerning the Faroe Isles, especially Debes, “Faeroa reserata,” London, 1796 ; Hippert, “ Andeutungen zur Philo
sophie Geistererscheinungen," German, Weimar, 1825; Grimm's “ German Mythology.'
These spirits, which stood in a mysterious relationship of life to individual persons, and to whole families, were more frequent in the English islands, where, and especially on the Faroes, they carried off men,- -an unusual circumstance in Norway and Sweden. In Germany there were Little Men of the Mines, Wild Women, Kobolds and Nixes, as may be learned from the legends of the brothers Grimm. The northern Necks resemble in many particulars the Naiads of the Greeks, as these are the protecting inhabitants of small inland lakes, and mix themselves often in the affairs of men, especially of enamoured youths and maidens, and therefore play a prominent part in the legends of the people, who usually give a waggish character them, though legends say that they also draw men into the water and drown them. The Rokken or Necks belong to the evil portion of the elves of northern mythology, and, like the Valkyrior, fearfully beautiful beings, are daughters neither of heaven nor of hell. They are the beautiful maids of Odin, sitting with helm and cuirass on flying horses. The subterranean Necks, who carry off human beings, play a great part; and there are many relations of midwives, and even princely ladies, who have been carried off, to aid some one of the Necks in the time of childbirth, and then have been recompensed with costly presents, such as golden rings, neck ces with diamond clasps, etc., which, through their magical power, have brought to the whole family prosperity and blessings. The elves came into Germany under the name of travelling, flying, good children, the little gracious ones, etc. The affinity of the German and northern elves is clear, and in the bloody drama of the witch-trials throughout Europe, the fays and elves played the same part in England and Scotland, and in the criminal proceedings were placed in the same category as the witch-spirits and socialdevils in Germany and France. The elves, like the alrunes of the Druids, practised works of mercy in woods, and a certain sympathetic affinity with trees became thus propagated in the popular faith. It is remarkable, also, that the German elves were accustomed to wander under the elder trees, as was the case still later in the witch-trials. We have already made acquaintance with this tree and the laurel in association with the Grecian oracles. The witches were accustomed to bury their elves under elder trees, with certain ceremonies, which shows that they were regarded as dangerous. Whoever, during the period of the witch persecutions, found himself unexpectedly under an elder tree, was involuntarily seized with horror, and probably fell into ecstasy.
Palacky, in his “ History of Bohemia,” says that in ancient times the Sclaves did not differ essentially from the Germans in their faith. “ The Sclaves were," he remarks,
never a conquering and martially nomadic people, like the Germans and Sarmatians, but lovers of peace and of a settled abode, and devoted to agriculture, the rearing of cattle, trade, and commerce. In the feeling of their common descent, they called themselves Serbs,-that is, allied people, and were always distinguished from their western neighbours by the name of Wends. The mode of life of these harmless people offered nothing which distinguished them essentially from the Germans, yet their penchant for music, song, and dance, very early became a natural tendency. They believed in one highest God-Boh-the creator of the world, the original fountain of light and of lightning. This god received, as it appears, from the different races different names; but the most prevailing one was Perun. Besides this, they worshipped many demons, called Diasi. Disor, in the northern mythology, are male and female, good and evil. The latter are called Biasi. Not only every natural phenomenon, but also human passions, were directed by the operation of such Diasi.”
THE SORCERY OF WITCHCRAFT; THE WITCH-TRIALS ;
POSSESSION ; EPIDEMIC CRAMPS.
A PARALLEL of the heathen and Christian magic in their transition conducts us to the fundamental views of their consequent transformation to the magic of the middle ages, where they completed their degeneration into that adventurous power of the Black Art, which professed to rule over heaven and hell, over life and death. We have now, as the result, to contemplate the application of witch-magic, as it particularly regards its origin, its development, and its end, in order to obtain a just judgment on that remarkable time.
Mantic and the seer-faculty was to the heathen a certainty. It was the mighty influence of demoniac powers, which, as it were, had a direct, though it might be a secret, connection with life. Ever after, men believed these powers to be bound up with certain beings, -as, for instance, the fairies and elves,—they were persuaded that these must be the real possessors of the gift of prophecy, which they impart to men by a sympathetic means, when these, in some mysterious manner, come into closer proximity with them, either accidentally or purposely. In the heathen magic there was nothing miraculous: the proper reign of miracles commences with the Christian era. For, amongst the
heathens, the demons belonged, to a certain degree, to the sphere of the real world. The physical and supernatural were not so absolutely separated as Christianity separated the heaven from the earth, the eternal from the temporal, the spiritual from the natural. The ideas of truth and goodness, of beauty and virtue, of the reward and punishment of actions, and of immortality, advanced in all their clearness from the natural limits of time and space into the region of the supernatural. But, as everything ideal must have an image in representation, the human imagination, therefore, personified those ideas, according to their kind, in physical and natural shapes, such as the boldest fancy had never before arrived at. The spiritual being absorbed into the natural, was again transformed into the unnatural ; and thus, as the darkened understanding separated the actual from the apparent, the natural from the spiritual powers, the inner from the outer, the imagigination had free play, and the divine and the human, spirit and nature, supernatural and physical, were mixed together, and so interchanged that a motley world of wonder and secresy might well arise. Men got into that state that they could not discriminate whether an unusual occur. rence were the result of foreign influence or of a physical law. In heathendom their gods and spirits were still natural beings, and in an immediate connection with man; they were, to a certain extent, of mortal descent, idealized out of the natural. But in Christianity the spirits were of an absolutely different substance, beings from another world exercising an influence upon this ; but nevertheless of a mighty power, and so much the more terrible as they were from a strange world. The faith in sorcery and magic arts might be there as here general, and even have an influence on the proceedings of government; but the “ Incantationes Magicæ" of the Romans were directly denounced by civil laws as mischievous arts : on the contrary, the witchtrials were made over amongst Christians to the Inquisition, as the highest spiritual court, that it might afford assistance in withstanding the sorcery of the devil and his host. The sorcerer was to be regarded not merely as one who used his freedom to injure men, or as a deceiver, but as one to be condemned, being himself bewitched by a