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7 / 




Butler Tanner, 

Tho Sclwood Printing Works, 

Frame, and London. 



Now that I am able to put my germinated sprout of German. 
Mythology into its second leafing, I do it with a firmer confidence 
in the unimpeded progress of its growth. When the first shy 
ness was once overcome, seeking and finding came more quickly 
together ; and facts, that rebuked any effeminate doubt of the 
reality of scientific discoveries on a field till then considered 
barren, started up on every side, till now there is a glut of them. 
Well, I have got my joists and rafters, drawn some lines, laid 
some courses, and yet guarded against pretending to finality; 
for who would do that, so long as in one place the materials are 
wanting, and in another the hands are still full with fetching ? 
I wish to explain all I can, but I am far from being able to 
explain all I wish. 

Criticism, often brilliantly successful on foreign fields, had 
sinned against our native antiquities, and misused most of the 
means it had. The immortal work of a Roman writer had shed 
a light of dawn on the history of Germany, which other nations 
may well envy us : not content with suspecting the book s 
genuineness (as though the united Middle Ages had been capable 
of such a product), its statements, sprung from honest love of 
truth, were cried down, and the gods it attributes to our ancestors 
were traced to the intrusion of Eoman ideas. Instead of dili 
gently comparing the contents of so precious a testimony with 
the remnants of our heathenism scattered elsewhere, people made 
a point of minimizing the value of these few fragments also, 
and declaring them forged, borrowed, absurd. Such few gods as 
remained unassailed, it was the fashion to make short work of, 
by treating them as Gallic or Slavic, just as vagrants are shunted 
off to the next parish let our neighbours dispose of the rubbish 
as they can. The Norse Edda, whose plan, style and substance 


breathe the remotest antiquity, whose songs lay hold of the heart 
in a far different way from the extravagantly admired poems of 
Ossian, they traced to Christian and Anglo-Saxon influence, 
blindly or wilfully overlooking its connexion with the relics of 
eld in Germany proper, and thinking to set it all down to nurses 
and spinning- wives (p. 1230), whose very name seemed, to those 
unacquainted with the essence of folk-lore, to sound the lowest 
note of contempt. They have had their revenge now, those 
norns and spindle-bearers. 

One may fairly say, that to deny the reality of this mythology 
is as much as to impugn the high antiquity and the continuity of 
our language : to every nation a belief in gods was as necessary 
as language. No one will argue from the absence or poverty of 
memorials, that our forefathers at any given time did not practise 
their tongue, did not hand it down ; yet the lack or scantiness 
of information is thoughtlessly alleged as a reason for despoiling 
our heathenism, antecedent to the conversion, of all its contents, 
so to speak. History teaches us to recognise in language, the 
farther we are able to follow it up, a higher perfection of form, 
which declines as culture advances ; as* the forms of the thirteenth 
century are superior to our present ones, and those of the ninth 
and the fifth stand higher still, it may be presumed that German 
populations of the first three centuries of our era, whose very 
names have never reached us, must have spoken a more perfect 
language than the Gothic itself. Now if such inferences as to 
what is non-extant are valid in language, if its present condition 
carries us far back to an older and oldest; a like proceeding 
must be justifiable in mythology too, and from its dry water 
courses we may guess the copious spring, from its stagnant 
swamps the ancient river. Nations hold fast by prescription : 
we shall never comprehend their tradition, their superstition, 
unless we spread under it a bed on still heathen soil. 

And these views are confirmed by what we know to be true of 
poetry and legend. If the heathens already possessed a finely 
articulated language, and if we concede to them an abundant 
stock of religious myths, then song and story could not fail to 


lay hold of these, and to interweave themselves with the rites and 
customs. That such was the case we are assured by Tacitus ; 
and the testimony of Jornandes and Bginhart leaves not the 
smallest room for doubt respecting later ages. Those primitive 
songs on Tuisco, on Mannus and the three races that branched 
out of him, are echoed long after in the genealogies of Ingo, 
Iscio, Hermino; so the Hygelac of the Beowulf-song, whom a 
tenth century legend that has just emerged from oblivion names 
Huglacus Magnus (Haupt 5, 10), is found yet again as a proof 
that even poetry may agree with history in the Chochilaichus ; 
of Gregory of Tours. If in the 12th and 13th centuries our 
country s hero-legend gleamed up for the last time, poets must 
have kept on singing it for a long time before, as is plain from 
the saved fragment of Hildebrand and the Latin versions of 
Rudlieb and Waltharius ; while not a tone survives of those Low 
German lays and legends, out of which nevertheless proceeded 
the Vilkinasaga that mirrors them back. The rise of our Court- 
poetry has without the slightest ground or necessity been ascribed 
to the Crusades ; if we are to assume any importations from 
the East, these can more conveniently be traced to the earlier 
and quieter intercourse of Goths and Northmen with the Greek 
empire, unless indeed we can make up our minds to place nearly 
all the coincidences that startle us to the account of a funda 
mental unity of the European nations, a mighty influence which 
is seen working through long ages, alike in language, legend 
and religion. 

I am met by the arrogant notion, that the life of whole cen 
turies was pervaded by a soulless cheerless barbarism ; this would 
at once contradict the loving kindness of God, who has made 
His sun give light to all times, and while endowing men with 
gifts of body and soul, has instilled into them the consciousness 
of a higher guidance : on all ages of the world, even those of 
worst repute, there surely fell a foison of health and wealth, 
which preserved in nations of a nobler strain their sense of right 
and law. One has only to recognise the mild and manly spirit 
of our higher antiquity in the purity and power of the national 


laws, or the talent inherited by the thirteenth century in its 
eloquent, inspired poems, in order justly to appreciate legend 
and myth, which in them had merely struck root once more. 

But our inquiry ought to have the benefit of this justice both 
in great things and in small. Natural science bears witness, 
that the smallest may be an index to the greatest ; and the reason 
is discoverable, why in our antiquities, while the main features 
were effaced, petty and apparently accidental ones have been 
preserved. I am loth to let even slight analogies escape me, 
such as that between Bregowine, Freawine, and Gotes friunt 
(p. 93). 

True to my original purpose, I have this time also taken the 
Norse mythology merely as woof, not as warp. It lies near to 
us, like the Norse tongue, which, having stood longer undisturbed 
iu its integrity, gives us a deeper insight into the nature of our 
own, yet not so that either loses itself wholly in the other, or 
that we can deny to the German language excellences of its own, 
and to the Gothic a strength superior to both of them together. 
So the Norse view of the gods may in many ways clear up and 
complete the German, yet not serve as the sole standard for it, 
since here, as in the language, there appear sundry divergences 
of the German type from the Norse, giving the advantage now to 
the one and now to the other. Had I taken the rich exuberance 
of the North as the basis of my inquiry, it would have perilously 
overshadowed and choked the distinctively German, which ought 
rather to be developed out of itself, and, while often agreeing 
with the other, yet in some things stands opposed. The case 
appears therefore to stand thus, that, as we push on, we shall 
approach the Norse boundary, and at length reach the point 
where the wall of separation can be pierced, and the two mytho 
logies run together into one greater whole. If at present some 
new points of connexion have been established, more important 
diversities have revealed themselves too. To the Norse anti 
quarians in particular, I hope my procedure will be acceptable : 
as we gladly give to them in return for what we have received, 
they ought no less to receive than to give. Our memorials are 


scantier, but older ; theirs are younger and purer ; two things it 
was important here to hold fast : first, that the Norse mythology 
is genuine, and so must the German be ; then, that the German 
is old, and so must the Norse be. 

We have never had an Edda come down to us, nor did any one 
of our early writers attempt to collect the remains of the heathen 
faith. Such of the Christians as had sucked German milk were 
soon weaned under Roman training from memories of home, and 
endeavoured not to preserve, but to efface the last impressions of 
detested paganism. Jornandes and Paulus Diaconus, who must 
have had plenty of heathen stories still within their reach, made 
but slight use of the mythical ones. Other ecclesiastics now and 
then, for a particular purpose, dole out scraps of information 
which are of great value to us: Jonas (pp. 56. 109), Beda 
(p. 289), Alcuin (p. 229), Widukind (p. 253), Adam of Bremen 
(p. 230). As I have said on p. 9, some monk at St. Gall, Fulda, 
Merseburg or Corvei might have conceived the happy idea of 
putting pen to the antiquities of his country, gathering up things 
of which the footprints were still fresh, and achieving for the 
foreground of our history, just where it begins to disengage itself 
from legend, a lasting work, such as Saxo Grammaticus accom 
plished. Even if German tradition was more blurred and colour 
less from the seventh century to the eleventh, than was Danish 
in the twelfth, if estrangement from native legend had advanced 
more slowly in the far North ; yet Waltharius and E-udlieb, or 
the rhyme of the boar in Notker, may shew us that in the very 
cloisters there was much still unforgotten of the ancient songs. 
It is likely that scribes continued for some time to add to the 
collection set on foot by Charles the Great, the destruction of 
which has proved an incalculable loss, and from which we might 
have obtained an abundance of materials and pictures of the 
remotest eld. The Middle High- German poets found themselves 
already much farther away from all this ; anything they might 
still unconsciously borrow from it must have been preserved 
accidentally in traditional forms of poetry or the living idiom 
of the people. The very book in which heathen names and cha- 


racters might the most innocently have found a place, Albrecht 
of Halberstadt s translation of the Metamorphoses, is lost to us 
in its original form ; when Rudolf in his Barlaam from a Christian 
point of view refutes the Grecian gods after the fashion of 
Chrothilde (see p. 107), he sticks too closely to his text to let 
any native characteristics come into his head : the age was too 
entirely absorbed in its immediate present to feel the slightest 
inclination to look back into its own or other people s distant 
past. It is not till the 14th or 15th century that sundry writers 
begin to shew a propensity to this. Gobelinus Persona bestows 
a mite (p. 254) ; if Bohmer would but soon give us an edition of 
the Magdeburg Schoppenchronick and the Chronicon Picturatum, 
both sadly wanted ! Conf. Bohmer s Keg. ed. 1849, p. xxi, 
pag. 62 ad ann. 1213; Zeuss p. 38. The statements of Botho, 
uncritical as they are, claim attention, for in his day there may 
have been accounts still afloat, which have vanished since. A 
curious one is contained in Joh. Craemer s Chronica sancti Petri 
in monte crucis ad ann. 1468 : Matthaeus Huntler in cella Sancti 
Martini ad Werram vidit librum Johannis Vanderi, ord. S. Bene- 
dicti monachi in Keynertsborn, de omnibus gentilium deastris 
in provincia nostra, quern magna cura conscripsit, et quemlibet 
deastrurn in habitu suo eleganter depinxit cum multis antiquita- 
tibus, in quibus bene versatus esse dicitur. Botho drew his de 
scriptions from figures of idols that were before his eyes ; and at 
Reinhartsbrunn in Thuringia there might be similar things 
extant, or the very same that found their way to Brunswick, if 
only Paullini, whose Syntagma p. 315 furnishes that passage 
from the chronicle, were not himself suspicious. The like un 
certainty hangs over Joh. Berger (p. 96), over a Conradus 
Fontanus quoted by Letzner (p. 190), and the Frisian Cappidus 
whose work Hamconius professes to have used (see my chap. 
XXI, Lotus). Any one that cared to read straight through 
Berthold of Regensburg s works, dating from the end of the 13th 
century, would very likely, where the preacher gets to speak 
of sorcery and devilry, come upon cursory notices of the super 
stitions of his time, as even the later sermons of Johannes 


Herolfc (rny ch. XXXI, Berchta, Hoi da), Johannes Nider (d. cir. 
1440), and Geiler von Kaisersberg offer some details. And even 
historians in the 16th and 17th centuries, who rummaged many 
a dusty archive, such as Aventin, Celtes, Freher, Spangenberger, 
Letzner (d. after 1612), Nicolaus Gryse (d. 1614), must have had 
all sorts of available facts within their reach, though to pick the 
grain out of the chaff would no doubt come easier to us than to 

Much then is irrecoverably lost to our mythology ; I turn to 
the sources that remain to it, which are partly Written Memorials, 
partly the never resting stream of living Manners and Story. 
The former may reach far back, but they present themselves 
piecemeal and disconnected, while the popular tradition of to 
day hangs by threads which ultimately link it without a break 
to ancient times. Of the priceless records of the Romans, who 
let the first ray of history fall on their defeated but unsubdued 
enemy, I have spoken in the fourth and sixth chapters. If 
among gods and heroes only Tuisco, Mannus and Alx are named 
in German, and the rest given in ( Romana interpretatio ; on 
the other hand, the female names Nerthus, V^eleda, Tanfana, 
Huldana (for Hludana), Aliruna, have kept their original form; 
and so have names of peoples and places that lead back to gods, 
Ingaevones, Iscaevones, Herminones, Asciburgium. Christian 
authors also, writing in Latin, prefer the Roman names, yet, when 
occasion calls, Wodan, Thunar, Frea, Sahsnot cannot be avoided. 
The refined language of the Goths, and the framework of their 
hero-legend, lead us to imagine a very full development of their 
faith, then just giving way to Christianity, though to us it has 
sunk into such utter darkness : such expressions as frauja, halja, 
sibja, unhutyo, skohsl, anz, fairguni, sauil (as well as sunna), 
vaihts, alhs, gudja, hunsl, dul]?s, jiuleis, midjun-gards, aiihns, 
a]m, blotan, inveitan, must have heathen notions lying at their 
base, and these would offer themselves far more abundantly if 
portions of the Gothic Old Testament had reached us. After 
the lapse of a few centuries we find the other dialects all more 
or less corrupted when compared with the Gothic, and as a long 


interval had then passed since the conversion of most of the 
races, heathenism must have retreated farther from the language 
also and the poetry. Nevertheless the fragment of Muspilli, 
the Abrenuntiatio, the Merseburg Lay and a few others, still 
allow our glances to rove back beyond our expectation ; isolated 
words occur in glosses, and proper names of men, places, herbs, 
point to other vestiges ; not only do gods and heroes step out 
of the mist, as Wuotan, Donar, Zio, Phol, Paltar, Froho, Sin- 
tarfizilo, Orentil, and goddesses or wise women, as Frouwa, Folia, 
Sindgund, Wurt ; but a host of other words, itis, wiht, urlac, 
fuld, haruc, hliodar, paro, sigil, zunkal, etc. are found uneradi- 
cated. Of course, among the Saxons, who remained heathen 
longer, especially among the Anglo-Saxons, whose language 
preserved its warmth better by poetry, such relics are trebly 
numerous, for beside Woden, Thunor, Frea, Bealdor, Helle, 
Eastre, Hrefte, and the rich store of names in the genealogies, 
there add themselves Forneot, Woma, Geofon, Gersuma, Wusc- 
frea, Bregowine, Earendel, ides, wyrd, wgelcyrge, J^yrs, eoten, 
geola, hleodor, bearo, neorxenawong, haslefthelm, Brosingamene, 
and many more. What the Middle High German poetry inevi 
tably loses by comparison with the older, is compensated by 
its greater quantity : together with hero-names like Nibelunc, 
Schiltunc, Schilbunc, Alberich, Wielant, Horant, which fall at 
once within the province of mythology, it has treasured up for 
us the words tarnkappe, albleich, heilwac, turse, windesbrut, 
goltwine and the like, while in oft-recurring phrases about des 
sunuen haz, des arn winde, des tiuvels muoter, we catch the 
clear echo of ancient fables. Most vividly, in never-tiring play 
of colours, the minne-songs paint the triumphal entry of May 
and Summer : the pining heart missed in the stately march its 
former god. The personifications of Sselde and Aventiure spring 
from a deep-hidden root; how significant are the mere names 
of Wunsch and valant, which are not found in all the poets 
even, let alone in O.H. German ! Yet we cannot imagine other 
wise than that these words, although their reference to Wuotan 
and Phol was through long ages latent, were drawn directly 


and without a break from heathenism. They are a proof of the 
possibility of traditions lingering only in certain spots, and thus 
finding their way after all to here and there a poet; totally 
silenced in places and periods, they suddenly strike up some 
where else, though any district, any dialect, can boast but few 
or comparatively few of these; it is not many arch-mythical 
terms, like frau, nolle, wicht, that our language has constant 
need of, and has never to this day cast off. 

If these numerous written memorials have only left us sundry 
bones and joints, as it were, of our old mythology, its living 
breath still falls upon us from a vast number of Stories and 
Customs, handed down through lengthened periods from father 
to son. With what fidelity they propagate themselves, how 
exactly they seize and transmit to posterity the essential features 
of the fable, has never been noticed till now that people have 
become aware of -their great value, and begun to set them down 
in collections simple and copious. Oral legend is to written 
records as the folk-song is to poetic art, or the rulings recited 
by schoffen (scabini) to written codes. 

But the folk-tale wants to be gleaned or plucked with a 
delicate hand. Grasp it rudely, it will curl up its leaves, and 
deny its dearest fragrance. There lies in it such a store of rich 
development and blossom, that, even when presented incomplete, 
it contents us in its native adornment, and would be deranged 
and damaged by any foreign addition. Whoever should venture 
on that, ought, if he would shew no gap in his harness, to be 
initiated into all the innocence of popular poetry; as he who 
would coin a word, into all the mysteries of language. Out of 
elben (elves) to make elfen, was doing violence to our language ; 
with still less of forbearance have violent hands been laid on 
the colouring and contents even of myths. They thought to 
improve upon the folk-tale, and have always fallen short of it : 
not even where it shews gaps, is any restoration to be dreamt 
of, which sits upon it as new whitewash on old ruins, con 
triving with a couple of dabs to wipe out all the charm. 
Astonishing are the various shapes its identity assumes, 


additional adornments spring up on ground where we least 
expect it ; but it is not in every soil that it thrives luxuriantly, 
here and there it shews scanty or shy ; it is sure to be vigorous 
where rhymes and spells abound in it. The heaviest crops 
seem to be realized by those collections which, starting from a 
district rich in legend, glean cautiously from the surrounding 
neighbourhoods, without straying far from its limits ; thus 
Otmar s Harz-sagen found a favourable field, which is probably 
worth going over a second time within the like modest bounds. 
Among collections that have lately come to light, I name 
Burner s Tales of the Orla-gau, which, grown up on rich 
legendary soil, yield much that is valuable, though the accom 
panying discourses fail to realize the true nature of Folk-legend. 
Bernhard Baader s Tales of Upper Germany afford a rich treasure, 
in simple suitable language , but in Moneys Anzeiger they are 
presented in so scattered and inconvenient a form, that they 
ought to be re-digested in a new edition : the two different 
versions of the story of Dold (quoted on p. 983), are a good 
illustration of what I meant just now by meagre and ( luxuriant/ 
Bechstein s Thuringian Legends seem to me only in the last 
two volumes to attain the true point of view, and to offer 
something worth having. The Legends of Samogitia and the 
Mark, collected by Keusch and Kuhn, satisfy all requirements ; 
they furnish most copious material, and put to shame the notion 
that any district of Germany is poor in popular traditions, which 
only elude those who know not the right way to approach them. 
Soon perhaps we shall get collections laid out on the same 
thoughtful plan from Holstein, Westphalia, Bavaria and Tyrol. 

For Denmark too we have a model collection by Thiele, whose 
last edition has only just reached me, and still remains unused. 
Many of the finest Swedish legends have been given us in various 
places, but a still greater number must be lying ungathered : 
Afzelius s Sago-hiifder, welcome as they are, go too much on 
the plan of extracting the juice from whatever came to hand. 
Norway can hardly be less stocked with legend than Sweden, 
it has moreover its popular lays to shew, into which songs of 


the Edda have been transmuted, witness the lay of Thor s 
hammer (p. 181) and the Solar-lay. In our own day, J. W. 
Wolf is labouring on the popular traditions of Belgium, and Rob. 
Chambers on those of Scotland, with zeal and visible success. 

The Fairy-tale (miirchen) is with good reason distinguished 
from the Legend, though by turns they play into one another. 
Looser, less fettered than legend, the Fairy-tale lacks that local 
habitation, which hampers legend, but makes it the more home 
like. The Fairy-tale flies, the legend walks, knocks at your 
door ; the one can draw freely out of the fulness of poetry, the 
other has almost the authority of history. As the Fairy-tale 
stands related to legend, so does legend to history, and (we may 
add) so does history to real life. In real existence all the out 
lines are sharp, clear and certain, which on history s canvas are 
gradually shaded off and toned down. The ancient my thus, 
however, combines to some extent the qualities of fairy-tale and 
legend ; untrammelled in its flight, it can yet settle down in a 
local home. 

It was thought once, that after the Italian and French collec 
tions of Fairy-tales it was too late to attempt any in Germany, 
but this is contradicted by fact ; and Molbech s collection, and 
many specimens inserted in his book by Afzelius, testify also 
how rich Denmark and Sweden are in fairy-tales not yet extinct. 
But all collections have wellnigh been overtopt lately by the 
Norwegian (still unfinished) of Moe and Asbiornsen, with its 
fresh and full store; and treasures not a few must be lurking 
in England, Scotland, and the Netherlands, from all of which 
Mythology may look to receive manifold gain. 

To indicate briefly the gain she has already derived from the 
Folk-tale (legend) : it is plain that to this alone we owe our 
knowledge of the goddesses Holda, Berhta and Fricka, as also 
the myth of the Wild Hunt which leads us straight to Wodan. 
The tale of the old beggar-wife is a reminiscence of Grimnir. 
Of the wise-women, of swan-wives, of kings shut up in hills we 
should have learnt little from written documents, did not Legend 
spread her light over them ; even the myths of the Sin-flood and 


the World s Destruction slie has not lost sight of to this day. 
But what is most fondly cherished in her, and woven into the 
gayest tissues, is the delightful narratives of giants, dwarfs, 
elves, little wights, nixies, night-hags and home-sprites, these 
last being related to the rest as the tame beasts of the fable 
are to the wild and unsubjugated : in poetry the wild is always 
superior to the tamed. The legend of the sun-blind dwarfs (pp. 
466n., 1247) and that of the blood-vat (pp. 468n., 902) remind us 
of the Edda. 

In the Fairy-tale also, dwarfs and giants play their part : 
Swan-witchen (Swan-white) and Dorn-roschen (Thorn-rose = 
Sleeping Beauty), pp. 425, 1204 are a swan-wife and a valkyr ; 
the three spinning-wives, p. 415, are norns ; the footstool hurled 
down from the heavenly seat (p. 136), Death as a godfather 
(p. 853), the player s throw and Jack the gamester (pp. 818n., 887) 
reach back to heathen times. Fairy-tales, not legends, have 
in common with the god-myth a multitude of metamorphoses; 
and they often let animals come upon the stage, and so they 
trespass on the old Animal-epos. 

In addition to the fairy-tale and folk-tale, which to this day 
supply healthy nourishment to youth and the common people, 
and which they will not give up, whatever other pabulum you 
may place before them, we must take account of Rites and 
Customs, which, having sprung out of antiquity and continued 
ever since, may yield any amount of revelations concerning it. 
I have endeavoured to shew how ignition by friction, Easter 
fires, healing fountains, rain-processions, sacred animals, the 
conflict between summer and winter, the carrying-out of Death, 
and the whole heap of superstitions, especially about path- 
crossing and the healing of diseases, are distinctly traceable to 
heathen origins. Of many things, however, the explanation 
stands reserved for a minute inquiry devoting itself to the 
entire life of the people through the different seasons of the 
year and times of life; and no less will the whole compass of 
our law-antiquities shed a searching light on the old religion 


and manners. In festivals and games comes out the bright 
joyous side of the olden time; I have been anxious to point 
out the manifold, though never developed, germs of dramatic 
representation, which may be compared to the first attempts 
of Greek or Roman art. The Yule-play is still acted here and 
there in the North; its mode of performance in Gothland (p. 43) 
bears reference to Freyr. The little wights play is mentioned 
on p. 441 n. ; on the bear s play (p. 785) I intend to enlarge 
more fully elsewhere. Sword-dance and giant s dance (p. 30 i), 
Berchta s running (p. 279), Whitsun play (p. 785), Easter 
play (p. 780), the induction of summer or May, the violet- 
hunt and the swallow s welcome are founded on purely heathen 
views; even the custom of the kilt-gang, like that of watch 
men s songs (p. 749), can be traced up to the most antique 

Such are our sources, and so far do they still carry us : let us 
examine what results the study of them hitherto has yielded. 

Divinities form the core of all mythology : ours were buried 
almost out of sight, and had to be dug out. Their footmarks 
were to be traced, partly in Names that had stubbornly refused 
to be rooted out, yet offered little more than their bare sound ; 
partly, under some altered guise, in the more fluid but fuller 
form of the Folk-tale. This last applies more to the goddesses, 
the former to the gods. Gods and heroes are found in the very 
names of runes, the first of which in Old Norse is Freyr, others 
are Thor, Zio, Eor, Asc, Man, but nowhere goddesses. 

The gods that have kept the firmest hold are the three marked 
in the days of the week as Mercury, Jupiter, Mars ; and of these, 
Wuotan stands out the most distinct. Jonas, Fredegar, Paulus 
Diaconus and the Abrenuntiatio name him, he towers at the head 
of ancient lines of kings, many places bear the indelible impress 
of his name. Woedenspanne signified a part of the human hand, 
as the North named another part ulf-lrSr, wolf-lith, after the 
god T$r. Unexpectedly our 13th century has preserved for us 

VOL. in. b 


one of his names [Wish], which lies in abeyance even in the 
Norse system, yet is the one that stands in the closest contact 
with the women that do the god s bidding, with the wand that 
unlocks his hoard, with the mantle that carries him through the 
air, nay, is the only one that puts all these in the true light. 
The Norse name Omi is not quite so clearly explained by the 
AS. Woma, though the word marks unmistakably the stormful 
god whom we know more certainly through our legend of the 
furious host : the wide cloak and low hat are retained in the 
name Hackelbernd, which I venture to trace back to a Gothic 
Hakul-bairands (p. 146- 7). As Longbeard, the god deep-sunk 
in his mountain-sleep is reproduced in the royal heroes Charles 
and Frederick : who better than Wuotan, on whose shoulder they 
sit and bring him thoughts and tidings, was entitled to inquire 
after the flying ravens ? Ravens and wolves scented his march 
to victory, and they above all other animals have entered into 
the proper names of the people. In the Norse sagas the ques 
tioner is a blind graybeard, who just as plainly is old OSin 
again. Father of victory, he is likewise god of blessing and 
bliss, i.e. Wish over again, whose place is afterwards occupied 
by Salida (well-being). Since he appears alike as god of poetry, 
of measurement, of the span, of the boundary and of the dice- 
throw, all gifts, treasures, arts may be regarded as having pro 
ceeded from him. 

Though a son of Wuotan and yielding to him in power or 
influence, Donar (Thunar, Thor) appears at times identical with 
him, and to some extent as an older god worshipped before 
Wuotan. For, like Jupiter, he is a father, he is grandfather of 
many nations, and, as grandfather, is a god of the hills, a god of 
the rocks, a hammer, sits in the forest, throned on the mountain 
top, and hurls his old stone weapon, the lightning s bolt. To 
him the oak was sacred, and his hammer s throw measured out 
land, as did afterwards Wuotan s wand. He rather flies furi 
ously at the giants than fights battles at the head of heroes, 
or meditates the art of war. I think it a significant feature, that 
he drives or walks, instead of riding like Wuotan : he never 


presents himself in the wild hunt, nor in women s company. 
But his name is still heard in curses (Wuotan s only in protesta 
tions, p. 132); and as Redbeard, Donar might sit in the moun 
tain too. The heroes all go to Wuotan s heaven, the common 
folk turn in at Donar s ; beside the elegant stately Wuotan, we 
see about Donar something plebeian, boorish and uncouth. He 
seems the more primitive deity, displaced in the course of ages 
(yet not everywhere) by a kindred but more comprehensive one. 

If Wuotan and Donar are to be regarded as exalted deities of 
heaven, much more may Zio, Tius, be accepted as such, whose 
name expresses literally the notion of sky, while Wuotan signifies 
the air, and Donar the thunderstorm. And as Wuotan turns the 
tide of battle, Zio presents himself as the special god of war ; as 
Donar flings the hammer and Wuotan the spear, he is god of the 
sword, as exhibited in the names Sahsnot and Heru. But here 
much remains dark to us, because our legend has lost sight of 
Zio altogether. Like Wuotan, he also seems to rush down from 
the sky in the form of tempest. 

Two others, though never appearing in the week, must yet 
be reckoned among the great gods. Froho, a god of hunting, 
of generation, fertility and summer, had long planted his name in 
the heart of our language, where he still maintains his ground in 
the derivatives fron and fronen ; his sacred golden-bristled boar 
survived in helmet- crests, in pastry, and at the festive meal. 
Year by year in kingly state Froho journeyed through the lands 
(p. 213. 760). He is the gracious loving deity, in contrast with 
the two last-mentioned, and with Wuotan in one aspect ; for, as 
Wish, Wuotan also seems kindly and creative like Froho. 

As to Phol, scarcely known to us till now, I have hazarded so 
many conjectures that I will not add to their number here. If, as 
appears most likely, he is synonymous with. Paltar (Balder), he 
must pass for a god of light, but also of fire, and again of tem 
pest; under another view he haunted wells and springs. He 
approximates the higher elemental powers, and could the more 
easily be perverted into a diabolic being. Equally lost to Ger 
many is the name of the Norse Loki, who represents fire in another 


aspect, and was still better qualified to stand for the devil. The 
stories of his artfulness, his cunning tricks, have reproduced 
themselves repeatedly in all branches of our race. 

I now turn to the Goddesses. A mother of gods, Nerthus, is 
named to us by Tacitus ; her name is the exact counterpart to 
that of a Norse god, who confirms her existence, as Freyr would 
confirm that of Freyja, had she come down to us only as the 
High German Frouwa, and from the Gothic frauja (m.) we have 
the same right to infer a fern, fraujo. Say that her name of 
Nerthus has long ago died out, if it ever extended to all branches 
of our race ; a whole group of beings almost identical with her 
lives on in fadeless legend : Holde, Berhte, Fricke, Harke, Gaue, 
Stempe, Trempe. At the first glance none of these names seem 
to go very high up ; yet, Berhte at all events is introduced in 
poems of the 14 15th century, and the matter begins to wear 
another look the moment we can set her beside the Carolingian 
Berhta, beside the Eddie Biort (p. 1149), beside the deeply rooted 
tradition of the c white lady/ Of dame Holda the legend was 
never written down till the 1 7th century ; if Holda was in the 
Venus-mountain, which goes as far back as the 14th, she at once 
gains in importance; then further, in the 12th century we can 
point to Pharaildis (p. 284) ; and if, to crown all, Huldana in the 
stone inscription is correct (p. 266), we can have but little doubt 
of a Gothic worship of Hutyo (p. 990). Now, as Berhta and 
Holda are adjective names, I was fain to claim for Nerthus also 
an adj. basis nairthus, with the sense of mild, gracious, fair. 
Frigg too (p. 301-2) I interpret by the adj. free, fair, gracious. 
If Gaue, Gauden, is a corruption of the masc. Woden, it might 
still have an accessory notion of good. Frouwa is obviously 
the fern, to Froho, and still asserts her full power in our present 
frau. Almost all names of the female deities have still a trans 
parent meaning; as compared with those of the male, there is 
something innocent and inviolable in them, and for that reason 
they seem to have been treated tenderly or tolerated. The deli 
cacy and inoffensive matter of the myth have shielded it longer in 
popular legend. 


The goddess Hellia has exchanged her personal meaning for a 
local one, that of hell. Ostara, Eastre, is preserved at least in the 
name of the high festival ; and Hreda, if my conjecture be sound, 
in the word for a bride s gerada (outfit), as Zio was in the name 
of the sword. Folia and Sindgund have only come to light 
through the latest discoveries. 

This muster of divinities is strong enough to support the whole 
remaining framework of mythology; where such pillars stand, any 
amount of superstructure and decoration may be taken for 
granted. Considered in and for themselves, almost all the indi 
vidual deities appear emanations and branches of a single One ; 
the gods as heaven, the goddesses as earth, the one as fathers, 
the other as mothers, the former creating, governing, guiding, 
lords of victory and bliss, of air, fire and water, the goddesses 
nourishing, spinning, tilling, beautiful, bedizened, loving. 

As all the sounds of language are reducible to a few, from 
whose simplicity the rest can be derived the vowels by broaden-? 
ing, narrowing, and combination into diphthongs, the mute con 
sonants by subdivision of their three groups each into three 
stages, while particular dialects shift them from one stage to 
another in regular gradation 1 ; so in Mythology I reduce the 
long array of divine personages to their unity, and let their multi 
plicity spring out of this unity ; and we can hardly go wrong in 
assuming for deities and heroes a similar coincidence, combina 
tion and gradation, according to their characters and particular 

1 Thus, to take an example from the Dentals : 



L. Germ. 

H. Germ. 

thugatere duo 


It will be seen that the High Germ, is always a stage in advance of Low Germ., 
and this a stage in advance of Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, &c. The Germ, z is sounded 
ts ; and s, like h, is a breathing. TRANS. 


functions. How Wuotan, Donar, and Zio partly run into one 
another lias been shewn ; Logi (lowe, blaze) becomes Loki (lock, 
bolt), g becomes ~k, the sense of fire is exchanged for that of bolts 
and bars (of hell), as Hamar and Heru came to signify the im 
plements they used. We have seen Wuotan reappear in long- 
bearded Charles, in red-bearded Frederick. On comparing the 
Norse hero-legend with the German, we see remarkable instances 
of this shifting and displacement of names and persons. Gudrun 
in the Edda occupies the place of our Krimhilt, while Grimhildr 
is her mother s name ; in the Vilkinasaga Mimir is the smith and 
Keginn the dragon, in the Volsungasaga Reginn is the smith and 
Fafnir the dragon. If these changes took place at haphazard, 
there would be nothing in them ; but they seem to proceed by 
regular gradation, without leaps. 

Among all branches of the Teutonic race there shew them 
selves innumerable varieties of dialect, each possessing an equal 
right ; so likewise in the people s religion we must presuppose a 
good many differences : the difficulty is to reconcile in every case 
the local bearings of the matter with the temporal. If the more 
numerous testimonies to Wuotan in Lower Germany would lead 
us to infer that he was held in higher esteem by Saxons than by 
Alemanns or Bavarians, we must remember that this (apparent) 
preference is mainly due to the longer continuance of heathenism 
in the north ; that in the first few centuries after conversion the 
south too would have borne abundant witness to the god. Upper 
Germany has now scarcely a single name of a place compounded 
with Wuotan (p. 158), Wuotan s day has there given place to 
midweek/ and just there the legend of his wiitende heer is 
found more alive than elsewhere ! It would be a great thing to 
ascertain whereabouts whether among Goths the designation 
Fairguneis prevailed above that of Thunrs. Any conclusion 
drawn from the proximity of the Lithuanian Perkunas, the Slavic 
Perun, may seem bold, though it is precisely to these two nations 
that the Gothic and High German incline more than the Low 
German, even in language: witness Hruodo and Kirt (p. 248). 
It seems an easier matter to trace the distinction between Zio 


and Eru, and follow it up to Svvabia and Bavaria; yet, if my 
conjecture be right, the Cheruscans must of all races have had 
the best claim to Eru. Even the name of the plant Ziolinta 
(p. 1193) is worth taking into account. Sahsnot, Seaxneat, was 
assuredly an eponymous deity of the Saxons. How do Paltar 
and Phol stand to one another, as regards the nations that were 
devoted to them ? Phol appears to point, now eastward, now 
westward. An important mark of distinction is the change of 
gender in the same name of a god among different tribes. In 
Gothic the masc. frauja (lord) was still current as a common 
noun, in O.H. German the fern, frouwa, in 0. Saxon only the 
masc. froho, fro, A.S. frea, so that Goths and Saxons seem to 
have preferred the god, High Germans the goddess; in the 
North both Freyr and Freyja are honoured alike. But the 
North knows only the god NiorSr, and the Germans living on 
the opposite side of the Baltic only the goddess Nerthus. The 
relation of Zio to Zisa, perhaps Isis (p. 298), demands further 
explanation. No doubt the numerous aliases of that female deity, 
who is not yet forgotten in modern legend, are due to differences 
of rce : Holda shews herself in Hesse, Thuringia, and North 
Franconia, Berhta in Vogtland, East Franconia and sundry tracts 
of Swabia, where likewise a male Berhtold encounters us. There 
is no trace of either goddess in Lower Germany, but a dame 
Freke now turns up in the Mark, and dame Gaue haunts Majk- 
lenburg between Elbe and Weser. Yet in ancient times Holda, 
as Huldana, must have reached far westward to the Rhine, and, 
if the Ver-hilden-straet (p. 285) was named after her, into the 
Netherlands, reminding us of the kinship between Chatti and 
Batavi ; while the Carolingian Berhta Pedauca and the Biort of 
the Edda would betoken a similar extension of Berhta s worship. 
We must pay regard to the almost universal rush of nations 
toward the West : even Isis and her Suevian ship we managed to 

trace as far as the Ardennes. But, beside the deities, other 

portions of mythology must also have their say. Him ins and 
himil, himel and heven are discussed on p. 698, the lapse of Himil 
into Gimill on p. 823 ; in Hesse is the borderland between Wights 


and Elves, the one belonging to Franconian, the other to Saxon 
soil : the Low Saxon hiine is out of use in High Germany, even 
in O.H. German the huni seem to be only Huns, not giants, and 
the M.H. German hiune had a very limited circulation, being 
never heard now in Hesse, Swabia or Bavaria, unless we are to 
look for it in the name of the disease (p. 1163). 

Such investigations and similar ones capable of indefinite 
expansion, some of them not even dreamt of at present, may 
gradually become important to the internal aspect of our own 
Mythology : a still more urgent task is, to establish its relation 
to the Religions of Other Nations ; nay, this is really the hinge 
on which mythological study in general turns. But seldom, 
have their mutual influences or differences been so successfully 
explored, as to educe therefrom a safe standard for the treat 
ment of any one mythology. 

Every nation seems instigated by nature to isolate itself, to 
keep itself untouched by foreign ingredients. Its language, its 
epos feel happy in the home circle alone ; only so long as it rolls 
between its own banks does the stream retain its colour Jure. 
An undisturbed development of all its own energies and inmost 
impulses proceeds from this source, and our oldest language, 
poetry and legend seem to take no other course. But the river 
has not only to take up the brooks that convey fresh waters to it 
from hill and mountain, but to disembogue itself at last in the 
wide ocean : nations border upon nations, and peaceful inter 
course or war and conquest blend their destinies in one. From 
their combinations will come unexpected results, whose gain 
deserves to be weighed against the loss entailed by the suppres 
sion of the domestic element. If the language, literature and faith 
of our forefathers could at no time resist at all points the 
pressure of the Foreign, they have one and all undergone the 
most disruptive revolution by the people s passing over to 

We had long plagued ourselves to derive all languages from 
the far-off Hebrew ; it was only by closely studying the history 


of the European idioms near at hand, that a safe road was at 
length thrown open, which, leaving on one side for the moment 
the Semitic province, leads farther on into the heart of Asia. 
Between the Indian and Zendic languages and the majority of 
those which spread themselves over Europe there exists an 
immediate tie, yet of such a kind as makes them all appear as 
sisters, who at the outset had the same leading features, but 
afterwards, striking into paths of their own, have everywhere 
found occasion and reason to diverge from each other. Amongst 
all languages on earth points of contact are to be found, any 
discovered rule compels us to admit exceptions, and these ex 
ceptions are apt to be misleading ; but the rule teaches us to fix 
upon fundamental distinctions, for which we can only expect a 
very slow resolution into a higher unity. While there is every 
appearance of Europe not having contained any aborigines, but 
received its population gradually from Asia, yet the figures in 
our chronologies do not reach back to the actual descent of all 
human speech from one original source; and the strata of our 
mountains bear witness to a higher prehistoric age, whose im 
measurable breadth no inquirer can penetrate. Then, over and 
above the original kinship necessarily underlying the facts taught 
by comparative philology, we must also assume in the history of 
European toagues some external, accidental and manifest inter 
changes of influence between them, which, powerful and resultful 
as they may have been, are to be carefully distinguished from 
that more hidden agency : we have only to call to mind the 
former influence of Latin and the later of French on almost all 
the other languages, or the origin of English from a mixture of 
Teutonic and Romance elements. The difference between the 
two kinds of likeness shews itself especially in the fact that, 
while the originally cognate elements of a language remain 
flexible and intelligible, the borrowed ones, because they are 
borrowed, shew an indistinctness of form and a crippling of 
movement. Hence all cognate words are rooted in the essential 
life of a language, about which the borrowed ones mostly tell us 
nothing : how lifeless, for example, has our adj. rund become ! 


whereas the French rond, from which it comes, can still carry us 
back to roond, reond, the Span, redondo, It. rotondo, and so to 
rotundus, and therefore rota. Again, cognate forms are seldom 
confined to one stem or branch, but run impartially through 
several : e.g. our numerals ; our ist, Goth, ist, Lat. est, Gr. eVr/, 
Skr. asti; the Goth, sa, so, J>ata, AS. se, seo, ]?a6t, ON. sa, su, f>at, 
Gr. o, ?;, TO, Skr. sa, sa, tad ; all of them consonances which did 
not arise, like that ruud/ at some definite assignable period, but 
were there from time immemorial. 

These examples are well known, and are here chosen merely to 
make good for Mythology also a distinction between material 
that was common from the first and that which was borrowed 
and came in later. Our scholarship, disloyal to its country, 
inured to outlandish pomp and polish, loaded with foreign speech 
and science, miserably stocked with that of home, was prepared 
to subordinate the myths of our olden time to those of Greece 
and Rome, as something higher and stronger, and to overlook 
the independence of German poetry and legend, just as if in 
grammar also we were free to derive the German ist from est and 
eo-rt, instead of putting the claims of these three forms perfectly 
on a par. Giving the go-by to that really wonderful and de 
lightful consonance, whose origin would have had to be pushed 
far back, they struggled, however much against the grain, to 
hunt up any possible occasions of recent borrowing, so as to strip 
their country of all productive power and pith. Not content 
even with handing over our mythology to foreign countries, 
they were eager, with as little reason, to shift its contents into 
the sphere of history, and to disparage essentially unhistoric 
elements by expounding them as facts. 

Why hold our tongues about the mischief and the caprices 
of this criticism ? Mone, an honest and able explorer, whose 
strenuous industry I respect, will often come half-way to meet 
the truth, then suddenly spring aside and begin worrying her. 
By hook or by crook the Reinhart of our apologue must be re 
solved into a historical one, the Siegfried of our heroic lay into 
Arminius, Civilis and Siegbert by turns, Tanhiiuser into Ulysses. 


In all that I had gathered by a careful comparison of original 
authorities on sorcery and witches, he of course can see neither 
circumspectness nor moderation, who gravely imagines that 
witchcraft was once a reality, who from the minutes of a single 
trial in 1628 jumps at once to the Greek Dionysia, makes the 
devil Dionysus, and warms up again the stale explanation of 
hexe (witch) from Hecate. This is allowing the devil a great 
antiquity in comparison with those heroes ; to me Reinhart and 
Isengrim seem to reach up far higher than the ninth century, 
and Siegfried even beyond Arminius, therefore a long way before 
the time when the term devil first came into our language. 
Several designations of the giants are unmistakably connected 
with the names of surrounding nations ; Moneys view applies 
them to Indians, Frisians, Persians, according as the words ent 
and wrise suit his purpose; let no one be startled to find that 
Caucasus comes from our Gouchsberg (cuckoo s hill) ! 

A later work, whose merits I acknowledge on p. 1070n., comes 
in not unseasonably here. Soldan agrees in my opinion on the 
atrocity and folly of the witch-persecutions, but he would dispute 
the connection of witches with German mythology, and derive all 
our magic and demonology from the Greeks and Romans again. 
The resemblance of the mediasval notions to classical antiquity 
strikes him so forcibly, that he seems to think, either that 
Germany and all barbarian Europe till their early contact with 
the Romans were without any magic or belief in ghosts, or that 
such belief suddenly died out. The Walburgis-night, it seems, 
was suggested by Roman lares praestites, even the practice of 
bidding for fiefs by floralia and averruncalia, and the cutting 
of henbane by the fruges excantare : why may not our es also 
come from id, our auge from oculus, our zehri from decem ? At 
that rate Wuotan might without more ado be traced back to 
Jupiter, Holda to Diana, the alp to the genius, all German 
mythology to Roman, and nothing be left us of our own but 
the bare soil that drank in the foreign doctrine. 

When two nations resemble each other in language, manners, 
and religion, such agreement is welcome in proof of their age, 


aud is not to be perverted to conclusions in favour of borrowing 
or influence which any peculiarity in them may suggest. But 
the stamp of authority will be given to research, when side by 
side with the string of consonances there also runs an inevitable 
string of divergences and transpositions. 

In our book of heroes the adventures of Wolfdieterich and 
Orendel have in their several ways a striking similarity to features 
in the Odyssey, especially does the angel s mission to shaggy 
Els and to lady Breide resemble that of Hermes to Calypso, when 
she is commanded to let Odysseus go. But such wanderings 
of heroes and encounters with wise women and giants seem to 
be a common epic property prevailing everywhere, while the very 
absence here of all the other main motives of the Greek myth ex 
cludes the supposition of borrowing. We may surely give their 
due weight to the many resemblances of Wuotan to Zeus and 
Apollo, of Zio to Zeus and Ares, we may recognise Nerthus in 
Demeter, Frigg and Freyja in Hera and Aphrodite, Wieland in 
Hepha3stus and Daedalus, without the whole swarm of Grecian 
gods needing therefore to be transported to our soil, or all that 
this produced having to be looked for in Greece. Must honum 
hlo hugr i briosti have somehow got into the Edda from 
Homer s eyeXaacre Se ol $i\ov rjrQp ? The distinction, drawn in 
Homer as well as the Edda, between the speech of gods and of 
men may signify something to us, and yet be no harder to explain 
than the identity of Zio with Zeus, or of Zevs Trarrjp with All- 
father. It is beautiful how Venus and venustus are made in 
telligible by the ON. vaetin and vaenstr, and even by the 0. Sax. 
superlative wanumo. What is true of the Greek and Roman 
mythologies, that with all their similarity they are yet far from 
identical, has to be asserted with still more emphasis of the relation 
between the Roman and German, inasmuch as Greek literature 
left an infinitely deeper dint on the Roman, than Latin literature 
was ever able to produce on our antiquity. If in ch. XXXV and 
XXXVII many things are quoted which appear to spring out of 
Roman superstition, it is fully justified by the poverty of native 
information compelling me to seek a support for it from abroad : 


I do not suppose that the old German fancies about beasts 
crossing one s path, or about the virtues of herbs, were in them 
selves any poorer than the Roman. 

What I claim for Teutonic nations as compared with the 
Greeks and Romans, must also hold good of them as regards the 
Celts, Slavs, Lithuanians and Finns, whose paganism was similar 
to ours or not so similar. Here however the quantity of coinci 
dences is still more damaging to the theory of plagiarisms, which 
would else encumber every nook and corner. 

In favour of the study of Celtic languages and legends a whole 
some reaction has set in, insisting that this downtrodden race, 
which once occupied wide tracts of Germany, shall receive its 
due. By no means poor in memorials, it has an auxiliary resource 
in several living tongues, the Armoric, Welsh, Irish and High 
land Scotch. But the paths still lie uncertain and slippery, and 
what we concede to the Celts ought not in the zeal of discovery 
to be turned against ourselves ; in cases of resemblance what 
is genuinely German must put in its claim too. Now Heinrich 
Schreiber s interesting studies of grave-mounds, weapons and 
fays appear to me at times to stray beyond the true line : surely 
the horses heads on roof-gables in Mecklenburg and Holstein are 
more undoubtedly German than the similar ones in Switzerland 
are Celtic ; and so far as our elfins and white ladies extend, they 
have their justification, as the fays have on the other side. Some 
obscure names of animals Leo has, I think, succeeded in inter 
preting as Celtic ; so long as he is obliged to leave the main 
characters in the fable German, as Reginhart and Isangrim, I have 
no fear for the genuineness of our epos ; and the foreignness of 
subordinate characters tends to throw farther back the date of the 
entire poem. Also what he contributes to Nerthus and muspell 
(Haupt 3, 226) demands attention. Beside the fays, who answer 
to our swan-maidens, wish-wives and norns, beside Abundia, who 
resembles Folia (fulness), I attach importance to Taranis = Donar, 
to Gwydion = Wuotan, to Beal = Phol or Balder, and I am not 
sure but that Hesus is the same as Cheru, and that Segomon (p. 
371) ought not to be overlooked. Needfires and May-offerings 


are subjects for consideration. It would greatly advance our 
knowledge of Wuotan s true nature, if we could ascertain how 
far the Celtic worship of Mercury differed from the Roman ; to 
all appearance that deity was greater to the Celts and Germans 
than Hermes-Mercury was to the Greeks and Romans ; to Tris- 
megistus and Tervagan I allude on p. 150. All that is left us of 
the Celtic religion, even in stray fragments, bespeaks a more 
finished mental culture than is to be found in German or Norse 
mythology; there comes out in it more of priestly lore. But 
in respect of genius and epic matter our memorials are incom 
parably superior. 

As the Celts enclose us on the west, so do the Slavs on the 
east ; and Slavic writers, like the Celtic, are rather fond, wherever 
their ancient faith coincides with ours, of interpreting things 
from a Slavic point of view, which can just as well be explained 
from a German. The affinity of the two races can be perceived at 
once by such old cognate words as the Gothic sunus (son), O.H. 
German sunu, Slavic syn; Goth. Hubs (dear), OHG. liop, Boh. 
liby, Russ. liubo; Goth. lau]?s (people), OHG. Hut, Slav. Hud; 
Goth, hlaifs (loaf), OHG. hleip, Slav, khleb. And the mythic 
resemblances are no less significant. Radegast must stand for 
Wuotan, Perun for Fairguneis, Fiorgunn, but Svatovit for Zio ; 
between Radegast the god of bliss (rad glad, radost joy), and our 
Wish, the harmony is yet stronger. Kroto reminds us of Kirt, 
Molnia of Miolnir (pp. 1221. 813). How near the badniak of the 
Servians comes to our Christmas fire ! their cuckoo-pole to the 
Langobardic dove-pole (p. 1135n.), their dodola to the fetching-in 
of rain (p. 594), the carrying-out of death to the fight of summer 
and winter, the vila to our wise-women ! If the elf and dwarf 
legends appear less polished than they are among Celts and 
Germans, our giant legend on the other hand has much more in 
common with the Slavic and Finnic. No doubt Slav mythology 
altogether is several degrees wilder and grosser than German, yet 
many things in it will make a different figure when once the 
legends and fairy tales are more fully and faithfully gathered in, 
and the gain to German research also will be great. 


From similar collections of Lithuanian, Samogitian and Lettish 
myths revelations no less important are impending, as we may 
anticipate from the remarkable connexion between the lan 

More results have already been attained in Finland, whose 
people, comparable in this to the Servians alone, have in their 
mouths to this day a most wonderful store of songs and tales, 
though in Servian poetry the heroic legend predominates, and in 
Finnic the myth. Merely by what Ganander, Porthan and now 
Lonnrot have published, an immense deal is bridged over between 
the German, Norse, Slav, Greek and Asiatic mythologies. Rask 
(in Afhand. 1, 96) had already derived some Norse names of 
giants from Finnic. And further, the distinction we made be 
tween legend and fairy-tale does not at all apply as yet to this 
Finnic poetry : it stands at an older stage, where the marvels of 
the fairy-tale without any sense of incongruity mingle with the 
firmer basis of the folk-tale, and even the animal fable can be 
admitted. Wainamoinen (Bsth. Wannemunne) can be compared 
to Wuotan both in general, and particularly in his character of 
Wish : the Finnic waino and wainotem signify desiderium, wainok 
cupidus, wainotet desiderare : the Swedish Lapps, with a kindred 
language, have waino (wish, desire), and the Norwegian Lapps 
vaimel cupidus. Thus Wish, Radegast and Wainamoinen seem 
to be getting nearer to each other. This last is a god of poetry 
and singing (p. 907), he is constantly called Wanha, the old one, 
as the thunder-god Ukko likewise is called father or old, and his 
wife Akka mother or old. With the Lapps, Atia means both 
grandfather and thunder (see old daddy/ p. 168). As Thor s 
minni was drunk, so full bowls were emptied in honour of Ukko. 
Wainamoinen wakes Wipune out of her grave (Rune 10), as 
OSinn does Yola. Ilmarinen, the smith-god of the Finns, re 
minds us of Hephaestus and Volundr, but makes a deeper im 
pression than either ; he fashioned a wife for himself out of gold 
(conf. p. 570 n.). To the Lapps, Sarakka means creatress, from 
saret to create, a goddess of fortune. 

All Finnish nations use Yumala as a general name for the 


Supreme Being in the sense of our God or the Slavic Bogh, to 
which corresponds the Swed. Lapp, yupmel, Norw. Lapp, ibmel; 
but the Syrian have also yen (gen. yenlon), the Perinians en, the 
Votiaks inmar, the Tcheremiss yumn. Along the northern edge 
of Europe and over the Ural into northern Asia extends this 
widespread group of nations of the Finn kind, their languages and 
myths shewing everywhere a common character. The Votiaks, 
like the Slavs and Germans, hold the woodpecker sacred (p. 765) ; 
but what I lay special stress upon is the bear-worship of these 
nations, which has left its traces in Sweden and Norway, and 
betrays the earliest stage of our Teutonic beast-legend (p. 667). 
Poetic euphemisms designate the sacred beast, and as soon as he 
is slain, solemn hymns are struck up as by way of atonement. 
Runes 28 and 29 in Kalewala describe such a hunt with all its 
ceremonial. Ostiaks in taking an oath kneel on a bearskin, in 
heathen sacrifices they covered the victim with a bearskin (p. 
1010), and long afterwards they hung bearskins about them in 
the service of the devil (p. 1018). As the bear was king of all 
beasts, the terms applied to him of ( old one and grandfather 
suggest those of the thunder-god. The constellation of the 
Great Bear (p. 725) would of itself seem an evident trace of 
his worship even among the Greeks. 

Coming down from northern Asia to the tribes of the Caucasus, 
we again meet with the most remarkable coincidences. The 
Tcherkesses (Circassians) keep up a worship of the boar (p. 215), 
as did the ancient Aestyi and Germani. Both Tcherkesses and 
Ossets glorify the same Elias (p. 173-4, conf. p. 185) who is such 
a sacred personage to the Slav races. Even the ancient Alani 
and Scythians seem to be linked with the heathen Germans by 
their worship of the sword (p. 204); Attila means grandfather, 
and is among Huns as well as Germans a name for mountains. 
The same inspection of shoulder-blades that Jornandes relates of 
Huns goes on to this day among Kalmuks (p. 1113). A good 
many Mongolian customs agree with those of Celts and Germans : 
I will only instance the barleycorn s being the unit of all mea 
surement of land (see my account of it in Berl. Jahrb. for 1842, 


pp. 795-6) ; conf. the Finnic ohrasen yivea=hordei granum, Kal. 
17,625. 27,138. 

A still closer agreement with our antiquities than exists among 
Finns and Mongols is to be looked for in the more cognate 
Zendic and Indian mythologies. That of India is finely wrought 
like the Greek, but I think the Greek has the same advantage 
over it that I awarded to the German as compared with the 
Celtic : a certain theosophic propensity betrays itself in the In 
dians as well as Celts, which in the fulness of Greek and German 
myth falls more into the background. It seems worthy of notice, 
that to the Indian gods and goddesses are assigned celestial 
dwellings with proper names, as in the Edda. Among the gods 
themselves, Brahma s creative power resembles Wuotan s, Indra 
is akin to Donar, being the wielder of lightning and the ruler of 
air and winds, so that as god of the sky he can also be compared 
to Zio. The unison of our Wish with the notion embodied 
in manoratha (p. 870) deserves attention. Nerthus answers to 
Bhavani (p. 255), Halja to Kali, and Mannus to Manus (p. 578), 
the last two examples being letter for letter the same; but 
one thing that must not be overlooked is, that the same myth 
of man s creation out of eight materials (pp. 564 7) which has 
already turned up five times, appears in a portion of the Vedas, 
the Aitareya Aranya, from which an excerpt is given in Cole- 
brooke s Misc. Essays, Lond. 1837, vol. 1, p. 47 seq. ; here also 
eight ingredients are enumerated : fire, air, sun, space, herb, 
moon, death, and water. Naturally the details vary again, 
though even the five European accounts are not without a certain 
Indian colouring. Still more interesting perhaps is an echo 
that reaches the very heart of our hero-legend. Putraka (in 
Somadeva i. 19) comes upon two men who are fighting for some 
magic gifts, a cup, a staff, and a pair of shoes ; he cheats them 
into running a race, steps into the shoes himself, and flies up into 
the clouds with the cup and staff. With the same adroitness 
Siegfried among the dwarfs manages the division of their hoard, 
upon which lies the wishing-rod (p. 457) ; and our nursery tales 
are full of such divisions (Altd. bl. 1, 297. KM. ed. 5, no. 193. 

VOL. in. c 


2, 502. Bechstein s Miirclien p. 75). The same trick decides 
the quarrel in Asbiornsen, no. 9, p. 59, and in the Hungarian 
tale, Gaal p. 166. 

Now whence can these details have been imported into the 
homespun fairy-tale? Every country has them, at its fingers 
ends. To take another striking instance : the story of the three 
cousins (p. 415) who had spun till the nose of one grew long, 
another s eyes red, and another s fingers thick, is told still more 
vividly in Norway (Asb. and Moe, no. 13), and most vividly in 
Scotland (Chambers, p. 54-5). Or the changeling s unfailing 
formula (pp. 469. 927), was that conveyed from Denmark to 
Scotland, from Ireland to Hesse ? Was the legend of the willow 
that has never heard a cock crow (p. 1243) handed over by the 
Romans to the Poles ; and the myth of the thunder-bolt by 
the Greek to the Slav, by the Slav to the German ? Did a little 
bird always pick up the legendary seed, and lug it over hill 
and dale to other lands ? I believe Myth to be the common 
property of many lands, that all its ways are not yet known, but 
tljat it is properest to that nation with whose gods it closely 
coalesces, as a word common to several languages may best be 
claimed by that one which can explain its root. The legend of 
Tell relates no real event, yet, without fabrication or lying, as a 
genuine myth it has shot up anew in the bosom of Switzerland, 
to embellish a transaction that took hold of the nation s inmost 

I do not deny for a moment, that beside this mysterious 
diffusion of myths there has also been borrowing from without, 
nay, that they could be purposely invented or imported, though 
it is a harder matter than one would imagine for this last sort to 
take root among the people. Roman literature has from early 
times spread itself over other European lands, and in certain 
cases it may be quite impossible to strike the balance between 
its influence and that inner growth of legend. And nowhere 
is extrinsic influence less a matter of doubt than where, by 
the collision of Christian doctrine with heathenism among the 


converted nations, it became unavoidable to abjure the old, and 
in its place to adopt or adapt what the new faith introduced or 

Oftentimes the Church and I have specified sundry instances 
either was from the outset, or gradually became, tolerant and 
indulgent. She prudently permitted, or could not prevent, that 
heathen and Christian things should here and there run into one 
another; the clergy themselves would not always succeed in 
marking off the bounds of the two religions ; their private lean 
ings might let some things pass, which they found firmly rooted 
in the multitude. In the language, together with a stock of 
newly imported Greek and Latin terms, there still remained, 
even for ecclesiastical use, a number of Teutonic words previously 
employed in heathen services, just as the names of gods stood 
ineradicable in the days of the week ; to such words old customs 
would still cling, silent and unnoticed, and take a new lease of 
life. The festivals of a people present a tough material, they are 
so closely bound up with its habits of life, that they will put up 
with foreign additions, if only to save a fragment of festivities 
long loved and tried. In this way Scandinavia, probably the 
Goths also for a time, and the Anglo-Saxons down to a late 
period, retained the heathenish Yule, as all Teutonic Christians 
did the sanctity of Eastertide ; and from these two the Yule-boar 
and Yule-bread, the Easter pancake, Easter sword, Easter fire 
and Easter dance could not be separated. As faithfully were 
perpetuated the name and in many cases the observances of 
Midsummer. New Christian feasts, especially of saints, seem 
purposely as well as accidentally to have been made to fall on 
heathen holidays. Churches often rose precisely where a heathen 
god or his sacred tree had been pulled down, and the people 
trod their old paths to the accustomed site : sometimes the very 
walls of the heathen temple became those of the church, and 
cases occur in which idol-images still found a place in a wall of 
the porch, or were set up outside the door, as at Bamberg cathe 
dral there lie Slavic-heathen figures of animals inscribed with 
runes. Sacred hills and fountains were re-christened after saints, 


to whom their sanctity was transferred ; sacred woods were 
handed over to the newly-founded convent or the king, and even 
under private ownership did not altogether lose their long-, 
accustomed homage. Law-usages, particularly the ordeals and 
oath-takings, but also the beating of bounds, consecrations, 
image- processions, spells and formulas, while retaining their 
heathen character, were simply clothed in Christian forms. In 
some customs there was little to change : the heathen practice of 
sprinkling a newborn babe with water (vatni ausa p. 592, dicare 
p. 108, line 5) closely resembled Christian baptism, the sign of the 
hammer that of the cross, and the erection of tree-crosses the 
irmensuls and world-trees of paganism. Still more significant 
must appear that passage where Voluspa and the Bible coincide 
(p. 811); in the far later Solar-HoS traces of Christian teaching 
are discernible. 

In a conflux of so many elements it could not but happen, even 
where the mental conceptions and views of a simple populace un 
able to do without myths had felt the full force of the revolution, 
that in its turn the Old, not wholly extinct, should half un 
consciously get interwoven with the irrepressible New. Jewish 
and Christian doctrine began to lean towards heathen, heathen 
fancies and superstitions to push forward and, as it were, take 
refuge in all the places they found unoccupied by the new reli 
gion. Here we find Christian material in a heathen form, there 
heathen matter in a Christian disguise. 

As the goddess Ostara was converted into a notion of time, 
so was Hellia into one of place. The beliefs of our forefathers 
about elves and giants got intensified and expanded into angels 
and devils, but the legends remained the same. Wuotan, Donar, 
Zio, Phol put on the nature of malignant diabolic beings, and 
the story of their solemn yearly visitation shaped itself into that 
of a wild rabble rout, which the people now shunned with horror, 
as formerly they had thronged to those processions. 

Veiled under the biblical names of Cain, Elias, Enoch, Anti 
christ, Herodias, there come into view the same old myths about 
moon-spots, giants buildings, a god of thunder and of storm, the 


gracious (holde) night-dame and the burning of the world. And 
what arrests our attention still more is, that to the Virgin Mary 
we apply a whole host of charming legends about Holda and 
Frouwa, norns and valkyrs, as the Komans did those about 
Venus, Juno and the parcae ; nay, in the fairy-tale, dame Holle 
and Mary can usurp the place of gray-hatted Wuotan. What a 
tender fragrance breathes in those tales of Mary, and what has 
any other poetry to put by the side of them ? To the kindly 
heathen traits is superadded for us that sense of superior sanctity 
which encompasses this Lady. Herbs and flowers are named 
after Mary, her images are carried about, and, quite in accord 
ance with the heathen worship, installed on forest trees. She 
is a divine mother, she is a spinning-wife, she appears as maid 
of mercy (vierge secourable) to whosoever calls upon her. To 
the country folk in Italy, Mary stands well in the foreground of 
their religion ; the Madonnas of several churches in Naples are 
looked upon as so many different divine beings, and even as 
rivals, and a Santa Venere by their side gives no offence. Three 
Marys together (p. 416, note) resemble the three norns and 
three fays; Mary carries stones and earth in her apron (p. 537) 
like Athena or the fay. The worship of Mary altogether, being 
neither founded on Scripture nor recognised by the first cen 
turies, can only be explained by the fact of those pretty and 
harmless but heathen fancies having taken such deep root in 
the people that the Church also gradually combined with them 
a more daintily devised and statelier devotion (attentio) which 
we find woven into numerous legends and sermons. 

But Mary does not stand alone by a long way. Immediately 
at her side there has grown up in the Catholic and Greek 
churches an interminable adoration of Saints, to make up for 
heathen gods of the second or third rank, for heroes and wise- 
women, and to fill the heart by bridging the gulf between it and 
pure Deity. Dogma may distinguish between Deity and inter 
cessors ; but how many a pious lip, moving in prayer before the 
sacred image, must be unaware of this distinction, or forget it ! 
And further, among the saints themselves there are various 



grades, and the particular troubles under which they can be of 
service are parcelled out among them like so many offices and 
lines of business, so that almost every disease and its remedy are 
called by the name of their saint; this division of tasks has the 
strongest analogy to the directions given in Norse and Lithuanian 
mythology for the invocation of the several deities (p. 335). The 
victorious hero who had slain the dragon made room for Michael 
or George; and the too pagan Siegberg (p. 198), which may 
have meant the same as Eresberg (p. 201), was handed over to 
Michael, as the mons Martis in France was turned into a mons 
martyrum, Montmartre. It is remarkable that the Ossets have 
converted the dies Martis into Georgeday, and dies Veneris into 
Mary s day (Pott 1, 105. 2, 802). The places of OSinn and of 
Freyja in minni-drinking are taken by John and by Gertrude, 
a saint who in other ways also has changed places with the 
goddess (pp. 61. 305. 673); but we can easily see why the 
heathen counterpart to a saint s legend is oftener to be found 
in the Koman than in our German mythology. The Church 
in her saints and canonizations had not the wit to keep within 
bounds, and the disproportion comes out most glaringly in the 
fact that the acts and miracles of the Saviour and his apostles 
are in some cases outdone by those of the saints. Whoever 
would push these investigations further, as they deserve to be 
pushed, will have to take particular notice, what saints are the 
first to emerge in the popular faith of any country, and which of 
them in poems and in forms of benediction have gradually slipt 
into the places of the old gods. 

Here let me illustrate the more or less thorough interpene- 
tration and commingling of Christian and heathen legend by 
two examples, which seem to me peculiarly important. 

It must be regarded as one of the original possessions common 
to our mythologies, that the God, or two gods, or three, descend 
from heaven to earth, whether to prove men s works and ways 
(p. 337), or in search of adventures. This does violence to the 
Christian belief in God s omnipresence and omniscience ; but it 


is a very pleasing fancy, that of the gods in person walking the 
earth unrecognised, and dropping in at the houses of mortals. 
Even the Odyssey 17, 485-7 alludes to such wanderings, in which 
is found the loftiest consecration of hospitality : a man will be 
loth to turn away a stranger, under whose guise a celestial god 
may be visiting him. A Greek myth with details appears in the 
story of Orion : three gods, Zeus, Poseidon, Hermes (some say 
Zeus, Ares, Hermes = Donar, Zio, Wuotan) take lodging with 
Hyrieus, and after being feasted, give him leave to ask a favour ; 
he wishes for a son, and they create him one much in the same 
way as Kvasir was engendered (p. 902, conf. 1025 n.). Ovid s 
Fasti 5, 495 535. Hyginus 195 relates the same fable of the 
Thracian Byrseus. In the beautiful legend of Philemon and 
Baucis (Ovid s Met. 8, 626 721), Jupiter and Mercury are travel 
ling, and reward their kind entertainers by saving them from 
the impending deluge (p. 580) ; a fable of Phaedrus makes the 
divine messenger alone, the god of roads and highways, pass 
the night with mortals (Mercurium, hospitio mulieres olim duae 
illiberali et sordido receperant). But Demeter also is at times 
represented as travelling and associating with men, as would be 
natural for all mothers of gods ; Aesop in Fab. 54 makes Demeter 
travel with a swallow and an eel, but when they came to a river 
the bird flew up, the fish slipt into the water, and what did 
Demeter do ?. With the Indians it is principally Brahma and 
Vishnu that visit the earth. In a Lithuanian legend Perkunos 
walks the earth at the time when beasts yet spoke ; he first met 
the horse, and asked his way. I have no time to shew thee the 
way, I have to eat/ Hard by was an ox grazing who had heard 
the traveller s request : Come, stranger/ he cried, I will shew 
thee the way to the river/ Then said the god to the horse : 
( As thou couldst not for eating find time to do me a turn of kind 
ness, thou shalt for a punishment be never satisfied ; then to the 
ox : Thou good-natured beast shalt conveniently appease thy 
hunger, and after chew the cud at thine ease, for thou wert ready 
to serve me/ This myth likewise inculcates kindness to the 
stranger, and for Perkunos subsequent narrators could without 


scruple substitute the Saviour. In the Edda it is always OSinn, 
Loki and Hcenir that go on journeys together, the same three Ases 
that also co-operate in creating (p. 560), for LoiSr and Loki are 
apparently one (p. 241), and in this connexion Loki has nothing 
base or bad about him. Hcenir is called in Sn. 106 sessi, sinni, 
mali OSins (sodalis, comes, collocutor Odini) . These three Ases 
set out on a journey, and at night seek a lodging ; in the stories 
preserved to us no mention is made of a trial of hospitality. In 
a later saga OSinn with Loki and Hcenir rides to the chase 
(Miiller s Sagabibl. 1, 364) ; and a remarkable lay of the Faroe 
Isles (Lyngbye pp. 500 seq.) presents the same three, Ouvin, 
Honer and Lokkji, not indeed as travelling, but as succouring 
gods, who when called upon immediately appear, and one after 
the other deliver a boy whom giant Skrujmsli is pursuing, by 
hiding him, quite in fairy-tale fashion, in an ear of barley, 
a swan s feather, and a fish s egg. There were doubtless many 
more stories like this, such as the Norwegian tale in Asbiorn. no. 
21, conf. p. 423. As bearing upon their subsequent transfer 
ence, it must not be overlooked that in Fornm. sog. 9, 56. 175 
OSinn on horseback calls one evening at a blacksmith s, and has 
his horse shod ; his identity with Hermes becomes quite startling 
in these myths. At other times however it is Thorr with his 
heavy hammer (p. 180) that seeks a lodging, like Zeus, and when 
he stays the night at the peasant s, Loki accompanies Thorr (Sn. 
49) ; then again Heimdallr, calling himself Rigr, traverses the 
world, and founds the families of man. The Finnish legend 
makes Wainamoinen, Ilmarinen and Leinminkainen travel (rune 
23), quite on a par with OSinn, Loki, and Hcenir. 

If now we look from these heathen myths to those in a 
Christian dress and of a later time, the connexion between them 
can be no enigma : that of Perkunos changing into the Saviour 
has already set us the key. Either Christ and Peter journey out 
together, or one of the two alone ; the fable itself turns about in 
more than one direction. Antique above all sounds the visit of 
these godlike beings, like that of OSinn, to the blacksmith, and 
here the rewarding of hospitality is not left out. In the Norw. 


tale no. 21, the Saviour, after lie lias far surpassed his host in 
feats of skill, yet places three wishes at his disposal, the very 
same that were allowed the smith of Jiiterbok : compare also 
Kinderm. no. 147, the Netherl. story of Smeke in Wolfs Wodana 
p. 54 seq., and H. Sachs iv. 3, 70. But in Kinderm. 82, though 
the player, like the smith, asks for the tree from which one 
cannot get down, the main point with him is the dice, and the 
bestowal of them cannot but remind us of Wuotan the inventor 
of dice (p. 150. 1007), and again of Mercury. In H. Sachs ii. 
4, 114 it is only Peter that bestows the wishing-die on a lands- 
knecht at work in the garden. But the Fabliau St. Pierre et le 
jongleur (Meon 3, 282) relates how the juggler fared after death 
in hell ; though nothing is said of travelling or gift-giving, yet 
Peter coming down from heaven in a black beard and smug 
moustaches and with a set of dice, to win from the showman the 
souls entrusted to his keeping, has altogether the appearance of 
Wuotan, who is eager, we know, to gather souls into his dwell 
ing; and that tailor who hurled the leg of a chair out of heaven 
(p. 136) had been admitted by Peter. Then another group of 
legends betrays a new feature, full of significance to us. The 
Saviour and Peter are travelling together, Peter has to dress the 
dinner, and he bites a leg off the roast chicken (Wolfs Wodana, 
p. 180) ; in the Latin poem of Heriger, belonging to the tenth 
century, Peter is called in so many words head-cook of heaven, 
and a droll fellow secretly eats a piece of lung off the roast, as in 
Marchen no. 81 brother Lustig, travelling with Peter, steals the 
heart of the roast lamb, and elsewhere the landsknecht or the 
Swabian steals the liver. This seems to be all the same myth, 
for the circumstance that Peter plays by turns the culprit and the 
god whose attendant is in fault, may itself be of very old date : 
even the heathen stories may have made OSinn and Loki change 
places. Loki is all the more a cook, a roast-stealer, and there 
fore on a line with Peter, as even the Edda imputes to him the 
eating of a heart (the suspected passage in Seem. 118 b I emend 
thus : Loki athiarta lundi brenda, fann hann halfsvrSinn hugstein 
konu/ Lokius comedit cor in nemore assum, invenit semiustum 


rnentis-lapidem mulieris), and in our ancient beast-fable the sly 
fox (Loki still) carries off the stag s heart half-roasted (Reinh . 
xlviii. lii). Nor does this by any means exhaust the stock of 
such tales of travel. Hans Sachs 1, 492 made up a poem in 1557 
(and Burc. Waldis 4, 95 before him in 1537) how Peter journey 
ing with Christ wished in the pride of his heart to rule the 
world, and could not so much as manage the goat which the 
Lord had given into his hands for one day; again 1, 493 how 
they arrived at a parting of the roads, and asked their way of a 
lazy workman lying in the shade of a peartree, who gave them 
a gruff answer ; then they came upon a maidservant, who was 
toiling in the sweat of her brow, but, on being asked, immedi 
ately laid her sickle down, and saw the Lord into the right road : 
be this maid/ said the Saviour to Peter, assigned to none other 
but that man/ (in Agricola, Spr. 354, the maid is idle and the 
man industrious). This recalls not only Perkunos with the 
horse and ox, but the norns or fays passing through the land 
in the legend quoted on p. 409. Old French poems give the 
part of short-sighted Peter to the hermit who escorts an angel 
through the world (Meon, Nouv. rec. 2, 116, and pref. to tome 1) ; 
from Mielcke s Lith. sprachl. p. 167 I learn that the same ver 
sion prevails in Samogitia, and the Gesta Rornanor. cap. 80 tell 
of the angelus et eremita. As the gods lodged with Philemon 
and Baucis, so does a dwarf travelling in the Grindelwald with 
some poor but hospitable folk, and protects their little house 
from the flood (DS. no. 45) ; in Kinderm. 87 God Almighty 
lodges with the poor man, and allows him three wishes ; to Riigen 
comes the old beggar-man ( = Wuotau), gets a night s lodging 
from a poor woman, and on leaving in the morning lets her 
dabble in the wishing business, which turns out ill for the envious 
neighbour. Thiele (Danmarks folkesagn 2, 306) finds the very 
same myth in Fiinen, and here the traveller is Peter again : the 
Norwegian tale makes the Lord God and Peter come to dame 
Gertrude and turn the stingy thing into a bird (p. 673). There 
is a popular joke about Christ and Peter being on a journey, and 
the Saviour creating the first Bohemian; and a Netherl. tale 



(Wodana p. xxxvii) about their putting up at an ogre s house 
iu a wood, and being concealed by his compassionate wife, an 
incident that occurs in many other tales. 

Afzelius (Sagohafder 3, 1 55), while he proves the existence of 
these legends of Christ and Peter in Sweden also, is certainly 
wrong in pronouncing them mere fabricated drolleries, not 
founded on popular belief. They are as firmly grounded as any 
thing can be on primitive traditions, and prove with what fidelity 
the people s memory has cared for our mythology, while MHG. 
poets despise these fables which they could have sung so admir 
ably, just as they leave on one side dame Berhte and Holde and 
in general what is of home growth, Yet a couple of allusions 
may prove, if proof it needs, that this dressing up of the old myth 
was in vogue as early as the 13th century : Rumelant (Amgb. 
12 a ) relates of Christ and Peter, how they came to a deep rivulet 
into which a man had fallen, who was doing nothing to help him 
self; and a nameless poet (Mone s Anz. 5, 192) tells of a wood 
cutter whom Peter was trying to hoist into heaven by his mallet, 
but when on the topmost rung, the mallet s handle came off, and 
the poor man dropt into hell. The pikeman or blacksmith in the 
fairy-tale got on better by flinging his knapsack or apron (sledge 
hammer in Asbiornsen p. 136 is still more archaic) into heaven. 
Of course these wanderings of the Saviour and one of his disciples 
have something in common with the journeys of Jesus and his 
apostles in Judea, the dwarf visitor might be compared to the 
angels who announced God s mercies and judgments to Abraham 
and Lot, as Philemon and Baucis have a certain resemblance to 
Abraham and Sarah ; but the harmony with heathen legend is 
incomparably fuller and stronger. The angels were simply mes 
sengers ; our mythology, like the Greek and Indian, means here 
an actual avatara of Deity itself. 

Another example, of smaller compass, but equally instructive 
as to the mingling of Christian with heathen ideas, may be drawn 
from the old legend of Fruoto. The blissful birth of the Saviour, 
the new era beginning with him, were employed in drawing pic 
tures of a golden age (p. 695. 793 n.) and the state of happiness 


and peace inseparable from it. The Koman Augustus, under 
whom Christ was born, closed the temple of Janus, and peace 
is supposed to have reigned all over the earth. Now the Norse 
tradition makes its mythic Fro Si likewise contemporary with 
Augustus, FrcVSi whose reign is marked by peace and blessed 
ness, who made captive giantesses grind heaps of gold for him 
(p. 531. 871), and had bracelets deposited on the public high 
way without any one laying hands on them. The poets call gold 
miol Fro<5a/ Fruoto s meal (Sn, 146), to explain which phrase 
the poem Grottasaungr is inserted in the Edda; and in Sa3m. 
151 a occurs : sleit Frofta frr<$ fianda a milli/ Bymbegla says, 
in his time the fields bore crops without being sown (it is the 
blessed Sampo-period of the Finns), and metal was found every 
where in the ground; nature joined in extolling the prince, 
as she does in lamenting his death (p. 591). When Helgi 
was born, eagles uttered a cry, and holy waters streamed down 
from the hills of heaven (Saem. 149 a ) ; in the year of Hakon s 
election the birds, we are told, bred twice, and twice the trees 
bore, about which the Hak. Hakonarsaga cap. 24 has some 
beautiful songs. Hartmann, a monk of St. Gall, sings on the 
entry of the king : Haec ipsa gaudent tempora, floreque verno 
germinant, adventus omni gaudio quando venit optatior/ So 
deep a feeling had the olden time for a beloved king. And 
Beda 2, 16 thus describes king Eadwine s time : Tanta eo 
tempore pax in Britannia fuisse perhibetur, ut, sicut usque hodie 
in proverbio dicitur, etiamsi mulier una cum recens nato par- 
vulo vellet totam perambulare insulam a mari ad mare, nullo se 
laedente valeret. Tantum rex idem utilitati suae gentis con- 
suluit, ut plerisque in locis, ubi fontes lucidos juxta publicos 
viarum transitus construxit, ibi ob refrigerium viantium erectis 
stipitibus aereos caucos suspendi juberet, neque hos quisquam 
nisi ad usum necessarium contingere prae magnitudine vel timoris 
ejus auderet vel amoris vellet/ And of several other kings the 
tale is told, that they exposed precious jewels on the public road. 
Mildness and justice were the highest virtues of rulers, and 
mild signified both rnitis and largus, munificus. FroSi was 


called the femildi (bountiful) ; ( fro$i itself includes the notion 
of sagacity. When the genealogies and legends make several 
kings of that name follow one another, they all evidently mean 
the same (conf. p. 348). Saxo Gramm. 27 makes his first Frotho 
sprinkle ground gold on his food, which is unmistakably that 
e Frofta miol of Snorri ; the second is called frcekni/ vegetus ; 
it is not till the reign of the third, who fastens a gold bracelet 
on the road, that the Saviour is born (p. 95). 

But this myth of the mild king of peace must formerly have 
been known outside of Scandinavia, namely, here in Germany, 
and in Britain too. For one thing, our chroniclers and poets, 
when they mention the Saviour s birth, break out, like Snorri 
and Saxo, in praises of a peaceful Augustan age ; thus Godfrey 
of Viterbo p. 250 : 

Fit gladius vomer, fiunt de cuspide falces, 
Mars siluit, pax emicuit, miles fuit auceps ; 
nascentis Christi tempore pax rediit. 

Wernher s Maria, p. 160 : 

Do wart ein chreftiger fride, Then befel a mighty peace, 

diu swert versluogen die smide, smiths converted their swords, 

bediu spieze und sper ; both pikes and spears ; 

do ne was dehein her then was there nj> army 

daz iender des gedaehte that anywhere thought 

daz ez strite oder vsehte, of striving and fighting, 

do ne was niht urliuge then was no war 

bi des meres piuge, by the sea s margin, 

noch enhein nitgeschelle. nor any sound of hate. 

Mit grozer ebenhelle In great unison 

und harte fridliche and right peacefully 

stuonden elliu riche. stood all kingdoms. 

And p. 193 : Aller fride meiste 

mit des keisers volleiste 

der wart erhaben und gesworn 

do Christ was geborn. 

xlvi PEE FACE. 

Compare En. 13205 13, and Albrecht of Halberstadt s Prologue, 
which also says that Augustus 

machte so getanen fride (perfect peace) 
daz man diu swert begunde smide 
in segense (scythes), und werken hiez 
zuo den sicheln den spiez. 

It is true, none of these passages make any reference to Fruoto ; 
but how could the milte Fruote von Tenemarke have got so 
firm a footing in our heroic lays of Giidrun and the Raben- 
schlacht, and in the memory of our Court-poets (MS. 2, 22 l b , 
227 b , Conr. Bngelhart, and Helbl. 2, 1303. 7, 366. 13, 111) 
without some express legend to rest upon ? This I had a pre 
sentiment of on p. 532 from our proper names Fanigolt, Mani- 
golt (fen-gold, bracelet- gold) ; conf. Haupt s pref. to Engelh. 
p. x. And what is more, the Austrian weisthiimer (3, 687. 712) 
require by way of fine a shield fall of ground gold ; and filling 
shields with gold meant being liberal. The folk-song in Uhland 
1, 76-7 makes the mill grind gold and love. How else to explain 
gold-grinding and gold-meal I cannot divine. 

I could multiply such examples ; I could also, if the task were 
not reserved for others or another occasion, shew in detail that 
the same mythic basis, which must be assumed for our own 
heroic lays, w^s not foreign either to the Carolingian poetry, 
the product mainly of a German tribe, or even to the British. 
Arthur belongs to the ( wild host and the ( heaven s wain/ 
Morgana coincides with norns and elfins. A great deal nearer 
still stands Charles with his heroes : he is the Long-beard that 
sleeps in the mountain and rides on the Karl-wain, his Karl- 
stone is the same as the Woden-stone (p. 155), Roland stands 
on the pillar, Froberge reminded us of Fro (p. 216), and Gralans, 
who plies the forge for these Frankish heroes, is Wayland, 
Wielant, Volundr. Berthe with the foot, progenitress of Charles, 
is our Berhta (p. 429) ; and, attached to her, stand Flore and 
Blanchefleur with their elvish names (p. 1063). Charles s loved 
one was an elfin (p. 435), Auberon is Elberich and elf-king; and 

PREFACE. xlvii 

Malagis=Madalgis, borders on the elvisli. Charleses 
hall resembles that of Asgard (p. 1133n.). 

If these investigations have not been a sheer waste of time 
(and to me it seemed worth the trouble to look into the affairs 
of our antiquity from all sides), I may now at length attempt an 
answer to questions, or some of them at least, as to what is the 
true fundamental character of Teutonic mythology. 

Judged by the standard of those mythologies that completed 
their career from beginning to end, notably the Greek (with 
which nevertheless it has so many important features in common), 
it will bear no comparison, if only for the reason that it was 
interrupted early, before it had produced all that it could have 
produced. As to our language and poetry, they were sensibly 
disturbed and hindered too, but they lived on, and could acquire 
a new impetus ; the heathen faith was cut down to the root, and 
its poor remains could only save themselves by stealth under a 
new guise. Crude, unkempt it cannot but appear, yet the crude 
has its simplicity, and the rough its sincerity. 

In our heathen mythology certain ideas stand out strong and 
clear, of which the human heart especially has need, by which 
it is sustained and cheered. To it the highest god is a father 
(p. 22), a good father, gofar (p. 167), gaffer, grandfather, who 
grants salvation and victory to the living, and to the dead an 
entrance to his dwelling. Death is a going home, a return to 
the father (p. 839), By the side of the god stands the highest 
goddess as a mother (p. 22), gammer, grandmother, wise and 
white ancestress. The god is exalted, the goddess beaming 
with beauty; both go their rounds and appear in the land, he 
instructing in war and weapons, she in spinning, weaving, 
sowing of seed ; from him comes the poem, from her the tale. 
The same paternal authority is deeply stamped on our ancient 
law, the father taking the newborn son on his lap and acknow 
ledging him ; but what we read in some only of our ancient 
codes, may have been the rule everywhere, namely, that the 
composition paid to women was originally a higher, a double 

xlviii PBEFACE. 

one. The German reverence for woman was already known to 
Tacitus (p. 397), and history vouches for it in the Mid. Ages : 
in the heroic lays a greater stress is laid on Mother Uote than 
on the father of the heroes, as Brunhild towers even above 
Siegfried (see Suppl.). By the side of the beautiful description 
of mother s love in the Vita Mahthildis (Pertz 6, 298) we can 
put this touch by Eudlieb I, 52 : Ast per cancellos post hunc 
pascebat ocellos Mater/ as her son was departing. Whenever 
in dry old Otfried I come to the lines iv. 32 : wir sin gibot 
ouh wirken, inti bi unsa muater thenken (we his bidding also 
do, and of our mother think), it moves me to melancholy, I 
don t know whether he meant the church, or her that bore him, 
I think of my own dear mother (Dorothea Grimm, b. 20 Nov. 
1755, d. 27 May 1808). Another thing also we learn from the 
oldest history of our people, that modesty and virtue had never 
fled from the land ; beside Tacitus, we may rely on Salvian 
(5th cent.) as the most unimpeachable of witnesses. Refined 
grace might be wanting, nay, it has often retired before us, and 
been washed out of remembrance; to the Greeks Apollo, Pallas, 
Aphrodite stood nearer, their life was brighter like their sky. 
Yet Fro and Frouwa appear altogether as kind and loving deities, 
in Wuotan I have produced the god of song, and as Wish he 
may have been a god of longing and love. However many 
blossoms of our old mythology and poetry may lie undisclosed 
and withered, one thing will not escape the eye of a judge, 
that our poesy still has virgin forms and unlaboured adornment 
at her command, which, like certain plants, have disappeared 
from hotter climes. 

When the plastic and poetic arts have sprung out of a people s 
faith, they adorn and protect it by imperishable works ; yet 
another fact must not be overlooked, that both poets and 
artists insensibly deviate from the sanctity of the old type, and 
adopt an independent treatment of sacred subjects, which, in 
genious as it may be, mars the continuity of tradition. The 
tragedians will alter for their own ends what epic had handed 
down entire; the sculptors, striving after naked forms of beauty, 

PREFACE. xlix 

will, in favour of it, sacrifice if need be the significant symbol ; 
as they can neither bring in all the features of the myth, nor 
yet find the whole of them sufficient, they must omit some 
things and add others. Sculpture and the drama aim at making 
the gods more conceivable to the mind, more human ; and 
every religion that is left free to unfold itself will constantly 
fall back upon man and the deepest thoughts he is capable of, 
to draw from them a new interpretation of the revealed. As 
in statues the rigid attitude unbent itself and the stiff folds 
dropt away, so devotion too in her converse with deity will not 
be needlessly shackled. In the same way language, even in the 
hands of poets, declines from the sensuous perfection of poetry 
to the rational independence of prose. 

The grossness that I spoke of would have disappeared from 
the heathen faith had it lasted longer, though much of the 
ruggedness would have remained, as there is in our language 
something rough-hewn and unpolished, which does not unfit it 
for all purposes, and qualifies it for some. There goes with 
the German character a thoughtful earnestness, that leads it 
away from vanity and brings it on the track of the sublime. 
This was noticed even by Tacitus, whose words, though discussed 
in the book (p. 70-1, 104-5), will bear repeating: Ceterum 
nee cohibere parietibus deos, neque in ullam humani oris speciem 
assimilare, ex magnitudine coelestium arbitrantur. Lucos ac 
nemora consecrant, deorumque nominibus appellant secretum 
illud, quod sola reverentia vident. This is no empty phrase, 
this arbitrantur and appellant must have come of inquiries, 
which a Roman, if he wished to understand anything of the 
Germani, had first of all to set a-going. That is how it actually 
was in Germany at that time, such answer had German men 
given, when asked about the temples and images of their gods. 
Temples are first built to hold statues : so long as these were 
not, neither were those. Anything mentioned in later centuries, 
or occurring by way of exception among particular tribes, seems 
to have been corruption and confusion, to which there was no 
want of prompting. All the Scandinavian temples and idols 



fall into this later time, or they have their reason in the difference 
of race. 

That notable piece of insight shows us the whole germ of 
Protestantism. It was no accident, but a necessity, that the 
Reformation arose first in our country, and we should long ago 
have given it our undivided allegiance, had not a stir been made 
against it from abroad. It is remarkable how the same soil of 
Old-German faith in Scandinavia and Britain proved receptive 
of Protestant opinion ; and how favourable to it a great part of 
France was, where German blood still held its ground. As in 
language and myth, so in the religious leanings of a people 
there is something indestructible. 

Gods, i.e. a multiplication of the one supreme incomprehen 
sible Deity, could only be conceived of by Germans as by 
others under a human form (p. 316), and celestial abodes like 
earthly houses are ascribed to ihem. But here comes a differ 
ence, in this reluctance to exhibit the immeasurable (that magni 
tude coelestium) in visible images, and confine it between earthly 
walls. To make a real portrait of Deity is clean impossible, 
therefore such images are already prohibited in the Old Test, 
decalogue; Ulphilas renders ^co\ov by galiug or galiuga-guft 
(lie-god), meaning that any representation of a god was a lie; 
and the first Christian centuries abhorred image-worship, though 
it gradually found its way into the church again. The statues 
of Greek gods, we know, proceeded originally from a sacred 
type, which only by degrees became more secular ; the paintings 
of the Mid. Ages, and even Raphael s great soul-stirring com 
positions, for want of such a type, were obliged to invent their 
figures, the legend from which artists chiefly drew their subjects 
being already song or story; accordingly these pictures stand 
lower than the works of Greek art, and the spirit of Protestant 
ism insists on their being bundled out of the churches. But 
if our heathen gods were imagined sitting on mountains and 
in sacred groves, then our medieval churches soaring skyward 
as lofty trees, whose sublime effect is unapproached by any 
Greek pediments and pillars, may fairly be referable to that Old 


German way of thinking. Irmansul and Yggdrasill were sacred 
trees, rearing their heads into the breezes : the tree is the steed 
(drasill, the snorter) on which Wuotan, the bodeful thrill of 
nature, stormfully careers : Yggr signifies shudder, thrill of 
terror (p. 120, and Suppl.). By the Old German forest-worship 
I also explain the small number of the priests, who only begin 
to multiply in temples entrusted to their charge. 

Of all forms of belief, the Monotheistic is at once the most 
agreeable to reason and the most honouring to Deity. It also 
seems to be the original form, out of whose lap to a childlike 
antiquity Polytheism easily unfolded itself, by the loftiest 
attributes of the one God being conceived first as a trilogy, 
then as a dodecalogy. This arrangement comes out in all the 
mythologies, and especially clear, I think, in ours : almost all 
the gods appear unequal in rank and power, now superior, now 
subordinate, so that, mutually dependent, they must all at last 
be taken as emanations of a highest and only One. What is 
offensive in polytheism is thereby diminished (p. 176). For 
even in the heathen breast a consciousness of such subordination 
could hardly be quite extinct, and the slumbering faith in a 
highest god might wake up any moment. 

To point out these groups of deities from our half dried-up 
sources was beyond my power, but the threes and twelves of the 
Edda are indicated, p. 335. The Greeks however differ in hav 
ing only one twelve, consisting of six gods and six goddesses, 
while of the ases and asynjas there are twelve each, making to 
gether twice as many deities as the Greek. Twelve chairs are 
set for the gods sitting in council (p. 858). Sometimes the 
highest god has twelve inferiors added to him, which raises the 
total by one : Loki is called the thirteenth among the gods, and 
Gna among the goddesses. Snorri 211 b names thirteen ases, and 
even more asynjas. These triads and twelves of the gods are 
reflected again in the heroes and wise-women : Mannus begot 
three sons, heads of races (p. 345. 395), Heimdall founded three 
orders, the Ynglinga saga 2, 7 calls OSin s fellow-gods his 
twelve princes (hofdingjar) ; Westmar has twelve sons (Saxo 


Gram. p. 68) ; there were thirteen valkyrs (p. 421), aud three 
norns. In Welf s retinue are twelve heroes (p, 395) ; king 
Charles s twelve might indeed be traced to the twelve apostles, 
and the poem itself points to that, but the same thing is found 
in numberless myths and legends. The might of the godlike 
king flashes forth yet again in his heroes. 

To my thinking, Polytheism almost everywhere arose in in 
nocent unconsciousness : there is about it something soft and 
agreeable to the feelings; but it will, when the intellect is 
roused, revert to the Monotheism from which it started. No one 
taunts the Catholic doctrine with teaching many gods, yet one 
can see in what respect Catholics stand in the same relation to 
heathens as Protestants do to Catholics. Heathenism bowed 
before the power of pure Christianity ; in course of time heathen 
ish movements broke out in the church afresh, and from these 
the Keformation strove to purify it. The polytheistic principle, 
still working on, had fastened on two points mainly, the worship 
of saints, of which I have spoken, and that of relics (conf. GDS. 
p. 149). A stifling smell of the grave pervades the medieval 
churches and chapels from an adoring of dead bones, whose 
genuineness and miraculous power seem rarely well attested, and 
sometimes quite impossible. The weightiest affairs of life, oath- 
takings, illnesses, required a touching of these sanctities, and all 
historical documents bear witness to their widely extended use, 
a use justified by nothing in the Bible, and alien to primitive 
Christianity (conf. p. 1179). But in idololatria and saint-worship 
the dominion of the priesthood found its main stay. 

Of Dualism proper I have acquitted our heathenism (pp. 895-6. 
984). Unlike Polytheism, it seems to me to take its rise, not in 
gradual corruption, but in conscious, perhaps moral, reflexion, 
and at a later time. Polytheism is tolerant and friendly ; he to 
whom all he looks at is either heaven or hell, God or devil, 
will both extravagantly love and heartily hate. But here again 
let me repeat, that to the heathen Germans the good outweighed 
the bad, and courage faintheartedness : at death they laughed. 

Between deifying much and deifying all, it is hard to draw the 

PREFACE. liii 

line, for even the most arrant Pantheism will admit some excep 
tions. The limit observed by the Greek and even the Norse 
religion appears in those sets of twelve; Personification indeed, 
on which I have inserted a chapter, seems to dip into the domain 
of Pantheism ; yet when elements and implements are thought of 
as divine, they scarcely mean more than our old acquaintances, 
the gods, presented in a new form : the air melts into Wuotan, 
the hammer into Donar, the sword into Eor, and Saelde (fortune) 
into Wuotan again. The human mind strives to conceive the 
unfathomable depth of Deity in new and ever new ways. Some 
would give our heathenism Fetishism for a foundation (p. 104); 
the truth is, hammer, spear, flint and phallus were but symbols 
of the divine force, of which there were other types, both material 
and moral, equally valid. From thing to person, or from person 
to thing, was in this matter but a step. As the gods change into 
heroes and are born again, so they sink even into animals ; but 
this precipitate of them would require certain explanations, which 
I mean to complete once for all in a new treatment of the Beast- 
fable. The faster the brood of deities multiplies, the sooner is 
faith likely to topple over into denial and abuse of the old gods ; 
striking evidences of such atheistic sentiment Scandinavia itself 
supplies, both in undisguised mockery, and in reposing con 
fidence in one s own strength and virtue (p. 6). The former is 
expressed in 0. Norse by goftga (irrisio deorum), O.H. Germ. 
kotscelta (blasphemia). And this revolt of heathens against 
heathenism increased as Christianity came nearer : thus the 
Nialssaga cap. 105 says of Hialti, that he was charged with 
scoffing at the gods, var$ sekr a )?ingi um go Sga ; conf . Laxd. 
p. 180. Kristnisaga c. 9. 

An element (Vrot^etov, vTrocrTaais) is firm ground, basis, for 
which the Goth still has a good Teutonic name stabs ( = staff, 
whence the Romance stoffa, etoffe, and so our stuff" again), or 
stoma (whence our ungestiim, OHG. ungistuomi, unquiet). It 
meets the eye of man in all its glory, while deity remains unseen: 
how tempted he must feel to give it divine honours ! But his 
senses and his mind link every exhibition of nature s forces with 


subjective impressions bodily and mental, the promptings of 
language teach him to connect. How came Zio to unite in him 
self the ideas of sky and war ? The Gothic veihan meant pug- 
nare, vaihjo pugna, veihs sacer, veiha sacerdos (p. 68), the OHG. 
wig pugna and Mars (p. 203) ; the hallowed, the holy was at the 
same time the bright, the beaming. To the Gothic hveits cor 
responds the Skr. svetas (albus), to this the Slav, svety, sviatyi 
(sanctus), and svet, swiat, svetlo signify mundus, coelum, lux. 
But again Svetovit, Swantowit, is Ares and bellum, and the 
parallelism of Wuotan, Donar, Zio to Kadigast, Perun, Svetovit 
stands unquestionable : the god of victory shines in the battle. 
To the Indians Suryas denotes the sun, light, day, and he re 
sembles Zio ; when Suryas is taking hold of a victim, it bites his 
hand off, and a golden one has to be put on : is not this T$r, 
whose hand the wolf bit off (p. 207) ? and who knows but the 
like was told of the Slavic Svetovit ? It was beautiful to derive 
the eye from the sun, blood from water, the salt flow of tears 
from the bitter sea, and the more profound seem therefore the 
myths of SiPs hair, of FreyjVs tears ; earth and heaven reflect 
each other. But as even the ancient cosmogonies are inversions 
of each other (pp. 568. 570, man made of world, world made of 
man), we have no right to refer the heathen gods exclusively 
either to astrology and the calendar, or to elemental forces, or to 
moral considerations, but rather to a perpetual and unceasing 
interaction of them all. A pagan religion never dropt out of the 
clouds, it was carried on through countless ages by the tradition 
of nations, but in the end it must rest on a mysterious revelation 
which accords with the marvellous language and the creation and 
propagation of mankind. Our native heathenism seems not to 
have been oppressed by gloomy fancies about the misery of a 
fallen existence (like the Indian doctrine of emanation), it 
favoured a cheerful fatalism (p. 860-1), and believed in a paradise, 
a renovated world, deified heroes ; its gods resemble more those 
of Greece, its superstition more that of Rome : ( tanta gentium 
in rebus frivolis plerumque religio est. 

The question has been gravely asked, whether the heathen 


gods really existed ; and I feel disgust at answering it. Those 
who believe in a veritable devil and a hell, who would burn a 
witch with a will, may feel inclined to affirm it, thinking to 
support the miracles of the church by the evidence of this other 
miracle, that in the false gods she had crushed actual fiends and 
fallen angels. 

Having observed that her Language, Laws and Antiquities 
were greatly underrated, I was wishful to exalt my native land. 
To me one labour became the other : what was evidence there 
was also a confirmation here, what furnished a foundation here 
served there as a prop. Perhaps my books will have more in 
fluence in a quiet happy time which will come back some day ; 
yet they ought to belong to the Present too, which I cannot 
think of without our Past reflecting its radiance upon it, and on 
which the Future will avenge any depreciation of the olden time. 
My gleanings I bequeath to him who, standing on my shoulders, 
shall hereafter get into full swing the harvesting of this great 

BEELIN, 28th April, 1844. 




XXX. Poetry 
XXXI. Spectres . 
XXXII. Translation. 

XXXIII. Devil . 

XXXIV. Magic . 

XXXV. Superstition *W 
XXXVI. Sicknesses . 
XXXVII. Herbs and Stones 
XXXVIII. Spells and Charms 
Index . 





. 9841030 

. 10311104 

. 11051147 


. 11901222 

. 12231249 



Msere however means not only fama, but fabula; and here 
some other and more interesting personifications present them 

We perceive that the existence, organization and copiousness 
of poetry, as of language itself, reach back to a remote antiquity, 
that the resources and beauties of both gradually decay, and 
have to be recruited in other ways. Ancient poetry was a sacred 
calling, which bore a direct reference to the gods, and had to do 
with soothsaying and magic. 

Before our modern names dichter (Ducange sub v. dictator) 
and poet were imported from abroad, we had no lack of native 
ones more beautiful. At first the inditing and uttering of poetry 
seem to have gone together, the sdnger (OHG. sangari, MHG. 
senger and singer) was likewise the poet, there was no question 
as to who had made the song. Ulphilas calls the aScov liupareis 
(OHG. liodari ?) ; and perhaps would distinguish him from the 
saggvareis (praecentor). Again, aotSo? comes from aeiSco, as 
olSa from etSco, the digamma, ascertainable from video and Goth, 
vait, being dropt ; we must therefore assume an older afeibw 
and a/otSo?, 1 the singer and the godlike seer (pdvTis, Lat. vates) 
are one. With this I connect the Goth, inveita (adoro, p. 29); 
from the sense of celebrating in festive song, might proceed that 
of worshipping. In the Slavic tongues slava is gloria, slaviti 
venerari, slavik [0. Slav, slaviy, Russ. solovey] the glorifying 
jubilant bird, as ar]&a>v is from de/So>, and our nahtigala from 
galan, canere. If aotSo? means a seeing knowing singer, poet, 
soothsayer, why may not a Goth, invaits, supposing there was 
such a word, have expressed the same ? 

When the creative inventive faculty, as in TTO 1777/7 ?, i.e., faber 

1 That e?5u> I see, and det Sw I sing, both change ei into 01 proves no connexion 
between them, the change being common to many verbs (\eiiru \onr5s, Ket/ucu 
vates, at once seer and singer, is an important link. TKAXS. 

VOL. III. fe " B 

900 POETRY. 

(and our smid equally stood for the framer of the lied or lay, ON, 
lio Sa-smiSr), was to be specially marked, this was done by the 
OHG. scuof, OS. AS. scop (p. 407-8 n.), which reminds at once of 
the supreme Shaper of all things and of the shaping norn. The 
ON. has no skopr 1 that I know of, but instead of it a neuter 
skald, which I only grope after dubiously in OHG. (pp. 94. 649), 
and whose origin remains dark; 2 skdldsJcapr, AS. scopcrceft = 
poesis. The Romance poetry of the Mid. Ages derived the name 
of its craft from the Prov. trobar, It. trovare, Fr. trouver, 3 to 
find, invent, and trobaire t trovatore, trouvere is inventor, as scuof 
is creator. A word peculiar to AS. is gid, gidd (cantus, oratio); 
Beow. 2124. 3446. 4205-12. 4304. 4888, or giedd, Cod. exon. 
380. 25 [yeddynges, Chauc.] ; giddian (canere, fari), Csedm. 
127, 6. Cod. exon. 236, 8. Beow. 1253; gidda (poeta, orator) : 
1 gidda snotor/ El. 419. giedda snotor/ Cod. exon. 45, 2. 293, 
20. Leo has traced it in the Ir. hat cit, git (carmen dictum). 4 

A far-famed word is the Celtic bard, Ir. bard, pi. baird, Wei. 
bardh, occurring already in Festus: bardus Gallice, cantor qui 
virorum fortium laudes canit. Lucan s Phars., 1, 447 : plurima 
securi fudistis carmina bardi ; the lark was called bardaea or 
bardala (Ducange sub v.), songstress like dyScov, nahtigala and 
slavik. No old authority gives a hint that such bards were 
known to the language or customs of Germany (see Suppl.). 

1 Biorn gives a neut. skop (ironia, jocns), skoplegr (ridiculus, 

which might make one sceptical of the long vowel in AS. scop, but this is used of a 
lofty earnest poet in Beow. 179. 987. 2120, though sometimes of a comicus, sceni- 
cus. The OHG. salmscof = psalmista, and the spelling scof scoffes (beside scaffan 
scuofi) in Isidore does not disprove the long vowel, as the same document puts 
blomo, blostar for bluomo, bluostar. An OHG-. uo in scuof would remove all doubt, 
but this I cannot lay my hand on. The gloss scof, nubilar vel poesis seems to 
connect two unrelated words which disagree in quantity, scop tugurium (our schop- 
pen) and scoph poesis. 

2 ON. skalda, Swed. skalla, Dan. skolde, Dut. schouden=glabrare ; with this 
agrees the Fr. eschauder, echauder, M. Lat. excaldare (Ducange sub v.) to scald the 
hair off. So that skald would be depilis, glaber (Engl. scald), bald-head, whether 
it meant aged minstrel, or that poets shaved their heads ? Even scaldeih may 
have signified an oak stript of foliage. 

3 As there is no Latin root, we may suggest our own treffcn, ON. drepa [drub] , 
lit. to strike, hit, but also (in antreffen) to hit upon, find. The Gothic may have 
been drupan, as treten was trudan, which would account for the Komance o. 

4 Malb. gl. p. 49, conf. Ir. ceat canere, carmine celebrare. The question is, 
whether, in spite of this Celtic affinity, the word is not to be found in other Teut. 
dialects. We might consider ON. ge S (mens, animus), OHG. ket, kett, keti, ketti 
(Graff 4, 144), the doubling of the lingual being as in AS. bed, bedd, OHG. petti 
(Goth, badi), or AS. biddan, OHG. pittan (Goth, bidjan). The meaning would be 
a minding, remembering ; geftspeki in Saem. 33 b is the wisdom of yore, inseparable 
from poetry. Gyd, gyddian seems a faulty spelling : giedd shews the vowel broken. 


Song, music and dance make glad (repTrovcri) the heart of man, 
lend grace to the banquet (avaOij/JLara &UTO?, Od. 1, 152. 21, 
430), lulling and charming our griefs (ftporwv 6e\KTr)pia, Od. 1, 
337). God himself, when ailing, comes down from heaven, to 
get cheered by the minstrel s lay (p. 331). Hence poetry is 
called the joyous art, and song joy and bliss. We know the gai 
saber of the trobadors ; and joculator, joglar, jongleur, is derived 
from jocus, joe, jeu, play and pleasantry. Even the Anglo- 
Saxons named song and music gleo (glee, gaudium), wynn (our 
wunne, wonne), or dream (jubilum) : scop hwilumsang hador on 
Heorote, J>a wses hgelefta dream/ Beow. 987 ; gidd and gleo 
are coupled 4025; the song is called healgamen (aulae gaudium), 
the harp gamenwudu, gleobeam/ playing and singing f gamen- 
wudu gretan/ to hail, to wake the frolic wood, Beow. 2123. 
4210; gleobeam gretan/ Cod. exon. 42, 9. t hearpan gretan and 
f hearpan wynne gretan 296, 11. Beow. 4029. Then, beside 
gretan, there is used wrecan (ciere, excitare) : f gid wrecan/ to 
rouse the lay, Beow. 2123. 4304. 4888. gid awrecan 3445. 
4212. wordgid wrecan 6338. geomorgidd wrecan/ Andr. 
1548. The gleoman, gligman, is a minstrel, gleocrcefi the gay 
science of music and song. In Wigaloisp. 312 six fiddlers scrape 
all sorrow out of the heart ; if one could always have them by ! 
And Fornald. sog. 1, 315, says: "leika horpu ok segja sogur 
sva at gaman )?aetti at." I will quote a remarkable parallel 
from Finnish poetry. It is true, the lay is called runo, the poet 
runolainen, and runoan to indite or sing, the song is laulu, the 
singer laulaya, and laulan I sing; but in the epic lays I find 
ilo (gaudium) used for the song, and teen iloa (gaudium cieo) 
for singing 1 (see Suppl.). 

A thing of such high importance cannot have originated with 
man himself, it must be regarded as the gift of heaven. Inven 
tion and utterance are put in the heart by the gods, the minstrel 
is god-inspired : 6ecnrLs aoiSr], Od. 1, 328. 8, 498. aoiSr) Oeo-Trea-irj, 
II. 2, 600. $ecT7rt? aoiSo? 6 /cev repirijo iv aelScov, Od. 17, 385. 
Gods of the highest rank are wardens and patrons of the art 
divine, Zeus and Apollo among the Greeks, with us Wuotan 

1 Tehessa isiin iloa, Kalew. 22, 236. 29, 227, the father (the god Wainamoi- 
nen) was making (waking) joy = he sang ; 4 io kawi ilo ilolle 22, 215, joy came to 
joy = the soug resounded, struck up. 

902 POETRY. 

and Bragr, Wainamoinen with the Finns. Saga was Wuotan s 
daughter (p. 310), as the Muse was Zeus s ; Freyja loved the 
minnesong : henni likafti vel manso ngr/ Sn. 29. 

On the origin of poetry the Younger Edda (Sn. 82 87) gives 
at full length a myth, which the Elder had alluded to in Havamal, 
(Ssem. 12. 23-4). Once upon a time the Aesir and Vanir made 
a covenant of peace, and in token of it each party stept up to a 
vessel, and let fall into it their spittle, 1 as atonements and treaties 
were often hallowed by mingling of bloods (RA. 193-4) ; here the 
holy spittle is equivalent to blood, and even turns into blood, as 
the sequel shews. The token of peace (grrSamark) was too pre 
cious to be wasted, so the gods shaped out of it a man named 
Kvdsir, of all beings the wisest and shrewdest. 2 This Kvasir 
travelled far in the world, and taught men wisdom (froe^i, OHG. 
fruoti). But when he came to the dwelling of two dwarfs, Fialar 
and Galar (OHG. Filheri, Kalheri ?), they slew him, and let his 
blood run into two vats and a cauldron, which last was named 
Ofthrcerir, and the vats Son and Boftn. Then the dwarfs mixed the 
blood with honey, and of this was made a costly mead, 3 whereof 
whosoever tasted received the gift of poesy and wisdom : he be 
came a, skald or a frce&a-ma&r (sage). We came upon a trace 
of this barrel of blood and honey among the dwarfs, p. 468. 

Fialar and Galar tried to conceal the murder, giving out that 
Kvasir had been choked by the fulness of his wisdom ; but it was 
soon reported that they were in possession of his blood. In a 
quarrel they had with giant Suttungr, they were forced to give 
up to him the precious mead, as composition for having killed 
his father. Suttungr preserved it carefully in Hnitbiorg, and 
made his daughter the fair Gunnlo^ keeper of it. 

The gods had to summon up all their strength to regain 
possession of the holy blood. 03inn himself came from heaven 
to earth, and seeing nine labourers mowing hay, he asked them 
if their scythes wanted sharpening. They said they did, and he 

1 Hraki, better perh. hraki, is strictly matter ejected from the rachen (throat), 
OHG. hracho, as the AS. hraca is both guttur and tussis, sputum ; conf. OHG. 
hrachison screare, Fr. cracher, Serv. rakati, Kuss. kharkat . 

8 Creating out of spittle and blood reminds one of the snow and blood in fairy 
tales, where the wife wishes for children ; of the snow-child in the Modus Liebinc ; 
of the giants made out of frost and ice (pp. 440. 465) ; Aphrodite s being generated 
out of sea-foam is a part of the same thing. 

3 The technical term inn dyri miofir recurs in Sffim. 23 b . 28*. 


pulled a whetstone 1 out of his belt, and gave them an edge ; they 
cut so much better now, that the mowers began bargaining for 
the stone, but OSinn threw it up in the air, and while each was 
trying to catch it, they all cut one another s throats with their 
scythes. 2 At night OSinn found a lodging with another giant, 
Suttiing s brother Baugi, who sorely complained that he had that 
day lost his nine men, and had not a workman left. OSinn, who 
called himself Bolverkr, was ready to undertake nine men s work, 
stipulating only for a drink of Suttung s mead. 3 Baugi said the 
mead belonged to his brother, but he would do his best to obtain 
the drink from him. Bolverkr accomplished the nine men s work 
in summer, and when winter came demanded his wages. They 
.both went off to Suttung, but he would not part with a drop 
of mead. Bolverkr was for trying stratagem, to which Baugi 
agreed. Then Bolverkr produced a gimlet named Rati, 4 and 
desired Baugi to bore the mountain through with it, which 
apparently he did; but when Bolverkr blew into the hole and 
the dust flew back in his face, he concluded that his ally was no 
honester than he should be. He made him bore again, and this 
time when he blew, the dust flew inwards. He now changed 
himself into a worm, and crept in at the hole ; Baugi plunged 
the drill in after him, but missed him. In the mountain Bolverkr 
passed three nights with GunnkrS, and she vowed to let him have 
three draughts of the mead : at the first draught he drained 
.OShroerir, at the second Boftn, at the third Son, and so he had 
all the mead. Then he took the shape of an eagle, flew his 
fleetest, and Suttungr as a second eagle gave chase. The Aesir 
saw OSinn come flying, and in the courtyard of AsgarS they set 
out vats, into which Oftinn, hard pressed by Suttung, spat out 
the mead, and thus it turned into spittle again, as it had been at 
first. 5 The mead is given by OSinn to the ases, and to men 

1 Hem, AS. ban, Engl. hone, Swed. hen, Sskr. s ana. 

2 Like Dr. Faust fooling the seven topers into cutting each other s noses off. 

3 Here Oftinn plays the part of Strong Hans (Kinderm. 90), or of Siegfried 
with the smith. 

4 Mentioned also in Sasm. 23 b ; evidently from , rata permeare, terebrare, 
Goth, vraton, so that it would be Vrata in Gothic. 

5 It is added : en honum var J?a sva naer komit at Suttungr mundi na honum, 
at hanii sendi aptr (behind) suman mioffinn, ok var bess ecki gffitt : hafSi bat hverr 
er vildi, ok kollum ver bat skaldfina lut (malorum poetarum partem) ; or, as 
another MS. has it : en sumum rwpti hann aptr, hafa bat skaldfifl, ok heitir arnar 

904 POETRY. 

that can skill of poesy. This explains the fluctuating names of 
the poetic art : it is called Kudsis bluff (Kv. sanguis) ; dverga 
drecka, fylli (nanorum potus, satietas) ; Offhrceris, Boffuar, Sonar 
laitg (0., B., S. aqua) ; Hnitbiarga laug (Hn. aqua) ; Suttungs 
miodr (S. mulsum) ; Wins fengr, fundr, dryckr (0. praeda, in- 
ventio, potus) ; Offlns giof (0. donum) ; dryckr Asanna (Asaruin 

Some of these names are well worth explaining minutely. 
Boffti is rendered oblatio, Son reconciliatio : neither of them,, at 
all events when first used by the dwarfs, can have had any such 
meaning yet. We can easily connect bo$n with AS. byden, 
OHG. putin (Graff 3, 87) ; son certainly agrees with the OHG. 
suona (emendatio), not with Goth, saun (lytrum). Ssem. 118 b . 
234 a has Sonar dreyri in the sense of sonar dreyri/ atonement- 
blood (conf. sonar goltr, p. 51). More meaning and weight at 
taches to the cauldron s name, which occurs also in Ssem. 23 b . 28 a . 
88 a , the last time spelt correctly. To explain the word, I must 
mention first, that a Goth. adj. v6]?s, dulcis, answers to OHG. 
wuodi, OS. wothi, AS. weiSe, which is used alike of sweet smell 
and sweet sound ; sweg J?ses w&San sanges/ sonus dulcis canti- 
lenae. And further, that an AS. noun wo$ (masc.) is carmen, 
facundia : wo^a wynsumast/ carmen jucundissimum, Cod. exon. 
358, 9. e wo^a wlitegast, carmen pulcherrimum, El. 748. ( w65 
wera, prophetia virorum, Casdm. 254,23. wo^bora^ (carmen 
ferens), both as poeta, Cod. exon. 295, 19. 489, 17 and as orator, 
propheta 19, 18. 346, 21. witgena woSsong/ cantus prophe- 
taruni 4, 1. ( woScrgeft, poiisis 234, 30. 360, 7 synon. with 
the scupcrseft and gleocraeft above. wynlicu wo^giefu, jocun- 
dum poeseos donum 414, 10 alluding at once to the gay art and 
to Woden s gift. Now, whether the sense of sweet, gentle, la^ 

leir (babent id mail poetae, et dicitur aquilae lutum), because O Sinn flew in eagle s 
shape. In Mart. Capella, before Atbanasia will band tbe immortalitatis poculum to 
Pbilologia, leniter dextera cordis ejus pulsum pectusque pertractat, ac nescio qua 
intima plenitudine distentum magno cum turgore respiciens, Nisi baec, inquit, 
quibus plenum pectus geris, coactissima egestione vomueris forasque diffuderis, 
immortalitatis sedem nullatenus obtinebis. At ilia omni uisu magnaque vi quic- 
quid intra pectus senserat evomebat. Tune vero ilia nausea ac vomitio laborata in 
omnigenum copias convertitur litterarum. . . . Sed cum talia virgo undanter 
evomeret, puellae quam plures, quarum artes aliae, aliae dictae sunt disciplinae, 
subinde quae virgo ex ore diffuderat colligebant, in suum unaquaeque illarum neces- 
sarium usum facultatemque corripiens. Wbat seemed too gross as yet for immor 
tality becomes bere, wben tbrown up by tbe bride of heaven, the foundation of 
human science. Conf. Aelian s Var. hist. 13, 22. 


in the noun woS itself, or was first developed in the derived adj. 
(which seems nearer the truth, as wuS in some passages of Cod. 
exon. 118, 4. 125, 31. 156, 8 means only a loud sound, clamor, 
without any reference to song) ; it is plain that to it corresponds 
the ON. o<Sr (also masc.), which denotes as well poema as in- 
genium, facundia. In the former sense its agreement with the 
Lat. oda, Gr. wSrf (contr. from aotSr;), is purely accidental, as the 
difference of gender sufficiently shews. It is remarkable that at 
the creation of Askr and Embla, Seem. 3 b , Hcenir is said to have 
imparted to them the lacking 63, which on p. 561 I translated 
( reason : perhaps speech, gift of speech would be more cor 
rect ? 1 Be that as it may, O&hroerir seems clearly to be poesin 
ciens, dulcem artem excitans/ which is in striking harmony with 
the AS. gid wrecan and Finn. teen iloa above; hrcera, OHG. 
hruoran, MHG. riieren, means tangere, ciere, and the cauldron 
would have been in OHG. Wuodhruori, AS. WoShrcre. Freyja s 
husband O&r (Soem. 5 b . Sn. 37), whom she sought through the 
world and bewept with golden tears, may have been a personifi 
cation of poetic art ; 2 was he the same as Kvdsir, who traversed 
the world, and was murdered by the dwarfs ? 

Thus O^hrcerir contained the sweet drink of divine poesy, 
which imparted immortality ; and from the exertions made by the 
gods, particularly Oftinn, to regain possession of it when it had 
fallen into the hands of dwarfs and giants, follows its identity 
with amrita, ambrosia and nectar (p. 317-9) ; the ichor in the 
veins of gods is like the limpid spittle of the Ases and Vanes. 

The pure bee, which has survived from Paradise, 3 brings the 
honey of song to the lips of the sleeper, p. 696 (see Suppl.). 

I cannot resist the temptation to add some more legends, of 
how the inspiration of song came to great poets overnight in their 
sleep : the story of Pindar is told again of Homer and Aeschylus 
under another form. 

Helen is said to have appeared to Homer : \eyovo-t, Se rti/e? xal 

1 Here, as elsewhere, the ON. dialect becomes unsafe for comparison, because 
it confounds middle and final d with ft. 

2 The difficulty noticed in the preceding note forbids my inquiring whether 
this OcSr be related to O Sinn ; the AS. Woden and wod (rabies) stand apart from 
woft (poesis), conf. supra p. 131-2. 

3 Anc. laws of Wales 1, 739 : bees draw their origin from Paradise, which they 
left through man s transgression, but God gave them his blessing; therefore mass 
cannot be sung without wax. Leoprechting s Lechrain, p. 80. 

906 POETRY. 

f O/jLr)pi$a)v to? eTTicrTava (EXevt)) rfjs 

pl TWV o-rparevaa^evwv eVl Tpoiav, ftov\.o/j,evr) rbv ltcelva>ir 
Odvarov ^r/Xwrorepov rj rbv (3iov rwv a\\wv Karao-rr^aai. Kal 
fj,epos fjuev n Sia rrfv O/jujpov re^vijv, jjid\io"ra 8e Bid ravrrjv OVTQJS 
7ra<f>p68i,Tov /cat irapa Tracriv ovo/jLaarrjv avrov yeveaOai rr/v TTOLTJCTLV 
[Some of the Homeridse say, that Helena appeared to Homer by 
night, and bade him sing of those who warred against Troy, she 
wishing to make their deaths more enviable than other men s 
lives. And that partly by Homer s art, but chiefly by her, his 
poetry was made so lovely and world-renowned]. Isocr. ( E\. 
ey/cco/jiiov in Oratt. Att. ed. Bekker 2, 245. 

Bacchus revealed himself to Aeschylus : ecjyrj Se Ala"^v\o^ fjueipd- 
KLOV cov /caOevSeiv ev dypay (j^vXacrcrajv ara(f)v\as Kal ol ALOVVCTOV 
eTTiarravra /ce\V(rai, rpajwSlav iroielv. W9 Be r]v rj 
<ydp edeXeiv) paara rjSrj Treiptopevos iroielv. euro? ftev ravra 
yev [Aesch. said, that when a boy he fell asleep in the field while 
watching grapes, and Dionysus appeared to him and bade him 
write tragedy. In the morning, wishing to obey, he composed 
quite easily as soon as he tried]. Pausan. i. 21, 2; pacrra, as 
pela is said of the gods (p. 320). 

As Aeschylus was watching the vineyard, Teutonic herdsmen 
were pasturing sheep or oxen when the gift of Wuotan came to 

Hallbiorn had long wished to sing the praise of a dead minstrel 
Thorleif, but could not, until Thorleif appeared in the hush of 
night, unloosed his tongue, and, just as he was vanishing, dis 
played his shoulder (p. 326). Fornm. sog. 3, 102. 

The heathen myth was still applicable to Christian poets. A 
poor shepherd in his sleep hears a voice urging him without 
delay to put the Scriptures into Saxon verse ; previously unskilled 
in song, he understood it from that moment, and fulfilled his 
commission, Opusc. Hincmari remensis (Par. 1615), p. 643. The 
like is told in fuller detail of the famous AS. poet Caedmon, 
Beda s Hist. eccl. 4, 24 (Frau Aventiure p. 28-9). All these 
poets, on awaking in the morning, succeed in a task untried 
before (see Suppl.). 

Not only does the poetic faculty itself proceed from the gods ; 
they invent the very instruments by which song is accompanied. 

Apollo, who in Homer plays the phorminx, is said by Calli- 


machus to have strung the lyre with seven chords ; yet the in 
vention of the lyre is ascribed to Hermes, who gave it to Apollo. 
This is important for us, as in Wuotan there is much of Hermes 
and of Apollo, with a preponderance of the former. Ingenuity 
is characteristic of Mercury, and I can scarcely doubt that in our 
antiquity, as Wuotan was the inventor of writing and rhythm, so 
he was of some instrument to accompany singing. 

A confirmation of this is the five-stringed harp (kantelo) of 
the Finns, an invention of their highest god Wainarnoinen, who 
everywhere represents our Wuotan. First he made kantelo of the 
bones of a pike, and when it fell into the sea, he made it again 
of birchwood, its pegs of oak bough, and its strings of a mighty 
stallion s tail. In the same way Hermes took the tortoise (chelys) 
out of its shell, and mounted this with strings (Hymn to Merc. 
24 seq.). Swedish and Scotch folksongs relate, that when a 
maiden was drowned, a musician made a harp of her breastbone, 
the pegs of her fingers, the strings of her golden hair, and the 
(first) stroke of the harp killed her murderess, Sv. folk v. 1, 81. 
Scott s Minstr. 3, 81. In one kinderm. no. 28 a bone of the slain 
brother is made into a shepherd s whistle, and every time it is 
blown, it publishes the crime ; and a Swiss legend tells the same 
of a flute (Haupt s Zeitschr. 3, 30). The power of music and 
song was explained by giving the instruments a supernatural 
origin, and doubtless a remoter antiquity did not leave gods out 
of the reckoning. 

When Wainamoinen touches his harp, the whole of nature 
listens, the four-footed beasts of the wood run up to him, the 
birds co-me flying, the fish in the waters swim toward him ; tears 
of bliss burst from the god s eyes, and fall on his breast, from 
his breast to his knees, from his knees to his feet, wetting five 
mantles and eight coats, Kalew. rune 22-9. Such tears are shed 
by Freyja (gnUfogr, p. 325), her that well liked song, and was 
wedded to 03r ; in fairytales lucky maidens have the power to 
laugh roses and weep pearls. 

The stromkarl also breaks into weeping when he sings to the 
harp (p. 493). But as all nature, animate and inanimate, betrays 
her sympathy with human lamentations, so at the sound of the 
bewitching alblcich (elf-lay, p. 470), we are told, the rushing 
river stayed its roar, the fish in the wave clicked with their 

908 POETEY. 

tongues, the birds of the forest twittered. Next to the gods, it 
is elves and watersprites that seem the most initiated into the 
mysteries of music, and Hnikarr the teacher of song stands for 
OSinn himself (p. 489) . 

But from gods the gift of poesy passed to particular heroes, 
and similar effects are ascribed to their minstrelsy. Two heroes 
of Teutonic legend are eminent as minstrels : Horant (Herrant, 
AS. Heorrenda, ON. Hiarrandi, conf. Gramm. 1, 352. Z. f. d. a. 

2, 4), of whom it is said in Gudr. 388-9 that by his songs he 
chained all men whole and sick, and that 

diu tier in dem walde ir weide liezen sten, 
die wiirme di d& solten in dem grase gen, 
die vische die da solten in dem wage vliezen, 
die liezen ir geverte ; 

beasts let be their grazing, creeping things and fishes forsook 
their wonted ways. The saga Herraufts ok Bosa (Fornald. sog. 

3, 323) couples the Hiarranda-hlioft with the enchanting g^gjar 
slagr (giantess s harp- stroke). Then the hero Volker (Folhheri) 
plays the fiddle to the Nibelungs 1772 : 

under die ture des huses saz er uf den stein, 

kiiener (bolder) videlaere wart noch nie dehein : 

do klungen sine seiten (strings), daz al daz hus erdoz (rang), 

sin ellen zuo der fuoge (art) diu warn beidiu groz. 

siiezer unde senfter gigen er began : 

do entswebete er an den betten vil manegen sorgenden man ; 

he lulled to sleep in their beds full many an anxious man. In 
Greek mythology Orpheus and Amphion bear mastery in song. 
When Amphion sang, the stones obeyed his lyre, and fitted them 
selves into a wall. Rocks and trees followed after Orpheus, wild 
beasts grew tame to him, even the Argo he lured from dry land 
into the wave, and dragons he lulled to sleep (entswebete) . As 
Hermoftr, like him, made the descent to Hades [to fetch Balder 
back], and as it is for this same Balder that all beings mourn, 
we may fairly suppose that HerinoSr too had worked upon them 
by music and song, though nothing of the kind is recorded in the 
Edda (see Suppl.). 

Now if poetry was a joint possession of men and gods, if by 


gods it had been invented and imparted, it necessarily follows 
that antiquity would regard it as a function and business of the 
priest, and that the notions of priest, prophet and poet would 
meet and touch. Aud here I attach some weight to our finding 
the AS. word Lregowine (pp. 93. 235), which seems to indicate a 
follower and friend of the poet-god Bragi, as we at the present 
day call the minstrel a friend or favourite of the Muses. In 
lauds and times that looked kindly on the tuneful art, we may 
even suppose that minstrels, especially those of courts, had like 
priests a peculiar garb ; particularly instructive on this point is 
the information furnished by the Welsh Laws as to the position 
and privileges of bards at the king s court, and the Norse sagas 
are unanimous on the estimation in which skalds were held. 
Poets of the Mid. Ages enjoyed a like distinction at princely 
courts, both Teutonic and Romance ; and a close investigation of 
this interesting subject might bring out much in our modern 
customs, that has its source in the very oldest time 1 (see 

I call attention to utterances of MHG. poets, which repre 
sent the art of song as something not acquired, but inborn, i.e. 
inspired by God (a sentiment as old as Homer, Od. 22, 347 : 
auroStSa/cTO? & el/jii, 0eo$ Se p>oi eV (ppealv ol^a? Travrota? 
evefyvcre). Heinr. von Morunge 1, 53 a says : wan ich durch 
sane (for song) bin ze der werlte geborn/ it is a burden laid on 
him, his mission. Walther 26, 4, referring to God : sit ich von 
dir beide wort han unde wise/ The Wartb. kr. jen. 102 : ( gab 
iu Got sinne und sanges site/ Even the later Meistersanger 
speak to the same purpose : es trieb der Heilig Geist zwolf 
manner froh, die fiengen an zu dichten. Why should not 
heathen poets in like manner have traced back their gifts to 
Wuotan s mead ? 

The singing -matches also seem to have sprung out of the 
simplest nature of poetry itself. As the wise men of old ques 
tioned one another on their knowledge, as heroes proved on each 

1 Niebuhr in Pref. to Merobaudes says : quern morem coronandorum poetarum 
cum poesi ipsa, cui semper aliquis lionos mansit, etiam rudibus, quae secutae sunt, 
saeculis perdurasse arbitror. But why go back to the Romans for what seems to 
have been the usage of our own antiquity, when kings, judges, priests, heroes and 
minstrels wore garland and fillet, and even the people s poets used to elect a king 
of their own? An pui ou on corone les biaus discour, Keuars 1677. 

910 POETRY. 

other the prowess of their arms, so shehperds and poets sang for 
the prize of poetry. OSinn wishes to sound the wisdom (orSspeki) 
of the sage giant, Ving]?6rr that of the sage dwarf, the blind 
guest 1 that of king HerSrekr ; then lays are sung and riddles pro 
pounded, VafyrirSnir expressly stipulating hofSi veftja vr$ scolom 
hollo i, gestr, um ge Sspeki/ Sasm. 33 b ; they are to wager heads, 
as in the contests between cunning smiths or chess-players. 
Lives are staked also in the Wartburg war of minstrels : nu wirt 
gesungen ane vride . . . stempfel muoz ob uns nu beiden stan alhie 
mit sinem swerte breit, er rihte ab unser eime in roubes site, 
dem man valles jehe ! we ll sing and give no quarter . . . over us 
two shall stempfel stand with his broad sword, and despatch as 
an outlaw him that gets the fall. This transaction is of legend, 
not history, but it shews in what a serious light the poetic art 
was viewed. 

And here let me mention the widely circulated myth of the poet 
who sees his property imperilled, because another s memory has 
mastered his songs. What passed between Virgil and Bathyllus 
is related, with alterations, of Arnoldo Daniello and a jongleur 
(Diez s Leben der troub. p. 352), but so it is of the Indian Kali- 
dasa, whose poem four Brahmans had learnt by heart. The same 
Kalidasa and Valmiki were held to be incarnations of Brahma 
himself; what could more firmly establish a poet s reputation 
than to pass for an avatara of the sublime divinity ? 

The gods share their power and influence with goddesses, the 
heroes and priests with wise women. Of the asynjor, Saga is 
named next after Frigg in Sn. 36, and together with Sol in 212 ; 
her residence is Sokqvabeckr, sinking beck, a large and roomy 
place ; Sagones (Saga s ness) in Saem. 154 b seems also to take its 
name from her. In Sasm. 41 a Socqvabeckr is described as a place 
where cool waters rush : there Offinn and Saga day by day drink 
gladly out of golden cups. This is the drink of immortality, and 
at the same time of poesy. Saga may be taken as wife or as 
daughter of OSinn ; in either case she is identical with him as 
god of poetry. With the Greeks the Musa was a daughter of 
Zeus, but we often hear of three or nine Muses, who resemble our 
wise women, norns and schopferins (shapers of destiny), and dwell 

1 OSinn himself ; whose blindness fits in with that of the ancient poets. The 
loss of eyes strengtheos the memory, it lends the capacity and impulse to sing. 

SAGA. 911 

beside springs or wells. 1 The cool flood well befits the swan- 
wives, daughters of Wish. Saga can be no other than our sage 
(saw, tale), the maere of p. 897 personified and deified. 

Our 13th cent, poets personify aventiure/ making a frau 
Aventiure, like the norn, foot it overland to the minstrel s hut, 
knock and demand admission. 2 To this day, when people take 
turns in telling stories, they say the mdrlein goes round from 
house to house. Suchenwirth no. xxv describes an apparition 
of dame Aventiure on a blooming ea in the forest ; she has 
travelled through the land to kings and princes as frau Ehre s 
messenger, and now presents her report ; putting a gold ring on 
her finger, she disappears. I have one thing more to mention, 
that M.Nethl. poets make a person of aventure in the sense 
of our MHGr. frau Sselde : die Aventure wacht/ Maerl. 2, 14. 
f dat rat (rota) van Aventuren, Rein. 6183, just like diu Saelde 
wacht and Sselden rat (p. 863-8). I am not aware that in this 
they followed the pattern of any Romance poetry (see Suppl.). 

That passing round or alternate telling of myth and marchen 
was already a Greek and Roman custom, as we may see by 
Ovid s Met. lib. iv, where the Minyads during their spinning and 
weaving beguile the time by telling tales, 39 : 

Utile opus manuum vario sermone levemus, 
_perque vices aliquid, quod tempora longa videri 
non sinat, in medium vacuas referamus ad aures/ 
dicta probant, primamque jubent narrare sorores. 

167 : Desierat, mediumque fuit breve tempus, et orsa est 
dicere Leuconoe, vocem tenuere sorores. 

274: Poscitur Alcithoe, postquam siluere sorores. 

But it was the festival of Bacchus, the priest had bidden them 
keep it, immunes operum dominas famulasque suorum, and the 
god avenged himself by turning their web into a tissue of vines 
and ivy, and the Minyads into owls and bats. (The song of 
women at the loom is also mentioned by Agathias, p. 29.) Holda 
and Berhta are often angry at spinning which desecrates their 

1 0. Boh. glosses in Hanka 55 b : wodna = musa (Jungm. 5, 147). Is this 
water-wife, spring-wife ? 

2 Eefs. given in my little work quoted above, p. 310. To these add, from 
Ulr. von Tiirheim s Wh. 192 C , a dialogue of the poet with frau Aventiure. 

912 POETRY. 

holy day (pp. 270-4), though otherwise they favour and reward it. 
The norns making visitations have spindles, and they sing at 
their spinning : the wise women and divine mothers of our 
antiquity may bo regarded as teachers of song, story and 


A preceding chapter has treated of Souls in their state of 
separation from the body and passage to another dwelling-place : 
these are the souls that have found their rest, that have been 
taken up into hades or heaven. Thenceforward they sustain only 
a more general connexion with earth and the living ; their 
memory is hallowed by festivals, and in early times probably by 
sacrifices. 1 

Distinct from these are such spirits as have not become par 
takers, or not completely, of blessedness and peace, but hover 
betwixt heaven and earth, and in some cases even return to their 
old home. These souls that appear, that come back, that haunt, 
we call spectres (ghosts) . 

The Roman expression for peaceful happy spirits of the dead 
was manes, for uncanny disquieting apparitions lemures or larvae; 
though the terms fluctuate, for manes can denote spectral 
beings too, and lemures can have a general meaning (Creuzer s 
Symb. 2, 850 866). Larva betrays its affinity to lar (p. 500), 
and the good kindly lares were often held to be manes or souls 
of departed ancestors. So in our German superstition we find 
instances of souls becoming homesprites or kobolds, 2 and still 
oftener is there a connexion between unquiet spirits and spec 
tres 3 (see Suppl.). 

1 Between the Christian All-souls day (Nov. 2), on which the people visit 
churchyards and hang garlands on graves, and the three Roman holidays when the 
under world opened (mundus patet) and the manes ascended (Creuzer 2, 865. 0. 
Miiller s Etrusk. 2, 97), there is a manifest connexion. On the night of Nov. 2 the 
Esthonians set food for the dead, and rejoice when they find any of it gone in the 
morning. In the Fellin district near Dorpat the departed souls are received in tho 
bath-room, and bathed one after the other, Hupel s Nachr. p. 144, conf. Possart s 
Estland p. 172-3 ; exactly as food is set before angels and homesprites (p. 448). 

2 I confine myself here to one Hessian folktale. Kurt, a farmer at Hachborn, 
would not quit the farm even after his death, but lent a hand in the fieldwork as 
a good spirit. In the barn he helped the labourer to throw sheaves from the loft : 
when the man threw one, Kurt would throw another. But once, when a strange 
servant got up into the loft, he would not help ; at the cry You throw, Kurt ! he 
seized the man and flung him on the thrashingfloor, breaking his legs. 

3 Isengrim changes into Agemund (p. 511). 



For the quiet spirits and their condition, our language has a 
beautiful adj., OHG. hiitri laetus, mitis, AS. heoru, Beovv. 2744, 
ON. hyr, MHG. geldure, our geheuer when we say es ist 
geheuer/ all is quiet, happy, peaceful. The contrary is ex 
pressed by OHG. and OS. unhiuri dirus, saevus, AS. unlieoru, 
Beow. 1907 (unhiore 4822. unh^re 4236. C^edm. 138, 5), ON. 
oliyr, MHG. ungehiure, our ungeheuer : s es ist ungeheuer/ there s 
something wrong. But both words go further, God is called 
hiuri, the devil unhiuri; ungeheuer is monstrum, portentum in 
general. The Gothic form would be hiuris, which seems nearly 
allied to haiiri (pruna, ember), ON. hyr ignis, and is therefore 
the shining, the bright ; if an OHG. gloss in Graff 4, 1014 be 
correct, even the non-negafcive hiuri may signify dirus, viz. fiery 
in a bad sense, such as we shall find presently in connexion with 
ignes fatui. Much the same in meaning with hiuri and unhiuri 
are holdo and unholdo (pp. 266. 456), though these are applied 
more to spirits and daemons than to human souls ; yet Notker 
renders manes by unholdon, so that holdo and unholdo also 
appear synonymous here. 

The OHG. kispanst fern, (our gespenst n., spectre) meant 
properly suggestio (from spanan, suggerere) ; but as the forms 
of confession dealt much with devilish suggestion and entice 
ment, l men came to use it habitually of ghostly delusion and 
illusion. Boner 94, 54 has diu gespenst (why not gespanst ?) 
for phantom, apparition. The neuter is found in the Maere vom 
schretel und wazzerber 92 quite in the above connexion : des 
tiuvels valant und sin gespenste ; even earlier, Herbort 3500 
couples gespenste and getwas. Keisersperg (Omeiss 39) has 
des teufels gespenst (praestigium) : not till recent centuries did 
the term become really common, and some spelt it gespengst. z 

We also say spuk ; it is a LG. word, which first occurs in the 
Chron. saxon. (Eccard p. 1391) in the form spokne ; Detmar 1, 
136 has spuk, and 2, 206 vorspok praesagium. Nowadays spok, 
Nethl. spook, spookzel, Swed. spoke, Dan. spokenis A.D. 1618, 
spogelse spectrum, spog jocus; we should therefore expect a 
MHG. spuoch, Mod. spuch, but it is nowhere to be found. 

1 Von des teufels gespenste, instigation, Oberlin s Bihtebuocli 36. 
Frisch 2, 302 a ; but he thinks it conn, with Lat. spectrum. 


Gespiic indeed stands in Berthold, Cod. pal. 35, fol. 27 b (see 

More precise is the ON. aptrgdnga fern., Laxd. saga p. 224, as 
if anima rediens, Dan. gienfdrd, gieng anger, Fr. revenant, Saxo 
Gram. 91 says redivivus ; conf. our phrase es geht um/ some 
thing haunts (lit. goes about) ; at hann gengi eigi dauftr/ that 
he walk not when dead, Fornald. sog. 2, 346. To haunt is in 
L. Sax. dwetern, on the Harz walten (Harry s Volkss. 2, 46). 

The regular word in ON. is draugr, Fornm. sog. 3, 200 : 
Oftinn is styled drauga drottinn/ Yngl. saga cap. 7, and a 
gravemound draugalms, Ssem. 169 a . The word is lost in 
Sweden and Denmark, but lives in the Norweg. drou, droug 
(Hallager 20 C ). It seems to be of one root with OHG. gitroc, 
MHGr. getroc, delusive apparition, phantom, used of elvish and 
fiendish beings (p. 464) ; but our verb triegen, OHG. triokan 
troc (fallere) has no corresponding driuga in the Northern lan 
guages. 1 The Edda uses the analogous svik (fallacia, fraus) 
likewise in the sense of a ghostly jugglery, Saem. 166 b . 167 a . 
And that is also the meaning of the terms giscin and scmleih 
quoted p. 482 ; they can refer to spectres as well as to wood- 
sprites (see Suppl.). 

The glosses yield a number of old words for the Lat. larva. 
To begin with the earliest, the Florent. 982 b gives talamasga, 
and the later M.Nethl. coll. (Diut. 2, 220) talmasge, Kilian too 
has talmasche larva, talmasclien larvam induere; it is the O.Fr. 
talmache, tamasche in Koquefort, who explains it as masque, faux 
visage, and talmache de vaisseau is a figure fixed on a ship. 2 
Other glosses have flathe, and scraz, scrat (p. 478). Mummel is 
both larva and kobold (p. 506). Anything uncanny and alarm 
ing, monstrum, prodigium, portenturn, praestigium, acquires the 
meaning of spectre too. Again, getwds (p. 464), Herbort 842. 
12856. em bose getwds, Vom gelouben 530; the M.Nethl. 
ghedwaesj Hor. belg. 6, 249 agrees with the Lith. dwase, spectre 
[v. the LS. verb dwetern above]. In Martina 10 we read daz 

1 AS. dreogan dredh, though answering letter for letter, never means fallere, 
but agere, patrare, tolerare, to dree ; agreeing with ON. driugr, frequens. 

2 Ducange sub. v. talamasca, Tr^r/xa, delusio imaginaria ; the author, cited are 
Hincmar in capit. ad presb. dioec. cap. 14 ; Kegino 1, 213 ; Burchardus wormat. 2, 
161, who says: larvas daemonum, quas vulgo talamascas dicunt, ante se ferri 
consentiat. Extr. from Concil. namnetense cap. 10 ; conf. Schrneller 2, 640. 



geschrudel ; and in Staid. 2, 27. 59. 64 das nachthuri, das ghudi. 
The ON. vofa is spectrum, from vofa ingruere, imminere ; the 
draugr is also called a dolgr, foe, Fornald. sog. 2, 368. Fornm. 
sog. 3, 200, and from this perhaps comes the Upland dodoljor, 
manes defunctorum (Hire s Dial. lex. 32 b ), if not from dylja 
(celare), Sw. dolja (see Suppl.). 

Now it is remarkable that even the ON. draugar are described 
as begirt with fire : { hauga eldar brenna/ Fornald. sog. 1, 434. 
lupu upp hauga eldarnir 1, 518. Lo ka daun (p. 242) is the 
Icel. name of a fiery exhalation. To this day it is the popular 
belief all over Germany, that souls which have not attained 
heavenly peace roam at night like bewildered birds, in fiery 
shape, 1 on field and meadow, conf. wiesenhiipfer p. 829. The 
traveller, who takes them for village lights, they lure out of his 
way, now approaching, now retiring : they perch on his back like 
kobolds (Superst. I, 611), and flap their wings together over him 
(Deut. sag. no. 276) ; they lead into bogs, on deceptive devious 
tracks, hirrlig-spor (St. 2, 45), exactly like the butz, p. 507. 
The pedestrian tries to keep one foot at least in the carriage-rut, 
and then he gets on safely, for ignes fatui have power on foot 
paths only. According to Villemarque s Barzasbreiz 1, 100 the 
spirit is a child with a firebrand in his hand, which he whirls 
round like a flaming wheel ; now he appears as a sick horse, and 
when the herdsman would lead him into the stable, hurls the 
brand at his head ; now as a bleating goat gone astray, that after 
sundown shews itself on the pond, and tempts the traveller into 
the water, then scampers off to tease him. In Etner s Unwiird. 
doctor p. 747, fire-men and frisking goats are coupled together. 
The phenomenon has a vast variety of names. Our com 
monest one is irlicht (err-light) and, from its resemblance to a 
burning wisp of straw, irwisch and on the Rhine heerwisch in*- 
Austria feuriger mann and fuchtelmann (Hofer 1, 251) from 
fuchteln to burnish or jerk to and fro, viz. the fiery blade. 2 In 

1 In Lausitz the ignis lambens that plays about the tops of forest trees is called 
feuermann, Laus. monatsschr. 1797. p. 749. 

2 These fiery exhalations also settle on the masts of ships, Marienleg. 87, 96, or 
the spears of warriors. The former kind the ancients named after the Dioscuri, 
Pliny 2, 37, the moderns call it feu de St. Elme. For the flaming spears I have 
old authorities : signa (also, pila) militum arsere, Tac. Ann. 12, 64. 15, 7. duae 
puerorum lanceae, emissis flammis, lumen euntibus praebuerunt, ibantque ful- 
gurantes hastae, Greg. tur. mirac. Mart. 1, 10. And a modern instance in Zeiller s 


Pictorius p. 524 zeuslerfrom zeuseln, ziiseln to toy with fire ; other 
wise ziinsler, zundler, and in Fischart s Garg. 231 zunsel-gespenst, 
conf. Hofer sub v. zinserl. In Low Germ, gloiniger (glowing) 
man ; tiickcbold, tukltebode, not from tiicke malice, but from tuk a 
quick movement (Reinh. p. 109) or ^ucken to dart to and fro, 
conf. HG. ziebold butterfly ; in Westph. smalgenfur, which I can 
hardly make out). More generally known are dwerlicht (whirl 
ing flame) ; elfiiclit ; dwelliclit (from dwelen, dwalen to stray) ; 
Nethl. dwaallicht ; droglicld (deceptive again), drogfackel, and 
in Nassau druclifackel, Kehrein s Nas. 31-2. Dan. lygtemand 
(lantern-man), blaasmand (Molbech s Dial. 39) and vatte-lys 
(light of wights, sprites) ; Swed. lys-eld, lyktgubbe ; Etigl., with 
that fondness for christening which we noticed under home- 
sprites (p. 504), Will with a wisp, Jack in a lanthorn. Lat. 
ignis fatuus (Ann. corbei. an. 1034); Yr.feufollet (follis, p. 508), 
fifollet (Pluquet s Contes p. 13), farfadet, sauterai, also, ace. to 
Mem. des ant. 4, 406, a quela incomprehensible to me. Sloven. 
vezha (butterfly, witch), shkopnik, -niak (straw-man, from shkopa, 
MHG. schoup), smotava (from smota, error), slep ogeni (blind 
fire) ; svetylko (light, dim.), bludicka (from blud, error) ; Pol. 
blednica ; Laus. bludne swieczke ; Russ. bludidshchiy ogoni. I do 
not know any very old names even in Teutonic languages, unless 
it be irreganc and girregar in a Konigsberg MS. (Grundr. 345) ; 
but Irreganc in Ls. 2, 314 is the name of a wandering scholar, 
and irrefogel in Haupt s Zekschr. 1, 438 means the same, conf. 
Schm. 3, 588 ; the Titurel 576 has ein irregengel vor allem 
valsche/ The two words vatte-lys and elf-liclit, shewing a close 
connexion with wights and elves, are perhaps the oldest we have. 
Sindri (scintilla), a dwarf s name in the Edda, SaDm. 7 b , suggests 
the Slav homesprite Iskrzycki (iskra spark, p. 513). A story 
is told of an irwisch getting caught, and a great many more 
coming soon after to claim him back : this represents them as an 
elvish people, who stick to one another. 1 

Miscell. (Niirnb. 1661) p. 143-4. Deut. sag. no. 279. None of these refer to souls, 
they are rather happy omens of victory, as will be shewn in ch. XXXV. Shooting 
stars indeed pass for souls (p. 722), even with the Greenlanders (Major s Myth, 
lex. 2, 240) and Mongols (Bergmann 3, 42). 

1 Ad. Kuhn (Pref. to Mark, sagen p. ix) is for regarding all kobolds as orig. 
fire-divinities, and the domestic hearth-fire as the foundation of their worship. 
Both kobolds and will o wisps are called follet (p. 508-14), and kobolds, like fiery 
dragons (p. 691), bring money or corn ; but the adder too is of kobold nature 
(p. 691), and the dominae bring gifts (p. 287), and so do devils. 


Will o j wisps had once, no doubt, a wider meaning, which has 
now been narrowed down mainly to two classes of unblessed 
spirits, the souls of unchristened babes, 1 and those of men who in 
their lifetime dealt wrongly by the cornfield, who respected not 
the sacredness of landmarks. 2 Unrighteous land-surveyors (Swed. 
skiiill-vriingare) may be seen hovering up and down the furrows 
with a long fiery pole, as if re-measuring the wrongly measured ; 
whoso has ploughed of his neighbour s land, whoso has moved 
the mark-stone, on him falls the curse of wandering as a will 
o wisp. Hence about ploughing debatable strips, one hears 
the people say : ik mag nut spiiken gan/ conf. Deut. sag. 
nos. 284-5. Thiele 1, 58 (see Suppl.). 

Another class of spectres will prove more fruitful for our 
investigation : they, like the ignes fatui, include unchristened 
babes, but instead of straggling singly on the earth as fires, 
they sweep through forest and air in whole companies* with a 
horrible din. This is the widely spread legend of the furious 
host, the furious hunt, which is of high antiquity, and interweaves 
itself, now with gods, and now with heroes. Look where you 
will, it betrays its connexion with heathenism. 

The Christians had not so quickly nor so completely renounced 
their faith in the gods of their fathers, that those imposing 
figures could all at once drop out of their memory. Obstinately 
clung to by some, they were merely assigned a new position 
more in the background. The former god lost his sociable cha 
racter, his near familiar features, and assumed the aspect of a 
dark and dreadful power, that still had a certain amount of influ 
ence left. His hold lost upon men and their ministry, he wan 
dered and hovered in the air, a spectre and a devil. 

I have already affirmed on p. 132 a connexion between this 
wiitende heer and Wuotan, the god being linked with it in name 

1 Braunschw. anz. 1760 no. 86, 35. Praetorii Weltbeschr. 1, 262-9. Laus. 
monatss. 1797 p. 747. So far back as the Anegenge 180 a . 190 b : w& mit diu armen 
ckmdielindazfiwer haben geschoufet, diu da ungetoufet an ir schulde scheident von 
hinne ; but bere the fire of purgatory is meant. 

2 Ungerechte sielner, Moser s Patr. pliant. 3, 309. fiirig marcher, 1 will o 
wisps, in Hebel s poem. Mone s Anz. 1835, 408. 1838, 223. Westeudorp p. 511. 

3 Yet there are some brausende geistcr (blustering spirits) that go singly too, 
as jungfer Eli in the Davert, Deut. sag. no. 121. Their name of braus. g. is 
vouched for by Plitt s Nachr. von Wetter p. 42. 


as in reality. An imprinted poem of Eiidiger von Munir con 
tains among other conjuring formulas f bi Wuotunges herS 
Wuotunc and Wuotan are two names of one meaning. Wuotan, 
the god of war and victory, rides at the head of this aerial 
phenomenon ; when the Mecklenburg peasant of this day hears 
the noise of it, he says de Wode tilt (zieht)/ Adelung sub v. 
wiithen ; so in Pomerania and Holstein, Wode jaget/ W. hunts 
(p. 156). Wuotan appears riding, driving, hunting, as in Norse 
sagas, with valkyrs and einheriar in his train ; the procession 
resembles an army. Full assurance of this hunting Wode s 
identity with the heathen god is obtained from parallel phrases 
and folktales in Scandinavia. The phenomenon of howling wind 
is referred to OSin s waggon, as that of thunder is to Thor s. 
On hearing a noise at night, as of horses and carts, they say 
in Sweden Oden far forbi. l In Schonen an uproar produced 
perhaps by seafowl on November and December evenings is 
called Odens jagt. z In Bavaria they say nacht-gejaid or nacht- 
gelait (processio nocturna), Schm. 2, 264. 514; in German 
Bohemia nacht-goid = spectre, Hank s Bohmerwald pp. 46. 78. 83. 
91. In Thuringia, Hesse, Franconia, Swabia, the traditional 
term is das wiitende heer, and it must be one of long standing: 
the 12th cent, poet of the Urstende (Hahn 105, 35) uses daz 
wuetunde her y of the Jews who fell upon the Saviour ; in Rol. 
204, 16 Pharaoh s army whelmed by the sea is { sin wotigez her/ 
in Strieker 73 b daz wiietunde her ; Reinfr. v. Brnswg. 4 b daz 
wiietende her -, Mich. Beheim 176, 5 speaks of a crying and 
whooping (wufen) as if it were das widend her } the poem of 
Henry the Lion (Massin. denkm. p. 132) says, then came he 
among daz woden her, where evil spirits their dwelling have. 
Geiler v. Keisersperg preached on the wutede or wiitische heer. 3 
H. Sachs has a whole poem on the wiitende heer, Agricola and 
Eiering relate a Mansfeld legend. It is worth noticing, that ace. 

1 Loccenii Antiq. sveog. cap. 3. Geijer Sv. hafd. 1, 2G8. 

2 Nilsson s Skandinavisk fauna 2, 106. 

8 Omeiss 36 seq. ; his description deserves a place here : And they that so 
run, run mostly at the fron-fasts, and chiefly at the fron-fast before Christmas, that 
is the holiest tide. And every one runneth as he is in his raiment, the peasant as 
a peasant, the knight as a knight, so run they in a string, and one beareth the kros 
before him, another his head in his hand, and one runneth before, that crieth, Flee 
out of the way, that God give thee thy life ! Thus speak the meaner sort thereon. 
I know nought thereof. 


to Keisersperg all who die a violent death f ere that God hath set 
it for them/ and ace. to Superst. I, 660 all children dying un- 
laptized, come into the furious host to Holda (p. 269), Berhta 
and Abundia (p. 288), just as they turn into will o wisps (p. 
918) : as the Christian god has not made them his, they fall due 
to the old heathen one. This appears to me to have been at 
least the original course of ideas (see Suppl.). 

While in this connexion the meaner sort long cherished the 
thought of Wuotan, or conveniently stowed him away in a cog 
nate verb ; it was quite in the regular course of things that the 
more cultivated should from an early time put the devil in his 
place. Si bliesen unde gullen, vreisliche si hullen, so daz diu 
helle wagete, alse der tuvel da jagete, says Veldeck in En. 3239. 
Caesarius heisterb. 12, 20 tells of a vain woman, who had herself 
buried in fine new shoes, and whose soul was therefore hunted by 
the inf ernalis venator : ( ex remoto vox quasi venatoris terribiliter 
buccinantis, necnon et latratus canum venaticorum praecedentium 
audiuntur. l der tiuwel hat uz gesant sin geswarme und sin her/ 
Eol. 204, 6. der tiuvel und sin her, Renn. 2249. 2870. The 
people in Bavaria say that on Ash-wednesday the devil chases the 
little wood-wife, Superst. I, 914 b . With the devil is associated 
the figure of an enormous giant, who can stand for him as well 
as for Wuotan ; and this opinion prevails in Switzerland. There 
the wild hunt is named dursten-gejeg (see durs, J>urs, p. 521) : on 
summer nights you hear the durst hunting on the Jura, cheering 
on the hounds with his hoho ; heedless persons, that do not get 
out of his way, are ridden over. 2 Schm. 1, 458 quotes an old 
gloss which renders by duris durisis the Lat. Dis Ditis, and 
plainly means a subterranean infernal deity. 

In Lower Saxony and Westphalia this Wild Hunter is identified 
with a particular person, a certain semi-historic master of a hunt. 
The accounts of him vary. Westphalian traditions call him 

1 Joach. Camerarii Horae subsec. eent. 2. cap. 100 p. 390 : Ceterum negari non 
potest, diabolum varia ludibria cnm alias turn praesertim in venatione leporum 
saepenumero exercere, cum ncnnunquam appareant tripedes clandicantes et igneis 
oculis, illisque praeter morem dependentibus villis, atque venatores insequentes 
abducere student vel ad praecipitia vel ad paludosa aliaque periculosa loca. Imo 
visa sunt phantasmata et in terra et in nubibus integras venationes cum canibus, 
retibus, clamoribus raucis tamen, aliisque instruments venaticis instituere, prae- 
ferentia formas hominum longe ante defunctorum. 

2 Ildef. v. Arx, Bucbsgau p. 230. Staid. 1, 208. 


HacJcelbdrend, HacMbernd, Hackelberg, Hackelbloch. This Hackel- 
bdrend was a huntsman who went a hunting even on Sundays, 
for which desecration he was after death (like the man in the 
moon, p. 717) banished into the air, and there with his hound he 
must hunt night and day, and never rest. Some say, he only 
hunts in the twelve nights from Christmas to Twelfth-day ; 
others, whenever the storm-wind howls, and therefore he is called 
by some the jol-jdger (from yawling, or Yule?). 1 Once, in a 
ride, Hackelberg left one of his hounds behind in Fehrmann s barn 
at Isenstadt (bpric. Minden). There the dog lay a whole year, 
and all attempts to dislodge him were in vain. But the next 
year, when Hackelberg was round again with his wild hunt, the 
hound suddenly jumped up, and ran yelping and barking after 
the troop. 2 Two young fellows from Bergkirchen were walking 
through the wood one evening to visit their sweethearts, when 
they heard a wild barking of dogs in the air above them, and a 
voice calling out between hoto, hoto ! It was Hackelblock the 
wild hunter, with his hunt. One of the men had the hardihood to 
mock his hoto, hoto/ Hackelblock with his hounds came up, and 
set the whole pack upon the infatuated man ; from that hour not 
a trace has been found of the poor fellow. 3 This in Westphalia. 
The Low Saxon legend says, Hans von Hackelnberg was chief 
master of the hounds to the Duke of Brunswick, and a mighty 
woodman, said to have died in 1521 (some say, born that year, died 
1581), Landau s Jagd 190. His tombstone is three leagues from 
Goslar, in the garden of an inn called the Klepperkrug. He had 
a bad dream one night ; he fancied he was fighting a terrific boar 
and got beaten at last. He actually met the beast soon after, and 
brought it down after a hard fight ; in the joy of his victory he 
kicked at the boar, crying now slash if you can ! But he had 
kicked with such force, that the sharp tusk went through his 
boot, and injured his foot. 3 He thought little of the wound at 
first, but the foot swelled so that the boot had to be cut off his 

1 Weddigen s Westfal. mag. vol. 3, no. 18. 

8 Kedeker s Westfal. sagen, nos. 48 and 47. 

3 SigurSr iarl drap Melbrigfta Tb nn, ok bait hofuft bans vi~5 slagolar ser oc 
slant kykqva vb ftva sinom & tonnina, er skafti or hofSino, kom J>ar i blastr i fotinn, 
oc feck hann af J>vi bana, Har. saga ens harf. cap. 22. Gundarich the son of 
Thassilo dies of a wound in his calf inflicted by a boar, MB. 13, 504-5. Conf. 
Orion s fate, end of this chapter. 


leg, and a speedy death ensued. Some say he lies buried at 
Wiilperode near Hornburg. 1 This Hackelnberg fatsches in 
storm and rain, with carriage, horses and hounds, through the 
Thiiringerwald, the Harz, and above all the Hackel (a forest 
between Halberstadt, Groningen and Derenburg, conf. Praet. 
weltb. 1, 88). On his deathbed he would not hear a word about 
heaven, and to the minister s exhortations he replied : the Lord 
may keep his heaven, so he leave me my hunting ; whereupon 
the parson spoke : hunt then till the Day of Judgment ! which 
saying is fulfilled unto this day. 2 A faint laying or yelping of 
hounds gives warning of his approach, before him flies a night- 
owl named by the people Tutosel (tut-ursel, tooting Ursula). 
Travellers, when he comes their way, fall silently on their faces, 
and let him pass by ; they hear a barking of dogs and the hunts 
man s huhu ! Tutosel is said to have been a nun, who after 
her death joined Hackelnberg and mingled her tuhu with his 
huhu.* The people of Altmark place a wild hunter named Hakke- 
berg in the Dromling, and make him ride down by night with 
horses and hounds from the Harz into the Dromling (Temme, 
p. 37). Ad. Kuhn no. 17 calls him HacJcenberg and Hackelberg : 
he too is said to have hunted on Sundays, and forced all the 
peasants in his parish to turn out with him ; but one day a pair 
of horsemen suddenly galloped up to him, each calling to him to 
come along. One looked wild and fierce, and fire spirted out of 
his horse s nose and mouth; the left-hand rider seemed more 
quiet and mild, but Hackelberg turned to the wild one, who 
galloped off with him, and in his company he must hunt until the 
Last Day. Kuhn has written down some more stories of the 
wild hunter without proper names, nos. 63. 175. There are others 
again, which tell how Hackelberg dwelt in the Soiling, near 
Uslar, that he had lived in the fear of God, but his heart was so 
much in the chase, that on his deathbed he prayed God, that for 
his share of heaven he might be let hunt in the Soiling till the 
Judgment-day. His wish became his doom, and oft in that forest 
one hears by night both bark of hound and horrible blast of horn. 

1 Otmar s Volkssagen 249. 250. 

2 Like Diimeke s desire to drive his waggon for ever (p. 726). 

3 Otmar 241. Deut. sag. no. 311. Conf. Goth. >iutan (ululare), >ut-haurn 


His grave is in the Soiling too, the arrangement of the stones is 
minutely described; two black hounds rest beside him. 1 And 
lastly, Kuhn s no. 205 and Temme s Altmark p. 106 inform us of 
a heath-rider Bar en, whose burial-place is shewn on the heath 
near Grimnitz in the Ukermark; this Barents dream of the stumpf- 
schwanz (bobtail, i.e. boar) points unmistakably to Hackelbarend. 
The irreconcilable diversity of domiciles is enough to shew, 
in the teeth of tombstones, that these accounts all deal with a 
mythical being : a name that crops up in such various localities 
must be more than historical. I am disposed to pronounce the 
Westph. form Hackelberend the most ancient and genuine. An 
OHG. hahhul [Goth, hakuls], ON. hokull m. and hekla f., AS. 
hacele f., means garment, cloak, cowl, armour ; 2 hence hcikol- 
berand is OS. for a man in armour, conf. OS. wapanberand (ar- 
miger), AS. asscberend, garberend, helmb., sweordb. (Gramm. 2, 
589). And now remember OcSin s dress (p. 146) : the god ap 
pears in a broad-brimmed hat, a blue and spotted cloak (heMa 
bla, flckkott) ; hakolb&rand is unmistakably an OS. epithet of the 
heathen god Wodan, which was gradually corrupted into Hackel- 
berg, Hackenberg, Hacltelblock. The name of the Hackel-wood 
may be an abbrev. of Hakelbernd s wood. The { saltus Ilaltel 
in Halberstadt country is mentioned first in the (doubtful) 
Chron. corbeiense ad an. 936 (Falke p. 708) ; a long way off, 
hard by Hoxter in the Auga gau, there was a Ilaculesthorp 
(Wigand s Corv. giiterb. p. 94. Saracho 197. Trad. corb. 385) 
and afterwards a HackelbvQiiQ ; then in L. Hesse, a Hachelsberg 
near Yolkmarsen, and a Hackelberg by Merzhausen (bailiw. Wit- 
zenhausen). But if a hakel = wood can be proved, the only trace 
of a higher being must be looked for in berand, and that may be 
found some day ; in ch. XXXIII. I shall exhibit Hakol in the ON. 
Hekla as mountain, hence wooded heights, woodland. In any 
case we here obtain not only another weighty testimony to 
Woden-worship, but a fresh confirmation of the meaning I attach 
to the wiitende heer ; and we see clearly how the folktale of 
Hackelberg came to be preserved in Westphalia and L. Saxony 

1 Kirchhof s Wendunmut no. 283, p. 342. Deut. sag. no. 171. The Braun- 
schw. anz. 1747, p. 1940 says the wild hunter Hackelnberg lies in the Steinfeld, 
under a stone on which a mule and a hound are carved. 

2 OHG. missa-hahul (casula),St. Gall gl. 203 ; misse-hachil, Gl. herrad. 185 b is 
mass-weed, chasuble, Graff 4, 797. 


(where heathenism lasted longer) rather than in South Germany 
(yet see Habsberg, Hiigelberg, Moneys Anz. 4, 309. Hachilstat, 
Graff 4, 797). 

That the wild hunter is to be referred to Wodan, is made per 
fectly clear by some Mecklenburg legends. 

Often of a dark night the airy hounds will bark on open heaths, 
in thickets, at cross-roads. The countryman well knows their 
leader Wod, and pities the wayfarer that has not reached his 
home yet ; for Wod is often spiteful, seldom merciful. It is only 
those who keep in the middle of the road that the rough hunter 
will do nothing to, that is why he calls out to travellers: f midden 
in den weg ! 

A peasant was coming home tipsy one night from town, and 
his road led him through a wood ; there he hears the wild hunt, 
the uproar of the hounds, and the shout of the huntsman up in 
the air : midden in den weg ! cries the voice, but he takes no 
notice. Suddenly out of the clouds there plunges down, right 
before him, a t all man on a white horse. Are you strong ? says 
he, here, catch hold of this chain, we ll see which can pull the 
hardest. The peasant courageously grasped the heavy chain, and 
up flew the wild hunter into the air. The man twisted the end 
round an oak that was near, and the hunter tugged in vain. 
Haven t you tied your end to the oak ? asked Wod, coming 
down. c N o/ replied the peasant, look, I am holding it in my 
hands. Then you ll be mine up in the clouds/ cried the hunter 
as he swung himself aloft. The man in a hurry knotted the chain 
round the oak again, and Wod could not manage it. You must 
have passed it round the tree/ said Wod, plunging down. No/ 
answered the peasant, who had deftly disengaged it, here I have 
got it in my hands/ Were you heavier than lead, you must up 
into the clouds with me. He rushed up as quick as lightning, 
but the peasant managed as before. The dogs yelled, the waggons 
rumbled, and the horses neighed overhead ; the tree crackled to 
the roots, and seemed to twist round. The man s heart began 
to sink, but no, the oak stood its ground. Well pulled ! said 
the hunter, e many s the man Pve made mine, you are the first 
that ever held out against me, you shall have your reward. On 
went the hunt, full cry : hallo, holla, wol, wol ! The peasant was 
slinking away, when from unseen heights a stag fell groaning at 


his feet, and there was Wod, who leaps off his white horse and 
cuts up the game. < Thou shalt have some blood and a hind- 
quarter to boot. My lord/ quoth the peasant, thy servant has 
neither pot nor pail/ Pull off thy boot/ cries Wod. The man 
did so. Now walk, with blood and flesh, to wife and child. 
At first terror lightened the load, but presently it grew heavier 
and heavier, and he had hardly strength to carry it. With his 
back bent double, and bathed in sweat, he at length reached his 
cottage, and behold, the boot was filled with gold, and the hind- 
quarter was a leathern pouch full of silver. 1 Here it is no human 
hunt-master that shows himself, but the veritable god on his 
white steed ; many a man has he taken up into his cloudy heaven 
before. The filling of the boot with gold sounds antique. 

There was once a rich lady of rank, named frau Gauden ; so 
passionately she loved the chase, that she let fall the sinful word, 
could she but always hunt, she cared not to win heaven/ Four- 
and- twenty daughters had dame Gauden, who all nursed the same 
desire. One day, as mother and daughters, in wild delight, 
hunted over woods and fields, and once more that wicked word 
escaped their lips, that hunting was better than heaven/ lo, 
suddenly before their mother s eyes the daughters dresses turn 
into tufts of fur, their arms into legs, and four-and-twenty bitches 
bark around the mother s hunting-car, four doing duty as horses, 
the rest encircling the carriage ; and away goes the wild train 
up into the clouds, there betwixt heaven and earth to hunt un 
ceasingly, as they had wished, from day to day, from year to 
year. They have long wearied of the wild pursuit, and lament 
their impious wish, but they must bear the fruits of their guilt 
till the hour of redemption come. Come it will, but who knows 
when ? During the twolven (for at other times we sons of men 
cannot perceive her) frau Gauden directs her hunt toward human 
habitations ; best of all she loves on the night of Christmas eve 
or New Year s eve to drive through the village streets, and where- 
ever she finds a street-door open, she sends a dog in. Next morn 
ing a little dog wags his tail at the inmates, he does them no 
other harm but that he disturbs their night s rest by his whining. 
He is not to be pacified, nor driven away. Kill him, and he turns 

1 Liscli, Mecklenb. jahrbuch 5, 7880. 


into a stone by day, which, if thrown away, comes back to the 
house by main force, and is a dog again at night. So he 
whimpers and whines the whole year round, brings sickness and 
death upon man and beast, and danger of fire to the house ; not 
till the twolven come round again does peace return to the house. 
Hence all are careful in the twelves, to keep the great house-door 
well locked up after nightfall ; whoever neglects it, has himself 
to blame if frau Gauden looks him up. That is what happened 
to the grandparents of the good people now at Bresegardt. 
They were silly enough to kill the dog into the bargain ; from 
that hour there was no { sag und tag (segen bless, ge-deihen 
thrive), and at length the house came down in flames. Better 
luck befalls them that have done dame Gauden a service. It 
happens at times, that in the darkness of night she misses her 
way, and gets to a cross-road. Cross-roads are to the good lady 
a stone of stumbling : every time she strays into such, some part 
of her carriage breaks, which she cannot herself rectify. In this 
dilemma she was once, when she came, dressed as a stately dame, 
to the bedside of a labourer at Boeck, awaked him, and implored 
him to help her in her need. The man was prevailed on, followed 
her to the cross-roads, and found one of her carriage wheels was 
off. He put the matter to rights, and by way of thanks for his 
trouble she bade him gather up in his pockets sundry deposits 
left by her canine attendants during their stay at the cross-roads, 
whether as the effect of great dread or of good digestion. The 
man was indignant at the proposal, but was partly soothed by 
the assurance that the present would not prove so worthless as 
he seemed to think ; and incredulous, yet curious, he took some 
with him. And lo, at daybreak, to his no small amazement, his 
earnings glittered like mere gold, and in fact it was gold. He 
was sorry now that he had not brought it all away, for in the 
daytime not a trace of it was to be seen at the cross-roads. In 
similar ways frau Gauden repaid a man at Conow for putting a 
new pole to her carriage, and a woman at Gohren for letting into 
the pole the wooden pivot that supports the swing-bar : the chips 
that fell from pole and pivot turned into sheer glittering gold. 
In particular, frau Gauden loves young children, and gives them 
all kinds of good things, so that when children play at/rw Gauden, 
they sing : 


fru Gauden hett mi n lammken geven, 
darmitt sail ik in freuden leven. 

Nevertheless in course of time she left the country ; and this 
is how it came about. Careless folk at Semmerin had left their 
street-door wide open one St. Silvester night ; so on New-year s 
morning they found a Hack doggie lying on the hearth, who 
dinned their ears the following night with an intolerable whining. 
They were at their wit s end how to get rid of the unbidden guest. 
A shrewd woman put them up to a thing : let them brew all the 
house-beer through an eierdopp/ They tried the plan ; an egg 
shell was put in the tap-hole of the brewing-vat, and no sooner 
had the worp (fermenting beer) run through it, than dame 
Gauden 3 s doggie got up and spoke in a distinctly audible voice : 
Jk bun so old as Bohmen gold, iiwerst dat heff ik min leder nicht 
truht, wenn man t bier dorch n eierdopp bruht/ after saying 
which he disappeared, and no one has seen frau Gauden or her 
dogs ever since 1 (see Suppl.). 

This story is of a piece with many other ancient ones. In the 
first place, frau Gauden resembles frau Holda and Berlita, who 
likewise travel in the twelves/ who in the same way get their 
vehicles repaired and requite the service with gold, and who 
finally quit the country (pp. 268, 274-6). Then her name is that 
of frau Gaue,frau Gode,frau Wode (p. 252-3) who seems to have 
sprung out of a male divinity fro Woden (p. 156), a matter which is 
placed beyond doubt by her identity with Wodan the wild hunter. 
The very dog that stays in the house a year, Hakelberg s 
(p. 921) as well as frau Gauden s, is in perfect keeping. The 
astonishment he expresses at seemingly perverse actions of men, 
and which induces him, like other ghostly elvish beings, to 
speak and begone, is exactly as in the stories given at p. 469. 

At the same time the transformation of the wild hunter into 
goddesses appears to be not purely arbitrary and accidental, but 
accounted for by yet other narratives. 

B. M. Arndt 3 tells the tale of the wild hunter (unnamed) in the 
following shape : In Saxony there lived in early times a rich and 
mighty prince, who loved hunting above all things, and sharply 

1 Lisch, Meckl. jb. 8, 202 5. In the Prignitz they tell the same story of frau 
Gode, Ad. Kuhn no. 217. 

2 Marchen und jugenderinnerungen 1, 401 4. 


punished in his subjects any breach of the forest laws. Once 
when a boy barked a willow to make himself a whistle, he had his 
body cut open and his bowels trained round the tree (RA. 519-20. 
690) ; a peasant having shot at a stag, he had him fast riveted to 
the stag. At last he broke his own neck hunting, by dashing up 
against a beech-tree; and now in his grave he has no rest, but 
must hunt every night. He rides a white horse whose nostrils 
shoot out sparks, wears armour, cracks his whip, and is followed 
by a countless swarm of hounds : his cry is ( wod wod, hoho, 
hallo ! 1 He keeps to forests and lonely heaths, avoiding the 
common highway ; if he happens to come to a cross-road, down 
he goes horse and all, and only picks himself up when past it ; he 
hunts and pursues all manner of weird rabble, thieves, robbers, 
murderers and witches. 

A Low Saxon legend of the Tilsgraben or devil s hole between 
Dahlum and Bokenem (Harrys 1, 6) says, the wild knight Tils was 
so fond of the chase that he took no heed of holidays, and one 
Easter Sunday he had the presumption to say he would bring a 
beast down that day if it cost him his castle/ At evening the 
cock crew out that the castle would sink before night ; and soon 
after it sank in the lake with all that was in it. A diver once on 
reaching the bottom of the lake, saw the ritter Tils sitting at a 
stone table, old and hoary, with his white beard grown through the 

In the Harz the ivild chase thunders past the Eichelberg with 
its hoho and clamour of hounds. Once when a carpenter had the 
courage to add to it his own hoho, a black mass came tumbling 
down the chimney on the fire, scattering sparks and brands about 
the people s ears : a huge horse s thigh lay on the hearth, and the 
said carpenter was dead. The wild hunter rides a black headless 
horse, a hunting-whip in one hand and a bugle in the other ; his 
face is set in his neck, $nd between the blasts he cries hoho 
hoho ; before and behind go plenty of women, huntsmen and 
dogs. At times, they say, he shews himself kind, and comforts 
the lost wanderer with meat and drink (Harrys 2, 6). 

In Central Germany this ghostly apparition is simply called 
the wild huntsman, or has some other and more modern name 

1 Holw, woit gut ! AW. 3, 144-5. Both wod and ivoit seem to me to refer to 
W6dan, Wuotan, as exclamations are apt to contain the names of gods. 


attached to him. By Wallrod near Schliichtern in Hanau country 
are seen tall basaltic crags standing up like ruins : there in former 
times was the wild man s house, and you may still see his grey 
gigantic figure make its rounds through the forest, over heath and 
field, with crashing and uproar (conf. 432. 482). A Thuringian 
story contains (and in a clearer form) that Bavarian chase after 
the holzweiblein. The wild hunter pursues the moss-folk, the 
little wood- wives 1 ; he remains unseen, but you hear him bluster in 
the air, so that it crickles and crackles/ A peasant of Arntsch- 
gerente near Saalfeld had the impudence, when he heard 
shouting and the bark of dogs in the wood, to put in his tongue 
and mimic the huntsmen s cry : the next morning he found the 
quarter of a little moss-wife hung up outside his stable door, as if 
to pay him for his share in the hunt. 2 ( Dixerunt majores nostri, 
tempore melioris et probioris aevi, concubinas sacerdotum in aere a 
daemonibus, non aliter quam feras sylvestres a canibus venaticis, 
agitari atque tandem discerptas inveniri : quod si hominum quis- 
piam haec [hanc ?] audiens venationem suo clamore adjuverit, illi 
part-em vel membrumconcubinae dissectum ad januam domus mane 
a daemonibus suspensum/ Bebelii Facetiae (Tub. 1555) p. 1 l a . 
Here the wood-wives are replaced by priests wives, but the same 
may already have been done in the 13th cent, folktale. Our 
German tradition says nothing about the reason why the airy 
hunter pursues the wood- wife ; 3 among the people of Upper 
Germany the wild women themselves play a leading part in the 
f twelve nights, and in Lent they are part and parcel of this 

1 These moosleute and holzweibel belong to the class of wood-sprites (p. 483), 
forming a link between them and dwarfs ; It is Voigtland legend that knows most 
about them. They look like three-year old children, keep on friendly terms with 
men, and make them presents. They often help at haymaking, feed cattle, and sit 
down to table with men. At flax-harvest the countryman leaves three handfuls of 
flax lying in the field for the holziveibel (conf. pp. 448. 509) ; and in felling trees, dur 
ing the brief time that the noise of the falling tree lasts, he marks tliree crosses on the 
trunk with his axe : in the triangle formed by these crosses the holzweibel sit and 
have respite from the wild hunter, who at all times is shy of the cross (conf. Deut. 
sag. no. 47). But Voigtland tradition makes the wild hunter himself have the 
figure of a small man hideously overgrown icith moss, who roamed about in a narrow 
glen a league long (Jul. Schmidt 140). In the Eiesengebirg the night-spirit is said 
to chase before him the riittelweibchen, who can only find protection under a tree 
at the felling of which the words Gott wait s ! (not wait s Gott ! ) were uttered, 
Deut. sag. no. 270. 

2 Deut. sag. no. 48. Jul. Schmidt p. 143 ; conf. no. 301, where the dwarf hangs 
a chamois before the huntsman s door. 

3 See below, the story from Boccaccio and that of Gronjette. 


heathenish specfcredom. Even among the Vicentine and Veronese 
Germans, the keenest sportsman will not venture on the track of 
game at the seasons just mentioned, for fear of the wild man and 
the ivood-wife. No herdsman will drive cattle out, the flocks and 
herds are watered in the stable, children fetching the water in 
earthen vessels from the nearest spring. For the wood-wife the 
women spin a portion of hair (flax) on their distaffs, and throw it 
in the fire as a peace-offering to her (Hormayr s Tyrol 1, 141). 
The legend of the wild hunt extends to the Ardennes, and Wolf 
in his Niederl. sagen nos. 516-7 (conf. p. 706) justly lays stress on 
the fact that the object hunted is usually the boar, that a wood 
cutter who had taken part in the hunt was a whole fortnight salt 
ing boar s flesh ; which reminds us of the boar of the einheriar 
(pp. 318, 386), the caro aprina, and the roast boar in the legend 
of Walther (Waltharius p. 105) ; and Hackelberg s dream (p. 921) 
is about the boar (see Suppl.). 

The people dread having to do with these powerful spirits, and 
whoever breaks through this backwardness pays for it heavily. 
The Westphalian peasant (p. 921) fared worse than he of Saalfeld; 
so did a tailor in the Miinsterland. When the wild hunt swept 
over his house, he mocked the hunter by repeating his huhu, Hif- 
Jdaf after him ; then a horse s foot came through the window, and 
knocked him off his table, while a terrible voice rang out of the 
air : willstu mit mir jagen, sollst du mit mir knagen (gnaw) ! 
DS. no. 309. A girl at Delligsen by Alfeld (Hildesheim 
country) tells the tale : Mine mutter vertelle, dat de helljdger 
dorch de luft ejaget herre (had been hunting) un jimmer eraupen 
ha ha ! tejif, tejaf, tejaf ! De knechte (labourers) tau Hohne 
ut n ganzen dorpe keimen eins avens to hope, un brochten alle 
de hunne (dogs) ut n dorpe mit, umme dat se den liclljagcr wat 
briien wollen. Da kumte ok dorch de luft en ejaget, un wie hei 
ropt ha ha ! sau raupt de knechte ok ha ha ! un wie de 
hunne in r luft jilpert, sau jilpert un bleft de hunne ut n dorpe 
ok alle; do smitt de heUjdger on watherunner (somewhat down to 
them) un schriet : wil ji mit jagen, so konn ji ok mit gnagen V 
Ans se den annern (next) morgen tau seien dauet (went to see), 
wat on de helljilger henne smetten herre, da ist n olen per- 
schinken (an old gammon of boar)/ An Austrian folktale in 
Ziska s Miirchen p. 37 tells of another fellow who, when the 


wilde gjoad swept past, had the audacity to beg for a piece of 
game to roast; the same in a Nethl. story, Wolf no. 259. On 
the other hand, a W. Preussen tale in Tettau and Temme no. 
200 says, on the Bullerberg in the forest of Skrzynka, Stargard 
circuit, the wild hunter carries on his operations on Bartholomew s 
night, and once he flung a man s thigh out of the air into the 
head forester s . carriage, with the words: Something for you 
out of our hunt ! 

A Meissen folk-tale calls the spectre Hans Jacjenteufel and 
pictures him as a man booted and spurred, in a long grey coat, 
with a bugle over his back, but no head, riding through the 
wood on a grey horse, DS. no. 309. They also tell of a wild 
hunter named Mansbwg, of what district I do not know. 
Swabian stories about Elbendrotsch s 1 hunting, about the 
Nuotes heer 2 , I should like to know more fully ; the castle of 
junker Marten, a wild hunter of Baden, stood at the village of 
Singen by the Pfinz, and his tombstone is shewn in a chapel on 
the way to Konigsbach ; the people in the Bahnwald see him at 
night with his dogs (Mone s Anz. 3, 363). Johann Hiibner the 
one-eyed, rides at midnight on a black horse, DS. no. 128. 
Other tales of S. Germany give no names, but simply place at 
the head of the wild host a white man on a white horse (Moneys 
Anz. 7, 370. 8, 306) ; an old lord of a castle rides a white 
horse, which may be seen grazing the meadows, ibid. 3, 259, just 
as Oden pastured his steed (p. 155n.). Even Michel Beheim 
(born 141 6) made a meister-song on Eberhart, count of Wir ten- 
berg, who hears in the forest a sudden din and uproar vast/ 
then beholds a spectre, who tells him the manner of his damna 
tion. When alive he was a lord, that never had his fill of 
hunting, and at last made his request unto the Lord to let him 
hunt till the Judgment-day ; the prayer was granted, and these 
500 years all but 50, he has hunted a stag that he never can 
overtake; his face is wrinkled as a sponge. 3 This is only another 
form of the L. Saxon legend of Hackelberg (see Suppl.) 

1 Grater s Iduna 1813, p. 88 : 1814, p. 102. Conf. elbentrotsch p. 461. 

2 Wagner s Madame Justitia p. 22. Schmid s Worth. 391 stiirniet wia s 
Muthesheer seia verschrocka wia wenn (scared as if) s Muathesheer anen vor- 
beizoga war, Neflen s Vetter aus Scbwaben (Stutg. 1837), pp. 154, 253. Is it a 
corrup. of Wuotes hb r, Scbm. 4, 202, like potz, kotz (p. 15) ? or is it muot (ira) = 
wuot ? Conf. Fro muot, p. 891. 

3 Von der Hagen s (etc.) Sammlung (etc.) 1, 43-4. 



But in the same Swabia, in the 16th cent, (and why not 
earlier?) they placed a spectre named Berchtold at the head of 
the wutende heer, they imagined him clothed in white, seated on a 
ivhite horse, leading white hounds in the leash, and with a horn 
hanging from his neck. 1 This Berchtold we have met before 
(p. 279) : he was the masculine form of white-robed Berhta, who 
is also named Prechtolterli (Grat. Iduna 1814, p. 102). 

Here we get a new point of view. Not only Wuotan and 
other gods, but heathen goddesses too, may head the furious 
host: the wild hunter passes into the wood-wife, Wodan into 
frau Gaude. Of Perchtha touching stories are known in the 
Orla-gau. The little ones over whom she rules are human 
children who have died before baptism, and are thereby become 
her property (pp. 918. 920). By these weeping babes she is sur 
rounded (as dame Gaude by her daughters), and gets ferried over 
in the boat with them (p. 275-6). A young woman had lost her 
only child ; she wept continually and could not be comforted. 
She ran out to the grave every night, and wailed so that the 
stones might have pitied her. The night before Twelfth-day 
she saw Perchtha sweep past not far off; behind all the other 
children she noticed a little one with its shirt soaked quite 
through, carrying &jug of water in its hand, and so weary that it 
could not keep up with the rest ; it stood still in trouble before 
a fence, over which Perchtha strode and the children scrambled. 
At that moment the mother recognised her own child, came 
running up and lifted it over the fence. While she had it in her 
arms the child spoke : Oh how warm a mother s hands are ! 
but do not cry so much, else you cry my jug too full and heavy, 
see, I have already spilt it all over my shirt. From that night 
the mother ceased to weep : so says the Wilhelmsdorf account 
(Borner p. 142-3). At Bodelwitz they tell it somewhat differ 
ently : the child said, f Oh how warm is a mother s arm/ and 
followed up the request Mother, do not cry so with the words 
You know every tear you weep I have to gather in my jug. 
And the mother had one more good hearty cry (ib. 152). Fairy 

1 Historic Peter Leuen des andern Kalenbergers, von Achilles Jason Wid- 
man (aus schwiibisch Hall), Nurnb. 1560. Keprinted in Hagen s Narrenbuch, p. 353. 
Peter Leu here plays a trick on peasants, p. 394, by disguising himself as Berch 


tales have the story of a little shroud drenched with tears 
(Kinderm. 109. Reusch no. 32. Thorn. Cantipr. p. 501, conf. 
Wolfs Wodana p. 153), and the Danish folktale of Aage and 
Else makes flowing tears fill the coffin with blood; but here 
we have the significant feature added of the children journeying 
in Perhta s train. The jug may be connected with the lachry 
matories found in tombs l (see SuppL). 

With Berahta we have also to consider Holda, Diana and Hero- 
dias. Berahta and Holda shew themselves, like frau Gaude 
(p. 925), in the twelves about New-year s day. Joh. Herolt, 
a Dominican, who at the beginning of the 15th cent, wrote his 
Sermones discipuli de tempore et de sanctis, says in Sermo 11 
(in die Nativ.) : Sunt quidam, qui in his xii. noctibus subsequen- 
tibus multas vanitates exercent, qui deam, quam quidam Dianam 
vocant, in vulgari die frawen unhold, dicunt cum suo exercitu 
ambulare. The same nocturnal perambulation is spoken of in the 
passages about Diana* Herodias and Abundia p. 283 seq. It is 
exactly the Vicentine wood-wife, who acts along with the wild 
man, and to whom the people still offer up gifts. And as Berhta- 
worship in the Salzburg country became a popular merrymaking 
(p. 279), so a Posterli-hunt, performed by the country-folk them 
selves on the Thursday before Christmas, is become an established 
custom in the Entlibuch. The Posterli 3 is imagined to be a 
spectre in the shape of an old woman or she-goat (conf. p. 916). 
In the evening the young fellows of the village assemble, and 
with loud shouts and clashing of tins, blowing of alp-horns, ring 
ing of cow-bells and goat-bells, and cracking of whips, tramp 
over hill and dale to another village, where the young men receive 
them with the like uproar. One of the party represents the 

1 Infantum animae flentes in limine primo, 
quos dulcis vitae exsortes et ab ubere raptos 
abstulit atra dies et funere mersit acerbo. Virg. Aen. 6, 427. 

In the Introd. to the Pentameron the revival of a dead man depends on a cruse 

hung upon his tomb being wept full. 

2 With Diana agrees the Pol. Dziewanna, Dzieivina (Linde 1, 599 b ), Dziewica ; 
Liebusch has the foil, story about a Dziivitza in Up. Lausitz : she was a beautiful 
young knenye or princess, who roamed in the woods, armed with the zylba (a jave 
lin) ; the finest of hounds accompanied, scaring both game and men who were in 
the thick forest at midday. The people still joke any one that spends the hour of 
noon alone in the fir- woods : are you not afraid Dziwitza will come to you ? But 
she also hunts of a moonlight night. 

3 Isitsynon. with frau Paste (p. 782 n.), and taken from the Slavic post = fast, 
jejunium ? 


Posterli, or they draw it in a sledge in the shape of a puppet, and 
leave it standing in a corner of the other village ; then the noise 
is hushed, and all turn homewards (Staid. 1, 208). At some 
places in Switzerland the Strdggele goes about on the Ember- 
night, Wednesday before Christmas, afflicting the girls that have 
not finished their day s spinning (ib. 2, 405). Thus Posterli and 
Striiggele resemble to a hair both Berhta and Holda. 1 At Neu- 
brunn (Wiirzburg country) the furious host always passed through 
three houses, each of which had three doors directly behind 
one another, street-door, kitchen-door, and back-door; and so 
wherever it finds three doors in a line, the furious host will drive 
through them. If you are in the street or yard when it passes, 
and pop your head between the spokes of a cart-wheel, it will 
sweep past, else it will wring your neck. Old people at Massfeld 
tell you, it used to come down the Zinkenstill by the cross-road 
near Eeumes bridge, and go over the hills to Dreissigacker. 
Many will swear by all that is sacred, that they have seen it 
(Bechstein s Frank, sag. no. 137). In Thuringia the furious host 
travels in the train of frau Holla (DS. no. 7). At Eisleben and 
all over the Mansfeld country it always came past on the Thurs 
day in Shrove-tide ; the people assembled, and looked out for its 
coming, just as if a mighty monarch were making his entry. In 
front of the troop came an old man with a white staff, the trusty 
Eckhart, warning the people to move out of the way, and some 
even to go home, lest harm befall them. Behind him, some came 
riding, some walking, and among them persons who had lately 
died. One rode a two-legged horse," one was tied down on a wheel 
which moved of itself, others ran without any heads, or carried 
their legs across their shoulders. A drunken peasant, who would 
not make room for the host, was caught up and set upon a high 
rock, where he waited for days before he could be helped down 
again. 3 Here frau Holda at the head of her spirit-host produces 
quite the impression of a heathen goddess making her royal pro- 

1 Conf. the nightly excursions of the Scottish elf-queen (Scott s Minstr. 2, 149, 
161), and of the fays (Keightley 1, 166). 

2 Hel rides a three-legged one, p. 844. 

8 Agricola s Spr. 667. Eyering 1, 781 6. Headless figures, beasts two-legged, 
three-legged, redhot, are in many ghost stories ; a headless wild hunter runs riot 
in the Wetterau (Dieffenbach s Wett. p. 280), in Pomerania a headless horseman 
(Teinme no. 140). 


gress : the people flock to meet and greet her, as they did to 
Freyr (p. 213) or Nerthus (p. 251). Eckhart with his -white staff 
discharges the office of a herald, a chamberlain, clearing the road 
before her. Her living retinue is now converted into spectres 
(see Suppl.). 

Eckhart the trusty, a notable figure in the group of Old-Teutonic 
heroes (Heldensage 144. 190, reeve of the Harlungs, perhaps 
more exactly Eclcewart, Kriemhild s hammerer, Nib. 1338, 3) gets 
mixt up with the myths of gods. The appendix or preface to 
the Heldenbuch makes him sit outside the Venus-mount to warn 
people, as here he warns them of the furious host ; so much the 
plainer becomes his vocation here, as well as the meaning of the 
Venusberg. Eckhart goes before the furious host with Holda, he 
is also doomed to abide till the Judgment-day at the mount of 
Venus : the identity of Holda and Venus is placed beyond ques 
tion. That mountain (some say the Hoselberg or Horselberg near 
Eisenach) is dame Holle s court, and not till the 15- 16th cent, 
does she seem to have been made into dame Venus ; l in subter 
ranean caves she dwells in state and splendour like the kings of 
dwarfs ; some few among men still find their way in, and there 
live with her in bliss. The tale of the noble Tanhauser, who went 
down to view her wonders, 2 is one of the most fascinating fictions 

i Conf. p. 456. Venusberg in the Nethl. chapbook Margareta van Limburg 
c. 56. 82-4, also in the Morin. Keisersperg (Omeiss 30) makes witches fare to frau 
Fenusberg. There must have been a good many of these Venusbergs, particularly 
in Swabia : one near Waldsee, another by Ufhausen near Freiburg, in which the 
Schnewburger takes up his lodging, like Tanhauser, H. Schreiber s Tagb. 1839, p. 
348, Doubtless the original M. Nethl. poem of Marg. van Limburg (A.D. 1357) also 
had Venusberg, as the later chapbook and Johau von Soest s paraphrase have 
(Mone s Anz. 4, 168), so that its earliest occurrence is rather to be placed in the 14th 
cent. A Dresden MS. of the 15th cent. (Hagen s Grundr. 336) contains a still 
unprinted poem on the Venusberg, prob. composed in the 14th cent. Joh. v. Soest 
wrote in 1470, Herm. von Sachsenheim 1453, and before them Joh. Nider (d. 1440 
in his Formicarius names the Venusberg. Joh. Herolt speaks, as we saw, of Diana 
and frau Unbold ; and next of kin is the mount that houses Felicia and Juno 
(p. 961). There may have been similar stories in Italy, for Paracelsus (Strasb. 
1616) 2, 291 C informs us : And by the same pygmaei was the Venusberg in Italia 
occupied, for Venus herself was a nympha, and the Venusberg hath been likened 
unto her realm ; but she also is past away, and her realm hath departed with 
her and ceased. For who now heareth tell of them, as in the old time when Dann- 
hauser and others were therein ? And the same is no fabled song of him, but a true 
history. Again, in the Chirurg. schriften (Strasb. 1618) p. 332b - Some that be 
very great thereat, do secretly practise nigromancia, as campisirer (strollers) that 
come straight out of the Venusberg, who have dipped their art in the Veltliner, and 
have said matins with brother Eckart, and eaten a black-pudding with DanhauserS 
Afzelius 2, 141 tells of a bridegroom who was 40 years among the elves. All the 
legends place Venus and Holda in elf-mountains. 

2 Deut. sag. no. 170. As the pope by the dried up stick cuts off Tanhauser 


of the Mid. Age : in it the hankering after old heathenism, and 
the harshness of the Christian clergy, are movingly portrayed. 
Eckhart, perhaps a heathen priest, is courtier and conductor of 
the goddess when she rides out at a stated season of the year. I 
might even make him with his /cr/pv/ceiov the psychopompos of the 
mounted host of the dead (conf. the waggon of souls creaking in 
the air, p. 833) ; only he conducts, not the departing, but rather 
the returning dead. 

As we can also prove Dietrich von Bern s participation in the 
wild hunt (and Eckhart was one of his hero-band), he may stand 
as our second native hero in this group. Now the Lausitz 
people name the wild hunter Bemdietrich f Dietrich Bernhard, or 
Diterbenada ; the older Wends have many a time heard him 
hunt, and can tell of unsavoury joints that he gives away for 
roasting. 1 Bemdietrich too is the wild hunter s name in the 
Orlagau (Borner pp. 213-6. 236), where his dogs rouse and chase 
the wood-wives. Nay in the Harz, at the Bode-kessel (-crater) 
over the Ros-trappe (horse s footmark), stands the wild hunter 
turned into stone : f we call him Bernhart was a boy s account, 
and the father of the Brunhild that leapt across the Bodethal on 
her steed is called by the people he of Bdren (von Bern) ; this 
is the more significant, as Gibicho also (p. 137) is placed in the 
same mountains (Z. f. d. a. 1, 575). But from Fichte, himself a 
Lausitz man, we derive the information that Jcnecht Ruprecht (p. 
504) is there called Dietrich von Bern (Deut. heldensage p. 40). 
The two interpretations admit of being harmonized. Knecht 
Ruprecht makes his appearance beside frau Berhta, as her ser 
vant and companion (p. 514-5), sometimes her substitute, and like 

from all hope, so in Swed. tradition the priest says to the musical neck : 
sooner will this cane I hold in my hand grow green and blossom, than thou obtain 
salvation ; the neck sorrowfully throws his harp away, and weeps. The priest 
rides on, and presently his staff begins to put forth leaf and flower, he turns back 
to tell the marvel to the neck, who then plays joyful tunes the whole night long, 
Afz. 2, 156. But this myth of Tanhauser accords with many others, esp. Celtic 
ones. Tanhauser passes many a year with Holda in the mountain, so does Tamlane 
with the queen of fays, Thomas of Ercildon with the fairy queen (Scott s Minstr. 2, 
193. 3, 181 3), Ogier 200 years with fata Morgana in Avalon : she had pressed a 
garland on his head, which made him forget everything, But the legend is Teu 
tonic for all that, it is told in Sweden of the elf-king s daughter (p. 466 and Afz. 2, 
141), and in the kinderm. of frau Fortuna, Altd. bl. 1, 297. And so does Odysseus 
stay with Calypso and with Circe ; but who would think of deriving the story of 
Tanhauser from that of Ulysses or Orpheus, as Mone does (Anz. 5, 168) ? 

1 Joh. Hortzschansky s Sitten u. gebr. der Wenden, part 3 (Dessau and Gorl. 
1782) 3, 258. Laus. monatsschr. 1797 p. 749. Liebusch s Skythika p. 287. 


her a terror to children. Add to this, that both Ruprecht 
and Berhta appear at Christmas ; and, what is most decisive of 
all, Wode in Mecklenburg, like Berhta in Swabia, runs through 
the flax on the distaff, and Wode, like Ruprecht and Niclas, 
apportions good or evil to infants. 1 So that Dietrich von Bern, 
like trusty Eckhart, is entitled to appear in Wuotan s, Holda s, 
Berhta s train, or to fill their place. Then, in another connexion, 
Dietrich the fire-breathing, painted superhuman, is in poems of 
the Mid. Age fetched away, on a spectral fire-spirting steed, to 
hell or to the wilderness, there to fight with reptiles till the Judg 
ment-day (D. heldensage 38 40). This agrees with our Altrnark 
story of Hackelberg (p. 922) ; and in the compound Hackel-berend, 
the second half seems plainly to have led to Berend Bernhart and 
Dietrich- bern, as indeed the dreams of Hackelberg and Berend 
were identical (p. 923). Lastly, perhaps the Nethl. Derk met den 
leer (p. 213-4) ought to be taken into account here, not that I 
would derive his epithet from a misapprehension of Dietrich von 
Bern (see Suppl.). 

We have come to know the wild host in two principal lights : 
as a nocturnal hunt of male, and as a stately progress of female, 
deities ; both, especially the last, occurring at stated seasons. 
The precise meaning of the word host calls for a third explan 
ation : it marches as an army, it portends the outbreak of war. 

Wuotan (the old father of hosts, p. 817), Hackelbemd, Berhtolt, 
bestriding their white war-horse, armed and spurred, appear 
still as supreme directors of the war for which they, so to speak, 
give licence to mankind. There is more than one legend of 
enchanted mountains, in whose interior becomes audible, from 
time to time, drumming, piping and the clash of arms : an 
ancient host of spirits and gods is shut up inside, and is arming 
to sally out. I do not know a finer, a more perfect legend in 
this respect than that of the Odenberg in Lower Hesse, which 
stands too in the immediate neighbourhood of a Gudensberg (i.e 
Wodansberg), but distinct from it, so that Odenberg cannot 
be explained by the ON. form OSinn; it may come from 6d 
(felicitas), perhaps from odi (desertus). This long while the 
people have connected Odenberg not with the heathen deity, but 

1 Franke s Alt und neu Meckl. 1, 57. In Silesia children are stilled with the 
night-hunter, Deut. sag. no 270. 


with Charles the great hero-king, and even with Charles V. 1 
This emperor, owing to his treatment of Landgrave Philip, has 
left a lasting impression in Hesse : Karle Q.uintes with his soldiers 
is lodged in the Odenberg ; and as the Svvabian mother threatens 
her infant with the iron Berhta (p. 277), Be still, or the Prech- 
tolterli will come/ and the Bavarian with Hush, there s 
Prechte coming to cut your belly open/ the Hessian of this 
district stills it by the exhortation Da, der Quinte kommt ! 
But in earlier times they meant Charles the Great, as is suffi 
ciently proved by the legend of the thirsting army, known to the 
annalists (pp. 117. 153), and itself a deposit of still older heathen 
myths. Charles had moved his army into the mountains of the 
Gudensberg country, some say victorious, others in flight, from 
the east (Westphalia). His warriors pined with thirst, the king 
sat on a snow-white steed ; then the horse stamped with his foot 
on the ground, and broke away a piece of rock ; out of the 
opening gushed a bubbling spring (pp. 226. 584), and the whole 
army was watered. Glixborn is the name of the spring, to 
whose clear cold waves the country-folk impute a higher cleans 
ing power than to common water, and women from surrounding 
villages come to wash their linen there. The stone with the 
hoof-mark may still be seen, let into the wall of Gudensberg 
churchyard. After that, king Charles fought a great battle at 
the foot of the Odenberg : the streaming blood tore deep furrows 
in the ground (they have often been filled up, but the rain always 
washes them open), the red waves rolled (wulchen) together, and 
poured down all the way to Bessa. Charles won the victory : 
in the evening the rock opened, took him and his exhausted 
soldiery in, and closed its walls. Here in the Odenberg the king 
rests from his valiant deeds ; but he has promised to come out 
every seven (or every 100) years, and when that time is past, 
you hear a rattling of arms in the air, neighing of horses and 
tramp of hoofs ; the procession passes by the Glisborn, where 
the steeds are watered, then goes on its way till, having finished 
its round, it returns at last into the mountain again. Once people 
were going past the Odenberg, and heard the roll of drums, but 

1 At Broterode they shew a fann (flag) of Karlcs quintes, and connect with it 
the bloody assize held at the place, really the MHG. Karles relit or lot, 
Bechsteiu s Thiir. sag. 2, 95. 


saw nothing. A wise man bade them look, one after another, 
through the ring formed by his arm held a-kimbo : immediately 
they saw a multitude of soldiers, engaged in military exercises, 
go in and out of the mountain. 1 This looking through the arm 
gives assurance of the genuine primitive legend. Saxo Gram, 
p. 37 relates, that Biarco was unable to see Othin, who, mounted 
on white steed and covered with white shield, was aiding the 
hostile army of Swedes. Quoth Biarco to Ruta : 

At nunc ille ubi sit qui vulgo dicitur Othin 
armipotens, uno semper contentus ocello ? 
die mihi, Euta, precor, usquam si conspicis ilium ? 
Euta : Adde oculum propius, et nostras prospice chelas, 
ante sacraturas victrici lumina signo, 
si vis praesentem tuto cognoscere Martem.* 
Biarco : Si potero horrendum Friggce spectare maritum, 
quantumcunque albo clypeo sit tectus et album 
flectat equum, Lethra nequaquam sospes abibit. 
fas est belligeram bello prosternere divam. 

Looking through the rounded arm (chela, %??7u?) enables one to 
see spirits (Altd. blatter 1, 290), so does looking over the right 
shoulder (p. 459n., Superst. I, 996) or between a horse s ears. And 
this the Hessian folktale has preserved. Plainly as Wuotan is 
indicated on the whole, the story seems at times to shift itself to 
Donar, for we are also told of a red rider on a red horse and with 
heron s plume of red wool, who on certain days of the year 
gallops round the wooded fringe of the Odenberg : it is the ghost 
of Carolus quintus. The description would better fit Frederic 
Barbarossa who sits entranced in the Kifhauser, and red-haired 
Donar (see Suppl.). 

Similar to this Odenberg host are the excursions of the Bothen- 
thaler in Aargau, 3 of the Rodensteiner to Schnellerts* of the grey 
man over the Rockenstul near Geisa in the Fulda country (Bechst. 

1 For this and other stories faithfully taken down from the lips of the 
peasantry, I am indebted to a kind communication from Herr Ptister, artill. officer 
of Electoral Hesse. 

2 As there can be no doubt about Othin, it is singular that Saxo should call 
him Mars. It serves to establish the original nearness of Wuotan to Zio (p. 197). 

3 Wyss s Reise ins Beruer Oberland 2, 420. 

4 Deut. sag. no. 169. Sclmellerts = house of Schnellert, Snelhart. A mon 
strous spirit named Siiellaart in Marg. van Linib. 7 b . 


Frank, sag. 1, 68), and of others in other parts, see Moneys Anz. 
3, 259. 8, 306 ; as the host passed over Wolfartsweiler, one of 
them shouted down: If thou suffer harm, bind thee with red 
yarn ! 8, 307. We read in Heimreich s Nordfries. chron. 2, 93 
that outside Tondern in 1637 armies were seen mustering in the 
air and fighting, in dear weather. 1 An Irish folktale gives an 
account of the ancient chieftain O DonogJme, who yearly on the 
first of May, mounted on a milkwhito steed, rises from the waters 
of a lake, to revisit his realm. On an August night, an etirl 
of Kildare shews himself armed, on a splendid war-horse, and 
reviews the shades of his warriors (Elfenm. 192-3. 233). 
Strikingly similar to the ( duris, durst on pp. 521. 920 is a 
Finnic Turisas, god of war and at the same time a giant (turras, 
turrisas, tursas), who, when a war is imminent, has his drum 
beaten high up in the clouds. To the Lettons johdi or murgi 
means ghosts, souls of the dead ; when the northern lights flicker, 
they say johdi kaujahs/ ghosts are fighting, or karru lauschu 
dwehseles kaujahs/ the souls of fallen warriors fight. 12 They 
connect the ghostly tumult with a shining phenomenon, as we do 
with a sounding one ; it reminds one also of the war stirred up 
by our landsknechts in heaven itself, and still more of the ON. 
name for war and battle, Hiaffnmga ve&r eiSa el, Hedaniugorum 
tempestas vel procella, Sn. 163. In a lengthened fight the 
heroes had fallen, when Hildur the valkyrja came to the battle 
field at night, waked them all up, and let them fight it over again, 
and so every day till the end of the world they shall do battle by 
day and lie dead at night. This, I think, is the very earliest 
example of an army warring in the clouds, which was a way of 
explaining the natural phenomenon, as we see by the words ve*3r, 
el. Of a battle between Swedes and Croats the Thuringians 
have a story, that on its anniversary, at 1 1 o clock at night, all 
the buried soldiers start up and begin to fight afresh till the clock 
strikes one, then they sink into the ground and lie quite still 
again for a year, Bechst. 4, 231 (see Suppl.). 

1 Guicciardini s Hist, d ltalia (1583) p. 22 : Risuonava per tutto la fama, 
essere nel territorio d Arezzo passati visibilmente molti di per Varia infiniti huomini 
armati, sopra grossissimi cavalli e con terribile strepito di suoni di trombe e di 
tamburi. Conf. the Dan. legend of Klintekonitfs or Ellekonig s trooping out, 
Thiele, 1, 98. 3, 55. Even children marching with pike and flag portend war, 
Superst. I, 106. 

2 Stender s Lett. gram. (1783) p. 2G2-6. Bergmann p. 145. 


But the Romance nations have no less their own traditions 
of this aerial host, which on some points agree exactly with the 

In France such an air -picture of contending spirits goes by 
the name of Hellequin, Hielekin (Bosquet 7077), and in Spain 
of ezercito antiguo. 1 Guilielm. Alvernus (d. 1248) p. 1037 : de 
equitibus vero nocturnis, qui vulgari gallicano Hellequin, et vul- 
gari hispanico exercitus antiqiius vocantur, nondum tibi satis- 
feci, quia nondum declarare intendo qui sint ; nee tamen certum 
est eos malignos spiritus esse, loquar igitur tibi de his in sequen- 
tibus/ P. 1065 : de substantiis apparentibus in similitudine 
equitantiuin et bellatorum, et in similitudine exercituurti innumera- 
bilium, interdum autem et paucorum equitum. P. 1067 : ( nar- 
ratur quoque, quod quidam videns hujusmodi exercitum (at a 
parting of roads) terrore percussus a via publica declinavit in 
agrum contiguum, ubi quasi in refugio, t ranseunte j uxta ilium toto 
illo exercitu, illaesus permansit et nihil mali passus est ab illis. 
propter quod opinio inolevit apud multos, agros gaudere pro- 
tectione Oreatoris propter utilitatem hominum, et hac de causa 
non esse accessum malignis spiritibus ad eos, neque potestatem 
nocendi propter hanc causam hominibus existentibus in eis. Gens 
autem idolatrarum tutelam istarn et defensionem, si earn vel cre- 
deret vel audiret, numinibus arvorum illam attribueret. opinor 
autem, quod Cererem deam, quae agris praeest, hujusmodi homi- 
nem protexisse crederent, exercitumque ilium intra fines regnum- 
que Cereris nemini posse nocere/ P. 1073: f nec te removeat 
aut conturbet ullatenus vulgaris ilia Hispanorum nominatio, qua 
malignos spiritus, qui in armis ludere ac pugnare videri con- 
sueverunt, exercitum antiquum nominant, magis enim anilis et 
delirantium vetularum nominatio est quam veritatis/ Radulfus 
de Presles ad libr. 15 cap. 23 De civ. Dei : la inesgnee de Helle- 
quin } de dame Habonde (p. 286), et des esperis quils appellent 
fees/ Ducange sub v. In the Jeu d Adan, the maisnie Hielekin 
is heard approaching with tinkling bells, the three fays (p. 411) 
accompanying, and a sires Hellequins is named. Reiffenberg s 
Renseign. p. 94. Vincent, bellov. lib. 30 cap. 118, and after him 
Keisersp. (Omeiss 37-8) mention a certain Natalis, Alle quinti, 

1 I.e. the vast throng of the dead (p. 847) : he geit in t olde heer = he dies, 
Narragonia 84 b . dem alten haufen zuschicken, Keisersp. serm. on Brant, p. m. 43. 



Karoli quinti, who when dead appeared again, and, being ques 
tioned on the furious host, reported that it had ceased ever since 
Carolus quintus performed his penance. To the furious host is 
here given the name Caroliquinti, some say Allequinti, obviously 
the same thing as Hellequin and our Hessian Karlequinte in the 
Odenberg, p. 938. Nevertheless it seems a false interpretation 
of the older Hellequin, whose mesnie is mentioned several times 
in poems of the 13th cent. 1 as well as by Guil. Alvernus, and who 
cannot therefore be the French king Charles V. of the latter half 
of the 14th cent. That in France too they connect Charles the 
Great with the furious host, appears from a Burgundian poem of 
the 17th cent., in which Charlemagne bestrides his horse at the 
head of the airy apparition, and Roland carries the standard 
(Journ. des savans 1832, p. 496). But what if Hellequin were 
after all the German helle (underworld) or its diminutive hellekin, 
personified and made masculine ? 2 At Tours they say chasse 
briquet (briguet is hound), and le carosse du roi Hugon? who 
rides round the city walls at night, and beats or carries off 
all that encounter him. Here also king Hugo Capet s carriage 
represents that of a heathen god ; in Poitou they call it chasse- 
gallerie. In the forest of Fontainebleau le grand veneur is 
supposed to hunt. 

In Gervase of Tilbury s time the British woods already rang 
with king Arthur s mighty hunt (Ot. imp. 2, 12) : narrantibus 
nemorum custodibus, quos forestarios vulgus nominat, se alternis 
diebus circa horam meridianam et in primo noctium conticinio 
sub plenilunio luna lucente saepissime videre militum copiam 
venantium et canum et cornuum strepitum, qui sciscitantibus se 
de societate et familia Arturi esse affirmant. The Complaynt of 
Scotland p. 97-8 says : Arthour knycht he raid on nycht with 
gyldin spur and candillycht/ The elf -queen and the fays have 
already been spoken of (p. 934n.). Shakspeare (M. Wives of W. 
iv, 4. v, 5) tells how { Herne the hunter doth all the winter time 
at still midnight walk round about an oak. 4 

1 E.g. in Eichard sans peur, in the Eoman de Fauvel; conf. Jubinal s Contes 1, 
284. Michel s Theatre fr. pp. 7376. 

2 Kausler s Chron. v. Flandern 8049 : ten Hallekine, at little hell (name of a 

3 Mem. des antiq. 8, 458. Noei bourguignons p. 237. Thuanus lib. 24 p. 1104. 

4 Herne too, if a myth, had got localized : sometime a keeper here hi Windsor 
forest. TRANS. 


Boccaccio (Decam. 5, 8) has the story of a ghost who, having 
been done to death by his false mistress, chases her naked 
through the wood every Friday, and has her torn to pieces by his 
hounds : every time she is slain, she rises again, and the grue 
some hunt begins anew. Manni says the tale is taken out of 
Helinand; it may afford some solution of the wild hunter s 
pursuit of the wood-wife (p. 929), even if we are bound, as is 
fair, to trace the novelist s plot in the first instance to the simple 
basis of a folktale. In the poem on Etzel ; s court, the Wunderer 
shews himself almost exactly such a wild man and hunter ; he 
chases frau Scelde with his dogs, and threatens to devour her, as 
the hunter does the fleeing wood-wife, or the infernalis venator 
a departed soul (see Suppl.). Far more important is a story in 
the Eckenlied : Fasolt hunts with hounds a wild maiden in the 
forest, just as the wild hunter does the holzweiblem, Lassberg s 
ed. 161201, Hagen s 21354, conf. 333. This becomes of 
moment to our understanding of Fasolt, who was a storm-giant 
(pp. 530. 636), and here turns up like Wuotan in the wild host. 

Between the Norse legends and ours the links are not so far 
to seek. The Danes have made a wild hunter of their famous 
and beloved king Waldemar. The Zealand fable represents him, 
like Charles the Great (p. 435n.), as irresistibly drawn, by a 
magic ring, to a maiden, and after her death to a woodland 
district. He dwells in the forest of Gurre, and there hunts night 
and day ; 1 like Hackelberg, he uttered the presumptuous wish : 
God may keep his heaven, so long as I can hunt in Gurre for 
evermore ! So now he rides from Burre to Gurre every night ; 
as soon as the ear can catch his ( hoho and the crack of his 
whip, the people slink aside under the trees. Foremost in the 
train run coal-black hounds, with fiery red-hot tongues hanging 
out of their throats ; then appears Wolmar on a white horse, some 
times carrying his head under his left arm (conf. Superst. I, 605). 
If he meets any men, especially old men, he gives them hounds 
to hold. He follows one particular route, doors and locks fly 
open before him, and his track is named Wolmar s street, Volde- 
mars-vej (Antiqvariske annaler 1, 15) ; here one cannot help 
thinking of Irmingstrset and Eriksgata (p. 356 361). Those 

1 In hunting he practises cruelties on the peasantry ; he also chases a mermaid, 
Thiele 1. 46. 52. 


who have held his hounds he presents with seeming trifles, which 
afterwards turn into gold : he will give a ducat for a horse-shoe 
(Thiele 1, 89 95). These stories are alike suggestive of Charles 
the Great, of Hackelberg, and of frau Holla or Perhta ; conf . 
Miillenhoff s Schlesw. hoist, sag. nos. 485-6. 

In the I. of Moen is a wood named Griinewald : there every 
night the Gronjette hunts on horseback, his head tucked under his 
left arm, a spear in his right, and a pack of hounds about him. 
In harvest time the husbandmen leave him a bundle of oats for 
his horse, that he may not trample their crops that night ; by this 
one circumstance we recognise Wuotan (p. 155), and perhaps 
Frey (p. 212). 1 He is here ajette, as in Switzerland he is a durst 
(p. 940). The gron/ I would explain, not by the green colour 
of his hunting dress, but by the ON. gron (barba), Gronjette = 
ON. graniotunn, bearded giant ; and Grani (barbatus) is a name 
of OSinn (p. 858). Gronjette, like Wolmar, makes the peasants 
hold his dogs ; he also hunts the mer woman (conf. wood- wife). 
One man saw him return with the dead merwoman laid across his 
horse : seven years have I chased her, now in Falster I have 
slain her/ He made the man a present of the band with which 
he had held the hounds, and the longer he kept it, the richer he 
grew (Thiele 1, 95-97). 

In Fiinen the hunter is Paine jdger, i.e. the ON. Pdlnatoki 
(Fornm.sog. 11,49 99. Thiele 1,110) : a far-famed hero (p. 381). 

In some parts of Denmark, instead of naming Wolmar, they 
say den fly vende jdger, flying huntsman, or den fly vende Mar- 
Jcolfus ; in Kallundborg district the hunt is transferred to a 
later king : Christian the Second rides on a white horse and with 
Hack hounds (Thiele 1, 187). 

In Schleswig hunts king Abel: in eo loco ubi sepultus est 
. . . venatoris cornu inflantis vocem et sonum exaudiri, multi 
fide digni referunt, et affirmant usque adeo similem, ut venatorem 
ibivenari quis diceret, idque saepe a vigilibus qui Gottorpii nocte 

1 Still closer comes the statement in Thiele p. 192 : in olden days it was the 
custom in the I. of Moen, when they were harvesting, and had tied the last sheaf 
of oats, to throw it on the field with the words : this for the jode of Upsala, this 
let him have for his horse on Yule-eve ! and if they did not do it, their cattle died. 
The jb tunn of Upsala is a Christian euphemism for Wodan or OSinn, whose divine 
imago is set up at Upsala. The phraseology might originate at a period when 
Denmark was converted and Sweden remained heathen. 


vigilare solent audiri : sed et Abeletn multis nosfcra aetate ap- 
paruisse et visum esse constans omnium est rumor, ore et corpore 
atrum, equo pusillo vedum, comitatum canibug tribus venaticis, 
qui et saepe specie ignea et ardere visi sunt/ Cypraei Ann. episc. 
slesvic. p. 267; conf. Thiele 2, 63. 142. Dahlmann s Dan. gesch. 
1, 408. Miillenhoff nos. 487-8. 

With Swedish traditions of the wild hunter I am imperfectly 
acquainted, but they may safely be inferred from what is told of 
the stromkarls-lag (p. 492), that its eleventh variation is reserved 
for the use of the night spirit and his host ; and we found a point 
of agreement between the neck and our elf-natured Tanhiiuser 
(p. 936n.). Sweden retains too the primitive fashion of referring 
the natural phenomenon to the god (p. 919). Tales are told of 
two ardent sportsmen, Nielus Hog and Jennus Maar (Arwidssou 

One Norwegian story offers rich material. Souls that have not 
done so much good as to win heaven, nor yet harm enough to 
merit hell, drunkards, scoffers, tricksters, are doomed to ride about 
until the end of the world. At the head of the cavalcade comes 
Gurorysse or Reisarova 1 with her long tail, by which you may 
know her from the rest ; she is followed by a great multitude of 
either sex. Rider and steed have a stately appearance in front ; 
from behind you see nothing but Guro s long tail. The horses 
are coal-black, have glowing eyes, and are governed with fiery 
rods and iron reins : the noise of the troop is heard from afar. 
They ride over water as over land, their hoofs scarce skimming 
the surface. When they throw a saddle on a roof, some person 
will presently die in that house; where they expect drunken 
revelry, rioting and murder, they come and sit over the door ; 2 
they keep still so long as no crime is committed, but when it is, 
they laugh out loud, 5 and rattle their iron rods. They make their 
journeys at Yule-tide, when there is much carousing. If you 
hear them come, you must get out of the way, or throw yourself 
flat on the ground 4 and feign sleep, for there have been cases of 

1 Guro rysserova = Gudrun horse-tail. SUPPL. 

2 Quia Mors secus introitum delectationis posita est. Kegula Benedict!, 
cap. 7. 

3 Conf. manes ridere videns in the Waltharius 1040. 

4 As on p. 922 : a precaution prescribed in all the folktales (Bechstein s Thiir. 
sag. 4, 234 and Frank, sag. 1, 57). It is practised in Italy when hot winds blow. 


living men being dragged along with the moving mass. An up 
right man, who takes that precaution, has nought to fear, save 
that each of the company spits upon him ; when they are gone, 
he must spit out again, or he will take harm, in some parts, this 
ghostly array is called aaskereia, aasherej, aaskereida, in others 
hoskelreia ; the former corrupted from as yard -re Ida, -reid, the 
Asgard march, whether as a passage of souls to heaven, or as a 
journey of gods, of valkyrs, visiting earth ; or may it not be more 
simply explained by aska (lightning) and reid (thunder) ? in 
which case it would be confined more to a manifestation of Thor. 
Sometimes you do not see the procession, but only hear it rush 
through the air. Whoever does not make the sign of the cross 
on his stable-doors the three nights of Yule, will in the morning 
find his horses blown and dripping with sweat (p. 661), because they 
have been taken and ridden (Faye 70 72). 

Guro is apparently the same as gurri, ON. gifr (giantess, p. 
526); but gurri is also huldra (Faye 10), who is described as a 
beautiful woman with a hideous tail (ib. 25. 39). Huldra maybe 
likened to our Holda all the more, because she takes unchristened 
infants with her. Guro, as a leader of the furious host, answers 
perfectly to the description given of all the others 1 (see Suppl.). 

If we now review the entire range of German and Scandinavian 
stories about the Furious Host, the following facts come to the 
front. The myth exhibits gods and goddesses of the heathen 
time. Of gods : Wuotan, and perhaps Fro, if I may take Berh- 
tolt to mean him. We can see Wuotan still in his epithets of 
the cloaked, the bearded, which were afterwards misunderstood 
and converted into proper names. Saxo Gram. p. 37 says of 
Othin : albo clypeo tectus, album (s. 1. pro altum ) flectens 
equum. Sleipnir was a light gray horse (Sn. 47), what was called 
apple-gray (pommele, AS. seppelfealo). Then we see both the 
name and the meaning [m. or f.] fluctuate between fro Wodan 
and/roioa Gode. A goddess commanding the host, in lieu of the 
god, is Holda, his wife in fact. I am more and more firmly con 
vinced, that Holda can be nothing but an epithet of the mild 

1 Can the * Gurre wood in the Waldemar legend have arisen, like Hakel 
wood, out of the personal name? Conf. Halja and hell. In Schmidt s Fastelabend- 
baniml. p. 76 we iind the combination der H oor, die Goor, der wildejager. 


r gracious Fricka; conf. Sommer s Thur. sag. 165-6. And 
Berhta, the shining, is identical with her too ; or, if the name 
applies more to Frouwa, she is still next-door to her, as the Norse 
Freyja was to Frigg. It is worth noting, that here Norweg. 
legend also names a Huldra/ not Frigg nor Freyja. The dogs 
that surround the god s airy chariot may have been Wuotan s 
wolves setting up their howl. A Scand. story not well authen 
ticated l makes O&inn be wounded by a boar, like Hakelbernd, 
and this wounding seems altogether legendary (p. 921-2) ; when 
the boar sucked the blood out of the sleeping god, some drops 
fell on the earth, which turned into flowers the following spring. 

These divinities present themselves in a twofold aspect. Either 
as visible to human eyes, visiting the land at some holy tide, 
bringing welfare and blessing, accepting gifts and offerings 
of the people that stream to meet them. Or floating unseen 
through the air, perceptible in cloudy shapes, in the roar and 
howl of the winds (p. 632), carrying on war, hunting or the game 
of ninepins, the chief employments of ancient heroes : an array 
which, less tied down to a definite time, explains more the natural 
phenomenon (conf. Haupt s Zeitschr. 6, 1291. 131).. I suppose 
the two exhibitions to be equally old, and in the myth of the wild 
host they constantly play into one another. The fancies about 
the Milky Way have shewn us how ways and waggons of the 
gods run in the sky as well as on the earth. 

With the coming of Christianity the fable could not but 
undergo a change. For the solemn march of gods, there now 
appeared a pack of horrid spectres, dashed with dark and 
devilish ingredients. Very likely the heathen themselves had 
believed that spirits of departed heroes took part in the divine 
procession ; the christians put into the host the unchristened 
dead, the drunkard, the suicide (conf. p. 822), who come be 
fore us in frightful forms of mutilation. The holde goddess 
turns into an unholde/ still beautiful in front, but with a tail 
behind. 2 So much of her ancient charms as could not be stript 
off was held to be seductive and sinful : and thus was forged 
the legend of the Venus-mount. Their ancient offerings too the 

1 Wassenberg p. 72. Creuzer s Symb. 2, 98. I fear Kudbeck liad the boldness 
to adapt the legend of Adonis (p. 949n.) to Oden. 

2 Conf. frau Welt, dame World, in Conrad s poem p. 196 seq. 



people did not altogether drop, but limited them to the sheaf 
of oats for the celestial steed, as even Death (another hunter, 
p. 845-6) has his bushel of oats found him (p. 844). 

When born again as heroes, the gods retained their genuine 
old character undimmed. Thus we see Dietrich, Ekhart, Arthvr, 
Charles, Waldemar, Palnatoke, nay, king Christian, significantly 
incorporated in the roving company, without the slightest detri 
ment to their dignity or repute among the people. At the same 
time its due weight must be allowed to another view, which 
degrades the gods into- devils, the goddesses into hags and 
witches : here the devil might easily spring out of the giant of 

The last lodgment found by the fable is when it settles on 
individual hunters and lovers of hunting of modern times, such 
as Hackelberg, the heath-rider Baren, squire Marten, Mansberg 
the baron, &c. These look almost like historic personages, 
but narrowly examined they will in every case melt into mythic 
ones. The people s conscientious care to point out Hakeln- 
bernd s tomb seems to indicate a heathen worship, to which 
even monuments of stone were consecrated. 

The similar course taken by the history of the myth in Scandi 
navia and in Germany is a fresh guarantee that the same heathen 
faith prevailed there and here. Saxony, Westphalia, Mecklen 
burg, Hesse have still several features in common with the 
North ; South Germany has retained fewer. So there come out 
points of agreement with Celtic legend ; none with Slavic, that 
I can discover, unless the nocturnal rides of Svantovit (p. 662) 
are to be taken into account. 

I have yet to mention an agreement with Greek fable, which 
seems to prove the high antiquity of that notion of a giant and 
hunter. To the Greeks, Orion was a gigantic (7reXa>pto?) hunts 
man, who in the underworld continues to chase the quarry on 
the Asphodel-mead (Od. 11, 572), and forms a brilliant con 
stellation. Homer speaks of Orion s hound (II. 22, 29) seen in 
the sky below him; in flight before him are the Pleiads (a bevy 
of wild doves, Od. 12, 62), and the Great Bear herself appears 
to watch him (SoKevei, Od. 5, 274). 1 Did our ancestors connect 

1 0. Miiller on Orion (Rhein. mus. f. pliilol. 2, 12). 


the same group of stars with their myth of the wild hunt ? I 
have left it doubtful on p. 727. We might, for one thing, 
see such a connexion in Orion s AS , name of boar-throng 
(eofor]?ryng) ; and secondly add, that the three stars of his belt 
are called the distaff of Fricka, who as Holda heads the 
furious host, and looks after her spinsters just at the time of 
his appearing at- Christmas. Can it be, that when the constel 
lation takes name from Fricka, her spindle is made prominent ; 
and when Wuotan or a giant-hero lends his name, the herd of 
hunted boars is emphasized ? The Greek fable unfolds itself yet 
more fully. Orion is struck blind, and is led to new light by 
Kedalion, a marvellous child who sits on his shoulders. Might 
not we match this blind giant with our headless wild hunter ? x 
A feature that strikes me still more forcibly is, that Artemis 
(Diana) causes a scorpion to come up out of the ground, who 
stings Orion in the ankle, so that he dies : 2 when the sign Scorpio 
rises in the sky, Orion sinks. This is like Hackelberend s foot 
being pierced by the wild boar s tusk, and causing his death (pp. 
921. 947). Orion s [cosmic] rising is at the summer, his setting 
at the winter solstice : he blazes through the winter nights, just 
when the furious host is afoot. Stormy winds attend him 
(nimbosus Orion, Aen. 1, 535) ; the gift is given him of walking 
on the sea (Apollod. i. 4, 3), as the steeds in the aaskereia skim 
over the wave. Orion s relation to Artemis is not like that of 
\\ uotan to Holda, for these two are never seen together in the 
host ; but Holda by herself bears a strong resemblance to Artemis 
or Diana (p. 267. 270), still more to the nightly huntress Hecate, 
at whose approach dogs ivhimper (as with frau Gaude), who, like 
Hel, is scented by the dogs (p. 66 7) , 3 and for whom a paltry 
pittance was placed (as for Berhta and the wild woman, p. 

1 A malefactor, whose crime is not divulged before bis death, is doomed to- 
wander with his head under his arm (Superst. I, 605). Can the being struck (or 
growing) blind be meant to express ghostly wandering? 

2 Aratus Phaenom. 637. Ov. Fast. 5, 541. Lucan Phars. 9, 832. Adonis 
got his death-wound from the boar. Nestor (Jos. Miiller 101) tells us, it was 
prophesied to Oleg that he would die of his horse ; he still had it fed, but would 
not see it again. Five years after, he inquired about it, and was told it was dead. 
Then he laughed at soothsayers, and went into the stable, where the horse s 
skeleton lay, but when he trod on the skull, a snake darted out of it and stung 
him in the foot, whereof he sickened and died (see Suppl.). 

3 Apparently a slip ; for that was Athena. TRINS. 


432) at the trivium (OHG. driwikki),* conf. Tkeocr. 2, 15 and 
Virg. Aen. 4, G09 : nocturnis Hecate triviis ululata per urbes/ 
Lucian s $i\otyev&r)<; cap. 22. 24 tells us how such a EKarrj 
appeared in the wood to E aerates, and the yelping dogs are there 
too (see Suppl.). 

Tacitus Gerin. 43 thus describes the Harii, a people of N.E. 
Germany: truces insitae feritati arte ac tempore lenocinantur ; 
nigra scuta, tincta corpora, atras ad proelia noctes legunt, ipsaque 
formidine atque umbra feralis exercitus terrorem inferunt, nullo 
hostium sustinente novum ac velut mfernum aspectum (see 
Suppl.). Is this about host of the dead and hellish array 
Eoman rhetoric, or was it contained in descriptions of this people 
given by Germans themselves ? An airy host (p. 940) is also 
spoken of by Pliny 2, 57 : armorum crepitus et tubae sonitus 
auditos e coelo Cimbricis bellis accepimus, crebroque et prius et 
postea; tertio vero consulatu Marii ab Amerinis et Tudertibus 
spectata arma coelestia ab ortu occasuque inter se concurrentia, 
pulsis quae ab occasu erant. 

1 Cross-roads, the parting of ways, are a trouble to fran Gaude. Festus sub 
v. pilae, effigies says these were hung up at such places for the Lares. 


An idea specially characteristic of our mythology is that of 
Entruckung (removal), which, while extending to the subjects of 
the foregoing chapter, has a wider range besides. 

Verwiinschen (ill- wishing) is the uttering of a curse or ban, 
maledicere, diris devovere, Goth, fraqvifian, OHGr. farwazan, 
MHGr. verwdzen ; as I do not find verwiinschen in our older 
speech, I explain it simply as the opposite of wiinschen (fausta 
apprecari), and refrain from supposing in it a reference to the 
old wunsch/ the perfection of felicity. 1 

This banning differs from metamorphosis, inasmuch as it does 
not transform, but rather throws a spell upon things in their 
natural shape, only removing them into a new position j though 
common parlance calls whatever is transformed verwiinscht 
(banned). Further, what is metamorphosed remains, till the 
moment of its emancipation, in the new shape given it, visible 
to all eyes, e.g. the stone or tree into which a man has been 
changed; whereas, when a thing is banned, in the sense in 
which I use the word, it seems to me essential that it be with 
drawn from our senses, and only re-appear from time to time, 
and then in the same shape as before. In other words : what is 
metamorphosed remains corporeal, what is banned becomes im 
perceptible, and can only on certain conditions become corporeal 
again, in the same way as invisible spirits can at will assume 
grosser material shapes. Vanishing* is therefore voluntary trans 
lation (to another sphere), a prerogative of gods (p. 325) and 
spirits, also of some heroes that are possessed of a magic mask 
(grima) or concealing helmet ; translated men are spirit-like, 

1 Note the 0. Fr. antithesis between souhait (wish) and dehait (verwiinschung) ; 
both words are wanting in the other Koinance tongues, they have their root in 
OHG. heiz, ON. heit (votum). 

2 Frau Sselde verswantj vanished, Etzel s hofh. 210. 



and another expression for it is : they sleep, they only wake 
from time to time 1 (see Suppl.). 

And not only persons, but things, are translatable. Persons 
that vanish and re-appear are precisely in the condition of the 
spectres dealt with in the last chapter : just as souls of dead men 
there got identified with heroes and gods, so here we come upon 
the same gods and heroes again. Vanished gods get confounded 
with enchanted spell-bound heroes. 

With our people a favourite mode of representing translation 
is to shut up the enchanted inside a mountain, the earth, so to 
speak, letting herself be opened to receive them. 2 More than one 
idea may be at work here together : motherly earth hides the 
dead in her bosom, and the world of souls is an underground 
world; elves and dwarfs are imagined living inside mountains, 
not so much in the depths of the earth as in hills and rocks that 
rise above the level ground ; but popular forms of cursing choose 
all manner of phrases to express the very lowest abyss. 3 The 
Swed. bergtagen (taken into mountain) means sunken, bergtagning 

1 See the famous legends of the Seven Sleepers (Greg. Tur. mirac. 1, 95. Paul 
Diac. 1, 3), and of Endymion, who lies in eternal sleep on Mt. Latmos. Conf. 
Pliny 7, 52 : Puerum aestu et itinere fessum in specu septem et quinquaginta 
dormisse annis, rerum faciem mutationemque mirantem, velut postero experrectum 
die ; hinc pari numero dierum senio ingruente, ut tamen in septimum et quin- 
quagesimum atque centesimurn vitae duraret annum ; and the German story of 
the three miners. Shepherds slept in caves 7 years, or 7 times 7 (Mone s Anz 
7, 54). 

2 An impatient longing to disappear we express by the phrases I should like 
to creep into the earth, 1 and jump out of my skin, the same thing that is called at 
the end of the Lament (Nib.) : sich versliefen und uz der hiute triefen in locher 
der steinwende, trickle away, so to speak. 0. iv. 26, 43 has : ruafet thesen berg on, 
bittet sie thaz sie fallen ubar iuih, joh bittet ouh thie buhila thaz sie iuih theken 
obana, ir biginnet thanne innan erda sliafan, joh suintet nlu thrato. Hel. 166, 3 : 
than gi so gerna sind, that iu hier bihlidan holia bergos, diopo bidelban, be-lid 
and deep be-delve you. Much of this language is Biblical (Isa. 2, 19 ; Hos. 10, 8 ; 
Luke 23, 30; Rev. 6, 15, 16), but the sentiment of many nations will run alike in 
such matters. Nib. 867, 2 : mir troumte, wie obe dir ze tal vielen zwene berge, I 
dreamt, two mts fell on thee. That jumping out of one s skin, like a snake casting 
his slough, may also come of joy and anger, O.Fr. a poi n ist de sa pel, is well 
nigh out of his skin, Ogier 6688. Nethl. het is om uit zijn vel te springen. So 
in our Elis. von Orleans, ed. Schiitz p. 223 ; for joy, Ettn. s Unw. doctor 856. 
Not unlike is that jumping into atone spoken of on p. 552; as early as Alb. von 
Halb. 143 b : at one leap he turned into stone. 

3 They wish you 100,000 fathom under ground ; as far down as a hare can 
run in two years (p. 179) ; so low, that no cock crows after (or to) thee, and the 
like. What does the last formula mean ? that the cock s crow can no longer, even 
in the hush of night, reach the sunken man ? or that those above ground cannot 
hear the cry of the fowl that has sunk with him to the subterranean dwelling ? In 
Kinderm. 2, 32 it is said of the princesses : se versiinken alle drei so deip unner 
de eere, dat kien haan mer danach krehete. So kreet doch kein han nach mir, 
and kein han fort da nach krehen thut, H. Sachs iii. 2, 178 b . 213. 


translation, Sv. visor 1, 1. Afz, 1, 28. 33. In Asbiornsen and 
Moe no. 38 indtagen i bierget; and Faye 35-6 quotes striking 
instances of this indtages i hoie og fjelde/ being taken into 
height and fell. ON. ganga inn ifiallit, Nialss. cap. 14. 135 (see 

We understand now, why frau Holda, frau Venus and their 
following dwell in mountains : they are sequestered there, till the 
time come for holding their progress among men. So live Wodan 
and king Charles in the Odenberg. 

Here and there a man has gained entrance into such mountains ; 
Tanhiiuser sojourned many years at the court of Venus. A black 
smith was looking in the underwood on the Odenberg for a haw 
thorn to make his hammer-helve, when suddenly he saw a gap 
he had never noticed before in the face of the cliff ; he stept in, 
and stood in a new world of wonders. Strong men were bowling 
balls of iron, they challenged him to play, but he declined, the 
iron balls, he said, were too heavy for his hand. The men were 
not offended, they told him to choose what present he would have. 
He begged for one of their balls, took it home, and put it among 
his stock of iron. Afterwards, wanting to work it, he made it 
red hot, but it burst in pieces on the anvil, and every piece was 
sheer gold. 1 He never again found the opening in the Odenberg ; 
he had happened that time to hit the day when it stands open to 
men, as it does on certain days of the year to Sunday children. 
They see an old man with a long beard, holding in his hand a 
metal goblet (as Charles in Komance epic always has the epithet 
a la barbe florie/ and OSinn too was called La/ngbardr, Harbarffr, 
Siffskeggr). Inside the mountain they have presents given them, 
as in the Kifhauser. 

In the Guckenberg 2 near Frankischgemunden, a kaiser dis 
appeared with all his army a long time ago ; but when his beard 
has grown three times round the table at which he sits, he will 
come out again with all his men. Once a poor boy, who went 
about the neighbourhood selling rolls, met an old man on the 
mountain, and complained that he could not sell much. I will 

1 This skittle-playing sounds like rolling thunder (p. 167). They say in N. 
Germ, when it thunders, the angels are playing at bowls. 

2 Not Gouchsberg nor Kaukasus (p. 081) ; but rather the mt of the progenitor 
Guogo (guggaui, Z. f. d. a. 1, 23), or of the beetle (guegi, p. 183). Meichelb. 1182 
ad Guoginhusun ; Trad. fuld. 2, 33 in Gougeleibu. 


shew thee a place/ said the man, where thou canst bring thy 
rolls every day, but thou must tell no man thereof/ He then led 
the boy into the mountain, where there was plenty of life and 
bustle, people buying and selling; the kaiser himself sat at a 
table, and his beard had grown twice round it. The lad now 
brought his rolls there every day, and was paid in ancient coin, 
which at last the people in his village would not take; they 
pressed him to tell how he came by it, then he confessed all 
that had taken place. Next day, when he wished to g3 into 
the mountain, he could not so much as see it, let alone find the 
entrance (Moneys Anz. 4. 409, and thence in Bechst. Frank, sag. 
p. 103). So between Niirnberg and Fiirt stands kaiser Carls 
berg, out of which in former times came the sound of singing, 
and of which a similar tale is told about carrying bread; in 
a vaulted chamber the baker s boy saw men in armour sitting 
(Hone s Anz. 5, 174). 

In Westphalia, between Liibbecke and Holzhausen, above 
Mehnen village on the Weser, stands a hill called die Babilonie, 1 
in which Wedekind (Weking) sits enchanted, waiting till his 
time come; favoured ones who find the entrance are dismissed 
with gifts (Redeker s Westf. sag. no. 21). 

An older myth is preserved in the Chron. ursbergense 
(Auersperg) ad an. 1223 (Pertz 8, 261) : In pago Wormaciensi 
videbautur per aliquot dies non modica et armata multitudo 
equitum euntium et redeuntium, et quasi ad placitum colloquium 
nunc hie nunc illic turbas facere, circa nonam vero horara cuidam 
monti, quo et exiisso videbantur, se reddere. Tandem quidam de 
incolis regionis illius, non sine magno timore hujusmodi tarn pro- 
digiosae concioni, crucis signaculo munitus appropinquat. Mox 
quandam ex illis occurrentem sibi personam per nomen omnipo- 
tentis Domini nostri, manifestare causam populi qui sic apparuerit, 
adjurat. Cui ille inter cetera Non sumus inquit, ut putatis, 
fantasmata, nee militum, ut vobis cernimur, turba, sed animae 
militum interfectorum, arma vero et habitus et equi, quia nobis 
prms fuerant instrumenta peccandi, nunc nobis sunt materia 
tormenti, et vere totum ignitum est quod in nobis cernitis, quamvis 
id vos corporalibus oculis discernere non possitis. In hujusmodi 

1 Several times in MHG. poems diu wiieste Babilone. 


comitatu dicitur etiam Emicho comes ante paucos annos (an. 
1117) occisus apparuisse, et ab hac poena orationibus et elee- 
mosynis se posse redimi docuisse. Donnersberg, Tonnerre (p. 
170) was then in the Wormazfeld, it must therefore be the 
mountain in and out of which the ancient ghosts kept riding : 
souls of fallen and resuscitated heroes (p. 940), but by the 
Christian eye seen here in hell-fire. 

In the old mountain castle of Geroldseck Siegfried and other 
heroes are supposed to dwell, and thence they will appear to the 
German nation in its time of utmost need, Deut. sag. no. 21. A 
cleft in a rock by the L. of Lucerne, some say on the Griitli, holds 
in sleep the three founders of the Swiss Federation ; they will 
wake when their country wants them, ibid. no. 297. At the 
Kifhduser in Thuringia sleeps Frederic Barbarossa : he sits at a 
round stone table, resting his head on his hand, nodding, with 
blinking eyes; his beard grows round the table, it has already 
made the circuit twice, and when it has grown round the third time, 
the king will awake. On coming out he will hang his shield on 
a withered tree, which will break into leaf, and a better time will 
dawn. Yet some have seen him awake : a shepherd having 
piped a lay that pleased him well, Frederick asked him : fly the 
ravens round the mountain still ? the shepherd said yes : then 
must I sleep another 100 years. 3 x The shepherd was led into 

1 Similar questions are put by the blind giant in a Swed. folktale, which I 
insert here from Bexell s Halland (Gotheborg 1818) 2, p. 301 : Nagra sjoman ifran 
Getinge blefvo pa hafvet af stormarne forde emot en okand 6 (seamen from G. 
driven by storms to an unknown isle), omgifne af morker uppstiga de der (landed 
in the dark). De blefvo varse en p& af stand upptand eld (saw a lighted fire), och 
skynda dit. Framfor elden ligger en ovanligt lang man, som var blind ; en annan 
af lika jiittestorlek (another of like giant size), star bredvid honom och ror i eldeu 
med en iarnstang. Den gamle blinde mannen reser sig upp, och fragar de ankomne 
framlingarne, hvarifran de voro. De svara, ifran Halland och Getinge socken. 
Hvarp& den blinde fragar : * lefver ennu den hvita qvinnan (lives the white woman 
still ) ? De svarade ja, fast de ej viste hvad han harmed menade. Ater sporde 
han : manne mitt gethus star annu qvar (stands my goat-house yet) ? De 
svarade aterigen ja, ehuru de afven voro okunnige om hvad han menade. DS sade 
han : jag fick ej hafva mitt gethus i fred for den kyrkan som byggdes p& den 
platsen. Viljen I komma lyckligt hem, valan, jag lemnar er dertilTtvenne vilkor. 
De lofva, och den gamle blinde fortfor : tagen detta solfbalte, och car I kommen 
hem, s& spannen det p& den hvita qvinnan, och denne ask statten den pS altaret 
i mitt gethus. Lyckligen aterkomne till hembygden, radfraga sig sjomannerne 
hum de skulle efterkomma den gamle blinde mannens begaran. Man beslb t at 
spanna baltet omkring en bjork, och bj orken for i luften, och at satta asken pa en 
kulle (grave-mound), och straxt star kullen i Giusan Idga. Men efter det kyrkan ar 
bygd der den blinde mannen hade sitt gethus, har hon fatt namnet Getinge. The 
blind giant banished to the island is a spectral heathen god (conf. Orion, p. 949), 
the white woman a Christian church or an image of Mary ; had they fastened the 


the king s armoury, and presented with the stand of a hand- 
basin, which the goldsmith found to be sheer gold (ib. nos. 23. 
296) . l Others make Frederick sit in a cave of the rock near 
Kaiser slant ern (ib. no. 295), or at Trifels by Anweiler, or else in 
the Unterberg near Salzburg (ib. no. 28), though some put Charles 
the Great here, or Charles V. ; the growing of the heard round the 
table is related just the same. When the beard has for the third 
time reached the last corner of the table, the end of the world 
begins, a bloody battle is fought on the Walserfeld, Antichrist 
appears, the angel -trumpets peal, and the Last of Days has 
dawned. The Walserfeld has a withered tree, which has been 
cut down three times, but its root has always sprouted and grown 
into a perfect tree again. When next it begins to leaf, the terrible 
fight is near, and will open when the tree bears fruit. Then shall 
Frederick hang his shield <on bhe tree, all men shall flock to it, and 
make such a slaughter that the blood will run into the warriors 
shoes, and the wicked men be slain by the righteous (ib. nos. 24. 
28). In this remarkable tradition may be recognised things old 
and very old. A religious poem of the 16th cent. (Grater s 
Odina p. 197) speaks of duke Frederick, who is to win back the 
H. Sepulchre, and hang his shield on a leafless tree ; and Ante- 
christe is brought in too. A fragment of an older lay of the 
14th cent, (Cod. Pal. 844) says of Ernp. Frederick : An dem 
gejaid er verschwant (in the hunt he disappeared), das man den 
edeln keiser her sind gesach (saw) nyemer mer ; also ward der 

silver belt round it, it would have -shot up into the air as the birch did. Another 

account makes the blind giant ask the sailors if the jingling-coio by the church 
(meaning the bell or belfry) were still alive ? They answered yes, and he challenged 
one of them to hold out his hand, that he might see if the inhabitants had any 
strength left. They handed him a boat-bar made redhot, which he crushed 
together, saying there was no great strength there (Faye p. 17). A story in 6d- 
man s Bahuslun 153-4 has similar variations : A ship s erew, driven out of their 
course to an out-of-the-way coast, see a fire burning at night, and go on shore. By 
the fire sits only one old man, who asks a sailor : Whence be ye? From Hisin- 
gen in Safve pastorate. Ken ye Thorsby ,too ? Ay, that I do. Wot ye the 
whereabout of Ulfveberg ? Ay, it s many a time I ve passed it, going from Gothe- 
borg to Marstrand by way of Hisingen. Stand the great stones and barroics there 
yet unremoved ? Ay, but one stone leans and is like to fall. Wot ye where 
Glosshed-altar ie, and whether it be well kept up ? I know nothing about that. 
Say to the folk that dwelleth now at Thorsby and Thorsbracka, that they destroy 
not the stones and mounds on Ulfveberg, and that they keep in good condition 
Glosshed-altar, so shalt thou have fair weather for thy home-return. The sailor 
promised, but asked the old 3xan his name. My name is Thore Brack, and there 
dwelt I of yore, till I was made to flee : in the great mounds of Ulfveberg lies all 
my kin, at Glosshed-altar did we sacrifice and serve our gods. 

1 The Kifhauser legends now stand collected in Bechst. 4, 9 54. 


hochgeporn Jceiser Friederich do verlorn. Wo er darnacli ye hin 
kani, oder ob er den end da nam, das kund nyemand gesagen 
mir, oder ob yno die wilden tir (beasts) vressen habn oder zerissen 
(eaten or torn), es en kan die warheit nyemand wissen, oder ob er 
noch lebendig sy (be yet alive), 1 der gevviszen sin wir fry und der 
rechten warheit ; iedoch ist uns geseit von pawren (yet we are 
told by peasants) solh mer, das er als ein waler (pilgrim) sich oft 
by yne hab lassen sehen (seen by them) und hab yne ofFenlich 
verjehen (declared), er siill noch gewaltig werden (he should yet 
become master) aller romischen erden, er siill noch die pfaffen 
storen, und er woll noch nicht uf horen, noch mit nichten lassen 
abe, nur er pring (nor rest till he bring) das keilige grabe und 
darzu das heilig lant wieder in der Christen hant, und wol sine 
schildes last hahen an den dorren <ist (his shield s weight hang on 
the withered bough) ; das ich das fiir ein warheit sag, das die 
pauren haben geseit, -das nym ich mich nicht an, wan ich sin 
nicht gesehen han, ich han es auch zu kein stunden noch nyndert 
geschribn funden, was das ichs gehort han van den alten pauren 
an wan/ A poem of about 1350 (Aretin s Beitr. 9, 1134) says : 
So wirt das vrlewg also gross (war so great), nymand kan ez 
gestillen, so kumpt sich kayser Fridrich der her (high) vnd auch 
der milt, er vert dort her durch Gotes willen, an einen diirren 
paivm (withered tree) so henkt er seinen scliilt, so wirt die vart hin 
uber mer er vert dort hin zum diirren pawm an alles 

widerhap, dar an so henkt er seinen scliilt } er grunet unde pirt 
(bears) : so wirt gewun daz heilig grap } daz nymnier swert darup 
gezogen wirt/ Again, in Sibylle s prophecy, composed in Ger 
man rhyme soon after the middle of the 14th cent. : Es kumet 
noch dar zuo wol, das Got ein keiser geben sol, den hat er be- 
halten in siner gewalt und git (gives) im kraft manigvalt, er wirt 
genant Fridrich, der usserwelte fiirste rich, vnd sament daz 
Christen volgan sich vnd gewinnet daz helge grap uber mer, do 
stat ein dor bourn vnd ist gros, vnd sol so lange stan bios, bicz 
der keiser Fridrich dar an sinen scliilt gehenken mag vnd kan, so 

1 At the end of the Lament for king Etzel ; Des wunders wird ich trimmer 
vri, weder er sich vergienge, oder in der luft enpfienye, oder lebende iviirde bpgraben, 
oder ze himele iif erhaben, und ob er uz der liiute triiffe oder sich verslUffe in locher 
der steinwende, oder mit welhem ende er von dem libe quaeme, oder waz in zuo zim 
n&me, ob er fiiere in daz apgriinde, oder ob in der tiuvel versliinde, oder ob er sus si 
verswunden, daz en-hat niemen noh erfunden. 


wirt der bourn wieder gruen gar, nocli kument aber guete jar, vnd 
wirt in aller der welt wol stan, der Heiden glouben muos gar 
zergan (Wackern. Basel MSS. p. 55) . l 

That the common people disbelieved the death of Emp. Fred 
erick, and expected him to come back, is plain from the passages 
which expressly refer to old peasants ; it had most likely been 
the same in the preceding (13th) cent., and was long after. 
Impostors took advantage of the general delusion ; one chronicle 
(Bohmer 1, 14) relates : Ecce quidam truphator surrexit in 
medium, qui dixit se esse Fridericum quondam imperatorem, quod 
de se multis intersignis et quibusdam prestigiis scire volentibus 
comprobavit. King Rudolf had him burnt on a pile in 1285. 
Yet Detmar has under the year 1287: By der tid quam to 
Lubeke en olt man, de sprak, he were Jceiser Vrederic, de vor- 
drevene. Deme beghunden erst de boven (lads) und dat mene 
volk to horende sines tusches (fraud), unde deden erne ere 
(honour). He lovede en (promised them) grote gnade, oft he 
weder queme an sin rike ; he wart up eneme schonen rosse voret 
de stat umme to beschowende . . . darna cortliken (shortly 
after) quam de man van steden, dat nenman wiste, wor he hennen 
vor (fared). Seder (later) quam de mer (news), dat bi deme Rine 
en troner (trickster) were, de in dersulven wise de lude bedroch, 
de ward dar brand in ener kopen/ A more exact account in 
Ofctocar cap. 321 6, and the chron. in Fez 1, 1104. The legend 
may also confound the two Fredericks, I and II (see Suppl.). 2 

1 In the MS. Historia trium regum by Job. von Hildesbeim (d. 1375) is 
mentioned a temple of tbe Tartars. Behind walls, locks and bolts stands a, withered 
tree, guarded by men at arms : whatever prince can manage to hang his shield on 
the tree, becomes lord of all the East ; the Great Khan did succeed, and is therefore 
irresistible (Goethe s Kunst u. alt. ii. 2, 174-5. Schwab s Account of the book 
p. 181-2). The tree stands at Tauris, form. Susa. On the other hand, Montevilla 
reports that in the vale of Mambre, as one journeys from Ebron to Bethlehem, 
stands the woful withered tree that they call Trip, but we name it tree of victory ; 
tig an oaktree, and thought to have stood from the beginning of the world ; and 
before Our Lord suffered, twas green and well-leaved, but when God died on the 
cross, it withered up ... Tis found written in prophecies, Out of Netherland shall 
come a prir.ce with many Christians, he shall win these lands, and let sing the mass 
under the dry tree, then shall it gather green leaves again, and be fruitful, and Jew 
and Heathen all turn Christian. Therefore do they shew it great honour, and over 
it keep good ward. This is from the transl. by Otto von Diemeringen ; the Nethl. 
edition names the tree Drip, the Latin one Dirp, and has nothing about the pre 
dicted singing of mass. Was this a German interpolation, and is the whole a 
Western legend transported to the East ? Or are the German popular traditions 
due to reports of Eastern travel? In 0. Fr. the tree is called le sec-arbre,Varbre sech 
or supe ; see passages quoted in Theatre Fr. au moyen age, p. 171. 

2 There is a remarkable phrase : auf den alien kaiser hinein dahin leben, to 


As Charles s white beard points to Wuotan, so does Frederick s 
red to Donar, and the like mythic meaning has been put on Olaf s 
red beard (p. 548) in Norway. 

Frederick Redbeard in the Kifhauser and Unterberg, Charles 
Longbeard in the Unterberg and Odenberg, Holda in the Horsel- 
berg, all express one mythic idea, but with a different story 
tacked to it in every case. Charles fights a stupendous battle, 
and is then gathered up in the Odenberg, whence he will issue 
one day to new war and victory. Frederick is coming out of the 
Unterberg to fight such a battle. In the 13- 14-1 5th centuries 
the people associated with it the recovery of the H. Sepulchre : 
the heroes of Odenberg and Kifhauser have no such purpose set 
before them. The older programme is, that upon their awaking 
comes the great world-battle, and the Day of Judgment dawns : 
of this the mention of Antichrist leaves no doubt. Here we see 
connexion with the myth of the world s destruction (p. 810-2). 
The suspended shield may signify the approaching Judge (RA. 
8-51) ; even the sign of the tree turning green again looks to me 
more heathen than Christian. It might indeed be referred to 
Matth. 24, 32. Mark 13, 28. Luke 21, 29-30 (Hel. 132, 14), 
where the omens of the Great Day are likened to the budding fig- 
tree as a sign of approaching summer ; but to apply the simile to 
the Judgment-day would clearly be a confusion of thought. I 
prefer to think of the newly verdant earth after Muspilli (Saem. 
9 b ), or of a withered and newly sprouting World- tree, the ash 
(p. 796-9) ; we might even find in this of the withered tree 1 some 
support to my interpretation of muspilli, mudspilli as = arboris 
perditio (p. 809). And what if Frederick s asking after the 
Hying ravens should be connected even with the eagle fining over 
the new world (Saem. 9 b ), or the one sitting on the ash-tree ? It 
might also suggest the cranes which at the time of the great over 
throw come flying through the bread-stalls (Deut. sag. no. 317). 

live in hope of the old k., Simplic. 3, 20. 4, 11; auf den alten kaiser hinein 
stehlen, Springinsf. cap. 6 ; i.e. reckoning on a possible change in the nature of 

1 In other cases too the withering or greening of a tree is bound up with the 
fate of a country. In Dietmarsen stood a marvellous tree, that flourished before 
the conquest, and withered on the loss of liberty. There goes a prophecy that when 
a magpie builds on it and hatches Jive white chickens, the country will be free again, 
Neocorus 1, 237, conf. 562. 


Iii the same way Fischart (Garg. 266-7) couples the enchanted 
king s return with the coming of the cranes. 1 

The myth of the sprouting tree and the battle near it is set 
before us with important variations in a Low Saxon legend 
(Mullenhoff nos. 509512. 605; Pref. L.). An ash, it is believed, 
will one day grow up in the churchyard of Nortorf in the middle 
of Holstein : no one has seen anything of it yet, but every year a 
small shoot comes up unnoticed above the ground, and every New- 
year s night a white horseman on a white horse comes to cut the 
young shoot off. At the same time appears a black horseman on a 
Hack horse to hinder him. After a long fight, the black rider is 
put to flight, and the white one cuts the shoot. But some day he 
will not be able to overcome the black one, the ash tree will grow 
up, and when it is tall enough for a horse to be tied under it (HA. 
p. 82; conf. the Dan. legend of Holger, Thiele 1, 20), the king 
with mighty hosts will come, and a terribly long battle be fought. 
During that time his horse will stand under the tree, and after 
that he will be more powerful than ever. In this story one can 
hardly help recognising the World-tree and the battle at the 
world s destruction : the white horseman seems to be Freyr, or 
some shining god, struggling with Surtr the black, and striving 
to delay the approaching end of the world by lopping off the 
sprout. Heathen gods the- two champions are for certain, even if 
they be not these. The king, whose horse stands tied up under 
the tree, is the same as he whose shield is hung upon the tree, a 
future judge of the world. 

As the past and the future, the lost paradise and the expected, 
do in the people s imagination melt into one, 2 they come to 
believe in a re-awaking of their loved kings and heroes out of 
their mountain- sleep : of Frederick and Charles, of Siegfried and 
doubtless Dietrich too. This is the true hall-mark of the epos, to 
endow its leading characters with a lasting inextinguishable life. 
But Siegfried is also Wuotan (pp. 26n. 134), Dietrich is Wuotan 

1 Other signs that the end of the world is at hand : when the swan drops the 
ring from his bill (p. 429) ; when the giant s rib, from which a drop falls once a year, 
has all trickled away (Deut. sag. no. 140) ; when the tongue of the balance stands in 
(ib. 294) ; when, says a Swed. song, the stone in the green valley falls; when the 
ship made of men s nails is built (p. 814). 

2 P. 822-3 ; even the particles ever, once, one day, olim, apply to both states 
of being. 


future. In the castle-cellar of Salurn, in the Silesian Zobtenberg, 
(p. 937), Charles is Wuotan (p. 394); and Wuotan, after Mus- 
pilli, rises on the world anew, a god alive and young again. 
Once before, CVSinn had departed out of the land to GoiSheim 
(Yngl. saga, c. 10) ; they supposed him dead, and he came back. 
And with long-bearded Wuotan the older legend of a red-bearded 
Donar may have started into consciousness again. 

Arthur too, the vanished king, whose return is looked for by 
the Britons, 1 is believed, riding as he does at the head of the 
nightly host, (p. 942), to be lodged in a mountain with all his 
massenie : Felicia, the daughter of Sibylle, and the goddess Juno 
live in his fellowship, and his whole army lack neither food nor 
drink, horses nor raiment. 2 That Gralent continues to live, we 
are assured at the end of the Lais de Graelent. In a vaulted 
chamber near Kronburg in Denmark, mail-clad men sit round a 
stone table, stooping down, resting their heads on their crossed 
arms. When Holger danske, sitting at the end of the table, 
raised his head, the table, into which his beard had grown, went to 
pieces, and he said : we shall return when there are no more men 
in Denmark than there is room for on a wine-butt/ (Thiele 1, 23. 
168). The Danes applied every myth to Olger, who does not 
belong to them at all, but to the Netherlands ; he is the same 
Ogier (Otger, perh. Otacher) that haunts the Ardennes forest, and 
is to come back some day. 3 The Slavs too believe in the return 
of their beloved Svatopluk (Sviatopolk), and some parts of 
Moravia still keep up the custom of going in solemn procession 
to seek Svatoplulc (Palacky 1, 135). With this I couple Svegdir s 
going forth at leita O&in, to look for 0., Yngl. saga 15. The 
seeking God on p. 145 was another thing (see Suppl.). 

Often the banished one bears no name at all : the shepherd 
from the Ostenberg found in the cavern of the Willberg a little 
man sitting at a stone table, which his beard had grown through 
(Dent. sag. no. 314) ; and a grizzled man conducted the shepherd 
ofWernigerodeto the treasures of the mountain cave (ib. no. 315), 
Th j beard s growing round or into the stone expresses forcibly 
th e long duration of the past time, and the slow advance of the 

1 Et prius Arturus veniet vetus ille Britannus, Henr. Septiinell. in Leyser, 
p. 4GO. cujus in Arturi tempore fructus erit, ib. p. 477. 

2 Wartb. kr. jen. hs. 99. 100 (Docen 1, 132-3). 

3 Barrois, preface p. xii. Pulci 28. 36. 


were found three men sitting at the table (ib. nos. 15. 143), who 
are represented as malefactors enchanted. It is easy to trace 
the step from heroes shut up in mountains to such as, having 
died naturally, sleep in their tombs of stone, and visibly appear 
at sundry times. At Steinfeld, in the Bremen Marschland, a man 
had disturbed a hiine-grave, and the following night three men 
appeared to him, one of them one-eyed (an allusion to Wuotan), 
and conversed in some unintelligible language ; at last they 
hurled threatening looks at him who had rummaged their tomb, 
they said they had fallen in their country s cause, and if he broke 
their rest any more, he should have neither luck nor star (Harrys 
Nieders. sag. 1, 64). 

But as Holda is spell-bound in the mountain, so it is preemi 
nently to white women, white-robed maidens, (pp. 288. 412-8) that 
this notion of mountain banishment becomes applicable : divine 
or semi-divine beings of heathenism, who still at appointed times 
grow visible to mortal sight ; they love best to appear in warm 
sunlight to poor shepherds and herd-boys. German legend 
everywhere is full of graceful stories on the subject, which are all 
substantially alike, and betray great depth of root. 

On the Lahnberg in Up. Hesse sat a white maiden at sunrise; 
she had wheat spread out on sheets to dry in the sun, and was 
spinning. A baker of Marburg was passing that way, and took 
a handful of grains with him ; at home he found nothing but 
grains of gold in his pocket. And the like is told of a peasant 
near Friedigerode. 

A poor shepherd was tending his flock at the Boyneburg, when 
he saw a snow-wldte maiden sit in the sunshine bv the castle-door ; 
on a white cloth before her lay pods of flax ready to crack open. 
In astonishment he steps up, says oh what fine pods ! takes up 
a handful to examine, then lays them down again. The maiden 
looks at him kindly, but mournfully, without a word of reply. 
He drives his flock home, but a few pods that had fallen into his 
shoe, gall his foot ; he sits down to pull off the shoe, when there 
roll into his hand five or six grains of gold (Deut. sag. no. 10 ; 
conf. Wetterauische sagen p. 277. Mone s Anz. 8, 427). 

In the Otomannsberg near Geismar village, a fire is said to 
burn at night. Every seven years there comes out a maiden in 


snowy garments, holding a lunch of keys in her hand. Another 
white woman with a bunch of keys appears on the castle-rock at 
Baden at the hour of noon (Moneys Anz. 8, 310). 

In the castle-vault by Wolfartsweiler lies a hidden treasure, 
on account of which, every seventh year when may-lilies are in 
bloom, a white maiden appears ; her black hair is plaited in long 
tails, she wears a golden girdle round her white gown, a bundle of 
Iteys at her side or in one hand, and a bunch of may-lilies in the 
other. She likes best to shew herself to innocent children, to 
one of whom she beckoned one day from beside the grave below, 
to come over to her : the child ran home in a fright, and told 
about it; when it came back to the place with its father, the 
maiden was no longer there. One day at noon, two of the goose- 
herd s girls saw the white maiden come down to the brook, comb 
and plait up her tails, wash her face and hands, and walk up the 
castle hill again. The same thing happened the following noon, 
and though they had been told at home to be sure and speak to 
the maiden, they had not the courage after all. The third day 
they never saw the maiden, but on a stone in the middle of the 
brook they found a liver- sausage freshly fried, and liked it better 
than they ever did another. Another day two men from Griin- 
wettersbach saw the maiden fill a tub with water from the brook, 
and carry it up the hill; on the tub were two broad hoops 
of pure gold. The way she takes, every time she goes up and 
down, was plainly to be distinguished in the grass (Mone s Anz 
8, 304). 

At Osterrode, every Easter Sunday before sunrise, may be seen 
a white maiden, who slowly walks down to the brook, and there 
washes ; a large bunch of keys hangs at her girdle. A poor 
linen-weaver having met her at that season, she took him into 
the castle ruins, and of three white lilies she plucked him one 
which he stuck in his hat. When he got home, he found the 
lily was pure gold and silver, and the town of Osterrode had not 
the money to buy it of him. The Easter-maiden s marvellous 
flower was taken by the Duke in return for a pension to the 
weaver, and placed in his princely coat of arms (Harrys 2, 
no. 23). 

One Christmas night, when all lay deep in snow, a waggoner 
walked home to his village by a footpath. He saw a maiden in a 



summer bonnet stand not far off and turn over with a rake some 
pods of flax that lay spread out on the ground. I say., lass, is 
that the way ? he cried, and took a handful of the pods ; she 
made no answer, but cut him over the hand with the rake. The 
next morning, when he remembered what he had brought home, 
the flax-pods had all turned into gold. He then hurried back to 
the spot, where he could see his footprints of the night before 
deep in the snow, but damsel and flax had disappeared (Mone s 
Anz. 5, 175). 

On a hill near Langensteinbach in the forest is the long-ruined 
church of St. Barbara, where the white woman walks by buried 
treasures. One leap-year in the spring a young girl went into it, 
and saw her step out of the choir, she cried sh ! and beckoned 
the girl to her : her face and hands were white as snow, her 
raven hair was thrown back, in the hand she beckoned with she 
held a bunch of blue flowers, on the other were ever so many gold 
rings, she wore a white gown, green shoes, and a bunch of keys at 
her side. The terrified girl ran out of the church, and fetched in 
her father and brother who were at work outside, but they could 
not see the white woman till they asked the girl, who pointed 
and said there ! Then the woman turned, her hair hung over 
her back to the ground, she went toward the choir, and then 
vanished (Mone s Anz. 5, 321). 

Into the convent garden of Georgenthal a maid was going 
about the hour of noon to cut grass ; suddenly, high on the wall 
there stood a little woman as white as lawn, who beckoned till 
the clock struck twelve, then disappeared. The grass-girl sees 
on her way a fine cloth covered with flax-pods, and wondering 
she pockets two of them. When she gets home, they are two 
bright ducats (Bechst. Thiir. sag. 2, 68). 

About the underground well near Atterode many have seen 
in the moonlight the white maiden dry either washing or wheat 
(ib. 4, 166). 

At the deserted castle of Frankenstein near Klosterallendorf, a 
maiden clothed in white appears every seven years, sitting over the 
vault and beckoning. Once when a man wished to follow her, 
but stood irresolute at the entrance, she turned and gave him a 
handful of cherries. He said thank you/ and put them in his 
pouch ; suddenly there came a crash, cellar and maiden had dis- 


appeared, and the bewildered peasant, on examining the cherries 
at home, found them changed into gold and silver pieces (ib. 4, 

A fisherman in the neighbourhood of the Highwayman s hill 
near Feeben was throwing out his nets, when he suddenly saw 
the white woman stand on the bank before him with a bunch of 
keys. She said,. thy wife at home is just delivered of a boy, go 
fetch me the babe, that I may kiss him- and be saved/ The 
fisherman drove home, and found everything as she had said, but 
he durst not take his child out at once, the clergyman advised 
him to have it christened first ; after which, when he repaired to 
the hill, the white woman sat weeping and wailing, for it was one 
of the set conditions that her redemption should be wrought by 
an infant unbaptized. So ever and anon she still appears on the 
hill, and waits the deliverer s coming (Ad. Kuhn no. 67). 

By Hennikendorf not far from Luckenwalde, two shepherds 
pastured their sheep. A woman half white, half black, shewed 
herself on the mountain, making signs to them. One of them 
tardily went up, and she offered him all the gold in the mountain, 
if he would come in and set her free. When this entreaty failed 
to move him, she said that if he did not release her, there would 
not be another born for a hundred years that could; but the 
shepherd did not get over hia fear till the hour of deliverance 
was past, and the woman sank into the mountain, whence he 
could for a long time hear heartrending plaints and moans (ib. 
no. 99). 

A peasant who kept watch on the bleaching-floor near 
the ruins of Chorin monastery, saw the white woman (known 
there as the utgeberscUe, housekeeper, from her carrying a large 
bunch of keys) step in suddenly, and was not a little frightened. 
Next morning he told the other men, one of whom asked him 
if he had noticed her feet. He said no : ** then said the other, 
let s all go to-night and have a look. At midnight they sat 
down in the floor, and watched : before long the white woman 
came slowly striding, they all looked at her feet, and observed 
that they were in yellow (some say, green) slippers. Then* the 
other man called out, laughing, why, she has yellow slippers 
on ! She fled in haste, and was never seen again (ib. no. 199). 

Beside the brook of the Biitow castle hill, a peasant was 


ploughing, and often noticed a maiden draw water from it in a 
golden bucket and wash herself. At length he summoned up 
courage to ask her, and was told that she was a king s daughter, 
and had sunk with the mountain-castle into the ground ; she 
could only be saved by one who, without halting or looking 
round, would carry her to the Wendish burial-ground at Biitow, 
and there throw her down with all his might. The ploughman 
ventured on the enterprise, and had safely got to the church 
yard, but before he could fling her off his shoulders, something 
clutched his hair from behind, and he was so startled that he 
looked round and let his burden fall. The maiden flew up into 
the air, complaining that she must suffer more severely now, 
and wait another hundred years to be saved by a steadier hand/ 
Since then she has not as yet appeared again (Tettau and Temme 
no. 267). 

The Piliberg is a castle that was banned. In the evil hour 
from 11 to 12 at noon a woman used to shew herself on it, 
smoothing her hair in the sunshine, and begging the shepherds to 
lay hold of her : no harm should come to whoever did so, only 
let him hold her tight and not say a word. A man of thirty, 
who was still employed as a cowboy, mustered up all his courage 
for once, and grasped the hand of the castle-dame; while he 
held, all sorts of jugglery were played upon him, dogs were just 
going to bite him, horses to run over him, still he held fast ; but 
anguish forced from his breast the moan herr Gott, herr Jesus ! 
In a moment the dame was loose from his hand, sobbed out that 
she was lost for ever, and vanished (Reusch s Sagen des Sam- 
lands no. 8). 

On the hill near Kleinteich a castle is said to have stood, which 
has long been swallowed up. The people say their forefathers 
still saw with their own eyes a king s daughter come up every 
day between 11 and 12, and comb her golden locks over a golden 
trough (ib. no. 12). 

The Hiinenberg by Eckritten was once a holy mount, whereon 
the Prussians sacrificed to their gods ; there a dame shews herself 
now. A peasant, having heard a good deal about her, rode up 
the hill to see her. He did see her too, combing her hair, but 
turned tail directly, and was only prevailed on by her prayers 
to turn back again. She addressed him kindly, and gave 


him what she had combed out of her hair. He felt so daunted 
that he thanked her, popped the present into his pocket, and 
rode off; but when he was out of her sight, he threw it away. 
He had better have kept it, for at home he found a few grains of 
gold still, which had stuck in the corners of his pocket (ib. 
no. 13). 

I could fill sheets with this kind of stories : with all their 
similarity, they differ in details, and I had to pick out what was 
characteristic. 1 Then, as to locality, they occur not only in 
Alamannian, Franconian, Hessian or Thuringian districts, but I 
believe all over Germany, notably in Westphalia, L. Saxony, the 
Marks, and further East ; no doubt also in Switzerland, Bavaria 
and Austria. Schmeller 1, 33 mentions the Loferer jungfrau of 
Salzburg country, and remarks that the story has spread far into 
Bavaria. And the people of Friesland, Drenthe and the Nether 
lands have just as much to tell of their witten wijven or juffers in 
hills and caverns (J. W. Wolf no. 212), though here they get 
mixed up with elvish personages. Thiele s Danske folkesagn 4, 
33 cites a white woman, den hvide qvinde of Flensburg, who 
watching a treasure waits for deliverance; and 4, 96 a gold -spin 
ning dame in black dress near Veilefjord in North Jutland. The 
Swed. hvita qvinna above, p. 955n., seems to be of another kind. 

Sometimes the narrative becomes fuller and like a fairytale : 
e.g. that in Bechstein 4, 221 no. 39 of the couple who had set 
down their child of five years in the forest while they gathered 
wood,, but could not find it again, and looked a long time, till the 
child came running up with flowers and berries which the white 
maid had given it out of her garden. The parents then set off to 
see this garden : it was all out in bloom, though the time of the 
year was cold ; the white maid beckoned to them, but they were 
afraid. The child wished every day to go to her, wept and 
moped, sickened and died : it was forfeited to the sky- folk, the 
elves (conf. Kinderlegenden no. 3). Again, a man who puts up 
at a lonely huntingbox, hears at midnight a scuffing of shoes, the 
white woman comes to his bedside, bewails her woe, and craves 

1 See further D. Sag. nos. 11. 12. 316. Hone s Anz. 3, 149. 258-9. 4, 162. 7, 
370. 476. 8, 313. Bechst. 1, 121-5. 2, 51. 93. 164. 3, 180-1-7. 4, 157-8. 187. 
209. 221-4-9. Frank, sag. 157. 285. Tettau and Temme 166. 189. Harrys 1, 19. 
30. 2, 19. 23. Kuhn nos. 64. 119. 206. 


deliverance, as Condwir3murs did of Parzival (Mone s Anz. 6, 
3968; andSuppl.). 

For the origin of these White Women we need not go to the 
Celtic matron? and fays (pp. 410-7) who are closely related to 
them ; our own antiquity brings us to beings nearer still. Elfins 
and swan-wives appear in white shining garments ; among god 
desses may be named three in particular, of whom the white 
woman and finally the nun might be the outcome : Holda, 
who in the very same way combs and bathes in the midday sun, 
Berhta, white by her very name, who spins and weaves, Ostara 
(pp. 290. 780), to whom the people offered up may-lilies (p. 58). 
Holda and Berhta bestow trifling gifts, which turn into gold ; the 
white women are fond of gold rings and wands (Mone 7, 476), 
heaps of gold lie on their laps (8, 185), they give away boxfuls of 
gold sand (5, 414). Berhta as the white ancestress appears when 
a death is at hand (p. 280); so does the white maid (Bechst. 4, 
158). Berhta s misshapen foot (p. 280) lies at the root of the 
white maiden s goat-foot, her long nails (Mone 7, 476), her green 
or yellow slippers (p. 965) ; else why should these have seemed 
so strange ? The woman half- white, half-black, resembles Eel 
(p. 312), unless one would trace them to the garb of a nun (Mone 
3, 259). Even the white man s occasionally displacing the white 
dame (6, 69) is like Berhtolt by the side of Berhta. Allegoric 
females like those in chap. XXIX evidently have in their manner 
of appearing much in common with white women. 

Now the pervading thought in all this of being banned and 
longing for release I take to be just this, that the pagan deities 
are represented as still beautiful, rich, powerful and benevolent, 
but as outcast and unblest, and only on the hardest terms can 
they be released from the doom pronounced upon them. The folk 
tale still betrays a fellow feeling for the white woman s grief at 
the attempted deliverance being always interrupted and put off 
to some indefinitely distant date. 

The traditional mode of expressing this is peculiar and assuredly 
ancient : He that shall some day speed in achieving the deed and 
upheaving the hoard (his predestined reward), must be rocked as 
a babe in the cradle made of the wood of the tree that now, but 
a feeble twig, shoots out of the wall of a tower : should the sapling 
wither or be cut away, the hope of release is put off till it sprout 


anew and be grown a tree (D. sag. nos. 107, 223). Other con 
ditions aggravate the difficulty : The cherry-stone, out of which 
the seedling is to sprout, must be carried into the chink of the 
wall by a little bird (Bechst. Franken 191) ; among the stones a 
double firtree must spring out of one root, and when it is 100 years 
old, two unmarried persons must hew it down on St. Wunibald s 
day, the stouter stem shall slide down the hill in a sledge on St. 
Dagobert s day, and out of its planks the deliverer s cradle be 
made (Moneys Anz. 3, 91) ; the walnut-tree is now but a finger 
high, whose planks are to form the cradle in which the future 
deliverer must lie (7, 365). Sometimes it is merely said, the tree 
is yet unplanted, the timber unhewn (6. 397. 7, 476. 8, 63). In 
Ad. Kuhn no. 94 the formula runs thus : A lime-tree shall be 
planted, that will throw out two plantschen (boughs) above, and 
out of their wood is a poie (buoy) to be made : the first child that 
therein lies is doomed to be brought from life to death by the 
sword, and then will salvation ensue. In all these tales the ar 
rival of the future event is linked with the germinating of a tree, 
just as the World-fight was made to depend on the sprouting of 
the ash (p. 960), or on the dry tree breaking into leaf (pp. 955-7). 

Another difficulty put in the way of deliverance is, that the 
maiden in some disgusting shape, as a snake, dragon, toad or frog, 
has to be kissed three times (D. sag. no. 13. Moneys Anz. 3, 89. 
7, 476). Already in the poem of Lanzelot we have this kissing 
of the dragon s mouth, who after that turns into a fair lady 
(7881. 7907-90). 

Now and then the apparition of the white dame basking in the 
sun, beaming and bathing, melts into the notion of a water-holde 
and nixe (p. 491), a Scand. hafs-fru (Afzelius 2, 150), spirits that 
likewise need redemption (p. 493). Twelve white sea-maids come 
and join in the dancing of men (Moneys Anz. 5, 93) ; add the 
Komance legend of Melusina. But such mer-women generally 
assume, wholly or in part, the shape of a fish or snake ; and some 
white women have a, fish s tail, a snake s tail imputed to them : 
a king s daughter was immured in the golden mount as a snake, 
and ooly once in three nights recovered her human form (Kin- 
derm, no. 92) ; in the Oselberg by Diukelsbiihl dwells a snake 
with woman s head and a bunch of keys about the neck (D. sag. 
no. 221; and Snppl.). 


With the notion of mountain-banishment is commonly asso 
ciated that of an enchanted, yet recoverable treasure. Where the 
ancient hero or god sits in his mountain cavern, just as in the 
hero s grave or barrow, lies hidden a huge hoard ; and the white 
woman, the snake woman, or simply snake and dragon, are they 
that guard it. 

The Goth, huzd, OHG. hort, AS. lieord, ON. liodd, seems to be 
letter for letter the Lat. cust in custos, custodia, and this from 
euro (for cuso), so that our hus (what harbours, shelters) and the 
Lat. curia (house and court) will come under the same root ; thus 
huzd already contained the notion of keeping watch and ward. 
From thesaurus, It. Sp. tesoro, Fr. tresor, was taken the OHG. 
treso, dreso. The Goth, skatts, OHG. scaz meant simply numus, 
and has only gradually acquired the sense of our schatz, thesaurus, 
gaza; as late as the 13th cent, schatz had simply the meaning of 
money, wealth (Flore 7749. Troj. 2689. 3171. MS. 2, 146 a ), 
not of depositing and guarding. 

The generally diffused belief that treasures sleep in the bosom 
of the earth causes 0. v. 4, 23, in speaking of the earthquake at 
the Saviour s resurrection, to say : sih scutita io gilicho thiu erda 
kraftlicho, ioh si sliumo thar irgab thaz dreso thar in iru lag/ 
gave up the treasure that in her lay. 

The treasure being buried deep down, it follows, that whoever 
would gain possession of it, must dig it up (heben, heave) . It is 
supposed that the treasure moves of itself, i.e. slowly but steadily 
strives to come to the surface, it is commonly said, at the rate of 
a cock s stride every year (D. sag. no. 212). We saw how the 
thunderbolt, Donar s priceless hammer, after plunging far into 
the ground, pushed its way up in seven years (p. 179). At an 
appointed time the treasure is up, and waiting to be released ; 
if then the required condition fails, it is snatched away into the 
depths once more. Its nearing the surface is expressed by the 
phrase e the treasure blossoms 3 (as fortune blossoms, p. 866), it 
gets ripe -, then it fades (Simpl. 2, 191), has to sink again. 
This may refer to the blowing of a flower above or beside it. In 
MHG. they spoke of the treasure coming forth : { wenne kumt 
hervur der hort, der mich so riche mohte machen ? MS. 1, 163 . 
It ripens in most cases every seven years, in some only every 
hundred, and that especially under a full moon, or during the 


Twelves. Another phrase is, the treasure suns itself: on the 
Fridays in March it is said to rise out of the ground to sun itself 
(Mone s Anz. 8, 313), and that spreading-out of the wheat and 
the flax-pods (p. 962-4) was this kind of sunning ; the treasure 
heaves itself up in cauldrons, and then indicates its presence by 
a clear Maze shining on it, as fire flickers over a ghost s barrow 
(p. 915-6) ; a blue flame is seen upon it (Reusch no. 46) ; it has 
the appearance of glowing embers, of a brew ing -copper full of red 
gold (nos. 7. 25-6) ; when a fire burns over it, they say the 
treasure airs itself. Nevertheless many treasures do not move 
toward the surface at all, but have to be sought in the cavern 

Two requisites for raising the treasure are silence and innocence. 
Holy divine tasks endure no babble : thus, heilawac must be 
drawn in silence (pp. 229. 586), in silence herbs of magic power 
be picked ; cry out over a treasure, twill sink that moment out 
of sight (Superst. 214). The harmless hand of childhood is fit 
to lay hold of it, as it is to draw lots ; poor village boys, shepherd 
lads, are they that find it (D. sag. 7. 157-8) ; he that is stained 
with vice can never come near it (ib. 13). 

Whoever spies the treasure should hasten to throw something 
on it, both as taking possession, and to ward off danger. It is 
recommended to throw quickly over the treasure either bread, 
or a piece of clothing worn next the skin, or a three-halfpenny 
piece (Superst. I, 218. 224. 612). See the passages on fire, 
quoted p. 602-3. 

But the hoard is indicated and guarded. Indicated by the 
re-appearance of those vanished heroes and white dames ; indi 
cated and watched by dogs, snakes, dragons. Also the flickering 
flame (waver-lowe, p. 602) or the flower in bloom bewrays it, and 
swarming beetles (p. 694) are a sign of it (see Suppl.). 

To get into the mountain in which it is concealed, one usually 
needs a plant or root to clear the way, to burst the door. 

The folktales simply call it a beautiful wonderflower, which the 
favoured person finds and sticks in his hat : all at once entrance 
and exit stand open for him to the treasure of the mountain. 
If inside the cavern he has filled his pockets, and bewildered 
at the sight of the valuables, has laid aside his hat, a warning 


voice l rings in liis ear as he departs : forget not the best ! but it is 
then too late, the iron door shuts with a bang, hard upon his heel, 
in a twinkling all has disappeared, and the road is never to be 
found again. The same formula comes up regularly every time 
in the legends of the Odenberg, of the Weser mountains and the 
Harz, and in many more (D. sag. nos. 9. 303. 314. Bechst. 1, 
146. 3, 16. 4, 210-1. Dieffenbach s Wetterau pp. 284-5. 190) ; 
it must be very old. 2 The flower is commonly said to be blue, 
the colour most proper to gods and spirits, yet also I find 
purple flower and white flower mentioned. Sometimes it 
is called scliliisselblume (key-flower), because it locks the vault, 
and as symbol of the key-wearing white woman, whom the 
bunch of keys befits as old mistress and housekeeper, and who 
has likewise power to unlock the treasure ; also luck-flower 
(Bechst. 3, 212), but most frequently ivunderblume. When three 
wonderflowers are named, it seems to mean three on one stalk 
(ib. 1, 146. 4, 209). The sudden violent springing-to of the door 
is remarkably like the Edda s hrynja honom J?a a heel ]>eygi 
hlunnblick hallar/ Seem. 226 a ; f J?egar laukst hurftin a hcela 
honum/ Sn. 2 ; eigi fellr honum J>a hurS a hcela/ Fornald. sog. 
1, 204; and twice of the slamming of hell s door (p. 315). A 
shepherd boy has the heel of his shoe carried away (D. sag. 157), 
as another who hastens away has his heel cut off (Kinderm. 3, 75). 
When a shepherd mistook the order, the vault broke down, the 
door closed behind him with a crash, but caught him by the heel 
of one foot and smashed it, he was long a sufferer, and spent the 
money he had brought away on the cure of his foot (Bechst. 4, 
211); or, he rushes out, the door slams behind him, and both 
his heels are cut away (Harrys 2, 14). I set some value on the 
recurrence of these formulas, and should like to trace them in 
MHG. poems. A 13th cent, phrase, f die berge sint nu ndch mir 
zuo (mountains closed behind me now), MS. 2, 145 b , seems to 
mean that former chances are now forfeited. 

1 As if that of the flower itself. Several flowers, esp. the germander (speed 
well) and myosotis, are popul. called forget-me-not, clearly with reference to their 
miraculous power. The sentimental explanation arose later. 

2 Other formulas : je mehr du zerstreust, je mehr du bereust ! or, je mehr 
du verzettest, je minder du hettest ! esp. when the gold given or gathered has the 
appearance of foliage or charcoal. In the cavern, where gold lies on the table, the 
three old men sitting by it cry to the astonished visitor : greif einen grif, streich 
einen strich, und packe dich ! 


Instead of wonderflower or keyflower, other stories name the 
spring wurzel (explosive root), a herb that can be procured in the 
following manner : The nest of a green or black woodpecker, while 
she has chicks, is closed tight with a wooden bung ; the bird, on 
becoming aware of this, flies away, knowing where to find a 
wonderful root which men would seek in vain. She comes 
carrying it in. her bill, and holds it before the bung, which im 
mediately flies out, as if driven by a powerful blow. Now if you 
are in hiding, and raise a great clamour on the woodpecker s 
arrival, she is frightened, and lets the root fall. Some spread a 
white or red cloth under the nest, and then she will drop the 
root on that, after using it. Mone s Anz. 8, 614 gives a pretty 
old passage out of Conrad von Megenberg : Ain vogel haist ze 
latin merops, und haist ze tiitsch bomheckel (tree-hacker), und 
nist in den holen bomen, und wenn man im sinii kint verslecht 
(nails up) mit ainem zwickel, so bringt er ain krut (herb) und 
halt das fur den zwickel, so vert (starts) der zwickel her dan. 
Das krut haist herba meropis/ daz spricht bomheckelhrut, und 
haist in der zoberbuch chora/ und wer nit guet daz man es 
gemainklich erkant, wan es gant sloss gegen im uff (not good 
to be generally known, for locks fly open before it), damit smidet 
nieman, wan der gevangen lyt uf den lip/ The pecker was 
esteemed a sacred and divine bird (p. 673); even Pliny 10, 18 
reports the myth : f Adactos cavernis eorum a pastore cuneos, 
admota quadam ab his herba, elabi creditur vulgo. Trebius 
auctor est, clavum cuneumve adactum quanta libeat vi arbori, 
in qua nidum habeat, statim exsilire cum crepitu arboris, cum 
insederit clavo aut cuneo/ 1 That the woodpecker specially is 
acquainted with the magic virtues of herbs, appears from other 
tales : he guards them, and flies at the eyes of the man that 
would pull them up. Thus Pliny says 25, 4, 10 of the paeony : 
praecipiunt eruere noctu, quoniam si picus martins videat, tuendo 

1 Conf. Aelian De nat. an. 3, 25, on the hoopoe. Rabbinic legend mentions 
the rock-splitting shamir, which Solomon procured in the following way [to get 
stone] for his buildings. He had search made for the nest of a woodcock (grouse?) 
with chicks in it, and had it covered over with white crystal. The woodcock came, 
and finding it could not get at its young fetched the shamir, and was placing it on 
the glass, when Solomon s messenger set up a loud cry that startled the bird and 
made it drop the shamir, and the man took it with him (Majer s Myth. wtb. 1, 121). 
The Gesta Roman, tells nearly the same story of the ostrich and his fetching the 
blaster worm thumare (Grass s transl. 2, 227). 


in oculos impetum faciat ; and 27, 10, 60: { trad ant noctu 
effodiendas, quoniam pico martio impetum in oculos faciente, 
interdiu periculosum sit. That root of explosive power is 
supposed to be the euphorbia lathyris, which the Italians call 
sferracavallo, because its power over metals is so great, that a 
horse stepping on it has to leave the shoe behind (see Suppl.). 

But, beside these plants that make doors fly open, another 
very ancient means of discovering and obtaining the gold or 
treasure buried in the earth is the wishing-rod. Why should an 
OHG. gloss at once render caduceus by wunscili-gerta (Gramm. 
2, 540. Graff 4, 257), but that this term was thought to come 
nearest the sense of Mercury s magic wand ? The Latin name 
carried nothing on the face of it about wish or wishing (Notker 
in Cap. 16. 37 translates it fluge-gerta, virga volatilis). The 
notion then of a magic rod with a German name of its own was 
of very old standing, and that name moreover is one connected 
with the meaning I have more than once mentioned of the word 
wunsch/ which, like saolde, signified both the sum total of hap 
piness and a personal being Wunsch or Sselde. The diminutive 
form of it in wunscili-gerta, leads me to see in this compound 
no reference to a person, but to a thing : it is the gerta (yard, 
rod) by possessing which a man becomes partaker of all earthly 
bliss. The bestowal of that bliss proceeds from Wuotan the 
supreme (p. 419). 

The 13th century poets also use the term. Conrad in his 
Schmiede 664 (614), comparing the Virgin to the rod of Moses: 
( du bist diu wiinschel-gerte, dar mit (wherewith) uz einem steine 
wazzer wart geslagen ; and 1306 (1261) : du sselden (Saolden ?) 
wunschelgerte ; in his Troj. 19888, of Helena: schoene als ein 
wunschelgerte kam sie geslichen (gliding) ufreht/ as Danish 
folk-songs use lilje-vaand (lily-stalk) in a like sense.; Troj. 2215 : 
alles heiles ein iviinschel-ris (-spray)/ Gotfried in a minnesong 
2, 9 : der gnade ein wiinschel-ruote (-rod). Nithart in Rosenkr. 
3 : gespalten nach der iviinschelruote stam/ cleft like the w/s 
stem. Albr. Titur. has more than once ivunschelgerte, wiinschel- 
ruote 4146, and wiinschel-same des varmen 4221, because varm, 
our farn (the fern, filix), is a healing plant. But the weightiest 
passage is that in Nib. 1064 (even if the stanza be an interpola 
tion), just where the hoard of the Nibelungs is described : 


Der wunsch lac (lay) dar under, von golde ein ruetelin, 
der (whoso) daz het erkunnet, der mohte meister sin 
wol in al der werlte iiber islichen (every) man. 

Among the gold and gems of the hoard lay a rod, whose miracu 
lous virtue (wunsch) included every good, every joy ; and he that 
knows its worth (I put only a comma after riietelin, and make 
daz refer to it, not to the whole sentence) has power given him 
over all men ; the wishing-rod not only made treasures come, it 
intensified and continually increased their value. 

Here the wishing-rod is called golden. It was commonly picked 
off a hazel-bush ; according to Vintler it is that year s shoot 
(sumer-late) of a wild hazel-tree. To have it, one must cut by 
right-hand moonlight (crescent moon) a bough with a zwisele, 
zwispel (furca), and twist it three times round itself. 1 Others 
demand a white shoot of hazel or holy-thorn, one that has a twiele 
or fork, has shot up in one year, and has not a speck of old wood 
in it ; it must stand so that the sun from east and west shines 
through the fork, else it is no good. He that would gather it 
walks in silence to the shoot, between 3 and 4 in the morning 
of a Sunday in full moon, turns his face to the east, bows 
three times to the shoot, and says : God bless thee, noble spray 
and summer s bough ! Then follow seven spells, given in the 
Meckl. jb. 5, 1 10 7. That simile of Conrad s makes us imagine 
a single slender rod. Several sorts were distinguished, at least 
in later times : fire-rod, burn-rod, burst-rod, strike-rod, quake- 
rod. The hazel was not used for all, some were made of brass 
wire, and perhaps of gold. In Lower Germany they say wicke- 
rode, from wicken, to play the witch, tell fortunes. It is all- 
important to hold the rod correctly in the hand (grasping the 
two tips, so that the stem out of which they spring shall look 
upwards) ; it will answer then, the stem will turn toward the 
objects it has to point out, and if there are none at hand, it will 
keep still. Some say that one point of the fork is held up firmly 
in each hand, and if nevertheless one of them bends with irresist 
ible force to the ground, a bed of ore is not far off. There were 
also spells to be spoken during the process : ( Rod, rod, I ask of 

1 Ettner s Unwiird. doctor pp. 38. Conf. the forked fir and lime (p. 969), and 
the three flowers on one stalk (p. 972) ; a twig with nine tips (Superst. I, 950), a 
lime bough with nine branches (Ehesa dainos 30). 


thee, where may the best treasure lie ? By means of the wish 
ing-rod men thought they could discover hidden treasures, veins 
of ore, springs of water (hence in Switzerland they call it spring- 
taster, Tobler 80 a ), nay, even murderers and thieves. 1 

In AnsheWs Bern, chron. 2, 8, I find the name gliicks-stablin, 
as we had a flower of luck above. The French name is baguette 
divinatoire : ace. to the Mem. de Facad. Celtique 4, 267 de 
coudrier, fourchue d un cote/ 

Does the ON. gambanteinn, Ssem. 77 b , 85 b contain a similar 
notion ? Teinn is ramus, virga (Goth, tains, OHG. zein, AS. tan, 
OS. ten), 2 gamban resists all interpretation hitherto. In the last- 
named passage gambanteinn is gathered in the forest : 

Til holtz ec gecc (I went) oc til hras viftar 
gambantein at geta. gambantein ec gat. 

Another passage Saem. 60 b deals with a e gamban-sumbl umgeta/ 
which might very well mean a wishing-banquet of the gods. I 
would adopt the variant gaman-sumbl/ and explain gaman as 
bliss, just as wunsc seems to belong to wunna. Yet in AS. we 
find gomban gyldan, Beow. 21, a distinct word from gomen 
(gaudium). Again tarns vendi ec )?ic drep/ with wand of taming 
I thee smote, Ssem. 84 b , is worth weighing : tarns vondr is un 
doubtedly a rod of magic influence. 

A story in full detail of a wisldng-staff that St. Columban gave 
away to a poor man, and which he smashed at the bidding of his 
wife, may be found in Adamanni Scoti vita S. Columbae cap. 24 
(Canisii Lect. antiq., torn. 5). 

And now our surest guide to the original meaning of the wish- 
ing-rod is the Kt]pvKiov of Hermes (the caduceus of Mercury) : a 
staff with two snakes twining round it. But these snakes appear 
to have been first formed by the boughs of the olive, so that the 
older pa/3So? (Od. 24, 2) probably had the forked figure of our 
wishing-rod [ three times twisted/ p. 975]. The Hymn to Merc. 
527 calls it o\{3ov KOI TT\OVTOV pa/3Soz/, xpv&efrjv, Tpnrerri\ov 
golden (as in the Nib. Lay), three-leaved, bringing luck and 

1 Literary history of the wishing-rod in the New Lit. Anz. 1807, pp. 345 477 ; 
conf. Braunschw. Anz. 1752, p. 1625 ; Goth, taschenb. 1809, pp. 119. The asser 
tion that it has only come into use in Germany since the llth cent, seems false. 

2 It might also mean sagitta, which recalls Martin von Amberg s nach schatze 
mit pf ilen suochen. 


wealth. Now, seeing that Mercury wears the winged petasus too, 
as Wuotan was recognisable by his pilei umbraculum, that in this 
again there dwells the idea of a wishing-hat (p. 869), and that the 
bliss-bestowing ivishing-rod must be referred to a personal Wish, 
consequently to Wuotan; I think, in the concurrence of all these 
resemblances there lies an incontrovertible proof of the primitive 
unborrowed identity of Wuotan with Mercury. Rudolf in his Barl. 
274, 25 may very well have meant des Wunsches bluome, as the 
numerous examples from his Gerhart (p. 140) shew how familiar 
this personification was to him. So in Tit. 5161-9 : gezwiet vil 
der wunschelrise and wiinschel-berndez ris (see Suppl.). 

The mythical aspect of mountain-prisoned treasures, as of 
mountain-prisoned heroes and gods, has led us to Wuotan the 
supreme maker and giver of all things, f to whom are known 
all hidden treasures/ Yngl. saga, cap. 7. 

Some other things, beside flowers, herbs and rods, are helpful 
to the lifting of treasure. Thus a black he-goat that has not a 
light hair on him is to be sought out and tied to the spot where 
money lies hidden, like a sacrifice to the spirit who guards it 
(Moneys Anz. 6, 305). Some prescribe a black fowl without even 
the smallest white feather, else the devil breaks the lifter s neck 
for him (Bechst. 4, 207). Enchanted money has had the curse 
pronounced on it, that he alone shall find it who ploughs it out 
with a pair of black cocks ; one man carved himself a tiny plough 
for the purpose, and accomplished the lifting, Reusch/s Samland 
p. 29 (see Suppl.). 

But on the hoard lie dogs, snakes, dragons to guard it, DS. no. 
13. 159. Schm. 2, 209. 

In Annales Corbej. ad an. 1048 (Paullini p. 386) : ( Aiunt in 
Brunsberg magnum thesaurum absconditum esse, quern niger 
canis custodit cum oculis igneis ; and in the Carmen de Bruns- 
bergo (Paullini p. 599) : 

Horrendus canis est tenebrosum vinctus ad antrum, 

thesauri custos, qui latet imus ibi ; 
igneus est visus, color atque nigerrimus illi, 

os patulum, et cunctis halitus usque gravis. 

Under the pear-tree men saw burning coals, and at night a 


black poodle lying (Mone s Anz. 1, 227). On one chest in the 
vault lay a toad, on the other a white dog : when the peasant s 
wife struck about with a rod she had got from the white woman, 
the dog turned black as coal, at which the woman was so fright 
ened she broke silence, and the deliverance came to nothing 
(ib. 5, 320). 

No beast has more to do with gold and treasures than the 
snake, which coils itself down on the gold-heap (p. 689), shakes 
off sparkles (p. 690-1), wears gold crowns (p. 686). We saw the 
white woman herself appear half or wholly in serpent shape. By 
the water outside the gold cavern a huge hissing snake keeps 
watch : hit him boldly on the head, he will arch himself into a 
bridge over the water for you, and you may step over it with a 
stout heart, and bring away as much golden earth as you will 
(Bechst. 4, 174). Fani-gold seems to be gold that has lain in 
fens with the snakes and dragons (p. 531). 

Our earliest antiquity has famous legends of snakes and dragons 
on the gold (p. 689-90). It is worth noting, that men were fond 
of giving the shape of the snake to costly golden ware in the way 
of ornaments and weapons. A heap of gold glittered in the sun, 
and a Hack worm lay coiled around it, yet so that he did not 
reach quite round, and a span s breadth was left open : at this 
spot the labouring man who had spied the hoard stept in and 
gathered gold. When he had crammed his pockets full and even 
the smock he had pulled off, it came into his head to call up a 
companion and bid her load herself with the rest of the treasure ; 
but his voice was drowned in the terrible roar that suddenly 
arose : f out with the coin, out with the coin ! was the cry, and 
the terrified man flung all the money away, and began to flee ; 
in a moment worm and treasure sank into the mountain, and the 
earth closed up again, the uproar was over and the sun shone 
sweetly ; only a few coins remained, which when thrown away 
had fallen outside the serpent ring (Reusch/s Samland no. 3). 

The great hoard on which Fdfnir lay was made up of gold that 
the gods had been obliged to hand over for the covering and 
cramming of Otter, but which Loki had previously taken from 
the dwarf Andvari. SigurSr, having got it into his power after 
slaying the dragon, conveyed it all safely away on Gram s back, 
hence gold was named bijrffr Grana (Granonis sarcina, OHGr. 


would be Kranin purdi), Sn. 139. It is remarkable that in a 
Swed. folksong (Arvidsson 2, 193) the maiden awaiting her 
betrothed says : 

Yore det den ungersven (were he the swain) som jag skulle ha, 

sa forde han det guldet pa gangarens bak ! 

According to our lay of the Hiirnen (horny) Sifrit, 1 though the 
hero still wins- the hoard by slaying the dragon of Drachenstein, 
and loads it on his steed (166, 4), the origin of the gold is related 
differently. It is the Nibelinges hort, and Nibling king of dwarfs 
leaves it to his three sons (13, 4. 14, 3. 134, 3. 168, 2), two of 
whom, when their mountain began to move (in an earthquake ?) 
and threatened to fall in, carried it away without telling their 
brother Eugel, 2 and hid it in a cave under the dragon-stone/ 
where Siegfried afterwards found it (133, 4. 134,3. 135,1). A 
dragon that always after five years and a day takes human shape 
for one day 3 at Easter, had charge of the treasure and of a beau 
tiful princess, a white woman, whom Siegfried set free together 
with the treasure. 

Some things are left obscure in this account, which are cleared 
up in the epic of the Nibelungs itself. Siegfried acquires the 
hort Niblunges not when he kills the lintrache (lithe-dragon), but 
when Schilbunc and Niblunc asked him to divide the treasure, a 
thing they could not manage themselves ; and neither could he 
(94, 5) . The hoard is carried uz eime holn berge ; apparently 
it belonged to dwarfs, so that Schilbunc and Niblunc were of the 
elf kindred. Thus in both lays the hoard originates with dwarfs, 
and in the Edda with dwarf Andvari ; as elvish beings they are 
by nature collectors and keepers of subterranean treasure, haunt 
ing the mountains as they do (pp. 448. 452), and they delude 
(pp. 464. 915) like spectres. Then the wishing-hat is brought 
to mind by the cover-capes and mist-mantles of dwarfs (p. 915) ; 
the dwarf race, like the dragons, 4 cherishes and guards treasures, 

1 The Seifriedsburg in the Bhon mts (Weisth. 3, 535) is another place about 
which the hero-legend is told among the common people (Mone s Anz. 4, 410, and 
thence Bechst. Franken 144). 

2 Eugel s prophecy and his conversation with Siegfried (159164) leave no doubt 
of his identity with Gripir in the Edda, but in point of name with Gripi s father 
Eylimi. This Eylimi (insulae, prati ramus, almost a Laufey reversed p. 246) con 
tains ey = OHG. ouwa, augia, which must be in Eugel too. 

3 Ein tac in der helle hat leng ein ganzez jar 28, 2. 

4 Mountain-sprites guarding treasure are found in the Schenkofen cavern, in 
the Eeichenspitz, in the Ziller valley. Muchar s Gastein p. 145. 

VOL. III. n 


and as Dame Holda travels with the Furious Host and sits locked 
up in the mountain, she too is connected with the elves (p. 452). 
Entrance into the caves of dwarfs is found as into enchanted 
mountains, and men are carried off to spend some time in the 
society of elvish sprites (p. 494), as they do in Dame Venus 
mount (p. 935). 

That Nibelung and Schilbung wished to have their father s 
property divided, is asserted also in Bit. 80 a ; that they could 
not divide the treasure, is a highly mythic feature, which I shall 
illustrate further on, when I come to treat of Wishing-gear. 

As a union with goddesses, wise-women, white-women, results 
in danger to heroes, so does their winning of the hoard turn to 
their misfortune. He that has lifted the treasure must die soon 
(Mone s Anz. 7, 51-3). Because Andvari laid a curse upon the 
ring that Loki extorted from him, the same ring brought destruc 
tion upon HrerSmar and his sons, who insisted on having it, and 
upon SigurS and Brynhild, whose betrothal was accomplished by 
it (Sn. 140). 

An ON. name for gold is < orms be$r or Fafnis boeli/ worm s 
bed, dragon s couch, who lies brooding on it, so to speak. Bui 
turns into a worm, and lies on his gold-chests, Fornm. sog. 11, 
158. draco thesauri custos, Saxo Gram. 101. incubas gazae ut 
magnus draco, custos Scythici luci/ Martial 12, 53; miser and 
dragon have little joy of their wealth. 

Dragons guarding treasure were also known to the Orientals 
and Greeks. The hundred-headed sleepless one guarded the 
golden apples of the Hesperian grove (Scythici luci), Photius, 
Bekk. 150, 6. 16. The ancients were equally familiar with the 
notion of griffins watching over gold : grifen golt/ Parz. 71, 17 

Sometimes, on the spot where treasures sparkle, a calf is said 
to lie (Reusch no. 47), not in my opinion as keeper, but as part, 
of the treasure. For treasure-diggers profess to look for the 
golden calf, and for the golden hen and twelve chickens, 1 by 
which plainly something mythical is meant (see Suppl.). 

A statement in the Renner 5100 deserves attention, that all 
buried, i.e. unlifted unredeemed treasures will one day be Anti- 

1 riuquet s Contes populaires de Bayeux. Rouen 1834 p. 21. 


Christ s, whose coming we have already seen mixing itself up in 
many ways with the fable of the Furious Host and mountain- 
prisoned heroes. 

The legends largely run over into each other : what is told of 
the doings of elves and dwarfs in mountain-clefts is also related 
of noisy sprites haunting deserted houses (p. 514). In one 
enchanted castle a maiden with her treasures waits deliverance 
(Kinderm. no. 4), another is possessed with devils (ib. no. 81). 
And here again comes up the feature, that the spirit unblest 
carries his head under his arm (ib. 3, 15) like the leader of the 
Furious Host, and that he gets his beard shaved by the stranger 
who is to take off the ban (ib. 3, 9. Hone s Anz. 7, 365. Baader s 
Bad. sagen no. 275); conf. the well-known fairytale in Musseus, 
and Simpliciss. 1713. 1, 617, who also knows the legend of the 
waste castle and the beard-shaving (see Suppl.). The old fable 
of the water-bear lodges schrats (night-hags) in the forsaken 
house, and Beowulf rids the royal hall of GrendePs nightly visits. 
A house like this, in which all is not right, seems to be called 
in MHGr. wunder-burc : ich sunge ouch wie der (trache ?) lit, 
der manigen in der wunderburc verslunden hat dur sinen git 
MS. 2, 177 a . 

Similar to removal into mountains or banishment into the 
ground, and proceeding from like causes, there is also a sinking 
into the waters. What the elves get hold of in one case, nixes and 
sea-sprites do in the other. Holla dwells not only in the hollow 
mountain, but in the fountain and the lake. 

Accordingly, to spirits of heroes and to treasures we shall see 
a residence assigned in water as well as in a mountain. King 
Charles sits in the fountain at Niirnberg, with his beard grown 
into the table (Deut. sag. no. 22). * The Nibelungs hoard lies 
sunk in the Rhine : Rin skal ra$a rogmalrni, i veltanda vatni 
tysaz valbaugar/ Saem. 248 a . In the Siegfried s Lay 167, 4 the 
hero himself spills it into the stream, that it may not work the 
ruin of his Eecken, as Eugel has foretold; the Epic however 
makes Hagen destroy it, and not till after Siegfried s murder 
1077, 3 : 

er sancte in da ze Loche alien in den Kin ; 

1 Conf. Ettner s Unwiird. doctor 1720-1. 


this he did secretly, without the knowledge of Chriemhilde, who 
to the last supposes it to be in his hands,, till he answers 
2308, 3 : 

den schatz weiz nu nieman wan (but) Got unde min. 

No doubt there were other legends which placed it in moun 
tains : the account given by a woman living in Nerike was, that 
it lay inside the Kilsberg there, and the key to the cavern was 
kept under a rosebush (Iduna 10, 269). The Ms. 2, 169 b has : 
der Imelunge Jwrt lit in dem BurJenberge in bi (by them, i.e. the 
Khine-folk) ; but the MsH. 2, 241 a reads der Nibelunge hort 
and in dem Lurlenberge. Imelunge may be corrupt for Nibe 
lunge, as Imelot for Nibelot (p. 385 n.), and Lurlenberg shall 
have its due, if such be the reading, though I had taken Burlen- 
berc for Burglenberg, Biirglenberg, OHG. Burgilunberc on the 
Rhine near Breisach (Dumbeck p. 339), where the Harlungs, per 
haps Amelungs, dwelt with their treasure (Heldens. p. 186 8). 
One of the Venus-hills in the Breisgau and Eckart may also 
have to do with it. But the Har lunge golt (Dietr. 7835) enters 
into Gothic Amelung legends, and there might be an Amelunge 
hort like the famous * Ermenriches hort of which so much is told. 
Again, the Vilk. saga cap. 381 makes Etzel the avaricious first 
get at Siegfried s gold which is locked in a mountain, and then 
significantly die of hunger, so that the Niflunga skattr drags him 
also to destruction ; while Danish lays have it, that Gremild, 
immured in the mountain, pines to death in presence of Noglings 
(i.e. Nibelung s) pelf (Heldens. p. 306). So many conflicting yet 
connected accounts may justify us in conceding even to that far 
older aurum Tolosanum, which the Tectosages sunk in the lake of 
Tolosa, some influence on old Gothic legend. 1 

Stories of submerged castles are found in abundance. When 
the waters are at rest, -you may still descry projecting pinnacles 
of towers, and catch the chiming of their bells. Scarcely can 
enchanted men be dwelling there ; all life is grown dumb beneath 
the waves. Three legendary features I will single out. The 
approaching doom is commonly announced by talking beasts : the 
enormity of the crime whose punishment impends has lent them 
speech, or some magic has opened to man the meaning of their 

1 Justinus 32, 3 ; conf. Duncker s Origines Germanic, p. 31. 


tones. The serving-man tastes a piece off a silver-white snake, 
and immediately knows what the fowls, ducks, geese, doves and 
sparrows in the yard are saying of the speedy downfall of the 
castle (DS. no. 131). This is told of Isang s castle near Seeburg, 
a similar story of Tilsburg near Dahlum (p. 774), and no doubt 
in other neighbourhoods as well. Another thing we come across 
is, that a good man who is sick sends his son out to observe the 
weather, and is told first of a clear sky, next of a tiny cloudlet on 
the mountain s edge, and by degrees of a cloud as big as a hat, 
as a washtub, as a barn-door ; then the old man has himself 
carried in all haste up a hill, for the judgments of God are now 
let loose on the Suggenthal, Suukenthal (Moneys Anz. 8, 535 ; 
conf. Schreiber s Tagb. for 1840, p. 271). That is a forcible 
description of the swift advance of an unforeseen calamity. The 
same legend presents us with yet a third feature full of meaning. 
When the water had wrecked and swamped all the houses in 
Suggenthal, there remained alive only that old man and his son, 
and one small infant. This child, a boy, floated in his cradle all 
through the flood, and with him was a cat. Whenever the cradle 
tilted to one side, the cat jumped to the other, and restored the 
equilibrium ; in this way the cradle safely arrived below Buch- 
holz, and there stuck fast in the dold or crown of a tall oak. 
When the water had subsided, and the tree was accessible again, 
it was fetched down, and child and cat were found alive and un 
hurt. As nobody knew who the boy s parents had been, they 
named him after the tree-top Dold., and the name is borne by his 
descendants to this day (Mone s Anz. 6, 69 and more completely 
8, 535). The story perfectly tallies with that Welsh one quoted 
p. 580, where, in spite of all difference of detail, the main thing, 
the child s being saved in the cradle, is related just as it is here ; 
which also seems to me to confirm the sense I ascribed to the 
ON. luiSr p. 559n. A pretty adjunct is the companionship of the 
auxiliary cat, who together with cock and dog was required by 
simple-minded antiquity to give evidence (RA. 588). From the 
name of this foundling Dold (OHGr. Toldo, i.e. summit-born) I 
understand now what the common people mean by being born on 
an oak or walnut-tree (p. 572n.) ; how exactly the myths of Crea 
tion and Deluge fit in together, is past doubting (see Suppl.). 


The notion of the Devil and of devilish spirits, which has by 
degrees acquired so wide a compass and struck such deep root 
even in the popular religion, was unknown to our heathenism. 

It seems a general rule, that a Dualism dividing the Supreme 
Being into opposites, where it is not [already] based on the 
earliest profound thought of a system, (such as the Zendic), 
neVer gets established at a later period except by abstract 
philosophizings. To the sensuous mythologies lying in the 
great middle it is ill-adapted. 

An all-pervading idealistic distinction between a good and an 
evil spirit, Ormuzd and Ahriman, 1 is known neither to the Indian 
and Greek theologies, nor to the Teutonic. Before the might of 
the one all-governing God the kakodsemon s power fades away. 
Then out of this unity there grow up trilogies (Brahma, Vishnu, 
Siva; Zeus, Poseidon, Pluto; Wuotan, Donar, Fro; Har, lafnhar, 
ThrrSi), dodecalogies, and the plenitude of pantheism. But it is 
to my mind a fundamental feature of polytheism, that the good 
and beneficent principle in the Divine preponderates ; only some 
isolated deities, subordinate to the whole, incline to the evil 
or hurtful, like the Norse Loki, whose nature even then is more 
on a par with that of Hephaestus (Vulcan) than of the Christian 
Devil. Goodness predominates even in elvish sprites : to the 
nix, the hoinesprite, nay the giant, it is but partially that cruelty 
and malice are attributed. In harmony with this is the mild 
way in which our antiquity pictures death and the underworld. 

But for all that, amid the vast variety of character and colour 
ing in these mythologies, the Dualistic antagonism need not 
altogether be silent : it does break out in individual features, 
without greatly affecting the whole. Under this head come, e.g. 

1 The genuine forms are Ahuromazdao and Agromainyus, but the former is 
often called Cpentomainyus, ayadbs dai/mcw, in contrast to Agromainyus the /ccucs 
Burnouf s Coium. bur le Ya^ua pp. ( JU. 92. 


OEIGIN. 985 

the myths of Day and Night, of Elves light aiid dark (p. 444), 
of Summer and Winter. 1 

The Jewish monotheism accorded to its Satan (1!&) on V t ^ ie 
subordinate part of a tempter and traducer, as is plainly shewn 
in the book of Job, and confirmed by the Greek term 
which the LXX and New T. use alternately with aa-rav, 
(Arabic shaitan) or ^>aifji6vi,ov (usually for Hebr. shed "ftth. After 
the Captivity the Jews were more familiar with the idea of 
Dualism, and in N.T. times their whole demonology had largely 
expanded; Beelzebub is spoken of as prince of all evil spirits, 
whom the O. T. knows merely as a heathen idol : so that, even 
as early as that, false gods come to mean demons or devils. 

It pertains to the history of Christianity to explain how there 
came to be added the notion of Lucifer, 2 a rebel spirit of light 
who took up arms against God, and with his adherents (in Matth. 
25, 41 the devil has already his angels ) was banished into 
darkness. Luke 10, 18 : e0a>povv rov a-aravav &><? do-rpaTTTjv ic 
rov ovpavov Treorovra, as the lightning darts into the ground, 
whereas a falling star usually affords a pleasing image (p. 722). 
At the same time, this revolt of the Devil and his companions 
must be supposed to have had a higher antiquity. Thus arose 
the doctrine of a satanic empire in rivalry with the celestial, a 
doctrine that daily met with more acceptance : the evil spirits 
may be the weaker side and suffer defeat, but they go about 
enlisting wicked men, and seek thereby to replenish their host. 
Compacts are made with the Devil, and he aids his confederates 
even during their earthly life. 

From another side, the conversion of the Heathen itself con 
tributed to expand and diversify the prevailing conception of 
the Devil s agency. It has been remarked more than once, that 
the deserted heathen deities were declared vanquished and shorn 
of their strength, yet not downright powerless : their once kindly 
benignant sway had turned into a fierce fiendish one. Thus 
what the Christians believed about the Devil received at the 

1 The oft faith of the Slavs set up a white and a black god : Belbogh and 
Chernibogh. But this dualism seems to me neither thoroughgoing nor primitive. 

2 It arose out of Isa. 44, 12 : how art thou fallen from heaven, fair Morning- 
star ! But it appears first in Eusebius (Dernonstr. evang. 4, 9), not in Tertullian, 
nor Irenams nor Lactantius. Even Jerome and Augustine never call the devil 

986 DEVIL. 

hands of the Heathen a twofold enlargement : heathen gods and 
spirits already malign and gloomy in themselves readily dropt 
into the Christian category of devilish beings ; with greater diffi 
culty and more resistance from public opinion, was effected 
nevertheless the transmutation of the good gods of old into 
spectres and demons. In this process names for the most part 
got suppressed or disguised ; myths and stories were not so easily 
to be abolished. 

In not a few cases the Devil may be regarded as a parody 
or aping of the true God, as the left or wrong-side (taken mildly, 
the foil p. 515) of the Divine Being 1 : he wants to have the 
same power, enjoy the same honour, and mimic God in every 
thing ; but his contrivances miscarry and come to nought. So 
the idea of a DevilVmother might have arisen as counterpart 
to Mary the mother of God, though she had an earlier prototype 
in the giant s-mother (see Suppl.) . 

All these influences so diverse in kind have joined to produce 
such popular notions of the Devil s being and character, as have 
existed from the N. T. to our own times. The Devil is Jewish, 
Christian, Heathen, a false god, an elf, a giant, a spectre, all 
in one. By the addition of him, Christianity could not but 
receive, just as heathen Polytheism was expiring, a visible bent 
towards Dualism, which afterwards philosophy tried to resolve 
into a general principle of good and another of evil. When we 
compare the cheerful tone of Greek myths with the harshness 
and grimness imparted to the legends of our Mid. Ages by the 
intrusion of an ail-too positive Devil, we see that the contrast 
comes out not so much in the original texture of the popular 
beliefs, which is everywhere the same or similar, as in the colour 
laid upon it ; and therefore our inquiry is entitled to resolve 
a whole mass of devil-phenomena back into the milder forms of 
ancient spirits and gods. 

Before I attempt to isolate so much of these traditions as 
is due to our Teutonic paganism, or at least that of our next 
neighbours, it is even more than usually necessary to make sure 
of the various names employed. 

i Gotfried of Viterbo 1, 23 propounds the query : Quare creavit Deus diabo- 
lum, cum sciret euin malum esse futurum ? Itespondeo, quia propter operis sui 
ornatum, sicut pictor nigrum colorem substemit, ut albus apparentior fiat, sic per 
praevaricatioueni inaloruin justi clariores fiunt. 


The word teufel, devil, is un-Teutonic, being simply 
retained. 1 Ulphilas, following the Greek text, distinguishes 
diabaulus, satana and unliulpo, translating SaifJLoviov by the last, 
to which I shall have to come back. In OHG. satanas is kept 
unaltered, but the diabolus of the Vulgate is cut down to tiubil, 
tieval, or to diuval (T.), diufal (0. ii. 4, 101), neut. pi. diufilir (iii. 
14, 53), which likewise renders the Lat. daemonium (Fragm. 
theot. ii. 14). By this extension of meaning and contraction of 
form, we see that the word was getting naturalized and gradually 
driving the others out of the field : MHG. tievel, tiuvel, lively our 
teufel; AS. deofol, Eng. devil; M. Nethl. duvel, now duivel ; 
Icel. djofull, Sw. djefvul, Dan. djdvel. It spread through nearly 
all Europe: It. diavolo, Sp. diablo, Fr. diable, O.Fr. deable ; Pol. 
djabel, Boh. d abel, Buss. diavol, Serv. diavo ; the Lettish and 
Finnish nations, the last to be converted, have alone forborne 
the appellation. And, as in the case of God (p. 15), there occur 
euphemisms : HG. deichcl, deixl, deigel, deiJcer, deuker, 2 Swiss 
dijggeli, tiiggeli (Staid. 1, 325) ; Nethl. duiker; Swed. djakul, 
knakul, Jcndfvel (Ihre s Prov. lex. 93 a ), also Westph. kniivel for 
duvel ; Fr. diacre, Pol. djachel, djasek, djablko and many more. 3 
Noticeable is N. ps. 90, 13: urtiefel, chuninch anderro tiefelo/ 
diab. rex daemoniorum. 4 Satan is used rarely in MHG., very 
often in modern German ; in the Anegenge 218 b and in Strieker 
I find der satanat, the later MLG. Zeno often repeats satanas. 
O.Fr. goufre de satenie, saternie, Ren. 20224, 28429, the last 
form stretching out a hand to Saturn (p. 249, and Suppl.). 

All other names for the Devil can be brought under three 
points of view, according as they are drawn from his Character, 
his Figure, or his place of Abode. And to these may be added 
Disguised forms of name. 

I. From his intrinsic nature the Devil is called the evil, hostile, 

1 So is our engel, angel borrowed, both name and thing. Mone, who thinks 
teufel is unborrowed, and identifies both it and diabolus with Dionysus (Anz. 6, 
354. 8, 449), will hardly boggle over the Germanness of engel either. It is true 
5i<x/3o\os (the slanderer), which the LXX does not yet have, might in the N. T. 
spring out of an Oriental word allied to Pers. div and Lat. divus (p. 161). 

2 And even der deutsclierj as the Poles say Niemiaszek ( = German) of the 
Devil, which may really go back to the Slav deity Nemisa ? 

8 Zabulus, zabolon, which Mid. Age dictionaries and glosses give for diabolus, 
and render contrarius, arena, is the same word , zabulones buoch, Ms. 2, 13*. 

4 Notker s interpretations of diabolus, niderris, niderfal, chuning widertfuzze, 
turn upon the fall, the down-rush, of the devils, Gramrn. 2, 703 

988 DEVIL. 

unlovely (unholde), as antithesis to the good kind gracious God. 
The thought is often expressed in roundabout phrases or in 
adjectives, often enshrined in appropriate appellatives : der nie 
guot geriet/ who never counselled good, Dietr. 40 a ; ( der ie 
tugende storte/ ever thwarted virtue, Kolocz. 254 ; like the Edda s 
sa er flestu illu roeSr of Loki, Sn. 46, or the epic periphrase in 
Reinh. xxxii. xxxvi to describe the fox and wolf as beasts of 
devilish nature. dich hat niht quotes uz gelan/ twas nothing 
good (= the devil) that left us you, Dietr. 8347 ; as we still 
say I have looked for him like nothing good. 3 der iibele tiuvel, 
I\v. 4670. Nib. 215, 4. 426, 4. 1892, 4. Ms. 1, 59 b der ilbel 
vient, Gregor 2849. The evil foe, evil spirit, evil one ; der ubile 
geist, Fundgr. 102, 34. 105, 2. der lose geist 105, 7. Nethl. 
de booze vyand. The crooked devils in Kinderm. 1, 422 means 
the unrighteous, evil ones. A sermon in MHG. has der ubile 
buman der tivel/ Grief shaber 277. It is remarkable that in ON. 
we even come upon hinn illi OSinnf Fornm. sog. 5, 172. 10, 
171. The O.Fr. poets often put maufez, malfez, maufes (pi. 
maufe, malfe) for devil ; later maufais, maufaiteur, which leaves 
no doubt as to the sense being evildoer, evildoing. 1 As early as 
585 we have adversarius boni operis (Pertz 3, 3), It. aversiera? 
O.Fr. aversiers, devil. OS. the balowiso, malus, dirus, Hel. 33, 
2; conf. ON. holms, Ssern. 77 b .93 a (bolvisar konor 197 b are 
witches); Goth, balvavesei, i.e. balvaveisei /cafcla, 1 Cor. 5, 8; 
but our pilwiz on p. 472 can hardly be connected. Then OS. 
the ledo, invisus, dirus, Hel. 33, 9, leda wihti, maligni spiritus 48, 
14; M. Nethl. de lede duvel 3 ; OHG. der leidige tiefal, Diut. 3, 
59; AS. se la&a. Again, OS. the liatola, odiosus, Hel. 110, 9; 
hetteand herugrim 142, 12, cruel hater and persecutor. AS. se 
cjrimma gcest, M. Nethl. lede gast t Rein. 2841. Of special im 
portance here are names denoting a hostile being, resisting God 

1 Here belongs particularly the Slav, lies, bes (devil), from which even OHG. 
posi, 0. Fris. base seems to have come, being unknown to other Teut. tongues ; and 
Slav, zli , zly, zlo (evil), Boh. zley-duch (evil spirit), Sloven. s!6di (zlodi, Glagolita 
xxxix), slo-dey (evil-doer), slom, slomik, to which again our schlimm (OGH. slimb, 
Graff G, 793 obliquus) may be allied ; Sloven, hudizh, hudir (from hud, malus, Pol. 
chudy, miser), &c. &c. [Are not two roots confounded here : zol, zlo = bad, and 
g-lom, iz-16m, raz-16m = dis-ruptio, from lomiti, to break ? And is zlodi conn, with 
Goth, sleidja fierce, sleij>jan to hurt ?] 

2 Muratori s Antiq. 2, 1090, and la Versiera in Pulci 5, 42. 21, 27 (Vocab. della 
Crusca sub v.), arusaria Biondelli 249. 

3 Eein. 1280 intslets duvels name = in des lets (leden) duvels. 


and persecuting men. The Latin Fathers favour the use of 
the term antiquus hoxtis (Greg. Magni opp., ed. Bened. Paris 
1705. 1, 1019; his Moral. 31, 50 and Dial. 2, 30. Bonif. epist. 
6, anni 723. Jonas Bobbiens. p. 5 ; Vita S. Roman! 744 a . Capi- 
tulare in Georgisch 795, and many later records, e.g. one of 1121 
in Kremer s Beitr. 3, no. 24). And this our OHG. authorities 
imitate : alt-flant (Muspilli 49) ; fiant entrisk (Hymn 24, 9), but 
here we cannot help thinking of the AS. for giant, ent (p. 524), 
as giants in general are supposed to be old, stone-old (p. 529). 
AS. se ealda deofol, se ealda, Casdra. 267, 5. So then altan 
satanasan wilit er gifahan (he wants to catch) , 0. i. 5, 52. der 
satanas altist, Musp. 25. In MHG. : der alte, Geo. 3376-85 ; 
der elteste 3368. In N. Friesland to this day de ual (old) 
diiivel/ Geizh. p. 112; in England old Nick, old Davy/ in Den 
mark gammel Erich (Holberg s Uden hoved oghale, sc. 5), which 
it would be allowable to trace back even to the divine Erik of 
heathen times (p. 361) ; Norweg. gammel Sjur (Hallager 102 a ) ; 
ON. kulski, both senex and diabolus. In the same way God is 
called the old (p. 21). Beside antiquus hostis we also find 
persequutor antiquus, Vita S. Horn. 743, and callidus hostis } Jon. 
Bobb. p. 5. hostis generis humani (fiant mannaskines chunnes), 
Hymn 24, 3. A simple hostis I find but rarely used, and the 
Goth, fijands is never anything but e ^po? : in OHG., fiant by 
itself can be devil; so AS.feond (of Grendel), Beow. 202. 1444- 
89; MHG. vient, En. 2525; M.Nethl. viant, Huyd. op St. 3, 
38; O.Fr. ennemi; OS. craftagftund, Hel. 142, 1 2, unhiurifiund 
32, 1. 164, 14; MHG. der leidige vient, Fundgr. 66, 4. der boese 
ment, Geo. 345, like our bose feind [while Engl. fiend is nothing 
but devil] . gerfiund, Hel. 32, 2 seems to be a strengthened form 
(ger=jaculum, hasta). Out of the ON.fiandi, taken in the sense 
of devil, arose the Dan. fanden, Sw. fanen, fan 1 ; but in ON. 
itself andskoti was both hostis and diabolus. A word whose 
meaning approaches that of hostis is the OHG. scado (homo 
nocivus, latro), which in earlier times was also applied in a good 
sense to heroes (p. 342). AS. sceaiSa, OS. skatho, not standing 
alone, but in such compounds as AS. hellscea&a, Caedm. 56, 24. 
Thorpe s Anal. 126, 28, leodsceafta, Caedm. 56, 24, freodscea&a, 

1 Conf. p. 916 dolgr for spectre, devilish spirit. 

990 DEVIL. 

Beow. 4550, uhtsceaffa 4536, mansccaffa 1417-68, and OS. men- 
scado, Hel. 32, 1. 33, 15. 142, 15, wamscado 31, 17. 164, 4, 
liudscado 32, 14. thiodscado 33, 1, it designates the Devil. Now 
this hostile, hating, harmful being the Goths named the unhold, 
ungracious one, by which Ulphilas translates, not as a rule 
Sta/3oXo9, but Saipoviov, yet with a vacillation of gender that 
claims attention. A masc. unhulpa stands for SCU/JLOVLOV, Sallow 
in Luke 4, 35. 8, 29. 9, 42 ; for varavas in 1 Cor. 5, 5 ; for 
&a/3oXo? in Eph. 4, 27. and prob. ought to be so in Matt. 9, 33. 
A fern, unhulfio occurs, always for Saifjioviov, in Mk. 7, 26-9. 30. 
Lu. 4, 33. 7, 33. John 7, 20. 8, 48-9. 52. 10, 20-1. The plur. 
Saifjiovia is only once rendered by masc. unliulfrans, Lu. 8, 33, and 
everywhere else by fern, unhulfions, Mat. 7, 22. 9,34. Mk. 1, 32- 
4-9.3,15. 5,12. 6,13. 9,38. 16,9. Lu.4,41. 8,27.30-5-8. 9,1. 
49. The inference is, that the notion of female demons was the 
favourite one with the Goths, and very likely with other Germans, 
for in Hymn. 24, 3 the word for diabolus is the OHG. fern. 
iinholdd. 1 If as heathens they had worshipped a goddess Holda, 
how natural, in contrast with her mildness, to regard a malignant 
being as a female unholda ! Thus Ulphilas s preference for the 
term goes far to prove a Gothic worship of Hul]?6 ; and the trans 
lation of Diana by Holdd and unholda (p. 267) is worth noting. 
Again, the notion of malice and ill-will carries with it that of 
fierceness and wrath : so the Devil is in AS. se wrd&a/ Casdm. 
39, 24, in OS. the wretha, Hel. 106, 3. 164, 4 ; AS. se reffa 
(trux, saevus), Caedm. 271, 12, the OS. would be the ruodho ; 
AS. se grama, 9 OS. the gramo, Hel. 32, 16; also prob. AS. 
se modega, OS. the muodago, conf. muodaga wihti for evil 
spirits in Hel. 120, 9; and all four of these epithets denote the 
wrathful, furious. 3 It should not be overlooked, first, that they 
are found only in Saxon poets, never in OHG. writers ; secondly, 
that they express, especially in the plural, more the idea of 
demonic spirits than of the Devil : ]?a graman gydena/ Bth. 35, 
6 (dira numina) are the Parcae : gromra (grarnra), Cod. Exon. 
49, 5 = diabolorum ; gramono hem (daemonum habitatio) in Hel. 

1 0. Slav, nepriyezn 1 (fern.) the ungracious = diabolus ; even Sotond himself 
occurs as a fern. 

2 Our MHG. poets never give their Tiuvel the epithets grimm, grimmig, 
these they reserve for Death (p. 849). But in AS. I niid Grendel called se grimma 
gast, Beow. 204. 


103, 10 stands for hell. Of Judas at the Last Supper receiving 
the sop and taking it into his mouth, the Hel. 141, 11 says; so 
afgaf ina tho thiu Godes craft, gramon in-gewitun an thene licha- 
mon, leda wildi? so forsook him then the strength of God, demons 
and devils lodged themselves in his body ; 1 gramon habdun thes 
mannes hugi undergripan/ demons had got the mastery over his 
mind 157, 19; gramo(uo) barn, fiundo barn are the devils 
household 161, 23. 157, 18; gramono or ivretharo willio/ 
devils will and pleasure 106, 3 ; ( modaga vvihti are unholda 120, 
8, conf. modage 157, 18. 

This application of gram, wreth, muodag to daemons is, to my 
mind, a relic of heathen times, which clung to the converted 
Saxons as unhulfio had done to the Goths before them. Grendel 
is called gram, Beow. 1523, and yrremod 1445 ; an ON. impreca 
tion was )?ic hafi allan gramir ! Ssem. 80 b , and gramir hafi 
Gunnnar! 208 b , gramir being daemonia and exactly equiv. to the 
AS. gramon. Another time Saem. 255 a has eigi hann iotnar ! 
where the prose Yols. saga (Fornald. sog. 1, 214) gives gramir, 
so that here again comes up the affinity of devils to giants. The 
use of modag (iratus) for diabolic spirits rather confirms an ex 
planation of f Muotes her suggested on p. 931n. 

One name, which I have held back till now, is of frequent 
occurrence in MHG. poets of the 12-13th cent. : der volant? S. 
Uolrich 54 a . 69 b . 74 a . Anegenge 218 b . 219 a , 220 b . Tundal 56, 
31; <diu vdlantinne Herodia 3 (see p. 283), Fundgr. i. 139, 6; 
der valant? ii. 109, 42. Eoth. 3106; vdlandes man/ Roth. 
3227. 3366; valant, Rol. 289, 7; valantes man 111, 5. 189, 16; 
der iibel valant Nib. 1334, 1 ; vdlandinne (she-devil) 1686, 4; 
vdlentinne 2308, 4. Gudr. 629, 4; der valant? Nib. Lam. 625. 
Er. 5555. Herbert 7725. Eilhart s Trist. 2837; valant, Wigal. 
3994. 6976. 7022 ; er het gehoeret den valant, er (the sentry) 
sprach : seht, bi der mure (wall) da hort ich in schrien lut, owe ! 
er fuor die rise also zetal (down), daz im die stein vast walgten 
nach (stones rolled after him), ich weiz nicht war im ist so guch 
(hasty)/ Frauend. 375, 12 24; f daz in der valant riten sol/ 
Welsch. gast 67 a ; f bi siner stimme (voice) ich han erkant, daz 
ex waere der valant/ ibid. (Reinh. 384, 50) ; der leide valant? 
Trist. 8909; des vdlandes rat 11339; ( vdlandes man 6217. 
1 Aftar tkerno muase, so kleib er Satanase, 0. iv. 12, 39. 

992 DEVIL. 

6910. 160G9 ; vdlandes barn 15965 ; tiuvels volant, sclirat und 
wazzerber 92 ; do geriet in der valant/ Mone s Anz. 8, 52 ; 
vdlant, Ottoc. 453V Certain poets abstain from the word : 
Wolfram, Rudolf, Conrad. In Mod. Germ, it still lives as a 
proper name (Faland, Phaland, Foland, Volland), otherwise it 
rarely occurs : der bose volant, Chr. Weise s Comodienprobe 
219; junker Volland Berthold s Tageb. p. 54. In Henneberg 
they say der bose fahl or fdhl, Reinw. 1, 30, at Frankfort 
f der fold, fuld. z In MLG. once only in Zeno 1166 : du arge 
volant ! and nothing like it in M. Netlil. But neither do I find 
fdlant, vdlant in OHG., even as a proper name; yet one can 
hardly doubt its having existed, for the participial ending, as 
in viant, heilant, wigant, etc., points to an early formation. A 
MHG. verb valen, vselen, occurs only in the Martina 145. 177. 
215 and Alb. Titurel, and there it means to fail, err, conf. Schm. 
1, 519. Fdlant must either have meant the same as the adj. 
irri/ iratus, infensus, or else misleading, seducens (Goth, airz- 
jands, uslutonds) ; the AS. fselian or fgelan is scandalizare, 
seducere, and its partic. faelend would answer to valant. Some 
such meaning may lie in the ON. fala (Saem. 143 b . 210 b gigas 
femina) and the verb faela (terrere) ; in that case it would be 
credible that fdlant also referred originally to giants. But now 
that Phol (pp. 224 9. 614) has come upon the scene, he must not 
be left out of sight in attempting to explain a word so incorpor 
ated with our language : the change of a, o into d does occur in 
some instances, e.g. talanc, tolanc, and the popular forms ( voland, 
fold, fuld are in its favour ; the participial ending must remain 
an open question till further light be thrown on the obscure name 
of this ancient god. Even the fierce Unfalo in Teuerdank may 
be taken into the reckoning, as the un- seems merely a prefix 
added to intensify the ill-repute of the word ; an Unfahl occurs 
elsewhere too as a proper name. 3 Compare what is said of the 
pfahl-mauer (stake-wall) further on 4 (see Suppl.). 

1 Hagene was known as the valant aller kiinige, Gudr. 168, 2. 196, 4 ; all kings 
feared him like a devil. Mone in Ndrl. volkslit. 67 makes it mean vaillant de tons 
les rois ! 

2 In the Mehlwardein, a local farce 1837, p. 16 : ei der Fuld ! = devil ; so in 
another, the Bernemer Kerb p. 13. 

8 In the Nordlingen witch-trials p. 47 an Apollonia Unfahlin. 
4 I fear some will take it into their heads to explain phol, phal by aphrcresis of 
the first syllable in deofol, diufal, pretty much as Eblis is derived from diabolus. 


II. Many names of the Devil turn upon his outward Form. 
The most striking feature is his lame foot : hence the hinkende 
teufel (diable boiteux), hinke-bein (limping-leg) ; the fall from 
heaven to the abyss of hell seems to have lamed him, like 
Hephaestus hurled down by Zeus (p. 24 1). 1 He further re 
sembles that god and the lame smith Wieland (Volundr p. 37f>) 
by his skill in working metals and in building, as also by his 
dwelling in a sooty hell. Here the antithesis to clear shining 
white Deity demands a dingy black liue, as the dark elves were 
opposed to the light. We may therefore balance the white 
Baltac (p. 228), the radiant Berhta (p. 272) against the gloomy 
powers, light-elves against black-elves, though the two principles 
touch, and even generate one another. The word alp seems to 
contain the notion of white, night and day come out of one 
another, Night was the mother of Day (p. 735), Halja, Demeter, 
Diana, Mary (p. 312-3 n.) present themselves half b lac k or wholly 
darkened. 2 The dark diabolic principle may be regarded as one 
not original, as a falling away from divine light. 

The Devil is called the black : OS. mirki (tenebrosus), Hel. 31, 
24. der swarze, Eenner 36 d . Satan exit ore torvus colore tanquam 
corvus, S. Gallenlied, 11, 3. er was swarz als ein robe, Tund. 51, 
17. diabolus in effigie hominis nigerrimi, Csesar Heisterb. 7, 17. 
der swarze hellewirt, Ms. 2, 254 a . der hellewirt der ist sivarz, Parz. 
119, 26. der helle-wwr, Walth. 33, 7. der helsce more, Fundgr. 
1, 25. der helle-grdve, Anegenge 39, 46. As a dark colour hides, 
the evil spirit gets tha name of the hidden, the secret : OS. 
dernea wihti (spiritus latentes), Hel. 31, 20. 92, 2. But in our 
folktales he is also indicated as gray man, gray manikin, conf. 
graa told, Dan.V. ], 169. 180, which reminds of Wuotan and of 
Berhtold ; I therefore lay stress on the fact, that as Berhta and 
Berhtolt hand empty spindles (pp. 274-9), the Mark legend tells 
exactly the same of the Devil : You must not spin of a Thursday 
evening, for the evil one would throw an empty spindle into your 
room, and call out, Spin that full as well ! Ad. Kuhn p. 379. 
Of shapes of animals, some are ascribed to the Devil chiefly on 
the ground of their black colour (see Suppl.). 

1 II. 1, 592. Thor threatens to lame Loki, Sn. 130, and the lightning-flash has 
a maiming power. 

2 The Romans called Pluto Jupiter niger, the black god. Silius Ital. 8, 116. 

994 DEVIL. 

Such animal shape was often not made complete, but merely 
indicated by some addition to a configuration mainly human, 
much as the Greeks and Romans represented their satyrs, fauns 
or Pan, and to Dionysus, Actaeon or lo simply added horns. The 
Devil then approximates to those wood-sprites, skrats and pilosi 
treated of in p. 478 seq. ; shaped like a man in the rest of his 
limbs, he is betrayed by his goat s ear, his horn, tail or horse s 
foot. A vtilant is thus described in Tund. 51, 33 : er het vil der 
hende, 1 an des libes ende einen vreislichen zayel (tail), der hefc 
manigen isnin nagel (iron nail), manigen haken chrumben, damit 
er die tumben cholt unde stichet. Even in heathen times the 
gods and ghostly beings could imitate beasts in some parts of 
their body : the Triglav of the Slavs had three goafs-heads, and 
a mixture of human with animal forms is extremely common in 
the Indian mythology; in the Greek and Teutonic it is rare, 
and then but barely hinted at. Huldra comes before us with a 
tail (p. 271), Berhta with the goose-foot (p. 281), the nix with 
a slit ear, and the nixie with wet skirt (p. 491), the hero with 
a swan s wing (p. 428) like Hermes with his winged feet, the 
water-wife with a snake s or fish s tail ; even the giant has [only] 
a finger and toe above the common (p. 52 7n.). The Devil s 
horse-foot may suggest the semi-equine centaurs, as well as the 
ON. nennir (p. 490). 

Conversion into complete animal form might easily arise out 
of this ; or it might be regarded as a prerogative of the higher 
being to transform himself into an animal for a time. 

The Devil in retiring is compelled unawares to let his horse- 
foot be seen (p. 326) ; a kobold (home-sprite) is also horse-footed 
(p. 511). To the water- sprite the whole or half of a horse s 
figure is attributed ; that is why horses are sacrificed to rivers. 
A British demon Grant, possibly connected with Grendel (p. 243), 
shewed himself as a foal, Gerv. Tilb. in Leibn. 980. Loki 
changed himself into a mare, and bore Sleipnir to SvaSilfori, Sn. 
46-7. The Devil appears as a horse in the stories of Zeno and of 
brother Eausch, and in legends (Zappert pp. 68 71) ; black steeds 

1 This many-handedness agrees with that of giants, but I do not remember to 
have seen the Devil represented with more heads than one, except in the shape of 
a dragon. Antichrist however was pictured with seven heads and a horse * foot, 
couf. Zappert ubi supra 73-4. 


fetch away the damned, and even convey heroes like Dieterich to 
hell, Vilk. saga 393. Otto Frisiug 5, 3 (see Suppl.). 

The representation of the Devil in the shape of a lie-goat 
goes back to a remote antiquity?; what can have given it such a 
vigorous growth among heretics and witches ? The witches all 
imagine their master as a black he-goat, to whom at festal gather 
ings they pay divine honours; conversely, the white goat atoned 
for and defeated diabolic influence (Haupt s Zeitschr. 3, 35). In 
oaths and curses of the 15-1 6th cent, the he-goat apes the true 
God : dass in der pock schend ! is a frequent formula in Hans 
Sachs ; they swore bei bocks schedel, skull, bei bocks lid/ 
limbs, as by the limbs of saints, bei bocks hulde/ grace. 1 Or 
can bocks here be a mere variation of botz, potz, kotz for 
G-otts (p. 15) ? It does seem singular that the 13th cent, poets 
never use bock in such a sense; only Martina 156 b . 184 b has 
helleboc clearly for the Devil. According to Schm. 1, 151, bock- 
schnitt means that bilwez-schnitt [cut through a neighbour s 
corn, p. 475-6], which the people ascribe to spirits and the Devil. 
Now the he-goat was the sacred beast of Donar, whom the 
modern notions of the Devil so often have in the background. 
In Switzerland the people will not eat goats feet, because the 
Devil appears with such, or you see them when he pulls his boots 
off (Tobler 214); it might equally well be explained by Donar s 
he-goats, whom he served up for dinner, then brought the bones 
to life again, and was angry when one of them was broken. But 
in fairy-tales the Devil himself appears as a Heating goat, and 
already in Gregory the Great s Dial. 2, 30 as cornu 2 et trepidi- 
cum ferens/ which I interpret, in the shape of a three-legged 
goat and horned ; three-legged animals being spectral and diabolic 
(pp. 920. 934) . The posterli also shewed itself as a goat (p. 933). 
May it not be that the figure of the he-goat sacrificed by the 
heathen (p. 52) was afterwards by the Christians transferred to 

1 Appenzeller reimchr. 14. 37-9. 51. 72. 95, and Senkenberg sel. 1, 46. bocks 
angst und gilt ! Er. Alberus 21. bocks marter ! 33. dass dich bocks esel schend ! 
23. dass dich box sners schende ! Schreiber s Freib. urk. 2, 67. durch bocks 
tod ! 3, 404. bocks lid answers to tiufel und sin lit, 1 Mone s Anz. 8, 41. 

2 To curse one leg off the devil s body, and the left horn off his head, Garg. 
232 a . People still say: he ll deny one of the devil s ears off him and on again, 
Haupt 3, 368 ; i.e. to curse and lie so hardily as to do the very devil s figure 
a damage. But what means the expression : ir licget dem tiuvele an daz bein 
(Roth. 3137) ? you swear falsely ? (p. 1008). 

VOL. ill. w 

996 DEVIL. 

the false god ? In the goat-hallowing of the ancient Prussians 1 
the victim was lifted up high. 

Next to the goat the boar, which was sacred to Fro among 
the ancient gods, which affords food to the heroes in Walhalla, 
and moreover, far from irrelevantly, mingles in the stormful 
march of the Wild Host (p. 921-3), is a devil s animal; 
hence in the roar of the whirlwind, people cry su-stert and 
sdu-zagel (sow- tail), rebuking the Devil by that name (p. 632). 
In devils buildings the sow plays another and perhaps more 
prominent part. The Evil One appears as a grunting sow 
(Schweinichen 1, 31). But the main point is, that here we 
again stumble on the name Phol : the MHG. fol, fal, ful in 
the compound urful signifies a boar, as is clear from the 
Schwabensp. 315 Wack., 204 Lassb., where the readings c erfaul, 
urfaul, urfol, urval, wurffel are all against ursul, which makes 
no more sense than halpswuol in Nib. 878, 3, the variants 
halbfwol, halpfuol, helfolen shutting us up to the combination 
halp-ful, halp-fol, i.e. half-swine as opposed to the full swine 
ur-fol, the old boar of five years. 3 Not that the god s name is 
to be explained by the beast s ; on the contrary, in both the 
compounds it has been transferred to the beast, and so preserved ; 
and as Phol is Paltar, it may now appear less venturesome to 
bring in as belonging here Baltero the boar s name in Reinardus. 

A soul-snatching wolf the Devil was already to the Fathers 
(Greg. M. opp. 1, 1486). In the Laws of Cnut he is se wod- 
freca werewulf (Schmid. p. 148) ; Ditmar of Merseb. p. 253 
calls him lupus vorax, and Loki s son is Fenris ulfr ; out of 
MHG. poets I have not noted down a hellewolf, but I hardly 
doubt their having used it, as Simplic. 2, 72 still does hollenwolf. 
And a Slavic name for the Devil, Pol. wrog, Boh. wrali, Serv. 
Slov. vrag, Russ. vrag, vorog, though it means malefactor, enemy, 
latro, is the same as the OHG. warg (lupus), Reinh. xxxvii. The 
Devil has monstrous jaws and throat in common with the wolf 
and hell : des tiuvels kiuwe, Warnunge 540. 

A canine conformation of the Devil is supported by many 
authorities: hellehunt in the old lay on Georio, Fundgr. 1, 13; 

1 Luc. David 1, 87. 98. Job. Voigt 1, 616. 

3 In MSS. it is hard to distinguish the long f from f. 


des hellehundes list (cunning), Hartm. Greg. 163. Eenner 289. 
wint (greyhound) in des tiuvels biunt, hunt in der helle grunt, 
Ls. 3, 124. helleriide, Martina 32 a (Diut. 2, 143), and kellewelf 
111% as the Edda already supposes a hvelpr in hell, Seem. 94 a , 
and the Greek religion a Cerberus (p. 814n.). A fight with the 
hell-hound is described in Fundgr. 178, and as a dog the Devil 
guards treasures (p. 977). black dog, Superst. Denm. no. 149. 
des tiuvels riiden, Renner 23343. H. Sachs iv. 3, 31 C provides 
him with a quail-hound (pointer, setter, to catch souls for him ?) .* 
May not the Latin latro (robber) have come from the barking 
animal, like our warg from the wolf ? It makes the Devil re 
semble both animals more (see Suppl.). 

Foremost among birds comes the raven, whose form the Devil 
is fond of assuming, Ls. 3, 256. der ungetriuwe hellerabe, 
Ottoc. 298 b . 803 b . volgen wir niht dem swarzen raben ! Rol. 
33, 23. volget dem swarzen raben niht ! Karl 19 b . c est uns 
deables, uns corbiax, Ren. 28284. The black raven sent out 
by Noah is called the foe (feond), Caedm. 87, 11. Not only the 
bird s colour, cunning and quickness, but his old connexion with 
Wuotan (p. 671) might, as in the case of the wolf, confirm the 
notion. In Caedm. 188, 6 the full Odinic epithet wcelceosig 
(sfcragem eligens), pertaining to the god s messenger-maidens 
(p. 417), seems archaically applied to the raven; it is true, even 
Jerome s commentary on Job 38, 41 had already in a far-fetched 
way made the (black) raven mean the Devil. In Danish folk 
songs the vilde ravn, vilde val-ravn (the corvus stragis, OHG. 
walahraban) takes exactly the place of the diabolic trold, D V. 1 , 
186-7. In the puppet-play of Dr. Faust, it is remarkable that 
the raven, who is bearer of the written covenant with the Devil; 
is called the bird of Mercury, which would be exactly right of 
Wuotan. Within the last few centuries only I find the vulture 
(geier) put for the Devil, 2 still more frequently the cuckoo, whose 
connexion with magic was spoken of, p. 679. Another bird 

1 Wahtelbein (quail-bone, decoy-whistle) des tiuvels, Berth. 225. sust verir- 
ret (so misleads) ez als em walitelbein, Jiingl. 1210. in korne wart ein kiindic 
wahtel nie so sanfte erbeinct, was ne er a quail so neatly boned, Ms. 2, 206t>. 

2 The vulture take you ! Gryphius p. m. 746. Where the vulture . . . ? 
Ettner s Unw. doctor 335. dass dich der geier schende ! Wackern. Lesebuch 
788, 21. Fundgr. 2, 320. 

998 DEVIL. 

whose figure is assumed is the cock : chanticleer and swine build 
together at the devil s dike (p. 1023), and from under the cloak 
of the human-shaped Devil peep out cock s claws in the same 
way as the cloven hoof. 

Incomparably older and more widely diffused is the manifesta 
tion of the Devil as a snake, worm, or dragon. The serpent that 
beguiled in Paradise was taken for the Devil himself. Beside 
antiquus hostis, he is antiquus anguis, anguifer hostis, letifer 
anguis, serpens (Greg. M. opp. 1, 111. Jonas Bobb. pp. 5. 15. 
Vita Burgundofarae p. 427. Vita S. Eomani p. 743), serpens 
antiquus, Caes. Heisterb. 7, 35, the old dragon, AS. draca, El. 
765. The belief is founded chiefly on Kev. 20, 2, and on the 
interpretations the Fathers gave of Leviathan. A dragon is 
mentioned in Rev. 12, 4, who with his tail drew the third part of 
the stars from heaven. 1 It is in this Biblical sense that our old 
poets call the Devil slange, hellewurm, Lohengr. 141, helletracke, 
Mart. 141 d ; but there also went with it an inkling of the native 
superstition about venomous fire- spitting worms, treasure-guard 
ing dragons (p. 978) and wonderful serpents (p. 684). As a 
dragon the Devil appears in numberless folktales, e.g. Deutsche 
sag. nos. 520. 858. Here I draw particular attention to that 
fairytale, in which it is variously the Devil, or the dragon, or the 
bird griffin, that has feathers plucked out of his tail in his sleep, 
Kinderm. nos. 29. 57. 165. Norske folkev. 1, 3133. Mailath s 
Magyar, m. 1, 179. The dragon of misfortune dogs mankind, and 
one whom everything goes against will say, On all my luck 
the Devil puts his tail. To the dragon also may be traced the 
Devil s wings, 0. Fr. diables enpanez, Meon s Nouv. rec. 1, 250, 
like angres enpanez 1, 272. When the church represented 
Leviathan as an enormous whale, whose cheek Christ pierced 
with his hook (Greg. M. 1, 110; conf. supra p. 182), that was an 
echo of the huge hostile world-serpent whom Thorr fished up 
from the bottom of the sea (p. 689) . As snake or dragon, the 
Devil has enormous jaws and throat (MHGr. kewen, Ms. 2, 166 b ), 
like hell itself (pp.314. 806-7. 996). 

Fly-shape. The LXX translates Baal-zebub, the name of the 
god of Ekron, by Bda\ /^vla, fly-god (2 Kings 1, 2). Ahriman in 

1 Der alte slange mit sinen genozen von himel wart her abe gestozen, sins libes 
wesen teilt er endriu (divides in three), etc. Renner 3100 seq. 


the shape of a fly pervaded all nature. Lith. mussu birbiks, fly- 
god (Mielke 231), birbiks usu. blowing, buzzing. Fairytales 
have diabolic spirits imprisoned in phials as flies. 1 Loki turns 
into a fiy (fluga), when he wants to defraud Freyja of the 
brisinga-men. Connect with this a Lombard story in Paul Diac. 
6, 6 of the malignus spiritus who settles on the window as a 
fly, and gets a leg chopped off; and one in Acta Bened. sect. 1, 
p. 238 of a devil being cast out : in muscae sirnilitudinem 
prorumpens cum sanguine de naribus egressus est inimicus/ As 
a fly, Loki finds his way into locked rooms through the keyhole, 
he can slip even through a needle s eye (Norske folkev. no. 31), 
which puts me in mind of his insinuating mother (p. 246) . The 
Devil, like the giant (p. 555), has the power to make himself 
great or small, JS r . folkev. 1, 134. 192. Of the elvish nature of 
butterflies, which as psyches (p. 829) may be spirits of good or 
evil, we have more to say in the sequel. When stagbeetles and 
dungbeetles are taken as devils, it gives assurance of a heathen 
point of view (see Suppl.). 

But also, and that from early times, the Devil has been likened 
to two implements, the hammer and the bolt, in which I have 
pointed out (pp. 180. 243) the reference to heathen gods. We 
have still to consider here what countenance they receive from 
the Bible or the Church. Malleus is reckoned among names of 
the Devil already in Jerome s epistle to pope Damasus (366 384), 
where he expounds the parable of the prodigal son ; Jerome may 
have picked up the expression from heathens in Dalmatia, Italy 
or Gaul; and he had been on the Rhine. Greg. M. (d. 603) opp. 
1, 1125) : f in scriptura sacra mallei nomine aliquando diabolus 
designatur, per quern delinquentium culpae feriuntur, aliquando 
vero percussio coelestis accipitur . . . nam quia in appellatione 
mallei antiquus hostis exprimitur, propheta testatur, dicens : 
quomodo confractus est et contritus malleus universae terrae ! 
(Jerem. 50, 23. conf. 51, 20). The two notions of a chastising 
God and of a hostile heathen power seem here to meet. In 
Donar s hand the hammer was at once a consecrating and a 
crushing tool : stormivind, whirlwind, phenomena which old 
heathenism ascribed to the lord of thunder, and later superstition 

1 Danish story of a devil slant up in a box, Thiele 1, 18. KM. no. 99. 

1000 DEVIL. 

to giants or devils (p. 635-6. Superst. I, 522, and Esth. 100), 
are in some parts of Germany called hammer, either from their 
violent destructive action, or because the Devil is imagined to 
have stirred them up. 1 In Rhenish Westphalia, when the wind 
suddenly throws the doors open, or whistles through the house 
by fits, they say : do es der aid van terjohren ! there goes the 
old one of last year, you know who, we need not mention names. 
As the name hamer for devil never occurs to my knowledge in 
poets of the Mid. Ages, I hesitate to derive those imprecations of 
the vulgar (p. 181-2) from the malleus of the Fathers ; I would 
rather believe in an original connexion between the heathen and 
Jewish beliefs. And the same might be the case with riegel 
(bolt) : vectis is not only a thing to fasten doors with, but to 
shove and thump with, lever, pole, almost malleus over again. 
Leviathan is called vectis, quia usque ad necem percutit (Greg. 
M. 1, 111). The MHG. hellerigel, AS. grendel (p. 243) might be 
an imitation of this vectis, and also have an older relation to 

I think I have often noticed that the Devil unwinds himself 
out of a ball of yarn. One fairytale makes him roll down the 
mountain as a millstone, Altd. bl. 1, 297. This displays his 
affinity to giants, for Swedish legend tells of giants who, when 
frightened at Thor s lightning darting through the air, come 
rolling down the mountain into the meadows in various shapes, 
mostly as bundles of thread or balls, and seek shelter with the 
mowers ; but these, well knowing the danger, keep them back 
with their scythes, and it is said to have often happened that the 
lightning came down and shivered the scythes, whereupon the 
giants with rueful moans rushed back into the mountain (Afzelius 
1, 10). It recalls to my mind the windball of the demons, 2 p. 
640 (see Suppl.). 

III. From the Devil s abode in hell, whence he has dislodged 

1 The Moravian peasant calls the whirlwind hammer (Meinert in the Vienna 
Jahrb. vol. 48. Anz. bl. p. 55), which may refer to Donar as well as the Devil, and 
thus agree with the fancies unfolded on p. 632 ; the Devil is described as ventus 
wrens and aquilo, Greg. M. 1, 547. 570, and the Mod. Greeks call him &VC/JLOS, Gramm. 
3, 736. It is odd that the Priscillianists ascribed storms to the Devil, thunder to his 
roaring, rain to his sweat, which sounds very heathenish. The Manicheans too 
explained thunderstorms by the fury of the chained Devil. 

2 Witches confessed they had been converted into balls, and gone bobbing 
round stark naked on tables and benches. Weng s Nordl. hexenprocesse p. 54. 


the heathen goddess, are borrowed his frequent names of helle- 
warte (-ward), Sumerl. 7, 9. Cod. pal. 361, 71 C ; hellehirte, P&rz. 
316,24; liellegrubel, Mart. 4 b . 10 b . 72 b ; hellewirt, Ms. 2, I75 a , 
and the like. Lohengr. 70, calling him helleseherge (-constable), 
says er las die sine an sich/ he gathered his own unto him, just 
as Wuotan receives the souls of his heroes. 

His dwelling lies in the North, which at once agrees with the 
view explained p. 34. Leit i norffr (looked to N.) occurs in 
the singing of a valgaldr (ferale carmen), Seem. 94 a ; diabolus 
sedet in lateribus aquilonis, Greg. M. 1, 1186; he claims to rule 
on nor&dcele/ Csedm. 3, 8 ; sets his throne nordernhalp , Diufc. 3, 
40. Fundgr. 2, 11 : < nrSr ok nor&r liggr helvegr (p. 802). The 
Esthonian also shuns the north side, Superst. N, 43 ; and the 
daemon s waterfall runs north (p. 493). 

I will here insert a few terms not touched upon at p. 804, 
because I am not sure if they originally belonged more to Hell 
or to the Devil. In the old play of Theophilus, after he has sold 
himself to Satan, he is conducted to a castle, where it is cold, 
but high feasting is kept up: up de Ouelgunne (ill-favour). This 
name, aptly expressing the envy and malice of the fiendish nature, 
is borne by several places in Lower Germany : an Ovelgunne in 
the Magdeburg country, one in the Miinster, near Hortsmar, and 
one in the Osnabriick between Witlage and Diimmersee; an Ovel- 
gunne by Werben in the Altmark, an Ovelgonne in Oldenburg, 
an Ovelgunne estate in Eidighausen parish, Minden country, an 
Ubelgiinne by Warburg, Paderborn country, and four or five 
more in L. Germany. Probably other localities have the same 
name, which makes one think of the equally well chosen Ubelloch 
(Malpertuis) in our Reinhart. Whether they were so named 
in allusion to the Devil, or, as I rather think, to their bleak 
northerly aspect, is a point to be determined; in the latter 
case the name is fitly transferred to the Devil s dwellingplace, 
which is directly opposed to heaven s blessed and blissful hall 
of joy (p. 820). Again, they say in L. Saxony: na Hekelvelde 
varen/ fare to H., Sam. Meiger ccciii*; in Denmark: gaa du 
dig til EdJfkenfeldt ! Lyngbye s Far. qv. p. 549. Thiele 3, 71 
spells it til Hekkenfjfrlds ; what if the allusion be to Hakelberg, 
Hakelbernd (p. 923) ? Yeld is not our feld, but the ON", fiall 
(fell, mons), as the Dan. form fjald shews; and Hakelberg may 

1002 DEVIL. 

be the furious hunter s and therefore the Devil s abode, nay, 
it is evidently Mount Ilelda in Iceland, sometimes called Heklu- 
fiall, a rendezvous of witches; and Fischart Garg. 119 b calls it 
Heckelberg. Hekla itself is apparently named from the shape 
of the cloak or cowl (cucullus), as Wodan is the cloaked one, 
hacol-berand ; so that there are many points of contact. 
AbyssuSj 1 whence our nolis, I have spoken of, p. 805, and only 
wish now to give fuller examples of the latter form. Kilian has : 
nobisse (daemon, nanus, cacodaemon), nobisgat (orcus), nobis- 
kroech (orcus). I dare say there are even more Nobiskrugs in 
L. Germany than Ovelgunnes, the name is often given to border 
taverns [krug=jug, alehouse], where you get as it were into 
a new country ; thus you find a nobiskrug on the Frisian and 
Saxon frontier in Ostringien bailiwick, Oldenburg, another 
between Altona and Hamburg ; by Kiel, by Miinster, out of the 
way publichouses receive the name, which does not convey quite 
the bad sense of our hell, but rather the ancient one of death 
and the underworld: f he is n&nobs-kroge means no more than he 
is dead. Nobiskrug is also used by HG. writers of the 16- 17th 
cent., usually for hell, devil s tavern, he being a \ie\\e-ivirt 
(-landlord): in nobiskrug faren, Luther s Table-talk, ed. 1571, 
418 a . the rich man s soul in nobiskrug/ Fisch. Garg. 53 b . that 
he die not thus unshriven, and fare perchance to nobis-haus 
Eulensp. 277. darauff sie sagt, sie wird dalent me in Nobis 
krug sein ( = be dead), L. Thurneisser s Nothgedr. ausschr. 1584, 
iii. 85. dein seel fahr hin in nobiskmg, Cursus Cleselianus. 
fehrst in nobiskrug/ Ayrer 76 b . f the Devil builds alway his 
chapel and nobiskrug, where God his church hath set, Andr. 
Musculus s Hosenteufel 1630, p. 16. to have been in nobiskrug, 
Chr. Weise s Floretto p. 74. nobishaus, Burc. Waldis 191 a . 303 b . 
According to Staid. 2, 240 nobiskrattcn are the place where 
unbaptized children go. 

More beautiful is Walther s (123, 38) expression for hell, f daz 
verlorne tal, recalling Dante s .citta dolente and his f per me si 
va tra la perduta gente* (see Suppl.). 

i Provencal alis, Rayn. 1, 14 a , conf. 1, 184 b baratro, baratrum ; but even the 
Italian has by the side of abisso formed a nabisso (from in-abisso). In Kol. 195, 1 
a heathen standard-bearer is called Abissc, but the 0. Fr. poem has Abismes, as if 
hell s abyss. The Brem. wtb. 3, 254 gives the older form obiskroog, obskroog. 


IV. Obscure names. On the Goth, skohsl for Saifioviov a con 
jecture was hazarded p. 487, which is strengthened or weakened 
by the AS. scocca (also spelt sceocca, scucca, 1 therefore hardly 
scocca) ; with skohsl as it is spelt, the root skaka (quatio) would 
agree, while skiuha (timeo) would require skuhsl. Still nearer 
perhaps is the ON. skass (femina gigas), for which in Saem. 154 b 
the MS. reads skos. There is one expression for devil now largely 
diffused in Germany, but nowhere used except as a diminutive : 
L. Sax. stopke } stopke in der lielle, on the Main stebchen, stdbchen, 
in thieves slang steppche, stepclies, U. Sax. stebgen, stopgen, 
Thur. stopfel, Baden steubel ; what is meant by it is particularly 
the flying fiery dragon, who calls at the homes of his devotees, 
bringing them money and corn; a fiery man, a will o wisp 
(Superst. I, 611), and the will o wisp was called dolgr, foe, fiend 
(p. 916) : all this throws no light on the origin of the word. A 
L. Saxon and Westphalian name already touched upon p. 52 In., 
is dros, de dros in der Jielle, dross ; people swear bi m dros and 
curse dat di de dros sla ! Brem. wtb. 1, 257. The HG. d-rus, 
truos, drils appears to correspond, but is only used impersonally 
of pestilence, ch. XXXYI. There is a host of provincialisms 
besides, and I can neither quote nor explain them all : in Swit 
zerland they say kuhni, kueni, Staid. 2, 142, perhaps the bold, 
reckless one; in Ravensberg district kramberend (conf. Brem. 
wtb. under krambeer, krambeker), bramberend (from bram, 
broom, genista?), Jianax, etc. ; the M. Nethl. barlcbaen, barlibaen 
(Huyd. op St. 3, 38. Rein. 5184. Fergut 1754. 2372. 3763), 
occurs pretty often, but is unintelligible, and the Romance 
languages afford no light ; the only thing like it is the 0. Eng. 
barlibak (ace. to Massinger 1, 80 the name of an evil spirit), and 
barlibreak, barleybreak ia a play in which hell is represented 
(Nares sub v.); a MHG. bceser/nwMm;/ Turl. Wh. 136 a , said to 
be spelt femurc in Cod. Pal., seems to contain mure (putridus), 
Wh. 23, 5, and the ON. myrkr, AS. myrce (tenebrosus) p. 830 ; 
lastly, f ein tiuvel der hiez oggewedel, der ie die ersten luge vant/ 
invented lies, Ms. 2, 250 b : wedel is flabellum, and occurs in other 
names for the devil, Griinwedel, Strauss wedel, ch. XXXIV, and 

1 Beow. 1871 laSum scuccum and scinnum (invisis daemonibus et praestigiis), 
conf. scinna J>eaw (pracstigiorum mos), Cod. exon. 362, 4 ; sceuccum onseecgan 
(daemoniis immolare), Ps. 105, 27 ; sceuccgyldum (sculptilibus), ib. 26. 

1004 DEVIL. 

harmonizes with flederwisch, whisk; and if ogge be the same as 
ocke, ecke, uoke (p. 237), the OHG. form would be Uokiwedel, 
flabellum horrendum. 

Several appellations are proper names of men, bestowed on 
the evil spirit either as euphemisms or in good-natured pity, just 
as on hornesprites (p. 504) and will o wisps (p. 917). Such are 
the Engl. old Davy, old Nick (Nares sub v. Nicholas), though 
here there may also be an allusion to Hnikar(p. 488) ; the Dan. 
gammel Erik (p. 989) ; the Swiss kueni above may mean Kueni 
(Conrad, as the noisy ghost was called Kurt, p. 913 n.) ; and is 
Benz (in Keisersb. teufel, Oberl. sub v.) Benno ? [Burns s Nickie 
Ben ?] ; a Bavar. Muchsel might come from Nepomuk, unless 
we prefer Schmeller s interp. sly sneak 2, 546 [mugger, 
s-muggle ?] ; but hardly Stcpclien from Stephen ? Velten (Val 
entin) often stands for devil ( potz Velten ! ), I suppose with an 
allusion to valant, p. 991; so does meister Peter, Peterchen, 
Peterle, Ettn. unwiird. doctor 672, and this recalls nicknames 
for a thief- taker or constable, who is likewise called meister Peter 
or Hemmerlin, RA. 883, so that he lends a name to and borrows 
one from the devil, for the devil is hell s constable/ he binds 
and torments souls, and is called henker, dieblienker [Burns s 
auld Hangie] . Now, as soldiers give their provost-marshal the 
nickname stepchen too, it is worth considering whether stepfel 
may not come from the MUG. stempfel, Ms. 2, 2 b , which again 
brings up the question of frau Stempe s spectral nature (p. 278). 
A record of 1177 (no. 71 in Seibertz) has Stempel as a proper 
name (see Suppl.). 

Such grafting of the Devil on older native beliefs in spirits 
and semi-divine beings was altogether natural, as Christian 
opinion held these to be diabolic, and the people tried to domes 
ticate the outlandish Devil. Hence Fischart could call him butze 
(p. 506) : may I become the very butze s if, etc/ Garg. 224 a ; 
and the same in Altd. bl. 1, 55. The skratti (p. 478) of ON. 
superstition hovers somewhere between woodsprite, devil and 
giant, and so is troll (p. 526) a daemon in this more compre 
hensive sense. 1 In the cursing formulas troll hafi Jnk ! or troll 
hafi )?ina vini ! Nial. cap. 38, troll hafi J?ik allan ! Kormakss. 

1 Troll ok ovcettr, Fornald. sog. 2, 248 ; troll ok eigi ma&r, Finnbogas pp. 264. 
292. 340. 


188,, troll taki harm ! Orvarrodss. cap. 9, f fara i trolla liendr ! 
Laxd. p. 230, it answers exactly to our Devil, yet also to tlie 
older and more pagan one : eigi ]>ik gramir or * iotnar ! 
(p. 990-1). In Sa3m. 39 we read : < farjm nu far smyl hafi jric ! 
It seems that Scandinavian sorceresses call the Devil urdar mani 
(luna saxeti, Biorn sub v.), which I know of nothing to compare 
with. And as Loki is next of kin to Hel (p. 312), we find the 
Devil in close contact with Death (p. 854) : den tiuvel and den 
tot viirhten/ Fnd. 67, 9. 

So far our survey of a great variety of names (from which how 
ever all merely Jewish ones, like Beelzebub, Asmodi, Belial etc., 
had to be excluded) has already shewn an admixture of heathen 
ingredients, or betrayed a still older identity or similarity of 
Christian and pagan beliefs. Apparently words like gram, un- 
hold, and perhaps scado, can only have been applied to the newly 
adopted Devil because they already signified to the heathens 
a hostile hateful spirit. Old was already said of giants, and 
could the more readily be used of the Devil. Wolf, raven, goat 
called to mind the animals that escorted heathen gods or were 
sacrificed to them. The designations hammer and bolt, and the 
northerly residence were, to say the least, in accord with heathen 

Let us try whether these results are likewise supported by the 
substance of the tales and traditions. 

To the new converts the heathen gods were one and all trans 
formed, not only into idols, i.e. false lying gods (galiuga-guf, as 
Ulphilas advisedly renders idola), but into devils, i.e. fellows and 
partners in a rival kingdom, whose dominion was broken down, 
but yet even under retreat, put forth some power. Whoever 
clung to the ancient gods and sacrificed to them in secret, was a 
devil s servant, and his idolatry a downright diobol-yeld (p. 38-9) ; 
formulas of abjuration were imposed, which quote in one category 
the devil and the once honoured gods. 1 In the AS. Laws deoflum 
geldan means simply to serve the old gods. This mode of think 
ing, which gave the ancient deities more than their due, could not 

1 Forsachistu diobole (dat.) ? EC forsacho diabole end allum diobolgclde 
end allem dioboles \vercum end wordum, Thuner ende Woden ende Saxnote ende 
allem them unholdum the hiro genotas sint. 

1006 DEVIL. 

always be avoided, so long as a belief in the reality of those gods 
was undestroyed in the hearts of men : the new doctrine could 
more easily take root and germinate by representing the old as 
odious and sinful, not as absolutely null ; the Christian miracles 
looked more credible when something supernatural was allowed 
to time-honoured heathenism too. This view found a precedent 
in the New Test, itself: the god Beelzebub of the O.T. had dropt 
into the class of devils. Long in the habit of regarding Jupiter, 
Mercury, Mars and Yenus as diabolic beings, how could the 
converters, preaching Christianity to our forefathers, have set 
Donar, Wuotau, Zio, Frouwa and the rest in any other point of 
view ? 

What is said and sung of the breaking of heathen images of 
gods entirely confirms the fact that the false gods were credited 
with some degree of diabolic activity. When thrown down, they 
complain, as demons, of the violence of the intruders (p. 498-9) : 
Perun s image, which the men of Novgorod dragged through 
their streets and flung into the Volkhov, broke into wailings on 
the faithlessness of his former adorers. Olaf talks to the statue 
of Freyr (p. 657), and with Thorr he has to stand a regular con 
test (p. 177). St. George compels Apollo s image to walk and 
speak, Geo. 33 35. Mars, a liigeliche got/ had prophesied at 
Rome the Saviour s birth, and when it took place, his image 
suddenly crumbled down : als- der tievil do verdolte den slac 
(tholed, suffered the blow) von himel so grozen, er fuor ze smcn 
genozen (fared to his comrades) sa verstozen in die helle, da ist 
er gebunden sere, daz er niemer mere her uz mac gereichen/ 
Maria 191-3. Darius writes to Alexander : if thou get the 
better of me, so mugen von himele mine gote zo der helle wesen 
bote/ Alex. 2542, i.e. they have belied my confidence, and are 
devils. Medieval poetry is full of such statements. I have 
shewn in ch. XXXI the way in which Wuotan, distorted into a 
Wuotunc and wiitende (furious) hunter, appearing at the head of 
the Wild Host, was made a devil of (p. 920). That is why the 
Devil is called helle- jager, Mart. 62 d . 174 d : f er ruschte als der 
tiuvel in dem rare, MsH. 3, 187 a ; f als in (him) der tiuvel jagete, 
Livl. chr. 96 b . Our folktales make him either ride a black steed, 
or drive in a magnificent car (Mone s Anz. 8, 184) like Wuotan 
and like Donar. 


Wuotan was known as the god and inventor of gaming, and 
of dice in particular (pp. 150. 160) : it was he that gave the all- 
winning die to Player Jack in the fairytale. But very commonly 
dice-playing is ascribed to the devil, in folktales he looks on afc 
the game, especially if played during divine service on Sunday, 
and he plays with men, who have to stake their own souls; 1 in 
witch-trials he is called Schenzerlein, 2 dicer, from schanzen to 
throw dice, Schm. 3, 374 ; and he lies in wait for gamblers, 
Renn. 11316 seq. 

Judaism has devils, but knows nothing of she-devils ; all power 
for good or evil it places in the hands of male beings (p. 396) . 
To put it still more generally : gods are altogether the older, and 
a strict Monotheism or Dualism recognises gods alone ; it is in 
the mellower fulness of Polytheism that goddesses first emerge. 
The Teutonic paganism, like others, is fond of female deities 
and elves : even the Goth, vaihts (genius) is feminine (p. 439) . 
Divine mothers, bright benignant dames, norns, valkyrs, wood- 
wives, water-maidens, formed a main part of the religion : only 
kobolds and home -sprites are exclusively male; the very 
giantesses are often lovely in mien and manners, and the world 
of the dead is ruled by a goddess. 

Following this general tendency, as a negative must run on the 
lines of the positive, it was Teutonic to the core for Ulphilas to 
translate &uynovtov by unhulfio, and not to form a neuter, which 
would have been just as easy. To the converted Goths this 
feminine unholda fills the place of what their fathers had believed 
in as Holda. 

It is no slight confirmation of the diabolic nature of Grendel in 
Beowulf, that he has a mother at his elbow, one with even more 
of the giant in her than he ; that she tries to avenge his death, 
and the hero s exploit is not complete until her discomfiture : 
Grendel s modor 2517-64. 3076. It is a very ancient feature in 
our nursery-tales, that in the Devil s dwelling sits likewise his 
grandmother (mother, or sister), and when the hero turns in for 
shelter, she takes pity on him and befriends him against the 
monster, Kiuderin. 1, 152. 2, 188 devil s grandmother (eller- 
mutter, great-grandm.). OSinn taunts the Vala with being 

1 E.g. in Tettau and Temme s Preuss. sagen 197-9. 200-212. 

2 Nordliuger liexenprocesse, p. 46. 

1008 DEVIL. 

j>riggja Jmrsa moffir, Saem. 95 b . The human guests usually 
arrive while the devil is out, they are then concealed by her, and 
smelt out by the son on his return. So Thorr and T$r come into 
giant Etymir s house, where they find his 900-headed grandmother 
(amma) and another female, his sweetheart, who hides them 
under the cauldron, Saem. 53*. The Indian giant too has a soft 
hearted sister living with him (p. 459). Now those stories of 
the devil were known here in the 13th cent. ; a poem of the Cod. 
Vindob. 428 no. 154 contains the words: ( der donr slahe uns 
beide ! der tiuvel brahte mich zuo dir, und dich sin muoter her 
ze mir/ his mother brought you to me ; mit des tiuvels muoter 
wette loufen/ run a race with; Wahtelmaere 108: f ist diz der 
tufel daz hie vert (rides), oder sin muoter, oder sin sun? Herb. 
7729; der tufil adir sin eldirmuoter. Altd. bl. 1, 264; des 
teufels muoter/ 01. Hatzl. 219, 16 ; and in Margareta v. Limburg 
she plays an important part (Moneys Anz. 4, 166). We see that 
she is by turns represented as all that is bad, outdoing even her 
son, and again as of a gentler disposition : a widower a widow 
wedded, the devil to his dam was added (things got worse) says 
Burc. Waldis 138 a ; kam nicht der Mansfelder, der teufel mit 
seiner mutter (omnia mala simul), Berl. kal. 1844 p. 298: to 
swear one of the hangman s grandam s legs off/ Simplic. 2, 254; 
I fear me not, were it the devil and his dam. 1 And this sub 
ject again contributes popular explanations of natural phenomena : 
a sure indication of old myths in the background. When rain 
and sunshine rapidly succeed each other, it is said as a proverb, 
1 the devil bleaches his grandmother (de diivel blekt sin mom) : 
in Switzld. the devil beats his mother/ Tobler 294 a (also, the 
heathen hold a hightide) ; of a brown complexioned man, he s 
run out of the devil s bleaching ground (he is dem diivel ut der 
bleke lopen) ; if it thunders while the sun shines, the devil beats 
his mother till the oil comes/ 2 In Nethl., de duivel slaat zyn 
wyf/ and "tis kermis in de hel (nundinae sunt in inferno). In 
Fr., le diable bat s&femme, when it rains amid sunshine (Tuet s 
Proverbes no. 401). In connexion with this ought to be taken 

1 Conf. Felner s Flores philol. cap. 7 p. 103. Names of the devil or his grand 
mother were given to cannon (liommel 4, 180) ; Huck vor die nolle = D. s mother 
(Stender s Lett. wtb. 2, 337). 

8 Praetorii Blocksbergverr. 2, 113. Brem. wtb. 1, 97. 


the explanation of crackling fire (p. 242) and of earthquake 
(p. 816-7). The last quotation names the wife instead of the 
mother, like the i6ttm s/n7/a in H^mis-qvrSa; and Hagene says 
of Brunhild, who made him feel uncomfortable, f ja sol si in der 
helle sin des ubelen tiuvels brut (bride) , Nib. 426, 4. A Greek, 
seeing giant Asprian grind fire out of stones, cries out, heir 
veret des tuvelis brut/ Roth. 1054 ; just as another giant s (the 
Wind s) bride fares along (p. 632). Percuna tete (p. 173) washes 
her son the Thunder-god in a bath : this is the Bavarian anel 
with her ley (p. 641). In Austria they tell (Ziska pp. 1416), 
of the devil s fr anel (= ver anel), how she felt dull in hell, and 
came for a change to the Highlands (Up. Austria), where she got 
her son to build her a castle near the Danube, imagining the people 
would worship her as much as the virgin Mary ; but as no one 
wanted her and the people laughed at her, she was enraged, and 
threw a huge piece of rock with a part of her castle into the 
Danube, at the spot now called wirbel and strudel, and the ruins 
of her house are still named the devil s tower ; conf. p. 592 on 
whirlpools. I suppose no one can doubt that all these notions 
date from heathen times 1 (see Suppl.). 

Private sacrifices, intended for gods or spirits, could not be 
eradicated among the people for a long time, because they were 
bound up with customs and festivals, and might at last become an 
unmeaning harmless practice. We have seen how a clump of 
ears was left standing in the field for Wuotan or dame Gaue, and 
a bushel of oats was presented to Death or the Wild Hunter. 
This the clergy of an older time would at once have set down as 
deoflum geldan (Leges Wihtrsedi 13). It is certain that the 
centuries immediately following the conversion still witnessed 
lighted candles beside holy waters (p. 584). In Norway lambs 
and kids, mostly black ones, were offered to the watersprite 
(p. 493) ; and similar sacrifices were in use among the Lettons 
and Lithuanians in modern times. Whirlpools and rivers de 
manded goats and horses (p. 592), Hecate black lambs. In a 
Hessian folktale the Devil guards a treasure, and will allow 
no one to lift it unless he offer to him a black he-goat exactly 
a year and a day old. This is an almost invariable incident in 

1 Mone in Anz. 8, 450 interprets the devil s mother as Deineter, who in the 
Eleusinian mysteries is made the mother of Dionysus. 

1010 DEVIL. 

treasure-lifting, and must have been deeply stamped on the 
people s imagination. To the examples given at p. 977 I will add 
one from the mouth of the peasantry in L. Saxony. Whoever 
goes into the forest on Shrove Tuesday and sits down under a har 
row, may look on at everything, the beasts rushing through the 
wood, the king on his car with foxes [sorrel horses ?] going be 
fore him, and whatever there is to be seen that night. A shepherd 
who knew this and wished to try it, went and sat under the harrow 
in the wood, and looked through the holes; then, when the devilry 
was over, he tried to creep out again from under the harrow, but 
he sat fast, and the Devil stood beside him, shewing his teeth : 
have you got a black sheep, said he, f one that is coalblack all 
over ? Give it me, and you ll get loose/ The shepherd lay there 
till daylight, then some people passing through the wood tried to 
set him free, but could not, so he had his black sheep fetched, the 
Devil took it and flew up in the air with it, and the shepherd got 
loose. Black cocks were also sacrificed (Dieffenbach s Wetterau 
279), but there must not be a white feather on them, Bechst. 4, 
207. Little men of the mountain can also be conjured up, if you 
place a new table for them, and set two dishes of milk, two of 
honey, two plates and nine knives upon it, and kill a black hen, 
DS. no. 38. Guibertus (vita 1, 24) speaks of a cock-sacrifice that 
was still in use in France : diabolo gallo litare, ita ut ovum de 
quo concretus est, die Jovis, mense Martio, in gallina constet ex- 
positum ; the cock was roasted, and carried to the pond (i.e. to 
a watersprite again). In H. Sachs iii. 3, 13 C a man says he 
will cover two old women with bear skins, stick them all over with 
green lozenges, and give them to the Devil on new-year s day. In 
Burcard Waldis 150 a we read of sending the soul stuck over 
with may (or birch) to the Devil. 3 1 To light a candle to the Devil 
(Schweinichen 2, 54) is preserved to this day as a proverbial 
phrase. Drink-offerings to the highest gods of heathenism must 
after the conversion have appeared devilish. At p. 50 was men 
tioned the kufe (cask, bowl ? ) out of which our ancestors drank 

1 These must be thoroughly popular phrases. In Christ. Weise s (Drei erznar- 
ren, Lp. 1704 p. 426 : if she were my wife, I d have her gilded and stuck o\er with 
rosemary, put an orange in her mouth, and sell her to the hangman for a c^icking- 
pig. In his Kliigste leute, Augsb. 1710 p. 124 : ay, you should stick him or\r a* i/i 
rosemary, gild Jiis snout, and squeeze a Borstorf apple between his teeth, you\could 
invite the Devil to dine off him then. That is how old-fashioned cookery u:\ed to 
garnish its roast. 


Wuotan s rninne; perhaps even Saturni dolium (pp. 126. 247) 
was no bath, but a drinking vessel. It seerns worth noting, that 
in an AS. sermon the words in 1 Cor. 10, 20 f non potestis calicem 
Domini bibere et calicem daemoniorum/ which Ulphilas renders 
verbally (ui magu)? stikl Fraujins drigkan jah stikl skohsle), are 
thus expressed : f ne mage ge samod drincan ures Drihtnes calic 
and ]?8es deofles cuppan/ so that ( cuppe was the technical name 
of the heathen vessel. People still say, if you leave anything in 
your glass, that you are sacrificing to the Devil (Garg. 43 b ). But 
there is also ground for maintaining that a devil s or hell s lath 
was believed in, as we- saw before : ze helle baden/ Welsch. 
gast 105 a ; to get into the Devil s bathroom (Sastrow s Life 1, 
11) means the height of distress. Popular legend often speaks 
of devil s baths (see Suppl.). 

As in that passage of Wernher s Maria (p. 1006) which describes 
the Devil as chained in hell, so through the Mid. Ages in general 
he seems to have been imagined as lying bound till the dawn of 
the Judgment-day ; then he will get loose, and appear in company 
with Antichrist. His liberation from bonds therefore marks also 
the time of general confusion and the world s destruction. One 
popular tradition makes him lie tightly bound under the table at 
which two virgins (evidently norns) are spinning, Deut. sag. no. 9. 
In other tales a noose of bast is slipt over his head, which like the 
chained wolf he is unable to break, and in that state is mauled 
011 the anvil with a hammer, which leaves him lamed (Mahrische 
sagen, Brimn 1817, pp. 69. 72. 123); still better known is the 
story of the blacksmith, who gets him to creep through the key 
hole into a sack, and then hammers him to pieces. I hold these 
pictures to be heathenish and Eddie (see p. 244) ; as Prometheus 
is chained, so Ahriman lies fettered for 1000 years, so Lolti is 
bound ; not only in Germany, but in Scandinavia the expression 
the Devil is loose/ Nethl. de duivel is los/ has been handed 
down through many hundreds of years in the people s mouth. 1 
With this we must connect that of fire breaking loose (pp. 245. 
602), and of rubbing fire out of wood to break the devil s 
strength, (pp. 606-7). What there is at the bottom of another 
saying, The Devil s dead, and any one can get to heaven un- 

1 Sweil. uu iir Fan los, Hallman s Skrifter, Stockh. 1820, p. 224. 
VOL. III. x 

1012 DEVIL. 

hindered (Meinert s Kuhlandchen 215), I do not rightly know ; 
it can hardly mean the devil s defeat in the Christian sense. The 
Msere von der wibe list 368 already has a protestation durch 
des tiuvels tot. I incline to identify it with the exclamation 
quoted p. 453 n., the king is dead! namely of the dwarfs or 
elves. 1 The Eenner 17982 says: waeren die teufel tot, miinche 
und pfaffen kaemen in not/ be in a bad way (see Suppl.). 

To Wuotan, as the war-loving god, were imputed the setting 
up and sowing of strife and enmity (p. 145 n.). So Ahriman sows 
discord, Death sows his seed (p. 848), and Werre or Discordia 
hers (p. 273-4 n.). Shall we set it all down to the sowing of 
the devil s tares in Matth. 13, 39, or allow to the notion a more 
universal character ? Sathanas seminavit semen suum, Bohmer s 
Fontes 1, 47. den samen kan der tiuvel geben, Freid. 67, 25. 
des tiefels same/ Walth. 31, 34. der tievel hat gescet den 
sinen samen in diu lant, Ms. 2, 111*, warp de duvel sin sat 
dar in/ Detm. 2, 217. 

It is remarkable that in Beow. 348 seq. the devil is called 
gastbona, soul-killer, and 3485 ~bona, shooting with fiery bow ; as 
indeed we find in Mod. German the murderer from the first 
(Sieben ehen p. 394), the cruel hangman of souls (in Erasm. 
Francisci) ; conf. the Serv. stari krvnik (p. 21). To him, as well 
as to Death, are ascribed bands, ropes, bridle and steed : diufeles 
gi-benti/ O. i. 10, 22. mit des tievels bande geseilet/ tied, Karl 
33 a . der tievel hat mich gestricket snared, 17 a . in des tivels 
zoumheften (bridle-fastenings) sitzen/ Tod. gehugde 782. an 
des tiuvels sttn/ cords, Renner 21232 ; bridles and saddles the 
devil s horse 14429. tiuvels sail/ MsH. 3, 218. 

To deepen the impression of something horrible, we still say, 
the very Devil would shudder and shrink at it, used as he is to 
horrors. As early as the 12th cent., it is said (Diut. 3, 59) of 

1 In many other cases it is difficult or impossible to trace the origin of the 
Devil s connexion with certain superstitious beliefs and modes of speech. People 
say : when the shaft is out of your hand, it belongs to the devil (he can steer it to 
where it will do mischief). Who runs behind himself (not so fast as he could), runs 
into the devil s arms, makes the devil s bed, Superst. I, 604. 659. Idleness is the 
deviVs lounge, Nethl. luiheid is duivels oorkussen (pillow). Take the plough off the 
drap;, or the devil sleeps under it, ib. 819. When you can t find a thing, the devil 
h olds his hand or tail over it 256. The devil s plough and cushion appear already 
in Renner 15597. 15938. richtuom ist des tivels wetzestein, Welsch. gast 125 b . 
des tiuvels dorn, Renner 1748. What does des tiuvels zite liden (Walth. 107, 
28) mean ? his festivals ? zite (pi.), OHG. zlti, ON. tl Sir, festa. 

DEVIL. 1013 

monsters with flashing teeth : swenne si si lazent plecchen, so 
mahten sie ioch (eke) den tiufel screcchen. And MsH. 3, 293* : 
so luog ich herviir, ich moht den tiuvel uz der lielle erschrecken, 
swenne ich den minen kolben uf enbiir (see Suppl.) . 

Our common folk, when the disagreeable is suddenly brought 
forward, or is bound to befall them, are apt, in outcry or curse, to 
bring in the Devil or some baneful being that does duty for him : 
has the devil brought you here again? Platers leben p. 77. 
whence brings him the devil ? hat dich der tiuvel har getragen ! 
Meyer and Mooyer 48 a ; hat dich der tiuvel also balde (so soon) 
getragen har? 27 b . der tiuvel hat in dar getragen/ Reinh. 
1544. der tiuvel braht in hiure her/ Gute frau 783. So in 
M. Nethl. : galghenere, die lede duvel bracht u here/ Ferg. 
4735 ; die lede duvel droech u hier 520. deable li ont amene/ 
Ken. 5051. 8171. dise hat der tiuvel gesendet in min lant/ 
Bit. J0 b . der tievel sande mich an die stat/ Reinh. 311. 551. 
sus (so) kam er her geriieret, als den der tiuvel fiieret/ Trist. 
6855. quis te maleficus hie adduxit? Vita Joh. Gorziensis, 
before 984, in Mabillon s Ann. Bened. sec. 5, p. 401. does the 
ritt (pestis) bring you here now ? H. Sachs iv. 3, 5 b ; equivalent 
to the Westphalian wo ford di de siike her ? for diseases were 
looked upon as demonic beings. But what means that in 
Schmidts Schwab, wtb. 544, has the zauch brought you back 
already? I suppose, the hellish hound (tyke, OHG. zoha, bitch). 
Westph. fort juw de kiwitt (peewit) nu weer her ? instead of the 
more usual cuckoo, vulture, which, like the peewit, are magical 
birds, hat mich der guckguck hergebracht/ Grobianus 97 a . 
And curses go through the same variations : ( daz dich der tiuvel 
hin fiiere ! Sifrit 74, 2. var du dem tiuvel in die hant ! 
Eeinh. 952. Me diable t emporte ! " the geicr (vulture) take 
you ! Gryphius 746. e the cuckoo and his clerk fetch him ! 9 
Dan. var satan i void ! die leide ride (mala pestis) miieze in 
vellen ! Karlmeinet, Meusebach 162. In the same way are to be 
judged the formulas about becoming and being the devil s, i.e. 
falling due to him, where again cuckoo, vulture and the rest can 
be substituted. A devil s carl, devil s child, des tuvelis kint, 
Rol. 2, 31 mean those taken possession of by him : curiously 
Lamprecht makes Porus exclaim 4452 : dirre tubilis Alexander 
stellet michel wunder/ this hero is bold as the devil. 

1014 DEVIL. 

These quotations will not appear superfluous, if we will observe 
that they fit themselves to the Devil chiefly in those respects in 
which he is a product of heathen god-notions. As we hear it 
said just as much : ( what (ill) weather sends you here ? what 
tempest (or thunderstorm) has brought you this way ? what, has 
the hail beaten you here too ? where does the hail beat you 
from ? in Simplic. 5, 2, " I ll be the weather s if . . ./ I ll be 
thunder s first ! l and even where does the Lord send you here 
again from ? ; can anything be plainer, than that such phrases 
properly refer to the heathen Donar, lord of the weather, conse 
quently that by the Devil afterwards put in his place we are to 
understand him ? Or we may, if we please, summon up some 
storm-breeding giant, a Blaster, Vader or Fasolt (pp. 549. 630). 
We know that thunderbolts are also devil s fingers (p. 179). And 
here some other points can be made good. Donar had a red 
beard, and our proverb runs : red of beard, devil s weird, rode 
baert duivels aert (= kind)/ We good-naturedly pity in the 
words poor devil ; in the 1 7th cent, they still said poor thunder, 
Weise s Drei erzn. pp. 14. 335 ; and thunder s child is synony 
mous with devil s child, ibid. 285. 425. The author of Simplicis- 
sitnus writes both teufelsgeld p. 480, and donnersgeld p. 481, in 
the sense of accursed pelf. The curse f zum donner still means 
exactly the same as zum teufel ; and our fahr zum teufel ! 
answers in effect to the ON. far til Offins ! O&inn eigi )>ic ! as 
well as to f ]?ik hafi gramir, iotnar, p. 991, and to dat die de 
Earner ! Hamer sla ! p. 181. To the benediction Gott wait s 
(God guide it) ! corresponds in the mouth of the vulgar the curse 
des walte der teufel I der donner ! Nor be it forgotten, that in 
exclamations and curses, of no matter what language, names of 
old gods get hardened and fixed; conf. p. 783-4, and Gramm. 3, 
297 (see Suppl.). 

Again, the Devil stands connected, not only with the gods of 
heathenism, but with its daemons, its spirits ; and a good deal of 
what was ascertained in ch. XVII. will apply to him. Thus he 
is called the wicht, the bosewicht, the hellewicht (p. 441) in the 
harshest sense ; the alp, whose spell binds men, may stand for 

1 Ik sen donners ! Hansen s Geizhals p. 120. In Pruss. Natangen, Pikullis 
(p. 672, surely not akin to Picken p. 176 ?) takes the place of it : hat mich heute 
der Pakulls gedragen ? Firmenich s Volkerst. 1, 108. 

DEVIL. 1015 

him. Like elves lie has the power of appearing, disappearing, 
and transforming himself, only the more sportful mischief of 
these sprites becomes grim earnest when applied to him. Like 
the alp, the Devil or valant is said to ride men, p. 464: in a poem 
of Heinr. von Miiglein (Mus. 2, 196) God destines him to ride 
a wicked woman over hill and dale/ It is a remarkable thing, 
that the notions of wind, wight, thing, and no less those of devil 
and valant, are used to strengthen a negative, Gramm. 3, 734-6 
(see Suppl.). 1 Now, as the word tropf (drop, ibid. 730) was used 
in the same sense, it explains how the expressions f armer tropf 
(poor wretch, fool), armer wicht, armer teufel all came to have 
one meaning. We either attribute to spirits and the Devil the 
swiftness of wind, of the Wild Host rushing in storm, or we 
imagine the wind itself a spirit and devil (p. 999) ; hence the 
following are synonymous turns of speech : sam sie der tievel 
vuorte/ as though the d. carried her, Rab. 749. Dietr. 8854, and 
as if the wind drove her/ ( she rushed past me like the zauch 
(tyke, p. 1013)/ Schmid s Schwab, wtb. 544. 

That morbid imbecile condition of one whom the elves are said 
to have touched (p. 461) is undoubtedly analogous to possession 
by devils. The difference lies in this, that the Heathen view 
makes the spirits operate purely from without, while in Jewish, 
Oriental and Christian doctrine the devils take up their abode in 
a man s body, and for the abnormal condition to cease, they must 
be formally cast out. An actual incarnation took place (p. 338), 
and we speak of devils incarnate. Saul is possessed by the evil 
spirit. When Nalas had defiled himself, the demon Kalis entered 
into him, but retired at length, and passed into a tree (Bopp s 
Nalas pp. 234. 267. 196-8). Even our early Mid. Ages furnish 
examples : Carl, son of king Ludwig, was a demoniac (Pertz 1, 

1 Nib. 1682 : ich bringe iu den tiuvel means I bring you none at all, as we 
say the devil a bit, etc. But also the simple indefinite pronoun is intensified by 
the addition of devil : welcher teufel ? who ? [quisnam, ri s TTOTC] Phil. v. Sittew. 
1, 30. besehen, wclchen tiuvel sie mit im wellen ane-vahen, see what d. they 
will do with him, Morolt 2650. zuo welchem tiuvel bin ich geschart ? Bit. 7766. 
von welchem tiuvel si sint komen ? Dietr. 81 b . welchen tiuvel haste ein wip an 
dir ersehen ? = who in the world, Hartm. erst, biichl. 818. Cries of surprise : 
was teufel^ what (the) devil, Dan. hvad fanden (intens. hvad i fandens skind 
og been, skin and bone), drink then you and the devil ! (Schlampampe p. 17) are 
still common among the people. The meaning of the last is you and whoever it 
may be ; but the combination is also a counterpart of the God and I explained 
on p. 16. daz weiz er und der tiuvel wol, Helbl. 7, 125. Curiously in Eenner 
1745 : dem tiuvel von erst und darnach GoteJ the d. first, and then God. 

101G DEVIL. 

495) . ] For elves to steal men s children, and put their own 
changelings in their place, is heathenish (p. 468) ; for the Devil 
to lie hid in the changeling, is not (Zeno 58 seq.). Again, 
the devil-possessed are like those houses and tenements where 
racketing sprites have made themselves fixtures (pp. 514. 892). 2 
An early instance of this is that Grendel in Beowulf, who disturbs 
the royal hall by his nightly visits. For possessed (arreptitius, 
daeinoniacus), having the devil in one s body, the OHG. has the 
following terms : fimoman, taken up, 0. iii. 14, 107 (MHG. vil 
gar vernomen ich do lac/ I lay insensible, Fragin. 46 b ) ; ther 
diufal ist iru inne? 0. iii. 10, 12; gramon in-giuritun, p. 991 
(0. Fr. maus esperis li est cl cors cntres, Garin p. 280) ; tiuvol- 
ivinmc, tiuvolwinnantij Gl. mons. 337. 391. Doc. 239, as well as 
tiuvolsioli, AS. deofolseoc (-sick); in 0. iii. 14, 63 thie mit 
diufele ivunnun, who had to contend with the devil ; and that is 
the meaning of H. Sachs s wiitig und winnig* 1, 481 b . iv. 3, 16 a . 
In the 13th cent, our possessed was already a current phrase : 
besaz sie der valant, Uolrich 1510. nu var hin, daz hiute der 
tievel iiz dir kal ! holla out of thee, Ben. 440. der tiuvel var 
im in den muntt* pop into his mouth, Reinh. 1642. f var du 
dem tievel in die liant ! 852. der tiuvel var dir in den bale ! 
into thy skin, Morolt 1210. ( der tufil muez im durch daz herze 
varn ! Grundr. 314. ( tusent tiuvel uz dir bellen ! bark, MsH. 
3, 259 b (we still say, an evil spirit spoke out of him }. f ich 
waen der tiuvel uz beiden luge/ Keinh. 309. 520 (see Suppl.). 

The words last quoted bring us to his mendacity. The Scrip 
ture calls him a f father of lies ; f tievellichen gelogen lied like 

1 Vita S. Godehardi (d. 1038) : In civitate Katisbona quodam tempore sanctus 
Godehardus morabatur, pro negotio forsau sui monasterii ; ubi quaedam obsessa a 
daemonio ad eum ducebatur, ut sanaretur ab eo. Quam vir Dei inspiciens ait : 
responde mibi, immunde spiritus, ad ea quae a te quaero. quid bic agis in cre- 
aturaDei? At daemon ait : pleno jure est anima ipsius mea, quod incantatrix 
est, et per earn multas animas lucratus sum. Et ait vir sanctus : quare propter 
incantationem tua est? Et daemon ait: nonne legisti quia Dominus pitliones, 
divinos et incantatores jussit exterminari? quid enim tales faciunt, nisi quod mibi 
meisque principibus deserviunt ? idololatrae enim sunt, vix enim aliquos tanto jure 
possidere possumus quanto hujusmodi vitiis irretitos ; numquid ignoras quod inter 
mille incantatrices aut divinos vix una invenitur quae vel qui velit boc vitium 
confiteri ? sic enim ora ipsorum claudimus, ut de talibus loqui nihil valeant quovis 
modo. The bishop casts out the demon. Et sic spiritus ille malignus abscessit, et 
inulier ut mortua cecidit. Sed vir sanctus subito earn erexit, erecta vero publice 
vitium incantationis, quod dudum multoties perfecerat, cum lacrymis est coiifessa, 
quam et vir sanctus solvit. 

2 A deserted castle possessed by the devil, Greg. Mag. dial. 3, 4. Like tormenting 
sprites, tbe devilf/nws stones, conf. Greg. Tur. vitae patr. 1, vita Heimeradi cap. 21. 

DEVIL. 1017 

a devil, says Nib. 2167, 3. What if the corrupt Dan. Locke 
lojemand, lovmand p. 246 had an allusion to lyve (mentiri) pret. 
loi, or if a kinship could even be established between luge (men- 
dacium) and logi (blaze, blast) ? Wind means to us a false 
allegation, windbag a humbug, liar. A Dan. proverb says : 
logn er et skadeligt uveir (mendacium est tempestas nociva), 
Saxo Gram., - ed. Mull, p. 200. A liar is also a mocker, hence 
des tievels spot/ Nib. 2182, 2. daz sinen spot der tuvel mit 
den sinen habe, Gr. Rud. 1, 9. In Mod. Nethl. de vyand heeft 
my beet gehad/ hostis me ludibrio habuit (see Suppl.). 

Grendel s diabolic nature resembles that of bloodthirsty water- 
sprites (p. 494) ; he lives too in moors and fens, and comes up at 
night to haunt sleeping mortals : com of more gangan/ Beow. 
1413; he flies under fen-hleoiSu 1632. He drinks men s blood 
out of their veins 1478, like vampires whose lips are moist with 
fresh blood. An ON. saga has a similar demon, called Grimr 
cegir because he can walk in water as on land, he spits fire and 
poison, sucks the blood out of man and beast (Fornald. sog. 3, 

About when in the Mid. Ages did the idea spring up of formal 
covenants and treaties which the Devil concludes with men ? To 
the unfortunate, the desperate, he promises temporal blessings 
for a number of years, bat bargains for their souls at the expira 
tion of the term, and insists on a written bond usually signed 
with the men s blood. This sounds not heathen, but rather as if 
invented after the Roman mode of writing had become general 
in Europe. The Norse devil 1 tries to strike profitable bargains 
too, but never in writing. The most famous and variously told 2 
tale is that of the vicedominus Theophilus. It is known that 
Gerbert, afterwards pope Silvester 2 (d. 1003), was said to have 

1 The iotunn p. 547. The transaction is called a purchase. 

2 The event itself is placed at the beginn. of the 6th cent. ; the oldest work 
I know of, that relates it, is Hroswitha s poem Lapsus et conversio Theophili vice- 
domini (Opp. ed. Schurzfleisch pp. 132-145), of the latter half of the 10th cent. 
Not long after comes the mentiou of it by Fulbertus Carnotensis (d. 1029), Opp. 
Paris 1608, p. 136. A Historia Theophili metrica is attrib. to Marbod (d. 1123), 
and stands in his Works (ed. Beaugendre pp. 1507-16). The story occurs in Hart- 
mann s poem (12th cent.) Von dem geloubeu, 11. 1927-98. Berceo (d. 1268) merely 
alludes to it in Milagros de Maria str. 276, and in Duelo de Maria str. 194 ; so does 
a MHG. poet, Altd. bl. 1, 79. Widest diffusion given it by Vinceutius Bellovac. in 
Spec. hist. 22, 69. Dramatized by Eutebeuf (Legrand 1, 333 ; now publ. in JubinaFs 
ed. 2, 79-105, and Michel s Theatre Fran?. 136-156 with notes on its liter, history) ; 
and aft. by a Low Gerrn. poet (Bruns p. 389). 



sold himself to the devil (Anon. Leobiens. in Fez 1, 763). In 
the Annolied str. 46-7 is the story of one Volprecht, who gives 
himself to the devil ; another in Ottocar cap. 335. In most 
legends of this kind the Devil misses his prey after all, and is 
made to give up the damning document. The man may have 
denied God, but has never renounced the heavenly Virgin, so she 
lends a helping hand. In a Swiss folktale the devil bargains 
that the contracting party shall never say the gospel of John any 
more (de Hanseler uf der lalle ummedriillen), but he comes to 
grief nevertheless, for the poor shepherd lad whistles it from 
beginning to end. Another time the Evil one is promised 
payment of the sum advanced, at the falling of the leaf; but 
when at fall- time he presents himself, and presses the bargain, he 
is shown trees in the church, that were cut with the leaves on 
(Kinderm. no. 148), or else firs and pines (Woycicki s Klechdy 1, 
149). On the whole there are ways more than one, to cheat the 
poor devil of his legal due. One who has bound himself to him, 
but who for seven years long neither washes nor combs, is rid of 
him again ; or he need only have demanded that the devil shall 
make a sapling grow, a thing beyond his power (Superst. I, no. 
626). The former is the story of Bearskin (Simplic. 3, 896. 
Kinderm. no. 101), and of Brother Sooty (KM. no. 100): Bear- 
skin has to remain seven years in the devil s service, wrapt in a 
bear s hide by way of cloak, i.e. leading a lazy inactive life (conf. 
p. 1010, the bearskin offered to the devil). Almost every case 
contains this stipulation of seven years to be spent in his service 
and lore. 1 

What has a more direct bearing on our investigation is, that 
some of the ON. legends speak of a gefaz O&ni (giving oneself 
to 0.) exactly as the Christian Mid. Ages do of writing or vowing 
oneself into the Devil s hands. Indeed gefa seems the most 
genuine expression, because the free man, who of his own accord 
enters into service and bondage, gives, yields himself : giafyrsel, 
servus dedititius (RA. 327); begeben is used in MHG. of 
maidens giving themselves up to the church. The Olaf Trygg- 
vas. saga tells how king Eirikr of Sweden gave himself to 

^ * Mone s Anz. 5, 176. In a MHG. poem (Fragm. 20 C ) an old man is addressed : 
dm hundert jar sint nu komen zuo siben jdrcn uz erwegen, daz din der tiufe I 
miieze pflegen. 

DEVIL. 1019 

Oftinn (at hann gafsc Offtii) in return for his lending him victory 
for ten years long, Fornm. sog. 5, 250 and 10, 283; and this last 
account calls Oddiner a devil (so in 10, 303 a diofull me S asionu 
O&ins, looking like 0.). That the ancient god of victory here 
sinks into the Enemy of good, is, from the legend s point of 
view, quite in order. The only question is, whether the loan for 
ten years, and after that, the king s forfeiture to the god, were 
taken over from Christian stories of the devil, or had their ground 
in heathen opinion itself. In the latter case it may have been 
these heathen traditions that first suggested to Christians the wild 
fiction of a league with the devil. It is true the Norse authorities 
say nothing about a bond signed in blood, nor about fetching 
away upon forfeiture (see Suppl.) . 

How to call to the Devil, when one wishes to have dealings 
with him, we learn from a Dan. superstition (no. 148) : Walk 
three times round the church, and the third time stand still in 
front of the church-door, and cry come out ! or whistle to him 
through the keyhole. That is exactly how spirits of the dead are 
summoned up (Superst. G, line 206 seq.). The kiss, by which 
homage was rendered to the devil, does not occur till we come to 
heretics and the later witches ; it seems either copied from the 
secular homagium, or a parody of the Christian kiss of peace 
during Adoration. 

The devil in some stories, who brings money or corn to his 
friends and favourites, approximates to good-natured homesprites 
or elves ; and in such cases nothing is said about a bond or about 
abjuring God. He is usually seen as a fiery dragon rushing 
through the air and into chimneys (Superst. I, nos. 6. 253. 
520-2-3. 858). The Esthonians say, red streaks of cloud shew 
the dragon is flying out, the dark that he is returning with booty 
(Superst. M, no. 102) ; so the Lithuanians about the red alb and 
the blue (N, no. 1). In Lausitz they tell of a corn-dragon (zitny 
smij) who fills his friend s thrashing floor, a milk-dragon (mlokowy 
smij) who purveys for the goodwife s dairy, and a penny-dragon 
(penezny smij) who brings wealth. The way to get hold of such 
a one is the following : you find a threepenny piece lying some 
where to-day ; if you pick it up, there ll be a sixpenny piece in 
the same place to-morrow, and so the value of what you find will 
keep rising till you come to a dollar. If you are so greedy as to 

1020 DEVIL. 

take the dollar too, you get the dragon into your house. He 
demands respectful treatment and good fare (like a homesprite) ; 
if goodman or goodwife neglect it, he sets the house on fire over 
their heads. The only way to get rid of him is to sell the dollar, 
but below its price, and so that the buyer is aware and silently 
consents. 1 It is the same with the alraun and the gallows- 
mannikin (p. 51 3 n.). If given away, these breeding-dollars always 
come back (Superst. I, no. 781). 

But nowhere does the Devil savour so much of heathenism as 
where he has stept into the place of the old giant (pp. 999. 1005. 
1023-4) . Both of them the thunder-god pursues with his hammer; 
as the sleeping giant is struck by Thor s miolnir, so is the devil by 
the blacksmith s hammer (p. 1011) ; 2 the devil with three golden 
hairs (KM. no. 29) has already been likened to the ON. Ugarthi- 
locus (p. 244) . And more especially is he giant-like, where the 
people credit him with stupendous feats of building and stone- 
throwing : here he puts on completely the burly, wrathful, spiteful 
and loutish nature of the iotunn (pp. 534. 543-54) ; stupid devil 
is used like stupid giant (p. 528), The building of Christian 
churches is hateful to him, and he tries to reduce them to ruins ; 
but his schemes are sure to be foiled by some higher power or by 
the superior craft of man. Like the giant, he often shews him 
self a skilful architect, and undertakes to build a castle, bridge 
or church, only bargaining for the soul of him who shall first set 
foot in the new building. 

What was once told of the giant is now told of the devil, but 
a harsher crueller motive usually takes the place of milder ones. 
The giant in building has commonly some sociable neighbourly 
purpose (pp. 535-54), the devil wishes merely to do mischief and 
entrap souls. Norway has many legends of giant s bridges. The 
jutul loves a huldra on the other side of the water ; to be able to 
visit her dryshod, he sets about building a bridge, but the rising 
sun hinders its completion (Faye 15. 16). Another time two 
jutuls undertake the work to facilitate their mutual visits. Over 

1 Lausitz. monatsschr. 1797, p. 755-6. Conf. the Flem. oorem, Haupt s 
Zeitschr. 7, 532. 

2 It is no contradiction, that in other stories the Devil has the opposite part of 
Donar with his hammer and bolt handed over to him, or again that of the smith, 
the limping Hephaestus. A preacher of the 14th cent. (Leyser 77, 10) speaks of 
the evil devil s blow-bellows. 

DEVIL. 1021 

the Main too the giants propose to build a bridge (p. 547), 
though the motive is no longer told. When the Devil builds the 
bridge, he is either under compulsion from men (Thiele 1, 18), or 
is hunting for a soul (Deut. sag. nos. 185. 336) ; but he has to 
put up with the code or chamois which is purposely made to run 
first across the new bridge. 1 A Swiss shepherd in a narrow glen, 
finding he could not drive his flock over the brook, wished the 
devil would bridge it over for him ; instantly the fiend appeared, 
and offered to do the work on condition that the first thing that 
crossed should be his : it was a goat that led the way (Tobler 
214 a ). In one French story, having reserved for himself every 
thirteenth creature that should cross the bridge, he has already 
clutched numbers of men and beasts, when a holy man, being 
a thirteenth, confronts and conquers him (Mem. de 1 acad. celt. 
5, 384). 2 The church-building devil also having bargained for the 
soul of the first that should enter, they make a wolf scamper 
through the door (Deut. sag. no. 186) ; he in a rage flies up 
through the roof, and leaves a gap that no mason can fill up (the 
last incident is in nos. 181-2). On mountains he builds mills, 
and destroys them again (nos. 183. 195). 3 His icager with the 
architect of Cologne cathedral is remarkable : that he will lead 
a rivulet from Treves to Cologne, 4 before the other can finish his 
church (no. 204). In the same way a giantess wagers to throw 
a stone bridge over a strait of the sea, before St. Olaf shall have 
brought his church-building to an end ; but the bridge was not 
half done, when the bells pealed out from the sacred pile. She in 
vexation hurled the stones she was building with at the church- 
tower, but never once could she hit it ; then she tore off one of 
her legs, and flung it at the steeple. Some accounts say she 
knocked it down, others that she missed; the leg fell in a bog, 

1 Before entering a new house, it is safest to let a cat or dog run in first, 
Superst. I, 499. 

2 The devil is shut up in a tower, where he may get out at the top, but only by 
mounting one stair a day, and there being 365 of them, the journey takes him a 
whole year. 

3 A mountain called Teufelsnmlin at the source of the rivulet Alp is ment. in 
Dumbek s Geogr. pagor. p. 79 ; and a mill Duvelmolen near Soest in Seibertz 1, 
622. Bechst. Franken p. 107. Baader s Bad. sag. no. 487. 

4 By this was meant the old Roman aqueduct (Gelenius de admir. Col. p. 254), 
of which an equally fabulous account stands in the Annolied 510 : Triere was em 
burg alt, si zierte Bomare gewalt, dannin man undir der erdin den win santi verre, 
mit steinin rinnin, den herrin al ci iniruiin, di ci Colne wariu hedilhait. 

1022 DEVIL. 

which is still named Giograputten (Faye p. 119). Pell-ringing is 
hated by dwarfs (p. 459), giants (Faye p. 7. 17. Thiele 1, 42), 
and devils/ who keep retiring before it : these legends all 
signalize the triumph of Christianity. Out of some churches the 
devil drags the bells away (Deut. sag. 202) : at first he does not 
know what the new structure is for, and is pacified by evasive 
answers (no. 181) ; but when it stands complete, he tries to 
batter it down with stones. Devil s stones are either those he has 
dropt as he bore them through the air for building, or those he 
carried up the hills when undoing some work he had begun, or 
those he has thrown at a church (nos. 196-8-9. 200. 477). Scan 
dinavian stories of stones hurled by the giant race at the first 
Christian church are in Thiele 2, 20. 126-7. Faye pp. 16. 18; a 
Shetland one in Hilbert p. 433. Frequently such fragments of 
rock have the fingers of the devil s hands imprinted on them; a 
stone on which he has slept shews the mark of his ear, Deut. 
sag. 191. At Limburg near Tiirkheim in the Palatinate is a 
stone, which the Evil one was bringing to fling at the church 
but being only a young devil, he tired of the heavy load, and lay 
down to sleep on it ; his figure printed itself on the rock, and he 
overslept the time during which the throw ought to have been 
made. In the vale of Durbach, on a hill of the Stollenwald, 
stand eleven large stones ; the twelfth and largest one the devil 
was carrying off, to batter down the Wendels-kirk with ; he had 
got across the Rappenloch with it, and halfway up the Schiehald, 
when he laid his burden down, and had a rest. But after that he 
could no longer lift the heavy stone, its pointed end stuck fast in 
the mountain, and you may still see the round hole made in it by 
the devil s shoulder-bone. So the church was spared, but the 
devil still drives about the place now and then with six he-goats, 
and at midnight you hear the crack of his whip (Moneys Anz. 3, 
91). Devil s Dikes* are explained by the people as built by the 
Devil to mark the boundary of his kingdom (Deut. sag. 188); he 
is imagined then as the ruler of a neighbouring and hostile 
kingdom (a lotunheimr), nay, as disputing with God the possession 

1 In the Mid. Ages bells were rung to keep off lightning (the heathen Donar) 
and the devil. 

2 Dike has the double sense of ditch and earth-wall, both being made by 
digging ; hence also any wall. The Germ, graben, ditch, bas in some old words the 
meaning of wall. TRANS. 

DEVIL. 1023 

of the earth, till at last they agree to divide it, and the Devil 
builds the boundary- wall (no. 189). But these devil s walls and 
devil s ditches alike gather additional significance for us. The 
people call the Roman fortifications in Bavaria, Swabia, Fran- 
conia and the Wetterau, not only devil s walls, but pfalgraben, 
pohlgraben, pfahltobel (-mounds), and even simply pfal, pi. pfale, 
which is explained as our pfahl, pale or stake, a word early 
borrowed from Lat. palus (Graff 3, 331). But these walls have 
no stakes in them, only stones and bricks ; it seems more correct 
to trace the name to our old friend Phol ; the form Wulsgraben, 
which occurs in the Wetterau (Dieffenb. Wett. p. 142) and is 
merely a softened pronunciation of Phulsgraben, is clearly in 
favour of it ; and we have seen several instances in which Phol, 
Pfal, Pful interchange. What is more, in various places the 
devil s wall is also called the schweingraben (swinedike), and a 
remarkable Swabian folktale says it was scratched up and rooted 
up out of the ground in the night by a chanticleer and a hog. 1 
Does not that unmistakably point to pfol the boar (p. 996) ? I 
have scarcely a doubt that popular tradition and local names will 
yield some further confirmations. On this devil s wall the devil 
is said to come driving on Christmas night (Abh. der Miinchn. 
acad. 1, 23, conf. 38), as nearly all the heathen gods are astir 
from then to Twelfthday. Nor ought we to overlook, that in 
such districts we also come across ten f els grab en, duJcersgrdben, 
e.g. in Lower Hesse, where Roman walls never came : any rocks 
and walls that strike the eye are traced back by popular imagina 
tion either to giants and devils, or to Romans (p. 85) and Hel 
lenes (p. 534) . One piece of rock the Devil puts on as a hat, to 
shew his enormous strength ; then comes the Saviour, and slips 
the same on his little finger (Deut. sag. no. 205), just as Thorr 
keeps outdoing the giant (p. 545) : doubtless a fiction of primitive 
times. But when footprints of the Saviour and the Devil are 
pointed out on high cliffs, from which the tempter shewed and 
offered to his Lord the landscape invitingly spread out below 
(DS. 184. 192), that seems to be founded on the Bible. 3 Pro- 

1 Prescher s Hist, bl., Stuttg. 1818, p. 67. Where the wall runs over the 
Kochersberg to the K. Murr, the country people all call it schweingraben. 

2 Ulrichs in his Journey through Greece 1, 44 gives the story of a devil s stone 
(logari) from which the Devil preached (Xtryos). 

1024 DEVIL. 

jectiug crags are called devil s pulpits (Staid. 2, 85, kanzeli, 
fluhkanzel), whence he is said to have preached to the assembled 
people (DS. 190. Bechst. 3, 222); perhaps in olden times a 
heathen priest stood there, or a divine image ? or are they simply 
ancient Woden s hills ? The devil s beds may be placed by the 
side of the Brunhilde beds and the like (see SuppL). 

Here I will make room for a few detailed narratives. The 
Devil is represented as a masterful giant who will have his tithe 
and toll : sometimes he appropriates the first who crosses the 
bridge, at other times the last. So from the wheel of fortune 
(p. 868) he every year made the last pupil drop off, 1 and took 
him to himself. A Spanish legend has it, that there was a cave 
at Salamanca, where he constantly maintained seven scholars, on 
condition that when they had finished their studies, the seventh 
should pay the lawing. Once, when a set of students were 
taking their leave, and the last was ordered to stay, he pointed 
to his shadow, saying ( he is the last ! So the devil had to taJce 
the shadow, and the pupil escaping remained without a shadow 
all his life. Jamieson gives the details of a Scotch superstition : 
f Losing one s shadow arrives to such as are studying the art of 
necromancy. When a class of students have made a certain 
progress in their mystic studies, they are obliged to run through 
a subterraneous hall, where the devil literally catches the hind 
most in the race, unless he crosses the hall so speedily that the 
Arch-enemy can only apprehend his shadow. In the latter case 
the person of the sage never after throws any shade, and those 
who have thus lost their shadow always prove the best magicians/ 
The devil is cheated of his prey, and has to put up with the bare 
shadow, like the dishonest man in the sham penance (RA. 678) 2 
(see SuppL). 

That significant Norrland story of the giant Wind and 
Weather (p. 548), whose connexion with the Devil is placed 
beyond a doubt by the observations on pp. 1000-14, is related by 
Thiele 1, 45 in the following shape. Esbern Snare wished to 
build Kallundborg church, but his means not sufficing, a trold 

1 Da nu einer ins teufels recler sesse, oder gar in sumpf gefallen were, oder 
des tods schwaden hette ihn ergriffen, Mathesius 140^. 

2 Chamisso s Peter Schlemihl rests, no doubt, on a legend substantially the 
same. Of the homesprite Vollmar, on the contrary, nothing was seen but the 
shadow, p. 509. 

DEVIL. 1025 

offered his assistance on condition that, when the church was 
finished, Esbern should be able to tell the trold s name, or else 
forfeit to him his heart and eyes. The work went rapidly for 
ward, and only half a pillar was wanting, when Esbern began to 
be alarmed, because he knew not yet the trold s name. Anxious 
and sad he wandered in the fields, when at the top of a rock he 
heard the voice of a trold-wife : hush, hush, my child, to-morrow 
comes thy father Fin bringing thee Esbern Snare s heart and 
eyes to play with/ Esbern came home comforted ; he stept into 
the church, the trold was just bringing up the stone shaft that 
was still wanting, when Esbern hailed him by the name of Fin ! 
In a rage the trold shot up into the air with the half-pillar : that 
is why the church stands on three pillars and a half only. Finnr 
is the name of a dwarf in the Edda. The German legend on 
p. 549 is told thus in Lower Hesse : A peasant on the Ellenbach 
(by the Sandershauser mt. near Cassel) had so much corn to 
gather in, that he knew not how to house it all : his barn was too 
small, and he had not the money to build a larger. As, thought 
ful and anxious, he paced his fields, a gray old mannikin stept up 
to him, and asked the reason of his sadness. When the peasant 
had told him the plight he was in, Graymannikin smiled and said : 
a barn I would doubtless build for thee, so roomy that thou 
canst garner all thy crop therein, and ere to-morrow s dawn shall 
it stand ready in thy yard, if thou wilt make over to me whatso 
ever hidden property thou ownest. 1 The peasant thought of 
treasures underground, which could do him no good till they 
were lifted, and he closed with the stranger s offer : not till he 
turned to leave did he notice a cow s foot and horse s foot peep out 
from under the gray coat. He went home, and told his wife what 
had happened to him in the field : my God ! what hast thou 
done ? I have a child unborn, and thou hast signed it away to 
the Evil one. The moment it was dark, a tremendous din arose 
in the farmyard, carters, carpenters, masons working away to 
gether, the Devil as architect directing the whole business, which 
advanced with incredible speed : a few hours more, and the barn 

1 Hottr (hat, gray hat), i.e. Off inn (p. 146), after giving Geirhildr his spittle to 
be the barm of the ale she was brewing (conf. p. 902), demands what is between her 
and the vat, viz. her unborn child, Fornald. sog. 2, 26. The wilde icalrabe (p. 997) 
requires of the queen det du haver under belte dit^ DV. 1, 187. If only for this 
one incident, I hold the Hessian tale to be of heathen origin. 

1026 DEVIL. 

stood ready built, the roof was thatched, the walls filled up, only 
a square or two stood open in the gable. Then the cunning wife, 
dressed in her husband s clothes, crept across the yard to the 
henhouse, clapt her hands / and mimicked the crow of a cock, and 
all the cocks set up a crowing one after the other. The evil 
spirits scuttled away with a great uproar, leaving but one gable- 
square of the new barn empty : one carter had just come up 
with a large stone drawn by four chestnuts, when the Devil 
caught him up and smashed him, cart and steeds and all, against 
the barn ; his figure was printed on that same stone for a remem 
brance, and may be seen there now. The barn-gable no human 
hand has ever been able to close up ; what was built in by day 
would always fall out again at night. 2 The hill where the gray 
man first appeared to the peasant is called Teufelsberg. Not far 
from Romhild stand the Gleichberge, high basaltic hills, one of 
which has its top encircled by a double ring of stones irregularly 
piled. Here the Devil once carried a wall round the castle of a 
knight, having bargained for the hand of his lordship s daughter. 
But before daybreak the young lady s nurse slapped her lenses 
loudly with her hands, the cocks began to crow } and the devil lost 
his bet. Exasperated he destroyed his own work, therefore you 
see only ruins of the wall. Another version of the story (Bechst. 
Franken p. 261) is, that the nurse, having overheard the compact, 
stole out at early morn with a dark lantern to the hen-roost ; 
the cock, suddenly seeing the light, thought it was day, and 
crowed with all his might. 3 A mill at Coslitz being badly off for 
water, the Devil undertook to provide it with plenty by daybreak, 
before the cock should crow ; the miller in return bound himself 
to give up his handsome daughter. In one night therefore the 
devil had nearly finished cutting the conduit from the Elbe to 
Coslitz, when the miller repented, and, some say by imitating 
the cock s cry, others by knocking his leather apron, made the 
cock crow before his time, whereupon the devil departed in anger, 
and the trench remained unfinished, Mitth. des Sachs, vereins, 

1 Clapping of hands avails in enchantments. "Wolfdietr. 1372 says of the 
heatheness Marpah e : sie sluog ir hend ze samenj and immediately turned into a 

2 In any church the hole at which the devil has flown out can never be closed. 

3 Same incident in a Thuringian story, Bechst. 3, 224. 

DEVIL. 1027 

Dresd. 1835. 1, 11. At Geertsbergen in W. Flanders there goes 
a similar story of a devil s barn (duivel schuer), and here too the 
farmer is saved by the cunning of his wife : lang voor dat de 
haen gewoon is te kraeyen, sprong zy het bed uifc, en Hep naer 
buiten, waer zy een onnoemlyk getal werklieden bezig zag met 
de schuer op te maken, aen dewelke nog slechts een gedeelte 
van den zymuer ontbrak. Zy plaetste haren mond tusschen hare 
handen, en schreeuwde zoo schel als zy maer kon : l Jcoelceloren 
liaen I en alle de hanen in de rondte lieten hun eerste morgen- 
geschrei hooren. Het werkvolk was verdwenen, en de schuer 
stond er, doch met dien onvoltrokken gevel ; men heft herhaelde 
malen beproefd het gat te stoppen : telkens komt Satan het s 
nachts openbreken, uit weerwraek dat de ziel van den boer hem 
zoo loos ontsnapt is. 1 

The Esthonians call a farm-servant who has charge of the 
barns and grains riegenkerl/ Once a riegenkerl sat casting 
metal buttons, when the Devil walked up to him, said good day, 
and asked, what are you doing there ? I am casting eyes/ 
Eyes ? could you cast me a new pair ? Oh yes, but I ve no 
more left just now/ But will you another time ? Yes, I can/ 
said the riegenkerl. When shall I come again ? ( When you 
please/ So the devil came next day to have eyes cast for him. 
The riegenkerl said, Do you want them large or small ? Very 
large indeed/ Then the man put plenty of lead over the fire to 
melt, and said, I can t put them in as you are, you must let me 
tie you down/ He told him to lie down on his back on the 
bench, took some stout cords, and bound him very tight. Then 
the devil asked, what name do you go by ? Issi (self) is my 
name/ A good name that, I never heard a better/ By this 
time the lead was melted, and the devil opened his eyes wide, 
waiting for the new ones. Now for it ! said the riegenkerl, 
and poured the hot lead into the devil s eyes ; the devil sprang up 
with the bench on his back, and ran away. He was running past 
some ploughmen in the fields, who asked him, who s done that 
to you? He answered, issi teggi (self did it). The men 
laughed and said, self done, self have/ But he died of his new 

1 Kunst en letterblad, Ghent 1840. p. 7 ; and from it Wolf no. 187, who gives 
similar stories in no. 186 and note p. 680. 


1028 DEVIL. 

eyes, and nobody has ever seen the devil since. 1 In this tale the 
Devil is more a blundering giant than the malignant Foe of 
mankind ; his blinding and the name Issi reminds us of Homer s 
Polyphemus and OVTLS, as well as of the oriental Depeghoz 
(p. 554). In our nursery-tale (KM. 2, 481, conf. Altd. bl. 1, 122) 
the giant s eyes are scalded out with oil, and in Lith. the devil is 
called aklatis, the blind, blinded. When other Esthonian tales 
explain thunder by saying the devil is pursued by God, and 
fleeing for refuge to the rocks, is smitten down (Superst. M, 61. 
G4) ; here also God resembles the Scand. Thorr, and the Devil a 
iotunn whom he slays (see Suppl.). 

It is a vital part of the machinery of medieval poetry, for 
heroes to be transported by the Devil through the air from distant 
countries to their home, when there is urgent need of their 
presence there : some marriage is contemplated, that would rob 
them of wife or lover. Thus king Charles (in the Spagna, canto 
xxi) rides a devil, converted into a horse, from the East to France 
in one night ; later legends make an angel appear to him instead, 
and shew him a strong horse, DS. no. 439. The angel visits the 
gentle Moringer in like distress (no. 523). But Henry the Lion 
and Gerhart (Caes. Heisterb. 8, 59) travel with the devil s aid. 
The mere fact that angel and devil can change places here, shews 
that no evil spirit was originally meant; it is no other than 
Wuotan carrying through the clouds his foster-son (p. 146) ; and 
so we get at the real meaning of the question, what devil brings 
you here ? A devil carries a belated canon from Bayeux to Rome 
in time for pontifical mass ; and by the same magic Klinsor and 
Ofterdingen get from Hungary to the Wartburg. 

There is no surer test of the mythic element having a deep 
foundation, than its passing into the Beast-fable. The Esthonian 
tale of the man and the bear going halves in the cultivation and 
produce of a field (Reinh. cclxxxviii), which turns on the same 
distinction of upper and under growth that we saw at p. 715, is 
told in our KM. no. 189 of a peasant and the devil, and in this 
form we find it as early as Rabelais bk 4, cap. 45 47. Riickert s 
Poems p. 75 (Godeke 2, 416) give it from an Arabian tradition, 
the source of which I should like to learn; while the Dan. story 

1 Kosenpliinter s Beitrage, part 6, p. 61. TLc devil s being buried by beasts is 
not in point here. 

DEVIL. 1029 

in Thiele4, 122 relates it of a peasant and a trold. The common 
folk in Normandy have to this day a legend of their Mont St. 
Michel, how Michael and the Devil disputed which could build 
the finer church. The devil builds one of stone, Michael con 
structs a handsomer one of ice ; when that melts, they both 
agree to till the soil, the devil choosing the upper herbs, and 
Michael keeping what hides in the ground. In all these tales, 
the bear, giant, troll or devil is the party outwitted, like the 
giant who built the castle for the gods (see Suppl.). 

Lastly, the old-heathen nature of the Devil is proved by animals 
and plants being named after him, as they are after gods and 
giants (p. 532). The libellula grandis, dragonfly, a delicate 
slender-limbed insect, is called both enchanted maid and devil s 
horse, devil s bride, devil s nag, Dan. fandens ridehest ; in the I. of 
Mors a beetle, meloe proscarabaeus, fannens riihejst (Schade p. 
215) ; in Switz. the libellula, devil s needle, devil s hairpin, and 
the caterpillar devil s cat. 1 In the vale of Rimella the black 
snail, tiufulmakke, and a tiny black beetle s bozios ajo, the evil 
one s mother, Albr. Schott pp. 275. 334, a counterpart to the 
Marienkafer, p. 694, but also suggestive both of devil s needle 
and of Loki s mother Ndl, p. 246; so that ~Don&-nadel (p. 490 n.) 
may be correct, as the name of an evil river-sprite. In Holland 
some herb, I know not which, is called duivels naai-garen (sewing 
yarn). The alcyonium digitatum or palmatum is devil s hand, 
manus diaboli, thiefs hand, Engl. devil s hand, or deadman s 
hand, Nethl. doode mans hand, oude mans hand, Fr. main de 
diable, main de ladre, de larron, conf. Forneotes folnie, p. 240. 
Lycopodium clavatum, devil s claw ; euphorbia, devil s milk ; 
clematis vitalba, devil s thread-, scabiosa succisa, devil s bite, Boh. 
cert-kus ; adonis, devil s eye; convolvulus arvensis, devil s gut, 
etc., etc. 2 Probably the folktales of an earlier time knew the 
exact reasons of such names, conf. Superst. I, nos. 189. 190. 476. 
The thunderbolt, the elf-shot, was also called deuil s finger, pp. 
179. 187 (see Suppl.). 

1 Caterpillars, through shedding their skins, becoming pupa?, and gradually 
changing from creeping and dead-like creatures into flying ones, have something 
uncanny, ghostly in them. 

2 Hypericum perforatum, devil s flight, because it drives him away: dosten, 
harthun, weisse heid, thuu dem teufel vieles leid. 

1030 DEVIL. 

Tn such various ways has a Being who, taken altogether, was 
unknown to the heathen, pushed himself into the place of their 
gods, spirits and giants, and united in himself a number of 
similar or conflicting attributes. He resembles Wuotan as the 
grayman and the cloaked wild hunter, who rides and carries 
through the air; as sowing discord, playing dice, and taking 
into his service men that vow themselves to him. His red beard, 
his hammer and bolt recall Donar. Phol and Zio are connected 
with the storm-wind, and the former with devil s buildings. As 
for giant?, their whole being has most things in common with 
that of the Devil. 



" i 

Miracle (wundern) 1 is the salutary, magic (zaubern) the hurtful 
or unlawful, use of supernatural powers : miracle is divine, magic 
devilish ; not till the gods were degraded and despised was magic 
imputed to them. 2 Beings midway betwixt them and man, sage 
giants, artful elves and dwarfs practise magic ; only their skill 
seems more innate, stationary, not an acquired art. Man can 
heal or poison, by directing natural forces to good or to evil ; 
sometimes he even shares the gift of miracle, but when he pushes 
the beneficent exercise of his powers to the supernatural point, 
he learns to conjure. Miracle is wrought by honest means, 
magic by unlawful ; the one is geheuer (blessed, wholesome, 
p. 914), the other ungeheuer. At the same time the origin of 
all conjuring must be traced directly to the most sacred callings, 
which contained in themselves all the wisdom of heathendom, 
viz. religious worship and the art of song. Sacrificing and 
singing came to mean conjuring; the priest and the poet, confi 
dants of the gods and participants of divine inspiration, stand 
next-door to the fortune-teller and magician (see Suppl.). 

It is so with all nations, and was so with our ancestors : by 
the side of divine worship, practices of dark sorcery, by way of 
exception, not of contrast. The ancient Germans knew magic 
and magicians ; on this foundation first do all the later fancies 
rest. And the belief was necessarily strengthened and compli 
cated when, upon the introduction of Christianity, all heathen 

1 I here use the verb wundern transitively (= to do wonders), in which sense 
its derivative wunderer meant a wonder-worker. Reinmar says, Ms. 2, 154 b : wol 
dem wunder, daz der wunderaere gewundert hat an der vil stiezen. God is the true 
wunderare, Ms. 2, 171 b . Trist. 10013, who of all wonders hath control, Parz. 43, 9 ; 
inirabilis Deus, Helbl. 7, 12. But also a hero doing godlike deeds, e.g. Erek, earns 
the name of wunderare ; in Etzels hofhaltung it is even applied, less fitly, to a 
savage devilish man, p. 943. 

2 And a human origin for the same reason, p. 384n. Snorri calls OSinn 
forspar, fiolkunnigr, and makes him galdr qvefta, Yngl. saga cap. 4. 5. 7. Saxo 
Gram. p. 13 ascribes to him praestigia, and curiously divides all magicians 
(mathematici ; see Forcellini sub v.) into three kinds, viz. giants, magi and deities 
(p. 9) ; conf. his statements (p. 103) on Thor and Othin magicae artis imbuti. So 
the Chronicon Erici (circ. 1288) represents Odin as incantator et magus. 


1032 MAGIC. 

notions and practices were declared to be deceit and sinful 
delusion : the old gods fell back and changed into devils, and all 
that pertained to their worship into devilish jugglery. Presently 
there sprang up tales of the Evil one s immediate connexion with 
sorcery ; and out of this proceeded the most incredible, most 
cruel jumbling up of imagination and reality. Magic tricks per 
formed, and those merely imagined, so ran into one another, that 
they could no longer be distinguished either in punishing or 
even in perpetrating them. 

Before proceeding with our inquiry, we have to examine the 
several terms that designated witchcraft in olden times. It 
seems worth noting, that several of the more general names have 
simply the sense of doing or preparing, and therefore mark an 
imperceptible lapse of right doing into wrong. The OHG. 
bar aw an, AS. gearwian, had only the meaning of facere, parare, 
praeparare, ornare, but the same word in ON. gora approxi 
mates to that of conjuring, Dan. forgiore ; gorning is maleficium, 
gb mmgar artes magicae, much in the same way as facinus is both 
deed and misdeed. Our tliun, to do, passes into anthun, to inflict 
(by sorcery) ; and the ON. fordceffa (malefica), Ssem. 64 a . 197 b 
comes from da3 (facinus). 1 Now the Greek and Latin words 
epSeiv, peew, facere (p. 41n.), mean not only to do, but to 
sacrifice, without requiring the addition of lepa or sacra, and 
epSeiv Tivi TI is to bewitch ; the ON. biota, beside its usual sense 
of sacrificare, consecrare, has that of maledicere; whether 
fornceskja, sorcery, can be connected with/om, sacrifice, has been 
discussed, p. 41. A difficult word to explain is the OHG. zoupar 
divinatio, maleficium, zouparari hariolus, zouparon hariolari ; 
Notker spells zoufer in Ps. 57, 6, zouver in Boeth. 29, zouferlih, 
zouverlih in Cap. 45. 99; the MHG. zouber, zoubern answers 
exactly to the strict OHG. forms with p, to LG. tover, toveren, 
and the same in Nethl. both Mid. and Mod. (conf. toverie, 
Maerl. 1, 260-3, toverare 1, 266. 2, 176-7, toeverie is a faulty 
spelling) ; 0. Fris. tawerie, Richth. 401. 21. The Icelandic has 
tofur instrumenta magica, tb frar incantamenta, tb fra fascinare, 

1 M. Lat. factura (sortilegium), facturare (fascinare), affacturatrix (incantat- 
rix) ; Ital. fattura (incantatio), fattucchiero, -ra, sorcerer, -ress; Prov. fachurar, 
faiturar, to conjure, fachilieira, faitileira, sorceress; O. Fr. failure, faicturerie, 
sorcery ; Span, hecho (facinus), hechizo (incautatio), hechizar conjure, hechicero, -ra, 
sorcerer, -ress. 


tofrari magus, tofranorn saga, Fornald. sog. 3, 205 ; with which 
the Norw. tougre fascinare (Hallager 131 b ) and Swed. tofver in- 
cantatio, tofverhiixa saga, agree ; we may safely suppose a modern 
importation of all these Scand. words from Germany, as they 
do not occur in ON. writings. 1 I am in doubt whether an AS. 
tea/for is to be connected with zoupar ; it signifies minium, color 
coccineus, and Lye gives (without ref.) tifran depingere, which 
ought perhaps to be t^frian. The addition of the adj. red in 
redd tea/or (rubrica) favours the conjecture that tea/or was a 
general term for the colours employed in illuminating manuscripts, 
and thus may stand for rune, mystic writing, hence our zauber 
(magic). 2 To identify zoupar with zepar (p. 40), AS. tea/or with 
tiber, is forbidden by the difference of vowel, though it would 
bring the notion of magic very near that of sacrifice again. One 
would much rather trace zoupar to zouvvan, Goth, taujan, AS. 
tawian (facere, parare), and assume the operation of some anoma 
lous change of the w into v, b, p? Even the Lith. daryti, Lett. 
darriht (facere), and the Slav, tvoriti (facere, creare, fingere) are 
worth considering. Another term no less perplexing is one 
peculiar to the Saxon branch of our race. In L. Saxony they 
still say for conjuring or soothsaying, wikhen, wicken (Ssp. 2, 13. 
Homeyer p. 117 var. x) and wigelen (wichelen), for fortune-teller 
wikker, wichler, for witch wikkerske, for sorcery wichelie. So in 
Nethl. both wikken and wichelen, wikker ij and wichelarij ; M. 
Nethl. wikelare ariolus, Maerl. 2, 323. 348, wigelare, Kastner s 
Bruchst. 42 b , wigelinge vaticinium 12 b . The AS. also has the 
two forms : both wiccian fascinare, wicce saga, wiccungdom 
(Casdm. 223, 17) or wiccancrceft ars niagica; and wiglian ariolari, 
wigelere augur, wigelung augurium, incantatio ; while the Fris. 
transposes the letters, willga incantatio, Richth. 401, 21. The 
Engl. has witch = wicce ; from the AS. verb has survived its 
partic. wicked (perversus, maledictus), and 0. Engl. had an adj. 
wikke meaning the same ; add wizard, but all the L-forms have 

1 So the Luneburg Wendic toblatsch sorcerer (Eccard p. 291), tobalar sorcerer, 
towlatza, toblarska sorceress (Jugler s Wtb.), seem borrowed from German, as other 
Slavic dialects have nothing similar ; for the Sloven, zoper magic, zoprati to conjure, 
zopernik, -nitza sorcerer, -ress, are certainly the Germ, zauber, etc. 

2 Is the derivation of our zijfer, Engl. cipher, Fi.chiffre, It. cifra, cifera (secret 
writing) from an Arabic word a certainty ? Ducange sub v. cifrae has examples 
from the 12th cent. The AS. word has a striking resemblance. 

3 Our gelb, farbe, gerben, rniirbe, all have w in MHG. 

1034 MAGIC. 

disappeared. The word is unknown to any HG. dialect, old or 
new ; 1 yet I believe it springs from a root common to all 
Teutonic tongues, viz. veihan (no. 201), which again had originally 
the sense of facere, conficere, sacrare, and from which came the 
adj. veins (sacer), OHG. wih, and the noun vaihts (res), conf. 
Slav, tvar, tvor (creatura, /cr/crt?). We know that vaihts, wight, 
acquired the sense of daemon (p. 440-1), and the ON. vcettr (orm 
vsettr, poor wight) means a witch in Saem. 214 b . I treat the kk 
in wikken as I did that in Ecke from the root agan (p. 237), and 
this is supported by the g in wigelen and ch in wichelen (evidently 
a ch = h). Near in meaning, though unrelated in origin, seems 
the OHG. wizago, AS. imtega, wttga, Csedm. 218, 18. 224, 13, our 
weissage, prophet, soothsayer, but in a good, not in a bad sense ; 
the ON. form vifki, Saern. 63 a . 118 a , stands for vitugi (conf. vitug 
94 a ), as ecki, eitki does for eitgi (Gramm. 3, 738), and veetki for 
vaetgi. This vitki has been wrongly identified with AS. wicce : 
never does an AS. cc result from tg, though it becomes tch in 
English. 2 The corresponding verb is OHG. urizagon, AS. wite~ 
giauy M. Nethl. witegen, Diut. 2, 202 b . Equivalent at first to 
witega and vitki were the ON. ftpdma&r, spdkona, spadis (pp. 
94. 402) : but from signifying the gift of wisdom and prediction 
as it resides in priest and poet, 3 they gradually declined into the 
sense of noxious wizard and witch. Even Snorri s for-spar and 
fiol-kunnigr (p. 1031 n.) had already acquired the bad secondary 
sense. Fiolkunnigr (multiscius) came to mean magician, and 
fidl-ltunnatta fiolkyngi, and even the simple hyngi ( = kunnugi) 
sorcery. This k^ngi was learnt as a profession : Rognvaldr 
nam fiolkyngij Har. Harf. saga cap. 36. Walther 116, 29 says 
of a lady wondrous fair : daz si iht anders kiinne (that she was 
up to other tricks, knew too much), daz soil man iibergeben 
(you are not to imagine). Hans Sachs calls an old sorceress by 
turns die alt unhuld and die weise frau iv. 3, 32-3 (see 

1 Vegius in the Lex Burg. 16, 3 and OHG. 1, 8 has been taken to mean 
magician ; but, as the rubric viator in the last passage shews, it is one who 
fetches and carries, index, delator. 

3 Of like meaning are: weiser mann, weise frau, kluge frau ; ON. visindamaffr, 
sage, natural philosopher, Fornald. sog. 1, 5 ; Serv. vietcht peritus, vietchtats, 
-titsa veneficus, -ca ; Pol. wieszczka sorceress, fortune-teller, wieszczyka night-hag, 
lamia ; Sloven, vezha witch. 

3 Analogous is the 0. Fr. devin, divin, magician, diviner. 


Inasmuch as spying is foreseeing and seeing, there is another 
word for conjuring that I can connect with it. Without any 
bodily contact, things may be acted upon by mere looking, by 
the evil eye : this in our older speech was called entsehen (p. 461). 

But as the vates, beside seeing and knowing, has also to sing 
the mystic strain and speak the spell, there must from the earliest 
times have been words to express conjuring, like our present 
beschreien, bescliwatzen, berufen, uberrufen, beschworen [from cry, 
call, talk, swear]. The OHG. ~kalan, AS. galan, ON. gala, was 
not only canere, but incantare, a recital with binding power, a 
singing of magic words. Such spoken charm was called in ON. 
galdr, AS. galdor, OHG. "kalxtar (not to be confounded with 
kelstar, sacrifice, p. 38-9), MHG. galsterie, Schwanr. 813; we 
find galsterweiber for witches even in Mod. German ; galdr in 
itself seems not to have meant anything criminal, for meingaldr 
(wicked spell) is particularized, Fornm. sog. 2, 137. ON. galdra 
fascinarej galdramaffr incantator, galdrakona saga; AS. galdor- 
crocfl magia, galdere magus ; OHG. kalstarari incantator, Medea 
diu handega galsterara, N. Cap. 100. In like manner the Fr. 
charme, charmer come from carmen, and enchanter incantare from 
cantus, canere. The M. Lat. carminare, to enchant, gave birth 
to an OHG. garminari, germinari incantator, germinod incantatio, 
Diut. 2, 326 b . Gl.Doc. 213 a . germenod, N. Cap. 100 ; which after 
wards died out of the language. The MHG. already used segen 
[blessing, from signum] for a magic formula, segencerinne for 
enchantress. Chap. XXXVIII. will go more deeply into this 
necessary connexion of magic with the spoken word, with poetic 
art ; but, as the mystery of language easily passes into that of 
symbol, as word and writing get indissolubly wedded, and in our 
idiom the time-honoured term rune embraces both tendencies ; 
it throws some light on the affinity of zoupar with teafor (p. 1033), 
and also on the method of divination (p. 1037) by rune-staves. 

The Goth. afhugjan } to deprive of one s senses, bewilder, stands 
in Gal. 3, 1 for {BaaKalveiv = fascinare ; l AS. dyderian, bedi/der- 
ian illudere, incantare, perhaps conn, with our HG. tattern, dot- 
tern (angi, delirare) ; we now say verblenden, daze, dazzle. That 
ON. troll (p. 526), which stood for giants and spirits, is also 

1 Is this, or is the Ital. fasciare, the source of Fr. facher, formerly fascher, 
irritare, Span, enfadar ? 

1036 MAGIC. 

applied to magicians, troll-skapr is sorcery, the Sw. trolla, Dan. 
trylle incantare, troUdom, trolddom witchcraft; the Gula]?ingslag 
p. 137 has at veltja troll for conjuring, which reminds us of 
veckja hildi and waking the Saelde/ p. 864. The Frisians 
say tsyoene fascinare, tsyoen-er, -ster sorcerer, -ress, which (as 
initial ts before i or y often stands for k) is no doubt to be ex 
plained by the ON. kyu in its collateral sense of monstrum, conf. 
MHG. kunder. I cannot satisfactorily account for an O.Sw. 
vipskipliy used in the Vestgotalag for magic, not of the worst 
kind, but what can be expiated by penance : far kona mej> 
vifiskiplwn, p. 153 ; f varj?er taken me]? vifiskipplum, p. 228; 
convictus de widskiplum/ p. 321 ; it is plainly the present vid- 
skepelse superstitio ; skipa is ordinare, facere, and the wrongness 
must lie in the vid ; conf. beginn. of ch. XXXV. 

We find sei&r meaning magic already in the Edda : seiff hon 
kunni/ said of a vala or volva, Saem. 4 ; sei&berendr 118 a are 
magicians, who stand on a par with volur and vitkar ; and the word 
becomes commoner in the sagas. If we might spell it seijffr (as 
one poem has it in Fornald. sog. 2, 130), we should get both 
an easy derivation from sioiSa to seethe, and another point of 
contact with Goth. sauj?s, p. 40. Seidj/nafir is magician, sei&kona, 
seyffkona a wise woman, one that skills to seethe and cook magic 
remedies. 1 Meanwhile serSr occurs clearly as a vowel-change 
from siffa, Yngl. saga cap. 16-7, Loki reproaches OSinn with 
having practised sorcery : c ]nk siSa kofto/ Saem. 63 a , and I have 
never seen siofta put for it; so the two words, even if cognate, 
must remain apart, or find their justification in an exceptional 
shifting from the 4th to the 5th series of vowel-change. 

The OHG. puozan, AS. betan, is emendare, but also mederi, to 
remedy, heal ; in Westphalia boten 2 still expresses the action of 
old-fashioned charms as opposed to scientific medicine, Superst. 
I, 873 ; the Teutonista gives boiten as synon. with conjuring, 
and the M. Nethl. ut boeten is sanare (Reinh. 539 4) . 3 

1 Seyffr or sauffr is a poetic word for a fire to cook by : a sey^i bera, Sacm. 
54*, to set on the fire, take to cook, make to boil. 

2 Koth de nomin. vet. Germ. med. p. 139. 

3 Foreign terms are less interesting, e.g. AS. dry magus, pi. drjras, drycraft 
magia, whose Celtic origin is betrayed by the familiar name of Druid ; Ir. draoi 
wizard, draoidheachd sorcery. Nigromanzie already in medieval poets, Ms. 2, 10 b ; 
der list von nigrdmanzi, Parz. 453, 17. 617, 12, list m. answering to ON. ifrott, 
which Snorri uses of magic ; nigromancie, Maerl. 2, 261. der swarzen buoche wis, 


Now, as the concocting of remedies and that of poisons easily 
fall into one, the OHG. luppi, AS. lyf, MHG. lilppe, is used of 
poisoning and bewitching: liippe und zouber triben/ Berth. 12, 
and luppcerinne 58 is sorceress, exactly as veneficium and venefica 
stand related in Latin; and the Goth, lubjaleisei, Gal. 5, 20 
is (ftap/jLarcela, sorcery, and leisei is like list in zouberlist, Iw. 1284. 
Even the Gothi lekeis, OHG. lahhi (leech, medicus in the good 
honest sense), and lahhinon (mederi), lahhan (remedium) lie at 
the root of the words Idchencerinne enchantress, Oberl. bihteb. 46, 
lachsnen quackery, conjuring, laclisnerin witch, Staid. 2, 150. 

In Hessian witch-trials of the 16th cent., the usual, nay the 
only term for bewitching is derren, prop, nocere ; as even OHG. 
taron acquired, beside nocere, the meanings fraudare, officere, 
illudere (see Suppl.). 

A part of the diviner s craft consisted in casting and inter 
preting lots. Like the Lat. sortilegium and sortilegus (M. Lat. 
gortiarius, whence Fr. sorcier], our old German words hliozan 
(Graff 4, 1122), MHG. liezen (augurari, Diut. 3, 107-8. Er. 
8123), and hliozan, liezcere (augur, divinator) are applicable to 
sorcery. Then from the customary phrase mittere, jactare 
sortem seems to have been borrowed the expression zouber 
werfen, to throw a spell, Wolfd. 515. 520. 533, jeter un sort, 
maleficium super jactare/ Lex Sal. 22, 4 ; zouber legcn, to lay a 
spell, Walth. 115, 32. 116, 23-5. The Swed .tjusa to conjure is, 
I think, for Icjusa, ON. kiosa, choose, spy (Gramm. 4, 848), pick, 
eligere sortem ; but also the vala/ the wise woman and enchant 
ress, is one that wales or chooses, a valkyrja. 

One species of divination was performed with the drinking-cup 
(Genesis 44, 5). From the Lat. caucus (for scyphus) are sup 
posed to have sprung calculator, Capitul. an. 789, 63 capit. 1, 
62. 6, 373, and cocharius, ib. 18 capit. 5, 69, and from these 
the OHG. coucalari scenicus, magicus, Gl. Mons. 377, gougularij 

Troj. 7411. suochen an den swarzen buocJien, Martina 20 a . nu ler etz in sin 
swarzez buoch, daz ime der hellemor hat gegeben, Walth. 33, 7. Black art, black 
artist, not till a later time. All this came of misunderstanding the Gr. veKpofj-avreia. 
In the TJlm Vocab. of 1475 we read : nigraman*ia dicitur divinatio facta per nigros, 
i.e. mortuos, vel super mortuos, vel cum mortuis. A curious statement in Bit. 79 
about Toledo : ein berc lit nahen da bi, da der list nigromanzi von erste wart er- 
funden (first invented) ; another opinion propounded in Herbort 9372. Our Mid. 
Ages saddled the Saracens in Spain and Apulia with its invention : ein pullisch 
zouber, Ms. 2, 133 b . 

1038 MAGIC. 

0. iv. 16, 33, koukelari, Georgsl. 25, goucaltuom magia, Gl. Mons. 
375, goukel praestigium, N. ps. 65, 3; MHG. gougel gougelcere, 
Walth. 37, 34, our gaukel, juggle; ON. kitkl praestigium, kuklari 
magus ; M. Nethl. cokeJere hariolus, Diut. 2, 217 a . Others derive 
gaukler from joculator, and one thing that seems to be in its 
favour is the mild meaning, of mere sleight-of-hand, which still 
clings to gauklerei (jugglery), i- e - harmless tricks performed by 
way of game and recreation ; conf. gougel-biihse (-box), Walth. 
38, 6. Renn. 2244. gougelstok (-stick), Martina 9 a . gougel- 
fuore (-cart), MsH. 3, 166 a . 186 a . gougelspil (-play) 438 a . goukel- 
hiietlin (-cap), Renu. 16719, conf. Walth. 37, 34. So the Nethl. 
guidielen, gocheltn, goglielen, guichelaar : gokelt onder den hoet/ 
Fcrg. 2772 ; the form guichelen is very like ivichelen (p. 1033), 
and there actually occurs an AS. hweolere, hweohlere (suggesting 
hweohl, KVK\O<; } rota) as another way of spelling wigelere, so 
that one might really conjecture an 0. Frankish chuigalari, and 
from it get cauculator, were not everything else against it. I will 
just mention also the Boh. kauzlo magic, kauzliti to conjure, Pol. 
gusla magic, guslarz conjurer ; this g form we might be tempted 
to refer to the Serv. gusle, Russ. gusli, psaltery, as the bewitch 
ing instrument, but that the Pol. gesle, Boh. hausle, does not 
agree (see SuppL). 

The various ways of naming magic have led us to the notions 
of doing, sacrificing, 1 spying, soothsaying, singing, sign-making 
(secret writing), bewildering, dazzling, cooking, healing, casting 

They shew that it was practised by men as well as women. 
Yet even our earliest antiquities impute it preeminently to women. 
More influential, more expert than the zouparari, wigelere, 
spama Sr, galdrama^r, appears the zouparard, wicce, wikkerske, 
kalstarard, galdrakona, spakona ; and to these must be added 
some appellations hardly applicable to any but female witchery. 

For the reason of this I look to all the circumstances external 
and internal. To woman, not to man, was assigned the culling 
and concocting of powerful remedies, as well as the cooking of 
food. Her lithe soft hand could best prepare the salve, weave the 
lint and dress the wound ; the art of writing and reading is in 

1 Even where the vowel resists, the coincidence is remarkable : forn and forn, 
gelstar and galstar, sau iS and ser5, zi par and zoupar. 

HEXE. 1039 

the Mid. Ages ascribed chiefly to women. The restless lives of 
men were filled up with war, hunting, agriculture and handi 
crafts ; to women experience and convenient leisure lent every 
qualification for secret sorcery. Woman s imagination is warmer 
and more susceptible, and at all times an inner sacred power 
of divination was revered in her (pp. 95. 397). Women were 
priestesses, prophetesses (56n. 94 8), their names and fame are 
embalmed alike in Old-German and Norse tradition ; and the 
faculty of somnambulism still shews itself most of all in women. 
Then again, looked at from one side, the art of magic must have 
been chiefly monopolized by old women, who, dead to love and 
labour, fixed all their thoughts and endeavours on hidden 
science. 1 Snorri in his curious account of the origin of magic 
(Yngl. s. cap. 7) says, that to males (karlmonnum) it seemed un 
dignified to dabble in a doubtful art, so they taught it the god 
desses or priestesses, for gySjur can mean either. According to 
differences of national sentiment, the norns and volvas (p. 403), 
the valkyrs and swan-maids approximate to divine beings or 
sorceresses. On all this put together, on a mixture of natural, 
legendary and imagined facts, rest the medieval notions about 
witchcraft. Fancy, tradition, knowledge of drugs, poverty and 
idleness turned women into witches, and the last three causes 
also shepherds into wizards (see Suppl.). 

To the Latin words saga, 2 strix, strigaf venefica, lamia, furia 
answers our liexe, by which is meant sometimes an old, sometimes 
a young woman, and a beauty can be complimented by being 
called a perfect witch. The OHG. form of the word is liazus 
[pron. hatsus], hazusa, hazam, Graff 4, 1091 ; hazzuso (eumeni- 

1 Where one man is burnt, there be well ten women burnt says Keisersp. 
Om. 46 . ein wunderaltes trip bescheidet den troum, unravels the dream, Walth. 
95, 8. A kerling froff ok framsyn foretells of a log that is to perish in the fire, 
Nialssaga 194-9. Very early times impute to old women more craft and malice than 
to the devil himself, as we see by the pretty story of the hag who set a loving couple 
by the ears when the devil could not, for which he handed her a pair of shoes 
cautiously on a peeled stick, being afraid of her touch, Morolt 917 1007. Haupt s 
Altd. bl. 2, 81. H. Sachs ii. 4, 9. Melander s Jocoseria 2, 53. Conde Lucanor cap. 
48. No witchcraft comes into the story, though the first account calls her a zouberin. 

2 Sagire sentire acute est ; ex quo sagae anus, quia multa scire volunt, Cic. 
de Divin. 1, 31. 

3 Lex Sal. 22. 67. Lex Alam. add. 22 stria ; O.Fr. cstrie (see p. 287 dame 
Habonde) ; Ital. Strega, stregona (whence perh. the Swiss straggcle p. 934), a wizard 
being stregone. Orig. strix, a-rpiy^ was bird of night, owl: striges ab avibus 
ejusdem nomiuis, quia maleficae mulieres volaticae dicuntur, Festus sub v. 

1040 MAGIC. 

dum), Diut. 2, 350% is gen. pi. of hazus, hazes 2, 346 a ; hczesusun 
(furiis) 2, 33 7 b apparently a corruption of hegezusun ? The Gl. 
Flor. 21 give hegezisse, and that the genuine form in full was hagazus 
or hagazusa (p. 1045n.) we are assured by the AS. hcegtesse, M. 
Nethl. hagetisse, Diut. 2, 229*,haghedi88e, Hor. Belg. 1, 119: the 
contraction of the first two syll. (as in talanc for taga-lank) speaks 
for its. age and frequent use; we must therefore prefer the spell 
ing hdzus with long a, and in N. Cap. 105 it does seem to be 
hazessa, Wackern. Ib. 153, 36 in spite of Graff s hazessa. Rarely 
do we find a MHG. hegxse, hexse, Martina 90 C . 106 b , hecse, Oberl. 
bihteb. 46 ; the Swiss say hagsch, haagsch, Staid. 2, 10; at Ulm, 
says Schmidts Schwab, id. 156, they call a stingy old woman 
hekkas, only another way of writing hexe. But as the AS., be 
side hcegtesse, has also hcegesse, Engl. hag, MHG. hdchel, Ls. 2, 
638, Swiss hdggele (conf. straggele), the sufiixed letters seem to 
have added little to the simple root hag. The ON. adj. hagr 
means dexter, artificiosus, and might have had the full sense of 
sagus : our hexe is a deep sly woman. Still the ON. never does 
use a masc. noun hagr or a fern, hog in such away; and the 
Swed. hexa, Dan. hex, in their very spelling betray their Mod. 
German extraction. For hexen, to bewitch, Up. German dialects 
furnish hechsnen, which agrees with an 0. Fris. verb hexna 
(Richth. 159, 25, one MS. has hoxna); the Dalecarlian is hagsa, 
hugsa [hoax, hocus?]. Down to the 16-1 7th cent., instead of 
the rare MHG. forms given above, the preference was given to 
unholde (which properly means she-devil, p. 266), as diu unholde 
in Martina 170 C . 172 C , occasionally backed by a masc. unholdcere; 
in Keisersberg and Sachs unholde is still the usual word, not till 
the 17-1 8th cent, did hexe become general instead of it. Here 
and there the people use a masc. hex for conjurer; in Swabia der 
hengst (Schmid 273), in Switz. haagg, liagg, Tiak for cheat, jug 
gler ; even the OHG. hdzus strio (masc. to stria ? hardly for 
histrio?) might mean a male. Many have been caught by the 
obvious resemblance of the Gr. Hecate, Efcdrr), but the letters 
agree too closely, contrary to the laws of change, and the Mid. 
Ages would surely have had an unaspirated Ecate handed down 
to them ; no Ecate or Hecate appears in M. Lat. or Romance 
writings in the sense of witch, and how should the word have 
spread through all German lands ? About the M. Nethl. haghe- 

HEXE. 1041 

disse, strix, there is this to be said, that the Mod. Nethl. eglidisse, 
eydisse, haagdisse is lacerta, our eidechse, OHG. egidehsa, AS. 
aftexe : the lizard does seem to have played a part in magic, and 
witch-trials actually speak of witches giving birth to a lizard in 
stead of the traditional elf, Mark, forsch. 1, 260 (see Suppl.). In 
the Span. hechicero } -ra I see again only an accidental likeness 
(p. 1032 n.) ; the Span. Iruxa, South Fr. Iruesclie, means a bane 
ful nightbird, but, like strix, it has passed into the sense of 
witch. Drut, drude is often found as an equivalent for witch, 
though strictly it denotes the tormenting oppressive nightmare ; 
out of what heathen being this drut arose, was shown on p. 423, 
it was so easy for elvish sprites of the olden time to be after 
wards mixt up with human sorceresses ; in the same way bilwiz, 
belewitte (p. 473) will now and then occur in witch-affairs. 

Another set of names, presented to us in the ON. remains, 
merits particular attention : here we see the notion of magic 
women stand next door to that of giantesses. Troll is the gene 
ral term including at once beings of the elf or giant brood and 
those of magic kind (p. 526), yet so that at first the giant 
character predominates, and afterwards the diabolic. Trollahdls, 
trdllaskogr, trollatunga occur in the Landnamabok ; trollskapr 
may be taken to mean, first the iotunmoSr p. 530, secondly our 
witchcraft and magic. But while scarcely any mention is made 
of a trollmaftr, there is plenty about the trollkona, and names for 
a giantess like flagd*, sJcass, sJcessa (p. 526) are applied without 
scruple to witches. Snorri 210 gives a long string of names, 
some hard to interpret, which will be a task to the student for 
some time to come. Others, archaic and poetically conceived, 
are told by one who is a trollkona to Bragi, who meets her at 
eventide, Sn. 175. The copiousness of this nomenclature implies 
the great antiquity of magic in the North, and its deep-rooted 
oneness with the systems of magic all over Europe : the most 
significant of these names I shall take up and explain in the 
course of discussion. 

On such etymological groundwork, of the more general terms 
that come under question, may now follow an examination of the 
subject itself. 

And this time I will commence with Scandinavian sorcery, 

1042 MAGIC. 

whose more antiquated and to my thinking unadulterated cha 
racter proves above all things that the leading part in it was 
taken by women, not by men. 

It is true the Edda classifies magicians as volur, vitkar and 
seiffbercndr, Sasm. 118 a , of whom only the first are female, the 
other two male ; nay, all three are traced up to Viffolfr, Vilmeiffr 
and Svarthdf&i, alleged inventors of magic, about whom there is 
nothing conclusive to be said. Svart-hofiK, Blackhead, may come 
of the blade art, and black as the fiendish colour in general 
(p. 993). VilmeicFr, compounded of vil (favor, beneplacitum) and 
merSr (arbor), ought rather to claim kinship with the pleasing art 
of poesy (p. 901). Viffolfr would seem to be the Vitol/us me- 
dendi peritus mentioned in Saxo Gram. 122. To me however 
the first named, the volur t seem to throw the rest into the shade : 
that poetic dialogue with Bragi gives the witch a vilsinn volu 
(better peril, vilsinni, ace. vilsinna), i.e. a friend and comrade of 
the vala. Vitkar, vitkar, are the OHGr. wizagon, soothsayers, 
vates, which supports my interpretation of VilmerSr. Seiffr has 
no right to be monopolized by men : we saw above (p. 1036), and 
shall soon make out more exactly, that it pertains to women too, 
that serSkonor shew themselves no less than seiiSberendr. Both 
must have been forthcoming in great numbers in some districts : 
in Harald harf. saga cap. 36, king Eirikr causes his brother 
Rognvald and 80 seiiSmenn to be burnt. The vala or volva is a 
prophetess, priestess, norn, a most holy being of the olden time 
(pp. 97. 408), and at the same time a seiffkona. Even of the 
Eddie vala it is said : { seiS hon kunni/ Saam. 4 b . Such magic 
women are Hei&r, Hamglom, Skuld, etc., all originally air-riding 
valkyrs (p. 421) ; in Saem. 154 b volva, skass, valkyrja stand 
side by side. Weighty evidence shall be brought by and by of 
their wanderings in the wood at even and by night. They roam 
through the country with their retinue (me S sitt lift), are reverently 
invited in by men, entertained, and called upon to say sooth. 
This they do, sitting on a four-legged stool, the seiffhiallr. The 
performance is called efla seift (fixing, instituting magic), Fornald. 
sog. 2, 72. 3, 318; setja sei& 1, 97; serSrinn verSr erfi&r, is 
wrought 1, 12 ; fcera a hiallinn is to conduct to the stool 2, 72. 
The later sagas evidently throw in contemptible features. In the 
company of Skidd, says Fornald. sog. 1, 97, might be seen elves, 

SEIDR. 1043 

norns and other such fry (alfar ok nornir ok aunafc ill-^Si). Heiffr 
may still come riding with 15 youths and 15 maids (2, 1G5. 506), 
but Oddr sets little store by her, addresses her as allra kellinga 
ormust, poorest (wretchedest) of old women 168. 508. So when the 
Fornm. 3, 212 mentions these vagrants, who tell people s fortunes, 
the same word is used 214 : volvan arma, miserable witch, like 
usle havfrue in the Dan. folksong (DV. 1, HO). 1 King FroSi 
wished to get a prophecy out of the volva Heiffr, Fornald. sog. 1, 
10: giorfti hann ]?a gilda veizlu i moti henni, ok setti hana a 
serShiall einn haan ... ok svara mer sem skiotast, sei&kona ! 
When she falters, and will not say all, he threatens to use force : 
]?ik skal pina til sagna (11. 12). 3 It is worth noting, that the 
ser<5r is performed at night, when men are asleep, by the volvas, 
who sally out with their company : menn foru at sofa, en volva 
for til ndttfars sei&s meff sitt liff 2, 166 ; and the parallel passage 
2, 507 says : gekk hun J>a ut me& li&i smu, er aftrir gengu til 
svefns, ok efldi sei&. Ketill was roused at night by a great 
uproar in the wood, he ran out and saw a sorceress with streaming 
hair (sa trollkonu, ok fell fax a her<Sar henni) ; being questioned, 
she begged him not to balk her, she was bound for a magic mote, 
to which were coming Skelking king of sprites from Dumbshaf, 
Ofoti (unfoot) from Of6tansfir<5, ThorgerSr Horgatroll and other 
mighty ghosts from the northland (ek skal till tr6lla]?ings, j?ar 
kemr Skelkingr, norSan or Dumbshafi, konungr trolla, ok Ofoti 
ur Ofotansfir Si, ThorgerSr Horgatroll ok aSrar stor-vaettir nor^an 
ur landi), Fornm. sog. 1, 131, conf. 3, 222. The riding out by 
night to do magic was called sitja uti (Biorn 2, 251 a explains it : 
sub dio nocturnis incantationibus operam dare) ; the Norw. Laws 
name these jaunts uti-setor to wake up the magic- working sprites : 
t spafarar allar oc utisetor at vekja troll upp, oc fremja uieS J?vi 
heidni/ Gulath. p. 137. Of the objects of Scand. sorcery I 
will give a specimen or two. Fees were given to sorceresses, to 
raise up storms : sendu eptir seiSkonurn, tveimr, HeiSi ok 
Hamglom, ok gafu ]>airn fe til, at ficer sendi ve&r . . . J?aer 

1 Arm poor, slight, miserable. I named po vertii as a cause of sorcery, p. 1030 : 
* armer wilrsage, wissage, Freidank 12-i, 1. Ms. 2, 176% and note to Freid. p. 372. 
armer bleicher (wan) wissage ! Herb. 2266. 

2 >a let hann taka Finn, einn er margfroftr var, oc vildi neySa hann til saftrar 
sogu (force him to a sooth saw), oc pindi hann, oc feck ecki af honum, Saga 
Halfdanar svarta cap. 8. 

VOL, in. L 

1044 MAGIC. 

efldu seidinn, ok fcerSust a hiallinn me3 goldrum ok giorningum/ 
Fornald. sog. 2, 72. Magic made men proof against weapons, 
invulnerable : { var seidt at Haraldi, at hann skyldi eigi lita iarn 
iron should not bite him 1, 374. J^eir letu serSa at Ogmundi, 
sva at hann skyldi engi iarn bita atkvae^alaus 2, 241. 

Certain features, that agree with the descriptions to be given by 
and by of witches doings, might be thought plagiarisms. I doubt 
it. True, the nocturnal gathering before Skelking, Ofoti and 
ThorgerS is not altogether in the spirit of ON. religion, but it 
may have arisen in Scandinavia itself by the gradual deterioration 
of older beliefs. Nowhere is the Devil mentioned, though the 
footless one may remind us of the horse-footed. This Norse 
trdlla-Jring is more like the meetings of our night-women, whom 
I take to have sprung out of wise-women and volvas ; and this is 
fully borne out by the nightly excursion of HerSr with her party 
of 30 persons, and that of Skuld with elves and norns. ThorgerS, 
Skuld and HerS are, like Hulda and Berhta, purely pagan half- 
goddesses, round whom gathers the magic ring- dance ; they stir 
up storm and tempest, they make invulnerable, they prophesy. 
Their seiff-hiallr with four props or prongs (stolpar, stiklar), 
Fornald. sog. 1, 12. 3, 319 (see Suppl.), finds nothing to match 
it in the German witch-world ; it does remind us of the Delphian 
pythia s tripod, and possibly further inquiry may allot a three- 
legged stool to German night- excursionists as well, especially as 
that article has a sacredness belonging to it from of old, RA. 80. 
189. 208; conf. in Superst. F, 59. 60 the sitting on the tripod, 
and I, 111 the caution against setting an empty trivet on the fire. 
Skuld queens it here, does her spiriting in a black tent, sits on 
her magic stool : sat i sinu svarta tialdi a serShialli sinum, skip- 
tir nu sva um, sem dimm nott komi eptir biartan dag/ Fornald. 
1, 105. With the Norse enchantresses the power and obligation 
to prophesy is still predominant, which in German witches and 
night-women falls into the background. Other features of the 
Norse faith in magic I can better weave into the account, now to 
follow, of our own antiquities. 

Christianity found a heathen belief in magic- wielding women 
existing among Celts and Germans as well as Greeks and Romans, 
but has largely modified it ; views held by heretics or imputed to 

WITCHES. 1045 

them got mixt up with it, and out of everything put together 
witchcraft has to be explained. Down to the latest period we 
perceive in the whole witch-business a clear connexion with the 
sacrifices and spirit-world of the ancient Germans. This of itself 
proves the gross unfairness and grotesque absurdity of witch- 
burning in later times. 

A world-old fancy, that has penetrated all nations, finds in 
sorcery the power to hide or change one s figure. Enchanters 
would turn into wolves, enchantresses into cats ; the wolf was the 
sacred beast of Wuotan, the cat of Frouwa, two deities that had 
most to do with souls and spirits. The adept in magic assumed 
a mask, grima (p. 238), l a trolls-ham, by which he made himself 
unrecognisable, and went rushing through the air, as spirits also 
put on grimhelms, helidhelms (p. 463) ; often we see the notion 
of sorceress and that of mask 2 meet in one, thus the Leges Roth. 
197. 379 have striga, quod est masca, striga, quae dicitur 
masca. On this last term I shall have more to say by and by 
(see Suppl.). 

But sorceresses have also at their command a bird s shape, a 
feather-garment, especially that of the goose, which stands for the 
more ancient swan, and they are like swan-wives, valkyrs, who 
traverse the breezes and troop to the battle. Inseparable from 
the notion of magic is that of flying and riding through air (p. 
427), and the ancient ThrirSr becomes a drut (p. 423), and Holda 
an unholdin. Like the holde sprites, unholde now float in 
the air with the Furious Host. They assemble in troops to fulfil 
a common function. 

From this subject, then, heathen sacrificial rites are by no 
means to be excluded. Our very oldest Laws, esp. the Salic, 
mention gatherings of witches for cooking, and I remind the 
reader of those Gothland suffnautar (p. 56) at a sacrifice. The 
Lex Sal. cap. 67 specifies it as the grossest insult to call a man 
witches kettle-bearer: si quis alterum chervioburgum, hoc est 
strioportium clamaverit, aut ilium qui inium dicitur portasse ubi 

1 ON. Grima, name of a sorceress ; also Gryla (horrific), Sn. 210 a . 

2 Can hagebart, larva, Gl. Herrad. 189 a be conn, with hag in hagezusa ? A 
mask is sometimes called schembart, of which more hereafter : bearded masks were 
worn in masquerades. I am even tempted to explain the latter half of hagazusa by 
zussa (lodix), or zusa (cingulum, stropliium), GraS o, 711 ; conf. MHG. zuse 
(cirrus), Diut. 1, 458-9. 400. 

1046 MAGIC. 

strias (for striae) cocinant. 3 In my RA. 645 I have tried to 
explain chervioburgus. 1 He that demeans himself to carry 
witches utensils becomes contemptible to men ; he may also be 
called simply strioportius, witches carrier, being hired by them 
to do it. Now this kettle-bearer is never named in the later 
stories of witches, but these often take a piper to their meetings, 
whose business is to play to their feasting and dancing, without 
being exactly an accomplice in the conjuring; and he maybe 
likened to that menial. The words ubi striae cocinant (some MSS. 
coquinant, cucinant ; Lex. emend, incorrectly concinunt) imply a 
cooking and seething (seySr p. 1036) by several witches in com 
mon. In Macbeth three witches but they are weird-sisters 
too (p. 407), and so suggest the old meaning of drut meet on a 
heath and in a cave, to boil their cauldron. They are not so 
much enchantresses in league with the Devil, as fate-announcing 
wise- women or priestesses, who prophesy by their cauldron, p. 56 
(see Suppl.). 

It may seem over-bold to name Shakspeare s witches in the 
same breath with ancient Cimbrian prophetesses, with strigas of 
the Salic Law ; but here we have other links between the oldest 
times and the recent. 

Speaking of heilawac (healing waters) in chap. XX, I on 
purpose omitted all mention of salt springs , that I might here 
bring their sacredness into immediate connexion with the witch 
craft of a later time. Tacitus, in a passage of importance in 
many ways, Annals 13, 57, tells us: Eadem aestate inter Her- 
munduros Chattosque certatum magno praelio, dum fluinen 
gignendo sale foecundum et conterminum vi trahunt ; super 
libidinem cuncta armis agendi religione insita, eos maxime locos 
propinquare coelo, precesque mortalium a deis nusquam propius 
audiri. Inde indulgentia numinum illo in amne illisque silvis 
salem provenire, non ut alias apud gentes eluvie maris arescente, 
sed unda super ardentem arborum struem fusa, ex contrariis inter 
se elementis, igne atque aquis, concretum. 2 Burgundians and 

1 Leo now explains from the Celtic, that burgius is the trusty, watchful, hence 
attendant, and chervio wise-woman, from gear shrewd, and bhith, bhe, woman : 
sagae minister. Also, that strioportius may be the Welsh ystryws wise, and 
porthi helping, serving. All this is still very doubtful. 

2 Sed bellum Hermunduris prosperum, Chattis exitio fuit, quia victores diver- 
sam aciem Marti ac Mercuric sacravere : quo voto equi, viri, cuncta victa occidioni 
dantur. Et minae quidem hostiles in ipsos vertebant. The sense of these remark- 

SALT. 1047 

Alamanns also fought for salt-springs : Burgundii salinarum 
finiumque causa Alamannis saepe jurgabant/ Amm. Marc. 28, 5. 
That not only in Germany, but in Gaul, salt was obtained by 
pouring water on burning wood, we know from Pliny 31. 7, 39 : 
Galliae Germaniaeque ardentibus lignis aquam salsam infundunt; 
hence the ritual that hallowed it may have been common to Celts 
and Teutons. Now of streams charged with salt there was 
doubtless a good number in Germany, then as now, and it is 
hardly possible to say which in particular was meant by Tacitus. 1 
They rose on mountains, in sacred woods, their produce was 
deemed the direct gift of a near divinity, possession of the spot 
seemed worth a bloody war, the getting and distributing of salt 
was a holy office ; would not there be very likely sacrifices and 
festivals connected with salt-boiling ? (see Suppl.) . 

Suppose now that the preparation of salt was managed by 
women, by priestesses, that the salt-kettle, saltpan, was under 
their care and supervision ; there would be a connexion established 
between salt-boiling and the later vulgar opinion about witch 
craft : the witches gather, say on certain high days, in the holy 
wood, on the mountain, where the salt springs bubble, carrying 

able words (pp. 44. 120-1) is : the Chatti in case of victory had devoted the hostile 
army (div. ac.) to Mars and Mercury ; such vow binds one to sacrifice horses, men, 
every live tiling of the defeated. The Chatti had used the vow as a threat, the vic 
torious foe fulfilled it as his own. We need not suppose that both sides vowed, least 
of all that the Hermunduri vowed to Mars, the Chatti to Mercury ; for then the 
closing words would have no point. Besides, I think the very peculiarity of this 
cruel vow consists in its being made to loth dispensers of victory (pp. 134. 197-8) at 
once, the men falling, may be, to Wuotan s share, the women, children and animals 
to Zio s ; none were to escape alive. Had the vow been to one god alone, he would 
have been content with part of the spoils ; that is why Tacitus remarks that such a 
vow was ruin to the Chatti. The passage proves that Zio and Wuotan were wor 
shipped by Chatti and Hermunduri ; the Koman conceptions of Mars and Mercury 
are out of the question. Can it be, that the horses are named before the men, to 
shew which fell to Zio, which to Wuotan ? Beasts, we know, were sacrificed to Mars, 
Germ. 9. That it was the custom to devote those who fell in battle to the god, is 
witnessed by Hervar. saga 454: Heiftrekr fal (set apart) O5ni allanpann val er par 
hafffi fallt til arbotar. 

1 Surprising how commonly, in names of rivers and towns that produce salt, 
the roots hal and sal occur, both originally signifying the same wholesome 
holy material (dXs, d\6s, sal, salis ; in the alternation of h and s, the former often 
seems more archaic, or more German, e.g. the particle ham, sam ; haso, sasa ; 
hveits, svetas). In pago SaZagewe, in illo fonte ubi nascitur sal, Trad. Fuld. 1, 88 ; 
Halle on the Sale in Saxony, Halle in Kavensberg county, Hall on the Kocher 
(boiler?) in Swabia, Hallein on the Salza in Bavaria, .Ha / and Hallst&dt in Austria, 
Hall in the vale of Inn (Tirol), Allenftort (for Hall.) in Hesse, and so forth, all have 
salt-springs, salt works ; Halle as much as Sala, Salzaha refers to the salt, but why 
do the rivers have s, and the towns h ? If halle meant merely the hut or shed 
(taberna) in which the salt works are carried on (Frisch 1, 401), such a general 
meaning would suit almost any village that has work-sheds. 

1048 MAGIC. 

with them cooking-vessels, ladles and forks ; and at night their 
saltpan is a-glow. 1 These conjectures are countenanced by a 
poem in the Vienna MS. 428, 154 b either by Strieker or one of 
his countrymen and contemporaries, which I quote in full : 

Ich bin gewesen ze Portig&l 

und ze Dolet sunder twal (Toledo, I assure you), 

mir 1st kunt (ken d) Kalatra daz lant, 

da man di besten meister vant (found) ; 

ze Choln (Cologne) und ze Paris, 

da sint di pfaffen harte wis (exceeding wise), 

di besten vor alien richen (realms). 

Dar fuor ich werlichen (travelled I truly) * 

niwan durch diu mare (merely to ascertain) 

waz ein unholde waere (what a witch was) ? 

Daz gehort ich nie gelesen (never heard it read), 

waz ein unholde mtige wesen (might be). 

Daz ein wip ein chalp rite (should ride a calf), 

daz wasre n wunderliche site (fashion), 

ode rit uf einer dehsen (wand), 

ode uf einem huspesem (besom, broom) 

nach salze ze Halle fiiere (fare to H. for salt) ; 

ob des al diu welt swiiere (if all the world swore it), 

doch wolde ich sin riimmer gejehen (say yea to it), 

ich en-hete (unless I had) ez mit minen ougen gesehen 

wand (for) so wilrde uns nimmer tiure (dear, scarce) 

daz salz von dem ungehiure. 

Ob ein wip einen ovenstap iiber schrite (bestride) 

und den gegen Halle rite 

iiber berge und iiber tal, 

daz si taste deheinen val (make no fall), 

daz geloube ich niht, swer daz seit (whoever says it), 

und ist ein verlorniu arbeit (lost labour) ; 

und daz ein wip ein sib tribe (drive a sieve) 

sunder vleisch und sunder ribe, 

da niht inne wsere (wherein was nought), 

daz sint allez gelogniu msere (all a lying tale). 

Daz ein wip ein man iiber schrite 

nnd im sin herze uz snite (cut out his heart), 

wie zaeme daz (how were that possible) einem wibe, 

daz si snite uz einem libe (body) 

ein herze, und stieze dar in stro (stuff straw therein), 

wie moht er (how could he) leben ode werden fro ? 

ein mensche muoz ein herze haben, 

ez habe saf od si beschaben. 

Ich wil iu sagen masre (give you information), 
waz sin rehte unlwldare (who real sorcerers are) : 

1 OHG. salzsuti (salina), salzsot, AS. sealtseaft (salt spring). A passage in Ihre 
sub v. seiff would make this word (see p. 1036) directly applicable to salt-boiling ; 
but, for salts coctura, read talis coctura. 


daz sint der herren ratgeben (counsellors of lords) 

di ir ere furderu solden und leben, 

di siflent in zuo den oren (whisper in their ears) 

und machent sie ze toren (make fools of them), 

si niezent (profit by) ir erbe und ir lant 

und lazent och si ze hant (make them very soon) 

scheiden von eren (part with their honour) und von guote, 

von vrouden (joy) und hohem muote. 

Ditz ist ein warez ma3re (true tale) : 

di selben (these same) unholdccre 

die sougent uz (suck out) herze und bluot, 

daz vil mangem (full many a) herren schaden tuot. 

This Halle is probably the one in Austria or Bavaria, so that in 
those parts there still prevailed at that time the vulgar belief that 
the unholden rode on broomstick, oven-stick or twig (Schm. 
sub. v. dachsen, conf. diesse p. 270 n.) over hill and dale to Halle. 
Was it imagined that they fetched their supply of salt home from 
there ? which seems almost to be implied in the words, were it 
so, they would not make salt scarce to their neighbours (abstract 
it). As Christians equally recognised salt as a good and needful 
thing, it is conceivable how they might now, inverting the matter, 
deny the use of wholesome salt at witches meetings, and come 
to look upon it as a safeguard against every kind of sorcery 
(Superst. I, no. 182). For it is precisely salt that is lacking 1 in 
the witches kitchen and at devil s feasts, the Church having now 
taken upon herself the hallowing and dedication of salt. Infants 
unbaptized, and so exposed, had salt placed beside them for 
safety, RA. 457. The emigrants from Salzburg dipped a wetted 
finger in salt, and swore. Wizards and witches were charged 
with the misuse of salt in baptizing beasts. I think it worth 
mentioning here, that the magic-endowed giantesses in the Edda 
knew how to grind, not only gold, but salt, Sn. 146-7 : the one 
brought peace and prosperity, the other a tempest and foul 

Equally significant seems to me the use of horseflesh and of 
the horse altogether among wizards and "witches. It was shewn, 
p. 47, that the heathen sacrificed horses to their gods, and any 
inclination to eat their flesh was denounced for a long time as 
a hankering after heathen ways; it is only in these days 

1 Also bread, another necessary of life ; yet of course the heathen baked for 
their banquets and sacrifices exactly as the Christians did. 

1050 MAGIC. 

that the prejudice against eating so clean an animal begins to 
give way. Well, the witches were accused of indulging in 
this food at their assemblies, i.e. of still keeping up heathen 
sacrifices. Henry Boguet in his Discours execrable des Borders, 
Kouen 1603, p. 82-3 asserts, not only qu il y avoit une grande 
chaudiere sur le feu, dans laquelle chacun alloit prendre de la 
chair/ and mais il n y a iamais du sel, but also expressly que 
la chair n est autre chair que de clieual. 3 If to this we add, that 
the nailing up of horses heads (p. 47) l must be identified with 
those sacrifices, that horses heads are thrown into Midsummer 
fires (p. 618), that the piper at witches 5 meetings (p. 1046) or 
other ghostly beings (p. 849) play on horses heads,* that the 
devil appears with horse s feet, and drinking is done out of 
horse-hoofs; the whole thing assumes a still more antique ap 
pearance of heathen sacrificial rites (see Suppl.). 

But if in heathen times the preparation and distribution of 
hallowed salt, and the eating of horseflesh stood connected with 
sacrifices and popular assemblies (and these were often com 
bined), such connexion is equally proved or confirmed by all 
the remaining characteristics of witches jaunts. Their Times 
and Places can in no other way be accounted for. 

We know that all over Germany a grand annual excursion 
of witches is placed on the first night in May (Walpurgis), 
i.e. on the date of a sacrificial feast and the old May- 
gathering of the people. On the first of May, of all days, 
the periodical assizes continued for many centuries to be held, 
RA. 822-4; on that day came the merry May-ridings, p. 775, 
and the kindling of the sacred fire, p. 603 : it was one of the 
highest days in all heathenism. 8 Or if two or three witch- 

1 On this fixing-np Festus has passages in striking accord : October equus 
appellatur, qui in Campo Martio mense Oct. immolatur. De cujus capite non levis 
contentio solebat esse inter Suburanenses et Sacravienses, ut hi in regiae pariete, 
illi ad turrim Mamiliam id fijerent ; ejusdemque coda tanta celeritate perfertur in 
regiam, ut ex ea sanguis destillet in focum participandae rei divini gratia. And : 
Panibus redimibant caput equi immolati idibus Oct. in Campo Martio, quia id 
sacrificium fiebat ob frugum eventum, et equus potius quam bos immolabatur, quod 
hie bello, bos frugibus pariendis est aptus. 

2 Musicians piping or fiddling on a horse s head, Trierer acten p. 203. Sieg- 
burger pp. 228. 239. Death s head for cithern, Eemigius 145. 

3 A comparison of our witches dances on May-night with the Floralia, which 
lasted from April 28 to May 1 (Hartung s Kelig. d. Horn. 2, 142), and from which 
all men were excluded (Creuzer s Symb. 4, 608), may be allowed, provided no 
borrowing of the Teutonic and Celtic custom from the Koman be inferred. Rightly 
understood, the Greek Dionysia also present many points of comparison. 


festivals be enumerated, as f in Whitsuntide and Autumn/ or 
on St Walburg s, St John s and St Bartelemy s/ we have 
still the usual holidays and assize-days of the Mid. Ages. 
Danish witch-trials name ( Valdborg aften, S. Hans aften, Maria 
besogelsesdags aften. The people would never have given 
up their venerated season of justice to the witches, had not 
these been long in prescriptive possession (see Suppl.). 

Still more plainly do the Localities coincide. The witches 
invariably resort to places where formerly justice was ad 
ministered, or sacrifices were offered. Their meeting takes 
place on the mead, on the oak-sward, under the lime, under 
the oak, at the peartree; on the boughs of the tree sits that 
piper whose help they need in the dance. Sometimes they dance 
at the place of execution, under the gallows-tree, in the sand-pit. 
But for the most part mountains are named as their trysting- 
places, hills (at the three biiheln, knolls, three "kopchen, peaks), 
in fact, the highest points of a neighbourhood. We must not 
forget how elves and bilweises are housed in hills (p. 474), nor 
that the Servian vilas and Eomance fays dwell on mountains : a 
notable passage about magic wrought on a mount (puegau, pueg, 
puy, Lat. podium) was quoted p. 411. The fame of particular 
witch-mountains extends over wide kingdoms, in the same way as 
high mountains are named after gods, sacrifices, courts of justice. 
Almost all the witch-mountains were once hills of sacrifice 
(p. 58), boundary-hills (malberge, KA. 801-2), or salt-hills. A 
liexenbiikel is pointed out on the Hirschau boundary-line by 
Rothenburg on Neckar, and an unlioldenberg near Passau ; but 
most of them have proper names of their own. North Germany 
knows the Brocken, Brocks- or Blocks-berg?- the highest point of 
the Harz Mts, as the head meeting-place of witches. A con 
fessional of the 15th cent, speaks of sorceresses ( die uf den 
Brockisberg varen/ Hoffm. zeitschr. 753 ; that is the earliest 
documentary evidence I know of a superstition that doubtless 
reaches to a far older time. Seats of justice the Harz must have 

1 Mons Bructerns / Only the Bructeri never lived there, but on the West- 
phalian Lippe ; some without any reason connect the name Melibocus with the 
Brocken. What is the oldest documentary form of the name ? Stieler 160 writes 
Brockersb. ; others Prockelsb. (Proculus), Brockelsb., Blockersb. ; Blocksb. (Brem. 
wtb. sub v. bloksbarg) may have arisen by mere softening of r into Z, and can 
hardly have anything to do with the Swed. Blakulla. 

1052 MAGIC. 

had more than one in the Mid. Ages ; a salt spring it has still 
at Juliushall in Neustadt domain. But the name seems to cover 
a much wider area, as several hills in Mecklenburg (and no 
doubt in other parts of N. Germany) are called blocksbergs, Mekl. 
jahrsber. 2, 114. 3, 189; also in Prussia (Tettau and Temme 
p. 264). Other trysts of witches I can only enumerate incom 
pletely. The Huiberg near Halberstadt is still spoken of; in 
Thuringia they flock to Horselberg by Eisenach, or Inselberg by 
Schmalkalden ; in Hesse to Bechelsberg or Bechtelsberg by Ottrau, 
an old Ziegenhain seat of justice ; in Westphalia to Koterberg 
by Corvei, to Weclcings stein (Wedigenstein, where Wittekind or 
Wittich dwells) by Minden ; in Swabia to the Black Forest, to 
Kandel in Breisgau, or to Heuberg 1 by Balingen, which is noticed 
as a witches mount as early as 1506, and resembles the Huiberg 
above ; in Franconia to Kreidenberg by Wiirzburg, and Staffel- 
stein by Bamberg ; and probably the Fichtelberg and the Silesian 
Eiesengebirge have witches haunts of their own. In Alsace 
are named Bischenberg } Biichelberg (conf. Bechelsb.), Schauenberg 
and Kniebiss (knee-biting, from the steepness, elsewhere Knie- 
brecher) ; in the Vosges, Hupella. The Swedish meeting-places 
are Bltikulla (Hire says, an island rock between Smaland and 
Oland, liter, black mount, a name it prob. shares with other 
heights), 2 and Nasafjdll in Norrland. The Norwegian witches 
also repair to Blaakolle, further to Dovrefjeld, Lyderhorn by 
Bergen, Kiarru in Tvedsogn, to Vardo and Domen in Finmarken; 
all such trysting-places are called balvolde (bale-wold, campus 
rnalus). In Denmark they say fare til Hekhelfjelds (p. 1001), 
i.e. to Mt Hekla in Iceland, Heklufiall ; also ride til Trums, 
fare til Troms/ meaning Trommenfjeld, a mountain on the Norw. 
island Tromso, high up off the Finmark. The Neapolitan 
streghe hold their tryst under a walnut-tree near Benevento, 
which the people call the Beneventine wedding; on that very 
spot stood the holy tree of the Langobards (pp. 101. 649), so 
here again witchcraft stands clearly connected with old heathen 
worship. Witches hills in Italy are the Barco di Ferrara, 
Paterno di Bologna, Spinato della Mirandola, Tossale di Ber- 

1 Howberg, Paracelsi opera 2, 259. 260. 

2 Ace. to Job. Westhovii Praefatio ad vitas sanctor., a wind and weather 
making merwoman was called Blakulla ; Arnkiel 1,35 sets up a sea-goddess Blakylle; 
Arvidsson 2, 302-5 has beryet bid, the black mount. 


gamo, and one, la croce del pasticcio/ whose situation I do not 
know. In France the Puy de Dome near Clermont in Auvergne 
is renowned, and other districts have their hills. The Spanish 
hechizeras hold their dance on the heath of Baraona, in the sand 
of Sevilla, on the plain of Cirniegola; in Navarre on Aquelarre, 
said to mean in Basque goat s meadow/ The Servian witches 
dance na pometno guvno/ on the swept thrashingfloor, pro 
bably on a high mountain; those of Hungary on Kopasz tetd 
(the bald crown), a peak of the Tokay wine-hills, 1 with which 
the f na Lysagore of the Polish witches (Woycicki 1, 17. 2, 
77) agrees. A part of the Carpathians between Hungary and 
Poland is called in Pol. babia gora, old wives mountain ; I 
cannot say if witch-festivals are placed there. The Kormakssaga 
pp. 76. 204. 222 has a similar 8pakonufell t wise-woman s mount. 
The Lithuanians say, on the eve of St. John all the magicians 
come flying to Mt Sz atria, where a mighty sorceress Jauterita 
entertains them. 2 It is singular, how all over Europe the 
heathen s pilgrimages to feasts and sacrifices are by Christians 
converted into this uniform sorcery, everywhere alike. Did 
the notion take shape in each nation by itself ? or, what is less 
credible, was the fashion set in one place, and followed every 
where else? 3 (see Suppl.) 

That the heathen in old Scandinavia already had the notion of 
enchantresses riding or driving out at evening and night, is clear 
from the Edda. As He^inn roamed the forest alone in the 
evening, he fell in with a trollkona, who offered him her fylgft 
(attendance, like a guardian valkyrja), but he declined it, Sasm. 
146 a . A legend fraught with meaning is but slightly touched 
upon in Sn. 175 : As Bragi the old (p. 1041) drove through a 
forest late in the evening, he met a trollkona, who addressed him 
in a song and asked, who rideth there ? She names to him her 
troll names, and he, answering in song, tells her his poetic names. 
Hence an enchantress is called qveld-ri&a, evening-rider, Sasm. 

1 Szirmai s Notitia comitatus Zempleniensis, Budae 1803. p. 3 ; and Hungaria 
in parabolis p. 158-9. 

2 Courl. Society s Communic., Mitau 1840. 1, 47 b . 

3 Nocturnal meetings on mountains can also be conn, with other heathen 
notions : giants and elves reside on mountains. Pliny 5, 1 says of Mt Atlas : 
incolarum neminem interdiu cerni, silere omnia . . . noctibus micare crebris 
ignibus, Aegipanum Satyrorumque lascivia impleri, tibiarum ac fistularum cantu, 
tympanorum et cymbalorum soiiitu strepere. 

1054 MAGIC. 

143 b , and myrk-riffa 77 a , by which monstrous mischievous giant- 
women are meant, wild women, waldminnes, iarnvrSjur (p. 483), 
whom the heroes are bent on putting down : hefi ec qvaldar 
qveldrrSor/ I have quelled the witches, says Atli. Their riding 
is called gandreift, vectura magica, Nialss. p. 195; gandr is pro 
perly wolf, they are said to have ridden wolves and bridled them 
with snakes : fann trollkono, su reift vargi ok hafSi orma i tau- 
mom, SaBm. 146 a . c Hyrrokin reiff vargi ok hafiSi hoggorm at 
taumum, Sn. 66. A Rune figure (bautil 1157) represents a troll 
riding a wolf, using a bent twig for reins. A Swed. folksong 
makes her ride on a Lear, and use the wolf as a saddle, the snake 
as a whip : bjornen den sa red hon uppa, ulfven den hade hon till 
sadel derpa, och ormen den hade hon till piska/ Sv. vis. 1, 77. 
Nor must we overlook, that the Servian vila, who has much more 
of the elf about her, rides a stag, and bridles him with a snake. 
Among names of enchantresses Sn. 210 b has Munnriffa, mouth- 
rider, perhaps holding the snake-bridle in her mouth ? Another 
is Hunnharpa (Biorn says, rigor oris ex gelu) ; both demand a 
more precise explanation, but anyhow -rifta must refer to night- 
riding. One poet, Sn. 102, uses the circumlocution qveldrunnin 
qven, femina vespere excurrens. The Vestgota-lag, like the Salic 
(p. 1045), speaking of insulting accusations, instances that of 
sorcery, p. 38 : iak sa at ret a quiggrindu, losliarap ok i trols- 
ham, j?a alt var iam rift nat ok dagher/ and p. 153 has almost 
the same words, with losgiurp added to loshare]? : I saw thee ride 
on the hurdle, loose-haired, loose-girt, in troll s garb, where day 
and night divide (in twilight) ; if we might read qvigindu, it 
would be f ride on the calf as in the MHG. poem, p. 1048. 
Neither this Law nor the Edda tells us of sorceresses assembling 
in troops at appointed places, yet the valkyrs ride together by 
twelves and twenties. But the idea of night-riding itself may 
be derived even from goddesses : the Hyndlu-lioft has for its 
groundwork, that Freyja seated on her boar, whose bristles glow 
in the gloom of night, and her sister Hyndla (canicula) on a wolf, 
ride up to holy Valholl 1 (see Suppl.). 

In Germany proper, successive stages can be pointed out. 
Before Christianity, the old giantesses (etenins) may well have 

1 A magician, who was kveld-svaefr (evening-sleeper), bears the name Kveldulfr 
Egilss. p. 3; it is like the OHG. Nahtolfby which N. renders Nocturnus. 


been sorceresses amongst us also, as we still find such a one in 
our Heldenbuch (see p. 556), and a giant plays the host on a 
witches hill, Lisch 5, 83. After the conversion, sorcery links 
itself with the discredited gods both foreign and domestic ; not 
at once with the Devil yet, whose idea had scarce begun to take 
root among the people. The witches are of the retinue of former 
goddesses j who, hurled from their thrones, transformed from 
gracious adored beings into malign and dreaded ones, roam rest 
less by night, and instead of their once stately progresses can 
only maintain stolen forbidden conferences with their adherents. 
Even when the bulk of the people was won over to the new 
doctrine, individual men would for a time remain true to the old 
faith, and perform their heathen rites in secret; but soon these 
pagan practices would cease as real facts, and abide in the memory 
and shaping fancy of mankind, and the more enduringly if they 
were connected with popular feasts and the permitted or pro 
hibited usage about healings and poisonings. Performance, tradi 
tion, fancy were mixt up together, and no single century can 
possibly have been without the notion of illicit idolatrous magic, 
even if we are unable to specify the shape in which it entertained 
it. Amongst all Christians the report of it lasted ineradicable, 
assuming a looser or firmer consistency, according as the Church 
indulged popular beliefs, or sought more sternly to suppress 
them. What she was determined to punish and exterminate, 
must gradually have been withdrawn from the mild realm of 
fancy, and assumed the harsh aspect of a horrible reality. 

Enchanters and enchantresses (I will start with that) attach 
themselves to the spectral train of deities, to that Furious Host 
with which elvish and all manner of evil beings got associated : 
in the Vilk. saga cap. 328-9 the wild host of Ostacia (Ostansia, 
or whatever the genuine form may be) shews a significant con 
nexion. But enchantresses would be ranged specially with god 
desses, out of whom the Christian teachers might make up a 
Roman Diana, a Jewish Herodias, but the populace never entirely 
dropt the traditional native names. How natural then, if dame 
Holda, if that Freyja or Abundia (whether she be Folia p. 308, 
or a Celtic deity) had formerly led the round dance of elves and 
liolden, that she herself should now be made an unliolde and 
be escorted by unlwlden (p. 926) ! In the Norw. fairytale no. 15 

1056 MAGIC. 

the troldkidring takes quite the place of dame Holda. In the 
Jeu d Adans (supra p. 412 n.) the three fays assemble on a 
meadow, where the old women of the town await them : or tost 
aliens ent par illeuc, les vielles femes de le vile nous i atendent/ 
There did exist a fellowship then between fays and witches. 

It perfectly agrees with the view propounded, that the Thuring. 
Horselberg is at once the residence of Holda and her host (pp. 456. 
935. 959), and a try sting-place of witches (p. 1052). Keisers- 
berg in Omeiss 36. 40 makes the night-faring wives assemble no 
otherwhere but in the Venusberg (p. 953), whereat is good living, 
dancing and hopping. Still more decisive are the passages 
quoted in the Appendix (Superst. C, int. 44 ; 10, 1 ; p. 194 a . 
D, 140 r.), by which it appears, that down into the tenth and 
into the 14th cent., night-women in the service of dame Holda 
rove through the air on appointed nights, mounted on beasts ; 
her they obey, to her they sacrifice, and all the while not a word 
about any league with the Devil. Nay, these night -iv omen, 
shining mothers, dominae nocturnae, bonnes dames (p. 287-8), in 
Hincmar lamiae sive geniciales feminae* were originally daemonic 
elvish beings, who appeared in woman s shape and did men 
kindnesses ; Holda, Abundia, to whom still a third part of the 
whole world is subject (pp. 283-8), lead the ring of dancers, and 
on the goddess s itinerant ship dances were trod (p. 260). It is 
to such dancing at heathen worship, to the airy elf-dance (p. 470), 
to the hopping of will-o -wisps (p. 916), 1 that I trace primarily the 
idea of witches dances ; though festive dances at heathen May- 
meetings can be reckoned in with the rest. To Christian zealots 
all dancing appeared sinful and heathenish, and sure enough it 
often was derived from pagan rites, like other harmless pleasures 
and customs of the common people, who would not easily part 
with their diversion at great festivals. Hence the old dancings 
at Shrovetide (p. 770n.), at the Easter fire and May fire, at the 
solstices, at harvest and Christmas ; a minuter examination than 
has yet been made of the proceedings at these holidays would 
bring out many things more clearly. Afzelius 2, 5 informs us, 
that to this day stories are afloat in Sweden of dances and reels 
performed by the heathen round holy places of their gods : so 

1 The ignis fatuus is called hexentanz (Schm. 2, 148), Sloven, vezha, prop, 
witch ; even the dead were made to carry on dances. 


wanton were they, yet so enticing, that the spectators at last 
were seized with the rage, and whirled along into the revelry. 
When chronicles of our Mid. Ages occasionally record the dese 
cration of holy days by wild dancing, and that the penalty 
imposed was, to keep it up without ceasing for a whole year, DS. 
no. 231, this again expresses the disgust of the Christians at the 
relics of heathenism, and resembles the perversion of Wuo tan s 
march into the everlasting hunter s chase. 1 Why Herodias 
was dragged into the circle of night-women, was just because 
she played and danced, and since her death goes booming through 
the air as the wind s bride/ In this ghostly band, then, 
popular fancy placed human sorceresses too, i.e. women of ill 
repute who clung to heathenism, fantastic old wives : Et si 
aliqua femina est, quae se dicat cum daemonum turba, in simili- 
tudinem mulierum transformata, certis noctibus equitare super 
quasdam bestias, et in eorum (daemonum) consortio annumeratam 
esse ; and : Quaedam sceleratae mulieres retro post Satanam 
conversae, daemonum illusionibus seductae, credunt se nocturnis 
horis cum Diana paganorum dea, vel cum Herodiade et innumera 
multitudine mulierum, equitare super quasdam bestias, et multa 
terrarum spatia intempestae noctis silentio pertransire, ejusque 
jussionibus velut dominae obedire, et certis noctibus ad ejus servi- 
tium evocari. Such was the earlier way of thinking about 
witches rides ; 2 and the names naht-fard, naht-frouwd, naht-ritd, 
dating doubtless from the heathen time, agreed exactly with the 
ON. qveldrrSa, myrkrrSa on p. 1053-4. I cannot indeed produce 

1 The clergy represented dancing as a mimicry of the priestly procession, and 
likened it to the Jewish idolatry with the golden calf. 

2 The extract from Burchard, Superst. C (conf. Pref. to my First Ed. p. xxiv) 
can neither have been derived from the Council of Ancyra A.D. 314, which has no 
such passage in print or MS. ; nor from Augustine, though it occurs in the Tract, de 
spiritu et anima cap. 28 (opp. ed. Bened. Autv. 1706. 6, 525) with et Minerva 
added after Herodiade, for this is a spurious work, yet of so early a date (6th cent., 
thinks Biener, Zeitschr. f. gesch. rechtsw. 12, 123) that it is but little inferior in 
value for our purpose. Eegino too (ed. Waschersl. 2, 371), the oldest genuine 
authority, has prob. drawn from it ; then come Burchard in the llth, and Ivo (11, 
30) and Gratian in the 12th century. Albertus Mag. in Summa theol. 2, 31 (opp. 
18, 180) has : cum Diana pag. dea, vel Herodiade et Minerva. The passage is 
said to be also in an unpubl. Vita Damasi papae, and there to refer back to a 
Synod of Borne of 367 (Soldan p. 75). To me it makes no difference if both Ancy- 
ran council and Koman synod already mention the night -far ing Diana and Herodias; 
for Diana, who even to the ancient Eomans ruled the woods, the chase and the 
night, must no doubt have appeared to Christian converts of the first centuries as 
a goddess of magic. 

1058 MAGIC. 

them from earlier than the 13th century, as Wh. 1, 82 b : f wil 
der (Machmet) helfe sparn, so helfen in die naht-varn ; daz sint 
alter wibe troume/ if M. grudge help, the night-farers help them. 
Ls. 3, 10 : ez konde niemen bewarn, ich miles eine (alone) uz 
farn mit der naht-frouwen (i.e. with the goddess) ; do sprach ich 
zuo mime gesellen : als schiere so (as soon as) ez naht wirt, diu 
vart mich niht verbirt, ich sol liden groze not, bezzer wsere mir 
der tot. 1st aber daz mir wol ergat, so kum ich umb die han- 
krat, des enweiz ich aber niht. Min triu, du solt mir ein lieht 
kleiben hin an etewaz, daz ich kunne dester baz komen her wider 
hein : kleib ez an einen stein, oder kleib ez an die want/ 
Notice that to the simple-minded man the woman represents her 
alleged expedition as a painful necessity. 1 In Vintler (Superst. 
G, 1. 274) it is said: so farent etlich mit der (nacJit) far auf 
kelbern und auf pecken (bocken) durch stain und durch stecke/ 
So calves and he-goats are those quaedam bestiae. At p. 723 
we saw the word nachtfare fittingly applied even to a star travel 
ling in the sky. John of Salisbury, who lived in England and 
France (d. 1182), and believed in demonic influence, has a re 
markable statement in his Policr. ii. 17 : Quale est quod nocti- 
culam (nocticolam ? noctilucam ?) quandam, vel Herodiadem, vel 
praesidem noctis dominam, consilia et conventus de node asserunt 
convocare, varia celebrari convivia, ministeriorum species diversis 
occupationibus exerceri, et nunc istos ad pocnam trahi pro 
mericis, nunc illos ad gloriatn sublimari ; praeterea infantes 
exponi lamiis, et nunc frustatim discerptos edaci ingluvie in 
ventrem trajectos congeri, nunc praesidentis miseratione rejectos 
in cunas reponi. Quis vel caecus hoc ludificantium daemonum 
non videat esse nequitiam ? quod vel ex hoc patet, quod mulier- 
culis et viris simplicioribus et infirmioribus in fide ista proveniunt. 
I will add some equally conclusive testimonies from various parts 
of France, and all of the 13th cent., to the character of these 
night excursions ; their analogy to the preceding will not fail 
to be perceived. The Acta sanct. 32 Jul. p. 287 b draw from 
a parchment MS. of the 13th cent, the following, which has 
also got into the Legenda Aurea cap. 102, though wanting in 
the older biographies of Germanus : Hospitatus (S. Germanus 

1 By nightmare (mar = horse) is meant, not the witch who rides out, but an 
elfin who rides, i.e. presses, on the sleeper, Superst. I, 878. 


Autissiodor.) in quodam loco, cum post coenam iterum mensa 
pararetur, admiratus interrogat, cui denuo praepararent ? Cui 
cum dicerent, quod bonis illis mulieribus, quae de node incedunt, 1 
praepararetur, ilia nocte statuit S. Germanus vigilare. Et ecce, 
videt multitudinem daemonum in mensa, in forma hominum et 
mulierum venientem. Qui eis praecipiens ne abirent, cunctos de 
familia excitavit, inquirens, si personas illas cognoscerent ? qui 
cum omnes vicinos suos et vicinas esse dicerent, misit ad domos 
singulorum, daemonibus praecipiens ne abirent. Et ecce, omnes 
in suis lectulis sunt inventi. Adjurati igitur se daemones esse 

dixerunt, qui sic hominibus illudebant/ Guilielmus Alvernus 

p. 1066: Idem et eodem modo sentiendum est tibi de aliis 
malignis spiritibus, quos vulgus stryges et lamias vocant, et 
apparent de nocte in domibus in quibus parvuli nutriuntur, eosque 
de cunabulis raptos laniare vel igne assare videntur : 2 apparent 
autem in specie vetularum. Vetularum autem nostrarum desipi- 
entia opinionem istam mirabiliter disseminavit et provexit, atque 
animis mulierum aliarum irradicabiliter infixit. Similiter et de 
dominabus nocturnis, quod bonae mulieres sint, et magna dona 
domibus quas frequentent per eas praestentur, mulieribus potis- 
simum persuaserunt ; et, ut ad unum dicam, pene omnes reliquias 
idololatriae retinuit et reservavit et adhuc promovere non cessat 

anilis ista fatuitas/ Vincentius Bellovac. in Spec. mor. iii. 3, 

27 : Cum in quadam parochia homines talibus crederent, quidam 
ribaldi transfiguraverunt se in similitudinem mulierum, earum 
assumto habitu, et domum cujusdam rustici cum tortiis (torches) 
intrantes et choreas ducentes suppressa voce canebant Gallice ( un 
en prenes, cent en rendres/ Latine : unum accipite, centum 
reddite ! et sic in oculis rustici domum ejus evacuaverunt omnibus 
bonis, dicentis uxori suae : tace, et claude oculos, divites erirnus, 
quia bonae res sunt, 3 et centuplicabunt bona nostra/ And 
further on : Cum quaedam vetula volens blandire suo sacerdoti 

1 Is the OHG. dgengun, lamiae, Diut. 2, 174, to be explained by this nightly 
going about ? 

- When Demeter anointed the child Demophoon with ambrosia by day, fanned 
him with her sweet breath, laid him in the fire at night to consume all that was 
mortal in him, the boy throve, till his mother watched and saw and burst into a 
loud wail, then the miracle was interrupted, Hyrn. to Ceres 23663. So Thetis 
anoints her infant Achilles, and hides him in the fire. Conf . however the Tr 
ra pptyT) Sid TTJS 0X0765, and ponere juxta ignem, p. 625. 

8 Guotiu ivihtir, p. 442 ; conf. unrighteous things, p. 1031, sorcery. 


diceret ei in ecclesia : domine, multum me debetis diligere, quia 
liberavi vos a morte : quia cum ego vadebam cum bonis rebus, 
media node intravimus domum vestram cum luminaribus, ego 
videns vos dormientem et nudum, cooperui vos, ne dominae 
nostrae viderent nuditatem vestram, quarn si vidissent, ad mortem 
vos flagellari fecissent. Quaesivit sacerdos, quomodo intraverant 
domum ejus et cameram, cum essent fortiter seratae ? Tune ait 
ilia, quod bene intrabant domum januis clausis. Sacerdos autem 
vocans earn intra cancellum, clauso ostio verberavit earn cum 
baculo crucis, dicens : exite hinc, domina sortilega ! Et cum non 
posset exire, emisit earn sacerdos dicens : modo videtis quam 
fatuae estis, quae somniorum creditis vanitatem. This priest goes 
very sensibly to work with the sorceress, and never dreams of 

baiting her as a criminal. Gervase of Tilbury 3, 85 : Lamiae 

dicuntur esse mulieres quae noctu domos momentaneo discursu 
penetrant, dolia vel cophinos, cantharos et ollas perscrutantur, 
infantes ex cunis extrahunt, luminaria accenduntj et nonnunquam 
dormientes affligunt. At 3, 93 he assures us he had known 
women who declared ( se dormientibus viris suis cum coetu 
lamiarum celeri penna mare transire, mundum percurrere, et si 
quis aut si qua in tali discursu Christum nominaverit, statim, in 
quocunque loco et quantovis periculo fecerit, corruere ; and one 
woman had fallen into the Rhone that way. Scimus quasdam in 
forma cattorum a furtive vigilantibus de nocte visas ac vulneratas 

in crastino vulnera truncationesque ostendisse/ So then the 

witches travel in the nightly train of gracious dames/ for whom 
men spread tables, as they do for visitant fays and elves (pp. 409. 
411. Superst. C, 198 d ), because they bring luck or multiply it, 
scrutinize the house-gear, bless the babes in the cradle. 
Heathenish the superstition was, for the name of Christ might 
not be uttered ; but it did not pass for devilish yet. True, the 
notion of kidnapping (of which elves also were accused, p. 468) 
already mingles with it, and rises to the barbarous height of 
roasting and devouring ; but this also hangs on myths about elves 
and goddesses, and had always been laid at the door of sorceresses. 
One passage even celebrates the compassion of the president and 

1 The Maid of Orleans, indicted for sorcery, was asked : si elle s?ait rien de 
ceux qui vont avecq les fees 1 1 

WITCHES. 1061 

directress of the feast, she has the stolen sucklings carried back 
to their cradles (see Suppl.). 

Crescentia, who had devoted herself to the nurture of children, 
is addressed as an unholde : Waz huotes du ddse, ubele horn- 
blase ? du soldes billecher da ce holze varn, dan die megede hie 
bewarn ; dft bist ein unholde, und sizist hie behangen mit golde. 
She answers : Got weiz wol die sculde, ob ich bin ein unholde, 
oder ie dicheinis (any) zouberes gephlac/ Kaiserchr. 12199. 
Diemer p. 373 (imitated, Kolocz. 261-2). They believed then in 
the 12th cent, that unholden fared to the woods/ to the Wild 
Host, and blew horns/ like Tutosel, who as a tooting hooting 
owl, i.e. strix, travels in the Furious Host (p. 922) ; can hor- 
tuta/ a word of insult in the Vestgotalag p. 38, have been 
hornjruta, hornfiyta ? ON. ]?iota, ululare, Goth. ]?ut-haurn a-d\7ruyf. 
The precise meaning of ddse, unless it be for dwase, twase, getwas 
(spectre, p. 915), escapes me (see Suppl.). Such unholden are 
much more night-dames, bonae dominae, than devil s partners. 
The ( faring to woods and forests 3 expresses the sentence 
pronounced on banished outlawed men, whose dwelling is in 
the wilderness, among wolves, RA. 733, to whom the forest be 
comes mother (shuma ti mati !), conf. saltibus assuetus (p. 482). 
Vulgar opinion in Sweden to this day suspects old women, who 
live alone in the woods, of harbouring and sheltering wolves 
when they are hunted : they are called vargamodrar, wolf- 
niothers, and such a one is meant in the song of Samung 
(Sa3mingr p. 305) : inde satt gamla djuramor, rorde med nasa i 
brande/ within sat the old beasts -mother, stirred with her nose 
the coals (Afzel. sagohafder 1, 38. 43). The long-nosed hag here 
evidently melts into the notion of the alrune who mingles with 
wood-schrats, p. 404, and of the wild wood-wife, p. 432 ; she is 
like the ON. iarnvidja, p. 483. 

But what to my mind completely establishes this milder 
explanation of witches doings, which leaves the Devil out of 
the reckoning, is the collection of conjuring spells quoted in the 
Appendix, vol. 3. Taken mostly from witch-trials of the last few 
centuries, when the link between witch and devil was a long- 
established thing to the popular mind, they refer not to devilish 
doings at all, but everywhere to elvish or even Christian. Some 
of them seem to be of high antiquity, of heathen origin, and to 

1062 MAGIC. 

have been handed down through a long course of oral tradition. 
Their power to hurt or heal is founded on faith in elves and sprites, 
whose place is afterwards filled by angels and holy names. As 
elf and elfin, dwarf and. she-dwarf, lilwiz and bilwizin are invoked 
(p. 472), so in the old AS. formula (App. spell i.) esa gescot 
(ases shot), ylfa gescot, hcegtessan gescot all stand side by side. 
Such formulas, whose words must long ago have become unin 
telligible to witches of the 16-17th cent., at once prove the 
injustice of the charge brought against them. It is to me a 
significant fact, that the imagination of the tortured witches still 
expressly owns to a journey auf Venesberg und in das paradis 
(Mone s Anz. 7, 426), meaning therefore the ancient elvish or 
even Christian abode of bliss, and not a devilish one. 

The gradual intrusion of the Devil by whom, according to the 
Church s belief, men were possessed (p. 1015), is easily accounted 
for. The conception was radically foreign to the Teuton mind, 
which tried at first to naturalize it by transferring it to a fe 
male being (p. 990). But when in course of time the Christian 
notion of a male devil got the upper hand, then all that had been 
told of Holda had in its turn to be applied to him. From their 
service and attendance on that unhold dame of night, the witches 
passed into the Devil s fellowship, whose sterner keener nature 
aggravated the whole relationship into something more wicked, 
more sinful. Those magic rides by night had merely rested 
on the general allegiance due to the people s ancient goddess, in 
whose train the women rode ; but now that the Devil came to 
fetch the women, and carried them over hill and dale (pp. 1013. 
1028), there grew up the idea of an amorous alliance between 
him and every single witch. 

Connecting links may be found in abundance. Ghostly beings 
could form close and intimate ties with men; a long line of 
neighbourly elves links its destiny to the good or ill fortunes of 
a human family, home-sprites devote themselves to a man s 
service, and cling to him with obstinate and troublesome fidelity 
(p. 513) ; only these attachments are neither founded on formal 
compact, nor are they pernicious to man. An equally tender and 
an innocent relation subsists between him and the attendant 
guardian spirit given him at birth, p. 875. 

The witches devils have proper names so strikingly similar in 


formation to those of elves and kobolds, that one can scarcely 
think otherwise than that nearly all devils names of that class are 
descended from older folk-names for those sprites. A collection 
of such names, which I have culled out of witch-trials, may afford 
us a welcome glimpse into old elvish domestic economy itself. 
Some are taken from healing herbs and flowers, and are certainly 
the product of an innocent, not a diabolic fancy : Wolgemut (ori 
ganum), ScJwne (bellis minor, daisy), Luzei (aristolochia), Wege- 
tritt (plantago), Bliimchenblau (conf. the marvelous flower, p. 
971), Peterlein (parsley) ; exactly such are the names of two 
fairies in Midsum. N. Dr., Peaseblossom and Mustardseed. Names 
equally pretty are borrowed from the forest life of the sprites : 
Griinlaub (-leaf), Grunewald, Lindenlaub, Lindenzweig (-twig), 
Eiclienlaub (oak), Birnbaum (pear), Birnbaumchen, Rautenstrauch 
(rue), Buchsbaum (box), Holderlin (elder), Krdnzlein (garland), 
Spring -ins-f eld, Hurlebusch, Zum-wald-fliehen ; clad in green (as 
the devil is in Kinderm. 101) appear the Scotch elves (Minstrelsy 
2, 152-4. 160-4) and Norse huldre (Faye p. 42) ; foliage garlands 
must have been largely used in ancient sacrifices as well as in 
sorcery, oak-leaves in particular are enjoined on witches, and are 
used in brewing storms (Moneys Anz. 8, 129). As the Devil 
often presents himself in fair angelic guise ( in young man s 
sheen occurs already in Ls. 3, 72), he receives such names as 
Jungling, Junker, Schonhans, and feather- ornaments or wings 
are a favourite ascription, hence the names Feder, Federlwms, 
Federling, Federbuscli, Weissfeder (white-f.), Straussfeder (ostrich- 
f.), Strausswedcl (-plume), Griinwedel. Of all the names confessed 
by witches, none is commoner than Flederwisch (Voigt s Abh. 
62-8-9. 105-9. 113. 129), but folktales give that name to ko- 
bolds (Jul. Schmidt 158), and carousers in their cups used to 
drink to all flederwischen ! (Franz. Simpl. 1, 47. 57): by 
flederwisch we mean the end limb of a (goose) wing, used for the 
purpose of dusting, hence Kehrwisch also occurs as a devil s name, 
aptly denoting the rapid whisking to and fro of a spirit. Then 
again proper names of men are in great request, especially in the 
familiar fondling form which is also used for kobolds (p. 504) : 
Hans, Hdnschen, junker Hans (squire Jack), Graulians (conf. 
Grayman, p. 993), Griinlians, Hans vom busch; Heinrich, Grau- 
lieinrichj Hinze ; Kunz, Kilnzchen (conf. Kueni, p. 1003), Konrad ; 

1064 MAGIC. 

Nickel, GrossnicM; Martin (p. 931), Merten ; Kaspar, Kasparle ; 
Dewes, Rupel, Riippel (p. 504), Eausch (p. 517n.), Wendel (p. 375 
lastl.), Hemmerlin (p. 182), Stophel, junker Stof (Christopli, the 
first syll. shortened with a purpose? conf. Stopchen, p. 1003), 
some few of them equally savouring of the heathenish and 
the devilish ; Perlebitz (in some Hessian trials Berlewitzchen, 
-witchen), probably the same as pilwitz (p. 472). 1 The following 
begin to look suspicious : Leidenoth, Machleid, Ungliick, Reicheher, 
Hintenhervor, Allerlei-wollust (perh. a flower s name), Schwarzbury, 
Dreifuss, Kuhfuss, Kuhohrnchen, Dickbauch ; yet they may also 
turn upon the satyr-like shape of the schrats, or upon the weird 
and worrying nature of any intercourse with the demonic world. 
The old Easter-play supplies the following names, belonging at 
latest to the beginning of the 15th century: Kottelrey, Rosen- 
kranz, Krezlin, Federwisch, Raffenzan, Binkebank, Spiegelglanz, 
Scliorbrant, Schoppenstak, Hellekrug, 2 Schorzemage ; they are 
easy to explain from what has gone before. Italian streghe call 
their devil Martinello, Martinetto, and again Fiorino ; French 
trials furnish maistre Persil, Verdelet, Verdjoli, Jolibois, Saute- 
buisson. Two more fairies in Mids. N. Dream, Moth and Cobweb, 
are worth remembering. All these names have nothing in com 
mon with the names of the Jewish or Christian devil, except with 
those quoted pp. 988-9. 1003, and they are kobolds names. 3 Some 
of the names in my list appear to belong equally to the witches 
themselves, just as elves have several common to both sexes. 
Thus the feminine names of plants and flowers are more suitable 
to sorceresses (see Suppl.). 

Love-affairs between spirits and men arise out of their familiar 
intercourse. She-kobolds are nowhere mentioned, and we are 
never told of kobolds having designs upon women ; elves on the 
contrary do carry off maidens, and men live in secret intimacy 
with elfins ; thus Helgi became the father of Skuld by an dlfkona, 
Fornald. sog. 1, 32. 96. But except that Elberich having made 
himself invisible overpowers Otnit s mother, and an dlfr does the 

1 The Hessian dialect often inserts an r: at Cassel they call beUevue 

2 Mone s Schausp. p. 131 has hellekruke for witch. 

3 A few times the hellish wooer is called Lucifer or Belzebok, Trier, act. 114 ; 
where the name jamer is also given, which I do not quite understand : is it jammer 
unpleasant [as in jammer schade, a sad pity] , or jammer ailment, epilepsy? 


like to king Aldrian s wife and begets Hogni, I cannot think of 
any instance of such amours as lie at the bottom of all the witch- 
stories. The notions of incubus and succubus seem to me not of 
German origin, though afterwards they got mixed up with those 
of elf and night- spirit. An AS. manuscript in Wanley, either of 
the 12th, llth, or some earlier cent., speaks of monnom, ]?e 
deofol mid hsenrS. In the later doctrine about witches their 
prostitution is an essential feature, it seals the compact, and gives 
the Devil free control over them : in a pure maid he can have no 
part. 1 Without this abomination we never come across a witch 
at all. 2 

It is a question, at what period witches covenants and amours 
are first mentioned in Germany. No doubt the first impulse to 
them was given by the persecution and consequent spread of 
heresies, which after the middle of the 13th cent, came from Italy 
and France into Germany. However guilty or innocent the 
heretics may have been, report, magnifying and distorting, 
charged their assemblies with idolatrous excesses, whose affinity 
to witches doings is beyond dispute. Among the heretics them 
selves, with their seclusion, reserve, and constantly repeated 
success in attaching new disciples and adherents, some ancient 
departures from orthodox faith and ritual kept stubbornly 
reproducing themselves ; as persistently did calumnies start up 
against them. They were accused of adoring a beast or beast s 
head, which presently turned into- the Devil, who became visible, 
now as a black spirit, now as a bright beguiling angel, his fa 
vourite animal shape being that of a he- cat, or else a toad. At 
their meetings, it was said, they slaughtered children and kneaded 
their blood in flour or ashes, and after extinguishing the lights, 
practised together the lusts of; the flesh. Newly admitted mem 
bers were marked by, the-prick-of a needle, the while they cursed 
their Maker,, and signified their faith and homage to the Evil one, 
as to worldly rulers, by a kiss, 3 Even in the less offensive teach- 

1 Le demon ne peut faire pacte aveo une vierge, Mich, Hist, de Fr. 5, 68. 159. 

2 Greek antiquity had itsfaUes about the intercourse of gods with mortals (p. 
343), and so had our heathenism about the union of heroes with swan- wives and 
elfin s ; at last the far grosser conception could find credence, of a literal commerce 
of the Devil with mankind ! 

3 Soldan s Geschichte der Hexenprocesse pp. 103146, 

1066 MAGIC. 

iug and practice of sorne heretics there could not fail to be a 
mixture of heathen things with Christian ; the church s zeal had 
to bestir itself at once against new errors of doctrine and against 
remnants of heathenism that were combined with them. Along 
with heretic-prosecutions went rumours of diabolic compacts and 
conferences, which the populace connected with their ancient be 
lief in daemonic beings. Traditions of certain men being leagued 
with the Devil had already circulated in the West, at all events 
from the 10th cent. (p. 1017) ; the more readily would they now 
be extended to women. The earliest certain mention of an in 
trigue between witch and devil is of the year 1275 under an 
inquisitor at Toulouse (Soldan p. 147) ; the first half of the 14th 
cent, seems to have established more firmly, especially in Italy, 
the belief in a diabolic sisterhood (secta strigarum). Bartolus (d. 
1357) delivered a judgment on a witch of Ortha and Kiparia in 
Novara bpric., 1 the charge was novel to him, and he appeals to 
theologians as to the nature of the crime ; from the whole tenor 
of his sentence we may assume that seldom or never had a witch 
been tried in the Milanese before. Amongst other things he says : 
1 Mulier striga sive lamia debet igne cremari, confitetur se crucem 
fecisse ex paltis et talem crucem pedibus conculcasse 
se adorasse didbolum, illi genua flectendo . . . pueros tactu 
stricasse et fascinasse, adeo quod mortui fuerunt. Audivi a sacris 
quibusdam theologis, has mulieres quae lamiae nuncupantur tactu 
vel visu posse nocere etiam usque ad mortem fascinando homines 
seu pueros ac bestias, cum habeant animas infectas, quas daemoni 

voverunt. Between 1316 and 1334 pope John XXII had issued 

a bull without date, ordering the property of convicted sorcerers 
to be confiscated like that of heretics. What was then done by 
inquisitors and judges Soldan has subjected to a minute investi 
gation (pp. 160 210), and I need only single out one or two 
facts. Alfonsus de Spina in his Fortalitium fidei (written about 
1458) lib. 5 informs us : Quia nimium abundant tales perversae 
mulieres in Delphinatu et Gaschonia, ubi se asserunt concurrere 
de nocte in quadam planitie deserta, ubi est aper quidam in rupe, 
qui vulgariter dicitur el bock de Biterne, et quod ibi conveniunt 
cum candelis accensis, et adorant ilium aprumj osculantes eum in 

1 Printed in Job. Bapt. Ziletti consilior. select, in criminal, causis, Franco!. 
1578 fol., torn. 1, consil. 6. 


ano suo ; ideo captae plures earum ab inquisitoribus fidei, et con- 
victae, ignibus comburuntur ; signa autem combustarura sunt 
depicta, qualiter scilicet adorant cum candelis praedictum aprum, 
in domo inquisitoris Tholosani in magna multitudine camisearum, 

sicut ego propriis oculis aspexi/ Read throughout caper for 

aper, as bock, boc, bouc evidently means the former. Adoring 
and kissing of the he-goat or he-cat was just the charge brought 
against heretics, whose very name (ketzer, cathari) some derived 
from that circumstance. 1 This parody of divine worship may 
either be connected with goat-sacrifices of the heathen (p. 52) and 
the sacredness of that animal, or explained by the goat s feet 
ascribed to the devil from of old (p. 995). Kissing the toad 
(Soldan p. 133-6) is wonderfully like those conditions necessary 
to the release of ( white women (p. 969) ; here heretical 
opinions coincide with superstition. In 1303 a bishop of 
Coventry was accused at Eome of a number of heinous crimes, 
amongst others quod diabolo homagium fecerat, et eurn fuerit 
osculatus in tergo ; Boniface 8 acquitted him (Rymer 2, 934 old 
ed.). The same charge is commonly brought against the later 
witches. Dr. Hartlieb in 1446 mentions abjuring God and 
giving oneself up to three devils/ Superst. H, cap. 34. 

For four centuries, beginning with the 14th ; what with the 
priestly Inquisition, with the formality of the Canon and Civil 
law process simultaneously introduced in the courts, and to 
crown all, with Innocent 8 s bull of 1484 (MB. 16, 245-7), as well 
as the Malleus Maleficarum 3 and the tortures of the criminal 
court ; the prosecutions and condemnations of witches multiplied 
at an unheard-of rate, and countless victims fell in almost every 
part of Europe. The earlier Mid. Ages had known of magicians 
and witches only in the milder senses, as legendary elvish beings, 
peopling the domain of vulgar belief, or even as demoniacs, not 

1 Catari dicuntur a cato, quia osculantur posteriora cati, in cujus specie, ut 
dicunt, apparet eis Lucifer, Alan, ab Insulis (d. 1202) contra Valdenses, lib. 1. A 
better name for heretics was boni homines, Ions homines (Soldan p. 131), not, I think, 
because so many were of good condition, but in harmony with other meanings of 
the term (conf. supra p. 89). At the same time it reminds us of the ghostly good 
women, bonae dominae, p. 287, as francs hommes does of the frauches puceles, p. 
410 n. Even the gute holden are not to be overlooked. 

2 Composed 1487 by the two inquisitors appointed by Innocent, Heinr. Insti- 
toris in Alemanma and Jac. Sprenger at Cologne, with the help of Joh. Grernper, 
priest at Constance. Soon followed by episcopal mandates, e.g. at Eegeusburg 
1491-3 (MB. 16, 241-3). 

1068 MAGIC. 

as actual apostates from God and malefactors arraigned before 
a court of justice. A good deal has been made of the Annales 
Corbeienses, which do expressly state under the year 914, multae 
sagae combustae sunt in territorio nostro ; but these Annals 
were not written till 1464, and have of late been totally dis 
credited. Several ancient Codes lay penalties on sorcery ; l but 
all the cases that occurred had for their basis real crimes, 
murder, poisoning ; the stria is a herbaria, i.e. venefica ; 2 for 
alleged storm-raising few can have forfeited their lives. Especially 
worthy of note are the punishments denounced against precisely 
those persons who from a vain belief in sorcery have burnt or put 
to death either man or woman ; 3 not sorcery, but the slaying of 
supposed sorcerers is what the enlightened law pronounces 
heathenish and diabolic. On the mere ground of a night-excur 
sion with unholden nobody dreamt of bringing a criminal 
charge against women; that father confessor of the 13th cent, 
(p. 1060) refutes the confessions of his domina sortilega by 
rational argument. 4 But when once, by a fatal confusion of 

1 Lex Sal. 22. Lex Kip. 83. Lex Visigoth, vi. 2, 2. 3, 4. Lex Alam. add. 
22. Capitul. A.D. 789 cap. 18. Capit. ii. A.D. 805. 

2 Meichelbom no. 683 : A.D. 853, a girl at Freising, venefica ; A.D. 1028, malefica 
mulicr artes maleficas cum tribus aliis mulieribus exercens, Pertz 6, 146 ; A.D. 
1074 at Cologne, mulier homines plerumque maglcis artibus dernentare infamata, 
Lamb, schafn. p. 375. 

3 Capit. Caroli de part. Sax. 5 : si quis adiabolo deceptus crediderit secundum 
morem Paganorum, virum aliquem aut feminam strigam esse, et homines comedere, 
et propter hoc ipsam incenderit, vel carnem ejus ad comedendum dederit, copy s sen- 
tentia punietur. 1 Lex Both. 379 : nullus praesumat aldiam alienam aut ancillam 
quasi strigam occidere, quod christianis mentibus nullatenus est credendum nee 
possibile est ut homiuem mulier vivum intrinsecus possit comedere. How the 
wisdom of Charles and Eothar shines by the side of Innocent s blind barbarous bull ! 
Those sagae combustae in Westphalia, if the statement be worth believing, were 
hardly condemned by the courts, but more likely sacrificed by the mob to such 
heathenish superstition as the laws quoted were trying to stem. In our own day 
the common folk in England, France and Belgium take it upon themselves to throw 
suspected witches into fire or the pond(Horst s Zauberbibl. 6, 368. 372-4). White s 
Selborne p. 202 : the people of Tring in Hertfordshire would do well to remember 
that no longer ago than 1751 they seized on two superannuated wretches, crazed 
with age and overwhelmed with infirmities, on a suspicion of witchcraft ; and by 
trying experiments drowned them in a horsepond. The Gazette des tribunaux 
no. 3055, June 4, 1835 relates a trial of supposed magicians, whose family had the 
hereditary faculty of charming lice away. 

4 It is true the Sachsensp. ii. 13, 7 has : svelk kerstenman ungelovich (un 
believing) is, unde mit tovere umme gat oder mit vorgiftnisse (poisoning), unde des 
verwunnen wirt, den sal man upper hort bernen. Schwabensp. 149. Wackern. 
174. Lassb. Gosl. stat. 38, 20. The words oder wif standing after kerstenman 
in Homeyer, are a later insertion : they are wanting in other laws, and are contra 
dicted by the pron. den, him, which follows. That these docs, speak of wizards, 
not yet of witches, seems to fit better their age and spirit ; yet it must be noted, 
that they already link apostacy with witchcraft, conf. Soldan 172 4. Biener, in 


sorcery with heresy, the notion gained a footing that every 
witch renounces God and becomes the Devil s, everything assumed 
a new aspect : as the Devil s ally, apart from any crimes she 
might have committed, she was deserving of death, and her sin 
was one of the greatest and horriblest. But from that time the 
earlier notion of possession by the devil almost entirely ceased : 
imagination had taken a new direction. 

Witch-trials of the 16-1 7-1 8th centuries have been amply 
made known, of the 15th few completely. 1 One need only have 
read two or three of them : everywhere an unaccountable uni 
formity of procedure, always the same result. At first the accused 
denies ; tortured? she confesses what all those doomed before her 
have confessed, and without delay she is condemned and burnt 
(incinerata, as the Malleus expresses it). This agreement in 
depositions of imaginary facts is to be explained by the traditional 
illusions that filled the popular fancy. I will here attempt to 
summarize all the essential points (see Suppl.). 3 

Zeitschr. f. gesch. rechtsw. 12, 126, would limit the penal fire of the Sachsensp. 
to cases where the spiritual court hands the sinner over, as impenitent, to the 

1 Little can be gleaned from a Tractatus de phitonico contractu fratris Thomae 
Murner, Friburgi Brisg. 1499. Murner tells how in childhood he was crippled by a 

3 The hangman s formula ran : thou shalt be tortured so thin that the sun will 
shine through thee ! EA. 95. Diut. 1, 105. 

3 Witch-trials at Mainz of 1505-11, in Horst s Zauberbibl. 4, 2108 ; at Frei 
burg of 1546 and 162735, ed. H. Schreiber, Freib. 1836 ; at Quedlinburg of 1569 
78, in G.C. Voigt s Gemeinniitz. abh. Leipz. 1792 pp. 59160; at Trier of 1581, 
in Trier, chronik 1825, 10. 196 seq., and of 1625 ib. 108 seq. ; at NSrdlingen of 1590 
4, ed. Weng, Nordl. 1838 ; in Elsass of 161535, in Lit. bl. cler borsenh. Hamb. 
1835 nos. 1092-3 ; at Eichstatt of 1590 and 162637, repr. Eichst. 1811 ; at Wem- 
dingen of 1620, in Mone s Anz. 7, 4257 ; at Dieburg of 1627, in Steiner s Gesch. 
von Dieb., Darmst. 1820, 67100; at Buhl of 1628-9, in Mone s Anz. 8, 119 
132 ; at Siegburg of 1636, in P. E. Schwabe s Gesch. v. Siegb., Col. 1826, 225 
241 ; in Brandenburg of the 15-18th cent., in Mark, forsch. 1, 238265 ; at Cammin 
of 1679, in Pommer. provinzialbl. Stettin 1827, 1, 332365 ; at Freising of 1715 7, 
in Aretin s Beitr. 4, 273 327. Useful extracts from Swabian trials of the 15th 
cent, are in the notorious Malleus malefic, (first printed 1489) ; from Lorrainian of 
1583 90, in Nic. Eemigii daemonolatria ; and from Burgundian (en la terre de 
sainct Oyan de Joux) of 1588-9, in Henry Bogvet s Disc, execrable des sorciers, 
Eouen 1603, repr. Lyon 1610. Less important is S. Meiger de panurgia lamiarum, 
Hamb. 1587. 4. On Scandinavia : Nyerup s Udsigt over hexeprocesserne i Norden 
(Skand. Lit.-selskabs skrifter 19, 339 394. 20, 1-42), in which an extr. from Lem 
on Norweg. sorcery (19, 385) is specially instructive ; Trollvasendet i Dalarna, &ren 
1668 73, in J. M. Bergman s Beskrifning om Dalarne, Fahlun 1822. 1, 208 19. I 
have also read Girol. Tartarotti del congresso notturno delle lamie, Eover. 1749. 4 ; 
and C. F. de Cauz de cultibus magicis, Vindob. 1767. 4 : two painstaking books, the 
first revelling in Ital. prolixity ; D. Tiedemann s prize essay De artium magicarum 
origine, Marb. 1787 was of less use to me. On the Netherl. : Scheltema s Geschie- 
denis der heksenprocessen, Haarl. 1829 I had not at hand ; Cannaert s Bydragen 

1070 MAGIC. 

The Devil appears in the shape of a fine young man, gaily 
plumed and amorous ; not till too late does the witch observe the 
horsefoot or goosefoot (wilde pflotte fiisse, Nordl. hexenpr. 35). 
He then compels her to abjure God (p. 818), baptizes her over 
again, making her choose sponsors, gives her a new name, and 
reveals his own. A mark is printed on her body (p. 1077), and 
the place has no feeling ever after ; in some cases hair is plucked 
out from the front of the head. He comes sometimes as a mouse, 
goat, crow or fly, but soon changes into human shape. Even 
after repeated dalliances the witch receives but small presents of 
money ; what he gave as glittering coin is by daylight muck and 
dirt. 1 The main thing is, that on certain days the Devil fetches 
her, or appoints her to go, to nightly feasts, which are held in 
company with other witches and devils. After anointing her 
feet and shoulders with a salve, 2 or tying a girdle round her, she 
bestrides a stick, rake, broom, distaff, shovel, ladle or oven-fork, 
and muttering a spell, flies up the chimney, and away through 
the air over hill and dale. 3 A dehselrite, Helbl. I, 1196 (p. 1049), 
a fork-rider, besom-rider all mean a witch, so does quosten- 
pinderin, sash-binder, Clara Hatzl. lxvii b (quaste = perizoma, 
cingulum). A 14th cent, story told in Herm. von Sachsenheim 
(Wackern. Ib. 1005-6) makes an old woman at Urach anoint 
with salve the calf on which she is to ride. If the hellish wooer 
comes to fetch the witch, his seat on the stick is in front, and 
hers behind ; or he is a goat, and she mounts him ; or she drives 

tot het oude strafregt in Vlaenderen, Brass. 1829, repr. Gend 1835, has interesting 
extrs. 475 91 ; some fresh facts are collected in Schaye s Essai historique, Louv. 
1834, pp. 175 202. There is a crowd of other books: Horst s Damonomagie, 
Frankf. 1818, his Zauberbibliothek, Mainz 1821-6, and Walter Scott s Demonol. and 
witchcraft, I have hardly used at all ; both, based on diligent compilation, lack true 
criticism and scholarship ; besides, Horst s work is turgid and bad in taste, Scott s 
inexact and careless. Most of the above are far surpassed by Soldan s Geschichte 
der hexen-processe, Stuttg. 1843, a work of whose value I give a fuller estimate 
in my Preface. 

1 Everything divine the devil turns topsyturvy, p. 986 : his gold turns into 
filth ; whereas, when gods or benignant beings bestow leaves, chips, or pods, these 
turn into sheer gold, pp. 268. 275. Hence, when the devil sits, when witches stand 
up or dance, etc., they look the wrong way (upside down?). 

2 Unguentum Pharelis, made of herbs, Superst. H, c. 32 ; but the usual 
witches salve is prepared from the fat of infants killed while yet unbaptized : 
unguentum ex membris puerorum interemptorum ab eis ante baptismum, Malleus 
malef. ii. 1, 3 (ed. 1494, 51<i). 

3 Simpl. bk 2, cap. 17-8 describes such a flight ; a listener mounted on a bench 
gives chase, and in a twinkling gets from the Fulda Buchenwald to Madgeburg 


horses that come out of the ground. Older accounts have it, 
that the devil takes her inside his cloak, and carries her through 
the air, whence she is called mantelfahre, mantelfahrerin. At the 
trysting-place are.many more witches, each with her demon lover ; 
they are mostly neighbour women, often such as have long been 
dead, some (the superior sort) muffled and masked. But their 
wooers are mere servants of the Chief Devil, who in goat-shape, 
but with black human face, sits silent and solemn on a high chair 
or a large stone table in the midst of the ring, and all do him 
reverence by kneeling and kissing. When the Chief Devil takes 
a particular fancy to one woman, she is named the witches queen, 
and ranks above all the rest, 1 answering to that Norse trolla 
konftngr, p. 1043. The undelightful meal is illumined by black 
torches, all kindled at a light that burns between the horns of 
the great goat. Their viands lack salt and bread* they drink out 
of cows hoofs and horses heads. Then they relate what mischief 
they have wrought, and resolve on new : if their misdeeds fail to 
satisfy the Devil, he beats them. After the feast, 3 that neither 
fills nor nourishes, the dance begins : up in a tree sits the 
musician, his fiddle or bagpipe is a horse s head (p. 1050), his fife 
a cudgel or a cat s tail. In dancing the partners face outwards, 
turning their backs to each other : in the morning you may see 
a circular track in the grass, shewing the print of cows and goats 
feet. The dance, according to Hessian trials of 1631, is like that 
of the sword-dancers (p. 304) ; we often hear of one of the 
women wearing the giildne schuh on her right foot, would she be 
queen or commandress ? Martin von Amberg speaks of ( making 
red shoes (schuechel) for the trut ; to dance in ? When the 
ring-dance is over, they beat each other with swingle-staves and 
mangle-bats, and practise lewdness. At last the great goat burns 
himself to ashes, and these are distributed among the witches to 
work mischief with. A young untried witch is not at once 
admitted to the feast and dance, but set on one side to tend toads 
with a white wand ; 4 at home also they breed and maintain these 

1 Laffert s Eelationes criminales, Celle 1721. pp. 52-4. Horst s Damonom. 2, 

2 Yet they eat bread baked on a Sunday, meat salted on Sunday ; and drink 
wine put in cask on Sunday. 

3 Distinction of ranks is kept up too : the rich sit down to table first, and 
drink out of silver goblets, then the poor out of wooden bo\vls or hoofs. 

4 0. Fr. poets also put peeled wands in the hands of witches : une vielle 

1072 MAGIC. 

animals : the Hatzlerin lxviii a already chides a witch as inhitzige 
krotensack ! Such a novice witch the Devil inverts, and sticks 
a candle in a part of her person, Thiir. mitth. vi. 3, 69. They 
go home the same way as they came : the husband, who all the 
while has mistaken a staff laid in the bed for his sleeping spouse, 
knows nothing of what has passed. Whoever happens to get 
sight of a witches dance, need only utter the name of God or 
Christ : it all stops in a moment, and disappears. 1 The harm 
that witches do is chiefly to the cattle and crops of their neigh 
bours. They know how to drain other people s cows of every 
drop of milk, without coming near them, Superst. G, line 132 : 
they stick a knife in an oaken post, hang a string on it, and make 
the milk flow out of the string (Reusch s Samland p. 66) ; or 
they drive an axe into the doorpost, and milk out of the helve ; 
they draw milk out of a spindle, out of a suspended handkerchief. 2 
They turn good milk blue, or bloody-colour ; their compliments on 
entering your house are bad for the milk : if you were just going 
to churn, the butter will not come, Sup. I, 823. Hence any 
witch is called milch-diebin (as the butterfly is a milk or butter 
thief), milch-zauberin, molken-stehlerin, molken-toversche, whey- 
bewitcher. 3 Here again comes to light the connexion between 
witches, elves and butterflies, for vulgar opinion blamed dwarfs 
also for drawing milk from the udders of kine : ON. dverg-speni 
means papilla vaccarum vacua. If your milk is bewitched, whip 
it in a pot, or stir it about with a sickle : every lash or cut makes 
the witch wince, Sup. I, 540. A Wetterau superstition takes 
this shape : when a beast is bewitched, they set the frying-pan 
on, and chop into it with the grass-chopper behind bolted doors ; 
the first person who comes after that is the witch. The power 
of witches to draw milk and honey from a neighbour s house to 
their own is already noticed by old Burchard, Sup. C, p. 199 d . 
Lashing the brooks with their brooms, squirting water up in 
the air, shooting gravel, scattering sand toward sunset, witches 

barbelee, qui porte a verge pelee plus de qatre vingts ans, Kenart 28286 ; conf. 
Meon 4, 478, remest ausi monde coin la verge qui est pelee. 

1 DS. no. 251. Wolfs Niederl. sagen 245. 381-2. Wodana xxxvi. 

2 So, by magic, wine is struck out of the post, Superst. G, line 262 ; conf. the 
legend of Doctor Faust. 

3 On the eve of S. Philip and S. James, i.e. May 1, people in the I. of Kiigen 
run about the fields with large fire-bladders : this they call molkentoverschen brennen 
Rugian. landgebr. cap. 243. milchdiebin und unhold, H. Sachs iii. 3, 5 d . 


bring on storm and hail (p. 909), to beat down their neighbour s 
corn and fruit. For the same purpose they are said to boil 
bristles or else oak-leaves in pots, or strew some of those devil s- 
ashes on the fields. These are the lightning or weather witches, 
whose doings will come to be treated more fully hereafter. Ifc 
is said they stroke or strip the dew off the grass, and with it do 
harm to cattle, Sup. I, 1118; also that early before sunrise they 
skim the dew off other people s meadows, and carry it to their 
own, to make the grass grow ranker ; hence they may be recog 
nised by their large clumsy feet, and are called thau-streicher (in 
E. Friesland dau- striker), though other suspicious characters, 
even men, are called the same bad name. This clearly hangs 
together with the dew-brushing after the nightly elf-dance, and 
the dew the valkyrian steeds shake out of their manes ; only 
here it is perverted to evil. A witch, by binding up the legs of 
a footstool, can heal the broken bones of: one who is absent. If 
she is present at a wedding, just as the blessing is pronouncing, 
she snaps a padlock to, and drops it in the water : this is called 
tying up the laces ; until the padlock can be fished up and un 
locked, the marriage proves unfruitful. Witches can kill men by 
dealing pricks to images or puppets ; in churchyards they dig up 
the bodies of young children, and cut the fingers off ; T with the 
fat of these children they are supposed to make their salve. 
This seems to be their chief reason for entrapping children ; to 
the sorceress of older times kidnapping was imputed far more 
freely (p. 1059). From the Devil s commerce with witches pro 
ceeds no human offspring, but elvish beings, which are named 
dinger (things, conf. wihtir, p. 440), elbe, holden, but whose 
figure is variously described : now as butterflies, then as humble- 
bees or queppen (quab, burbot), and again as caterpillars or worms. 
Even an OHGr. gloss in Graff 1, 243 has : alba, brucus, locusta 
quae nondum volavit. The enigmatic beetle and larva shape is 
very appropriate to such beings. 2 They are called by turns good 

1 Fingers of a babe unborn are available for magic : when lighted, they give 
a flame that keeps all the inmates of a house asleep ; equally useful is the thumb 
cut off the hand of a hanged thief. Conf. Schamberg de jure digitor. p. 61-2, and 
Praetorius on thieves thumbs, Lips. 1677. The Coutume de Bordeaux 46 treats 
of magic wrought with dead children s hands. Thief s hand was the name of a 
plant, p. 1029. 

2 The caterpillar is also called deviVs cat (p. 1029), and a witch, like the dragon 
fly, devil s bride, deviVs doxy. The Finn. Ukon koira (Ukkonis canis) means papilio 

1074 MAGIC. 

and bad things, good and bad elves, good 1 and bad holden, holler- 
clien, holdiken. Witches use them to produce illness and swel 
lings in man and beast, by conjuring them into the skin and 
bones. But they also make them settle on forest-trees, they dig 
them in under elder-bushes : the elves/ in gnawing away the 
wood of the aspen, waste away the man at whom they are aimed. 
The same witch as set the ( holden on a man must take them off 
again ; when she wants them, she goes into the wood and shakes 
them off the trees, or digs them out from under the elder (the 
elves 1 grave) . You may know a man into whom holden have been 
charmed, by there being no manikin or baby (Koprj, pupa) visible 
in his eyes, or only very faintly (Voigt pp. 149. 152). This is 
like the devil s drawing a toad on the pupil of a witch s left 
eye. The nine species of holden I shall specify in the chap, on 
Diseases. But not unfrequently the demon lover himself appears 
in the form of an elf or butterfly. Their daughters born in human 
wedlock the witches have to promise to the devil at their birth, 
and to bring them up in his service ; at great assemblies they 
present to him any children they have, lifting them up backwards. 
Sometimes they sacrifice black cattle to him. They love to gather 
where roads divide; 2 like the devil (p. 999), they can pop in and 
out of houses through the keyhole (Sup. Gr, line 106-7. Tobler 
146 a ) ; where three lights burn in a room, the witch has power ; 
ringing of bells they cannot bear. Before the judge they must 
not be allowed to touch the bare ground, or they will change 
themselves in a moment ; they are incapable of shedding a tear \ 
thrown into water, they float on the top, 5 upon which fact the 

or larva papilionis, tuonen koira (mortis canis) and suden korendo (lupi vectis) 
butterfly, and Ukon lehmti (U. vacca) another insect. Swed. trollstdnda (daemonis 
fusus) butterfly. In the Grisons they call a caterpillar baluise, in Switz. (ace. to 
Stalder) palause, which is our old acquaintance pelewise, pilweise, p. 472-5. A 
mythic meaning also lurks in the OHG. huntes-satul (eruca), Graff 6, 167, as in 
ON. geit-hamr (vespa). 

1 Called (jute holden even when harmful magic is wrought with them, Braun- 
schw. anz. 1815, p. 726 seq. In the MalleolusI find : vermes nocivi qui vulgariter 
dicuntur juger, and Alemannico nomine juger nuncupantur, sunt albi coloris et 
nigri capitis, sex pedum, in longitudine medii digiti. Is jug the same thing as 
yueg (pp. 183. 692) ? Many other designations of the phalaenae overlap those of 
will o wisps or of wichtels, as zunsler, from fluttering round a light, land-surveyors, 
(p. 918), night-owls, etc. 

2 At cross-roads the devil can be called up, so can the Alraun. 

3 Pliny 7, 2 of sorcerers : eosdem praeterea non posse mergi ne veste quidem 
degravatos. We are told several times, that the devil, after promising to bring the 
witches in the water an iron bar to make them sink, brings them only a fine needle. 

MISERY. 1075 

ancient usage of the witches bath (ducking) was founded, once 
a divine ordeal, RA. 925. If at the beginning of the action 
they contrive to catch the judge s eye, he turns soft-hearted, and 
has not the power to doom them. 

Now it is a characteristic fact, that witches, with all their 
cunning and the devil s power to boot, remain sunk in misery and 
deep poverty : there is no instance to be found of one growing 
rich by sorcery, and making up for the loss of heavenly bliss by 
at least securing worldly pleasure, a thing that does occur in 
tales of men who sign themselves away to the fiend (p. 1017). 
These hook-nosed, sharp- chinned, hang-lipped, wry-toothed, chap- 
fingered beldams 1 practise villainy that never profits them, at 
most they may gratify a love of mischief. Their dalliance with 
the devil, their sharing in his feasts, never procures them more 
than a half-enjoyment 3 (see Suppl.). 

This one feature might have opened people s eyes to the basis 
of all sorcery. The whole wretched business rested on the 
imagination and compulsory confessions of the poor creatures. 
Of fad there was none, save that they had a knowledge of medi 
cines and poisons, and quickened their dreams 3 by the use of 
salves and potions. Called upon to name their confederates, 
they often mentioned dead persons, to shield the living or to 
evade inquiry ; any vile thing they stated was set down as gospel 
truth. We read of witches confessing the murder of people 
who turned out to be alive. 4 It never occurred to the judges to 
consider, how on earth it happened that innumerable meetings 
of witches, all at well-known accessible places, had never been 
surprised by witnesses whom their road must have taken that 
way. By what special licence from God in those times should 
a pack of miscreants previously unheard of nestle down all of a 
sudden in towns and villages all over the country ! 

Long before witches were tortured, great criminals had been 

1 Crooked nose and pointed chin, look to find the fiend therein ! I find a 
parallel in ON. names, Heugikepta, Grottintanna, Loftinnfingra, Sn. 220-1. 

2 Berthold p. 58 : so gent eteliche mit bcesem zouberlehe umb, daz si wrenent 
eins geburen (boor s) sun oder einen kneht bezoubern. pfi du rehte toerin ! war 
umbe bezouberst du einen graven oder einen kiinec niht (fool, why not bewitch a 
count, a king) ? so waerestu ein kiineginne ! They say a witch gets three farthings 
richer every seven years, Simplic. 625. 

3 Alter wibe troume, \Vh. 1, 82 a . kerlinga villa, Saem. 169. 

4 Frommann de fascinatione p. 850. Montaigne notices the same fact, livre 
3, chap. 11. 

fOL. III. N 

1076 MAGIC. 

put to bodily sufferings intended to wring from them a confession 
of their guilt. The Lex Visig. iii. 4, 10-11 already speaks of 
torquere ; and the triangular beam on which the accused had 
to ride was called equuleus, poledrus, whence comes our folter, 
Fr. poultre, poutre. That ON. extortion of a full declaration, 
pina til sagna p. 1043, need not have been borrowed from 

The signing away to the devil, abjuring of God and adoring 
of the goat in witch-stories seems to be of heretic origin ; at the 
same time the abjurer parodies the Abrenuntiatio Diaboli enjoined 
on catechumens; 1 in every other point the heathen element 
preponderates. Even the goat, and the offering of black beasts 
(pp. 52. 493. 1009), cannot but remind us of the old worship of 
gods ; it is remarkable that a Dalecarlian tradition makes the 
devil not occupy the chair of state, but lie under the table, bound 
with a chain (just as with those spinsters in German legend, 
p. 1011). The witches there have much to tell about this chain : 
when its links wear out, an angel comes and solders them to 
again, Bergm. 217-9. Various witcheries were wrought by the 
efficacy of salt, Sup. I, 713. 846 ; it seems almost as if we might 
assume a connexion between the salt-boiling, salt-grinding , salt- 
strewing, salt-burning, salt -fetching at p. 1047, and the burning 
of the goat, the carrying away and strewing of his ashes. 2 
Equally heathen we found the consumption of horseflesh p. 1049. 
The witches flights were usually performed on May-night, St. 
John s night, and at Christmas, but also at Shrovetide, Easter 
and other seasons ; these were the days of great heathen festivals, 
of Easter-fires, May-fires, Solstitial and Yule fires, and there is 
no occasion to see in them a parody of the Christian feasts. The 
riding by night, the torchlight procession, the penetrating of 
locked-up houses, are exactly as in the case of Holda s host ; 

1 In the formulas : ik fate an (grasp) disen \vitten stock, und verlate (forsake) 
unsen herre Gott (Cathol. : Marien son und Got) ! or her trede ik in din nist 
(nest), und verlate unsen herre Jesum Christ ! In Hessian records of 1633 : hie 
stehe ich uf dieser mist, und verleugne (deny) des lieben herrn J. Christ ! In 
abjuring, she stands on the dunghill, which begins to burn round her, and with a 
white stick she stabs a toad (iitsche). The standing on dung is also in cpnjuring- 
spells. The white staff is a symbol of surrender, and after being grasped is thrown 
into the water. 

Shepherds reputed to be sorcerers were accused of baptizing their sheep 
with salt. Factums et arrest du parlem. de Paris contre des berges sorciers 
executez depuis peu dans la prov. de Brie sur 1 iinprinie a Paris 1695. 8, p. 57. 


the seducers names, the spells, the brood of holden, the round 
dance, all this is elvish. 1 A witch s being strengthened by 
touching the bare ground (iarSar-megin p. 642) may remind us 
of the heathen belief about giants. An application of the Old- 
German duelling to witches sprang out of the early practice 
of courts which had long used it against sorceresses who 
committed actual crimes. I do not know that the blood-mark 
imprinted on witches (p. 1070) on forming their hellish compact 
is necessarily to be traced to the practice of heretics (p. 1065). 
Mingling of blood in oaths and covenants was ancient and widely 
spread, RA. 192-3 ; the stigma was known in Germany long 
before witches were prosecuted, 2 the regular name for it being 
anamdli (Graff 2, 715). The corresponding atngeli in ON. I find 
only in the ethical sense of nota vituperium ; but when heroes 
of old Scandinavia found themselves dying the stra-dau^i in bed, 
they used first to consecrate themselves to Oftinn, who would 
only take a bleeding hero, by scratch of spear, even as he before 
dying gave himself a gash with Gungnir (p. 147) ; this they 
called marka sik geirs oddi, marka sik 03 ni, Yngl. saga cap. 10. 
11. And I incline moreover to connect the tires tacen/ p. 200, 
and even the Todes zeichen/ p. 847 ; about all this there was 
not a thought of criminal sorcery (see Suppl.). 

The details of witchcraft, the heart-eating, the storm-raising, 
the riding through air, are all founded on very ancient and 
widely scattered traditions, which I will now examine more 

Let a glance at Servian superstitions lead the way. The 
veshtitsa is possessed by an evil spirit : when she falls asleep, 
he comes out of her, and then takes the form of a butterfly or a 
hen, but he is essentially one with the witch. As soon as he is 
out, the witch s body lies as if dead, and then always turns 
its head about to where the feet lay ; in that state she cannot be 
awaked. The witch tries to catch people, to eat up, especially 

1 The honeysuckle, or perh. another plant, is in Lr. Germany called alf-ranke 
(elf-vine), hexen-sc.hlinge (Hitter s Mekl. grain, p. 107. Arndt s March, p. 404). 
Any creepers, climbers, or intertwined branches, are named hexen-schlupf, because 
a witch or elf, when pursued, can always slip through them. 

2 Berthold p. 381, of the devil : they that fall into capital sin make him glad, 
he quickly paints his mark on them, and will fain have honour by their bearing his 

1078 MAGIC. 

young children. If she finds a man asleep, she pushes a rod 
through his left nipple, opens his side, takes out the heart and 
eats it, and the breast closes up again. Some of the people thus 
eaten out die directly, others live on for a time. A witch will 
eat no garlic ; and at Shrovetide many people smear themselves 
with garlic on the breast, soles and armpits as a safeguard, 
believing that she eats more people in Lent than at other times. 
Young and handsome women are never suspected of sorcery, 
witches are always old women, 1 but there goes a proverb : mlada 
kurva, stara veshtitsa/ young wanton makes old witch. If once 
the witch has confessed and criminated herself, she can never 
eat people or practise witchcraft any more. When witches fly 
out by night, they shine like fire, their meeting-place is a 
thrashing floor (guvno) , and each when starting from her kitchen 
anoints herself with a salve, and repeats a spell which will be 
quoted further on. If many children or other people die in a 
village, and suspicion falls on some old woman, they bind and 
throw her in the water : if she sinks, she is pulled out and let 
go ; if not, she is put to death, for witches cannot sink in water. 
Whoever kills a snake before Lady-day, and ties a piece of garlic 
in its head, and on Lady-day goes to church with the snake s head 
stuck on a cap, can tell what ivomen are witches by their congre 
gating round him and trying to filch the snake or a piece of it 
(Vuk sub v. vjeschtitza, pometno, blagovjest). 

This remarkable account opens the way to explanations. We 
too had similar means of recognising witches. He that has about 
him a harrow s tooth he has picked up, or grains of corn found 
baked into the loaf, or a Maundy Thursday s egg, will see the 
witches at churcJt with milking-pails on their heads, Sup. I, 636. 
685. 783. Just the same in Denmark, Sup. 169. Bergman p. 219 
says, in Dalarne the witches rarely come to church : it is really a 
sheaf of straw or a swine-trough that occupies their place, only 
no one is the wiser but they of the Blakulla sisterhood. I do 

1 It is chiefly in Sweden that even innocent children, boys as well as girls, 
Are drawn into the web of sorcery. The devil requires every witch to bring some 
children with her ; she wakes them out of sleep with the words Devil s brat, come 
to the feast ! sets them on the roof till her number is full, then carries them through 
the air to the Fiend, who asks them if they will serve him, and writes them down 
in his book. He endows them with wisdom, and they are called vis-gdssar, wise 
lads. Conf. the children piped out of Hameln. In our Freising records are some 
poor beggar boys seduced by the devil. 


not know if this pail or trough has to do with their bewitching 
the milk, or with the Norse belief that giantesses, ellekoner 
and huldre-wives carry a trough on their backs (Faye 118. 
Mull, sagabibl. 1, 367. Molb. dial. lex. 98). Keisersberg in 
Omeiss 36 tells of a night-faring woman who sat down in a 
dough-trough, anointed herself with oil, spoke magic words and 
slipt away (?). So early as in Sn. 210 a we find among names of 
sorceresses a Bakrauf, riven-backed, fissura dorsi. In Dan. 
ellekone bagtil huul som et deigtrug, Thiele 4, 26. All these 
resemblances are important. In the Appendix I quote a spell, 
where the alb is thus addressed : with thy back like a dough- 
trough ! 3 Both elf and witch are beautiful only in front, behind 
they are disgustingly deformed, like Gurorysse p. 945, or dame 
World in Conrad s poem. Out of the Maundy Thursday egg, 
when hatched, comes a fowl of gay plumage, which changes 
colour every year : take such an egg with you to church on 
Easter Sunday morning, and in sunshine you can tell all the 
women who belong to the devil; but they smell it out, and try 
to crush the egg in your pocket, so you must be careful to carry 
it in a little box, for if they succeed in crushing it, your heart 
will be broken too. Tobler 102 a informs us of the Swiss super 
stition : weme ma n am Sonntig vor sonna nufgang e nubblatt- 
lets chlee (clover) ine schue ina thued, ond mit dem schue i d chi- 
lacha god (goes to church), so sieht ma s, wenn e hiix d inen ist : 
die wo honder for sitzid (sit hind foremost) sond haxa. Also, 
whoever at Christmas matins stands on a footstool of nine sorts 
of wood, can tell all the witches in the congregation : they 
all turn their backs to the altar. But the witches can see him 
too, and woe to him if they get hold of him after service ; he is a 
dead man, unless he has provided himself with something to 
tempt their cupidity, which he must keep throwing out bit by 
bit (as in ancient legend the pursued scatter rings and gold 
before the pursuing foe), and while they are picking it up, run 
as fast as he can, till his home receives him. A parchm. MS. of 
the 14th cent, at Vienna (Cod. bibl. graec. 39 / G3 bl. 133 a ) gives a 
simpler recipe : wil du, daz di vnholden zu dir chomen, so nym 
ein leffel an dem fassangtag, vnd stoz in in gesoten prein, vnd 
behalt in also vntz in die drey metten in der Yasten (3 matins in 
Lent), vnd trag den leffel in dy metten, so wird ez dir chunt, wor 

1080 MAGIC. 

sew sint. Much the same in Mone s Anz. 4, 310 : He that on 
the first knopflein day shall pull the spoon out of the dough 
unseen, and on the second and third day shall again put it in and 
pull it out unperceived, so that at length some dough from each 
day sticks to it, and shall then take it to church with him on 
Christmas day, will there see all the witches facing the wrong 
way (or, upside down ?) ; but he must get home before the bene 
diction is pronounced, or it may cost him his life. It is only upon 
going to church that any of these recognitions can take place ; 
but they seem also to depend on your being the first to see, as in 
meeting a wolf or basilisk. Another means of recognising a 
witch is, that when you look into her eyes, you see your image 
reflected upside down. 1 Kunning at the eyes is a mark of old 
witches, Sup. I, 787 (see Suppl.). 

One thing that in our tales of witches has dropt into the rear, 
their eating men s hearts out of their bodies, stands in the fore 
front of the more primitive Servian way of thinking. Vuk has a 
song no. 363, in which a shepherd boy, whom his sister cannot 
wake, cries in his sleep : c veshtitse su me iz-yele, maika mi srtse 
vadila, strina yoi luchem svetlila/ witches have eaten me out, 
mother took my heart, cousin lighted her with a torch. Fortis 
cap. 8 relates, how two witches took a young man s heart out in 
his sleep, and began to fry it ; a priest had looked on without 
being able to hinder, and the spell was not broken till the youth 
awoke; then, when the priest approached the witches, they 
anointed themselves out of a mug, and fled. He took the heart 
half-cooked off the fire, and bade the youth gulp it down quick, 
by doing which he was completely restored. To me this Servian 
witch, making her appearance at Shrovetide and cutting open 
people s breasts, looks uncommonly like our periodical Berhta, 
who cuts open the lazy workman s body and stuffs it with chopped 
straw, p. 273; out of the goddess was made the hideous bugbear. 
In many villages, we are told, there are wicked wives that have 
a white liver, whose husbands waste away and die. Passages in 
the Codes prove that the same delusion prevailed among the 
ancient Germans : Lex. Sal. 67, si stria hominem comederit/ 
and what was quoted p. 1068 from the Lex Roth. 379 and the 

1 Pliny 7, 2 notices a similar test for magicians : in altero oculo geminam 
pupillam, in altero equi effigiem. Conf. the people possessed by holden, p. 1074. 


Capit. de parte Sax. 5. Also the Indie, paganiarum: quod 
feminae possint corda hominum tollere juxta paganos ; and Bur- 
chard : ut eredas, te januis clausis exire posse, et homines inter- 
ficere et de coctis carnibus eorum vos comedere, et in loco cordis 
eorum sir amen aut lignum aut aliquod hujusmodi ponere, et 
comestis iterum vivos facere et inducias vivendi dare/ Notker s 
Cap. 105, speaking of ambrones and anthropophagi (man-ezon), 
adds : alsu man chit, taz ouh hdzessa hier im lande tuen. 3 1 The 
tenth, the eleventh century had not given up the heathen notion, 
nay, it lingers later still. It lies at the root of Diomed s words in 
Herbort 9318: si hat min herze mit ir . . . ich hannihtin dem 
libe, da min herze solde wesen, da trage ich eine lihte vesen, ein 
stro, oder einen wisch ; 3 only here it is not an old witch, but his 
lady-love that has run away with his heart, in which sense lovers 
in all ages talk of losing their hearts. 2 The poem given p. 1048 
speaks of the unholde striding over a man, cutting his heart 
out, and stuffing straw in, and his still remaining alive. Says 
Berthold (Cod. pal. 35 fol. 28 a ) : pfei ! gelawbestu, das du 
ainem man sein herz auss seinem leib nemest, und im ain stro hin 
wider stossest ? So in the North they speak of a fern, mann 
cetta (not a masc. mann-aetti), and the word is even used for male 
magicians: c troll ok manncetta 3 Fornm. sog. 3, 214. A Polish 
story in Woycicki makes the witch pull the heart out and put a 
hare s heart in its place. Child-devouring striges in Altd. bl. 
1, 125. Our present fairy-tales represent the witch as a wood- 
wife, who feeds and fattens children for her own consumption 
(KM. no. 15) ; if they escape, she goes after them in league- 
boots (nos. 51. 56. 113). Grimly the witch in the tale of Frau 
Trude throws a girl into the fire as a log of wood, and snugly 
warms herself thereby. That the Romans believed in witches 
consuming particular parts of a man who still lived on, is proved 
by the following passages. Petronius cap. 134 : quae striges 
comederunt nervos tuos ? cap. 63 : strigae puerum involaverunt, 

1 To this he appends his well-known statement as to the Weletdbi or Wilze, 
who were accused of eating their aged parents, RA. 488. That the national name 
Volot, Velet passed into that of giant, hence ogre (as in the analogous cases on p. 
527), Schafarik has ably expounded in his Slav. stud. 1, 877 ; but he had no business 
to mix up (1, 882) our Welisungs (supra p. 371) with those Wilzen. 

2 Eubacuori, che il cor m avete tolto ; del petto mio cavasti il cuore, Tom- 
maseo s Canti pop. 1, 8890. 

1082 MAGIC. 

et supposuerunt sir amentum. Plautus in Pseud, iii. 2, 31 : sed 
strigibus vivis convisis intestina quae exedint. The Atellanic 
ghost, the manducus, from mandere, manducare, is a munching 
voracious bogie (butz p. 507), a bugbear to children. Masca p. 
1045, Ital. maschera, may be referred to macher, mascher, or 
masticare, and the witch is called mask because she consumes 
children. The Indian sorceresses also try to get human flesh 
to eat, Lomad. 2, 62 (see Suppl.). 

Equally ancient is the opinion that the spirit passes out of a 
sleeping witch in butterfly shape. Souls in general were likened 
to butterflies, p. 829 ; to the Slovens vezha is will o wisp, but 
terfly and witch. The alp appears as a butterfly or moth, pha- 
laena (nacht-toggeli, Staid. 1, 287), as a devil s beast p. 1029; the 
witches holden and elves are butterflies. But our native legend 
speaks of other animals too, that issue from the mouths of 
sleepers. King Gunthram, spent with toil, had gone to sleep on 
a faithful follower s lap : then the henchman sees a little beast 
like a snake run out of his lord s mouth, and make its way to a 
streamlet, which it cannot step over. He lays his sword across 
the water, the beast runs over it, and goes into a hill on the other 
side. After some time it returns the same way into the sleeper, 
who presently wakes up, and relates how in a dream he had 
crossed an iron bridge and gone into a mountain filled with gold 
(Airnoin 3, 3. Paul. Diac. 3, 34, whence Sigebert in Pertz 8, 
319). Later writers tell of a sleeping landsknecht, and how a 
weasel came running out of him, Deut. sag. no. 455. But in 
more recent accounts it is applied to devil s brides, out of whose 
mouth runs a cat or a red mouse, while the rest of the body lies 
fixed in slumber (ibid. nos. 247 9). 1 A miller, cutting firewood 
in the Black Forest, fell asleep over the work, and his man saw a 
mouse creep out of him and run away; everybody searched, but 
could not find it, and the miller never awoke. Is all this con 
nected with the witches mouse-making p. 1090, and the narrow 
thread-bridge to be crossed by the soul on its way to the under 
world p. 834 ? It is stated, exactly as with the Servians, that 
if you turn the sleeper s body round, the beast on returning 

1 For the mouse that runneth out (=matrix) lay a sword across the stream, 
Ettner s Hebamme p. 194. In Fischart s Plays no. 216 : there runs a white mouse 
up the wall. 


cannot find its way in, and death ensues, Sup. I, 650. That state 
of internal ecstasy, in which the body lies in a rigid sleep, our 
old speech designates by irprottan (raptus), i.e. tranced. 1 But 
ON. myth has already acquainted us with the greatest of all 
possible examples: OSinn skipti homum (changed his shape), 
la J?a bukrinn sem sofinn e^a dauSr, enn hann var ]?a/%Z eiSa dyr, 
fiskr e$a ormr, ok for a einni svipstund a fiarlaeg lond, at sinum 
erindum e$r annara manna/ Yngl. s. cap. 7; his body lay asleep 
or dead, and he as bird, beast, fish or snake, fared in a twinkling 
to far-lying lands (see Suppl.). 

Again, the Servian star ting- spell, e ni o trn ni o grm, vetch na 
pometno guvno ! (not against thorn nor against oak, but to 
swept barnfloor), agrees with German ones. Usually the word 
is: f auf und davon ! hui oben hinaus und nirgend an! 3 out on 
high, and (strike) against nothing ; or wol aus und an, stoss 
nirgend an ! or fahr hin, nicht zu hoch, nicht zu nieder ! and 
in England : tout, tout, throughout and about ! But if the 
witch is pursuing people : before me day, behind me night ! 
Dan. lyst foran, og morkt bag ! A Norse magician took a 
goatskin, wrapt it round his head, and spoke : f verffi fioka, ok 
ver&i skripif ok undr mikil ollum ]?eim sem eptir J>er scekja ! be 
there mist and magic and much wonder to all that seek after 
thee, Nialss. cap. 12. A formula used by Fr. magicians on 
mounting the stick is given, but not completely, by Boguet p. 
Ill : { baston blanc, baston noir, etc/ Of Indian sorceresses we 
are likewise told, that they repeat a formula for flight : Kalaratri 
said it and immediately, with her disciples and the cow- stall on 
whose roof she stood, she flew aloft and along the path of cloud, 
whither she would ; a man, having overheard her, made use of 
the same spell to go after her (Somad. 2, 58-9), exactly as in our 
tales of witches men get acquainted with their salves and spells, 
and pursue them (see Suppl.). 

Where is the first mention of stick and broom riding to be 
found ? Actually I can only produce a tolerably old authority 
for riding on reeds and rushes, and even these turn into real 
horses. Guilielm. Alvernus, p. 1064: Si vero quaeritur de 
equo quern advectigationes suas facer e se credunt malefici, credunt, 

1 The hinbriiten (ecstasis) of sorceresses, Ettn. Hebamrne p. 226. Martin von 
Amberg : die henpretigcn, the entranced. 

1084 MAGIC. 

inquam, facere de canna per characteres nefandos et scripturas 
quas in ea inscribunt et impingunt; dico in hoc, quia non est 
possibile malignis spiritibus de canna verum equum facere vel 
formare, neque cannam ipsam ad hanc ludificationem eligunt, 
quia ipsa aptior sit ut transfiguretur in equum, vel ex ilia generetur 
equus, quam multae aliae materiae. Forsitan autem propter 
planitiem superficiei et facilitatem habendi earn alicui videatur ad 
hoc praeelecta. . . . Sic forsan hac de causa ludificationem istam 
efficere in canna sola et non alio ligno permittuntur maligni 
spiritus, ut facilitas et vanitas eorum per cannam hominibus 
insinuetur. ... Si quis autem dicat, quia canna et calamus habi- 
tationes interdum malignorum spirituum sunt l . . . ego non im- 
probo/ More intelligible is the Irish tale of the rushes and corn 
stalks that turn into horses the moment you bestride them, Ir. 
elfenmar. 101. 215. Of such a horse, after the first time, you 
need only lift the bridle and shake it when you want him, and 
he conies directly (Sup. H, cap. 31. Spell xvi.). In Hartlieb 
(Sup. H, cap. 32) the unholden are represented riding on rakes 
and oven-forks, in the older Poem given at p. 1048 on brooms, 
dehsen, oven-sticks and calves, in the Ackermann aus Bohmen 
p. 8 on crutches and goats, but in the Tkadlezek p. 27 on distaffs 
(kuzly). Dobrowsky in Slavin p. 407 mentions the Bohem. 
summons stare baby, na pometlo ! old wives, on to your stove- 
broom. Of more importance is what we find in the story of 
Thorsteinn boearmagn, which Miiller 3, 251 assigns to the 15th 
century : As the hero lay hid in the cane-brake, he heard a 
boy call into the hill, Mother, hand me out crook-staff and band- 
gloves, I wish to go the magic ride (gand-rer$, p. 1054), there is 
wedding in the world below ; and immediately the krokstafr was 
handed out of the hill, the boy mounted it, drew the gloves on, 
and rode as children do. Thorsteinn went up to the hill, and 
shouted the same words : out came both staff and gloves, he 
mounted, and rode after the boy. Coming to a river, they 
plunged in, and rode to a castle on a rock, where many people 
sat at table, all drinking wine out of silver goblets ; on a golden 

i Mennige narrinnen (many a she-fool) und ock mennigen dor (fool) bindet de 
duvel up sin ror (the d. ties on to his cane), Narragonia 14 b (nothing like it in 
Brant). Does it mean devil s horses? And does that explain Walther s ftz im 
(the black book) leset siniu ror (33, 8) ? A Servian proverb says : lasno ye 
dyabolu u ritu svirati, tis easy piping on the devil s reed. 


throne were the king and queen. Thorsteinn, whom his staff had 
made invisible, ventured to seize a costly ring and a cloth, 
but in doing so he lost the stick, was seen by all, and pursued. 
Happily his invisible fellow-traveller came by on the other stick, 
Thorsteinn mounted it as well, and they both escaped (Fornm. 
sog. 3, 176 8). If the poem has not the peculiar stamp of 
Norse fable, it teaches none the less what notions were attached 
to these enchanted rides in the 14th or 15th century : no devil 
shews his face in it. Sticks and staves however seem to be later 
expedients of witchery : neither night-wives nor Furious Host 
nor valkyrs need any apparatus for traversing the air; night- 
wives had already calves and goats attributed to them, p. 1058. 
There is a very curious phrase, ( to wake a hedge-stick/ which 
has to become a he-goat and fetch the loved one to her lover ; 
originally perhaps no other sticks were meant but such as, on 
bestriding, immediately turned into beasts (see Suppl.) . 

As witches slip through keyholes and cracks in the door, p. 1074, 
they are able to squeeze themselves into the narrowest space, 
even betwixt wood and bark (conf. Suppl. on p. 653). Thus in 
H. Sachs ii. 4, 10 the devil first peels the hazel-rod on which 
he hands the old woman the stipulated shoes, for fear she might 
creep to him twixt wood and bark. In Iw. 1208 the utmost 
secresy is expressed by : sam daz holz under der rinden, alsam 
sit ir verborgen/ When a Lithuanian convert began to bark the 
trees in a holy wood, he said : Vos me meis anseribus gallisque 
spoliastis, proinde et ego nudas vos (sc. arbores) faciam. Crede- 
bat enim decs rei suae familiari perniciosos intra arbores et cortices 
latere. The Swed. song makes enchanting minstrels charm the 
bark off the tree t the babe out of the mother, the hind from the 
forest, the eye from out the socket (Arvidsson 2, 311-2-4-7). 

Again, the witches dislike of bells is heathenish : the elves 
have it, and the giants, p. 459. Pious prayer and ringing of bells 
put their plans out: they call the bells yelping dogs/ In a 
Swed. folktale (Odm. Bahusl. beskrifn. p. 228) an old heathen 
crone, on hearing the sound of the Christian bell from Tegneby, 
exclaims in contempt : nu ma tro, Eulla pa Kallehed har fadt 
bjdlra, K. the Christian church has got a tinkler. As yet there 
is no thought of witchery. But it is told of Swed. witches too, 
that they scrape the bells loose up in the belfry : in their airy 

1086 MAGIC. 

flight when they come to a steeple, they set the kidnapped 
children (p. 1078) down on the church-roof, who are then mere 
jackdaws to look at ; in the meantime they scrape the bell loose, 
and lug it away, and afterwards let the metal drop through the 
clouds, crying : never let my soul draw near to God, any more 
than this metal will be a bell again ! (see Suppl.). 

The raising of hailstorms and spoiling of crops by magic reaches 
back to the remotest antiquity of almost every nation. As 
benignant gods make the fruits to thrive, as air-riding valkyrs 
from the manes of their steeds let life-giving dew trickle down on 
the plain (p. 421) ; so baneful beings of magic power strive to 
annihilate all that is green. The Greek Eumenides (a word that 
even our oldest glosses translate by hazasa) spoil the crops with 
their slaver, and the fruit with hailstones, Aesch. Bum. 753-68- TV- 
OS. The Roman Twelve Tables imposed a penalty on him qui 
fruges excantassit . . . sive . . . alienam segetem pellexerit. x In 
the 8-9th cent. weather-making was alleged against sorcerers 
rather than sorceresses ; the passages given at p. 638 name only 
tempestarii, not tempestariae. So in Ratherius p. 626 : ( contra 
eos qui dicunt quod homo mains vel diabolns 2 tempestatem faciat, 
lapides grandinum spergat, agros devastet, fulgura mittat, etc. 
Those magicians in Burchard are called immissores tempestatum., 
Sup. C, 10, 8; p. 194 a . Yet in the North, ThorgerSr and Irpa, 
who stir up storm and tempest, are women (p. 637), and the salt- 
grinders Fenja and Menja giantesses ; their ship is like the mist- 
ship of the clouds. How magicians set about their weather- 
making, is nowhere specified. In much later authorities we find 
them using a tub or a pitcher, p. 593. In Ls. 2, 314 Master 
Irreganc says (G. Abent. 3, 90) : 

und ksern ein wann (tub) in min hant, 

der hagel sliieg (hail would beat) iiber allez lant. 

In the Apollon. von Tyrland (9183. 10970. 11010 seq.) are 
mentioned pitchers, the emptying of which was followed by 
showers and hail : one jug engendered lightnings and thunder 
bolts, another hail and shower, a third one rain and nipping 

1 Rudis adhuc antiquitas credebat et attrahi imbres cantibus, et repelli, 
Seneca Nat. quaest. 4, 7. 

2 The devil brings on gales and thunderstorms, p. 1000 ; so does the giant, p. 636. 


winds. A woodcut in Keisersberg s Omeiss (ed. 1516, 36 b ) por 
trays three naked unholden sitting on footstools, distaffs and 
horses heads, holding up pots, out of which shower and storm 
mount up. A passage in the Eudlieb is worth quoting : the 
repenting culprit begs (6, 48), 

post triduum corpus tollatis ut ipsum 
et comburatis, in aquam cineres jaciatis, 
nejubar abscondat sol, aut aer neget imbrem, 
ne per me grando dicatur laedere mundo. 

Let her body be taken off the gallows and burnt, and the 
ashes be strown on water, lest, being scattered in air, it should 
breed clouds, drought and hail. Just so the devil s ashes are 
strown to awaken storm and tempest, p. 1071-3; the Chronicon 
S. Bertini states that Richilde, before her fight with Robert the 
Frisian, threw dust in the air against the Frisians with formulas 
of imprecation, but it fell back on her own head in token of 
her speedy overthrow. She meant, like ThorgerSr and Irpa, to 
destroy the enemy by tempest. Justinger s Chron. of Bern p. 
205 relates how a woman, secretly sent for by a Count of Kyburg, 
who promised not to betray her, stood on the battlements of his 
castle, and uttering hidden words, raised clouds, rain and storm, 
which scattered his foes (A.D. 1382). The witches of Norway still 
proceed exactly as the Vinlanders were said to do (p. 640) : they 
tie up wind and foul weather in a bag, and at the proper moment 
undo the knots, exclaiming wind, in the devil s name ! then 
a storm rushes out, lays waste the land, and overturns ships at 
sea. By Hartlieb s account (Sup. H, cap. 34), old women sacri 
fice to devils, that they may make hail and shower. According to 
German records of the 16-17 cent., witches assemble in crowds 
by waterbrooks or lakes, and flog the water with rods, till a fog 
rises, which gradually thickens into black clouds ; on these clouds 
they are borne up, and then guide them toward the spots to 
which they mean mischief. They also place magic pots in the 
water, and stir them round. 1 The ivindsack is mentioned a few 
times (Voigt 131). They make blue lights trickle into the water, 
throw flintstones into the air, or trundle barrels whose bursting 
begets tempest. They gather oak-leaves in a man s shirt, and 

1 Conf. p. 596-7 on storm-raising by throwing stones and pouring out water. 

-1.088 MAGIC. 

when it is full, hang it on a tree : a wind springs up directly, 
that drives all rain away, and keeps the weather fine. Out of a 
small piece of cloud a witch made a deal of bad weather (Arx 
Buchsgau p. 103). A violent thunderstorm lasted so long, that 
a huntsman on the highway loaded his gun with a consecrated 
bullet, and shot it off into the middle of the blackest cloud ; out 
of it (as out of the ship, p. 638) a naked female fell dead to the 
ground, and the storm blew over in a moment (Moneys Anz. 4, 
309). In Carinthia the people shoot at storm-clouds, to scare 
away the evil spirits that hold counsel in them. The parson 
being credited with power to charm the weather, the women 
bring apronf uls of hailstones into his house : there, that s his 
rightful tithe of the weather, as he did not see good to keep it 
away ; Sartori s Journ. in Austria 2, 153-4. In some parts of 
France whole families are suspected of having the hereditary 
power to raise a storm : they meet on the lake-side, not less 
than three at a time, and lash the water up with horrible cries ; 
this is done at night before sunrise, and a violent storm is the 
immediate consequence, Mem. de 1 acad. celt. 2, 206-7. Such 
people are called meneurs des nuees, Mem. des antiq. 1, 244. In 
Germany witches were commonly called, by way of insult, wetter- 
macherin, wetterhexe, wetterkatze, donnerkatze, nelelhexe, strahl- 
hexe, blitzJiexe, zessenmacherin (from the old zessa, storm), and 
earlier, wolkengusse, cloud-gushes, Ms. 2, 140 b . The OHG. 
Wolchandrut, a woman s name in Trad. Fuld. 2, 101, need have 
had none but perfectly innocent associations : the valkyr either 
rides in the clouds or sprinkles from them fertilizing dew; so 
even the strewing of ashes on the field may originally have in 
creased their fertility. Occasionally feldfrau and feldspinnerin 
are used of a witch ; is it because she passes over field and 
meadow, or spins magic threads? (conf. p. 1099). Who knows 
but that the popular saying, when it snows, the old wives are 
shaking their coats out 3 (de aule wiver schiiddet den pels ut, 
Strodtm. p. 336), is, properly understood, identical with that 
on p. 268 : ( dame Nolle is making her bed ? Goddess, valkyr, 
witch : the regular gradation of such myths. To the Greeks 
Zeus himself was still vefaXrjyepera, to the Serbs the vila gathers 
clouds. In Scandinavia too, hail and hurricane proceed from 
those half-goddesses ThorgerSr and Irpa, not as injurious to 


crops, but perilous to armies; 1 Sn. 175 makes a sorceress bear 
the very name El, procella 2 (see Suppl.). 

But sometimes the aim of sorcery is not so much to destroy 
the produce, as to get possession of it, to carry it off the field, 
either to one s own garner, or that of a favourite. 3 Even the 
Romans speak of this : f satas alio traducere messes/ Virg. Eel. 
8, 99 ; cantus vicinis fruges traducit ab agris/ Tibull. i. 8, 19. 
People fancied, that when unholden walked through a vineyard 
and shook the vines, the grapes came out of the neighbour s plot 
into theirs (Hartm. segenspr. 341). An old dalesman gave his 
granddaughter a staff, and told her to stick it in the corn at a 
certain spot in a field ; the girl on her way was overtaken by a 
shower, took refuge under an oak, and left the staff standing 
there : when she got home, she found a great heap of oali-leaves 
in her grandfather s loft (ibid. p. 342). We also hear of 
vine-shoots being boiled in a pot, probably to spoil the vineyard. 
The poison-herbs of witches boil and evaporate under the open 

We are told of witches bathing naked in the sand* or in corn ; 
I know not for what purpose; Superst. I, 519 speaks of rolling 
naked in the flax. Three witches were seen going to a field of 
rye, laying aside their garments, and bathing in the corn with 
their hair hanging loose. When witnesses approached, two 
vanished suddenly, leaving their clothes behind, the third hud 
dled her smock on (Voigt 130 2). Has this to do with corn- 
wives and rye-aunts p. 477 ? 

Witches and sorcerers use various implements, of which for 
the most part no exact description is given. Of the wand with 
which the old magicians are usually armed, I find no mention 
in our tales, for when the wishing-rod is named, it is as a higher 
and noble instrument ; yet the staff or stick that witches are said 

1 As the whirlwind is ascribed to the devil (p. 1008) so it is to witches (Sup. I, 
554. 648). Kilian 693 remarks, that it is also called varende wif, travelling woman, 
i.e. air-riding sorceress ; conf. wind s bride p. 632, and rushing like a wind s-bride 
through the land, Simplic. 2, 62. 

2 Is she called solar bol, sun s bale, because she darkens the sun with her 
storm-cloud ? Or may we go farther back to heathen times, and impute to the 
witch, as to the wolf, a swallowing of sun and moon ? To me it looks the more 
likely from the name hvel-svelg himins, swallower of heaven s wheel. 

3 Conf. the convenient corn-dragon (p. 1019) and home-sprite. 

4 Fowls are said to bathe in sand : Lith. kutenas wisztos ziegz drosa ; Lett, 
perrinatees ; Pol. kury sie. w piasku ka.pia. ; Serv. leprshatise. 

1090 MAGIC. 

to ride may originally have been carried in the hand. I also 
find the stick spoken of as the wizard s third leg (Moneys Anz. 7 , 
426). In Bavarian records the so-called making of mice or pigs 
(fackel for ferkel) is often mentioned: the witch has a four- 
legged implement, dark-yellow, hard and stiff; this she holds 
under a figure of a mouse or pig that she has made out of a 
napkin, and says ( Run away, and come back to me ! the figure 
becomes a live animal, and runs away ; probably to fetch her 
something of other people s. Hence a witch is called maus- 
sclilagerin, mouse-beater, and a wizard maus-schldgel. In North 
German trials the expression is muse-maker, and the process is 
different : the witch boils magic herbs, then cries, ( Mouse, 
mouse, come out in devil s name! and the beasts come jump 
ing out of the pot (Laffert s Relat. crim. p. 57-9). It reminds 
one of the destructive mice created by Apollo Smintheus in his 
wrath, and the devastations of lemings in Lapland ; so that this 
plague may with perfect right take its place with the desolating 
storm and hail, although our witch- trials say hardly anything of 
the damage done by the magic beasts (conf. Klausen s Aeneas 
p. 73 5). One Nethl. story in Wolf no. 401 relates how a 
young girl flung two pellets of earth one after the other, and in 
a moment the whole field swarmed with mice. Swedish tradition 
tells of a bjdraan or bare, which (says Ihre, dial. lex. 18 a ) was a 
milking -pail made by tying together nine sorts of stolen weaver s 
knots. You let three drops of blood fall into it out of your 
little finger, and said : 

pa jorden (on earth) skal tu for mig springa, 
i Blakulla skal jag for thig brinna ! 

The name comes from the vessel conveying (bara) milk and other 
things to the houses of the devil- worshippers. Hiilphers (Fierde 
saml. om Angermanland. Yesteras 1780, p. 310) describes it as 
a round ball made of rags, tow and juniper, etc., and used in 
several magic tricks : it ran out and brought things in. It starts 
off the moment the sender cuts his left little finger and lets the 
blood fall on it : 

smor och ost (butter and cheese) skal du mig bringa, 
och derfor (skal jag) i helfvetet briiina (in hell-fire burn) ! 


Who can help thinking of Goethe s Magician s Apprentice with 
his water-fetching broom ? 

Of the same kind seems to have been the Icelandic snackr, 
which commonly means a weaver s spool. It is made, says 
Biorn, of a dead man s rib in the shape of a snake, and wrapt in 
gray wool ; it sucks at the witch s breast, after which it can suck 
other people s cattle dry, and bring their milk home l (see 

Of wider diffusion is sorcery with the sieve, which I shall speak 
of by and by ; and with wax figures, to which if you did anything 
while uttering secret words, it took effect on absent persons. The 
wax figure (atzmann) was either hung up in the air, plunged in 
water, fomented at the fire, or stabbed with needles and buried 
under the door-sill : the person aimed at feels all the hurts in 
flicted on the figure (Sup. G, line 28; H, cap. 79) . 2 In Aw. 2, 55 
a travelling student says : 

Mit wunderlichen sacheii 

ler ich sie (I teach her) denne machen 

von wahs einen Jcobolt, 

wil sie daz er ir werde holt (he grow kind to her), 

und touf ez 3 in den brunnen, 

und leg in an die sunnen ; 

but counter-agencies make the danger recoil on the conjuror 
himself. 4 Magic figures can also be baked of dough or lime, and 

1 The Lapps have a magic vessel quoldas (Leem p. 421 spells govdes), cut out 
of fir, pine or birch with the grain running from right to left ; it is open under 
neath, but covered with a skin at the top. The Lapl. adepts drum on this skin 
with a hammer. 

2 Conf. Dffimonomanie, Fischart s transl., Strasb. 1591 fol. p. 143-4. 

3 I.e. tauche es, dip it into the fountain ; if we took it as taufe, baptize, we 
should have to read in dem brunnen. 

4 Schimpf und ernst cap. 272 tells the following story : A certain man went to 
Eome, for to seek S. Peter and S. Paul ; and when he was gone, his wife loved 
another, that was what men call a scholar-errant, and did covet her to wife. The 
woman saith, my good man is departed unto Rome, were he dead, or couldst thou 
take away his life, then would I have thee of all men. He said, yea truly I can 
take his life ; and buyeth wax about six pound, and rnaketh an image thereof. 
Now when the good man was come to Rome into the city, there came one to him 
and spake : thou son of death, what goest thou up and down ? If none help 
thee, this day shall see thee alive and dead. The man asked, how should that 
be ? And he said, come to my house, and I will shew it thee. And having 
brought him home, he prepared for him a waterbath, and set him therein, and gave 
him a mirror, saying, look thou therein, and sat beside him, reading in a book, 
and spake unto him, behold in the glass, what seest thou therein ? The man in 
the bath said, I see one in mine house, that setteth up a waxen image on the wall, 


1092 MAGIC. 

wrought out of metal, but wax made by the sacred bee (p. 696) 
appears the most appropriate ; their manufacture is a mimicry of 
divine creation (p. 570), but it succeeds only up to a certain 
point. In Pulci s Morgante 21, 73 a witch possesses an image 
made of the pure wax of young bees (delle prime api), and 
having every limb except one rib : l the witch s own vitality is 
bound up with the figure, and when Malagigi melts it at a slow 
fire, she dwindles away. That such figures were sometimes 
baptized, is shewn by a sermon of Berthold s (Cod. pal. 35 fol. 
27 b ) : so nimpt diu her und tauft ein wachs, diu ein holz, diu ein 
totenpein (dead man s bone) , allez daz sie domit bezouber ; 2 and 
this proves the connexion of magical appliances with superstitious 
healing appliances. As the sick and the restored used to conse 
crate and hang up in churches an image or a limb of wax, so by 
images the witch maimed and killed. No doubt this kind of 
conjuring goes back to the oldest times; we find it in Ovid, 
Amor. iii. 7, 29 : 

Sagave punicea defixit nomina cera, 
et medium tenues in jecur egit acus ? 

and goeth and taketh his crossbow, and having bent it, will shoot at the image. 
Then said the other, as thou lovest thy life, duck thee under the water when he 
shall shoot. And the man did so. And again he read in the book, and spake 
behold, what seest thou ? The man said, I see that he hath missed, and is ex 
ceeding sorry, and my wife with him ; the scholar-errant setteth to, and will shoot 
the second time, and goeth the half way toward. Duck thee when he shall shoot. 
And he ducked. Saith the other, look, what seest thou ? The man said, I see 
that he hath missed, and is sore troubled, and speaketh to the woman, If now I 
miss the third time, I am [a man] of death ; and setteth to, and aimeth at the 
figure very near, that he may not miss. Then spake he that read in the book, 
duck thee ! And the man ducked from the shot. And he said, look up, what 
seest thou ? I see that he hath missed, and the airow is gone into him, and is 
dead, and my wife bestoweth him in the basement below. Then said he, arise now, 
and go thy way. And the man would have given him much, but he would take no 
thing, and said, pray God for me. When the citizen was come home again, and 
his wife would have kindly received him, he would take no pity on her, but sent to 
bid her friends, and spake to them, what manner of wife they had given him, and 
shewed them everything, how she had borne herself. The woman steadfastly 
denied it ; then led he the friends to the place where she had dug him in, and 
dug him out again. And the people took the woman, and burned her, the which 
was her just reward. The story comes from the Gesta Eom. (ed. Keller cap. 102 ; 
transl. ed. Keller p. 160) ; but one ought to compare the fresh story from Finnish 
Lapland in Afzelius 1, 48. 

1 As the rib serves for further creation (p. 562), and for making miraculous 
apparatus (pp. 907. 1091), imperfect creation is destitute of it. 

2 Quidam (Judaeorum) ad similitudinem episcopi (Eberhardi Treverensis, in 
llth cent.) ceream imaginem lycnis interpositam facientes, clericum ut earn bap- 
tizaret pecunia corruperunt, quam ipso sabbato accenderunt ; qua jam ex parte 
media consumpta, episcopus coepit graviter infirmari, et obiit (Hist. Trev.). 


Compare Horace, Epod. 17, 76: f movere cereas imagines. 
Theocritus 2, 28 has the wax-melting very plainly : co? TOVTOV TOV 
tcapov eyot) avv Saifjuovi, rd/ca), o>? rd/coid* UTT epcoros, but not that 
it was an image. In Virgil, Eel. 8, 74 seq., a magic figure 
(terque haec altaria circum effigiem duco) seems to be made of 
lime and wax (see Suppl.). 

An ancient custom, very similar to this of hanging up and 
thawing the atzmann, was to cut out the earth or turf on which 
had rested the foot of one whom you wish to destroy. This erd- 
schnvtt as Vintler calls it (Sup. G, 1. 92) is hung in the chimney, 
and as it begins to wither or dry up, the man too shall waste 
away (I, 524. 556). It was already known to Burchard (C, p. 
200 a ). To fetch up a comrade from a foreign land, you boil his 
stockings ; or you put his shoes in a new pot, and with it draw 
water against the current, then boil the shoes in the pot four days 
long ; when they are past, he will come, says Hessian superstition 
(see Suppl.). You can lame a horse by driving a nail into his 
recent footprint, and discover a thief by putting tinder in his (I, 
978). Pliny 28, 20 says: vestigium equi excussum ungula (ut 
solet plerumque) si quis collectum reponat, singultus remedium 
esse recordantibus quonam loco id reposuerint ; a cure for hic 
cough if you remember where you put it. 

Our magicians have also, in common with those of Greece and 
Eome, the power of assuming an animal shape (in itself a divine 
attribute, p. 326) : the men prefer changing into a wolf or hawk, 
the women into a cat or swan ; to translate it into the language 
of our heathen time, they addict themselves to the service of 
Wuotan, of Frouwa. These metamorphoses are either voluntary 
or compulsory : the higher being in his might puts on the animal 
shape that suits him, or he dooms a man to wear it in punish 
ment or vengeance. In the stories it is often a mother-in-law or 
stepmother that transforms children, ON. stiupmo&ur shop, Forn- 
ald. sog. 1, 31. 58. 

Herodotus 4, 105 says of the Neuri, that among Scythians and 
Greeks settled in Scythia they pass for magicians (7077x6?), be 
cause once a year every Neurian becomes a wolf for a few days, 
and then resumes the human form (&>? ereo? e/cdo-rov aira^ rcov 
Nevpwv efcacrTos \v/co$ lytVerat ^yu-epa? oXlyas, KOL az5rt? oTricraj e? 
TCOVTO KaTLOTarai). Similar accounts are in Pliny 8, 34. Pomp. 

1094 MAGIC. 

Mela 2, 1. Augustine Civ. Dei 18, 17: his ego saepe lupum 
fieri et se condere silvis Moerin . . . vidi/ Virg. Eel. 8, 97. 
A man distinguished by this gift or malady was called 
\v/cdv0pa)7ro<;, 1 a word-formation to which the AS. werewulf 
(Leges Canuti, Schmid 1, 148), Engl. werewolf, exactly corre 
sponds; Goth, vairavulfs? OHG. werawolf? MHG. poets have 
no werewolf. The ON. uses vargr alone (RA. 733. Reinh. 
xxxvii), verulfr in Sn. 214 b is a sword s name, the Swed. Dan. 
varulfj varulv, seem formed on a Romance or German model. I 
find werwolf first in Burchard (Sup. C, p. 198 C ) ; though Boniface 
before him couples strigas et fictos lupos credere (Serm., in 
Mart, et Dur. 9, 217). The Fr. loup-garou (warou in O. Fr. 
poems) might seem a distortion of warulf ; garulf (Gervase of 
Tilb. writes gerulphus), but then the Breton dialect has also its 
bleiz-garou, -garo (fr. bleiz, wolf), and den-vleiz, man- wolf (fr. den, 
man), grek-vleiz (femme-loup) ; bisclaveret in Marie de France 1, 
1 78 is apparently a corruption of bleizgarv, as the Norman garwal 
is of guarwolf. The Pol. wilkolak, wilkolek, Boh. wlkodlak, 
strictly means wolf-haired, and suggests the hairy wood-sprite, 
p. 480. The Serv. vukodlac signifies a vampire. From wilks 
(wolf) the Letton forms wilkats (werewolf), Wilkascha radda ds. 

Our oldest native notions make the assumption of wolf-shape 
depend on arraying oneself in a wolf-belt or ivolf-shirt (ulfa hamr), 
as translation into a swan does on putting on the swan-shift or 
swan-ring (p. 427-8) . 2 One who wears a wolf-belt, ulfhamr, is 
called in OHG. wolfhetan, ON. ulfheffinn (the % repres. an orig. 
d) , especially do raging berserkir become ulfhe&nir : J?eir hofSu 
vargstakkar fyrir brynjur/ Vatnsdoela saga 36. berserkir )?eir 
varu kallaftir ulfhiedar (r. ulfheSnir)/ Grettissaga 32 a . We also 
find a man s name Ulfheffinn, and OHG. Wolfhetan, MB. 28, nos. 

1 Among the 2Esopian Fables is a merry gest (Cor. 425. Fur. 423) : A thief 
pretends to his host, that when he has yawned three times, he becomes a werewolf 
(6rav oftv xa0>i?70cG rpels /SoAd?, ylvoftcu \VKOS tffdiwv avOpuirovs) ; the timid host runs 
away, and the rogue gets possession of his garment. Petronius in Sat. 62 mentions 
a peculiar method of metamorphosis: ille circummlnxit vestimenta sua, et subito 
lupus factus est ; vestimenta lapidea facta sunt. Conf. cap. 57 : si circumminxero 
ilium, nesciet qua fugiat. 

2 The girdle was an essential article of dress, and early ages ascribe to it other 
magic influences : e.g. Thor s divine strength lay in his girdle (megiugiorS, fern.), 
Sn. 26. 


52. 246. Apart from wolves, we have biarnheSinn, geithe$inn, 
i.e. dressed in a bearskin, goatskin; as a proper name, both 
Biarnhe&inn, Landn. 45, and a simple Heffinn, ancestor of the 
Hia&ningar, AS. Heodeningas fr. Heden or Heoden. The vowel 
is therefore e (not e), and we must suppose a lost verb OHG. 
hefcan, hat, pi. hatum, Goth, hidan, had, hedum. Lye quotes a 
hcden, casla/ meaning prob. casula, robe ; and an ON. geithe- 
ffinn is supposed to be pallium e pelle caprina ; but I prefer 
to take Wolfhetan as a participle. We see then, that the trans 
formation need not be for a magical purpose at all : any one that 
puts on, or is conjured into, a wolf- shirt, will undergo metamor 
phosis, remain a wolf nine days, and only on the tenth be allowed 
to return to human shape 1 ; some stories make him keep the 
wolf-body for three, seven or nine years. With the appearance, 
he acquires also the fierceness and howling, of the wolf: roaming 
the woods, he rends to pieces everything that comes in his way. 2 
Fornald. sog. 1, 50 speaks of a liosta meft lilfhandska, striking 
with wolfs glove, by which a person is turned into a bear, and 
wears the animal form by day, the human at night. In a similar 
way the notion of werewolves also gets mixed up with that of 
outlaws who have fled to the woods. A notable instance is that 
of Sigmund and Sinfiotli (ibid. 2, 130-1) : when they sleep, their 
wolf-shirts hang beside them. 

Werewolves thirst for youthful blood, and carry off children 
and maidens with reckless audacity. Out of many stories in 
Woycicki 1, 101113. 1528 I select only this : A witch 
twisted her girdle together, and laid it on the threshold of a house 
where there was a wedding ; when the newly married pair stepped 

1 It is also believed, that every ninth day the seal (selr) doffs his fishy skin, and 
is for one day a man (Thiele 3, 51). In medieval Germany the nine years wolf was 
supposed to give birth to adders, Ms. 2, 234 b ; to which may be compared Loki s 
begetting the wolf Fenrir and the snake lormungandr (p. 246), and that gandr 
again means wolf. 

2 A married couple lived in poverty ; yet, to the man s astonishment, his wife 
contrived to serve up meat at every meal, concealing for a long time how she 
obtained it; at length she promised to reveal the secret, only, while she did so, he 
must not pronounce her name. They went together to the fields, where a flock of 
sheep was grazing, the woman bent her steps toward it, and when they were come 
near, she threw a ring over herself, and instantly became a werewolf, which fell upon 
the flock, seized one sheep, and made off with it. The man stood petrified ; but 
when he saw shepherd and dogs run after the wolf, and his wife in danger, he forgot 
his promise, and cried ach Margareit ! The wolf disappeared, and the woman 
stood naked in the field (Hess. Folktale). 

1096 MAGIC. 

over it, the bride, bridegroom and six bridesmen were turned 
into werewolves. They fled from the cottage, and for three years 
ran howling round the witch s house. At length the day of their 
deliverance came. The witch brought a pelisse with the fur 
turned outwards, and as soon as she covered a werewolf with it, 
his human shape returned ; the covering reached over the bride 
groom s body, all but the tail, so he became a man again, but kept 
the wolfs tail. Schafarik (Slow. st. 1, 167) observes, that in a 
very marked degree these wolf-stories are native to Volhynia 
and White Russia, and thence draws an argument for his opinion 
that the Neuri were a Slavic race. 

According to the French Lai de Melion pp. 49. 50, the man, 
when undressed, 1 must be touched with a magic ring : forthwith 
he turns into a wolf, and runs after game. Marie de Fr. I, 182 
makes a knight become a bisclaveret three days every week, and 
run about naked in the wood ; if the clothes he has laid aside 
be removed, he has to remain a wolf. 2 Pluquet (Cont. pop. 15) 
remarks, that he can only be delivered by being beaten with a key 
till he bleeds. 

The common belief among us is, that the transformation is 
effected by tying a strap round the body ; this girth is only three 
fingers broad, and is cut out of human skin. Such a werwolf is 
to be distinguished from natural wolves by his truncated tail. 
From the witch-records of Lorrain we learn, that when stalks of 
grass were pulled up, blessed and thrown against a tree, wolves 
sprang forth, and immediately fell upon the flock; Remigius 
pp. 152. 162 leaves it doubtful whether the men that threw the 
grass themselves turned into wolves, but from p. 261 we can think 
no otherwise. Bodin s Daemonomanie (Fischart s transl. p. 120 
seq.) has several werewolf stories. Rhenish and Westphalian 
superstition makes men alone become wolves ; maids and matrons 
change into an utterbocJc (uddered buck, hermaphrodite ? ) : an 
uncanny old hag is called ( the cursed utterbock \ According to 
a peculiar Danish superstition (K, 167), if a bride uses a certain 
specified charm to secure painless labour, her sons become vdr- 

1 But he begs people to keep his clothes safe for him : rna despoille me 
gardez, as in the Aesopian fable: dtofj-ai vov, iva <pv\d^ TCL i/martd pov. 

2 I have not read the O.E. tale of William and the Werewolf in Hartshorne s 
Anc. metr. tales. 

WOLF. BEAR. CAT. 1097 

ulve, her daughters marer (nightmares). Thiele 1, 133 remarks, 
that the werewolf goes in human shape by day, yet so that his 
eyebrows grow together over the nose, 1 but at a certain time of 
night he turns into a three-legged dog, and can only be set free 
by some one calling him werewolf. Burchard s account also 
seems to make lycanthropy something innate to man (see Suppl.) 

That a change of the human form into that of the bear should 
also be familiar to Norse antiquity, is no surprising thing, as that 
animal was considered rational (Reinh., app. on p. Ivi), and held 
in high esteem, p. 667. Finnbogi talks to him, and calls him 
bessi, Finnb. saga p. 246. A Danish song makes the trans 
formation take place by tying an iron collar round one s neck, 
DV. 1, 184. In Norway it is believed that the Laplanders turn 
into bears : of a bear that is uncommonly daring and destructive 
they say, f this can t be any Christian bear. An old bear in 
Ofoden s prastegjeld, who had killed six men and over sixty 
horses, had the same reputation, and when at last he was slain, 
a girdle is said to have been found on him (Sommerfelt Saltd. 
prasteg. p. 84). 

Conversion into the cat has most of all to do with the works 
and ways of home-sprites (pp. 503-9) : there is nowhere the 
slightest hint of donning any belt or shirt. It is a common 
saying, that a cat of twenty years turns witch, and a witch of 
a hundred turns cat again. Vintler (Sup. G, 1. 232) notices the 
assumption of cat-shape. As was the case with night-wives 
(p. 1060), examples occur in almost every witch-trial, and particu 
larly common is the story of the wounded cat, whom you after 
wards recognise in a bandaged woman. Cats meeting you are 
of double meaning, Sup. I, 643. One should never hurt a strange 
cat ; the witch might serve you out. A farmer took on to ail 
from the day of his wedding : on that day he had shied a stone 
at a cat that walked into his yard with a saddle on her. The 
saddled cat is a kind of Puss-in-boots, KM. 3, 259. Wolf s 
Wodana pp. 123. 131 has stories of magic cats. But the cat is 
also to be spared because she was Frouwa s favorite beast 
(p. 305) : if it rains on your wedding-day, they say in the Wette- 
rau you have starved the cat/ and so offended the messenger or 

1 Otherwise a mark of the witch or wizard who can set the alb on other men : 
he conies out of their eyebrows in butterfly shape, Deut. sag. 1, 132. 

1098 MAGIC. 

handmaid of the love-goddess. Now night-wives and witches 
apparently travel in the train of that divinity. 

The goose too is a magic beast, and easily referable to the 
nobler swan of older legend. A sportsman shot at some wild 
geese and hit one, which fell into the bushes ; when he came up 
to the place, there sat a naked woman unhurt, whom he knew 
very well, and who begged hard that he would not betray her, 
but get some clothes sent her from her house. He threw her his 
handkerchief to cover herself with, and sent the clothes (Mone s 
Anz. 6, 395). Niclas von Wyle,in the Dedication to his translation 
of Apuleius, tells us of a different case, which he had heard from 
the lips of Michel von Pfullendorf, clerk to the Imp. treasury : 
An innkeeper had through a woman s witcheries (gemecht, conf. 
make = conjure, p. 1032) been a wild goose for more than a year, 
and flown about with other such geese, till one day a goose that 
he was quarrelling and snapping with, happened to tear from off 
his neck the little kerchief in which the enchantment was knit up : 
again therefore a swan-ring, except that the witch does not wear 
it herself, but has changed an innocent man into the beast, just 
as werewolves are by turns enchanters and enchanted. In 
Kinderm. 193 white strips of cloth take the place of the swan- 

As the raven stands on a par with the wolf, we may fairly 
assume transformations of magicians into ravens, though I can 
think of no example : trolds in Dan. songs often appear as ravens, 
p. 993. Perhaps witches may be found turning into crows rather, 
as we already hear of an oskmey (wish-maid, Vols. cap. 2) : hun 
bra a sik Jcraku ham, ok ftygr ; and Marpalie in Wolfdietrich doffs 
her garments, claps her hands (p. 1026 n.) and turns into a crow 
(see Suppl.). 

If the cast-off clothing, human or animal, be removed (p. 427-9), 
a re-assumption of the former shape becomes impossible ; hence 
in legend and fairytale the practice of secretly burning the beast s 
hide when stript off. 1 Yet the human shape may be restored on 
this condition, that a spotless maid keep silence for seven years, 
and spin and sew a shirt to be thrown over the enchanted person, 
KM. 1, 53. 246. 3, 84. And such a shirt not only undoes the 

1 Aw. 1, 165. KM. 2, 264. Straparola 2, 1. Pentam. 2, 5. Vuk 1, xxxix 
seq. Fornald. sog. 2, 150-1. 


charm, but makes one spell-proof and victorious (Sup. I, 656. 
708) ; l in the last passage, victory in a lawsuit has taken the 
place of the old victory in battle. In the Mid. Ages it was called 
St. George s shirt, and was spun on a Saturday (Yintler ; conf. 
Sup. I, 333 the thread spun on Christmas night] ; Wolfdietrich 
receives it from Siegminne, i.e. from a wise spinning norn or 
valkyr (p. 434) : obviously the old heathen idea was afterwards 
transferred to the conquering saint of the Christian church. Not 
unlike are the golden shirt that defends from drowning, Beow. 
1095, ^ndfhe/rid-hemede (App. Spells x) ; a woven flag of victory 
will be mentioned p. 1112. To me these famous shirts of fate 
seem connected with the threads and webs of the norns and dame 
Holda. A magic weaving and spinning was probably ascribed 
to witches, who in Sup. I, 824 are called field- spinsters ; and Bur- 
chard s allusions to the superstition in lanificiis et ordiendis 
telis are worth comparing, Sup. C, int. 52, and p. 193 d . Hincmar 
of Rheims (Opp. 1, 656) speaks of sorceries quas superventas 
feminae in suis lanificiis vel textilibus operibus nominant ; again 
p. 654 : quidam etiam vestibus carminatis induebantur vel co- 
operiebantur/ 2 A similar thing is the magic and spell in the 
case of swords , conf. p. 687-8 (see Suppl.). 

There may be magic in the mere look, without bodily contact, 
what our old speech called entsehen (p. 1035), Ital. gettare gli 
sguardi, Neapol. jettatura, fascino dei malvagi occhi. The 
bleared, envious, evil eye 3 of a witch who walks in (Sup. I, 787), 
let alone her breath and greeting, can injure in a moment, dry up 
the mother s milk, make the babe consumptive, spoil a dress, rot 
an apple, visu fascinare (p. 1066 and Sup. C, p. 199 d ) : the coat 
is so handsome, the apple so red, no evil eye (onda oga, Sup. 
Swed. 57) must look upon it ; hurtful look, Sup. I, 874 ; obliquus 
oculas, Hor. Epist. i. 14, 37. Of sick cattle especially they say : 

1 This shirt of victory reminds us of the child s shirt of luck (p. 874), which in 
Denmark is likewise called a victor s shirt (seyers-hue, -hielm, -serk). If we may 
ascribe high antiquity to the phrase born with helmet on, such seyers-hielm fore 
tells the future hero. Conf. Bulenger 3, 30 on amniomantia, i.e. divinatio per 
amnium seu membranam tertiam embryonis. 

2 Disenchanting or defensive shirts have their counterpart in bewitching baneful 
ones. In a Servian song (Vuk 3, 30, 1. 786) a gold shirt is neither spun nor woven, 
but knitted, and a snake is worked into the collar. The shirt sent to Herakles, 
drenched in dragon s blood, is well known. 

8 iibel ougen, Parz. 407, 8 are spiteful eyes ; whereas ein b&sez ouge 71, 16 is 
a weak, sore eve. 

1100 MAGIC. 

some evil eye has been at it ; to look at a beast with sharp 
eyes. In Virgil s Eel. 3, 103 : nescio quis teneros oculus mihi 
fascinat agnos. The Renner 18014 says, the glance of the eye 
kills snakes, scares wolves, hatches ostrich- eggs, breeds leprosy. 
Radulfi ardentis Homil. 42 a : cavete ab illis qui dicunt, quosdam 
oculis urentibus alios fascinare. Persius 2, 34 has urentes oculi ; 
SLndfascinare, j3acrKalvLV with the ancients meant chiefly this kind 
of sorcery. The ON. expression is sion-hverfmg , look-throwing : 
sundr stauk sula for sion iotuns/ asunder burst the pillar at the 
look of the giant, Sasm. 53 b . Stigandi can by his look destroy 
anything ; when taken prisoner, they pull a bag over his head 
(dreginn belgr a hofut honum) : he peeps through a h ole in the 
sack, and with one look spoils a field of grass, Laxd. p. 152-6. 
Different and yet similar are the sharp eyes of certain heroes 
(p. 391) and maids, e.g. Svanhildr being bound is to be kicked 
to death by horses : er hun (when she) bra i sundr augum, J?a 
]>orSu eigi (dared not) hestarnir at spora hana ; ok er Bikki sa 
]?at, maelti hann, at belg skyldi draga a hofu S henni/ Fornald. 
sog. 1, 226. And of one Sigurftr we are told in Fornm. sog. 
2, 174 : at hann hefSi snart augnabragff, at allir hundar hurfu 
fra honum, ok var enginn sva grimmr at ]?yr<5i a hann at ra$a, 
er hann hvesti augun imot J>eim, as dogs cannot endure the look 
of spirits and gods (p. 667). Any one possessed of this perilous 
power, who is evil-eyed, can prevent its baneful operation by 
directing his looks to a lifeless object. The phrase ( no one shall 
say black is your eye means, no one can exactly report any 
harm of you (Brockett p. 66). Has that peculiar conformation 
of the witch s eye-pupil (p. 1080) anything to do with her evil 
eye ? As a safeguard against its influence, the paw of the "blind 
mole is worn l (see Suppl.) . 

But as great beauty enchants by the radiant glance of the 
eye, it has also magic power in the smiling of the lips. In a 
Mod. Greek song, when the charming maid laughs, roses fall into 
her apron (OTTOV j\a f KOL 7re<f>Tovve ra po$a \ rrjv iroStdv r^?), 
Fauriel 2, 382. In Heinr. von Neuenstadt s Apollonius of 
Tyre, composed about 1400, it is asked 1. 182: c wa sach man 

1 It is another thing for conjurors to blind the eyes of men by jugglery : sunt 
et praestigiatores, qui alio nomine obstrigilli vocantur, quod praestriugant vel 
obstriugant humanoruin aciem oculorum, Hincin. Kern. ed. 1615. 1, 656. 


rosen lachen ? and then follows a tale about a man who laughs 
roses : 

( der lachet, daz ez vol rosen was, 
perg und tal, laub und gras/ 

A Nethl. proverb (Tuinman 1, 306) says : als hy lacht, dan 
sneuiut liet rozen. The myth must have been very popular, as I 
frequently find in records (e.g. Bohmer s Cod. francof. 1, 185), 
and even at the present day, the names Hosenlaclier, Rosenldchler, 
Blumlacher. The same poem of Apollonius has at 1. 2370 : 

er kuste sie wol dreissig stunt (30 times) 
an iren rosenlachenden munt (mouth) ; 

other passages to the point are quoted Aw. 1, 74-5. Gifted 
children of fortune have the power to laugh roses, as Freyja wept 
gold; probably in the first instance they were pagan beings of 
light, who spread their brightness in the sky over the earth, 
rose-children, sun-children/ Georg 48-9, laughing daybreaks 
(p. 747), rose-strewing Eos (p. 749). Mart. Cap. says, a silver urn 
f qu88 praeferebat serena fulgentia et vernantis coeli temperie 
renidebat was called risus Jovis (see Suppl.). 

The Jcissing mouth has even greater power than the smiling. 
It is a recurring feature in our nursery-tales, that a kiss makes 
one forget everything (KM. 2, 168. 508), yet also that it brings 
back remembrance (2, 463). The unbinding of a spell hangs 
upon a kiss (p. 969). In the Norse legends oblivion is produced 
by a potion called 6minnis-ol (-ale), ominnis-dryckr, the opposite 
of minnis-ol (p. 59) : such an ominnisol Grimhild hands to SigurS, 
who thereupon forgets Brynhild ; and GoiSrun, before she could 
forget SigurS and choose Atli, had to drink an ominnis-veig, 
whose magical concoction the poem describes, Saam. 223 b . 234*. 
So valkyrs, elfins and enchantresses offer to heroes their drinking- 
horns (p. 420), that they may forget all else and stay with them; 
conf. the Swed. tale in Afzelius 2, 159. 160 and the song in 
Arvidsson 2, 179. 282, where the miner makes the maiden drink 
of the glomskans horn and forget father and mother, heaven and 
earth, sun and moon. Now, seeing that minna in the Swed. 
folksongs and minde in the Dan. signify to kiss (minna uppa 
munnen, Sv. vis. 3, 123-4. D. vis. 1, 256. 298), as (j)t\elv is 
amare and osctilari, and with us in the 16th cent, to set the seal 

1102 MAGIC. 

of love is roundabout for kissing ; there must be a close connec 
tion between kissing and the minne-drinking at sacrifices and in 
sorcery. 1 But niagic potions are of various kinds and extreme 
antiquity, their manufacture trenches on the healing art and 
poison-mixing (see Suppl.). Love-drinks have love-calces to keep 
them company. Burchard describes how women, after rolling 
naked in wheat, took it to the mill, had it ground against the sun 
(ON. andsoelis, inverse ordine), and then baked it into bread. 
Popular superstition in Samland makes out, that when a wife 
perceives her husband growing indifferent toward her, she lays 
aside a piece of the raw dough from nine successive bakings of 
bread or scones, then bakes him a scone out of the pieces, on 
eating which his former love returns. The Esthonians have a 
karwakak (hair-bread), a loaf into which hairs have been baked 
as a charm. The love-apples, in which symbols were inscribed 
(Hoffm. Schles. monatschr. p. 754), are to the same purpose (see 

There are certain safeguards in general use against magic. One 
should not answer a witch s question (Sup. I, 59), not thank her 
for her greeting (568) ; for certain kindnesses and gifts, if they 
are to do you good, it is advisable not to thank any one (398. 
Swed. 35. 52. Esth. 94). A witch may be known by her thank 
ing you for lending things (I, 566) ; she never answers three times 
(563). Whatever she praises will turn out ill, unless you 
promptly reply with railing, reviling, wishing the same to you 
(696), or spitting. To praise one to his face does harm, Pliny 
28, 2. Si ultra placitum laudarit, baccare frontem cingite, ne 
vati noceat mala lingua future/ Virg, Eel. 7, 27; hence in prais 
ing oneself a praefiscini (prae fascino ?) was added, Plaut. Asin. 
ii. 4, 84. Insult and imprecation the ancients turned aside with 
the words : et? Ke$a\r)v croi, on thy head may it fall ! The Mod. 
Greeks and Slavs are shy of praise, and try to save themselves 
by spitting : a Russian nurse directly spits in the face of one who 
cracks up her baby without putting in the precautionary God 
save the mark ! Before a witch s house you spit three times 
(Sup. I, 756), the same in crossing a haunted water by night 

1 Minna = to kiss may indeed seem a corruption of mynna (to give mouth), 
ON. mynnaz, conf. mundes minne, MsH. 1, 45 a ; still the other explanation has its 
weight too. 


(Swed. 40) ; the Greeks at sight of a madman spat thrice into 
their bosom, Theocr. 6, 39. 21, 11. ter dictis despite carminibus/ 
Tibull. i. 2, 55. Home-sprites cannot bear spitting (p. 514) ; conf. 
Sup. I, 317. 453. To the same effect, and worth reading, is what 
Pliny 28, 4 says on despuere, adspuere, inspuere, exspuere. In 
case of need you may without scruple strike a suspected witch, 
and draw blood (p. 1096), or throw & firebrand at her (Sup. Swed. 
96). Bread, salt and coals are a protective against magic (I, 564. 
713), as witches abstain from bread and salt (p. 1071). I fancy 
that pipping of the loaf, so distasteful to the wood- wives (p. 484), 
was a sacred magic-averting symbol; conf. placenta digito 
notata 3 in Lasicz 49. Throw a steel over enchanted beasts, and 
they are bound to resume their natural shape (Sup. I, 886) ; l 
throw a knife marked with the cross over a witch, and you re 
cognise her (554) ; when a man threw steel between the elfin and 
the hill, it prevented her going into it (p. 467) ; steel insures the 
child in the cradle from being changed. Instances of magic thus 
averted by steel we find in Faye 20. 24-5-6. 51. 141 ; conf. Sup. 
Swed. 71. Witches and devils shun the sign of the cross : that 
is why we see so many crosses on the doors the first night in 
May. The peasant ploughs a cross into each corner of his field. 
On the cradles of infants before they were christened, the cross 
was lavishly employed to guard against elf or devil ; just so the 
heathens used their hammer, and there is a remarkable vestige of 
it forthcoming still : malleum, ubi puerpera decumbit, obvolvunt 
candido linteo (Gisb. Voetii sel. disput. theol. Ultraj. 1659, pars 
3 p. 121.) No less do evil spirits hate and shun the sound of 
bells (pp. 1022-74) ; it disturbs their dance at the cross-road, Sup. 
I, 542. To this must be added the methods mentioned p. 1078 
of recognising witches and guarding against them (see Suppl.). 

These are the most distinctive phenomena in the world of 
Magic. Many, indeed most magic appliances run over into 
Superstition, between which and magic proper it is impossible 
to draw a fixed boundary. I have indeed put forward, as a dis 
tinguishing mark of sorcery, the malicious design to do mischief, 

1 A peasant was driving his waggon one night, when a werewolf approached. To 
disenchant him, the man had the presence of mind instantly to tie his fire-steel to 
the lash of his whip, and fling it over the wolf s head, keeping the whip in his 
hand. But the wolf caught the steel, and the peasant had to save himself by 
speedy night. 

1104 MAGIC. 

and it does seem to have resulted from inverting the wholesome 
use of occult forces in nature (pretty much as the devil from an 
inversion of God, p. 986); but particular applications of the true 
and the false art cannot always be kept apart. As a herb, a 
stone, a spell proves a source of healing, so may it also act 
perniciously too j the use was proper and permissible, the abuse 
abhorred and punished. A poisoner as such is not a witch, she 
becomes one in the eyes of the people the moment she uses pre 
ternatural means, A wise woman, healing sickness and charming 
wounds, begins to pass for a witch only when with her art she 
does evil ; her means are as natural as the poison of the mur 
deress. To higher antiquity, witches were priestesses, physi 
cians, fabulous night-wives, whom men honoured, feared, and at 
last made light of, but never dreamt as yet of persecuting and 
executing. Maidens might turn into swans, heroes into were 
wolves, and lose nothing in popular estimation. In course of 
time, when the Devil s complicity with every kind of sorcery 
came to be assumed, the guilt of criminality fell upon all personal 
relations [with him] ; but the people for the most part continued 
to practise their long-accustomed charms in the innocent sense 
of superstition, though a suspicion of sorcery was more likely to 
overshadow it now than before. 


By Superstition is to be understood, not the whole body of 
heathen religion, which we think of as a delusion, a false belief, 
but the retention of particular heathen practices and principles. 
The Christian convert rejected and loathed the gods of the hea 
then, but still there lingered in his heart notions and habits, 
which having no obvious reference to the old faith, seemed not 
directly opposed to the new. Wherever Christianity has left a 
vacuum, where its spirit could not at once penetrate the ruder 
minds, there superstition or over-belief grew rank. In Low Ger 
man they say bi-glove by-belief, in Nethl. overgelof, bygelof, Dan. 
overtro } Icel. hiatru, all modelled on the Latin superstitio, which 
itself is traceable to super stes (surviving), and denotes a persist 
ence of individual men in views which the common sense of the 
majority has abandoned. A fortune-teller was to the Romans 
superstitiosus homo/ And the Swed. term vidskepelse seems 
primarily to mean a sort of magic, not superstition (p. 1036 ; see 
Suppl.). 1 

There are two kinds of superstition, an active and a passive, one 
being more the augurium, sortilegium, the other more the omen 
of the ancients. 2 If, without man s active participation, some 
startling sign be vouchsafed him by a higher power, he prog 
nosticates from it good hap or ill. If the sign did not arise of 
itself, if he elicits it by his own contrivance, then there is posi 
tive superstition. Naturally Christianity succeeded better in 
combating the positive superstition that was mixed up with hea 
then rites, than the negative and involuntary, which swayed the 
mind of man as the fear of ghosts does. 

1 Also Swed. skrok, skr&k, superstitio ; the ON. skrok, figmentum. OHG. 
gameitheit superstitio, vanitas, Graff 2, 702. In Mod. Germ. I find zipfel-glaube, 
Schmid s Schwab, id. 547. Lett, blehnu tizziba, faith in idle things (blehnas). 

" Divine omnipotence produces miracles (p. 1031), a chance phenomenon mere 
presages, omina, portenta, in which sense Ulphilas renders r^para by fauratanja, 
Mk. 13, 22. John 6, 26. 1 Cor. 12, 12. With tani I can hardly connect anything 
but ON. teningr, talus, or OHG. zeno, provoco, Graff 5, 673 (see Suppl.). 



The usages of active superstition always have some practical 
aim. A man wants to escape a present evil, to throw off a sick 
ness, to get rid of his enemy, or he wishes to know and secure 
his future luck. And here we must not overlook how often, 
according to a difference of period or nationality, the same cus 
toms acquire a new relation and meaning, 1 being often torn away 
from their connexion, e.g. what had a distinct reference to sacri 
fice will, standing by itself, be unintelligible j and the same was 
the case with the objects of sorcery. What our forefathers hoped 
or feared had reference more to war and victory ; the farmer of 
today cares about his corn and cattle. If the heathen sorceress 
with her hail destroys the host of the enemy, the modern witch 
makes foul weather for her neighbour s field. So the farmer 
promises himself a plenteous crop on the strength of an omen 
that in olden time betokened victory. Yet farming and cattle- 
breeding have a long history too, and a number of superstitious 
rites connected with them stretch without a break through many 
centuries. Likewise all the superstitions that look to domestic 
life, to birth and death, wooing and wedding, are rooted in 
nature, and almost unchangeable through the lapse of ages ; 
superstition constitutes a kind of religion for all the lower kind 
of household wants. 

Divinations form a leading feature of superstition. Man 
would fain lift the veil that time and space have cast over his 
weightiest concerns; by the use of mysterious means he thinks 
he can arrive at the truth. Divination lawful and unlawful has 
always been a function of the priest (or head of a family) and 
of the magician (p. 862-3) : the one belongs to religion, the other 
to superstition. 

Various words for divining and soothsaying were given at the 
beginning of last chapter, when we had to settle the meaning of 
magic. I have now to add an OHGr. heilison augurari (AS. 
halsian) ; heilisod omen, augurium ; heilisari augur (AS. halsere), 
heilisara auguratrix. In MHG. these words had died out. One 

1 It is conceivable that remnants of the old Roman divinatio were still in vogue 
at the time of the Lombards : habebat tune Agilulf quendam de suis aruspicem 
puerum, qui per artem diabolicam, quid futurum porteuderent ictus fulmimim in- 
telligebat, Paul. Diac. 3, 30. The Etruscan haruspicia were especially directed to 
fulgura, 0. Mull. 2, 32. 


must distinguish them from OHG. heilizan salutare, AS. haletan 
(see Suppl.). 

The sacred priestly divination appears, like the priestly office 
itself (p. 93), to have been hereditary in families. A female 
fortune-teller declared that the gift had long been in her family, 
and on her death the grace would descend to her eldest daughter 
(Sup. H, cap. 107) : from mother to daughter therefore, and from 
father to son ; by some it is maintained that soothsaying and the 
gift of healing must be handed down from women to men, from 
men to women. To this day there are families that have the 
peculiar gift of foreseeing what will happen, especially fires, 
deaths and corpses : in L. Germany they call such people vorkie- 
kers, fore-peepers. It is also said they can quad sehn, i.e. see 
or scent any coming misfortune, nay, the power is even allowed 
to horses, sheep and dogs : horses prophesy (p. 658), hounds 
can see spirits (p. 667). And notice in particular, that such 
men can impart their gift to him that treads on their right foot 
and looks over their left shoulder; this was apparently a very 
ancient, even a heathen posture, it was a legal formality in tak 
ing possession of cattle (RA. 589), and may have been tolerated 
among Christians in other cases, e.g. one who is doing penance 
has to step on the right foot of the hermit, Ls. 1, 593. The first 
child christened at a newly consecrated font receives the power 
to see spirits and coming events, until some one shall from idle 
curiosity tread on his left foot and look over his right shoulder, 
when the gift will pass away to him, Sup. I, 996 ; on the other 
hand, he that looks through the loop of the wise man s arw 
(p. 939) becomes a seer of spirits, he beholds the natural 
and preternatural : even to the dog the gift descends, if 
you tread on his right foot and make him look over your right 
shoulder, Sup. I, 1111. Again, children born with the helmet 
can see spirits, ghosts or witches (p. 874n.). In all this we see 
the last quiverings of life in practices of the heathen priest 
hood, before they pass into mere conjuring and witchcraft (see 

Divination is directed mainly to the discovery of future things, 
they being the most uncertain. The past is done and known, 
or can be ascertained in many ways ; what goes on in the present, 
at a distance, we seldom feel any temptation to find out ; an 



instance occurred at p. lOOln., where the pilgrim is enabled by 
magic to see what is going on at his home. Yet the present has 
its puzzles too, when methods have to be decided on, especially 
property to be divided. 

When events and deeds of the past were wrapt in obscurity, 
antiquity had a thrice-hallowed means of discovery, the ordeals 
or judgments of God, a retrospective divination of sure and 
infallible success, such as judicial procedure demanded. But 
to every German ordeal it is essential that the accused should 
perform its ritus himself; in no case could it be placed in the 
judge s hands. This fact distinguishes it from the sieve-driving 
or sieve-turning practised since the Mid. Ages, which was per 
formed by wise women, witches, conjurors, and even by respect 
able persons, to bring concealed criminals to light : the woman 
held a sieve that was an heirloom between her two middle fingers, 
uttered a spell, and then went over the names of suspected 
persons ; when she came to that of the culprit, the sieve began 
to sway and tilt over. 1 The plan was adopted against thieves, 
and such as in a tumult had inflicted wounds ; and sometimes 
to reveal the future, e.g. who should be a girl s sweetheart. I 
find the first mention of it in the poem cited on p. 1048 : und 
daz ein wip ein sib tribe, sunder vleisch und sunder ribe, da niht 
inne wsere/ this I take to be a lie, says the author ; his in 
credulity seems to rest on the tilting over, the sieve is void, 
has neither flesh nor bone. The sieve was also laid on a pair 
of tongs, which were held up between the two middle fingers. 
In Denmark the master of the house himself took the trial in 
hand, balancing the sieve on the point of a pair of scissors, Sup. 
Dan. 132. This sieve-running (sieve- chasing, sieve-dance) must 
have been very common in France and Germany in the 16-1 7th 

i Sieve-running is described differently in the Meckl. jahrb. 5, 108 : A sieve 
inherited from kinsfolk is set up on its edge, an inherited pair of scissors is opened 
and .ts points stuck into the sieve s edge deep enough to lift it by. Then two 
persons of different families take it to a perfectly dark place, put the middle finger 
of the right hand under the scissors ring, and so raise the sieve. At the slightest 
movement of course the ring will slip off the finger, and the sieve fall, as in the 
dark it does not hang quite perpendicular. Then one begins to ask the other : I 
ask thee in the name of G., etc., tell me truth and lie not, who stole so and so? 
did Hans, Fritz, Peter ? At the name of the guilty party the ring slips off, the 
sieve falls to the ground, and the thief is known. In all the other descriptions 
I have read, the thing is done in daylight, and the sieve does not fall, but spins 


cent., many books mention it, and couple together sieve-turners 
and spell-speakers ; 1 it may here and there be still in use, conf. 
Stender sub v. seetinu tezzinaht/ and his Gram. p. 299 ; it 
seems the Lettons stick it on a pair of shears. But it was already 
known to the Greeks, Theocritus 3, 31 mentions a KoaKivopavT^, 
and Lucian (Alex. 7) speaks of KO<TKIVU> pavTeveaOai, among the 
Paphlagonians; Potter 1, 766 thus describes the process of KOO-- 
Kivo^avTeia : they held up the sieve by a string, prayed to the 
gods, then ran over the names of the suspects ; at that of the 
doer the sieve set off spinning (see Suppl.). 

In the same way people stuck a hereditary key in the Bible 
(at the first chap, of John), 2 or a cleaver in a wooden ball, which 
began to move when they came to the right name, Sup. I, 932. 
I surmise that the revolution of the lotter-wood worn by spruch- 
sprecher (lotter-buben, frei-harte, H. Sachs iv. 3, 58 a ) was also 
for divining purposes; in the early Fragm. 15 C we find: louf 
umbe lotterholz, louf umbe gedrate ! On this I shall be more 
explicit in another place. 

It may be regarded as a relic of the judicium offae or casei 
(RA. 932), that those suspected of a theft were made to eat of 
a consecrated cheese : the morsel sticks in the throat of the real 
thief (Sup. H, cap. 51). 3 

1 Fischart s Damonom. p. 71. Hartm. on Spells 99. Simplic. 2, 352. Ettner s 
Apoth. 1187. J. Praetorius on Sieve-running. Curiae Varisc. 1677. 4. Eommel s 
Hess, gesch. 6, 61. In Burgundy tonai le taimi, Noels Borg. p. 374 ; tairni is the 
Fr. tamis, Netbl. teems, in Teutonista tempse, but in Diut. 2, 209 tempf. If Graff 
has not misread this, we might make of Tamfana (pp. 80. 257. 278) a goddess named 
after the sieve she held in her hand ; that would look heathenish. 

2 H. Stahl s Westfal. sagen, Elberf. 1831. p. 127 gives a fuller account : The 
hered. key is put inside a hered. Bible, so that the ward part of the key lies on the 
words In the beginning was the Word, and the ring stands out of the book. They 
tie it up tight with string, and hang it up by the end of the string to the ceiling. 
Then two people hold their fingers under the ring, touching it gently, and the 
injured party asks : * has there been a witch at my cow ? The other must say No, 
and the complainant answer Yes, and this they keep up for some time. If the cow 
be really bewitched, the Bible begins to turn round, and then more questions are 
asked. If there has been no witchery, or the wrong witch is named, the Bible 
remains still. The turnings of sieve and key resemble those of the wishing-rod 
p. 975. 

3 The Observationes ad Ivonis epistolas p. 157 have the following : Formulae 
in codicibus monasteriorum, quibus ad detegenda furta jubebatur oratio dominica 
scribi in pane et caseo, postea fieri cruces de tremulo, quarum una sub dextero pede, 
alia super caput suspecti viri poneretur, deinde post varias numinis invocationes 
imprecari, ut lingua et guttur rei alligaretur, ne transglutire posset, sed eorurn 
[coram?] omnibus tremeret, nee haberet quo requiesceret. Cf. formulam Dunstaui 
Cantuar. editarn a Pitthoeo in glossario capitulariorum. Against crossing cheeses 
(de caseis cruce non signandis) several ordinances were issued in the 15th cent. (docs, 
of 1430, 48, 70, 77 in Moiiuni. boic. 16. 50. 55. 58. 61). 


Other methods of forecasting the future were likewise available 
for detecting thieves or any malefactors. 

The lot (OHG. hloz, Goth, hlauts, AS. hleat, ON. hlutr) was 
the venerablest and fairest of all kinds of divination. A difficult 
and doubtful matter was to be raised thereby above human 
caprice and passion, and receive the highest sanction, e.g. in 
dividing an inheritance, in ascertaining the right victim (conf. p. 
230), and so forth. Lot therefore decides a present uncertainty, 
but it may also extend to the future. Originally placed in the 
hands of a priest or judge, it afterwards became an instrument 
of sorcery (p. 1034-7), and sortilegus, sortiarius, sorcier are all 
derived from sors. Our OHG. hliozan seems in like manner to 
have passed out of the meaning sortiri into that of augurari, 
incantare, which it retains in its MHG. form liezen, Hoffm. 
fundgr. 2, 67. Er. 8123. 

It was managed in two ways : the priest or the paterfamilias 
cast the lot, and interpreted it when fallen, or he held it out 
to the party to draw ; the first was for indicating the future, the 
last for adjusting the present. 

Let Tacitus describe the first kind : Sen-Hum consuetudo 
simplex. Virgam, frugiferae arbori decisam, in surculos arnpu- 
tant, eosque notis quibusdam discretos super candidam vestem 
temere ac fortuitu spargunt. Mox si publice consuletur, sacerdos 
civitatis, sin privatim ipse pater familiae, precatus deos coelumque 
suspicions, ter singulos tollit, sublatos secundum impressam ante 
notam interpretatur. Si proliibuerunt, nulla de eadem re in 
eundein diem consultatio ; sin permissum, auspiciorum adhuc 

fides exigitur/ Germ. 10. Here the lots are but preliminary to 

the entire transaction, and if they prove unfavourable, further 
divination is not proceeded with. I need not transcribe the 
important explanations my Brother has given in his work on 
Runes pp. 296 307. A connexion there certainly is between 
these lots and the runes and ciphers ; lot-books are mentioned 
as early as the 13th cent., Ls. 3, 169. Kolocz. 70 (see Suppl.). 

The Armenians prophesied from the movement of cypress 
boughs : quarum cupressorum surculis ramisque seu leni sive 
violento vento agitatis Armenii flamines ad longum tempus in 
auguriis uti consueverunt/ as Moses Chorenensis (ed. 1736, p. 54) 
tells us in the 5th cent. 


A long- array of divinations seems to have been diffused over 
Europe by the Greeks and Romans ; 1 from this source come 
Hartlieb s accounts of hydromantia, pyromantia (the fiur-sehen 
of Altd. bl. 1, 365), chiromantia (MHG-. the tisch in der hant, Er. 
8136), on which see more in Haupt s Zeitschr. 3, 271 (see Suppl.). 
The crystal-gazing of the pure child, Sup. H, cap. 90, is the 
gastromantia ex vase aqua pleno, cujus meditullium (belly of the 
jar) vocabatur ydo-rpr). 2 

More to the purpose are customs peculiar to certain nations, 
and not traceable to the above source : in these we either find 
a different procedure, or the forecasts are gathered from natural 
objects by lying in wait, listening, looking. 

Our ancestors (ace. to Tac. Germ. 3) contrived to foresee 
the issue of a battle by the spirited or faltering delivery of the 

The ancient Poles reckoned on victory if water drawn in a sieve 
was carried before the army without running through. I quote 
the words of the Chronicon Montis Sereni (Menken 2, 227. 
Hoffm. script, rer. his. 4, 62) : Anno 1209 Conradus, orientalis 
marchio, Lubus castrum soceri sui Wlodislai ducis Poloniae, 
propter multas quas ab eo patiebatur injurias, obsedit. Wlodis- 
laus vero, obsidionem vi solvere volens, collecto exercitu copioso, 
marchioni mandavit, se ei altera die congressurum. Vespere 
autem diei praecedentis Oderam fluvium cum suis omnibus trans- 
gressus, improvisus supervenire hostibus moliebatur. Unus vero 
eorum qui supani dicuntur vehementer ei coepit obsistere, monens 
ne tempus pugnae statutum praeveniret, quia hoc factum nullius 
rectius quam infidelitatis posset nomine appellari. Quern dum 
dux timiditatis argueret, et fidelitatis qua ei teneretur commoneret, 
respondit : ego quidem ad pugnam pergo, sed scio me patriam 
meam de cetero non visurum. Habebat autem (sc. Wlodislaus) 
ducem belli pythonissam quandam, quae de flumirie cribro haustam 
nee defluentem, ut f erebatur, ducens aquam exercitum praecedebat, 
et hoc signo eis victoriam promittebat. Nee latuit marchionem 

1 Alphabetically arranged in Fabricii Bibliogr. antiq. (ed. 3 Hamb. 1760) 4 pp 
593-613. Conf. Potter s Arcliaol. 1, 758-769. 

2 Melber de Geroltzhofen says in Vocabularius predicantium (sheet E 4) : 
1 Nigromantia. schwartz kunst die do ist mit vffsehung der dotten, rait den der 
nigromanticus zaubert, oder mit den dnjen ersten schollen, die der pfaff wirfft ynsz 
grab, oder mit den wydhopffen, die do lauffen by den grebern. The passage is also 
quoted from Melber in Jod. Eychinan s Vocab. predic., Niirnbg 1483. 


adventus eorum, sed mature suis armatis et ordinatis occurrens, 
forti congressu omnes in fugam vertit, pytlwnissa primitus inter- 
fecta. Ille etiam supanus viriliter pugnans cum multis aliis inter- 

fectus est. What is here an omen of success is elsewhere a 

test of innocence : a true-hearted boy carries water in a sieve, and 
not a drop runs out, KM. 3, 254; according to Indian belief the 
innocent can take water up in a lump like a ball. ( Exstat 
Tucciae vestalis incestae precatio, qua usa aquam in cribro tulit, 
Pliny 28, 3 ; a witch sets a girl the task of fetching water in the 
sieve, Norske ev. 1, 88 ; the vestal had also to carry fire in a 
brazen sieve (supra p. 611), and a Dan. fairytale in MolbecVs 
Ev. p. 22 actually speaks of carrying the sun in a sieve. The 
sieve comes before us as a sacred old-world vessel with miraculous 
properties. What the myth imports the proverb treats as sheer 
impossibilities : er schepfet wazzer mit dem sibe, swer ane vrie 
milte mit sper und mit schilte ervehten wil ere und lant/ he draws 
water in a sieve, who by brute force, etc., Troj. 18536. Lympham 
infundere cribro/ Reinard. 3, 1637 (see Suppl.). 

By AS. accounts, the Northmen had a wonderful standard 
borne before their army, from whose indications they inferred 
victory or defeat. In Asserts Vita Alfredi p. 33 ad an. 878 : 
1 . . . vexillum quod reafan (for raefan, hrasfen, ON. hrafn) vocant. 
Dicunt enim quod tres sorores Hungari et Habbae, filiae videlicet 
Lodebrochi illud vexillum texuerunt, et totum paraverunt illud 
itno meridiano tempore. 1 Dicunt etiam quod in omni bello, ubi 
praecederet idem signum, si victoriam adepturi essent, appareret in 
medio signi quasi corvus vivus volitans ; sin vero vincendi in 
future fuissent, penderet directe nihil movens : et hoc saepe pro- 

batum est/ The Encomium Emmae (Duchesne s Script. Norm. 

169) says, the flag was of plain white silk, but in war-time 
there became visible in it a raven, with open beak and flutter 
ing wings whenever victory smiled on them, but sitting still with 
drooping feathers when it eluded their grasp. Ailredus Rieval- 
lensis p. 353 declares this raven to have been the devil himself, 
who does at times assume the shape of that bird (p. 997) ; we 
more naturally see in it the bird of the heathen god of victory 
(p. 671) : OSinn might give the victorious host this sign that he 

1 The thread spun between 11 and 12 (Sup. I, 841) corresponds wonderfully. 


was sending down his messenger. Yet no Scand. story alludes 
to such a flag of victory. 

Prophesying from the auspicious neighing of horses has been 
dealt with, p. 658. Dempster in Antiq. Eom. 3, 9 says : equos 
hinnitu alacriore et ferociore fremitu victoriam ominari etiamnunc 
militibus persuasum est. At twelve o clock on Christmas night 
the superstitious listen at crossroads, at boundary-stones : if they 
can hear swords rattle and horses neigh, there will be war the 
coming spring (so war is foretold by the neighing in the Furious 
Host, p. 938). At the same season maids listen at the stable 
door for the neighing of stallions, and if they hear it, make sure 
of a suitor presenting himself by Midsummer (Liebusch s Sky- 
thika p. 143). Others lie down in the horse-manger at Christmas, 
to learn future events (Denis Lesefriichte 1, 128). Misfortune is 
near when the steed stumbles, e.g. the Servian Sharats (Vuk 1, 

Spatulamancia in Hartlieb (Sup. H, cap. 115) is a corruption 
of scapulimantia, an art that seems not solely derived from 
Romans or Byzantines. Lambeck 7, 224 says the Vienna library 
has a treatise by Michael Psellus (I know not which one) irepi 
w/^oTrXaToovcoTT/a?. Vintler too (Sup. G, 1. 126) mentions the 
inspection of shoulder-bones. Divinationes sculterren-blat, Altd. 
bl. 1, 365. Jornandes cap. 37: Attila diffidens suis copiis, 
metuens inire conflictum, statuit per aruspices futura inquirere. 
Qui more solito nunc pecorum fibras, nunc quasdam venas in 
abrasis ossibus intuentes, Hunnis infausta denuntiant/ l Among 
the Kalmuks are sorcerers called dalatchi, because they predict 
from the shoulderblade (dala) of sheep, swans and stags. They 
let these bones burn in the fire for a time, then report the aspect 
of the streaks and lines that have arisen on them. If the fire 
have left many black marks on the blades, the dalatchi holds out 
hopes of a mild winter; many white marks indicate snow 
(Bergm. Nomad, streifer. 3, 184). The Cherkesses too have 
soothsaying from shoulderblades, conf. Erman s Archiv 1842. 1, 
123 (see Suppl.). 

1 Such extispicia were performed on beasts slain for sacrifice ; but animals 
were also killed for the mere purpose of divination : Eecluso pectore (of a goose), 
extraxit fortissimum jecur, et inde mini futura praedixit, Petron. 137. Quis invenit 
Jissamjecoris ? Cic. de Nat. D. 3, 6. 


This comes very near the forecasting by the goose-bone (ex 
anserino sterno), Sup. H, cap. 121, which appears among the 
people in later times, probably even now, conf. Sup. I, 341 ; K, 
163 ; Meckl. Jahrb. 9, 219 no. 46. I have marked a few passages 
for extraction. Ettner s Ungew. apoth. p. 1144: And wha 
prognostica must not the breastbones of capon, goose and duck 
yield ! If the same be red, they ordain an abiding coldness ; or 
if white, clear and transparent, then shall the winter s weather 
be endurable/ Martinsgans by Joh. Olorinus variscus (Magdeb. 
1609. 8), p. 145 : Good old ladies, I present to you the breast 
bone, that ye learn thereby to foretell true as the almanack, and 
become weather-prophets. The fore part by the throat signifies 
the fore-winter, the hinder part the after-winter, white is for 
snow and mild weather, the other for great cold/ Ganskonig by 
Lycosthenes Psellionoros (Wolfg. Spangenberg) Strasb. 1607, 
ciii : The breastbone which they call the steed (made into a 
prancing horse for children) ; and well can many an ancient dame, 
prognosticating by the same, tell by the hue infallibly, how keen 
the winter s cold shall be/ Ehythmi de ansere (in Dornau 1, 
403) : ( Then in my breast the merrythought, I trow it lies not 
there for nought, for men therein may plainly see what winter 
weather it shall be, and many a man holds fast thereto, accounting 
me a prophet true/ 

Those who thus looked after the weather were called iveter- 
sorgcere, Br. 8127 (weter-wiser man 7510), or weter-kiescere, 
-chooser, whence the surname Kiesewetter, Gramm. 4, 848 ; in 
Kauch s Script. 1, 430 I find a place ( bei der weterkiesen, as if 
certain spots were favourable to weather- choosing. 

The Esthonians foretold weather and fruitfulness from bownets* 
Gutslaff says in his book on Wohhanda p. 209 : I am told that 
on this beck the husbandmen of old had their augurium respect 
ing weather, which they managed thus. They set in the beck 
three baskets in a row, and not heeding the two outer, gave their 
mind wholly to the midmost, what kind of fish would come into 
the same. For if into this basket were gotten a scaleless fish, as 
crab, quab or the like, they had ill weather and unfruitful year to 
dread, and were fain to sacrifice an ox for to obtain good weather. 
Whereupon they set the baskets in as before, and if again a 
scaleless fish were found therein, then a second time did they 


sacrifice an ox, and set the baskets in for the third time. If once 
more they found a scaleless fish, then this third time they sacrificed 
a child, in hope to get good weather and a plenteous season. 
And if yet again fishes not scaly were come into the middle 
basket, they rested therewith content, and with patience abided 
it. But when scaly fish were found therein, they cast them to 
have fair weather and fruitful year, whereat they rejoiced greatly/ 

A different thing altogether was the Greek l^Ovofiavrela from 

fish s entrails (Potter s Archaol. 1, 703). 

As horses neighing was watched for (p. 1113), so there was 
listening at night in the growing cornfields : going into the 
winter-crop on Christmas night to overhear the future, or 011 
May-night into the green corn, Sup. I, 420. 854. The cereals 
were a sacred thing, der heilego ezesg, N. ps. 140, 7 (Goth, 
atisks), das liebe korn/ Gramm. 3, 665. So then, sitting in the 
corn, one might hear the sound of voices, hear spirits conversing 
on coming events. They listened also at cross-ways, Sup. I, 854. 
962, where boundaries touched : the partings of roads T were 
accounted meeting-places of sprites and witches (p. 1074 and Sup. 
I, 647), conf. the ON. far sem gotur (roads) moetast/ Forn. 
sog. 3, 22. Did images of heathen gods stand where the roads 
forked ? We are told of people praying, sacrificing and lighting 
candles ad bivia, Sup. C, p. 193 d ; and just before that, p. 193 C , 
we hear of them sitting at the cross-way, 3 without the corn being 
mentioned: in bivio sedisti supra taurinam cutem, ut ibi futura 
tibi intelligeres ? To me the lidl s hide, like the bearskin 
(p. 1010, conf. Reinh. p. Ivi), indicates heathen sacrifice. And 
here a Gaelic rite described by Armstrong seems to furnish a 
valuable clue : A man is wrapt in the warm skin of an animal 
just Jcilled, he is then laid down beside a ivaterfall in the forest, 
and left alone ; by the roar of the waves, it is thought, the future 
is revealed to him, and this kind of divination is called taghairn. 
The forse too was a sacred spot, as well as the forking of roads : 

1 A Persian superstition : sitting down at the junction of four cross-roads on 
a Wedn. night, and applying to yourself every sentence spoken by the passers and 
considering it as a good or bad omen, Atkinson, p. 11. 12. 

2 If after supper on Christm. eve a girl shakes out the tablecloth at a crossway, 
a man will meet her, and give her good even. Of the same height and figure will 
her future husband be. The shaken cloth has taken the place of the spread, or, of 
the animal s hide. Divination by sowing basilicum is known to Vuk 1, 22. no. 36 
(Wesely p. 58). 


this last is mentioned in the Edda, opt bolwisar konor sitja 
brauto ncer, J?aer er deyfa sverS ok sefa/ Saem. 197 b . Some 
people on New-year s day would sit on the house-roof, girt with 
a sword, and explore the future, Sup. C, p. 193 C . This again 
must have been a holy place, for sick children were also set on 
the roof to be cured, Sup. C, 10, 14 ; p. 195 C . Does this explain 
why, when a person cannot die, some shingles in the roof are 
turned, or taken right out (I, 439. 721) ? Also when a child has 
convulsions, a plank is turned, J. Schmidt 121. A peculiar 
practice is, to listen while you dangle out of window a ball of 
thread fastened to a hereditary key, Sup. I, 954. 

Sneezing (irralpew, sternuere) has from the earliest times been 
fraught with meaning. Some take it for a mild form of apoplexy, 
a momentary palsy, during which one loses the free use of his 
limbs, Sup. H, c. 74. The Greeks saluted the sneezer with fj0i, 
Zev crwaov \ conf. Anthol. Gr. ii. 13, 11. Cur sternumentu 
salutamus ? quod etiam Tiberium Caesarem, tristissimum (ut 
constat) horninum, in vehiculo exegisse tradunt/ Plin. 28, 2. 
Giton ter continue ita sternutavit, ut grabatum concuteret, ad 
quern motum Eumolpus salvere Gitona jubet/ Petron. sat. 98. 1 
The Arabs too salute at sneezing (Riickert s Hariri 1, 543). In 
our Mid. Age poets I find : die Heiden nicht endorften niesen, 
da man doch sprichet, Nu lielfiu Got ! durst not sneeze, though 
etc. Turl. Wh. 35. Christ in helfe ! so sie niesen, Ms. 2, 169 b . 
durch daz. solte ein schilt gesellen kiesen, daz im ein ander 
heiles wunsclde, ob dirre schilt kunde niesen, Tit. 80. so wiinscli 
ich dir ein niesen/ Ms. 2, 2l7 b . ( wir sprechen, swer niuset, Got 
helfe dir ! Renn. 15190. Deus te adjuvet (A.D. 1307), Pistor. 
script. 1, 1024; conf. Konigshoven p. 302. Enchanted sprites 
sneeze under a bridge, that some one may call out God help ! and 
undo the spell, DS. no. 224-5-6. Moneys Anz. 4, 308. dir hat 
diu katze niht genorn, Helbl. 1, 1393, To the Greeks there 
seemed something divine in sneezing , TOV Trrapjjibv Oeov ffyovpeBa, 
Arist. probl. 33, 7; conf. 11, 33. Xen. Anab. iii. 2, 9. Theocr. 
7, 96. 18, 16. Words confirmed by sneezing come true, Od. 17, 

1 Sternutantibus salvere dictum antiquior mos quam putatur, Valesius in 
Valesiana p. 68, Pourquoi on fait des souhaits en faveur de ceux qui eternuent, 
Morin in Mem, de 1 acad. des inscr. 4, 325. J. Gerb. Meuscben de antique et mo- 
derno ritu salutandi sternutantes, Kilon. 1704. Gescb. der formel Gott belf dir ! 
beim niesen, publ. by Wielaud, Lindau 1787. 


541-5. sternutationes nolite observare/ Sup. A. Whoever 
sneezes during a narrative is bound to prove its truth. In the 
Christmas nights do not sneeze, and the cattle will not die. The 
passage in Hartlieb, Sup. H, c. 73, is curious; conf. Sup. I, 186. 
266. 437 and M (Esthon.) 23 (see Suppl.). 

Ringing in the ears, garrula auris, /36//./3o?, is lucky when in 
the right ear. Absentes tinnitu aurium praesentire sermones 
de se receptum est, Plin. 28, 2, conf. Sup. I, 82. 802; looming 

in the ear, F, 27. Quivering of the eye : aKXerat, 6(f)0a\fj,6<; 

fjioL 6 8e^6?, Theocr. 3, 37. Itching of brows and cheeks, Sup. 
I, 141. D, 38 r. 140 v. si vibrata salitione insuetum alter 
oculorum, dexter vel sinister palpitaret, si concuterentur ac veluti 
exsilirent aut trepidarent musculi, humeri aut femora etc., mali 
erant ominis, Dempster s Antiq. Rom. 3, 9 ; conf. Suidas sub v. 
oitovivTiKr]. The Indians thought twitching of the rigid eye a bad 
omen (Hirzel s Sakuntala p. 65). Itching in the right eye has 

a good meaning, in the left a bad, says Tobler 30. Bleeding of 

the nose : unlucky if on the left side, Sup. I, 825. If in going 
out you catch against the door, or stumble on tlie threshold, you are 
warned to turn back (248. 895). If your right hand itches, you 
will part with money, if your left, you will take money. Itching 
of the right eye betokens crying, of the left, laughing. If your 
soles itch, you are going to dance, if your nose, to hear news. 
Whoever gets a yellow finger has lost a relation (see Suppl.). 

The many ways of finding out one s lover or suitor that is to 
be are, so far as I see, unconnected with Roman or Greek super 
stition. The girl hearkens to the cackling of the cock (Sup. I, 
101), or she throws her wreath of flowers (848. 1093; conf. 867), 
or some particular night in the year she pulls a billet of wood out 
of the stack or a stick out of the hedge (I, 109. 958 ; F, 7. 49), 
walking to it back foremost ; or on a dark night she clutches at 
the flock in hopes of pulling out a ram (I, 952). Walking 
backwards or standing naked is a usual requisite in this, as in 
other cases (I, 506-7. 928; G, 1. 207). Another way is, being 
naked, to throw one s shift out through the door (I, 955), or to 
grasp backwards through the door at the lover s hair (I, 102), or 
to spread the table for him (as for norns), and then he is bound to 
appear and eat his supper off it. Harrys in Yolkss. 2, 28 de 
scribes the so-called nappel-pfang ; in a vessel full of clean water 


you set afloat little pots of thin silver plate marked with the 
names of those whose fate is in question ; if a young man s pot 
comes up to a girl s, it will be a match. The same is done in 
some parts with simple nutshells. 1 

Like the discovery of one s future husband, it was an important 
matter to ascertain the sex of a child before it was born. This 
could be gathered from the persons one met in going to church, 
Sup. I, 483, from previous children (677. 747), from sneezing 
(M, 23). That a woman would have none but daughters, was to 
be learnt by other signs (I, 678. M, 22). An 0. Fr. poem in 
Meon 3_, 34 has the following : 

voire est que je sui de vous grosse, 
si m enseigua 1 on a aler 
entor le mostier sans parler 
trois tors, dire trois patenostres 
en 1 onor Dieu et ses apostres, 
une fosse au talon feisse, 
et par trois jors i revenisse : 
s au tiers jorz overt le trovoie, 
c etoit unfits qu avoir devoie, 
et s il etoit clos, c etoit fille. 

Throwing shoes over one s head, and seeing which way the 
points look, reveals the place where one is destined to stay 
longest, Sup. I, 101 ; Gr, 1. 220. The Sermones disc, de tempore 
mention, among superstitious Christmas customs, that of calceos 
super caput jactare, Sermo xi. 

They also speak of some qui cumulos salis ponunt, et per hoc 
futura pronosticant. Sup. I, 1081 : on Christmas eve put a 
little heap of salt on the table ; if it melts overnight, you die 
next year; if not, not. Again, in a house where one lies dead, 
they make three heaps of salt (I, 846). This has to do with the 
sacred nature of salt (pp. 1046. 1076). Apparently of Greek 
origin is the widely received custom of pouring out lead (I, 97; 
H, cap. 96) ; even Ihre (de superst. p. 55) mentions it, conf. 

1 Divining by filberts was another thing : infra manus meas camellam vim 
posuit, et cum digitos pariter extensos porris apioque lustrasset, avellanas nuces 
cum precatioue mersit in vinum ; et sive in suminum redieraut, sive subsederant, 
ex hac conjectura dicebat, Petron. 137. 


molybdomantia ex plumbi liquefacti diversis motibus/ Potter s 
Arch. 1, 339 (see Suppl.). 

But no species of superstition had more deeply penetrated the 
entire Mid. Ages than the presages known under the names of 
aneganc (an-gang, coming upon), widerganc, widerlouf. A beast, 
a man, a thing, that you unexpectedly encountered on stepping 
out of doors or setting out on a journey at early morn, while yet 
the day is fresh, betokened weal or woe, and admonished you to 
go on with what you had begun, or to give it up. When Saxo 
Gram. p. 84 says f congressionum initia/ what was the Norse word 
he had in his mind? perhaps vr<$r-gangr, or still better mot 
(meeting) ? As the beginning of any business is critical (omina 
principiis inesse solent, Ov. Fasti 1, 178), as the first stepping 
into a new house, on to a new bridge, is cautiously set about 
(p. 1021), and the god or daemon claims the first he meets (see 
below) ; so men took note of every sign that attended a purposed 
ride or journey. The M. Latin term for it is superventa (sc. res), 
what surprises, supervenit (Fr. survient) 1 ; or even, taking it 
literally, what floats above us in the air, though that indeed 
would only apply to the flight of birds. Hincmar de divortio 
Lotharii (supra, p. 1099) says: ad haec . . . pertinent, quas 
superventas feminae in suis lanificiis vel textilibus operibus nomi- 
nant. These the Greeks called eVoSta crvp,^o\a } and we have 
most of them in common with them, with the Romans, nay with 
Oriental nations. In view of the almost universal diffusion of 
these ( angange/ it is hardly credible that they first came to the 
Germans in the wake of Latin literature : they rest on the older 
kinship of all European nations, and the very earliest observer of 
our kindred, Tacitus, remarked this mode of divination among 
them : auspicia sortesque, ut qui maxime, observant . . . et illud 
quidem etiam hie noturn, avium voces volatusque interrogare/ 
And of horses, p. 658. Many of our old myths lay a stress on 
the primitiae : we need only mention Wodan s promising the 
victory to those whom he should first set eyes upon at sunrise, 
p. 134 (see Suppl.). 

I will first take passages that group several things together, 
and then elucidate particulars. 

1 [ And overcome us like a summer s cloud. Macbeth.] 


To begin with Xenophon s Memorab. i. 1, 4 : a\V ol 

7T\i(TTOl (fracrlv V7TO T TO)V OpviOtoV KOI TWV aTTCLVTtoVTWV ttTTOTpe- 

TreaOai re /cal 7rpoTpeTT(r0ai,. And, i. 1, 14 : TOU? Se KOI Xttfou? 
KOI %v\a real ra rv^ovra 6r]pia cre/3ecr0ai,, i.e. obvia animalia/ 
not, as some have taken it, vulgaria, ubivis obvia/ 

The earliest evidence from our own Mid. Ages, but one that 
speaks very generally, is found in St. Eligius, Sup. A: nullus 
observet egrediens aut ingredieus domum, quid sibi occurrat, vel 
si aliqua vox reclamantis fiat, aut qualis avis cantus garriat, vel 
quid etiam portantem videat/ Greg. Turon. 7, 29 : et cum Her 
ageretj ut consuetudo est barbarorum, auspicia intendere coepit, 
ac dicere sibi esse contraria. We find more detail in John of 
Salisbury s Polycraticus sive de nugis curial. 1, 13, which how 
ever I do not quote in full : ( Si egrediens limen calcaveris aut in 
via offenderis, pedem contine . . . Cum processeris, abscondita 
futurorum aves quas ominales vocant tibi praenunciabunt. Quid 
comix loquatur diligenter ausculta, situmque ejus sedentis aut 
volantis nullo modo contemnas. Refert etenim plurimum, a dex- 
tris sit an a sinistris, qua positione respiciat cubitum gradientis, 
loquax sit an clamosa, an silens omnino, praecedat an sequatur, 
transeuntis expectet adventum, an fugiat, quove discedat. Corvus 
vero, quern non rninori diligentia observabis, rebus majoribus 
auspicatur, et usquequaque cornici praejudicat. Porro cygnus in 
auguriis ales gratissima nautis, utpote quae aquarum domestica 
quadam gratia familiaritatis eorundem secreta praenoverit. Si 
avis quae vulgo dicitur albanellus (see below) praetervolans viarn 
a sinistris feratur ad dextram, de hospitii hilaritate ne dubites, 
si contra, contrarium expectabis. Leporis timebis occursum, lupo 
obvio congratulaberis ; ovibus gratanter obviam gradieris, dum 
capram vites. Bobus triturantibus, libentius tamen arantibus 
obviabis ; nee displiceat si viam ruperint, quia mora itineris 
hospitii gratia compensabitur. Mulus infaustus est, asinus 
inutilis, equus quandoque bonus est; habet vero jurgiorum et 
pugnae significationem, interdum tamen ex colore et visu miti- 
gatur. Locusta itinerantium praepedit vota, econtra cicada via- 
toris promovet gressum. Aranea dum a superioribus filum ducit, 
spem venturae pecuniae videtur afFerre. Sacerdotem obvium 
aliumve religiosum dicunt esse infaustum ; feminam quoque, quae 
capite discooperto incedit, infelicem crede, nisi puUica sit/- 


Petrus Blesensis (d. about 1200) epist. 65 : Somnia igitur ne 
cures, nee te illorum errore involvas, qui occursum leporis timent, 
qui mulierem sparsis crinibus, qui hominem orbatum oculisj aut 
mutilatum pede, aut cuculatum habere obvium detestantur ; qui 
de jucundo gloriantur hospitio, si eis lupus occursaverit aut 
columbdj si a sinistra in dexteram avis 8. Martini volaverit, si in 
egressu suo remotum audiant tonitrum, si hominem gibbosum 
obvium habuerint aut leprosum. 1 Hartmann makes his daunt 
less Erek defy the danger : 

8122. Keins swachen glouben er phlac (cherished), 
er wolt der wibe liezen (lot-casting) 
engelten noch geniezen (pay for, nor partake), 
swaz im getroumen (dream) mahte 
dar uf het er kein ahte (took no heed) ; 
er was kein weter-sorgcere (no weather-watcher) : 
er sach im als maere 
des morgens uber den wee varn 
die iuweln (owls) sam den musarn 
ouch hiez er selten machen 
dehein fiur uz der spachen 
daz man in dar an saehe, 
er phlac deheiner spaehe. 
ez was umbe in so gewant, 
im was der tiscli in der hant 
als maere enge so wit, 
und swaz ungelouben git (gibt, gives) 
dane kerte er sich nicht an. 

This is imitated by Wirnt, whose Wigalois also goes forth : 

6182. dehein ungeloube in muote (no superstition in mind) 
in dem hiise noch uf dem wege, 
er lie (liez, left) ez allez an Gotes pflege (care) . 
Swaz im des morgens wider lief (ran against), 
oder swie vil diu kra gerief (how the crow cried), 
swie vil der musare umbe geflouc (how the m. flew round), 
der ungeloube in niht betrouc (deluded) : 

1 Conf. Chrysostom (b. 354 d. 407) ad popul. Antioch. homil. 21 (Opp. Etonae 
1612. 6, 610) : IIoXAd/as eeA0wj> TLS rr\v oidav TT\V eavrov elSev dvdpcoTrov erepocp 
7) -^wKevovra, /cat oiaw<raro . . . eav aTravrrja-rj Trapdtvos, (p^alv, ArrpctKros i? 
yiyverai. iav Se diravTrio-r] iropvr], 5e|td /cat XP^CTTTJ /cat TroXX^s e/UTrop^as 


wand er (for he) niht dar uf ahte (heeded). 

Wir haben maneger slahte (many a sort) 

bosheit unde gelouben (sin and superstition), 

da mit wir uns nu rouben (whereby we rob us) 

aller unser sselecheit (bliss). 

ez ist vil manegern manne leit (loth, painful) 

swenne im ein wip daz swert git (gives) ; 

daz lie der riter aue nit (W. took no offence), 

ern ahtet niht dar uf ein har, 

ez wgere gelogen (false) oder war : 

er het in Gotes gnade gegeben 

beidiu sele unde leben. 

swaz im des morgens wider gie (ging ; met him), 

daz engefluch (shunned) der riter nie, 

wan (for) guoten gelouben het er ie (ever). 

Berthold p. 58 : So gloubent eteliche an boesen aneganc (evil 
meeting) : daz ein wolf guoten aneganc habe, der aller der werlte 
schaden tuot, und ist halt so unreine daz er die liute an stinket 
(infects), daz nieman bi im genesen mac ; und daz ein gewihter 
priester boesen aneganc habe, an dem aller gloube lit (faith lies) 
... So gloubent eteliche an den miusearn ; so ist dem der hase 
(hare) iiber n wee geloufen. Als ist ir unglouben als (so) vil, daz 
sin nieman ze ende komen mac.- 7 Conf. Sup. I, 128. The word 
{ aneganc is supported by Rudolf s Weltchron. (Cod. Zeisb, 
114 ), in speaking of Moses : 

er verbot alien aneganc, 
vogel-vluc, stimme oder sane, 
daz da geloupte nieman an ; 

and Walth. 118, 16 says of a wretched man : wizzet, swem der 
anegenget an dem morgen fruo, derne get ungeliicke zuo, whom 
he on-gangeth at early morn, on him shall come misfortune. 
The Nethl. Reinaert 1055 expresses the notion by teldn ende 
ghemoet, token and meeting ; x Reineke, ed. Hakemann p. 52, by 

gemote, and people still say c to mote komen. The ON. heill 

(omen) is a more general expression ; but one lay of the Edda 
(Saem. 184 b ) mentions three signs favourable to the warrior at 

1 Hem. 1107 : sulc mochte ons daer ghemoeten, 

hi soude ons quedden ende gioetin, 
die ons nemmerme dade goet. 


the swinging of swords (at sverSa svipon) : the first is, if the 
dark raven follow him (fylgja ens deyqva hrafns), 1 which calls to 
mind the raven in the flag of fortune (p. 1112) ; the other two are 
clearly angange/ for it says : ef J?u ert ut umkominn, ok ert 
a braut biiinn, if thou hast gone out and art on thy road ; then 
the second sign is : tvd J?u litr & tai standa hro&rfusa hali, thou 
seest two fame-thirsty men (warriors) stand on the start ; 2 and 
the third sign : ef )?u piota heyrir ulf und ask-limom, heilla 
au$it verSr ef J?u ser J>a fyrri far a, 3 if thou hear a wolf howl 
under ash-boughs, good hap is destined thee if then 3 thou see 
him run forwards. It is Hnikarr (OSinn) that puts Sigurd up to 
these omens. But against the three signs of luck are set two 
of misfortune : one is, if the hero have to fight toward set of sun 
(si-S-skinaniSi systor mana) ; another, if in going forth to battle 

he trip with the foot (ef J?u f oeti drepr) . Then in the Gesellen- 

spriiche I see notable instances of angang in the frogs of the 
pool, the ravens, the three old women, the maiden with the goat 
(A.w. 1, 91. 107. 111). Again, Ihre de superst. p. 82 : Ejusdem 
indolis est, quod tradunt nostrates de occursu hominum et 
animalium, e.g. si cui domo sua mane egredienti occurrat mendi- 
cus, vetula, claudus, aut felis, canis, vulpes, lepus, sciurns, is dies 
inauspicatus habetur. Observant haec prae aliis sagittarii et 
piscatores, qui ejusmodi ominibus oblatis haud raro domum rever- 
tuntur et a proposito abstinent/ Lasicz 48 : Quin ipse quoque 
rex Wladislaus, gente Lituanus, has a matre sua superstitiones 
didicerat, uf eum diem infaustum sibi futurum crederet, quo 
primum calceum sinistrum fortuito accepisset. A.d hoc movebat 
se interdum in gyrum stans pede uno, foras e cubili proditurus. 
Quorum similia multa observantur a Samagitis ; quidam infeliciter 
se venaturos sibi persuadent si domo egressis mulier occurrat, seu 
quis certum numerum capiendorum leporum, vulpium, luporum 
nominet/ Lucas David s Chron. i. 146-7 says of the ancient 

1 In Nialss. cap. 8 two avengers of blood have luck, because two ravens accom 
pany them all the way (hrafnar tveir flugo me S beim alia ler$) : do they attend as 
OSin s messengers ? or because they scent the coming carcase ? Other passages 
are : hrafn at merSi hatt kallaSi, Stem. 208 b ; hrafn flygr austan af hamei Si, ok 
eptir honum orn i sinni, Fornald. sog. 1, 428. 

2 What is the exact meaning of a tai standa, sitja (Saem. 2G6 b ), spretta (269 a ) ? 
tui can hardly be Dat. sing, or Ace. pi. of the fern, ta (toe) ; it seeins rather to be 
a case of a masc. noun, and to contain a notion ofiplace. 

3 I take J?A as = turn, eo momento. 



Prussians, that they regarded an encounter with a sick man as 
bad, with a mounted roan as good, with a fox or hare as bad (see 

It is hard to get at the meaning of all these divers prognostics. 

First, of human angang. Ill-luck is supposed to follow that of 
an old woman, of a woman with dishevelled hair, or what comes to 
the same thing, loosened headband (decouverte, discooperta, It. 
scoperta). If an old wife meet you in the morning, if you have 
to pass between two old wives, your day is unlucky, Sup. I, 58. 
380. 791. 976. When a huntsman in the morning comes upon 
an old woman, he lies down and makes her step over him, to ward 
off mischief (Hessian pop. cust.). In Switzerland to meet a 
woman is unlucky, at least on New-year s day (Tobler 447 b ). 
Swedish superst. K, 58 holds all meeting with woman-folk bad, 
unless it be a lon-hora, as the irapOevos in Chrysostom betokened 
an unlucky day, and the Tropvrj a lucky. So in Sup. I, 177 : the 
virgin or priest is an evil sign, the prostitute a good. 1 But Ihre 
speaks expressly of a vetula, so does Arndt s Journey to Sweden 
1, 44, and a Finnish song (Schroter s E-unen p. 67) : go forth by 
early morn, lest ancient crone with crooked chin do squint at thee/ 
This last hint plainly sets before us the notion of a witch, still 
more does the loose flying hair (p. 1089) that of a night-wife 
(Sup. I, 878), fortune-teller, heathen priestess, conf. the Cimbrian 
7ro\io6pi% p. 55. Yeldek 21 b paints his Sibylla as andfas (hor- 
rida crinibus), daz mies lockehte hienc ir uz den oren (non 
comptae mansere comae 6, 48). And this view is confirmed by 
the approach of a woman spinning being hurtful (Sup. 1, 135), for 
a witch is a field-spinster, i.e. a norn, a fate (p. 1088). So early 
as Pliny 28, 5 : pagana lege in plerisque Italiae praediis cavetur 
ne mulieres per itinera amhulantes torqiieant fusos, aut omnino 
detectos ferant, quoniam adversetur id omnium spei, praecipueque 
frugum/ This again looks remarkably like the scrutinies held 
by our goddesses as to whether spindles were spun full or not, 
pp. 269. 274. 

And it becomes to my mind doubly clear by the clergyman 

1 Not true of Theodora at any rate, a bird who boded ill to the Byzantines : 
ty yap rots opwcriv #AAws re /ecu dpxo/J.tft)$ rj/j.epas /SAdcr^yuos CHOMPS, Procop. Hist. 
arc. 9 (ed. Bonn, p. 63). ** 


being put in the like case : a consecrated priest, says Berthold, 
is accounted of ill omen to such as meet him. I can produce 
another pretty old proof from Hincmar 1, 656 : sunt etiam qui 
dicant, quando in venationem pergunt, quod obviam sibi non 
debeant habere clericum ; and more modern ones from Reginald 
Scott s Witchcraft (Lond. 1665 fol.) p. 114: if any hunters, as 
they were a hunting, chanced to meet a frier or a priest, they 
thought it so ill luck, as they would couple up their hounds and 
go horn, being in dispair of any further sport that day ; and 
from Pauli s Schimpf und Ernst (1555) cap. 358 : there went an 
old dame to church betimes o the day, and & parson meeting her, 
did cross herself some six times privily. Wherefore sign you 
yourself so at sight of me ? quoth the priest ; I hope I be not 
the devil. The woman answered, It hath never failed, an I came 
upon a parson betimes of a morning, but some untoward thing 
befell me the same day/ 

When a company of people suddenly fall silent, they say 
f there s a priest passing/ Nethl. ( er gaat een predikant voorby ; 
every one feels confounded at the omen. And in a better sense 
also it is said an angel flew across the room/ Epfivfr eVeto-^X^e. 
In Switzerland they say, there is bad weather when a clergyman 
walks out (Tobler436 b ). 

The sudden appearance of a holy man interrupts and breaks 
up worldly business. Those who met him were bound to shew 
respect ; paganism may have prescribed in such a case the im 
mediate performance of a certain formality. Christians would 
transfer the omen from the pagan to the Christian priest ; that of 
the heathen priestess or wise woman must have passed over to 
night-wives and witches, as the clerus admitted no women into 
its ranks. 

Why should the meeting of a blind (or one-eyed) man, a lame 
man, a beggar be considered bad, and that of a hunchback or leper 
good ? why that of a walker be interpreted less favourably than 
that of a rider (Sup. K, 129 Dan.), and that of a water-bearer also 
unfavourably (I, 257) ? The blind man, the cloaked [rider] 
suggest Wuotan. It seems more intelligible why a man did 
not care to have his sword handed him by a woman, and why in 
the Edda the sight of two warriors is a pledge of victory. 

To lovers the sight of the loved one must have been the 


welcomest of signs : e swer si des morgens angesiht, den tac im 
niemer leit geschiht/ who upon her at morn doth look, that day 
no manner harm shall brook, Ms. 2, 23 b (see SuppL). 

Animal encounters have their origin in pastoral and hunting 
life, they are based on contemplation of nature and on fabulous 
opinions about the habits of beasts. Under this head there must 
be a vast deal in Slavic, Esthonian, Finnic and Lithuanian tradi 
tion waiting to be collected, which at present I must do without. 
Even Norse tradition seems not to have been accurately noted down 
in this respect. Saxo Gram. p. 321 says of Slavs, not of North 
men: ad varia quoque negotia profecturi ex primo animalis 
occursu votorum auspicia capiebant ; quae si laeta fuissent, 
coeptum alacres iter carpebant, sin tristia, reflexo cursu propria 
repetebant. The animals in question he omits to name. Im 
portant above all is that omen in the Edda of the wolf howling 
and going onwards, whom we may fairly take for the victory- 
boding beast of OSinn (p. 668). All other evidence agrees with 
it, even the superstitions of to-day. Everywhere the brave un 
daunted wolf, the sight of whom awakens heart and hope, is set 
off against the timid cowardly hare, the type of faint heart and 
failure. Sigeb. gembl. ad an. 1143: obiit etiam Fulco rex 
Hierosolymorum ; qui dum venationi insistens leporem insequitur 
ex improvise sibi apparentem, equus cui insidebat se super ipsum 
praecipitem dedit, ipsumque vita et regno privavit ; conf . 
Vintler, Sup. G, 11. 52 55. Again: on the way there chanced 
a hare to run across their road ; the driver was troubled, and 
spake, This betokeneth no good. If contrariwise a wolf had 
crossed the road, it were a good sign/ Ettner s Unw. doctor 
575-6; conf. Simplic. 2, 74. In Pauli s Schimpf u. E. cap. 138 
(ed. 1550 cap. 135): in the morning they set forth, and being 
come wellnigh unto the wood, Master, quoth the man, there ran 
a wolf before us. The master said he had seen him well enough, 
it meant sheer luck/ In Albertini s Narrenhatz, Munich 1617. 
p. 96 : ( superstitious numskulls are affrighted if a hare cross the 
path whereon they shall walk or ride, supposing that they shall 
on that day abide a misadventure/ Goz von Berlichingen in his 
Life p. 179 : and as we came on, behold, a shepherd feeding his 
flock hard by, and for a token, there fell five wolves upon the sheep, 


that laid hold of them roundly, the which I gladly heard and saw,, 
and wished them luck, and us too, and said to them, Good luck 
to you, good fellows, good luck everywhere, and I deemed it 
luck, for even so should we lay hold one of another/ l Here we 
have no angang proper described, but we can see the meaning 
that warlike nations at first put into it. Wolf, stag, boar and 
bear all stand exactly on a par in respect of their meaning, Sup. 
I, 128. The Norwegian thinks it a bad sign to meet a hare, a 
good one to meet a bear or a wolf (Danske s Reiseiagtagelser 
1799. 2, 297) : here the bear, whom the lay of the Raven s 
wedding calls the ypperste karl i skoven/ is justly placed before 
the wolf. 2 Roman accounts take no notice of the bear, but they 
do of the wolf; Pliny 8, 22 (34) : f inter auguria ad dexteram com- 
meantium praeciso itinere, si pleno id ore lupus fecerit, nullum 
omnium praestantius. Pliny also tells us the effect of a footprint 
of the wolf, if a horse treads on it : tanta vis est animalis, ut ves 
tigia ejus calcata equisafferant torporem 3 28, 10 (44) ; and rumpi 
equos, qui vestigia luporum sub equite sequantur 28, 20 (81). 
Both John of Salisbury and Peter of Blois have occursum leporis 
timere/ In addition to Berthold and Hartlieb (Sup. H, cap. 67), 
the Cod. pal. 341. 163 a has a passage in point. Feldbauer 24(9 : 

Dar zuo sah wir einen hasen (hare), 
der widerfuor uns (met us) an dem weg ; 
do daht ich deiz niht eben laeg : 
er tet uns den ersten aneganc, 
wan daz er snelle fur mich spranc. 

To Greeks and Romans apparently it could under favourable 
circumstances be a good omen (ata-ios) . 3 The weasel (yakrf) had 
a bad name among them : when it ran across the road, a public 
assembly was postponed (Potter 1, 746). Theophrastus in 

1 Goethe recognised the poetic effect of these words, and incorporated them in 
his play. 

2 To Turkish travellers too the wolf is a grateful, the hare an unwelcome sign ; 
Vienna Lit. zeitung 1816. p. 1257. 

s Dio Cass. 62, 2 (Reim. 1006-7) : ravra dirovaa., \ayuv ptv K rov KQ\TTOV (i] BowSoi/ftca, a Britoness) pavreiq. rivi XP^^TJ^ *<*< tireiS}} tv aan y ^paytie, 
rb re TrXrjdos TTO.V riadtv dve^o-rjae. Otherwise in Suidas : 0cu>e2s 6 Xcrycbs Sucrri/xeis 
TTotel rp/3ous. When the Germans under king Arnulf started a hare and chased it, 
they took Eome (Liutpr. 1, 8), but hare-hunting Danes were put to flight (Neocorus 
1, 353 ; here Detmar puts a cat, 1, 164). To be licked by the hare was considered 
lucky : he weened a hare had licked him, Trodelfrau 1682. p. 71. 


Charact. 16 says, if a weasel run past you, you must not go on 
till some one else has paced the road, or you have picked up three 
stones from it. So Centonovelle cap. 31 : quando Puomo trova 
la donnola 1 nclla via. 3 The fox s angang is interpreted variously : 
as bad in that passage from Ihre, as good by Lithuanian Superst. 
N, 9. Domestic animals, such as the traveller keeps on his own 
premises, and does not meet for the first time in the woods, are 
hardly available as omens : they are too common, too tame and 
dependent on man, to become significant to him. Yet they say, 
if on setting out early you meet swine, you will not be welcome 
where your steps are taking you; if sheep, you will. According 
to some, the wayfarer is a welcome guest if the sheep present 
themselves on his right hand, and unwelcome if on his Left. The 
Etruscans, when a new magistrate rode into his province, observed 
what horses and oxen he fell in with (0. Miiller 2, 118). Compare 
the prophesying by horses (p. 662-4), where it is true there is no 
chance meeting of the beast, yet stress is laid on his planting of 
the right foot or the left. An instance in Procop. de b. Pers. 2, 5 
p. 172 ought to be added. 

The observation of birds was even more minutely carried out 
than the encounter of quadrupeds, their free unhindered motion 
through the air being of itself enough to invest them with some 
thing marvellous and spirit-like. The Greeks had a comprehen 
sive oiwvicrTiicr} (Suidas sub v.),the Romans reduced auspicia&nd 
auguria to a system. 3 Boh. ptako-prawiti augurari, ptako-westec 
augur, Pol. ptaszo-wieszczek. And heathens of the Teuton race 
equally regarded birds as messengers of the gods and heralds of 
important tidings (pp. 672, 763). What bird has brought that to 
your ears ? means : who made you believe that, put it into your 
head ? 3 A bird sang that to me : jag horde en fogel sa sjunga, 
enfogel var har, och sade for mig det eller det/ said so and so, 
Ihre de superst. p. 51. Mod. Greek and Servian folksongs not 
unfrequently open with birds on the wing wheeling this way and 

1 Our fraulein, Bav. miiemelein, auntie, Schm. 2, 576, schonthierle, pretty 
beastie 3, 369 ; Span, comadreja (Reinh. ccxxiv), Dan. den kjonne, pulcra : all these 
names attest the sacredness of the animal. The Servians call her lazitsa, but 
address her by the caressing form laza : lazo lazitchitse ! 

2 Jul. Caes. Bulenger de auguriis (Graevii thes. 5). 

3 Westphal. wecker vaugel heft dik dat inner auren ehangen ? Slennerhinke 
p. 8. 


that, holding a conversation, Wh. Miiller s Saml. 1, 66. 102. 2, 
164. 178. 200. Vuk 3, 326. Two black ravens (dva vrana ga- 
vrana) caw from the white tower, Vuk. 2, 151. The prophetic call 
of the cuckoo has been dealt with, p. 675 seq. ; he too belongs to 
angang, his voice in the wood falls unexpected on the traveller s 
ear, a good sign if on the right hand, a bad if on the left. Pliny 
30, 10 (25): ( aliud est cuculo miraculum, quo quisle coprimo audiat 
alitem illam, si dexter pes circumscribatur ac vestigium id 
effodiatur, non gigni pulices, ubicunque spargatur; conf. p. 1093 
on cutting out footmarks. The Indie, superst. xiii. touches on 
auguria auium. Eligius, Sup. A : nee in itinere positi aliquas 
aviculas cantantes attendatis/ Birds whose encounter is pro 
phetic are called wegvogel, way-fowl, Sup. I, 600, but by far 
the best qualified for the purpose were the Jcrimmende raubvo gel 
(rapaces aves) that won victories over other birds, and could pre 
dict the same happy event to heroes ; * accordingly birds of prey 
play the foremost part in dreams. An anecdote in Procop. de b. 
Goth. 4, 20 (ed. Bonn. 2, 560-1) shews how early this superstition 
was domiciled among German nations : Hermigiscl king of the 
Warni, riding over field, noticed a bird (of what kind, is not said) 
on a tree, and heard him caw (so prob. a raven or crow). Under 
standing the song of birds, the king informed his followers that 
his death in forty days was foretold. 2 It is ig&or up in the trees 
that prophesy to SigurSr (p. 672) ; it is not settled whether they 
were swallows, or perhaps she-eagles ? Dagr has a sparrow of 
understanding, Ingl. saga cap. 21. Several passages in the 0. 
Span. Cid prove the observation of birds : 867 al exir de Salon 
mucho ovo buenas aves ; 2376 con Dios e con la vuestra auce ; 
2379 con la buen auce (see Suppl.). 

And as it was a principal point with the ancients whether the 
flight was from right or left, Hartlib also (Sup. H, cap. 67) pro 
nounces flying on the right hand lucky, on the left unlucky. He 
says the eagle musty?*/ pouch-side of the traveller, i.e. on the side 
where his travelling-pouch hangs. Nowhere else do I find the 

1 Frid. Guil. Schwarz de antiquiss. Apollinis natura, Berol. 1843, p. 16. 

2 OSros avrip ( Ep^e-yt cr/cXos) vv Ovdpvuv ro?s Xoyi/muraTois ev xupi-V TV iTnrv6fj.fvos 
&pi>iv TLVO, eTTi devdpov re KadrjfJ.vr)v elde KCU TroXXd Kpufovcrav. efre 5 T??S 6pj>i6os TTJS 

rots irapouffiv euQds Z^aaKev cos redv^erai rea-ffapaKovra Tj/utpais vffTfpov...rrj 
dirb rrjs Trpopprja eus ~r)fJ-^p<} voo"/]ffa? 


ar y mentioned, but often the musar, in Hartinan, Wirnt, Bert- 
hold ; which Benecke s Diet, to the first-named makes a small 
bird of prey, the same that Burchard (Sup. C, p. 198 C ) calls 
muriceps and explains as mouser. The poem of the Uebel wip 
says 297301 : 

Swenne ich nach gewinne var, 
so 1st durft daz mir der musar 
iiber die strdze vliege 
und mich des niht entriege, 
ob ich ir niht enbringe ; 

i.e. when I bring her nothing home, I have to make that my 
excuse. This bird s flying over the road is a favourable sign. 
In the Iliad 10, 274 a heron (e pcoSto?) flying on the right brings 
luck. The raven, a bird of victory to the heathen, is spoken of 
in the Norse quotations p. 1123 as accompanying/ but nowhere 
else in connexion with angang ; of the crow we hear plenty. 
It was lucky si cornicula ex sinistra in dexteram cantaverit/ 
Sup. C, p. 198; the same in Petr. Bles., except volaverit for 
cantaverit ; Kolocz. 146 says of children brought up in luxury, 
who never felt the heavy hand of fate : si enwizzen wannen 
die Jcrdn sint gevlogen, they never knew whence the crows flew. 
Walth. 94, 39: f ein unsceligiu (unblest) krd begonde schrien. 
MS. 2, 80 : ez hab ein swerziu krd gelogen/ told lies. On the 
other hand : alba solet comix affectum scire tacentis/ Reinard. 
2, 657. With the crow some would identify the Martin s bird, 
whose flight is so fraught with meaning in Peter of Blois and 
in Renart 10472, Reinaert 1047, Reineke 942. < Sant Martins 
vogd, wol iiber her ! daz ist nu gar der niuwe hant, Liederb. 
der Hiitzlerin 241 b ; i.e. such careless calling upon St. Martin s 
bird is all the fashion now (conf . diu niuwe hant, alte hant/ 
Renner 2087 2111). A similar invocation in Reinaert: al 
heil, edel voghel, kere herwaert dinen vloghel ! But Nemnich 
would make the falco cyaneus, a small bird of prey, the Martin s 
bird, Nethl. Martens vogel, Fr. 1 oiseau S. Martin, Span, pajaro 
S. Martin ; and this would fit in with John of Salisb/s albanellus 
(Fr. haubereau), which expressly points to good hospitium, like 
Martin s bird in Reinhart [and Petr. Bles.]. I find no clue in 
the ordinary legends of the saint, to whom the bird must have 


brought something. 1 Again, in Yintler (Sup. G, 1. 158) sant 
Martis-vogel betokens luck ; this spelling would almost lead to 
the supposition that Martinsvogel was a corruption of Martis 
avis/ which would be the woodpecker, the Mdrzafulli (p. 673). 
In Ls. 3, 548 we read : sant Martins vogalin diu machent 
mangen umbecreiz ; while another passage (which even Reinh. 
cxxvii borrows) in a Pal. MS. (Altswert 77, 19) has again Mertiss 
vogelin/ and we are told it points the way to the Venus mount, 
which adds to its mythical character. Our nursery rhymes give 
smite Martens vogelken a red coat or golden wing, but they are 
sung on Martinmas-eve, and bring us back to the saint. So I 
can come to no certain conclusion about this bird. Coming back 
to the crow, we have yet more credentials, old and new. Virg. 
Eel. 9, 15 : ante sinistra cava monuisset ab iliee cormaj. Poema 
del Cid 11. 12: ovieron la corneia diestra, and siniestra. 
Renart 10473, speaking of the oiseau S. Martin: f assez si le 
hucha a desire, et li oisiax vint a senestre. The ancients do not 
leave out the raven, as Plaut. Aul. iv. 3, 1 : non temere est, quod 
corvus cantat mihi nunc ab laeva manu, semel radebat pedibus 
terram, et voce crocibat sua/ Olaf Tryggvason, though a christ- 
ian, noticed whether the krdka (crow) stood on her right or left 
leg, believing it to bode good or evil to him ; whence his enemies 
nicknamed him krdkubein. The ON. hungr-krdka foretold famine, 
and illviffris -krdka ill weather. Cento nov. ant. 32 : ( segnor, je 
vit una cornacchia in uno cieppo di salice. Or mi di, donna, 
verso qual parte teneva volta la coda? Segnor, ella avea volta 
verso il cul/ 2 Conf. the charadrius or galadrot p. 853n. 

The woodpecker too was a sacred bird, p.673-5; in Lindenblatt s 
Chron. p. 31 : ir speht hatte nicht recht geflogen/ i.e. not from 
the right hand. To the Romans the screeching parra (green- 
pecker ? peewit ?) boded mischief : impios parrae recinentis 
omen ducat/ Hor. Od. iii. 27, 1 ; f picus et cornix est ab laeva, 
corvus, parra ab dextera/ Plaut. As. ii. 1, 12. In Sweden the 
flight of the lorn (a sort of heron, says Ihre) is presignificant, 
Sup. K, 94. To see the magpie from the front is a good sign, 
from behind a bad, I, 158. When you hear the first swallow in 

1 The story of S. Martin and the martin is in Bosquet 219. 220. SUPPL. 

2 Me 1 ha vaticinato la cornacchia, che la mia bella donua in infiuocchia, 
is fooling me, Tommaseo 1, 221. 


spring, stop at once (on your road), and from under your left foot 
dig a coal out of the ground, I, 217. G, 1. 98 ; just as one cut out 
the footmark on the spot where one heard the cuckoo (p. 1129). 1 
Ms. 2, 118 b . 208 b : nu jarlanc stefc vil hoch min muot, ich horte 
den siiezen sane von einer swalwen da si fluoc, as she flew. 
Servants in Denmark notice whether they see the stork for the 
first time flying or standing, Sup. K, 130. With the frog, all 
depends on where you see him hop first, on land or in water, 
I, 237. To meet a bald or plucked hen was reckoned bad: 

Enmi sa voie a encontree 

une geline pielee, 

qui pasturoit en la charriere ; 

a poi ne sen retorne arriere, 

por ce quil i entendoit sort ; 

a ses piez trueve un baston tort, 

a la geline lest aler, 

et ele sen prist a voler, 

en son gelinois le maudist 

1 honte li viegne ! et il si fist. 

Passages in Provencal poetry bearing upon angang are collected 
in Diez s Lives of the Troub. p. 22-3 ; they relate to the raven, 
crow and varieties of the falcon tribe (albanel, gavanh), the 
criteria being their right or left flight, their going or coming, their 
crying or keeping silence : 

Los desires e ls senestres, los anans e ls venens, 
d albanel, de gavanh, d autras auzels ferens, 
del corp e de la gralha, los cridans, los tacens. 

Poes. der troub. p. 221. One would like to have fuller accounts 
of this bird-interpreting as practised in the Mid. Ages (see 
Suppl.). 2 

1 Quum primo hirundinem videris, hoc die ter : rogo te, hirundo, ut hoc anno 
oculi mei non lippeant, Fundgr. 1, 325. 

2 The heathen Arabs watched the flight of birds : zeger and Ijavet are almost 
synonymous terms [meaning to expound] , zeger being used when you throw a 
stone at the bird and shout to it ; if then he flies to your right hand, it is a good 
sign, if to your left, bad : Ijavet is in general the interpretation of the names, the 
alighting and the cries of birds that you encounter. The science seems to culmi 
nate in the knowledge of bird-language, which from the time of Solomon has never 
fallen into oblivion in the East. The raven is reckoned a herald of misfortune 
(Riickert s Hariri 1, 591-2). Of Indian augury many examples might be given, for 
instance in the Ramayana : hae aves tibi declarant horrendum periculum im- 
minere, Schlegel s Ind. bibl. 2, 225. A shepherd ascribed the discomforts that had 


Our early ages appear also to have seen a meaning in the over 
flight of certain birds. Ms. 2, l b on the lord of the Durings : 
ob ime ein adelar (over him an eagle) z allen ziten ist mit hohen 
flilfjen gewesen. Eagles spread their wings over famous heroes 
to shade them from the sun : when the heathen deputies came to 
Charles s hall/ they saw daz die adelaren dar zu gewenit waren, 
daz sie scate bar en, Rol. 21, 20. This evidently stands connected 
with the eagle over Charles s palace (p. 633), perhaps even with 
that in OSin s hall, Ssam. 41 b . The dove hovering above was 
mentioned p. 148 ; supervenire and adumbrare are even Biblical 
language. By the side of drupir iorn yfir I place an important 
stanza of the Havamal, Saem. 12 b : 

ominnis hegri, sa er yfir olSrom )?rumir, 
hann stelr geiSi guma ; 
J>ess fugls fioSrom ec fiotraiSr varc 
i garSi Gunnlaftar 

(oblivionis ardea, qui super symposiis stridet mentemque hominum 
f uratur ; ejus avis pennis captus sum in domo Gunnladae). It 
is OSinn that speaks, who, after intoxicating himself with full 
draughts of nectar at the house of Gunnl63 (p. 903-5), flies away 
in eagle s shape, ominnis hegri being a circumlocution for the 
divine bird. Hegri stands for hegri, hregri, AS. hragra, OHG. 
heigiro, hreigiro, e ^wSto?, one large bird instead of another. 
When OSinn swilled the drink he had longed for, and enjoyed the 
favour of the fair giantess, he was fettered in eagle s feathers, 
i.e. put on the form of an eagle. How like the myth of Zeus, 
when, transformed into an eagle, he carries off Ganymede, and 
makes him pour out nectar for him ! (see Suppl.). 3 

The Romans framed a system of augury of their own, not 
based on the flight of wildfowl, but on the domestic breed of 
poultry. The Greeks practised an aXe/crpvo/jLavrela by laying 

dogged him all day long to the single circumstance, that early in the morning a 
snake had crawled across his path. 

1 The description of this hall, and the impression its splendour must have 
made on the strangers, is wonderfully like what goes on in Asgard during Gylfi s 
visit, Sn. 2. Conf. the similar Lombard story in the Chron. Salern. by Arichis 
(Pertz 5, 479). 

2 Those words in the Havamal, portraying the sublime rapture of immortality 
and likewise the art of poesy, Scaud. commentators have taken for a description of 
ordinary drunkenness, against whose consequences we are warned in an Icel. poem 
e.ititled Ominnis hegri. 


grains of corn on the letters of the alphabet, and letting a cock 
pick them off. The Roman divination was simpler, according to 
the eager or sluggish eating, or refusing to eat, of young fowls ; 
every legion had its pullarius, who bred, fed and guarded the 
fowls, and the consul held the augurium in his own house or tent : 
( pullis regitur imperium Romanum, hi jubent acies says Pliny 
10, 24 ; and Procopius 1, 316 gives examples. 1 Yet they also 
observed the cries of the cock and hen : gallina cecinit is 
named amongst other bad omens for the bridegroom, in Terence s 
Phormio iv. 4, 30 ; the gloss of Donatus makes it mean ( superi- 
orem marito esse uxorem/ And in our own superstition (I, 83 ; 
L, 23) a hen that crowed like a cock was held in horror. If a 
listener under the henroost heard the cock crow, the omen was 
happy, if the hen cried, it was sad (I, 105. 1055) ; the same thing 
applies to droppings of the cock and hen (I, 230). The gander 
too was supposed to prophesy (I, 847). The Esthonians dis 
tinguish between birds of bare and those of shaggy foot (M, 95) . 

Often it is neither the flight of wayside fowl, nor the chance 
encounter of a quadruped, but their appearing, their residing 
in the dwellings of men that bodes them weal or woe. The 
swallow (L, 9) and the stork are birds of luck (p. 672), one is glad 
to see storks build on one s roof (I, 215). He that first sees the 
stork fly in spring, is sure to go on a journey. To the Lettons 
the titmouse foretokened good, its name is sihle, and sihleht is 
to foretell (p. 683). A weasel or snake on the roof boded ill 
(Suidas sub v. Xenocrates) ; anguis per impluvium decidit de 
tegulis/ Ter. Phormio iv. 4, 29. So does a mouse nibbling at 
your clothes, Sup. I, 184. Raven, crow or magpie on a sick house 
is unlucky, or of double meaning, I, 120. 158. 496 (see Suppl.). 

There were corpse-birds, birds of dole, whose appearing signi 
fied actual or impending death. I suppose the turtle-dove with 
her melancholy wail to have been such to the Goths, by their 
calling her hrdivadubo (corpse-dove) ; neither rpvyajv nor turtur 
conveys this collateral sense, the bird merely mourns her lost 
mate ; 2 tales about her are coll. in Aw. 3, 34. One of tho way- 

1 Kecord of 788 in Marini no. 56, p. 94 : et alia multa de vestra infidelitate 
cognovimus ad pullorum comtum (r. cantum). 

2 The Langobards used to erect, among the graves in their churchyards, poles 
(perticasj in memory of their kinsfolk who had fallen in war or in foreign parts : on 


birds, the owl y is also, and preeminently, in place here (Sup. I, 
789 ; L, 8). Hartmann contrasts her flight across one s path with 
that of the musar, hers appears to have been baleful, as his was 
wholesome : Ms. 2, 174 says der iuweln flue ne er profited the 
world. Ovid Met. 5, 550 : 

foedaque fit volucris, venturi nuntia luctus, 
ignavus bubo, dirum mortalibus omen. 

Here metamorphosis strikes in : the owl was an enchanted person, 
and strix, strinx ( e tectis strix violenta canat/ Tibull. i. 5, 52), 
bruxa signify at once the bird and the witch that fly by night 
(p.!039n.) : ululae, upupae, bubones toto anno in tectis funebria 
personantes/ p. 481 n. ; male ominatos cantus ulularum, Chron. 
S. Trudonis p. 379. The OHG. holz-riina, holz-muoja, liolz-muwo 
(Gl. Flor. 988 b . 996 b . Sumerl. 10, 65. 27, 44. 29, 74) translate 
lamia, but they rather express wailing bodeful birds, or sprites 
(of both sexes), who are heard whispering and muttering 
(rounding, mooing) in the wood, p. 433. Hence also their name 
of klag-muhme (wailing aunt), Mag-mutter, klage-weib; 1 in the 
Ackerman v. Bohmen, ed. Hag. p. 38, klagmut 3 should be 
amended klagmuoter/ In the Upper Harz klagmutter, klag- 
weib, klagefrau mean a spectral yet winged being (Spiel s Archiv 
2, 247) ; elsewhere it is called iveh-klage (Sup. I, 863), leich-huhn 
(lich-hen), grab-eule, todten-vogel, and in Brunswick the Idpsch, 
because of its lazy lingering flight (Brauns. anz. 1746. p. 236), 
ignavus bubo/ which again calls up the old sense of feig (fey, 
moribundus). Other prognostics of death are, when the raven 
belches. Sup. G, 1. 166, when a cock or hen trails straw, M, 77, 

the top of the pole was fixed the wooden image of a dove, whose head or beak 
pointed in the direction where the loved one lay buried ; Paul. Diac. 5, 34 (not 
unlike the gyrating eagle on the palace-roof, p. 634). The dove represented the 
sorrowing kinsman who set up the pole. Precisely so the Servians of to-day make 
the cuckoo mourn for them (p. 682) : on a wooden cross 6 feet high are carved as 
many cuckoos as there are survivors, esp. sisters, to mourn the dead. A girl who 
has lost a brother can never hear the cuckoo sing without breaking into a flood of 
tears ; kukumene ! is an interjection of grief, Montenegro, Stuttg. 1837. pp. 99. 100. 
All this setting up of doves and cuckoos brings to mind that of liorses heads on 
poles and roofs (p. 659), of eagles on roofs (p. 633-4). 

1 The Lausitz Wends call our wehklage boze sedlesko, God s little chair 
[saddle?] : it appears either as a white hen, or as a beautiful white child, whose 
piteous wailing and weeping announces impending misfortune. In Bohemian too 
sedlisko is a seat and also the nightmare, perhaps because the demon mounts and 
rides (incubus). 


when the galadrot (charadrius) turns his head away from the sick 
man (see Suppl.). 

In the same way other animals give notice of a death : when 
a priest is called in, and his horse lowers his head, Sup. M, 35 ; 
when a black ox or cow has been killed in the house, I, 887, 
which points right back to ancient sacrifices. Also the mole 
burrowing in a human habitation 555. 601. 881, the cricket 
chirping 555. 600. 930, 1 the woodworm ticking 901, and mice 
nibbling at the clothes of a sleeper (see Suppl.) . 

Prophetic ants, Sup. K, 88 ; M, 99. A spider running toward 
you early in the morning is unlucky, but there are luck-spinners 
too, I, 134. Bosquet 219. A swarm of bees settling on a house 
betokens fire, I, 160 or some disaster, 2 from those in Drusus s 
camp downwards (Pliny 11, 18. Dio Cass. 54, 33. Jul. Obse- 
quens de prodig. 1, 132). To Leopold of Austria they foretold 
the loss of Sempach fight in 1386 : da kam ein imb geflogen, 
in d linden er genistet hat, an s herzogen waffen er flog als do der 
selbig herzog wol fiir die linden zog : das diutet frombde geste, so 
redt der gemeine man/ Wackern. leseb. 703. It is usually a 
flight of grasshoppers that announces stranger guests (Justinger 
p. 160, conf. 271), or else a good take of salmon, ib. 379. Other 
intimations of coming guests in Sup. I, 71-2-3. 889. 1028 ; K, 63 
(see Suppl.). 

Lifeless things, especially elements, can furnish omens. Flames 
standing on the lielmets or spears of warriors were a prognostic 
of victory (vlfcys orvfjLJ^d\ov). Saem. 110 a - b mentions a fire of this 
kind, but not what it signified : ( hyrr leingi mun a brodds oddi 
bifaz ; and more plainly 151 b : ( af geirom geislar (rays) stofto/ 
Tac. Ann. 12, 64 : signa militum arsere ; 15, 7 : pila militum 
arsere.* Procop. de b. Vand. 2, 2 : r&v Sopdra)v avrois TO, a/cpa 
Trvpl vroXXco /careXa/XTrero, /cal avrwv al al^/jual KaLecrOat, eVt 
TrXetcrrov crfyicnv ebbicovv. Greg. Tur. mirac. Mart. 1, 10: f dum 
haec agerentur, duae puerorum lanceae emissis flammis lumen 
euntibus praebuerunt, ibantque fulgurantes hastae. Before the 
battle of Prague in 1620 a will o wisp settled on the general s 

1 Sometimes these heimen or grillen mean prosperity to the house, Sup. I, 
313. 609. 

2 Examen apum in arbore praetorio imminente consederat, Livy 21, 46. 
fastigium Capitolii examen apium insedit, Tac. Ann. 12, 64. 


flag, and was taken for a pledge of victory. This too is the 
Dioscuri s flame, that shone on the masts of ships, a saving sign 
under stress of storm. Further, a candle that sneezes (spits), a 
brand that snaps over (Sup. I, 889) betoken guests again; a candle 
that goes out, death (150) ; one that burns roses (forms wick- 
heads), good luck (252). To spill oil or wine, to pour water 
under the table, were signs to the ancients, one good, the other 
bad. The table squeaking, the rafters creaking, justified the 
gloomiest auguries (Dempster 3, 9). Water sinking away or 
rising indicated a death or famine (p. 590). When the fire 
crackles, or salt is spilt, it is a sign of strife, Sup. 1, 322. 534-5. 
64. Connect with this the mythic interpretation of the bickering 
flame, p. 242 : the god is present in the flame as in the bodeful 
thunder. Gaps formed by earth tumbling in (gropar) prognosti 
cate a death (M, 95) ; from the sound of the first three clods 
thrown into a grave, you can tell if others will die soon. A 
splinter splitting off the floor is a sign of guests (I, 71. 1032), 
a hoop bursting off a barrel, of death (I, 149) l (see Suppl.). 

The custom of sprinkling barleycorns on the hot fireplace, and 
watching if they leap up or lie still, I find in Burchard alone, 
Sup. C, p. 195 d , not in later authors; the Greek KpiOo/jLavTela was 

If in time of war two ears of corn were found on one stalk, it 
was thought to prefigure the return of peace; 3 on the contrary, 
for the cherry-tree to blossom twice in the year is a sign of war, 
Sup. I, 1116 (see Suppl.). 

Other things, without any augury or sorcery being founded on 
them, are considered wholesome or hurtful : particularly things 
found, begged or stolen. Thus the finding of a four-leaved clover, 
of three whole grains in a baked loaf (Sup. I, 685), of a nail or 
tooth off a harrow 539. 636, which enable the possessor to discern 
witches (p. 1078), inventio acus vel oboli reservati (B, 11 r. b.), 

1 Sueton. in Octav. 92 : auspicia quaedam et omina pro certissimis observabat : 
si mane sibi calceus perperam ac sinister pro dextero induceretur, ut dirum (like 
Wladislaus, p. 1123) ; si terra marive ingrediente se longinquam profectionem forte 
rorasset, ut laetum, maturique et prosperi reditus. 

3 Elisab. Charlotte of Orleans writes July 17, 1695 : I am well weary of the 
war ; pray, dear Louise, acquaint yourself if it be true that near Giessen they have 
found a stalk, which the Landgraf of Darmstatt hath in safe keeping, whereon are 
II ears, and if the like was found at the end of the 30 years war. It is also 
believed that lightning will not strike a house where a stalk with two ears is kept. 


of a needle (K, 46) according as it turns head or point toward 
you (I, 235), of a felloe off a wheel 351, of a horseshoe 129. 220 
(Hone s Yrbk 1600) ; a begged loaf 13, a ring made of begged 
silver pennies 352; a stolen duster 431, tie of a meal-sack 216, 
loaf 183-8, timber 1000 (Firmenich 2, 33), fishing-tackle (K, 48), 
weaver s knots. In finding things the favour of fortune comes 
into play ; to things begged the labour, to things stolen the risk 
of acquisition lends additional value : three gulps of begged 
wine drive away the hiccup. And not only stolen property in 
a particular case, but a thief s hand (p. 1073n.), a spur made, out 
of a gibbet-chain (I, 385), the gallows-rope itself (386. 921. 
G, 1. 217), possess a peculiar virtue; couf. the origin of the gal- 
lows-mannikin, Deut. sag. no. 83 (see Suppl.). 

A ivheel placed over the gateway brings luck (I, 307) ; is the 
notion of fortune s wheel (p. 866) or the sun s wheel (pp. 620. 
701) at work here? Splinters of a tree struck by lightning, 
coffin- splinters are of use (I, 171. 208). The bridal bed must 
have only dry wood, but off living trees ; l other fancies about the 
bridal bed 486-7. No picked up feathers, no hen s feathers 
should be put in a bed 281. 346. 593. 

Choosing of days prevailed among the Jews (Levit. 19, 26. 
Deut. 18, 10), Greeks, and probably all heathens. Hesiod dis 
tinguishes between mother-days and stepmother-days, he goes 
over all the good days of Zeus, and all the bad, "Epya K. Hp. 
765 (710) seq. Even if our names for the days of the week were 
imported from abroad (p. 127), yet native superstitions may have 
been mixt up with them from a very early time. Nullus ob- 
servet so preached Eligius, qua die domum exeat, vel qua die 
revertatur, nullus ad inchoandum opus diem aut lunam attendat. 
Hincmar 1, 656 : sunt et qui observant dies in motione itineris 
et in inchoatione aedificandae domus. Sueton. in Oct. 92 : ob- 
servabat et dies quosdam, ne aut postridie nundinas quoquam 
proficisceretur, aut nonis quidquam rei seriae inchoaret. Pliny 
28, 5 : ( ungues resecari 2 nundinis Romanis tacenti, atque a 

1 Odofredus in I. legata digest, de supellect. leg. : mulieres quando nubunt, 
volunt lectum de lignis siccis, sed de arbore vivente. sed in omnibus opinionibus 
suis fatuae sunt. 

2 The nails in general are carefully watched : when they blossom, i.e. have 
specks of white, luck blossoms too. Much depends on which hand and what 
finger the blossoms are on (Eeusch). Pliny touches more than once on the 


digito indice, multorum pecuniae religiosum. Even amongst us 
the superstition survives, that the nails should be cut on a par 
ticular day, Friday especially. A day that will bring misfortune 
is called verworfen, castaway, accursed (Sup. G, 1. 5 1). 1 The 
ancient Germans appear to have kept Wednesday and Thursday 
holy above all, after their chief gods Wodan and Thuuar : the 
Indiculus has a section de feriis quas faciunt Jovi vel Mercuric/ 
Later on I find no day more superstitiously observed than Thurs 
day, p. 191 ; also by the Esthoriians, M, 59. One should not 
move to a new dwelling on Thursday, for birds carry nothing to 
their nests that day. On the other hand, Wednesday and Friday 
are counted accursed wiicli-days, I, 613. 658. 745; separately, 
Wednesday 567, Friday 241. 800. M, 59. 60. In records of 
witch-trials (see the Quedlinburg), the devils mostly appear on 
a Thursday or Tuesday. Monday too is a bad day for a fresh 
beginning (I, 771. 821). Tuesday is the time to begin journeys, 
to form marriage contracts. 2 Fat Tuesday, Swed. fet-tisdag, 
Fr. mardi gras favours enterprises (K, 79. 84). Sunday is lucky 
(I, 243. 634). The Christians had, beside the great festivals, 
many days in the year marked by something special, above all 
St. John s ; and almost every holy day stood in a particular 
relation to sowing, planting, cattle-breeding and the like. The 
Dan. skjer-torsdag in K, 168-9 is Maundy Thursday. Hardly 
ever was a nation so addicted to day-choosing as the Christians 
in the Mid. Ages. The old heathen yule-days and solstices 
coincided with Christmas and St. John s (see SuppL). 

Closely connected with angang and day-choosing is another 
widely diffused superstition. As a prosperous day s work de 
pended on a favourable encounter at early morning, as the escort 
of wolf or raven augured victory ; so a tribe on its travels was 
guided to its place of settlement by a divinely missioned least. 
Under such guidance colonies were founded, towns, castles, 

resegmina unguium 28, 23 : e pedibus inanibusque cera perraixta ante solis ortum 
alienae januae affigi jubent . . . digitorum reseginiua unguium ad cavernas 
formicarum abjici jubent, eamque quae prima coeperit trahere, correptam subnecti 
collo. This significance of nail-parings is worth dwelling on, as our heathenism 
attributes to them even a greater, making the world s end depend upon them 
(p. 814, Naglfar). 

1 See passages in a Homily of the 8th cent, on this superst., Pertz s Archiv 6, 

2 So in Bohemia and Moravia. Lowe s Denkw. u. reisen 72. 

VOL III. tt 


churches built; the rise of new establishments and kingdoms 
is hallowed by leasts, which, alien to all human ends, reveal the 
higher counsels of the gods. 

Greek and Roman story teems with examples. A raven leads 
Battus and his emigrants to Gyrene (Kopat; rjyijo-aro, Callim. 
Hymn to Apollo 66). The Irpini are so called from irpus, the 
wolf that led them (Strabo 2, 208) . T Floki sacrificed for three 
ravens to shew him the way: f hann fekk at bloti miklu, ok 
blotafti lira/no, pria, pa er honum ski/ldu leiffvisa, ]?viat ]?a hof^u. 
hafsiglingarmenn engir lerSarstein i ]?ann tima i Nor<5rl6ndum/ 
Islend. sog. 1, 27 ; the divine bird supplied the place of a load 
stone to seafaring men. It can hardly be a mere accident, that 
the guides oftenest named are just the raven and wolf, Wuotan s 
favourites, who presaged victory and weal. 2 In the Yita Severini 
c. 28 the bear acts as guide. The hart and liind also shew the 
way, as Procopius 4, 5 makes the hind do to Cimmerian hunters. 
So in Jornandes of Hunnish huntsmen : dum in ulteriori Maeo- 
tidis ripa venationes inquirunt, animadvertunt quomodo ex im- 
proviso cerva se illis obtulit, ingressaque palude, nunc progrediens 
nunc subsistens, indicem se viae tribuit . . . mox quoque, 
ut Scythica terra ignotis apparuit, cerva disparuit. Here, instead 
of the hunter story, Sozomen (Hist. eccl. 6, 37) has one about a 
herdsman, though he knows the other one too : c forte fortuna 
bos cestro perdtus lacum transmittit, sequitur bubulcus ; qui cum 
terrain trans lacum vidisset, tribulibus suis nuntiat. Sunt alii 

1 A bird admonished the Aztecs in Mexico to emigrate, by calling down from 
the tree tihui ! i.e. let us go ! Major s Myth, taschenb. 1813. p. 63. 

2 A name of happiest a.ugury for a hero must have been the OHG. Wolf-hraban, 
Wolfram, to whom the two animals jointly promised victory. And I notice that 
no animal s name but the wolfs is ever compounded with gang : Wolfgang (Lup- 
ambulus A.D. 1000, Act. Bened. sect. 6 pars 1 p. 3) designates a hero before whom 
goes the wolf of victory ; a similar presage may lie in Wisantgang (Goth. Visanda- 
vandalareis, Procop. de b. Goth. 1, 18 OuLaavdos BavSaXdpios). The heathen faith 
alone opens to us the meaning of old names, which are no product of pure 
chance. There may be good reason for supposing that in the quaint old Spell 
XIV Martin and Wolfgang are invoked as shepherds saints : one had sway over 
the crow (raven), the other over the wolf. Servian mothers name a son they 
have longed for, Vuk, wolf : then the witches can t eat him up. So Greeks and 
Komans thought AvdffKos Lyciscus a lucky name, OHG. glosses render lyciscus 
(the animal) wolfbizo, and there may have been a man s name Wolfbizo, one bitten 
by the wolf, and thereby protected. Vuk sub v. vuko-yedina says, if one in the 
family way eats of a lamb or goat that the wolf has bitten to death, the babe she 
gives birth to will shew a wound, which they call vukoyedina, i.e. wolfbizo. They 
also cut the wolf s bite out of a lamb or goat, smoke-dry it, and preserve it as a 
sanative (see Suppl.). 


qui dicunt cervum quibusdain Hunnis venaiitibus, cuin per lacum 
ab illis fugeret, monstrasse viam. Hunters the stag leads, herds 
man the ox, heroes the wolf. But Christians, even warriors, will 
rather have tjie deer for guide than the heathenish wolf : a doe 
shewed the Franks the ford of safety over the Main, Ditm. 
Merseb. ed. Wagn. 245 ; conf. Otto Fris. de gestis Frid. 1, 43 
[and a white hart over the Vienne]. A raven the Christians 
would have taken for a messenger of the devil. Flodoardus in 
Hist. Remens. 1, 24 (ed. Duac. p. 145) relates one instance of 
the eagle : conscenso silvosi mentis vertice, dum circumferentes 
oculorum aciem de monasterii corde volutant positione, subito 
sublimi coelorum mittitur aliger index a culmine, per quern coelos 
scansuro locns in terris beato depromeretur Theoderico. Nam 
mystic us ales aquila spatiando gyrans et gyrando circumvolans 
locum monasterii capacem secans aera designavit. Et ut ex- 
pressius ostenderet quid Dominus vellet, unius fere horae spatio 
supra ubi ecclesia construi debuit lentis volatibus stetit ; et ne 
hoc ab incredulis casu contigisse putaretur, ipso natali Domini 
die quadriennio continuo supervolando monasterium circumire, 
mirantibus plurimis, eadem aquila cernebatur. A flying hen 
indicates the site of the future castle, Deut. sag. no. 570. Boun 
daries are hallowed by the running or walking of a blind horse, 
of a crab, RA. 86. Where the fratres Philaeni had won the 
new frontier by running, they let themselves be buried alive 
(hie se vivos obrui pertulerunt), Pomp. Mela 1, 7; the true 
reason of this ratification by burial will be made clearer pre 
sently. Remus had seen six, and Romulus twelve vultures fly 
auspicious at the founding of their city, Nieb. 1, 248 (see Suppl.). 

We know how the old Northmen conducted their migrations 
and settlements under convoy of the gods. They threw over 
board the dndvegis-sulur or set-stokkar they had brought with 
them from the old country, and wherever these drifted to, there 
they landed. On such wooden posts was carved an image of the 
god in whom they trusted, and he pointed them to their, new 
habitation; see esp. the Isl. sog. 1, 76-7. 234. 

But not only did beasts point out a place for building on, it 
was often thought necessary to immure live animals, even men, 
in the foundation on which the structure was to be raised, as if 
they were a sacrifice offered to Earth, who bears the load upon 


her : by this inhuman rite they hoped to secure immovable 
stability or other advantages. Danish traditions tell of a lamb 
being built in under the altar, that the church might stand un 
shaken ; and of a lice horse being buried in every churchyard, 
before any corpse was laid in it (p. 841). Both lamb and horso 
occasionally shew themselves in church or churchyard, and the 
apparition betokens a death (Thiele 1, 136-7). Even under other 
houses swine and fowls are buried alive (1, 198). Superst. I, 
472 says, a long spell of good weather can be brought on by 
walling-in a cock ; and 755 a cow s running be prevented by 
bricking up a blind dog alive under the stable-door. In time of 
murrain, the Esthonians bury one head of the herd under the 
stable-door, that Death may have his victim (M, 69) - 1 When 
the new bridge at Halle, finished 1843, was building, the common 
people fancied a child was wanted to be walled into the founda 
tions. To make Liebciistein Castle impregnable, there was 
walled-in a child, whom its mother for base gold had parted with ; 
while the masons were at work, says the story, it sat eating a roll 
and calling out, Mother, I can see you/ then, Mother, I see 
a little of you still, and when the last stone was let in, Mother, 
I see nothing of you now (Bechst. Thiir. sag. 4, 157 ; conf. 206). 
In the outer wall of Reichenfels Castle a child was built in alive : 
a projecting stone marks the spot, and if that were pulled out, 
the wall would tumble down at once (Jul. Schmidt p. 153). 
Similar stories in Spiel s Archiv. 1, 160 with the addition, that 
latterly, by way of symbol, empty coffins were built in. A ram 
part had to be raised round Copenhagen, but every time it was 
begun, it sank down again : so they took a little innocent maiden, 
set her on a chair before a table, gave her toys and things to eat ; 
then, while she amused herself with eating and play, twelve 
master-masons built a vault over her, and amid music and loud 
minstrelsy threw up the wall, which hath stood unshaken to this 
day (Thiele 1, 3). Why they kept the child playing and happy, 
and prevented her crying, I have explained at p. 46. It is the 
vulgar opinion in Greece, that whoever first goes by, where they 

1 Und hadden de delver sich mit groten unkosten an holt, balken, struk 
(brushwood) daran versocht, den ort to dempen, konden nicht ; de olden seden, 
Aniniam quaeri, men scholde ein hat edder hunt darin drenken. Als diser gebleven, 
wert it mit der lichte togeslagen (easily stopt up), Neocor. 2, 310. Conf. in chap. 
XXXVI. inserting the shrewmouse into the ash. 


are laying the foundation-stone of a new building, shall die 
within a year ; the builders, to avert the calamity, kill a lamb or 
a Hack cock on the stone, just as at Frankfort they made a cock 
run across the new-made bridge, DS. no. 185. At Arta a 
thousand masons wrought at a bridge : all that they raised in the 
day rushed down at night. Then sounded the archangel s voice 
fro in heaven : unless ye dig thereinto a child of man, the masonry 
shall not stand ; yet no orphan nor stranger shall ye bury, but 
the master-builder s wife/ When the wife came to the workmen, 
the master pretended his ring had dropt into the foundation, and 
the woman offered to fetch it out, then swiftly they set to work 
to ivall her in; dying, she pronounced a curse on the bridge, 
that it should tremble like a flower- stalk (Tommaseo s Canti pop. 
3, 178). Still more touching is a Servian legend on the building 
of Scutari : For three years 300 masons laboured in vain to lay 
the foundations of the fortress ; what they built by day, the vila 
tore down at night. At last she made known to the kings, that 
the building would never hold till two born brothers (or sisters) of 
like name were put into the foundation. Nowhere could such be 
found. Then the vila required, that of the three wives of the 
kings she that carried out food to the masons the next day should 
be walled up in the ground. When the consort of the youngest 
king, not dreaming of such a decree, brings out some dinner, the 
300 masons drop their stones around her, and begin to wall her 
in ; at her entreaty they left a small opening, and there she 
continued for some time to suckle her babe, who was held up to 
her once a day (Vuk 2, 5). Once, when the Slavs on the Danube 
purposed founding a new city, the heads of the people, after the 
old heathen wont, sent out men early before sunrise, to take the 
first boy they met and put him into the foundation. From this 
child (Serv. diete, Boh. djte, Russ. ditya pi. deti, Pol. dziecie) the 
town took its name of Detinets (Popov s Slav. myth. p. 25). And 
the history of Merlin pp. 66 72 relates how, king Yortigern 
casting to build him a strong tower, it did alway crumble down 
or it were accomplished; and the wizards spake sentence, that 
the tower should in no wise be achieved, ere that the groundstone 
were wet with a child s blood, that was of woman born, but of no 
man begotten. May not we also connect with this superstition 
some words in a sermon of Berthold p. 167? und wizze, wanne 


du kint gewinnest, daz der tiuvel relit einen torn mit den Itindern 
hat iif dich gemuret has with the children reared a very tower 
on thy back (see Suppl.). 

Sect. 23 of the Indiculus superst., de sulcis circa villas leads 
us to infer that round newly founded cities they ploughed fur 
rows, whose sacredness was a safeguard against the entrance of 
evil. Precisely such was the Etruscan usage ace. to Yarro : 
oppida condebant in Latio, Etrusco ritu, rnulta, id est, junctis 
bobus, tauro et vacca, interiore aratro circumagebant sulcum. 
Hoc faciebant religionis causa die auspicato, ut fossa et rnuro 
essent munita ; terram unde exscalpserant fossam vocabant, et 
introrsum factum murum, postea quod fiebat orbis, urbs/ The 
bull and cow were white, Ov. Fast. 4, 825 on the pornoerium of 
Romulus .: 

Inde premens stivam signavit moenia sulco, 
alba jugurn niveo cum bove vacca tulit. 

In the Comitium a vaulted chamber was built, and stocked 
with tike firstlings of all natural products that sustain man s life, 
Fest. sub v. mundus. Nieb. 1, 251. 

Some superstitious rites, apparently of great antiquity, are 
practised on such different occasions in early and in recent times, 
that it is hard to make out their meaning. In Burchard, Sup. 
C, 195 C , a icaggon is divided in two, and a corpse on the bier is 
carried between ; in I, 929 a girl suspected of pregnancy is made 
to pass through a harvest-wain so divided. Waggon and plough 
are reckoned holy implements, in the midst of which no cheating 
or juggling can subsist. 

About walking through a cutting in tlie ground and the cleft 
of a tree, see next chap., under Remedies. It is with a different 
view that women creep through the stretched membrane in which 
a newborn foal has lain, or through a horse-collar, Svved. sela, 
Sup. K, 167. 

Again, one is not to stride over another person (Sup. I, 45), 
nor slip through under the pole of a vehicle 618; nor should 
women in a certain condition mount across the pole or shafts 729. 
925; they should also avoid having anything hanging or tangled 
above them 688. 933. This resembles the rule, not to turn wood 
in the Christmas week (Sup. K, 134), nor beat cattle with turned 


wood 58, lest it cause similar twistings and convulsions in man 
or beast. 

I close with a few words on interpretation of dreams. To 
the A. Saxons dream meant jubilum, ecstasy (p. 901) ; so is the 
OS. < Drohtines drorn = heaven, Hel. 54, 11. 63, 14. 85, 21 to 
be taken as Dei jubilum, gaudium/ as opposed to manno, 
liudo drom (p. 795), the transitory dream of this world. For 
somnium stood the AS. swefen, OS. sueblian ; the ON. svefn is 
simply soinnus, and sofna to fall asleep, MHG. entsweben is 
sopire, lull to sleep, which again has to do with OHG. sue p (aer), 
so that sleeping and dreaming properly mean trance or ecstasy, 
the spirit s soaring away into the air (conf. arprettan, p. 1083). 
This is closely conn, with Lat. sopor, and sompnus, somnus, 
somnium. Both OHG. and ON. seem to confine their troum, 
draumr to the sense of somnium. The Gothic word for Sveipo? 
(dream) is lost to us. Instead of our proverb triiume sind 
schaume, dreams are foams, I have found a more truly rhym 
ing * traume sind gdume (Ettner s Chemiker 469 and Apoth. 
132), i.e. observations (MHG. goume, troume, but schiime). 1 
Even antiquity did not believe in all dreams, only in difficult 
ones, dreamed at particular times or places. To interpret dreams 
is in OHG. antfriston, N. Boeth. 51, more simply sceidan, MHG. 
scheiden, Diut. 3, 97, bescheiden, Walth. 95, 8. Nib. 14, 2. 19, 
2 ; traumscJieider meant soothsayer. The AS. had swefn reccan, 
ON. draum rd&a (see Suppl.). 

Dreams are foretokenings of the future, rising out of images 
and impressions of the past ; they and the figures in them might 
be called a writing or rune of destiny (p. 406 n.), as Wolfram finely 
says of Parzival 245, 8 : sus wart gesteppet im sin troum mit 
swertslegen umbe den soum/ so was embroidered his dream with 
sword- strokes round the border. Like the birds, they are 
messengers of the gods, and publish their commands ; but other 
daemonic beings send them too : ir boten kiinftigiu leit (coming 
sorrows) sauden iin slafe dar/ Parz. 245, 4. On p. 905-6 wo 
had examples of the inspiring gift of poesy being imparted in a 

1 Yet even iu Diut. 3, 96 : waz iuwe ware gescumetS i.e. dreamt. And schaum 
is backed by a still worse rhyme : traume s mdfaume (Kirchhofer s Spricliw. 342) 
for feime. 


dream. As "birds play the leading part in angang, as dreams 
themselves are birds and come flying, we can understand why 
even the subject-matter of a dream is so commonly a vision of 
birds ; in some few dreams of this kind we may perhaps detect 
an echo of ancient myths. Kriemhild dreamt that two eagles 
caught and mangled (erkrummen) before her eyes the wild falcon 
she had reared ; so ISunn (the swallow ?) was seized by the 
eagle Thiassi, and OSinn the divine "heron pursued by the eagle 
Suttungr. Such images filled the fancy of the olden time : a 
couple of dancers in the Rudlieb 8, 49 are thus elegantly de 
scribed : ille velut/ft/co se girat, et haec ut hirundo. In Eoth. 
3845 : mir troumite nahte von dir, wie ein valke qua me gevlogin, 
und vuorfce dich widir over mere/ In Sv. forns. 2, 64: jag 
dromte att min herres falkar, de spande mig med sina klor, de 
togo mitt hjerta utur mitt brost, och gjorde sig deraf ett bo/ 
And there are disquieting dreams of bears, wolves, boars p. 921-3 
(see Suppl.). 

Much depends on the time when and the place where dreams 
are dreamt. They are truest after midnight, toward morning : 
post noctem mediam, quando sunt somnia vera/ Ecbas. 227. 
Eracl. 3723; ghosts appear just before dawn (a case on p. 894). 
Yet Herzeloide dreams umbe einen mitten tac/ Parz. 103, 25. 

As it is a grave question with newly married folk, whose 
light shall burn longest at the wedding feast, which shall first 
fall asleep on the wedding night, or get up from the bridal bed 
(Sup. I, 15. 485. 717; M, 17); so the dreams and visions of 
the wedding night are prophetic (see Childerich s in Aimoin 
1, 8). Such a dream of Hvitastierna in Gothland, which ac 
quaints her with her posterity, is mentioned in the Gutalag 
p. 106. No less important is the first dream in a new house 
(Sup. I, 123; K, 61), but you must have counted all the rafters 
before going to sleep. King Gorrn is admonished to build a 
house on a spot where none had stood before, and therein to 
sleep and dream (Forum, sb g. 11, 4-6; conf. Saxo Gram. 179) 1 ; 
whereas Halfdan the black (Saga cap. 7) is advised to dream in 
a pig stye, and the dream will come true. Of dreaming in a new 
bed, Fornald. sug. 1, 367. Again, a dream on New-year s night 

1 You ve ideas like an old house we say on the contrary to one whose remarks 
are not to the point. 


comes true (Sup. I, 528). In Reinh. 88, when Chantekler has 
told his ingeniously constructed dream, it is added : manec 
troum erscheinet sich iiber siben jar/ comes to pass in 7 years 
time. A great many dream-interpretations, which the common 
people hold firmly to this day, are to be found in the very earliest 
times (see Suppl.). 

Certain dreams are so deeply rooted in Teutonic legend, that 
we must place their origin far back, e.g. that of the treasure 
which one is to be informed of on the bridge 1 (see Suppl.). 

Like dreams and angang, some other of the customs we 
have noticed evidently rest on the strength of first and fresh 

We are glad to be rid of this heap of superstition ; yet, while 
it filled the lives of our forefathers with fear, it ministered some 
comfort also. 

1 Agricola s Sprichw. 623. Praetorius s Wiinschelr. 372. Abrah. a S. Clara s 
Judas 1, 4. Ettner s Ung. Apoth. p. 132. Musaus s Yolksm. 4, 65. K. Chambers s 
Fireside stories p. 12, which prove the legend rife in various parts of Scotland. 


BY the anger of the gods diseases are decreed, yet also their 
mercy reveals healing remedies to man. All deities can be healers, 
they seem to give their names to the herbs and flowers whose 
healing virtues they make known. With the Greeks it is chiefly 
Apollo and his sister Artemis from whom this knowledge is 
derived ; our Wuotan, where he touches Apollo rather than 
Hermes, represents him in the capacity of healer too (p. 149) ; 
with Artemis and Athena skilled in leechcraft, we may here match 
our Holda and Frouwa, replaced by Mary in later legend. A 
special god of physic, AsMepios or Aesculapius, is Apollo s son 
and a mere emanation of him. Of divine heroes, those who 
practised this art were HeraJcles, Prometheus the giver of whole 
some fire, and Chiron : to set by the side of these, we have the 
Norse Mimir, our own Wate and Wieland, after whom a healing 
plant Wielands-wurz is named, and whose skill in smith-work 
resembles that of Prometheus ; conf. chap. XXXVII. 

As Homer celebrates Paeon s and Macliaon s knowledge of 
medicines and wounds, so the Gudrunlied says of Wate : 

Si hasten in langer zite da vor wol vernornen (long known), 

daz Wate arzet was re von eiuem wilden wibe : 

Wate, der vil masre, gefrumete manegem an dem libe. 

The wild wife, who doctored (made a doctor of) this far-famed 
Wate, might well be a wise-woman, a half-goddess (p. 431-2). So 
in Scotch tradition (R. Chamb. p. 34) the mermaid points out 
healing herbs. Several such women appear in the Edda. Eir 
belongs altogether to the circle of goddesses : hon er IceJenir 
leztr, best of leeches, Sn. 36. I connect her name with the 
Goth, tiirus nuncius, AS. arian, ON. eira parcere, and OHG. 
Iriuc (Goth. Eiriggs?); Eir would be the indulgent helpful 
goddess and errand- woman. But another passage, Ssem. lll a , 



significantly places her among the handmaidens of wise Mcnrjloft 
(p. 423-4): 

Hlif heitir, onnur Hlifpursa, 

J?rr$ja Thiodva/rta, 

Biort ok Stiff, Bliffur, Fri$, 

Eir oc Orboffa, 

Some of them seem to be giantesses, Hlif]?ursa and Orbofta, who 
in Sn. 39 is wife to G^mir, and these fit in with the notion of 
ivild wife ; but the majority are transparent personifications of 
moral ideas, Frt& the mansueta or parca (Goth, f reidian parcere) , 
Jllif tutela or parca, from hlifa parcere, which comes to the same 
thing as Eir, and throws a welcome light on the Latin parca 
itself. All the more right have we now to place Biort in 
immediate connexion with Berlita, as I conjectured on p. 272 n., 
and Bliff with Holda : these healing women lead us on to wise 
women, divine women. And that the gift of healing is in ques 
tion here, is plain from the preceding and not less important 
strophe : 

Hyfjaberg ]?at heitir, en ]?at hefir leingi verit 

siukom ok sari gaman : 

heil verSr hver, ]?6tt hafi ars sott, 

ef |?at klifr kona. 

I translate it : Hyfjaberg this rock is called, and has long been 
to the sick and to wounds a solace ; whole becomes any woman, 
though she have a year s sickness, if she climbs it. So that the 
rock is a holy place, dedicated to MengloS and her maidens, 
where every sick woman that climbed it has found relief. The 
exact meaning of Hyfjaberg, or as some read it, Hyfvja-, Hyfara- 
berg, I cannot yet determine ; enough for us, that such mount 
of healing accords admirably with the conception one has to 
form of the wise -women of olden time : prophetesses, Parcae, 
Muses, all are imagined dwelling on mountains. Mengloff may 
without more ado be taken to mean Freyja (p. 306-7), in 
attendance on this highest goddess would stand the other 
maidens of like nature ; and to the art of healing we have a 
right worshipful origin assigned. Now too it is conceivable, why 
Brynhildr, the valkyr dwelling on her mountain, had f lif me$ 
laskning (pharinaca cum medela) ascribed to her in Seem. 147 b : 


she is a wise woman skilled in magic, a pharmaceutria, herbaria, 
and moreover understands the binding up of wounds (undir 
dreyrgar yfir binda, Seem. 220 b ), like Hiltgund in Walthar. 1408. 
Oddrun lends her aid to women in travail, Seem. 239, and the 
Tristan has made Isote s knowledge of physic famous. At 
medicinal springs, by mineral waters, appears the white lady with 
the snake (p. 588 n.), the beast of sovereign st healing power, 
servant to Aesculapius himself. The Servian vila too is a 
physician, and heals wounds for a high fee, Vuk no. 321 [so the 
Bulgarian yuda or samodiva, Aug. Dozen s Bolgarski pesni no. 
3, etc.]. 

We see from all this, that medical science in heathen times was 
half priestly, half magical. Experience and higher culture gave 
the priests a knowledge of healing powers in nature, from the 
sacredness of their office proceeded salutary spells, the use of 
remedies was backed by sacrifice, nay, great cures and the avert 
ing of pestilence could only be effected by sacrifice. Thus all 
through the Mid. Ages we find the Christian priests also possess 
ors, above other men, of medicine and the art of using it. Yet 
some part of the old pagan science passed into the hands of wise 
men and women, who by retaining superstitious rites, and mis 
using real remedies, incurred the reproach of sorcery. Like 
witchcraft (p. 1038-9), and for the same reasons, the old ways of 
healing fell mainly into the hands of women (see Suppl.) . 

A physician was called in Goth, lekeis, OHG. Idhhi, AS. Icece, 
ON. Iceknir, Iceknari, 1 Swed. Idkare, Dan. Idge ; the Engl. leech 
lias sunk into the sense of peasant or cattle doctor. The MHG. 
Idchencere, Idcliencerinne meant sorcerer, sorceress (p. 1037), 
though still perhaps implying the use of remedies, as in lachenen 
und fiirsehen/ Superst. D, 38 r., and lecken = healing, Quedlinb. 
witch-trials p. 77. From Teutonic nations the word must in very 
early times have spread to Slavs, Lithuanians, Finns : O.SL, Boh., 
Russ. lekar 9 , Serv. liekar, Pol. lekarz, Lith. lekorus, Fin. Iddkdri; 
or can we have got it from the Slavs ? I have tried to shew a 
Teutonic root for it no. 300, a Slavic might be harder to find : 
to SI. liek, lek (remedium) answers our OHG. lahhan. Other 

1 Lfeknis heudur ; laeknir vera, ok kunna sar at sin, 1 Scorn. 194-5*. 


names are taken from the notion of helping, bettering, as Letan, 
boten (mederip. 1036) ; ON. groefta (sanare), grceftari (chirurgus, 
medicus), from groS (growth, getting on, gain) ; MHG. heilzere 
(medicus), Karl 45. Our arzt appears already in OHG. as arzdt, 
0. iii, 14, 11, MHG. arzet, M.Nethl. ersetre, Diut. 2, 223 a ; 
O.Fr. artous, art ox ; the root seems to be the Lat. ars, though 
arzat cannot come straight from artista. 1 The Prov. metges, 
Ferabr. 547. 1913, mege (Raynouard 3, 173), O.Fr. mires, mirre 
are from medicus. 2 The ON. HP imputed to Brynhild is better 
spelt lyf, being the Goth, lull (which I infer from lubja-leisei, 
herb-leasing = (pap^aKela, Gal. 5, 20), OHG. luppi, MHG. liippe ; 
from the sense of permissible, healing (^dpfjiatcov, arose that of 
poisonous, magical, just as our gift meant at first donum, then 
venenum. The luppari (veneficus) has a luppara (venefica) to 
match him, the herb-man his herb-woman, herbaria, pharmaceu- 
tria. In Saxo Gram. 16 a maiden cures wounds, at 25 he calls 
Wecha medico, ; and Thorlacius in Obs. 4, 279 has collected other 
instances of women healers. 3 Amongst our peasantry there are 
old women still who profess boten/ stroking, pouring, and charm 
ing by spells (Sup. I, 515. 865). It is remarkable that healing 
spells can only be handed down from women to men, or from 
men to women (I, 793; conf. p. 1107) : we have seen how so 
ancient a worthy as Wate had learnt his art of a woman. It is 
principally shepherds that now pass for cunning mediciners (Sup. 
L, 35 French) ; formerly any kind of herdsmen and hunters : 
bubulcus, subulcus, venator/ C, int. 43. In the Mid. Ages 
itinerant leeches went about the country cheapening their drugs 
and skill to the people, usually attended by a man who played 
amusing tricks ; for proofs see RutebeuPs Diz de 1 erberie (Meoii 
nouv. rec. 1, 185191 ; ceuvres 1, 250-9; simil. in 1, 468477), 
and the Easter play in Hoffm. Fundgr. 2, and in 0. Boh. in 
Hanka 7, 198. These vagrant herbalists, quacks, lithotornists, 

1 Temperie (medicine) ftz wiirze kraft, Parz. 643. 23. Lahhinonto temperan- 
do^ conf. Mous. 393. [Arz-at, ers-etre are prob. from apx-ia-rpos : the Greek prefix 
arch- becomes erz- in German words. TRANS.] 

3 The Ed. of the Gariu 2, 89 would derive mire from the Arabic emir ; but a 
Fr. r is often developed out of d, t, as lerre latro, beurro butyrum [these by assimil. 
with an r already present] . 

3 Pomp. Mela 3, 6 of Gaulish women : putabantur ingeniis singularibus 
praeditae, et sanare quae apud alios insanalilia sunt ; whereas at Eome we niid 
women forbidden to treat certain diseases. 


are a mine of information on the methods of popular leechcraft. 
Greg. Tur. 9, 6 mentions a conjuror and doctor Desiderius, who 
wore a coat of goat s hair; the 0. Slav, bali means physician, but 
strictly conjuror, Glagolita 67 b (see Sup pi.). 

Crescentia, a pious persecuted saint, receives from Peter or 
Mary, who fill exactly the place of pagan gods, the gift of healing 
all diseases, Kolocz. 267, or ace. to the 0. Fr. poem (Meon n. r. 
2, 71-3) only leprosy. She herself might pass perfectly for a wise 
woman, and is actually charged with being a sorceress. Queens 
too in ancient times are credited with power to quench certain 
maladies by their touch : in Rother 32 b . 33 a the queen strokes 
the lame and crooked with a stone; and a similar virtue was 
ascribed to hereditary sovereigns of France and England (Hone s 
Yrbk p. 799). If a woman has had seven sons in succession, 
the seventh can heal all manner of hurt (Sup. I, 786) ; by Ettner s 
Hebamme 906, MaulafFe 699, his touch cures wens at the throat. 
French Sup. L, 22 makes it the fifth son. There is no end of 
superstitions about this seventh or fifth son : in E. Friesland they 
say he becomes a walrider ; does that mean one who rides to the 
foughten field? conf. wel-recke, p. 418n. What seems a counter 
part of it is, that when 7 girls running are born of one marriage, 
one of them becomes a werwolf, I, 1121. A child that has never 
known its father is able to disperse tumours (fortdre les loupes), 
L, 21. A firstborn child, that has come into the world with 
teeth, can cure a bad bite, K, 29. 37. All this borders closely on 
the power to bequeath or transfer the gift of prophecy and the 
art of weather-making, pp. 1088. 1107: the healing art was as much 
sacerdotal as the business of fortune-telling (see Suppl.). 

The distinction between sacrifice and healing would perhaps be 
stated most correctly by saying, the one was aimed at sickness 
threatened, the other at sickness broken out. Preventive sacri 
ficial rites have no doubt been preserved longest in pastoral life : 
herdsmen made their cattle run through the flames, once a year, 1 

1 One Roman rite I quote from Cato de re rust. 83 : Votum pro bubus, ut vale- 
ant, sic facito. Marti tiiivano in silva interdius, in capita singula bourn votum 
facito, f arris adorei libras iii. et lardi p. iv s. et pulpae iv s., vini sextarios tres. Id 
in unum vas liceto conjicere, et vinum item in unum vas liceto conjicere. Earn 
rem divinam vel servus v el liber licebit faciat. Ubi res divina facta erit, statiru 
ibidem consumito. fthdier ad earn rem divinam ne adsit, neve videat quornodo nat. 
Hoc votum in annos singulos, si voles, licebit vovere. 


or whenever pestilence approached. But sacrifices were also 
performed in severe cases of actual sickness. 

Our medical learning of today, as it did not proceed from the 
people, has by degrees banished nearly all our native names for 
diseases, and replaced them by Greek or Latin words. But as 
those names often bring us face to face with old-world notions 
about sickness and its cure, it will be needful to present at any 
rate the most important. 

In the Mid. Ages hrank has only the sense of debilis, infirmus, 
OHG. wana-heil, not of aeger, for which the term was siech, Goth. 
sinks, OHG. sioli ; hence morbus was expressed not by krankheit, 
but by sucht, Goth, sauhts, OHG. suht, ON. sott, whereas now we 
attach to sucht the moral notion of hankering, and only retain its 
old meaning in a few compounds such as schwindsucht, gelbsucht, 
etc. There is the same relation between the ON. fir a (desiderium, 
aegritudo animi) and lilcpra (lepra), conf. Sw. tra, helletra, Dan. 
traa, helletraa, DV. 2, 180. General words, expressing also the 
bodily pain of sickness, are OHG. suero, MHG. swer, and OHG. 
MHG. we, wetago, wetage (like our siechtage) . But a sick man is 
also called in OHG. bettiriso (clinicus), 0. iii. 14, 67; MHG. 
betterise, Parz. 502, 1. 813, 16 ; AS. beddrida bedridden: a term 
specially used of men enfeebled by age, der alte betterise/ who 
can no longer rise out of bed. In Scand. this painless ailment of 
great age was called Ana sott, from king On or Ani, who had 
secured long life by sacrificing his sons (p. 46), and at last lived 
on milk like a child again, Yngl. saga cap. 29 (see Suppl.) . 

It was Christian to hold sickness a dispensation of God, heathen 
ish to see in it the handiwork of sprites, and something elvish. 
Accordingly it is personified : it comes upon, surprises, attacks, 
seizes, takes hold of, overpowers man : Saifiav eVe ^ae, arvyepbs 
Se ol e%pae ^ai^juwv, Od. 5, 396 [the daemon afflicts ; in the next 
line the gods heal]. In the Hel. 92, 1 : f mid suhtium bifangan, 
bedrogan hebbiad sie dernea wihti. thea wredon habbiad sie 
giwittiu benumune ; and in Versus Hartmanni (Canisius ii. 3, 
203 : fugit pestis ab homine, quam daemon saevus miserat/ No 
wonder that in the Edda an oath is exacted from diseases, as 
from living creatures, to do no harm to Balder, Sn. 64. Like 
death or destiny (p. 406), pestilence carries off : suht farnam/ 


Hel. 125, 20; in the Swed. oath <tra mig! we must supply 
f tage take : ita me morbus auferat ! In the Cod. Vindob. th. 
428 no. 94 I find the phrase eine suht ligen, zwo suht ligen/ to 
lie one sickness, two s. ; sich in die suht legen/ lay oneself (lie 
down) into, Eeinh. 302. 320. 

This daemonic nature of diseases makes people call them by 
friendly flattering names to keep them away, just as they do to 
horrible uncanny beasts, and avoid uttering their right name ; 
they call a disease the good, the blessed, Schm. 2, 87. 3, 212. 222, 
and the pestilence is addressed as gossip. There will be more 
examples to quote in speaking of particular diseases (see Suppl.). 

Fever, OHG. fiebar, AS. frfor ; Goth, h&ito, Mat. 8, 15 and 
brinno, Mk I, 31. Lu. 4, 38, both for Trupero?, and both fern.; 
OHG. has no corresp. hiza, prinna. The Swiss have hitz and 
brand (Tobler 74 a ), and the AS. ddl, Beow. 3469. 3692 seems 
to be burning fever, from ad ignis, so that the OHG. would be 
eital. An OHG. rito masc., Gl. Mons. 391, from ritan to ride, 
not from ridan to writhe, as fever does not twist like the cramp ; 
and the AS. word should be spelt rida, not wrr<$a ; Lye has 
riderocF febris. It is imagined as an elf who rides the man with 
rein and spur : f der alp zoumct dich/ bridles thee ; der mar 
ritet dich/ p. 464; ON. ( mara fomThann/ Yngl. s. cap. 16; der 
rite bestuont in/ stood upon him, Alex. 2208. In En. 10834 
and Eracl. 3166 suht, fieber, rite are named side by side, are 
therefore distinct; in En. 10350 suht und rite ; 9694 suht 
mid. fie her ; 9698 diu minne tuot kalt und heiz mer dan der 
viertage rite/ love makes hot and cold like the quartan ague. 
In curses : habe den riden und die suht umb dinen hals ! about 
thy neck, Morolt 715. die suht an iwern losen kragen ! your 
unruly neck, Reinh. p. 302-12. nu muoze der leide ride vellen ! 
sore fever fell him, Karlmeinet 110. Ride seems to be especially 
ague, which is sometimes called frurer, Sup. I, 183; though we 
also hear of ritten frost and ritten hitze. Imprecations com 
mon in the 15- 16th cent, are : may the ritt shake you, thejarritt 
(yearlong fever), the gcehe rite (swift r.) be at you ! May the 
ritt shake you to your bones/ Garg. 96 a . Ins ritts namen habt 
rhu/ H. Sachs iii. 3, 10 C . They said: whence brings him the 
ritt? the same as the devil, p. 1113. Boner s well-told Fable 
48 deserves attention : the rite appears in person (in what shape ?) -J 


and holds a dialogue with the flea. It is plainly [not ?] of Mid. 
Age invention ; Petrarch epist. 3, 13 relates it of the spider and 
the gout, and calls it anilis fabella. In Bavaria fever is personi 
fied as leutelmann, shaker, Schm. 1, 219; a spell against fever 
speaks of 72 fevers. Russian superstition supposes nine sisters 
who plague mankind with fevers ; they lie chained up in caverns, 
and when let loose, pounce upon men without pity (Gotze s 
Russ. volksl. p. 62). My explanation acquires certainty from 
the Esthonian phrase ay an walged, ay an liallif I ride the white, 
I ride the gray, i.e. I have the ague (Rosenplanter s Beitr. 12, 

The Greek eVtaXr?;?, e ^aA/r???, literally on-leaper, was a dae 
monic incubus, an alp, elf, who causes the feverish oppression 
of nightmare ; and ^TrtaA,?;?, ^TrtoX?/? nightmare, and ?;7r/aA,o9, 
?;7rtoXo9 fever, fever-chill, meant the same thing, though gram 
marians tried to separate them by difference of accent. Add to 
this, that in Aristot. hist. an. 8, 26 T/Tr/oXo? turns up in the sense 
of butterfly, and the notions of spirit, elf and butterfly constantly 
run into one another (pp. 829. 917). In Lith., drugis is butterfly 
and fever-bird, in Lett., drudsis flying moth and fever. Lith. 
druggis kreczia, Lett, drudsis kratta; the fever shakes (one). 

An AS. manuscript on diseases and remedies quoted by Wanley 
pp. 176180 (conf. supra p. 140) has at p. 180 celf-ddle hecedom, 
cure for elf-burn, celfcynne-sealf, elf-salve, nihtgengean sealf, 
night-wives salve. 1 Elsewhere I find an ailment celf-sidenne. 

By the red and the white dog in Ettner s Unw. doctor 436 we 
prob. are to understand measles or rose-rash; red dog again in 
the Leipz. avanturier 1, 86. The Persians call scarlet-fever 
a/, and picture it as a rosy maid with locks of flame, Atkinson 
p. 49. 50 (see Suppl.). 

By gout (gicht f.) we understand a pain in the limbs, arthritis ; 
in older Germ, it was neuter : daz gegihte brichet (breaks) sie/ 
a. Heinr. 886. Ulr. Trist. 1461. daz gegihte brach ir hend 
und fiieze/ Rab. 1060; hence our gicht-lruchig, palsied. daz 
wiietende gihte, Renner 9904. As we also find darm-gicht (in 
testinal g.) for colic, and sun-giht on p. 61 7n. meant the sun s 

1 Ibid. wiS felfcynnesealf and wi3 nihtgengan, and t>am monuom }>e deofol 
mid hound", against elf-salve and nightgangers and the men the devil homes (con 
sorts) with (sup. p. 890). 

VOL. III. c 


gait, going, turning, I think giclit was a general term denoting 
the shooting, twisting and tugging of pain in the body ; and a 
derivative corresp. to the Goth, galits (innagahts, Gramm. 3, 
518). M. Nethl. jicht, Icel. ikt, Sw. gild, Dan. gigt. The Gothic 
renders TrapaXvriKos by us-lifra, as if beside one s limbs, having 
no use of them ; an OHG. urlido is not found. Ein siechtuom 
heizet^>of/ra = leme, a lame palsied state, Parz. 501, 26 is a 
corruption of podagra, which was also twisted into podagram. 
More Teut. are fuoz-suht, AS. fot-ddl (podagra) ; zipperlein I 
do not find before the 16th cent. M. Nethl. fledersin, flederdne 
(arthritis), Leven van Jesus p. 52, and ( fl. in vote ende in lede/ 
Doctrinale 3, 1030; in D Arsy s Woordenboeck, Amst. 1699, 
f fledecijn, flerecijn, la goutte (chiragra) ; did the word mean a 
moth or butterfly that brought on the disease ? (see Suppl.). 

The flying gout that shifts from one part to another (arthritis 
vaga) was called in N. Germany (Holstein, the Baltic coast), at 
least as late as the 17th cent., dat varende, lopende deer/ and 
in some parts of L. Sax. and Westph. de varen, de varende, de 
lopende varen, the faring, running (sprites or things). So that 
this disease again was regarded as a spiritual- animal being which 
had been conjured into the body. Still plainer are the names 
die fliegenden elbe, die gute ~kinderen 3 (Brunswk), ( die gute 
holde (abt Gottingen), exactly what the elvish things were 
called that witches conjured into people (p. 1074). And they 
likewise were imagined in the form of butterflies or worms, which 
caused gnawing pains and swellings in the joints of the hands 
and feet. 1 The disease being an obstinate one, and often hard 
to cure, the common people set it down as the work of witches. 
It is also called the hair-worm, and in the Netherlands jumping 
gout. A spell classifies gouts as running, staying, trembling, 
evening, and growing gegicht. 

But the operations of the holden must have been far more 
extensive, and concerned in many more diseases. Tfie Hollenzopf, 
Wichtelzopf (plica polon.) was spoken of, pp. 464. 474. In Kuss. 
the plica is volosets, which borders on Volos p. 625 n., but comes 
from volos, vlas, hair. A witch confessed (Voigt s Abh. p. 122) 

1 Joh. Weyer s Arzneibucli (J. Wier, Piscinarius, b. at Grave in Brab. 1515, d. 
at Tecklenb. 1588), Frkft 1583, p. 27. Henr. Meibom de arthritide vaga scorbutina, 
Helmest. 1668. 1, cap. 1. 


that there were nine sorts of holdichen : the riding, splitting, 
blowing, wasting, flying, swelling, deaf, dumb, blind. 

The Poles also call worms that breed diseases in man biale 
ludzie, white folk, i.e. elves (Biester s Neue Berl. mon. schr. 
1802. 8,230). 

We apply the term fluss (rheuma) to several morbid affections, 
some slight, others dangerous to life, as stickfluss catarrh, schlag- 
fluss apoplexy. The latter is said to touch, hit, strike ; MHG. 
der Gotes slac (stroke) ; later, die gewalt (might) Gottes, die hand 
Gottes, Ettn. unw. doct. 224. traf mich Gottes gewalt = 1 had a 
stroke, Brunsw. anz. 1745. p. 2022 (from Life of Mat. Schwarz, 
an. 1547) ; conf. supra p. 19n. Yet the stroke of God 1 ex 
presses also the quickness and ease of this mode of death (mors 
lenis repentina), compared with those that chain us long to a 
bed of pain : hence another name for apoplexy was das selig, 
the blessed. We may compare the dwarf- stroke, dverg-slagr, 
palsy, p. 461. The Bohemians distinguish Bozj moc (God s 
might) epilepsy, from Bozj ruka (God s hand) apoplexy (see 

The term falling sickness for epilepsy occurs as early as Diut. 
2, 193 b , valjandia suht (caducum morbum) ; f daz fallende 
ubel/ Fundgr. 325 ; < fallender siechtag, Hutten 5, 171. Other 
wise : the sorrow, the misery, the sore trouble, the evil being, the 
scourge, the weed (Jul. Schmidt p. 136). M. Nethl. vallende evel, 
Mod. Nethl. vallende ziekte, Sint Jans evel, grot evel, gramschap 
Goods, wrath of God, Huyd. op St. 1, 569. In Melander s Joco- 
ser. 1, 434: may the gmicken touch you! gnuk being LG. 
for knock. The tropf has touched him, Erasm. Alberus 39, 
i.e. the stroke [apoplexy ?] ; M. Lat. gutta, gutta cadiva, 0. Fr. 
la goute: < cheent de gote, 3 Ken. 25203, brought on by holding 
the plompe (lotus, p. 654) in the hand. A particular species of 
the drop occurs under the name of nesch or nescli-tropf. Schmid s 
Swab. Diet, gives from a MS. nascli as hiccough, singultus, 
which (like sneezing, p. 1116) seems to have been regarded as 
a mild case of apoplexy; Popowitsch p. 511 quotes noschtn as 
hiccough, and in OHG. we find nescazan as well as fnescazan, 
singultire, Graff 3, 782. I derive them all from the Goth, h^iasqus 

y, II. 12, 37. 13, 812 ; but not meaning a disease. 


mollis, delicatus, AS. Imesc [Engl. nesh, SI. nezhno], to which 
also belongs OHG-. hnascon, nascon, our naschen, to have a sweet 
tooth. Mone s anz. 6, 463 pronounces nosch-tropf to be flying 
gout, and gives a -nosch-segen (-charm) : I command thee, nosch f 
with all thy fellows, for with thee are the stcch and the Icrampf, 
gespat, geschoss, geiclit and gesu-M. A further charm speaks of 
77 noschen: we will go into the man s house, and suck his 
blood and gnaw his bones and eat his flesh ; but they get 
conjured into a withered tree. A severer, longer ailment than 
hiccough seems to be meant ; Mone connects nosch with nesso 
in the OS. spell, but a LG. ss answers to a HG. lis, not to sk, 
sell ; to me the connexion of the word with naschen, explain it 
how you will, seems indisputable: so dich diu suht benasche 
(nibble at), daz dir hut und Mr abe go I skin and hair come off 

(see Suppl.)- 

Krampf, spasm, convulsion, in children usually freise, freisig, 
gefrais, Sup. I, 474. 722, frasel, Jul. Schmidt p. 121. 137. 
Schauerchen, LG. schiirTcm (jumping toothache, tic douloureux), 
liter, little shiver, twitch. But freis, frais often stands for 
epilepsy too (Abele s Gerichtsh. 2, 429. 4, 218. 311). 

Leib-weh, grimmen (krimmen, Nethl. krimpen), gripes, belly 
ache; die obere grimme, manns-mutter (Wier 107 a ) ; hachmutter, 
barmund, barmutter, Staid. 1, 136; the bermuttcr has bit me/ 
I have the colic, Schm. 1, 217; Austr. bervatcr and bermutter 
(Hofer 1, 77-8) ; tvdrmund, Staid. 1, 334; tribe, Fundgr. 321, 9 

also means colic ace. to Hoffm. Ruhr (dysentery), durchlauf, 

darmgicht (ace. to Gloss. Flor. 984 a ) uzsuht, Gl. Flor. 984 a zuzsuht ; 
further, in Staid, aussucht (diarrh.). Rothe ruhr (bloody flux), 
der rothe schaden (Anshelm 3, 236). 

Lungensiiclit, AS. lungenadl (pneumonia); ( scliwinge- oder- 
lunge-sucht 3 in Schweinichen 2, 256 is surely for schwinde- i In 
Austria der scliwund our schwind-sucht consumption ; Abele s 
Gerichtsh. 2, 303 says it seizes an ell s length of gut every year. 

Seiten-stechcn (pleuritis), OHG. stechido ; M. Nethl. lanc-evel, 
Rein. 5401. Huyd. op St. 1, 569, from lane, Fr. flanc, OHG. 
lancha = ilia, lumbus, but I have not found an OHG. lanch-upil 
inorbus ilium. 

Wasser-sucld, dropsy. OHG. has also wazar-chalp (water-calf) 
hydrops, Diut. 2, 181. Mone 8, 494; couf. mond-kalb (mola, 


caro in utero nascens), Melander s Joe. ii. no. 450, Engl. moon 
calf, misbirth, about which there must be some floating mythical 
notions, for we also find a proper name Sonneiikalb, and aber- 
kalb, afterkalb or eberkalb means an illegitimate child (see 

For abortus we have inisgeburt, fehlgeburt, miskram ; verbs : 
to upset, tip over, spill, etc. f zy heft de kar omgeworpen/ 
Tuinman s Spreekw. 1, 88 ; tis gone wrong with her, Schwein. 
2, 314, conf. 321 ; not straight, Kantzow 2, 30; Dan. f at giore 
omslag ; of proper birth : to bring to the (right) place. Esth. 
tiiyad nurgad (empty corners), mooncalf ; f ulle katte minnema/ 
slip out of (miss) the hands, opp. to last polwede pealet tostma/ 
get (lift) the child on the knee. We have : there s a row/ 
the house cracks (the birth is near), the house has tumbled 
(it is over), Sachs, prov. blatt. 14, 127 ; the oven breaks down/ 
Schra. 1, 33. In MHGr. diu kamer wart entlochen/ unlocked, 
Mar. 46. Bermutter, which is used of colic, strictly denotes the 
hysterica passio, and is represented not only as a toad, Schrn. 1, 
188, but as a mouse that runs out of the body, and has a sword 
laid across the stream for it, Ettn. hebamme p. 194-5, as in the 
superstition described above, p. 1082 (see Suppl.). 

Herz-gespan, tension of heart (cardialgia), herz-spann, Sup. I, 
873. 949, otherwise herz-weh, herz-kulk (ventriculi colica): some 
thing lies and stands before my heart/ MHGr. herze-swer ; swcr- 
mage, Diut. 2, 273. This is not the same thing as the heart- 
worm, of which it is vulgarly supposed that every man has one 
in him, and would die if it crept out of his mouth (Ettn. hebamme 
p. 890), or got on his tongue, Chr. Weise s Drei kliigste leute 
pp. 8. 9. The ancients called a swelling of the tongue ^drpa^o^ 
and rana. The heiss-hunger (hot-), fiov\t/j,os, appetitus caninus, 
was also accounted for by an animal: vermis lacertae similis in 
stomacho hominis habitat/ Gl. Jun. 381. wir suln uns alle 
brceten, den zadelwurm tceten (kill) der uns dicke hat genagen/ 
oft has gnawed us, Seifr. Helbl. 3, 247. 

Headache, houbit-we, Fundgr. 320-1; houbit-suht, Diut. 270; 
fart-en, Sup. I, 865. peril, the < ffiren of p. 1156. Tobe-suht 
(amentia), Iw. 3233, brain-sickness. Wirbel-sucht, vertigo, I, 

OHG. huosto, cough, MUG. huoste, our huste (in Zurich wiieste), 


ON. hosti, AS. hivusta, Engl. whoost. A. cold in the head : 
schnupfe, schnaube, schnuder, in Switz. pfiviisel; Hildegard has 
naseboz, coryza. MHG. struche, Fundgr. 321, 1. Ls. 1, 403-4. 
Hoarseness : Jcrammo, Fdgr. 322. Catarrh : OHG. tamplio, Graff 
5, 142, dumpho in Hildeg. St. Anthony s fire (because healed in 
his hospitals?) : rothlauf, in Switz. ivolken, fliegende wolke, flying 
cloud, Staid. 2, 456 (see Suppl.). 

Gelbsuht, elephantiasis in Gl. Mons. 384 ; our yelbsucht is the 
jaundice. To fasten yellow smocks on folk/ is that to conjure 
the jaundice into them ? Gelesuht and ficli are ficus inorbus, 
piles, AS.fic-adl; in Altd. bl. 2, 199 der rot vich for haemor 
rhoids; in Helbl. 2, 1190 der rote siechtuom und daz vie inacht 

iuch bleich unde gel/ OHG. misal-suht (lepra), Graff 2, 875 ; 

Goth, pruts-fill, which in Gramm. 2, 20 I traced correctly to 
]?riutan [to trouble, tease, our driessen, verdrass], and 2, 598 
recognised }?ruts as anoin. Gen. for ]?rutis. pruts is torment, 
vexation, and applied to sickness, leprosy ; the OHG. form would 
be druzis-fel. In Slavic languages trud is trouble and illness, 
the Boh. trud having exactly the two meanings of dolor and 
lepra, Pol. trad eruption. OHG. hriupi (scabies), ruda (impetigo), 
Gl. Flor. 988 b , zittarlus, tetter-louse, ringworm (impetigo), Diut. 
1, 496 b . A modern slang term is schneider-courage (Adelung v. 
kratze), schneider-kurzweil, tailor s pastime (Ettn. unw. doct. 
349). The AS. yic&a (scabies, impetigo), Engl. itch, is the OHG. 
juchido, Graff 1, 593. The rose (erysipelas), running fire, ignis 
sacer (Ivonis epist. p. 85 a . 184 b ), OHG. omo, AS. oma, ON. dma. 
Of red spots on a child s face they say the Jiidel has burnt 
him/ Sup. 1, 473. AS. peor,freoriveorc is inflammation, peorwyrm 
impetigo vermicularis l (see Suppl.). 

Stone, gravel, calculorum dolor: in Gotz. v. Berlich. 103, der 
reissende (tearing) stein. 

A sort of excrescence or fungus (suam) was called mal-annus 
(das libel jar), Spell VII; in Ratherii opp. ed Ballerini p. 15: 
carbunculi vel malae pustulae, quern malum vulgo dicunt 
inalampnum. 3 And the plant used in healing it bore the name 
of malannus too, OHG. achalm, Graff 1, 132 (see Suppl.). 

1 The Greeks too fancied the impetigo was caused by a small beetle. Pliny 27, 
11 (75) : lapis vulgaris juxta flumina fert museum siccum, canum ; hie fricatur altero 
lapide, addita hominis saliva; illo lapide tangitur impetigo. Qui taugit, dicit, 
0eyyere, Kavdapides, \VKOS (iyptos tffj./j.e 5tw/cet, beetles begone, the wild wolf chases you. 


Many other names of diseases I suppress ; a still greater 
number must have eluded my research. My design was, out of 
this neglected mine of wealth in our language to bring specimens 
that should prove what mythical fancies the people associated 
with the origin of diseases. Like other evils, they seemed to be 
destined and devised by gods, spirits, magicians ; nay, to become 
themselves malign living agents (p. 1153). Much remains 
obscure : what is meant by iilfheit, that plague of plagues (p. 
442 n.)? what by the haupt-geschein which is exorcized in Ayrer s 
Fastn. sp. p. 148-9, and turns up in other stories too (Schm. 3, 
366) ? Now in Kenner 12180 we find ir habt daz houbt-geschide 3 
(rh. vermide), meaning apparently folly, infatuation. If head- 
sheen * be right, I would explain it by the OHG. houbet-skirno 
(capitis radii), N. Cap. 63 : for it is an ailment that throws a 
nimbus or nebula round one s head, and makes one see everything 
double; H. Sachs names it der plerr, augenplerr, ii. 2, 27 b . iii. 
3, 9 d . iv. 3, 13 a>b , and we still say die blerr kriegen/ to be lost in 
amazement [blurred?]. Eating chervil is supposed to produce 
this doubleness of vision, Fragm. 37 blC . Garg. 148 a . 

A Finnic song makes an old woman, Launawatar (Schro ter p. 
48 seq.) or Louhiatar (Kalev. 25, 107) become the mother of nine 
sons (like the nine holden above) : werewolf, snake, risi (?), 
lizard, nightmare, joint-ache, gout, spleen, gripes. These mala 
dies then are brothers of baneful monsters ; and in the song the 
last-named disorder is singled out for exorcism. 

The Mod. Greeks picture the smallpox as a woman frightful to 
children, and euphemistically name her o-vy^cope/nevrj indulgent, 
exorable (conf. ON. Eir), or more commonly ev\oyia one to be 
praised and blest (FauriePs Disc. prel. Ixxxv). 

One more disease has to be noticed, which from quite the early 
part of the Mid. Ages was ascribed to demonic diabolic agency. 
I begin with a passage in the Vita Caesarii Arelatensis (d. 542), 
said to have been written by his pupils Cyprianus, Messianus 
and Stephanus, lib. 2 cap. 14 (Acta Bened. sec. 1, p. 673) : Ille 
autem, quid infirmitatis haberet ? interrogavit. Dixerunt, dae- 
monium quod rustici Dianam appellant; quae sic affligitur, ut 
paene omnibus noctibus assidue caedatur, et saepe etiam in 
ecclesiam ducitur inter duos viros ut maneat, et sic flagris dia- 
bolicis occulte fatigatur, ut vox continua ejus audiatur. 


Oculis meis vidi plagas, quas ante aliquos dies in dorsum et in 
scapulas acceperat, in sanitatem venire, pridianas autem et in ipsa 
nocte impressas recentes inter illas intextas, quas prius perpessa 

fuerat. Greg. Tur. inir. 5, Mart. 4, 36 : Cum de cultura 

rediret, subito inter nianus delapsa comitantiura terrae corruit, 
ligataque lingua nullum verbum ex ore potens proferre, obmutuit. 
Interea accedentibus accolis ac dicentibus earn meridiani daemonis 
incursum pati, ligamina herbarurn atque incantationum verba 

proferebant/ Ducange has other passages sub v. daemon meri- 

dianus ; the name seems to have arisen out of Ps. 91, 6, where 
Notker translates mittetagigo tiefel/ whom Greek writers also 
call /jLeanfjL/Bpwbs Sai/ubwv : the disease must have been of an 
epileptic nature. The Bohemians name it polednice (meridian a), 
but the Poles Dziewanna (p. 993n.), which is Diana again, and as 
Diana often means the same thing as Holda, it is essential to 
remember that this goddess also loves to appear at the hour of noon 
(Praetor, weltbeschr. 1, 476), and that white ladies are seen at the 
same season (p. 963-4-6), whose original is Berhta the bright. So 
that the malady, can safely be traced to the operation of deities 
and elves. That here Holda and Berhta do strike in, has already 
been inferred on other grounds, p. 477-8, in speaking of the aunt 
in the rye, the woman in the wheat, who passes through the corn 
at noontide, like the Wendic pshi-polnitsa : some call her pshi- 
polontsa, she appears between 12 and 1 to labourers in heathy 
districts, especially to women weeding flax, she is clothed 
in white, and talks of flax-raising, how it is planted, reared, 
worked and spun ; she is said to have wrung the necks of women 
that would not answer her ; the people dread her, and are glad 
she has not shown herself this long while past. Observe, that in 
Gregory too the demon appeared to the woman at her field labour, 
and she falls to the ground, as the Russian peasants do before the 
( weeping widow who breaks their bones : in Gaul it was taken 
for a mental disorder. But in all these shapes of terror we can 
not fail to recognise the motherly divinity of the heathens. 

Of course, spirits have equally to do with animal diseases. An 
OS. formula adjures the nesso and his nine young ones to depart 
out of the flesh and skin of the spur-lamed horse. Dog s mad 
ness is said to come of a worm seated under the tongue, and this 
tollwurm can be cut out. One ailment of horses is called the 


Mowing worm (Spell XV), which reminds of the blowing holden, 
p. 1157. Another, of horses or of oxen, is the hunsche : Staid. 2, 
61 makes it burning of the spleen or cold tumour, otherwise called 
the evil wind/ Tobl. p. 70 ; in Lower Hesse it is swollen udder 
iu a cow, and the charm there muttered against it is : 

Die hiinsche und der drache (dragon) 

die giengen iiber die bache (beck) ; 

die hunsche die vertrank (was drowned, al. verschwank 

der drache der versank. 

A charm in Moneys Anz. 465 begins : there went three blessed 
virgins over a liiintschen hill, the hiintschen meets them, and one 
says, here is the hilntsche. 3 Certainly the word seems to contain 
the OHG. adj. hiinisc, MHG. hiunisch, and may refer to giants 
or to Huns (p. 523) ; the hiinische berg tells in favour of the 
first, in case a giant s mount is meant. Adelung writes der 
Jtintsch, and explains it as asthma. A LG. formula substitutes 
for hunsche slie, i.e. schleihe, tench (see Suppl.). In popular 
belief a witch can charm her elves or holden alike into man and 
beast. The Servians call an incurable disease in sheep metil. 
They say, once the Germans having caught the Devil, asked him 
what was a cure for the metil ? He answered, when all the 
sheep were dead but one, they must carry the remaining one 
round the pen, and then no more would die but that one (Vvik 
sub v.). In other cases the first head of cattle that falls is to be 
buried, and a willow shoot be planted on the mound. 

As the several diseases and plagues were ordained and sent by 
gods or daemons, there were also special remedies and cures that 
proceeded from such higher beings first of all. In the Catholic 
superstition of the later Mid. Ages there had grown up a regular 
system, as to which particular saint, male or female, was to be 
invoked for the several pains and sorrows of almost every limb in 
the body 1 (see Suppl.). 

Out of a mass of superstitious modes of healing, I select the 

A very ancient custom was, to measure the patient, partly by 

1 Haupt s Zeitsclir. 1, 1-13-4. Roquefort sub v. inal. 


way of cure, partly to ascertain if the malady were growing or 
abating. We might even quote the Bible under this head, 1 Kgs 
17, 21. 2 Kgs 4, 34, where Elijah and Elisha measure them 
selves over the lifeless child, and thereby restore him to life. 
And the practice of measuring the limbs when handing tapers up 
to the altar (Diut. 2, 292) is worth considering, though it is 
supposed rather to keep away coming evils. In the Bihtebuoch 
p. 46 the question is asked : ob du ie geloubetost an hecse und 
an lachenerin und an segenerin, und ob du taste daz si dir rieten 
(got them to advise thee) ? und ob du ie gesegnet oder gelachent 
wurde oder yemezen wurde, und ob du ie bekort wurde ? In 
Ls. 3, 9 a woman, wishing to fool her husband, says : tuo dich 
her, Id dich mezzen/ come and be measured ; then also lang ich 
in maz, unz er allez vergaz/ I measured him till he forgot every 
thing. Another, who wants to persuade her husband that he is 
niht guoter sinne/ not of sound mind, says to him, Cod. kolocz. 

So habt her, und Lett inch mezzen, 
ob ihtes (aught) an iu si vergezzen. 
Sie was ungetriuwe, 
sie nam ir risen (rods) niuwe, 
sie maz in ndch der lenge, 
do was ez im ze enge, 
sie maz im twerhes (across) iiber houpt : 
f swaz ich spriche, daz geloupt, 
blaset dar durch (blow thro these) mit gewalt/ 
sie nam die risen zwivalt, 
und tret mir uf den rehten fuoz, 

so wirt iu iuwer siihte buoz ( twill boot your sickness) ; 
ir suit iuch in daz bette legen 
und suit iuch niergen regen (not stir), 
biz daz ir derhitzet (till you get warm) 
und ein wenc (a little) erswitzet, 
so ezzet drithalp rockenkorn (2J grains of rye), 
so wirt iuwer suht gar verlorn/ 

Renn. 12183: strecket inch nider, und led inch mezzen This 
measuring is also quoted among sorceries (Sup. D, 38 r. 140 r.). 


Pregnant women measure a wick the length of the saint s image, 
and tie it round their body (F, 31). Wier s Arzneibuch p. 31-3 
mentions a disease called in the Treves country nacht-grif 
(brought on by the grip of a night-spirit ?) ; to ascertain its 
presence, you proceed thus : draw the sick man s belt about his 
naked body, lengthwise and breadthwise, then take it off, and 
hang it on a nail with the words God, I pray thee by the 
three virgins Margarita, Mariamagdalena and Ursula, be pleased 
to vouchsafe a sign upon the sick man, if he have the nightgrip 
or no ; then measure again, and if the belt be shorter than 
before, it is a sign of the said sickness. By the Schles. prov. bl. 
1798. 27, 16 20, scarce a village in the Liegnitz country but 
has its messerin, always an old woman. When she is asked to 
say whether a person is in danger from consumption, she takes 
a thread and measures the patient, first from head to heel, then 
from tip to tip of the outspread arms ; if his length be less than 
his breadth, then he is consumptive : the less the thread will 
measure his arms, the farther has the disease advanced ^conf. 
p. 1158) ; if it reaches only to the elbow, there is no hope for him. 
The measuring is repeated from time to time : if the thread 
stretches, and reaches its due length again, the danger is 
removed. The wise woman must never ask money for her 
trouble, but take what is given. The Mark, forschungen 1, 247 
says a woman is stript, and measured with a piece of red yarn 
spun on a Sunday. Compare the measuring of corn and water, 
Sup. I, 258. 953, and supra p. 491-7 (see Suppl.). 

Much can be done by stroking and binding. A patient s body 
is commonly stroked with the hand or sleeve or the back of a 
knife ; often a thread is also tied round the part affected, or the 
medicine tied on by it. Of this binding more hereafter. 

In Poland, when the white folk (biale ludzie, p. 1157) torment 
a sick man, a bed of pease-halm is made, a sheet spread over it, 
and the patient laid thereon ; then a person walks round him, 
carrying a sieve-ful of ashes on his back, letting the ashes run 
out, till the floor all round the bed is covered with them. The 
first thing in the morning they count all the lines in the ashes, 
and some one goes silently, greeting no one on the way, and 
reports the same to the wise woman, who prescribes accordingly 
(Biester s Mou. schr. as above). The spirits leave their tracks in 


the ashes, which are strewn as for the earth-mannikin p. 451 n. ; 
conf. Sup. M, 40 (see Suppl.). 

Oa the drawing and pouring of water by the wise woman, 
see Sup. I, 515. 865. Charming of apoplexy by a hatchet on tlie 
threshold, G, line 70. 

The efficacy of fire and flame was proved on envenomed 
wounds, by burning them out ; Saem. 27 b already mentions eldr 
viS sottum/ fire against sicknesses. On erysipelas they struck 
fire [out of flint], Sup. I, 71 0. To insure cattle against fire, they 
drove them over the holy need fire, p. 604 seq. (see Suppl.). 

An old cure for fever was, to lay the child on the oven or the 
roof: f mulier si qua filium suum ponit supra tectum (conf. p. 1116) 
aut i?i fornacem pro sanitate febrium/ Sup. C, 10, 14. posuisti 
infantem tuum juxta ignem, C, p. 200 a . If a child does not get 
bigger, it has the elterlein (elderling) ; push it into the baking- 
oven a few times, and the elterlein will leave it, I, 75. This 
mode of cure follows the plan of goddesses and night-wives in 
laying children by the flame, p. 1059. 

A salutary process for children and cattle was to make them 
walk or creep through tunnelled earth, hollow stones or a cloven 
tree. This either prevented or neutralized all magic, or worked 
homeopathically. So early as the Canones Edgari, ace. to the 
AS. version in Thorpe p. 396 : treow-wurSunga and stan- 
wurSunga and j?one deofles crsef t, J?eer rna pa did purli pa eorffan 
tihff. Mulieres, quae habent vagientes infantes, effodiuni 
ierram et ex parte pertusant earn, et per illud foramen pertrahunt 
iufantem/ Sup. A. Nurses take a new-born babe and thrust it 
through a hole, G, line 137; a child that will not learn to walk 
is made to crawl under blackberry -vines fixed in the soil at both 
ends, I, 818. Sheep, when sick, have to creep through the cleft 
of a young oak : nullus praesumat pecora per cavain arborem aut 
per terrain for at am transire/ A. 

Perforated stones are occasionally mentioned in early records : 
from pyrelan staue/ Kemble 2, 29 (an. 847) ; ( durihilin stein/ 
MB. 2, 296 (an. 1130). Ital. pietra pertusa. Some are called 
needles eyes, one of which stood between Hersfeld and Yacha 
near Friedewald; and they seem to have been placed on the 
former site of hollow trees, which were held in high esteem, 
but had died : Nadel-ohr est lapis perforatus, in locum arboris 


excayatae, in media silva veuatoribus ob ferarum silvestrium 
copiam frequente, a Mauritio Hassiae landgravio ad viam positus, 
per quern praetereuntes joci efc vexationis gratia proni perrepere 
solent/ l This handseling of huntsmen and travellers went on long 
after all faith in the healing power had evaporated. In Gaul 
it seerns to have kept a firmer hold, and taken a wider range ; 
e.g. in Poitou : les enfants trop faibles reprennent des forces, 
lorsqu ils ont ete assis dans le iron de la pierre saint Fesse; 
cette pierre informe placee an milieu d un champ est respectee 
par les laboureurs, et la charrue laisse un espace libre a Tentour/ 
Mem. des antiq. 8, 455 ; similar traditions ib. 1, 429. 430. 

This creeping through a gap in oak, earth or stone seemingly 
transferred the sickness or sorcery to the genius of the tree or 
soil. 2 From Magdeburg country I have heard the following: 
Let two brothers (if twins, the better) split a cherry-tree in the 
middle, and pull any sick child through, then bind the tree up 
again ; as the tree heals up, so will the child. Near Wittstock 
in the Altmark stood a stout gnarled oak, whose boughs had 
grown into and made holes in each other : the afflicted who crept 
through these holes recovered; all round the tree lay numbers 
of crutches that convalescent cripples had thrown away (Ternme 
p. 116-7). In Sweden these round openings in intertwisted 
boughs are called elf-lores, and women in labour are forced 
through them. We are not always told what diseases were 
cured by this method; here is a passage proving that as late 
as last century the English peasantry still practised it for 
ruptures: f lu a farmyard near the middle of Selborne (Hants) 
stands at this day a row of pollard-ashes, which, by the seams 
and long cicatrices down their sides, manifestly shew that in 
former times they have been cleft asunder. These trees, when 
young and flexible, were severed and held open by wedges, while 
ruptured children stript naked were pushed through the apertures, 
under a persuasion that by such a process the poor babes would 
be cured of their infirmity. As soon as the operation was over, 
the tree in the suffering part was plastered with loam, and care 

1 Pauli Hentzneri itinerar. (an. 1598-9), Breslau 1617 p 5 

2 KB., in the O.Fr. Tristan 132134 when the dwarf Frociue confides to the 
blackthorn the secret of king Mark having horse s ears, he first puts his head under 
the hollow root, and then speaks. His secret thus passes on to th thorn 


fully swathed up. If the part coalesced and soldered together, 
as usually fell out where the feat was performed with any 
adroitness at all, the party was cured; but where the cleft 
continued to gape, the operation, it was supposed, would prove 
ineffectual. We have several persons now living in the village, 
who in their childhood were supposed to be healed by this 
superstitious ceremony, derived down perhaps from our Saxon 
ancestors, who practised it before their conversion to Christianity. 
At the south corner of the area near the church, there stood 
about twenty years ago a very old grotesque hollow pollard-ash, 
which for ages had been looked on with no small veneration as 
a shrew-ash. Now a shrew-ash is an ash whose twigs or branches, 
when gently applied to the limits of cattle, will immediately 
relieve the pains which a beast suffers from the running of a 
shrewmouse over the part affected. For it is supposed that 
a shrewmouse is of so baneful and deleterious a nature, that 
wherever it creeps over a beast, be it horse, cow or sheep, the 
suffering animal is afflicted with cruel anguish, and threatened 
with the loss of the use of the limb. Against this accident, to 
which they were continually liable, our provident forefathers 
always kept a shrew-ash at hand, which, when once medicated, 
would maintain its virtue for ever. A shrew-ash was made 
thus : l into the body of the tree a deep hole was bored with 
an auger, and a poor devoted shrewmouse was thrust in alive and 
plugged in, no doubt with several quaint incantations long since 
forgotten. As the ceremonies necessary for such a consecration 
are no longer understood, all succession is at an end, and no 
such tree is known to subsist in the manor or hundred. As to 
that on the area, the late vicar stubbed and burnt it when he was 
waywarden, regardless of the remonstrances of the bystanders, 
who interceded in vain for its preservation 2 (see Suppl.). 

1 Rob. Plot s Nat. List, of Staffordshire, Oxf . 1686. p. 222 : A superstitious 
custom they have in this county, of making nursrow trees for the cure of unaccount 
able swellings in their cattle. For to make any tree, whether oak, ash or elm, a 
nursrow tree, they catch one or more of these nursrows or fieldmice, which they 
fancy bite their cattle and make them swell, and having bored a hole to the center 
in the body of the tree, they put the mice in, and then drive a peg in after them 
of the same wood, where they starving at last communicate forsooth such a virtue 
to the tree, that cattle thus swoln being wiped with the boughs of it presently 
recover : of which trees they have not so many neither, but that at some places 
they go 8 or 10 miles to procure this remedy. 

2 White s Nat. hist, and antiq. of Selborne, Lond. 178 r J. 4, p. 202-4. 


This superstition of the mouse-ash holds together with some 
things we have already touched upon. Thus, plugging the 
mouse in is very like shutting up one s ill-luck in the hollow 
oak, p. 878 ; and we are helped out by a statement in Luther s 
Table-talk (fed. 1571. fol. 53 b ) : f a hole is bored in a tree, the 
soul placed therein, and a plug driven in after, that it may stay 
in/ We know that on other occasions, when soul or spirit 
quits the body, it takes the shape of a mouse,, p. 1082. 

Raibiht is what the Lettons call a fancied cure for headache : 
the sufferer is measured a few times round the head with the 
inner bark of the lime, and then has to crawl through this bast. 
We also find that through holes bored in this healing tree water 
is poured and drunk. 1 

It partakes of angang, that the first tliree corn or sloe blossoms 
one sees in the year should furnish a remedy for fever, Sup. I, 
695. 718. 784. 1018; conf. the 2J grains of rye, p. 1164. 

At the Vogelsberg gouty persons wear on the ring-finger 
of the right hand iron rings made out of nails on which men 
have hung themselves. Gout-charms are worn on the breast, 
wrapt in unbleached linen, with flaxen threads without a knot. 
Both fall under the head of amulets and adligatio. Healing 
girdles were already known to Marcellus, AS. horn. 2, 28. 

Diseases and remedies are also buried in the ground : in the 
ant-hill, Sup. I, 864. Of this class is a cure of epilepsy per 
formed in the 10th cent, by burying peachblossoms, which 
Katherius in Praeloquiis lib. 1 (ed. Mart, et Dur. p. 808. ed. 
Bailer, p. 31) relates doubtiugly : Facturn sit, infectum sit, 
narratum est quod refero. Cujusdam divitis filius gutta quarn 
cadivam dicunt laborabat. Medicorum omne probatissimorum 
erga eum inefncax ingenium ad desperationem salutis paternum 
atque maternum deduxerat animum, cum ecce unus servorum 
suggerit, ut flores arboris persicae optime mundatos primo lunis 

1 Physica Hildegardis 3, 10 de cupresso : Quod si aliquis homo a diabulo vel 
per magica irretitus est, praefatum lignum, quod cor dicitur, cum terebro perforet, 
et in fictili vase aquarn vivi fontis tollat, et earn per idem foramen in aliud fictile 
vas fundat, et cum jam infundit dicat : ego fundo te, aqua, per foramen istud in 
virtuosa virtute, quae Deus est, ut cum fortitudiue quae tibi adest in natura tua 
fluas in honiinem istum qui in sensu suo irretitus est, et omnes contrarietates in 
eo destruas, et eum in rectitudinern in quam Deus eum posuit, in recto sensu et 
scientia reponas. Et aquam istam per novem dies jejunus bibat, et etiam tociens 
hoc modo beuedicatur, et melius habebit. 


(i.e. lunae) die Aprilis mensis in vase vitreo colligerent, quod 
sub radice ejusdem arboris, insciis omnibus, ab uno quo vellent 
suffoderetur, eodem die reversuro ipso a quo positum est, anno 
vergente, si fieri posset hora quoque eadem, et efFosso vase flores 
in oleum converses, arborem siccatam inventuro, quod sub altare 
posituni presbytero quoque ignorante, novem missis super eo 
celebratis sanctificaretur, et statim post accessum ejusdem morbi 
novem vicibus in haustum diatim scilicet aegro daretur, cum 
oratione Dominica, ita duntaxat ut post libera nos a malo a 
dante diceretur libera Deus istuui hominem (nomine ill.) a gutta 
cadiva/ et quibus novem diebus missam quotidie audiret, azymum 
panem cibumque quadragesimalem post jejunium caperet, atque 
ita Deo miserante convalesceret. Si tamen factum est, ille con- 
valuit, servus emancipatus est, etiam heres adscriptus, medicina 
ab innumeris adprobata multis quoque salutis contulit remedia. 

The elder-tree is good for toothache and ague : for the former 
the sufferer sticks an elder-branch into the ground with the words 
begone, bad spirit ; in the case of ague he puts it in without 
saying a word, but his fever sticks to the elder, and then fastens 
on the first person who comes to the spot unawares, Dan. Sup. 
K, 162. Specially wholesome is an elder that grows over bee 
hives (op bjintjekoven) ; the bast is peeled off upwards (not 
down), and a decoction of it is given the patient to drink 
(Lapekoer fen Gabe scroar. p. 31-2). 

It is worth noticing how the sickness is transferred to a tree, 
i.e. to the spirit who inhabits it. Spell no. xxvi begins with 
the words : bough, I bend tliee, so fever leave me ; another has : 
Lift thee up, elder bough ! Antony s fire, sit on it now ! Fve 
had thee a day, thou have it alway! One that has the gout must 
go three successive Fridays after sunset under a firtree : firtree, 
I complain to thee, the gout torments me sore, etc. ; the fir 
withers, and the gout leaves off. Deus vos sal vet, sambuce, 
panem et sal ego vobis adduce, febrem tertianam et quotidianam 
accipiatis vos, qui nolo earn. Westendorp p. 518 reports a 
Nethl. custom : to be rid of ague, one goes early in the morning 
(in der uchte) to an old willow, ties three knots in a bough, and 
says to it : goe morgeu, olde, ik geef oe de kolde, goe morgen, 
olde ! then he turns, and runs away fast without looking round. 
Sup. ], 1074: he that has f fever- frost shall go in silence, and 


across no water, to a hollowed willow, thrice breathe his breath 
into it, quickly block up the hole, and hasten home, neither look 
ing behind nor speaking a word ; and the fever shall keep away. 
In Spell xliv the gout is handed over to a young pinetree with a 
courteous good morrow, dame Pine ! 

Diseases can likewise be transferred to animals. Praecordia 
vocamus uno nomine exta in homine, quorum in dolore cujus- 
cunque partis si catulus lactens admoveatur apprimaturque his 
partibus, transire in eum morbus dicitur, idque in exenterato 
perfusoque vino deprehendi, vitiato viscere illo quod doluerit 
hominisj et obrui tales religio est Pliny 30, 4 [14]. Sunt oc- 
culti interaneorum morbi, de quibus mirum proditur : si catuli, 
priusguam videant, applicentur triduo stomacho maxime ac 
pectori, et ex ore aegri suctum lactis accipiant, transire vim 
morbi, postremo exanimari, dissectisque palam fieri aegri causas ; 
raori et humari debere eos obrutos terra... Quod praeterea traditur 
in tor minibus mirum est : anate apposita ventri, transire morbum, 
anatemque emori/ 30, 7 [20]. So, even within the last few 
centuries, people have put young whelps to the human breast, 
and let them suck. That a corn (clavus, 77X09) should be called 
by us hen s eye (Boh. kufj oko), magpie s eye (Nethl. exter-6g), 
and crow s eye, arose out of a belief in the possibility of these 
transfers. Tobler 18 b tells us, if a Swiss calls out on the spot 
where a magpie has sat, zigi, zigi, dgest, i ha dreu auga (Fve 
3 eyes), ond du gad zwa, he gets rid of his magpie s eye. 

The flying gout is cured by the patient being completely 
swathed in clean flax : when he lies in it snug as a bug in a 
rug, a sheepskin is spread over him, and the sweating medicine 
administered. This envelopment is a remedy renowned in the old 
Beast-fable. The lion taken with a fever is to wrap himself in 
the hide of a wolf of 3^ years who has been flayed alive, and to 
sweat; this we have already in the Aesopic fable (Reinh. cclx). 
Our old German poem goes more into minutiaB : the lion s illness 
was caused by an ant having crept into his brain ; Eeynard pre 
scribes wrapping the hide of an old wolf about him, putting a 
bearskin on him, and a catskin hat on his head : when the cat s 
fur is warmed, the ant creeps out into it. Such wrapping in the 
newly stript hide of an animal was really practised in the Mid. 
Ages on various emergencies, for puny infants prematurely born, 

VOL. in. T 


for those cut out unborn (p. 388), for a bad fall. In a Nethl. 
comedy of the 16th century, ( De bose frouwens/ they sew up 
the sick woman in a page s skin, in eine vrisJce pagenhut benei- 
jen. Schmidt on the East Mongols p. 229 remarks, that these 
tribes also, to cure a disease, put their feet in the opened breast 
of a horse fresh killed. The application of warm flesh is several 
times mentioned : vivum gallinaceum pullum per medium divi- 
dere, et protinus calidum super vulnus imponere sic ut pars 
interior corpori jungatur/ Celsus 5, 27; ( cut open a Hack hen, 
and lay it on the shaven head/ Ettn. hebamme 795 ; fresh-killed 
flesh on a wound, Belg. mus. 7, 446 (see Suppl.). 1 

Again, the hirzin rieme, hart-strap, cut out of Randolt s hide 
for the sick lion (Reinh. 1951), is found actually prescribed 
as a remedy, Bresl. MS. of the 14th century in Fundgr. 1, 
325 : Fur daz vallende ubel. Du salt warten, swenne iz en 
an-ge (attacks him), so nim einen hirzinen riemen, unde bint 
im den umbe den hals (round his neck) di wile im we si, unde 
sprich, " In nomine, etc. so binde ich hie den sichthum dises 
menschen in disem knopfe," unde nim den selbem riemen denne, 
unde knupfe (tie) einen knoten dar an ; den selben riemen sal man 
denne binden dem siechen umbe den hals ; unde derselbe mensch 
sal sich enthalden (abstain) von dem wine unde von dem fleische, 
biz (till) daz er kume da (where) man einen toten man begrabe 
(burying), da sal man den riemen losen dem siechen von dem 
halse, unde sal den selben riemen begraben mit dem toten 
manne, wan der selbe rieme sal dem toten geleget werden under die 
schulter (laid under the dead man s shoulder), unde sal einer 
sprechen, der den riemen leget, etc. der sichthum gewirret im 
nimmer mere. Elsewhere it is prescribed for epilepsy, to gird 
oneself with a wolfskin, Belg. mus. 6, 105 (see Suppl.). 

The modern pharmacopoeia is almost confined to vegetable and 
mineral medicines ; the ancient comprised all manner of animal 

1 His diebus occulto Dei judicio idem Eraclius (episc. Leodiensis, d. 971) 
morbo, qui lupus dicitur, miserabiliter laborabat. Patiebatur autem in natibus, 
erat igitur videre miseriam ; tain graviter enim vis valetudinis grassabatur, ut 
mirum in modum carnes viri lupino modo consumeret, corroderet, devoraret ; 
soluinque solatium, non quidem spes evadendae aegritudinis, sed saltern dilatio 
mortis erat, quod quotidie duo pulli gallinarum eplumes et eviscerati mane, duoque 
vespere, vice carnium viri consumendi morbo, ac si lupinae rabiei, apponebantur. 
The chickens were fastened on with bandages, Chapeaville 1, 191-4. Skin inflam 
mation and eating ulcers are called wolf: one walks, rides, till he gets the wolf , 
Lat. intertrigo, Gr. irapdTpi/ [Sheepskin proposed for Prince of Wales] . 


stuffs. The hearts of certain birds, the flesh, blood and fat of 
certain beasts possessed a peculiar healing power. 1 Monkey s 
flesh does the sick lion good (Reinh. cclx), though the ignorant 
wolf recommends that of the goat and rani. 2 The blood of birds 
and of the fox heals wounds, Pentam. 2, 5. Crow s blood be 
witches, Sup. G, 1. 202. Blood from the cock s comb, brains of 
the female hare are of service, Ettn. hebamme 875. Of a piece 
with this is the superstitious healing of leprosy by the blood of 
innocent boys and pure maids, that of the falling sickness by the 
blood of slain malefactors, Sup. I, 1080. Spittle, and even mere 
breath, are medicinal 3 (see SuppL). 

A great many appliances heal or hurt by sympathy. Thus 
jaundice is rendered incurable by a yellow-footed hen flying over 
the patient, Sup. I, 549; it is cured by looking into black 
carriage-grease (66). Spanning a pot or bowl with the hand 
brings on tension of the heart (11. 949) ; twisting osiers gives a 
wry neck or the gripes (373 ; conf. p. 1146). Fever is abated or 
laid by laying a field under flax while repeating a charm :. as the 
seed comes up, the fever goes off (Hofer 3, 131). On rose or 
red rash (erysipelas) you are to strike sparks with stone and steel 
(I, 383. 710) ; to make evil bounce off your body, as water off 
the millwheel (p. 593) ; to break a loaf over the head of a tongue- 
tied child (I, 415); to knock a tooth that is pulled out into the 
bark of a young tree (630). The people have many such 
specifics for hiccough, earache, toothache, etc., I, 151. 211 280 
581-4. 722. 950 (see SuppL). 

Remedies are very often tied on, are worn fastened round the 
arm, neck, or waist. These the writers of the early Mid. Ages 
call ligamenta, ligaturae, phylacteria. $v\a/cT7Jpt,a are preserva 
tives, protective pendants, amulets, often of thin metal plate 
(blech), so that OHG. glosses render them pleh, plehhir, but also 
of glass, wood, bones, herbs, silver and gold; ligaturae ap 
parently mere ties of thread. The later word is an-gehenke, 

1 Wanley p. 75 (conf. 220) cites a tractatus Idparti fabulosus : Medicina ex 

2 JVIit der belchen (fulicae atrae) fiiezen wirt dern man rnazleide buoz Ls. 3 

3 Herodotus 2, 111 speaks of a blind man recovering sight ywcuK&s or 
vi^d y uej os rods 6<p6a\fJ.ovs, ffrts irapa TOV ewur??s avSpa fj.ovvoi> Tre^orrm-e a\\uv O.VOQ 
eovffa aireipos. 


appendage, I, 8G9. 870. Cipher- writing and runes were also 
appended, not always for healing, but contrariwise to bewitch 
and injure. Here are testimonies to both kinds : Ut clerici vel 
laici pliylacteria velfalsas scriptiones aut ligaturas, quae impru- 
dentes pro febribus aut aliis pestibus adjuvare putant, nullo modo 
ab illis vel a quoquam Christiano fiant, quia magicae artis in 
signia sunt/ Capitul. 6, 72. f Admoneant sacerdotes non liga 
turas ossium vel herbarum cuiquam adhibitas prodesse, sed haec 
esse laqueos et insidias antiqui hostis/ Capit. add. 3, 93. In 
Greg. Tur. mirac. 2, 45 we read of a sick boy to whom the 
wizard (ariolus) was fetched : Ille vero venire non differens, 
accessit ad aegrotum, et arteua suam exercere conatur, incanta- 
tiones immurmurat, sortes jactat, ligaturas collo suspendit. In 
Lex Visig. vi. 2, 4 : Qui in hominibus vel brutis animalibus, 
seu in agris seu in vineis diversisque arboribus, maleficium aut 
diversa ligamenta aut etiam scripta in contrarietatem alterius 
excogitaverit facere. In Lex Sal. 22, 4 : Si quis alteri aliquod 
maleficium superjactaverit, sive cum ligaturis in aliquod loco 
ruiserit. The Indiculus (Sup. B ; C int. 43 and p. 195 b ) speaks 
of such ligaturae and nefaria ligamenta, both healing and hurt 
ful ; Kopp s Palaeogr. 3, 74 seq. gives other passages on amulets 
and ligatures. Hincinar 1, 654 says : Turpe est fabulas nobis 
notas referre, et longum est sacrilegia computare, quae ex 
hujusmodi de ossibus mortuorum atque cineribus carbonibusque 
extinctis (supra p. 621) . . . cum filulis colorum multi- 
pliciurn, et herbis variis ac cocleolis, et serpent urn particulis 
composita, cum carminibus incantat^, deprehendentes comperi- 
mus. These particoloured threads remind one of YirgiFs verse : 
e terna tibi haec primum triplici diversa colore licia circumdo/ 
and necte tribus nodis ternos, Amarylli, colores (Eel. 8, 73-7) - 1 
If it was the Komans that taught our fathers the use of amulets, 
they must have done it very early, for what says Boniface ? 
Epist. 51 (an. 742) : Dicunt quoque se vidisse ibidem mulieres 
pagano ritu pJiylacteria et ligaturas in brachiis et cruribus 
ligatas habere, et publice ad vendendum venales ad com- 

1 Among the Lettons the bride on her way to church must throw a bunch of 
coloured threads and a coin into every ditch and pond she sees, and at each corner 
of the house, as an offering to the water and home sprites. Merkel s Letteu, p. 50 ; 
conf. Sup. M, 11. 


parandum aliis offerre. And Beda 4, 27: f Nam et multi 
ad er ration idoJatriae medicamina concurrebant, quasi 
missam a Deo conditore plagam per incantationes vel phylacteria 
. . . cohibere valerent. A phylactery with relics from neck 
to breast in Sigeb. Gembl. 828. In Bonaventurae centiloq. 1, 29 
(Opp. ed. Venet. 5, 130) : Maleficium est peritia per quam 
mulieres faciunt aliquas ligaturas in damnum vel in commodum 
alicujus, ut de crista galli et de rana et de imagine cum eis/ 
Even Pliny 30, 1 [30] speaks of tying beetles on. The fiili-zant, 
foal s tooth, Ms. 2, 160 b I have noticed p. 658n.; Pliny 28, 19 
[78] alludes to this custom also : denies qui eqids primum 
cadunt facilem dentitionem praestant infantibus adalligati. 
The godfather mentioned with fiilizant is, I suppose, to put- 
it round the godchild with his own hands ? The tying-on of 
simples is treated more fully in the next chap, (see Suppl.). 

Bewitching a newly-married couple was alluded to, pp. 1073-96. 
The witch, by merely muttering a spell during the wedding, if 
she be present, can incapacitate both husband and wife for 
having children. Hincmar 1, 654 relates a case, and states the 
composition of the material employed as a charm ; on his state 
ment is founded a passage in Gratian s decree ii. 33, 1 4. 
Such sorcery is named tying the senkel or riestel, turning the lock, 
binding, because it is accompanied by the secret tying of a knot 
or locking of a padlock. 1 Nestel means a tie (ligula) ; it is a 
senkel when the ends are tipped with metal, to make it sink 
faster. It is also called tying up the breach, tying the tippet or 
nether garment, Fr. nouer Vaiguilette. There are said to be fifty 
sorts of these ties, and a vast number of unintelligible tie-spells." 
The lock when fastened, the knot when tied, was thrown away, 
not hung on the bewitched. 

Many forms are observed in pregnancy and childbirth, Sup. I, 
41. 176. 293. 337. 364. 489. 561. 654. 673-4. 688. 691. 702. 724 
732. 817. 859. 924-5. 933. M, 12. 1823. If the woman put 
her husband s slippers on, if on the wedding-day the bridegroom 
tie the bride s garters, she will have easy labours. Does this 
account for the custom, whose antiquity I shall presently prove., 
of the bride on the wedding-night exchanging her shift for the 

1 Antidotes in Ettn. liebamme p. 294-0. Wegner s Schauplatz p. 625 seq. 

2 Bodin, transl. by Fischart, p. 74-5. [Tie as many knots as one has warts, etc.] 


bridegroom s shirt ? Yintler says, Sup. G, 1. 170 : da sind dan 
etlich briute (some brides), die legent ir hemd an irs mannes ort 
(place)/ More clearly in Turlin s Wh. 148 : din kiinigin wart 
gebriset in ein Jiemede ; 

als er dir si gelegen bi (lain down beside thee), 

und er dar nach entslafen si (gone to sleep), 

so lege tougen (stealthily) sin liemede an ; 

und ob din sin gesuochen kan (wit can contrive), 

daz ez werde heimlich getan (be secretly done), 

sich (see), daz dich iht verdrieze (fail not), 

din Tiemde sin lioupt beslieze (envelop his head) ; 

daz sol an dinem vlize sten (depend on thy pains) : 

dar nach soldu iiber in gen 

an sime hemde, daz wirt dir vromen (profit thee). 

Among the Greeks a birth was forwarded or checked by 
superior divine beings, the eileithyiai, handmaids of Hera, who 
were gradually merged in a single Eileithyia, the Roman I/iicina. 
In our Edda Oddriin the sister of Atli has skill in childbirth, she 
posts over land to the expectant mother, flings the saddle off her 
steed and strides into the hall (Ssem. 239), kneels down before 
the maid, and speaks her charm. They spoke of kiosa rngeftr 
fra mogum (exsolvere matres a pueris), Ssem. 187 b , and gave 
the office to norns. There must have been from the earliest 
times sympathetic means of delivering and of obstructing, which 
are practised to this day : to cross the legs, to fold the hands 
before the woman in labour was obstructive, to leave loose or 
disengage was helpful ; probably the energetic unsaddling of the 
steed had this meaning. Ovid s Met. 9, 298 : 

Dextroque a poplite laevum 
pressa genu, digitis inter se pectine junctis 
sustinuit nixus ; tacita quoque carmina voce 
dixit, et inceptos tenuerunt carmina partus. 

310. Divam residentem vidit in ara, 

brachiaque in genibus digitis connexa tenentem. 

314. Exsiluit, junctasque manus pavefacta remisit 
diva potens uteri : vinclis levor ipsa remissis. 


* Assidcre gravidis, vel cum remedium alicui adhibeatur, digitis 
pectinatim inter se implexis veneficium est, idque compertutn 
tradunt Alcmena Herculem pariente. Pejus si circa unum 
ambove genua; item poplites alternis genibus imponi/ Pliny 28, 
6 [1 7] . ( Ferunt difficiles partus statim solvi, si quis tectum in 
quo sit gravida transmiserit lapide vel missili ex liis qui tria 
animalia singulis ictibus interfecerint, hominem, aprum, ursum. 
Probabilius id facit hasta velitaris, evulsa e corpore hominis, si 
terram non attigerit/ 28, 4 [6], (see Suppl.). 

A poisoning case was sometimes met by forcible remedies : the 
man was hung up by the heels, and after a time one of his eyes 
pulled out, in hopes of the venom oozing out at that aperture : 
tamen intoxicatus Albertus in Austria, et diu per pedes sus- 
pensus, oculum perdens evasit/ Alb. Argent, (ed. Basil. 1569) 
p. 167 (see Suppl.). 

Water, springs, fire (pp. 1166. 1173) have power to preserve 
health or restore it (pp. 586-8. 605-6. 618-9. 6214) ; especially 
a spring that has burst out of the rock at the bidding of a god or 
saint. The snake that lies coiled round the holy well, or is seen be 
side it (p. 585-8n.), maybe likened to the serpent-rod of Aescula 
pius. Healing water or oil trickles out of rocks and walls. The 
mother that was walled in (p. 1143) continued for a time to nourish 
her babe through a hole in the wall, till at last she died. At that 
hole there is a continual dropping, women whose milk has run 
dry go there to get healed : the mother s milk had streamed so 
long that it sets other breasts flowing too. I know of a similar 
story in Italy : est quoque non procul ab hoc oppido (Verona) , 
in valle quadam Policella dicta, locus Negarina nomine, ubi 
xaxum durissimum visitur, in quo mammae ad justam muliebrium 
formam sculptae snnt, ex qiiarum papillis perpetuae stillant aquae, 
quibus si lactans mulier papillas asperserit et laverit, exsiccatus 
aliquo (ut fit) vel morbo vel alio casu illi lacteus humor revocatur/ 
Hentzneri itinerar. p. 201. A rock which drops milk is mentioned 
in Fel. Faber s Evagator. 1, 449; and the Lith. Laumes papas 
(teat) is the name of a hard stone. 

To the tombs of saints a direct healing power was ascribed in 
the Mid. Ages, everything in contact with them brought help, 
even a draught of the water poured over bones, garments, 
splinters and earth. Turf and dew off the grave can heal (Greg. 


Tar. vitsd pair. 6, 7). 1 Beda 3, 9 tells of St. Oswald : In loco 
ubi pro patria dimicans a paganis interfectus est, usque hodie 
sanitates infirmornm et hominum et pecorum celebrari uon desinunt. 
Unde contigit ut pulverem ipswn, ubi corpus ejus in terram cor- 
ruit, multi auferentes et in aquam mittentes suis per haec infirmis 
multum commodi afferrent : qui videlicet mos adeo increbuit, ut 
paulatim ablata exinde terra fossam ad meusuram staturae virilis 
reddiderit/ 3, 1 1 : De pulvere pavimenti in quo aqua lavacri 
illius effusa est, multi jam sanati infirmi. 3, 13: Habeo quidem 
de ligno in quo caput ejus occisi a paganis infixum est ... 
tune benedixi aquam, et astulam roboris praefati immittens obtuli 
aegro potandam : nee mora, melius habere coepit/ 4, 3 of St. 
Ceadda (d. 672): Est autem locus idem sepulcri tumba in modum 
domunculi facta coopertus, habente foramen in pariete, per quod 
solent hi qui causa devotionis illo adveniunt manum suam immit- 
tere, ac partem pulveris inde assumere, quam cum in aquas mise- 
rint atque has infirmantibus jumentis sive hominibus gustandas 
dederint, mox infirmitatis ablata molestia, cupitae sanitatis gaudia 
redibunt/ 4, 61 of Earconwald : Etenim usque hodie feretrum 
ejus caballarium, quo infirmus vehi solebat, servatuni a discipulis 
ejus, multos fobricitantes vel alio quolibet incommodo fessos 
sanare non destitit. Non solum autem suppositi eidemferetro vel 
appositi curantur aegroti, sed et astulae de illo abscissae atque ad 

infirmos allatae citam illis solent afferre medelam. Relics not 

only heal, but bring fortune, peace and fruitfulness, pretty much 
as the jewels of elves and dwarfs did in particular families : 
ubicunque hae reliquiae fuerint, illic pax et augmentum et lenitas 
aeris semper erit (Pertz 1, 7 1). 2 

1 Greg. Tur. mirac. 1, 21 takes from Eusebius 7, 18 the tale of a metal image 
of the Saviour and the woman of Cassarea, whose issue of blood was stanched: 
Hujus ad pedem statuae in basi herba quaedam nova specie nascitur. quae cum 
exorta fuerit, crescere usqiui ad stolae illius aereae indumenti finibriam solet. quam 
cum summo vertice crescens herba contigerit, vires inde ad dcpellendos omnes morbos 
languoresque conquirit ; ita ut quaecunque fuerit ilia infirmitas corporis, haustu 
exiguo madefacta salutaris graminis depellatur ; nihil omnino virium gerens, si 
antequam aereae fimbriae summitatem crescendo contigerit, deceriDatur. hanc 
statuam ad similitudinem vultus Jesu tradebant, quae permansit etiarn ad nostra 
(Eusebii) usque tempora, sicut ipsi oculis uostris inspeximus. The beautiful myth 
is also copied by Agobardus (Opp. ed. Baluze, Par. 1666. 2, 248-9). It was essential 
for the plant to have grown up to the hem of the garment, it was only by touching 
it that it acquired healing efficacy. 

Les reliques sunt forz, Deus i fait grant vertuz, 
iloc juit uu con trait, set anz out ke ne se mut, 


The legends are full of the marvellous deliverances vouchsafed 
to pilgrim patients at the tombs of saints. An incredible number 
of sick had recourse to this method ; but it is cleverly parodied 
in our Beast-apologue (Reinh. pp. cv. cxxvi) : the hare with his 
fever, the w6lf with his earache, are cured the moment they lie 
down on the grave of the martyred hen. From such delusion 
the heathens were free : I nowhere find it stated that they sought 
healing from relics or at the mounds of their kings and giants. 
They resorted however to sacred woods, p. 72-4 (see Suppl.). 1 

In Greece, particularly in Boeotia, it was customary for patients, 
on recovery, to set up in the temple a metal model of the part of 
the body which had been affected. Amongst avadtj/nara an in 
scription mentions Trpoo-owov, Ttrdos, alSoiov, %ei/), &c. ; 2 these 
votive offerings were afterwards melted down to make sacred 
vessels. The custom of votive tablets with limbs depicted on 
them may indeed have been imported into Germany by the 
Eomans while yet heathens, unless we will admit that our fathers 
themselves had known them before. The passage from Gregory 
given p. 81 says expressly : membra, secundum quod unumquem- 
que dolor attigisset, sculpebat in ligno, and farther on, ( visi enim 
in eo barbari gentili superstitione, modo auri argentique dona, 
modo fercula ad potum vomitumque ebrii offerre, cultumque quo 
nihil insanius, istic simulacrum inanis dei, ac ut quemque affecti 
membri dolor presscrat, sculpebat in ligno suspendebatque opitu- 
laturo idolo/ This was done in Kipuaria in the 6th cent. Eligius 
refers to the same thing, Sup. A: pedum similitudines, quos per 
bivia ponuiit, fieri vetate, et ubi invenerit igni cremate; per 
nullam aliam artem salvari vos credatis nisi per invocationem et 
crucem Christi ! and the Indiculus 29, de ligneis pedibns 

tut li os li crussireiit, li ners li sunt estendut : 

ore sailt sus en peez, unkes plus sain ne fud. Eom. de Charlem. 192 5. 

Les reliques sunt forz, granz vertuz i fait Deus, 
que il ne venent a ewe, nen partissent les guet, 
uencuntret aveogle ki ne seit reluminet, 
les cuntrez i redrescent, e les muz funt parler. 255-8. 

1 The origin of relic-worship I shall investigate in another place. 

2 Corp. inscript. 1, 750 no. 1570, where Bockh says : Donaria medicationis 
causa Ampliiarao oblata. (fui ex oraculo per somnium dato restituti in sanitatem 
erant, ii partita membri quo laborarant effigicm dicabant (p. 474 no. 497-8), partim 
alia donaria, queroadmodum etiam in fontem Aniphiarai dejicere nummos solebant. 
Conf. Pausan. 1, 3. 


vel manibns pagano ritu* ; a woman with a palsied arm is ad 
monished in a dream f ut instar semivivae manum ceream for- 
mando exprimeret, et ad sanctae Idae tumulum deferret (begin. 
of 10th cent., Pertz 2, 573). At the same time even these au 
thorities teach us an important distinction : the Greek brought 
his dvdOrj/jLa out of gratitude, when the malady was healed ; the 
German hung up the limb in the temple or at the cross-roads, 
with a view to obtain relief thereby, opitulaturo idolo/ and per 
nullam aliam artem salvari vos credatis. And for this purpose 
a wooden or perhaps waxen image sufficed, which would have 
been a paltry present to the succouring deity ; conf. another pas 
sage from Gregory in my RA. 674, and Kuinart s note thereon. 
So that this German heathenry is of a piece with the sorcery 
by wax images (p. 1091), and with heathen sacrifices, which 
kept up an analogy between the thing prayed for and the thing 
offered : those who wished for children presented a child of wax, 
ivood or silver, while conversely a figure of wax or silver served 
as penance for slaying the body. But what shocked the early 
teachers as sheer paganism was afterwards humoured and licensed 
by the church. A votive tablet at Alt-ottingen represents an 
unhappy man with an arrow passing through his eyebrow into 
the eye-pupil (Schm. 1, 242). 1 At places famed for pilgrimages 
we find hands, feet, etc. of wood or wax fastened to the walls ; 
outside the church were hung up the cnitches on which the sick 
had come, and which they needed no longer in going away 
healed : ut incredibilis materies scabellorum atque oscillorum 
post perceptam sanitatem a redeuntibus ibi remaneret/ Acta 
Bened. sec. v, p. 102 ; conf. Pertz 2, 574. Among the Greeks 
the sick often slept in the temple of the deity in whom they put 
their trust, and received in a dream instructions as to cure ; 2 
much the same occurs in medieval legends, e.g. that passage in 
the Life of St. Ida. Put together with this the first dream in a 
new house or stable, p. 1146 (see Suppl.). 

There were superstitious signs, by observing which you could 

1 Diseases also were hung up pictorially : thus, before miraculous images 
in Bavaria and Austria, among the waxen hands and feet you may see a crab- or 
toad-like figure, understood to be the ber-rnutter tnat crawled about in the 
body, Schni. 1, 188. Hofer 1, 78. Wolf s Deutsche sagen p. 491. 

2 Jac. Phil. Tomasini de douariis ac tabellis votivis, Patavii 1654, 4, cap. 34, p. 
214 26 vota pro aegrotantium salute. 


tell whether one dangerously ill would fall a prey or get well : 
the cries, the flight, the wheeling of birds have been noticed on 
p. 1135. Burchardt (Sup. C, 195 d ) instances the lifting up of 
stones to see if any live beast were underneath ; which is like 
snatching up a handful of earth and looking for a living creature 
in it (F, 9). The look of the bird Galadrot, and the position of 
Death, whether at the patient s head or feet (p. 853) were sig 
nificant omens. That standing at the feet was an advantage we 
find already in Pliny 30, 10 [24] : Eundem (ricinum, tick) in 
augurio vitalium habent : nam si aeger ei respondeat qui intu- 
lerit, a pedibus stanti interrogantique de morbo, spem vitae cer- 
tam esse : moriturum nihil respoudere. Adjiciunt, ut evellatur 
(ricinus) ex aure laeva canis cui non sit alias quam niger color/ 

It is believed in Scotland to this day, that if you cannot 

see the mannikin in the sick man s eye, he is sure to die : the 
bystander s image is no longer mirrored in the lustreless pupil 
of the breaking eye. And as far back as the AS. dialogue 
between Adrian and Eitheus (Thorpe p. 48) : Saga me, on 
hwam maeig man geseon mannes deaS ? Ic ]?e secge, twege 
manHcan beoft on mannes edcjum : gif ]m ]?a ne gesihst, ]?onne 
swilt (dies) se man, and br3 gewiten (gone) ger ]?rim dagum. 
Put by the side of this, that the /coprj is not to be seen in a 
bewitched man s eyes either, and in a witch s eye it is seen 
upside down, or double (pp. 1074-80). When a dying man can 
not get his release, a shingle of the roof is to be turned 
(Sup. I, 439), three tiles ioiken up (721), or any hollow house- 
utensil inverted (664). The like means are adopted in convul 
sions (853) and childbirth (561) : if it go hard with her in 
travail, the husband shall take three shingles out of the roof } and 
put them in again wrong side up/ Ettn. hebamme p. 663 ; conf. 
supra p. 1116. 

I have kept to the last what I had to say of the plague and 
the numerous traditions based on its appearing. After great 
floods, when heavy fog and sultry mist poison the air, it suddenly 
breaks out and spreads resistless over the earth. 

To the Gr. Xoi//,o? (p. 888) correspond, in gender as well, our 
OHG. sterpo, scelmo (MHG. schelme), Gl. jun. 219 scalmo, fihu- 
sterbo, ON. skelmis-drep or drep alone; OHG. wuol, Diut. 1, 


501% AS. woly gen. woles. The Latin names pestis, lues are 
fern., so are the Serv. kuga, moriya ; but masc. again the Boh. 
Pol. mor, Lith. maras, Lett, mehris. The Serv. Slov. kuga is the 
M. Nethl. koghe (Detmar 1, 81. 113. 127. 148. 377), and even 
a MUG. poem (Meyer and Mooyer, p. 4G a ) has Jcoge. MHG. 
usually der galie tot swift death, Wigal. 3726 (Nethl. gd-dot, 
Maerl. 1, 230. 293) ; but also der grosse tod, great death, Swed. 
diger-doden (ON. digr crassus, tumidus) ; ON. svarti dauffi, Dan. 
den sorte dod black death, perhaps even in allusion to Surtr 
(p. 809). i 

To the Greeks the whizzing shafts of wrathful Apollo brought 
the plague : a man dying suddenly is slain by Apollo s artillery, 
a woman by that of Artemis ; conf. the destroying angel, 2 Sam. 
24, 16. Hermes, protector of the flock, carries round it the ram, 
to ward off murrain ; afterwards he carries it round the city also, 
Xpio^opo?. 2 Virgins were sacrificed to stay the ravages of pes 
tilence. Pliny 26, 9 [60] says a maiden can cure boils (panos) 
by laying verbascum on them : Experti affirmavere plurimum 
referre, si virgo imponat nuda, jejuna jejuno, et manu supina 
t.angens dicat, Negat Apollo pestem posse crescere, cui nuda virgo 
restinguat ! atque retrorsa manu ter dicat, totiesque despuant 
ambo. The ceremony was transferred from the heavy scourge to 
lighter ones : the disrobing of the maiden was required for allay 
ing drought (p. 593-4), and in many other cases (see Suppl.). 

That angel of death means Death himself, who comes to gather 
his own. A Lombard legend speaks of two angels, a good and 
a bad, who traverse the land : Pari etiam modo haec pestilentia 
Ticinum quoque depopulata est, ita ut cunctis civibus per juga 
montium seu per diversa loca fugientibus, in foro et per plateas 
civitatis herbae et fructeta nascerentur. Tuncque visibiliter 
multis apparuit, quia bonus et malus angelus noctu per civitatem 
pergerent, et ex jussu boni angeli malus angelus, qui videbatur 
venabulum manu ferre, quotiens de venabulo ostium cujuscunque 

1 Paul. Diac. 2, 4, paints a desolating plague in colours that recall the vivid 
picture Boccaccio has sketched by way of Introd. to his Decameron. How Sweden 
nnd Norway were wasted during the Great Plague, is described in Afzelius 4, 179. 
180 and especially in Faye, pp. 135148, after beautiful folk-tales. 

Massilienses quoties pestilentia laborabant, w?ms se ex pauperioribus offerelat 
alendns anno integro publicis et purioribus cibis. Hie postea ornatus verbenis et 
yestibus sacris circitmdnrebatur per totam civitatcm cum exsecrationibus, ut in 
ipsum reciderent mala civitatis, et sic projiciebatur, Petron. cap. 141. 

PLAGUE. 1183 

domus percussisset, tot de eadem domo die sequent! homines 
interirent. Tune per revelationem cuidam dictum est, quod 
pestis ipsa prius non quiesceret quam in basilica beati Petri, quae 
ad vincula dicitur, sancti Sebastiani martyris altarium poneretur. 
Factum est, et delatis ab urbe Eoma b. Sebastiani reliquiis, mox 
ut in jam dicta basilica altarium constitutum est, pestis ipsa 
quievit, Paul. Diac. 6, 5. In the year 589, when the Tiber had 
overflowed, and a plague had arisen which carried off many men, 
St Gregory ordered a solemn procession of the Cross ; 80 people 
in the church dropped down alien gahes at his feet and died ; 
then, rising from prayer, sach er sten uf dem Dietriches huse 
einen engel mit pluotigem swerte, der wiskete daz selbe swert durch 
sinen geren (wiped it on his skirt), do verstuont (understood) der 
heilige man, daz der ewige Yater sines zornes hin ze den liuten 
erwinden wolte/ would turn from his anger. 1 

Like such an angel of death, the Norse Hel rides about on her 
steed (pp. 314. 844), which is no other than the dead-horse seen 
in churchyards, p. 1142 (see Suppl.). 

A Voigtland tradition makes the plague come on as a blue 
vapour, shaped like a cloud, Jul. Schmidt p. 158. By this is 
meant the sultry mist that precedes a pestilence ; * blue vapour 
suggests the fire of the Thunder-god, p. 178. A plague that 
raged in the Odenwald shewed itself in the shape of a little blue 
flame in the sacristy of the town- church at Erbach ; and they 
walled it in. In Amm. Marcel. 23, 6 (A.D. 363) : Fertur autem 
quod post direptum hoc idem figmentum (Apollinis simulacrum), 
incensa civitate (Seleucia), milites fanum scrutantes invenere 
foramen angustum : quo reserato ut pretiosum aliquid invenirent, 
ex adyto quodam concluso a Chaldaeorurn arcanis lobes primor- 
dialis exsiluit, quse insanabilium vi concepta morborum, ejusdem 
Veri Marcique Antonini temporibus ab ipsis Persarum finibus ad 
usque Rhenum et Gallias cuncta contagiis polluebat et mortibus. 

Again, in the year 1709 the plague at Conitz in Prussia was 

charmed into a hole of the lime-tree in the churchyard, then a 
plug kept ready for the purpose, and fitting exactly, was driven 

1 Deutsche predigten ed. by K. Both p. 76 ; conf. Hoffm. fundgr. 1, 77. Greg. 
Tur. 10, 1. 2. Dietrich s house is the moles Hadriaui, named St. Angelo s castle 
after this very angel who shewed himself to the praying processionists. Our 
legends like to name large Roman buildings after Theodehc, notably the amphi 
theatre of Verona, Deut. heldeusage pp. 40, 203. 


in ; since which she has never contrived to shew her face in the 
country again (Tettau and Temrne p. 222). This agrees with 
the blocking-iip of Unsselde and the shrewmouse (pp. 878. 1168), 
but also with the general notion of diseases being transferable to 
trees. The immuring of the plague in church and temple is based 
on its having issued from the divinity (see SuppL). 

Augustine s De verbo apostol. 168 pictures the plague as a 
woman that prowls about, and can be bought off with money : 
Proverbium est Punicum, quod quidern Latine vobis dicam, quia 
Punice non omnes nostis ; Pun. enim prov. est antiquum : 
Numum vult Pestilentia ? duos illi da, et ducat se. 

During the great pestilence under Justinian, men saw brazen 
barks on the sea, and black men without heads sitting in them ; 
wherever they sailed to, the plague at once broke out. In a city 
of Egypt the only inhabitants left alive were seven men and 
a boy ten years old ; they were escaping with their valuables, 
when in a house near the town-gate all the men dropped down 
dead, and the boy alone fled ; but under the gate a spectre seized 
him, and dragged him back into the house. Soon after, a rich 
man s steward came to fetch goods out of the house, and the boy 
warned him to haste away : at the same instant both man and 
boy fell dead to the ground. So says bishop John (Assemanni 
biblioth. orient. 2, 86-7). 

The Mod. Greeks think of the plague as a blind woman that 
wanders through the towns from house to house, killing all she 
can touch. But she goes groping and feeling round the wall, and 
if you are wise enough to keep in the middle of the room, she 
can t get at you. According to one folk-tale, it is three terrible 
women that traverse the towns in company, one carrying a large 
paper, another a pair of scissors, the third a broom. Together 
they walk into the house where they mean to find victims : the 
first enters their names on her list, the next wounds them with 
her scissors, the last sweeps them away (Fauriel s Disc. prel. 
Ixxxiii). Here are the three Fates (p. 410) or Furies and 
Eumenids converted into death-goddesses. 

There is a beautiful Breton lay in Villemarque 1, 46 51, called 
Bosen Elliant, the Elliant plague. A miller, so goes the tale, 
saw a woman robed in wliite sitting, staff in hand, at the ford 
of the river, wishing to be carried over. He took her on his 

PLAGUE. 1185 

horse, and set her down on the other side. Then she said, 
f Young man, and knowst thou whom thou hast put across ? I 
am the Plague; and now having ended my journey round 
Bretagne, I will go to mass in Elliant church ; every one whom 
I touch with my staff, shall speedily die, but thee and thy mother 
no harm shall befall/ And so it came to pass : all the people in 
that bourg died, save the poor widow and her son. Another 
folksong makes him convey her on Ms shoulders : nine children 
are carried out of one house, the churchyard is filled up to the 
walls : beside the churchyard stands an oak, to its top is tied a 
white kerchief, for the Plague has snatched away all the people/ 
She was banished at last by songs being sung about her : when 
she heard herself called by her name, she withdrew from the 
laud, and never came back. The request to be carried across is 
exactly Kke those of the goddess Berhta and beings of elf kind. 

Of the Lithuanian Giltine, plague or death-goddess, I should 
like to know fuller accounts. She massacres without mercy : 
1 kad tawe Giltine pasmaugtu (plague choke thee) ! 3 is a familial- 
imprecation (Mielcke sub v. Donaleitis 141). The plague is also 
named Magila [SI. mogila, a grave], or simply diewe (goddess), 
and they say in cursing imnia ji Magilos, imma ji diewai ! 
From Polish Lithuania, Adam Mickiewicz T reports as follows on 
the morowa dziewica, plague- maiden : 

Kiedy zaraza Litwe, ma uderzyc", 
jej przyjs"cie vvieszcza odgadnie z rzenica ; 
bo jesli sljuszna waidelotom wierzyc, 
nieraz na pustych sme,tarzach i bljoniach 
staje widomie morowa dziewica 
w bieliznie, z wiankiem ognistym na skroniach, 
czoljem przenosi bialjowieskie drzewa 
a w re,ku chustka, skrwawiona, powiewa. 
Dziewica stajpa kroki zljowieszczemi 
na siolja, zamki i bogate miasta ; 
a ile razy krwawe chustka, skinie, 
tyle palac6w zmienia sie, w pustynie ; 
gdzie noga, sta.pi, wiezy gr6b wyrasta. 2 

1 Konrad Wallenrod s Poezye, Warszawie 1832. p. 96. 

2 When a plague smites Lithuania . . . then, if we may believe the waidelots, 
in lone burial-grounds and fields stands visible the plague-maiden in white raiment 
with fiery wreath about her temples, bears on her brow divining-rods (?), and in her 
hand a blood-stained kerchief waves. The maiden steps with deliberate pace into 
villages, castles and wealthy towns ; whenever she spreads out her gory kerchief, 
palaces turn into wildernesses ; where with her foot she steps, a fresh grave grows 


Woycicki, 1, 51, calls her Powietrze, which properly means air, 
vapour (p. 1183), but also plague. Clothed in white, she stalks 
along on stilts, tells her name to a man she meets, and wants to 
be carried on his shoulders through all the Russias : amidst the 
dead and dying he shall go unhurt. Well, he carries her 
through thorp and town : where she waves her kerchief, every 
body dies, and all men flee before them. Arrived at the Pruth, 
he thought to drown her, and jumped into the river, but up she 
floated light as a feather, and flew to the woodland, while he 
sank to the bottom. 

In another story 1, 127 she is called Dzuma (Russ. Serv. 
chuma) : while she prevails, the villages stand deserted, the cocks 
are hoarse and cannot crow, the dogs no longer bark, yet they 
scent the Plague from afar (p. 666), and growl. -A peasant saw 
her, in white garb and waving hair, clear a high fence and run up 
a ladder, to escape the howling dogs : he hurries up to the ladder 
and pushes it over, so that the Plague fell among the dogs ; then 
she disappeared, still threatening vengeance. 

Sometimes the Dzuma rides through the wood in a waggon, 
attended by owls and uhus (great horned owl) : this ghostly 
procession is named Homen, Woyc. 1 ,130 3. 159 1 63. Bat the 
Plague could only last till New-year s day ; then those who have 
fled troop back to their homes, taking care however not to walk 
in through the door, but to climb in at the window. 

A tale narrated by a Wendish peasant, Joh. Parum Schulze, 1 
falls somewhere in the middle of the 17th century : So it came to 
pass, that a man, as I have always heard tell, that was Niebuhr 
by name, where now Kuffalen dwell, that was afterward Luchau, 
as he rideth home from town, there comes a man alongside, and 
begs that he may ride a little in the cart, for that he was right 
weary. This Hans Niebuhr asks him in Wendish, as that tongue 
was then commonly used, whence, and whither away ? and 
takes him up on the cart. At first he will not declare himself, 
but this Niebuhr, being somewhat drunken, begins to question 
more sharply. Then he declared himself, saying, ( 1 will to thy 

up. I am not sure that I have rightly rendered bialjowieskie drzewa, nor whether 
the adj. can be conn, with bialovvieszcka p. 474 n. 

1 Of Siiten village, Kiisteu parish, Liineburg. About 1740 he composed a 
chronicle, Ann. der Br. Liineb. churlande, jahrg. 8, Hanover 1794. p. 282-8. 

PLAGUE. 1187 

village with thee, where I have not yet been; for I am der 
Pest (m.) Then did Niebuhr intreat for his life, and the Plague 
gave him this lesson, that he should leave him in the cart outside 
the village, and strip naked and have no clothing at all on his 
body, but [going home,] take his pot-hook, and coming out before 
his house, run all round his homestead with the sun, and then bury 
It under the doorstep : if one but carry me not in quoth the 
Pest, f in the smell that hangs about the clothes/ Now this 
Niebuhr leaves him in the cart a good piece from the village, for 
it was night ; takes the pot-hanger, runs naked out of the village 
and all round it, then sticks the iron under the bridge, which iron 
I myself saw in the year 1690 when the bridge was mended, but 
nigh eaten away with rust. When this Niebuhr came back for 
his horse and cart, quoth the Plague : had I known this, I had 
not declared myself to thee, this device whereby thou hast locked 
me out of the whole village. 3 When they were come up to the 
village, Niebuhr takes his horses out of the cart, and leaves him 
sitting thereon. Neither was any sickness from pestilence per 
ceived in that village ; but in all the villages around the plague 
did mightily rage. 

So far Schulze s homely narrative. Eemoving the pot-hook off 
the hearth seems to stand for leaving the house open : from a 
deserted house death has nothing to take. As the retiring house 
holder symbolically lets down the haal on the hearth/ the new 
one on taking possession must tuck it up 3 again. 1 Running 
round the house or village resembles that carrying of the ram 
round the city, and the undressing agrees with the Roman 

Then, as the Plague is slow of foot, she gets herself driven 
into the village in a cart, or lugged in pickaback, like homesprites 
and will o wisps that jump on men s shoulders, pp. 512-3. 916. 

Swedish stories make the Plague enter a village from the south, 
and stand still before the first homestead, looking like a pretty 
little boy with a rasp or grater (rifva) in his hand, and rasping 
with it. When he did that, there still remained one or two alive 
in a house, as the grater could not take everything along with it. 
But when he got to the next village, there came after him the 
Plague-damsel (pestflicka), she swept with a broom outside the 
1 Wulfter s Deduction, beil. nos. 4. 5. 135. 

VOL. III. u 


gate, then all in the village died. But she was very seldom seen, 
and never except at daybreak ( Afzelius 4, 1 79) . 

In Vestergotland they had decreed a human sacrifice to stay 
the digerdod/ and two beggar children having just then come in, 
were to be buried alive in the ground. They soon dug the pit 
open, gave the hungry children cake spread with lard, and made 
them sit down in the pit : while they ate, the people shovelled up 
the earth. Oh/ cried the younger child, when the first spadeful 
was thrown over it, here s some dirt fallen on my bread and 
lard/ A mound was quickly thrown up over them, and nothing 
more was heard of them (Afz. 4, 181). Compare the walling up 
of children in the foundation of a new building, p. 1142, and the 
offering of a young heifer in the holy fire during cattle-plague, 
p. 608. 

In Norway the Pesta is imagined as a pale old woman who 
travelled about the country with a grater (rive, a toothed instru 
ment for tearing up sods or hay and corn) and a broom (lime) : 
when she used the grater, some few got off with their lives, but 
where the besom came into play, there perished every born soul. 
A man having rowed her over apiece of water, and demanding his 
fare, she said, you ll find your quittance on the bench at home ; 
and no sooner was he home, than he sickened and died. She 
often appears in red clothing, and whoever beholds her falls into 
a great fear (Faye p. 135). 

The Servians say their Kuga is a real woman, who goes wrapt 
in a white veil : many have seen her so, and some have carried 
her. She came to one man in the field, or met him on the road, 
and said, I am the Kuga, carry me to such a place ! He took 
her up pickaback, and without any trouble carried her whither 
she would. The Kugas (plagues) have a country of their own by 
the sea, but God sends them when people do wickedly and sin 
much. While the plague rages they never call her hug a, but 
kuma (cummer, gossip), to make her friendly. And during that 
time they dare not leave any vessels unwashed at night, for she 
will pass through the kitchen, and if she spy any such, will scour 
and polish all the spoons and dishes (which detains her in the 
house) ; at times she even makes away with the bacon out of the 
loft, Wtb. sub v. Kuga ; and new ed. of Serv. songs 1, 149 note. 
Here again she comes out in the fashion of ancient goddesses, 

PLAGUE. 1189 

Holda and Berhta, who cannot abide disorder in the house 
pp. 268. 274. 

Among the Slovens, cattle-plague (kuga) is a spotted calf that 
kills sheep anc( oxen by its cry (Murko p. 74). 

The devil is reported to have said, there was but one cure for 
the kuga, that was mattock and hoe, meaning burial (Vuk sub v. 
metil) . 

A Finnic song (Schroter 60) adjures the Plague to take herself 
away to steely mountains in the gloomy North : saddle-horse and 
carriage-horse shall be given her for the journey. She is called 
rutto, the sudden, like our MHG. gahe tot. 

In L. Germany they have folktales about the Heidmann (heath 
man) who peeps in at your window at night : any one he looks 
at then, must die within year and day; just so does Berhta look 
in at the window (p. 274), so does Death (p. 772). In Tyrol too 
they tell of a ghost that goes about at the time of one s death : 
whatever window he looks into, people die in that house DS ; 
no. 266. 

In the Lausitz Smertnitsa in white array prowls about the 
villages : to whatever house she directs her step, a corpse will 
soon be there. In the house itself she announces her presence 
by thumping and turning the boards up. Convulsions in the 
dying are signs that Smertnitsa is getting the better of them, 
Laus. mon. schr. 1797. p. 756. 

There cannot be the slightest doubt left, that all these various 
personifications of the plague are to be viewed as effluences of 
superior divinities of antiquity, whose might, merciful and awful, 
they display by turns. Veiled in white they stride along, like 
Berhta, and like the mother that walks in the corn at noon. 
Plague-maiden and fate-maiden meet and touch, morowa dziewica 
with Marena, Morena (p. 771), the harmful goddess with the 
healing pitying Eir (see Suppl.). 


Pliny has thrown a peculiar charm over his Natural History by 
not disdaining to record minutely even the superstitious views of 
the vulgar about animals and plants. How his reverence for 
antiquity, his elegance of exposition, stand out against the dry 
gravity of our present students of nature, who never waste a 
glance on the customs of their country, and to whom all the force 
and grace of Teutonic idiom is but small beer (see Suppl.) . 

Krut, steine unde wort hant an kreften grozen hort (herb and 
stone and wholesome word have of healing powers rich hoard) , 
says our Freidank 111, 6; and as there lies in dwarfs a special 
acquaintance with the healing virtues hidden in herbs (pp. 
450-1 n. 457), it is worth noticing, that in the mouth of a king of 
that race, Goldemar (pp. 453. 466. 509) is placed the dictum, 
1 Christianos fidem in verbis, Judseos in lapidibus pretiosis, et 
Paganos in herlis ponere/ Meibom s Script. 1, 186. Paganism 
does present a rich store of mythical notions on the origin and 
manifold virtues of these plants. 

1. HERBS. 

As among men, so among Herbs, the noble tower above the 
base : they were created by gods in some secluded sacred spot, 
they sprouted up where innocent blood had been shed, they were 
brought over by birds, and so on. Under the goddess s footfall 
the flower springs up, as all growth withers where sorrowing 
lovers part. On the mountain s top, to which the lover had 
carried up his dying love, and poured out her last reviving 
draught, grew healing herbs that blessed the land at large (Marie 
de Fr. 1, 268). Mountains foster what is rarest in the realm of 
plants. Zeus and Hera laid them down on Ida s top (II. 14, 347) : 

V7TO Vt7O)V OiCL Cf>Ve 

\CI)TOV 6 epar^evra IBe KpoKOV r]& vdicivOov, 

r A i \ A \ < t ) " 

TTVKVOV Kai /jLaXarcov, o<? UTTO ^uovo^ uyocr eepye 



(under them bountiful earth teemed up a new vegetation, dew- 
sprinkled clover and saffron and hyacinth, thick and soft, etc.). 
A similar bed of flowers still haunts the imagination of our 
Minnesingers (Walth. 39. 40. Hadloub 2, 194-5), but men have 
to gather the grass and flowers for that amid singing of birds. 
To the Medieval way of thinking ifc was most natural to make 
healing herbs grow out of the graves of holy men, as we plant 
flowers on the tomb and pick some for remembrance. Even on 
the huorco s barrow grows wound-healing rosamarina, the pluck 
ing of which turns men into doves, Pentam. 4, 8. The saint s 
grave nourishes a peartree, whose fruit cures the sick forthwith 
(Greg. Tur. mirac. 1, 47). We have seen p. 1178n. how at the 
foot of a holy statue a nova species (quite the Homeric veo^7?A,?;? 
above) grew up to the skirt of the robe, and then became a 
healing plant 1 ; with this I connect what Pliny tells us 24, 19 
[106] : herba in capite statuae nata, collectaque alicujus in vestis 
panno et alligata in lino rufo, capitis dolorein confesfcim sedare 
traditur (see Suppl.). 

Many herbs and flowers are named after gods, but as we are 
seldom told the occasion of a name being given, it admits of 
more than one explanation. The god produced the plant, or he 
uses it, he loves it, loathes it, in shape or colour it resembles 
some part of his person, his raiment, arms, and so forth. Thus 
the names Baldrs bra (p. 222, conf. supercilium Veneris), Freyju 
hdr (p. 303) come from the beaming lustre of the flower ; 
Forneotes folme (p. 240), Niarffar vottr (p. 218) from the leaves 
lying like five fingers side by side. Donner-rebe (-vine) is the 
Lett. Pehrkones. Donnerkraut, Donnerbesen (p. 183) may, like 
barba Jovis, be accounted for by the bushy tanglement of their 
tendrils; but how Perunika (p. 183) stands related to Perun, 
I do not know. Dcvil s-bit is from the marks of teeth supposed 
to be visible in its root, and due to diabolic agency. A great 
many names are taken from beasts, especially those of our native 
fable, and fancy has been equally busy on them. 

Of flowers and herbs the Sanskrit distinguishes the wholesome 
by the adjunct friend/ the hurtful by foe/ as Ramdpriya, dear 

1 The healing power imparted by the skirt of the garment was very likely 
suggested by the Biblical * touching of the hem, Matt. 9, 20. 14, 36. Mk 6, 56. 
Luke 8, 44. 


to Lakshmi = lotus, Yamapriya, dear to Yama = ficus indica, 
conf. Pott s Etym. for. 2, 4247. This agrees with OHG. goto- 
fargezzan, marrubium album (Graff 4, 279), MLG. got-vorghetene 
(Brunts Beitr. p. 48) and the phrase ergaz im Got/ Gramm. 4, 
175 (supra p. 21) ; the herb is our andorn (horehound). 

Other plants beyond a doubt derive their divine names from 
their healing power being first made Imown to mortals by the 
gods. With the Greeks, Athena and Artemis appear to have 
been active in this line; and I think they are represented 
amongst our goddesses by Frigg and Freyja, or whoever took 
their place afterwards, St. Mary above all. The artemisia was 
apparently discovered or revealed by Artemis [Pliny 25, 36, 25], 
the proserpinaca by Proserpine 27, 12 [104]. The irapOeviov was 
shown by the divine Ilapdevos, as Pliny relates, 22, 17 [20] : 
verna carus Pericli Atheniensium principi, cum in arce templum 
aedificaret repsissetque super altitudinem fastigii et inde cecidisset, 
hac herba dicitur sanatus, monstrata Pericli somnio a Minerva, 
quare parthenium vocari coepta est, assignaturque ei deae. Of 
the lappa he says, 24, 18 [116] : medetur et suibus, effossa sine 
ferro ; quidam adjiciunt et fodientem dicere oportere, Haec est 
herba argemon, quam Minerva reperit, suibus remedium qui de 
ilia gustaverint ; apye/jiov = albugo in the eye. Hermes pulls 
out of the ground for Odysseus the fydpnaicov mighty against 
magic: yuwAu e /uz/ tcdXeovcri, 6eoi, Od. 10, 305 (p. 369). Does 
the Iris owe its name to the messenger of the gods, or the white 
hue of the lily, or other causes? In Christian times an angel 
reveals the angelica in a dream, Aw. 1, 159 (see Suppl.). 

The names borrowed from animals may gain much in meaning 
by the animals themselves being connected with the service of 
gods. Thus there need only a myth underlie such names as 
baren-klaue, wolfs-milch, OHG. wolves-zeisala, AS. wulfes-taesel, 
and AS. hraefnes-leac, to bring to light some relation in which 
the herb stands to dawn (p. 743-4), to the hero suckled by the she- 
wolf, to the cordial conveyed by the god s messenger. We find 
a convincing example in the spechts-wurzel, pecker s root, brought 
by the sacred bird (p. 673), who probably gave his name to one 
of the grand woods of our olden time, Spelites-Jiart (Spessart) : 
not only does it serve to burst open the plug, but he protects 
the peony especially from being plucked (p. 973). The healing 

HERBS : NAMES. 1193 

was associated with TLaitov the divine physician, and it 
is precisely the wounded Ares that he doctors (II. 5, 900) ; in 
which I see a new point of connexion between Ares and Roman 
Mars, whose bird the woodpecker was. Athena too was named 
Tlaiwvia. Now I think it is not without a bearing on this 
matter, that our Zio himself has a herb named after him : ON. 
Ty-vidr f Dan. Tys-ved, daphne mezereum (p. 199), which might 
have been in OHG. Zio-witu, Ziowes-witu, i.e. Martis arbor, lig 
num, frutex ; but instead of exactly this name, we find a cor 
responding one, which I believe I can explain more correctly now 
than at p. 428, note 2. I then thought of Sigelint, but as the 
spelling Cigelinta, i.e. Zige-linta, preponderates (Graff 5, 627), as 
Zilant (659) seems synonymous, and as beside Zeiland we have 
in Austria to this day Zillind, Zwilind, Zwilinde meaning the 
same daphne, 1 the real old spelling comes to light, Zio-linta, 
answering in form and substance to T^vrSr. For linta is not 
only lime-tree, but also liber, bast, and we call the plant in 
differently seidel-baum and seidel-bast (for zeilinde-baum, -bast), 
and it is commonly applied as a healing drug (Hofer 3, 135). An 
AS. Tiwes-wudu, Tiges-wudu, Tiges-lind is readily inferred. Now 
whether daphne and paeonia be related or distinct, matters nothing 
to their mythical analogy ; Pliny says the peony was also called 
pentorobon, irevropojBov, from its bearing four or five peas; its 
Boh. name is wlci lyko, i.e. wol/ s bast, Fr. garou, i.e. loup-garou, 
werewolf. I will now pick out a few remarkable names of plants 
from F. Magnusen s Lex. 758-9. The viola Martis, Fr. violette 
de Mars, is in Iceland called Tj/s-fiola, T^rs-fiola: this may be 
a mere translation of the Latin name, which alludes more to the 
month than the god, like our own marz-viole. There is more in 
the Norw. Tyri-hialm or Thor-hialm, Thoralm, Thor-hat for 
aconitum or monk s-hood, to which answers our eisen-hiitlein 
(iron hat), Swed. Dan. storm-hat, apparently from the flower 
resembling in shape a helmet or hat ; but the same plant is called 
wolfs-kraut, wolfs-wurz, Dan. ulve-urt, Engl. wolfs bane, Dan. 
ulve-bane, ulve-dod, which may be understood of T$T S fight 
with the wolf, and moreover likened to the wolf s bast and garou 

1 This too in districts that say Er-tag and not Zis-tag for Tuesday (pp. 124. 
201) ; so that in the plant s name Zio-worship took a wider range. 


above, as several other names waver between daphne and aconi- 
tum. And wolf s bast may even suggest the three bands laid on 
the Fenris-ulfr, Masking (Dan. leding, Molb. dial. lex. p. 317), 
f dromi and gleipnir/ S. 33-4-5. There was yet another name 
for daphne given on p. 377: Wieland s berry, together with a 
Scand. Velaiidx urt for the medicinal valerian ; names which 
carry us back, if not to a god, to one of our greatest heroes of 
old, whose father was the wise leech Wate (see Suppl.). 

But there is only a small number of herbs named after gods 
or heroes, compared with those referable to goddesses and wise 
women. Most of these are now given to Mary, who in this 
case, as in that of pretty little beetles (p. 694) and brilliant stars 
(p. 726), replaces the elder Frouwa. Frauen-schuhli is trefolium 
melilotus, whose flower resembles a shoe, in some places Marien- 
pantaffelchen ; was Cypripedium calceolus Veneris formed in 
imitation ? Fraua-menteli, osa (our) fraua-menteli (Tobler 204 b ), 
alchemilla vulg., from its leaves being folded mantle-wise. Fraua- 
seckeli (-satchel), geumrivale, ibid. Freyju-hdr stands for several 
kinds of fern (supra p. 303) ; does it independently answer to 
herba capillaris, capillus Veneris in Apuleius s Herb. 47, or was 
it borrowed from it ? Frauen-trdn, Marien-thrane, orchis mascula 
(Staid. 1, 296), reminds of helenium e lacrimis Helenae natum/ 
Pliny 21, 10 [33], still more of Freyja s golden tears, gratr 
Freyju/ Sn. 128. 132 (conf. p. 325), and the flowers and precious 
stones that drop when goddesses laugh or weep (p. 1101) ; a 
costly wine is called unser liebfrauen-milch. How a flower came 
to be called Mother- of -God* 8 mirror, is told in the nursery-legend. 
Frauen-schlossli, frauen-schliissel, primula veris, Staid. 1, 124, 
otherwise himmels-schliissel (heaven s key), schliissel-blume ; 
because it unlocks the spring, or opens treasure ? it has yet 
more names, and is the medicinal betonica, of which more anon. 
As these plants are all natives of our meadows, it is not likely 
that their names were drawn from Latin, and only came into 
vogue in the last few centuries ; though in OHG. glosses we 
find no herb compounded with frouwa. It were too daring to 
trace the oster-blume (oster-gloie, Ms. 2, 61 a ) back to Ostard, 
Edstre, as the form of name can, like maiblume, be explained 
by the season of its blossoming ; these maybells were offered 
in sacrifice (p. 58), were borne by white-women (p. 963), and to 


pick them before sunrise is recommended in Sup. I, 1075 (see 

Flowers are a feminine adornment, young maidens twine the 
wreath, sage matrons cull the herb. Marner says prettily, Ms. 
2, 1 74 a : ez riuchet (smells) als ein edel krut uz einer megde hant/ 
Why should not the wise women of even our earliest eld have been 
skilled in herb-lore ? it is ascribed to witches and old women 
still, and apparently it is not without a meaning that from 
healing herbs the witches select names for themselves or their 
admirer (p. 1063). All witches herbs may most appropriately 
be called beschrei-kr&ut,, frertt/-kraut (speak ill, becall, be 
witch), though the names have also been applied to particular 

The culling and fetching of herbs had to be done at particu 
lar times, and according to long-established forms (see SuppL). 

Mostly before sunrise, when the day is young : ( herba qua- 
cunque a rivis aut fluminibus ante soils ortum collecta, ita ut 
nemo colligentem videat, 3 Pliny 24, 19 [107]. praecipiunt ali- 
qui effossuris (anagallida), ante solis ortum, priusquam quidquam 
allud loquantur, ter salutare earn, turn sublatam exprimere; ita 
praecipuas esse vires/ 25, 13 [92]. aiunt, si quis ante solis 
ortum earn (chamelaeam) capiat, dicatque ad albugines oculorum 
se capere, adalligata discuti id vitium 24, 14 [82] . et hanc 
(Samolum herbam) sinistra manu legi a jejunis 3 24, 11 [63]. 
1 radicem (pistolochiae) ante soils ortum erutam involvunt lana 3 
20, 4 [14] . The viscus was gathered at new moon, prima luna 
24, 4 [6] ; the verbenaca f circa Canis ortum, ita ut ne luna aut 
sol consplclat 25, 9 [59] . Unseen by man or heavenly body, 
silent and fasting, shall the collector approach the sacred herb. 
Lilies of the valley are to be culled before sunrise, deviPs-bit at 
midnight of St. John s eve, Sup. I, 190. 1075. 

Pliny 25, 3 [6] tells of a plant called by the Romans herba 
Britannica, because brought from the isles between Germany and 
Britain (ex oceani insulis extra terras positis 27, 1) : Florem 
vibones vocant, qui collectus priusquam tonitrua audiantur (is 
not that between lightning and thunder ?) et devoratus, secures 
a fulminibus in totum reddit. Frisii, qua castra erant, nostris 
demonstravere illam ; mirorque nominis causam, nisi forte con 
fines oceano Britanniae velut propinquae dicavere ; non enim 


inde appellatam earn quoniam ibi plurima nasceretur certum est, 
etiamnum Britannia liberal Here we have a plant held in 
esteem by the ancient Germans themselves, and the injunction 
to gather it before hearing thunder (that year ?) sounds quite 
Teutonic. It protected from lightning, was therefore sacred to 
the Thunder-god, like the house-leek, which is also called 
donner-wehr. AS. glosses render the Britannica by hcewen- 
Ity&ele ; haswen is glaucus, the second word may come from huS 
praeda, or h^Se portus ; in the latter case it would mean some 
thing like blue sea-flower. Anyhow it was a water-plant, 
hydrolapathum it is thought. I would gladly recognise in it 
the seeblatt so sacred to the Frisians and Zealanders (p. 654), 
whose flower is said to be white or yellow ; its names nixblume 
and mummel call to mind the Indian names for the lotus, Rama- 
priya, dear to Rama or Lakshmi, and Srivasa, Sri s house = 
Lakshmi s, who came up out of the sea (see Suppl.). 

In digging up a herb, the Roman custom was, first to pour 
mead and honey round it, as if to propitiate the earth, then to 
cut round the root with a sword, looking toward the east (or 
west), and the moment it is pulled out to lift it on high without 
letting it touch the ground. f Favis ante et melle terrae ad 
piamentum datis, circumscriptam ferro (verbenacam) effodi sinistra 
manu et sublime tolli, J Pliny 25, 9 [59]. et fossuri (iridem), 
tribus ante mensibus mulsa aqua circiimfusa, hoc veluti placa- 
mento terrae blandiuntur, circumscripta mucrone gladii orbe triplwi, 
et cum legerint earn protinus in coelum attollunt 3 21, 7 [19]. 
nigrum elleborum melampodion vocant, quo et domos suffiunt 
purgantque, spargentes et pecora, cum precatione solemni; hoc 
et religiosius colligitur : primum enim gladio circumscribitur, 
dein qui succisurus est ortum special, et precatur ut liceat sibi 
concedentibus Diis facere ; observatque aquilae volatus (fere enim 
secantibus interest), et si prope advolavit, moriturum illo anno 
qui succidat augurium est 25, 5 [21]. cavent effbssuri (man- 
dragoram) contrariuin ventum, et tribus circulis ante gladio cir- 
cumscribunt, postea fodiunt ad occasum specialties 25, 13 [94]. 
In some cases, when the root had been dug out and made use 
of, it was put in again, that it might live on : ( hanc (sene- 
cionem) si ferro circumscriptam effodiat aliquis, tangatque ea 
dentem et alternis ter despuat, ac reponat in eundem locum ita 


id vivat herba, aiunt dentem eum postea non doliturum 25, 13 

A great point was to guard against cold iron touching the 
root (hence gold or redhot iron was used in cutting), and against 
the herb pulled up, or the branch cut off, touching the ground i 1 
radicem (pistolochiae) ante solis ortum erutam involvunt lana 
coloris quern nativum vocant. quidam auro effodiendam censent, 
cavendumque ne terram adtingat 20, 4 [14], (viscum) collec- 
tum e robore sine ferro, si terram non attigit, comitialibus mederi 
(putant) 24, 4 [6] . virgam e myrice def ractam, ut neque 
terram neque ferrum attingeret 24, 9 [41]. cavendum ne avulsa 
herba terram tanigat 25, 13. herba juxta quam canes urinam 
fundunt, evulsa ne ferro attingatur, luxatis celerrime medetur ; 
24,19 [111]. 

In picking or pulling up, the operator used the left hand; in 
certain cases he had to do it unbelted and unshod, and to state 
for whom and for what purpose it was done : f si quis unum ex 
his (pomis Punici mali), solutus vinculo omni cinctus et calceatus 
atque etiam anuli, decerpserit duobus digitis, pollice et quarto 
sinistrae manus, atque ita lustratis levi tactu oculis, mox in os 
additum devoraverit, ne dente contingat, affirmatur nullam ocu- 
lorum imbecillitatem passurus eo anno } 23, 6 [59]. praecipitur 
ut sinistra manu ad hos usus eruatur (iris rufa), colligentesque 
dicant cujus hominis utique causa eximant 21,20 [83]. f par- 
thenium . . . magi contra tertianas sinistra manu evelli earn 
jubent, dicique cujus causa vellatur, nee respicere 21, 30 [104]. 
( pseudanchusa . . . folium ejus sinistra decerpi jubent magi, et 
cujus causa sumatur dici 22, 20 [24]. f praecipitur ut qui 
colligit (thlaspi) dicat sumere se contra inguina et contra omnes 
collectiones et contra vulnera, unaque manu tollat 3 27, 13 [113], 
( autumnalis urticae radicem alligatam in tertianis, ita ut aegri 
nuncupentur cum eruitur ea radix, dicaturque cui et quorum filio 
eximatur, liberare morbo tradiderunt 22, 14 [16]. buglosso 
inarescente, si quis medullam e caule eximat, dicatque ad quern 
liberandum febre id faciat 26, 11 [71]. So Columella 6, 5 of 
the radicula, quam pastores consiliginem vocant ; ea in Marsis 
montibus plurima nascitur, omnique pecori maxime est salutaris : 

1 As they would not let witches touch the ground (p. 1074) : the iarSar megin. 


laeva mann effoditur ante soils ortum, sic enim lecta majorem vim 
creditur habere. 

In our native tradition, now so scant and faded, I can find but 
little to match full accounts like these. An important statement 
is that of Burcard on the bilisa (hyoscyamus, henbane) , f quam 
virginem nudam minima digito dextrae manus eruere faciunt, et 
radicitus erutam cum ligamine aliquo ad minimum digitum dextri 
pedis ligare ; the object has been stated p. 593. The nudity of 
the person pulling it up answers to the above-mentioned laying 
aside of belt and shoes, but the right hand and right foot are at 
variance with the Roman preference for left limbs. The whole 
ceremony however seems to have been equally known in Gaul, 
where the Romans, as will appear by and by, found a herb- 
ritual ready organized. An AS. Herbal prescribes thus for sore 
eyes., wr3 eagena sare : cer sunnan upgange oftfte hwene cer hco 
fuUice gesigan onginne (begin to sink), ga to J?aere ylcan wyrte 
Proserpinacam, and bewrtt hi abutan mid dnum gyldenum hringe y 
and cweS (say) ]?aet j?u hi to eagena lascedome niman wille (wilt 
take it for cure of eyes) ; aefter J>rim dagon ga aeft )?a3r-t6 aer 
sunnangancge, and genim hi and hoh (take and hang it) onbutan 
]?83s mannes swyran (neck) ; heo frainaft wel. For aelf-adle : 
gang on Dunrescefen, ]?onne sunne on setle sie, J?aer ]?u wite 
Elenan standan ; sing ]?onne benedicite et pater noster, and sting 
j?in seax on ]?a wyrte. laet stician eft to ]?onne da3g, and niht 
furdum scaSe on J?am ilcan ahte, gang aerest to ciricean and ]>e 
gesena and Gode bebeod. gang ]?onne sVigende, and )?eah ]?e 
hwaet-hwega egeslices ongean cume, o^e man, ne cweiS ]?ii him 
asnig word to, aer ]?A cume to |?aere wyrte, )?e }>u on aefen asr 
gemearcodest ; sing )?onne benedicite and pater noster, adelf J?a 
wyrt, Icet stician pcet seax j?aeron. gange eft swa )?u ra^ost 
maege to ciricean, and lege under weofod mid ]?am seaxe, Ia3t 
licgean oftftaet sunne uppe sie. awaesc si^^an, do to drence and 
bisceopwyrt and Cristes maeles ragu, awyl j;riwa on meolcum, 
geot ]?riwa halig waster on ; sing on pater noster and credan etc. 
and hine eac ymbwrit mid sweorde on iiii healfa on cruce, and 
drince ]?one drenc, sr&San him br3 sona sael/ Here I think a 
Latin groundwork, with admixture of Christian rites, is self- 
evident. Thiers in his Traite des superstitions says : Quelques 
uns pour se garantir de malefices ou de charmes vont cueillir de 


grand matin, a jeun, sans avoir lave leurs mains, sans avoir prie 
Dieu t sans parler a personne et sans saluer personne en leur 
chemin, une certaine plante, et la mettent ensuite sur la personne 
maleficiee ou ensorcelee. Us portent sur eux une racine de 
cliicoree, qu ils ont touchee a genoux avec de I or et de I argent 
le jour de la nativite de saint Jean baptiste, un peu avant le 
soleil leve, et qu ils ont ensuite arrachee de terre avec un ferre- 
ment et beaucoup de ceremonies, apres 1 avoir exorcizee avec 
I epee de Judas Machabee. This again seems to be Celtic, and 
yet resembles the Roman practices, warlike Judas patriot sword 
doing duty for the circle-drawing ferrum. In Superst. I, 581, 
the lopping is also done with gold instead of iron. When Renart 
finds in the meadow the wished-for plant, and cautiously pulls it 
up, it is said: f ne Fa triblee n esquachie, encois la menja sanz 
tribler, del remanant ala froter trestotes les plaies qu il ot, et li 
cuir maintenant reclot et fa gariz et trestoz sains 25105 11. 
The herb was neither to be fretted nor squashed ; conf. Michel s 
Trist. 2, 50. In Thurneisser s Erkl. der archidoxen, Berl. 1575, 
when it says fol. 76 : Verbeen, agrimenia, inodelger Charfrey- 
tags graben hilfft dich sehr Das dir die frawen werden holdt, 
Doch brauch ~kein eisen, grab s mit goldt ; I think it must be 
drawn from Latin sources. Much more significant is what a 
song in the Hatzler book says of the f herb Hope 137. 294: 
Daz ist gar ein edel krut, Grab ez stille, niclit ze lilt, Schutzen 
sind darilber gesetzt, Begrif man dich, du wurdst geletzt An 
diner sselden hohstem pfant ( tis a priceless herb, I trow, dig it 
deftly, soft and slow : o er it are set guards to watch thee ; thou 
wouldst forfeit, should they catch thee, thy dearest pledge of 
happiness). These warders and watchers of the herb are on a 
par with that woodpecker that guards the peony : one would like 
to know more particulars about them (see SuppL). 

About the tying-on (alligare, usu. adalligare l ) of herbs when 
picked or dug up, Pliny imparts the following precepts : ( herba 
adalligata laevo bracliio, ita ut aeger quid sit illud ignoret 24, 19 
[107]. ( magi heliotropium quartanis quater, in tertianis ter alii- 

1 A curious compound = ad-ad-ligare : they must have ceased to feel the origin 
of the assimilation li before they could add a second ad. It is matched, imper 
fectly tis true, by our past part, gegliickt (fr. gegeliickt), and perfectly by the 0. Fr. 
concueillir = concolligere, con-con-legere, aiid the Goth, gagamainjan to profane, 
gagavairjjjan to reconcile. 


gari jubent ab ipso aegro, precarique soluturum se nodos libera- 
tum, et ita facere non exempta herba 22,21 [29]. sunt qui 
genicula novem vel unius vel e duabus tribusve herbis ad hunc 
articulorum numerum involvi lana succida nigra jubeant ad 
remedia strumae panorumve. jejunum debere esse qui colligat, 
ita ire in domum absentis cui medeatur, supervenientique ter 
dicere jejuno jejunum medicamentum dare, atque ita adalligare, 
triduoque id facere. quod e graminum genere septem internodia 
habet, efficacissime capiti intra dolores adalligatur 24, 19 [118]. 
* alliget ei septem folia 3 26, 11 [71]. verbenaca jumentorum 
febribus in vino medetur, sed in tertianis a tertio geniculo incisa, 
quartanis a quarto/ ibid. 1 Or, instead of being tied, it was put 
under the patient s pillow : sedum, si involutum panno nigro 
ignorantis pulvino subjiciatur 26, 10 [69]. absinthium somnos 
allicit olfactum, aut ins do sub capite positum 27, 7 [28]. As 
a rule, the sufferer was not to know what was tied on or laid 
under him; knots and joints in the herb bore a reference to the 
manner of tying and its repetitions. Often it sufficed if the 
protecting plant were held in the hand or worn in the girdle : 
f virgam populi in manu tenentibus intertrigo non metuatur 24, 
8 [32] . virgam (viticis) qui in manu habeant aut in cinctu, 
negantur intertriginem sentire 24, 9 [38] . ( intertrigines negat 
fieri Cato absinthium Ponticum secum habentibus 3 26, 8 [58]. 
Yet if you fall, holding in your hand the nymphsea, you become 
epileptic (p. 654). 

But in many parts of Germany herbs of power used to be 
suspended, up in the loft, on the main rafter, or over door and 
gate ways, and left there all the year round, till they were re 
placed by fresh ones. 

The Eomans had a strange custom of laying a sieve in the 
road, and using the stalks of grass that grew up through it for 
medical purposes : cribro in limite adjecto, herbae intus ex- 
stantes decerptae adalligataeque gravidis partus accelerant 24, 
19 [109]. The sieve was a sacred utensil (p. 1108-12) : exstare 
is extra stare, prominere. This reminds me of our old Weis- 
thiimer, which determine the fineness of a tissue by the stalks 

1 WM5 heafod-ece (headache) : adelf weybradan (plantago) butan Isene ser 
sunnan upgange, bind >a moran (berries, seed) ymb J?a3t heafod mid vvrastereade 
sona him bi$ sel. 


piercing through it, 1, 12 : item, es sprechint ouch die hofliit, 
das si hundert und sibentzig eln huobtuochs gebint dem von 
Hiinwil, das selb huobtuoch solli so swach sin, wenn man das 
spreit uf ein wasen, das gens gras und bollen durch das tuoch 
mugint essen/ And 1, 254: the said cloth shall be spread 
over turf and be of such substance that geese can eat grass 
through it, and not starve/ This has nothing to do with heal 
ing, but the mode of thought is similar. 

Having made these general observations, I will now take up 
one by one the herbs most renowned for healing. Yet some of 
them seem purposely to have no distinct name given them ; among 
these is the herb that kept birds away from millet and panic : 
pestem a milio atque panico, sturnorum passerumque agmina, 
scio abigiherba cujus nomen ignotum est, in quatuor angulis segetis 
defossa, mirum dicfcu, ut omnino nulla avis intret/ Pliny 18, 17 
[45]. A poem in Ls. 1, 211-^8 tells of a maiden that was pick 
ing flowers for a garland, and by chance got hold of a herb she 
did not know : no sooner was it in her hand than she saw all her 
lovers before her, heard their talk, and knew all their thoughts. 
At length one of her companions knocked the miraculous plant 
out of her hand, it fell into a brook that ran past, and floated 
away ; and all the prophetic power was gone. Again, the 
nameless blue wonderflower (p. 964), that suddenly opens the 
shepherd s eyes who has unconsciously stuck it in his hat, and 
discloses the hitherto concealed entrance to the treasure (p. 971), 
comes before us the more mysteriously, as it cannot in the least 
be identified. 1 The name forget-me-not, which it may be said to 
assume to itself, is supposed to express no more than its senti 
ment, and seems not to have been applied to myosotis till a later 
time. A herb with an equally imperative name is reported by 
Pliny 27, 12 [106] : circa Ariminum nota est herba quam 
resedam vocant, discutit collectiones inflammationesque omnes. 
qui curant ea, addunt haec verba : " Reseda, morbos reseda ! 
scisne, scisne quis hie pullos egerit ? radices nee caput nee pedes 
habeant ! " haec ter dicunt, totiesque despuunt/ Collectio is a 

1 In Polish quarries grows a beautiful blue starflower with a long stalk (conf. 
trojziele p. 1216), which the peasantry make war upon, because they think old 
women and gipsies use it in bewitching the cows, that they may suck up all the 
milk themselves (Pott s Zigeuner p. yiii). 


gathering, and ( pullos agere must refer to this or the inflamma 
tion. What we now call reseda (odorata) is apparently a differ 
ent herb (see Suppl.) . 

Of roots, the Alrune stands first in fame. OHG. glosses 
already have alruna, alrunfor mandragora (Graff 2, 523. Schm. 
3, 97), and I have on fair grounds (p. 404) identified the name of 
the personified plant with that of wise-women in our remotest 
antiquity. H. Sachs iv. 3, 34 still pictures the Alraun as a god 
dess who meets you at the crossways. 1 Besides, the root itself 
has the shape of a man, and the process of pulling it up is 
described as follows : If a hereditary thief that has preserved his 
chastity gets hung, and drops water or seed from him, there 
grows up under the gallows the broad-leaved yellow-flowered 
mandrake. If dug up, she groans and shrieks so dismally, that 
the digger would die thereof. He must therefore stop his ears 
with cotton or wax, and go before sunrise on a Friday, and take 
with him a black dog that has not a white hair on him ; make 
three crosses over the mandrake, and dig round her till the root 
holds by thin fibres only ; these he must tie with a string to the 
dog s taily hold up a piece of bread before him, and run away. 
The dog rushes after the bread, wrenches up the root, and falls 
dead, pierced by her agonizing wail. The root is now taken up 

1 This personality of the Alraun comes out plainly in a merry tale handed down 
by a MS. of the 15th cent. : Dicitur de quadam muliere, quae habuit virum nimis" 1 
durum, quae quandam vetulam in sortilegiis famosam consuluit. vetula vero, experta 
in talibus valde, dixit se optima sibi scire et posse (sub-) venire, si suum vellet con- 
silium imitari. et dum ipsa promitteret se velle imitari, vetula adjecit: habesne 
in horto tuo canapum spissum et longum ? quae ait habeo valde optatum. cui 
vetula vade inquit tribus noctibus successive in crepusculo serotino ad ipsum 
hortun tali modo et forma, prima namque nocte accipe unam libram lardi spiss- 
issimi et optimi quam poteris habere, secunda nocte duas, tertia vero tres, et semper 
ponas dextrum pedem ad canapum, ac projiciendo lardum usque ad medium canapi, 
vel citra, haec dices verba : " Alrawn du vil giiet, Mit trawrigem miiet Eiief ich 
dich an, Dastu meinen leidigen man Bringst darzue, Das er mir kein leid nimmer 
tue." Tertia igitur nocte cum mulier haec verba replicaret, vetula abscondita in 
canapo jacebat. prius autem informaverat praedictam mulierem, quod attentissime 
auscultaret quae sibi tertia nocte dicta Alrawn insinuaret. unde in haec verba sub 
voce rauca et valde aliena abscondita in canapo respondebat : " Fraw, du solt haim 
gan, Und solt giieten miiet han, Und solt leiden, meiden, sweigen (bear and forbear 
and hold thy peace) ; Thuest du das von alien deinen sinnen, So machtu wol ein 
giieten man gewinnen." et sic mulier illius vetulae verba imitabatur, et viri amari- 
tudo in dulcedinem et mansuetudinem vertebatur. The same story in Paulli s 
Schimpf u. Ernst 1555 cap. 156 ; a similar in a MHG. poem (Altd. wald. 3, 1603) 
and a nursery-tale (KM. no. 128), where the man, not the wife, consults the hollow 
tree or spindletree in the garden (p. 652). The form of address Alrun, du vil 
guote reminds me of si vil guote, said to fro Scelde when she cuts out and clothes, 
Walther 43, 7. 


(Pliny s in sublime tolli), washed with red wine, wrapt in silk red 
and white, laid in a casket, bathed every Friday, and clothed in a 
new little white smock every new-moon. When questioned, she 
reveals future and secret things touching welfare and increase, 
makes rich, removes all enemies, brings blessings upon wedlock, 
and every piece of coin put to her overnight is found doubled 
in the morning, but she must not be overloaded. When her 
owner dies, she goes to the youngest son, provided he puts a 
piece of bread and a coin in his father s coffin. If he dies before 
his father, the mandrake passes to the eldest son, who must in 
like manner with bread and money bury his brother. All these 
provisions sound ancient, and may date from a long way back. 
Our OHG. glosses have alruna for the mandragora occur 
ring several times in the Vulgate, 1 Gen. 30, 14 seq., where the 
Hebrew text reads dud aim; but the poetized version in MHG. 
translates it erd-ephil, Diut. 2, 79. Now the mandragoras (masc., 
Gr. fiavSpay6pa<i) is thus described in Pliny 25, 13 [94] : man- 
dragoram alii Circaeum vocant ; duo ejus genera, candidus qui et 
mas, niger qui femina existimatur . . . cavent effossuri (album) 
contrarium ventum, et tribus circuits ante gladio circumscribunt, 
postea fodiunt ad occasum spectantes. I find more to my pur 
pose this time in two lines of Columella 10, 19 : 

quamvis semi-hominis vesano gramine foeta 
mandragorae pariat flores, moestamque cicutam. 
Semi-human mandrake goes very well with our legend, and 
even vesanum gramen may agree with it more closely than 
appears from the words. Hildegard also in Phys. 2, 102 says : 
mandragora de terra de qua Adam creatus est dilatata est, et 
propter similitudinem hominis suggestio diaboli huic plus quam 
aliis herbis insidiatur. et ideo, cum de terra effoditur, mox in 
salientem fontem per diem et noctem ponatur. As the French 
mcmdagloire stands for mandragore, I conjectured (p. 402) that the 
fee Maglore may have sprung from Mandagloire ; if so, it offers 
an exact analogy to our Alruna the wise-woman and alruna the 
mandrake, and is not to be despised. I close with an AS. de 
scription in Thorpe s Anal. p. 94, probably of the 10-1 1th cent., 
which confirms the dog s participation in the act of gathering : 

1 As a fern. pi. mandragorae ; the LXX has^Xa navdpayopw, earth-apples. 


1 J?eos wyrt, ]?e man mandragoram neinneft . . . J?onne ]?u to 
hire cymst, )?onne ongist jm hi bi ]?am (wilt know her by this) ]?e 
heo on nihte seined ealswa leoht-fqet (as a lamp). ]?onne )?u hire 
hedfod aerest geseo (first see her head), ]?onne bewrit Jm hi wel 
hrafte mid iserne, )?y laes heo J?e aetfleo (lest she flee thee) . hire 
maegen (main, might) is swa micel and swa maere, ]?aet heo un- 
daenne man, ]?onne he to hire cymeS, wel hrafte forfleon wile. 
for<5y J?u hi bewrit, swa we aer cwaedon, mid iserne, and swa ]?u 
scealt onbutan hi delfan, swa ]?u hire mid j^am iserne na aat-hrine 
(touch) : ac J?u geornlice scealt mid ylpenbsenenon (ivory) staefe 
f>a eor<5an delfan, and f>onne J?u hire handa and hire fet geseo, 
)?onne handes gewri-S J?u hi (tie her to a dog), nirn J>onne J>one 
o^erne ende, and gewrift to anes swiran (neck), swa ]?aeb se hund 
hungrig si, wurp (throw) him si^San mete to foran, swa ]>aet he 
hine ahraecan (reach) ne masge, buton he mid him J?a wyrte up- 
abrede. She shines by night like a lamp, has head, hands and 
feet, must be bewritten with iron lest she escape, is not to be 
touched with iron, but dug up with an ivory wand : several things 
betray a Latin origin (bewritan circumscribere). It is to be 
fastened to the dog s neck instead of his tail ; conf . Belg. mus. 
5, 114 [Josephus Wars 7, 6, 3 : root Baaras pulled up by dog]. 
Pliny ascribes a vim somnificam to inandragoras. 

Sasm. 194 a speaks of a svefn-frorn (sleep -thorn) with which 
OSinn pricks Brynhild, and she goes to sleep, as Dorn-roschen 
does in the nursery- tale from the prick of a spindle (p. 419). The 
thorn-rose has a meaning here, for we still call a mosslike excre 
scence on the wild rosebush or the whitethorn schlaf-apfel and 
schlaf-Jmnz ; so that the very name of our sleeping beauty con 
tains a reference to the myth. We also use the simple kuenz 
(Schm. 2, 314), which can hardly be Kunz the dimin. of Konrad, 
but is rather conn, with kiienzel, kiienzen (gathering under the 
chin). When placed under a sleeper s pillow, he cannot wake 
till it be removed 1 (see Suppl.). 

This sleep-apple is supposed to be produced by a wasp sting 
ing the thorn; equally rootless, the prophetic gall-nut on oaks 

1 Stinga svefnjnrn occurs in Fornald. sog. 1, 18-9. 3, 303-6. In Tristan 
is caused by a mere kusselin (cushion), Ulr. 1672-93 ; der zouberaere kiisselin, 
Heinr. 4911. In a fairy-tale (Altd. bl. 1, 145) by writing and letters (i.e. runes), or 
l>y feathers off the wild shaggy folk (pp. 433. 486), whom fancy must have pictured as 
having wings or feathers. 


originates in such a puncture, Sup. I, 968 ; Ital. gallozza, Neap. 
gliantra, Pentam. 2, 1: f tre gliantre mascole. Growths that 
could not be traced to seed and root, as probably that bird s nest 
on p. 973, seemed miraculous and endued with magic power : 
gall-nuts are hung on the kitchen roofbeam to protect the house. 
The mistel (mistletoe) was accounted specially sacred, being 
supposed to have fallen from heaven on the boughs of magnificent 
trees like the oak and ash. OHG-. mistil (not fern, mistila), Graff 
2, 890; MHG. mistel, jamers mistel/ Martina 161 d . With a 
shoot of this plant the god Baldr was shot dead : when Frigg 
was exacting an oath from all other plants, this seemed to her too 
young : < vex viSar teinungr einn fyrir austan Valholl, sa er Mis 
tilteinn kallaftr, sa J?6tti mer ungr at krefja eiSsins, Sn. 64 ; and 
the Voluspa sings of it thus, Seem. 6 b : 

sto$ umvaxinn vollom hserri 
mior ok miok fagur Mistilteinn ; 

grown high above the field stood the delicate fair mistle-shoot ; 
teinn is a branch shot up, Goth, tains, OHG. zein, and we may 
safely assume a Goth, mistilatains, OHG. mistilzein. Now in AS. 
we find it mistiltCi, which may easily be a corruption of mistiltan, 
and the agreement of this with the Eddie mistilteinn would be 
welcome and weighty ; yet ta may be right after all, and is 
supported by the Engl. being mistletoe [but also misseldine] . In 
Sweden this evergreen parasite is said to be usually a foot or two 
feet long, but sometimes to reach the length of three ells (Geijer s 
Hiifd. 1, 330). F. Magn. lex. 512 says, in Vestergotland it is 
called ve-spelt, holy spelt, triticum sacrum. A plant associated 
with the death of one of their greatest and best-beloved gods 
must have been supremely sacred to all of Teutonic blood; and 
yet this opinion of its holiness was shared by Celtic nations. 
Pliny 16, 44 [95] assures us of the Celtic belief : Non est omit- 
tenda in ea re et Galliarum admiratio. Nihil habent druidae (ita 
suos appellant magos) visco, et arbore in qua gignatur (si modo 
sit robur), sacratius. Jam per se roborum eligunt lucos, nee ulla 
sacra sine ea fronde conficiunt, et inde appellati quoque interpre- 
tatione Graeca possint druidae videri. Euimvero quidquid adnas- 
(atur illis, e coelo missum putant, signumque esse electae ab ipso 
deo arboris. Est autem id rarum admodum inventu, et repertum 


magna religione petitur, et ante omnia sexta luna (quae priucipia 
mensium annor unique his facit) et seculi post tricesimum annum, 
quia jam virium abunde habeat nee sit sui dimidia. Omnia sanan- 
tem appellantes suo vocabulo, sacrifices rite sub arbore praeparatis, 
duos admovent candidi coloris tauros, quorum cornua tune primum 
vinciantur. 1 Sacerdos Candida veste cultus arbor em scandit, fake 
aurea demetit, candido id excipitur sago. Turn deinde victimas im- 
molant, precantes ut suum donum deus prosperum faciat his quibus 
dederit. Foecunditatem eo poto dari cuicunque animalium sterili 
arbitrantur, contra venena omnia esse remedio. Tanta gentium 
in rebus frivolis plerumque religio est. This elegant description 
is preceded by other statements, of which I will select one here 
and there : Visci tria genera. Namque in abiete ac larice stelin 
dicit Euboea nasci, hyphear Arcadia, viscum autem in quercu, 
robore, pruno silvestri, terebintho, nee aliis arboribus adnasci, 
plerique. Copiosissimum in quercu, quod dryos hyphear . . . 
Adjiciunt discrimen, visco in his quae folia amittant et ipsi decidere, 
contra inhaerere nato in aeterna fronde. 2 Omnino autem satum 
nullo modo nascitur, nee nisi per alvum avium redditum, maxime 
palumbis ac turd-is : haec est natura, ut nisi maturatum in ventre 
avium non proveniat. Altitudo ejus non excedit cubitalem, semper 
frutectosi ac viridis. Mas fertilis, femina sterilis ; aliquando non 
fert. With us too a thrush is called mistier, Schm. 2, 645 (MHG. 
misteleere ?), Engl. mistlebird ; and in some other of our myths 
the conveyance of the seed by birds enhances the holiness of the 
virgin plant (p. 969) : there is no human hand at work, and the 
finger of God is manifest. Viscum is the Fr. gui, and to this day 
the veneration for the plant is preserved in the New-year s gratu- 
lation aguilanneuf (p. 755). In Wales they hang mistletoe over 
the doors at Christmas, and call it (says Davies) pren awyr, merry 
tree, pren uchelvar, tree of the high summit, pren puraur, tree 
of pure gold ; the second name recalls the vollurn hasrri of 
the Edda. But the usual names given for mistletoe are Wei. 
olhiach, Bret, ollyiach, Ir. uileiceach, Gael, uileice, i.e. all-healing 

1 Steers never yoked as yet, steeds never harnessed, KA. 547 : a sacred use 
demands that everything be new. 

2 Virg. Aen. 6, 205: Quale solet silvis brumali frigore viscum 

fronde virere nova, quod non sua seminat arbos, 
et croceo fetu teretes circumdare truncos ; 
tails erat species auri frondentis opaca 
ilice, sic leni crepitabat bractea vento. 


[ Pliny s omnia sanans], from ol, uile/ universal (p. 1213). A 
Breton lay (Barzas breiz 1, 58. 100) makes Merlin at early morn 
go fetch the high branch on the oak (warhuel, huelvar ann der- 
wen) . Our old herbals divide mistletoes into those of the oak, 
hazel and peartree (eichen-mistel, heselin-m., birnbaumin-m.), and 
none of them must be let touch the ground ; some, set in silver, 
they hang round children s necks. In Prussian Samland it is 
called wispe (which looks like viscum, gui, but mistel itself is 
often confounded with mispel = medlar) ; it is common on birch, 
cherry and lime trees, on the hazel it is rare and wonderful. It 
grows in a straight line out of the trunk, and between its smooth 
evergreen willow-like leaves it bears berries silvery-white, like 
peas or small nuts. Where the hazel has a wispe, there is sure 
to be a treasure hidden (Reusch no. 10). Among Slavs I find 
the names Boh. melj, gmelj, omeli, Russ. omela, Pol. iemiel ; 
Lith. amalai, Lett, ahmals ; but no legends (see Suppl.). 

To viscum may be added two other druidical herbs. Pliny 
24, 11 [62-3] : Selago legitur sine ferro, dextra maim per 
tunicam, qua sinistra exuitur velut a fur ante, Candida veste vestito 
pureque lotis nudis pedibus, sacro facto priusquam legatur pane 
vinoque; fertur in mappa nova: hanc contra omnem perniciem 
habendam prodidere druidae Gallorum. lidem Samolum herbam 
nominavere nascentem in humidis, et hanc sinistra manu legi a 
jejunis contra morbos suum boumque, nee respicere legentem, 
nee alibi quam in canali deponere, ibique conterere poturis. 
The mode of gathering selago is peculiar : it is to be picked with 
the right hand, not bare, but covered with the tunic (conf. p. 971) , 
then to be drawn out stealthily with the left. In Davies s Br. 
myth. 280 it is said to be the herb the Welsh call gras Duw 
(gratia Dei). Yillemarque thinks it is the aour geoten (aurea 
herba) of Breton songs 1, 58. 96, which you must pull up in the 
meadows before sunrise, barefoot and bareheaded ; it shines far- 
off like gold. It is rarely to be found, and only by holy persons. 
Some take it for our barlapp (lycopodiurn). Samolus is said to 
be anemone pulsatilla; Davies p. 274 gives its Welsh name as 

Our baldrian is a corruption of valeriana, and has nothing to 
do with Baldr, after whom a very different herb, the anthemis 
cotula, was named Baldrs bra (brow), Sw. Baldersbra, abbrev. 


Barbro. But the valerian has a mythical name too, Velands-urt, 
Wayland s wort (p. 377), and its healing virtues are in high 
repute. The Servians call it odolian (from odolieti to overpower), 
Boh. odolen; and among the Servian Vilinen piesme (songs 
taught by the vila herself) is a saw (Vuk, new ed. 1, 149) : { Da 
zna zhenska glava, Shto zh odolian trava, Svagda bi ga brala, U 
pas ushivala, I za se nosila ; if woman but knew what is herb 
odolian, she would always get it, in her girdle sew it, and about 
her wear it. The vila warns us not to neglect this precious herb 
(see Suppl.). 

Henbane (bi Is en- kraut) , OHG. pilisa, belisa (hyos-cyamos), 
see pp. 593. 1198, and Suppl. 

Sowthistle (eberwurz, boarwort), OHG. epurwurz, the carlina 
acaulis, Carls-distel ; growing on hills, close to the ground with 
out a stalk, with silver- white unfading leaves. During a pestilence, 
Charles the Great had gone to sleep laden with care, when an 
angel appeared to him in a dream, and bade him shoot an arrow 
in the air : whatever herb it lighted upon was sovereign against 
the plague. Charles in the morning shot the arrow, and its 
point stuck in a sowthistle : they used it for medicine, and the 
plague disappeared. He that carries this plant about him, let 
him run ever so long, will never tire ; and he can take all the 
strength out of a companion that walks with him, hence they 
used to tie some to their horses in a race ; when the same was 
done unperceived to one of a married couple, the other was sure 
to waste away and die. Sowthistle was also nailed inside the 
swine-trough, that the pigs might eat over it, whence its name 
is supposed to have come (W. Menzel s Literaturbl. 1844. pp. 9. 
10). The name ( eberwurz probably rests on other grounds, 
but carlina seems to be formed on the legend. King Charles 
often had things told him by angels in dreams, and bad dreams 
come of fighting with boars; the herb may have healed the gash 
inflicted by the tusk of a boar (see Suppl.). 

Betonica. Pliny 25, 46 : Vettones in Hispania earn quae 
Vettonica dicitur in Gallia, in Italia autem serratula, a Graecis 
cestros aut psycho-morphon [-trophon ?] , ante cunctas laudatis- 
sima. Exit anguloso caule, cubitorum duum, a radice spargens 
folia fere lapathi, serrata, semine purpureo . . . tantum gloriae 
habet, ut domus in qua sata sit futa existimetur a piaciilis omnibus 


. . . Morsibus imponitur vettonica, cui vis tanta perhibetur, ufc 
inclusae circulo ejus serpentes ipsae sese interimant flagellando. 
Fr. betoine, MHGr. batonie: altiu wip grabent patoni, MsH. 3, 
193 b . so gent eteliche mit boesen batanien umb, Berth. 58. 
ettlich kundent patoniken graben, Superst. G, 1. 41. die ler 
ich batonien graben/ Aw. 2, 56. An Italian proverb recom 
mends the purchase of betony at any price : venda la tonica, e 
compra la bettonica. A description in Martina 2 7 a (Diut. 2, 129), 
diu gel we batenie hoi/ seems to contradict the aforesaid purple 
(of the seed only ?) . In Switzerland badonikli is our fluhblume, 
cowslip, and herdsmen bring it home for their sweethearts off the 
Alp, Staid. 1, 124. 386. Apparently several kinds are to be 
distinguished : Pol. bukwica, Boh. brkwice, is by turns betonica, 
plantago and primula. The Anglo-Saxons called betonica biscop- 
wyrt,from which its sacredness may be inferred (see Suppl.). 

Madalger stands in OHG. glosses for basilicum, in herbals for 
senecio as well. The proverb ran, Modelgeer ist aller wurzel 
ein eer. In the Westerrich, when a disease breaks out among 
swine, they chop some of this root in with the pigs wash, 
muttering a short prayer : it keeps the schelm from attacking 
them. As Heime s father in our heroic legend is called Madelger 
(p. 387), likewise a mermaid s son who puts on a cloak of dark 
ness (Morolt 40- 1 ) ; a mythic significance in the plant s name 
becomes credible (see Suppl.). 

In the same way I connect Mangold, lapathum, beet, with that 
ancient name of the giant-maiden who could grind gold (p. 531). 

OHG. faram filix, MHG. varm, varn, AS. fearn, Engl./em. 
Pliny 27, 9 [55] tells nothing mythical of the filix. Hildegard s 
Phys. 2, 91 : in loco illo ubi crescit, diabolus illusiones suas 
raro exercet ; et domum et locum in quo est, diabolus evitat et 
abhorret, et fulgura et tonitrua et grando ibi raro cadunt. A 
Herbal says : fa/rnkraut is hard to destroy, without ye stub it 
up on the day of John s beheading, then doth farn perish. It 
seems to bear neither flower nor seed ; he that will gather fern- 
seed must be bold and able to daunt the devil. He shall go after 
it on St John s night before daybreak, light a fire, and spread 
cloths or broad leaves under the same, so may he take and keep 
of the seed. Many fasten fresh* fern over the house-door, then 
all goes well as far as the whip on the waggon reaches (about five 



paces), Sup. I, 988. In Kedeker s Westf. sagen no. 46 we find 
some details : Fernseed makes one invisible, but is difficult to get 
at : it ripens only between 12 and 1 on Midsummer night, and 
then falls off directly, and is gone. A man, who on that night 
happened to be looking for a lost foal, passed through a field 
where fernseed was ripening, and some fell in his shoes (like the 
flax-pods, p. 962). Coming home in the morning, he walked 
into the house, and sat down : he thought it strange that his 
wife and family took no notice of him. Well/ says he, I have 
not found the foal/ All those in the room looked startled : they 
heard the man s voice, but nothing of him could they see. The 
wife began calling him by name, so he came and stood in the 
middle of the room, and said, What are you shouting for, when 
here I stand before you ? The terror was now greater than 
before ; till the man, feeling something hurt his feet, as if shingle 
had got in his shoes, pulled them off and shook them out and 
there he stood visible to every eye. This is the wiinscliel-samen 
des varmen (p. 974). Conrad of Wiirzburg in a sono- MsH. 
3, 453 a : 

Het ich sdmen von dem varn, 

den wiirfe ich dar den scheiden, 

daz si n versliinden, e min dienest von ir solde scheiden. 

scheiden are large fish, shad, siluri, and often used punningly 
(Schm. 3, 324. Hofer 3, 65). Had I seed of the fern, says the 
lover, I would fling it to yon shadfish to devour, ere my service 
should fall away from her ; apparently the seed might have made 
his fortune elsewhere, but he gives it up to keep faith with her : 
there is no reference to invisibility. In Thiers thefougere (filix) 
cueillie la veille de la St Jean justement a midi is said to bring 
luck in play to him that wears it. 

In the Thiirmger-wald fern is called irr kraut (stray herb), 
and by some atter-kreutich (adder-herb) : if you step over it 
without seeing it, it so bothers and bewilders you, that you no 
longer know your whereabouts even in the most familiar parts of 
the forest. To prevent or correct your straying, you must sit 
down and put your shoes on the wrong feet, or if a woman, untie 
your apron and turn it wrong ->side out ; immediately you know 
your way again (Haupt s Zeitschr. 3, 364. Bechstein s Franken 


pp. 269. 286.) No doubt the puzzle-seed had got into the shoe 
or cincture, and fell out when these were taken off. It is said 
also, if you have adder-herb about you, you will be pursued by 
adders till you have thrown it away. In some parts they call it 
Walburgis-kr&ut. Its Slavic name is Euss. pdporot, Pol. paproc, 
0. Boh. paprut, now papradj, kapradj, Sloven, praprat, praprot ; 
Lith. papartis, Lett, papardi. Woycicki 1, 94 also says it 
blossoms exactly at midnight of St John s eve, and it is a hard 
matter to get hold of the flower (kwiat paproci), for the picking 
is attended by storm and thunder ; but whoever gets possession 
of it becomes rich, and can prophesy (see Suppl.). 

OHG. pipozj artemisia (Graff 3, 22, but misplaced and mis 
spelt), MHG. biboz (rhy. groz), Ls. 2, 526; its corruption into 
our meaningless beifuss, Nethl. bivoet, is as early as Gl. Jun. 406 
bifuz. The word seems pure German, formed from pozan cudere, 
like anapoz incus, anvil, MHG. aneboz, our amboss ; and we 
ought to pronounce and spell it beiboss. The meaning must 
be something like that of beischlag (by-blow), which in the 
Logau district means a bastard. In OS. it would be bibot, 
which resembles its Lett, name bihbotes. Our LG. buk, bucJce 
seems an abbrev. dimin. of endearment (but-ke) ; 1 Dan. bynke, 
but Sw. grabo, gray nest. Whoso hath beifuss in the house, him 
the devil may not harm ; hangs the root over the door, the house 
is safe from all things evil and uncanny. On St John s day 
they gird themselves with beifuss, then throw it in the fire, while 
spells and rhymes are said (p. 618) ; hence the names Joliannis- 
giiriel, sonnemvend-giirtel, gurtel-kraut, Fr. herbe de S. Jean. 
They dig the root up solemnly, twine it into wreaths, hang it 
about them, and each flings it into the flame along with any 
griefs he may chance to have about him. He that has beifuss on 
him wearies not on his way (Megenberg 385, 16) : this is imitated 
from Pliny 26, 89 : artemisiam alligatam qui habet viator 
negatur lassitudinem sentire ; also the Ep^i/etcu ira\aiai (ed. 
Sillig p. 212) : apre/JLialav rrjv ^ordvrjv el ? e^e*. eV oow, Xuet 
rov /cd/jLarov. The AS. name is mucgivyrt, Engl. mug wort, 
muggon : wr$ miclum gonge ofer land, p>yla3s he teorige, mucg- 
wyrt nime him on hand, o$Se do on his sco J?ylaes he medige ; and 

J Or is it related to Finn, puijo, Esth. 2^0/0, puiyo f 


J?onne he niman wille eor sunnan upgange, cwefte J?as word aerest : 
tollam te, artemisia, ne lassus sim in via. gesegna hie, ]?onne ]?u 
upteo/ R. Chambers p. 34 gives some Scotch stories of its 
healing power. A girl in Galloway was near dying of consump 
tion, and all had despaired of her recovery, when a mermaid, who 
often gave the people good counsel, sang : 

Wad ye let the bounie may die i your hand, 
And the mug wort flowering in the land ! 

They immediately plucked the herb, gave her the juice of it, and 
she was restored to health. Another maiden had died of the 
same disease, and her body was being carried past the port of 
Glasgow, when the mermaid raised her head above the water, 
and in slow accents cried : 

If they wad drink nettles in March, 

And eat muggons in May, 
Sae mony braw maidens 
Wad na gang to the clay. 

Why should not the Goths already have possessed a bibauts too ? 
That they had significant names of their own for herbs and 
shrubs, is plain from Ulphilas s translations of the Greek term 
by a native one : /rta ro?, rubus, becomes ailivatundi, Mk 12, 26. 
Luke 6, 44. 20, 37, which apparently contains aihvus equus, 
tundi fomes (tinder, OHG. zuntara) ; crv/cdfMvos bdinabagms, Luke 
1 7, 6, i.e. bone-tree, and to this day we call privet (hartriegel, 
OHG. hartrugil, harttrugil ? Graff 5, 501) bonewood. The rea 
sons of the names are lost to us now (see Suppl.). 

Hederich is not an old German word, being formed from the 
Latin hedera, only instead of ivy it means ground-ivy, Linne s 
glechoma hederacea, a weed with small blue flowers. Its native 
name is gunde-rebe, gundel-rebe, donner-rebe, gunder-mann, OHG. 
gunder-reba, acer (Graff 2, 354), which cannot mean maple, for 
it is always classed among herbs. It was reckoned sanative, 
and a safeguard against sorcery ; when cows are first driven 
out to pasture, they are milked through a wreath of gundermann, 
and whoever wears this on his head can tell who are witches, 
Sup. I, 462-3. Gund points to the ancient valkyr (p. 422) ; don- 
ner to the flower s blue colour, and to the Thunder-god. The 
Lettons too have named it pehrkones from the god Pehrkon. 


The Boh. ohnica (from ohen, fire) stands for the yellow hederich 
(hedge- mustard ? ) that overspreads whole fields : if you call out 
( hederich to peasant women weeding it, they scold you (see 

One kind of scabiosa is named succisa, or morsus diaboli, Teu- 
fels-biss or -abbiss, Engl. devil s bit, Dan. didvels bid, Boh. cert- 
kus, certuw kus, Russ. diavolskoye ukushenie [and cherto-grz, 
chertov ogrj^zok] ; but also Russ. chertov ptilets, devil s thumb, 
Pol. czartowe zebro, devil s rib. The root is stumpy at the end, 
as if bitten off. Oribasius says, the devil was doing such mis 
chief with this herb, that the Mother of God took pity, and 
deprived him of the power; he out of spite bit the end of the root 
off, and it grows so to this day. The man that has it about him, 
neither devil nor hag has power to hurt. Some say the devil bit 
it off because he grudged men the use of its healing power. If 
dug up at midnight of St John s eve, the roots are yet unbitten, 
and chase the devil away. Thrown under the table, it makes the 
guests fall out and fight (see Suppl. ). 

Some herbs are called by men s names. Bertram, though 
found even in OHG. as Perhtram (Graff 3, 349), MHG. Bercht- 
ram, Ls. 2, 526, is merely pyrethrum altered to give it a German 
sound. What seems more remarkable is c herba boni Henrici 
(chenopodium), or simply bonus Henricus, gut Heinrich ; stole 
Heinrich, proud H. (atriplex) ; roth Heinrich, red H., Superst. I, 
1 002. I account for it by the old beliefs in elves and kobolds, for 
whom Heinz or Heinrich was a favourite name (pp. 503-4), which 
was afterwards transferred to devils and witches, and to such 
demonic beings was ascribed the healing virtue of the herb. 
Even the legend of Poor Henry, whose origin has never been 
explored, may have to do with a herb that cured leprosy ; and 
the f herba boni Henrici is said to have been used as a remedy 
for that very disease. 

When a universal power to heal all sicknesses was attributed 
to a herb, the Greeks called it TO 7raj>a;e?, 77 Travd/ceia (as the 
Celts named the mistletoe olhiach, uileiceach), which got person 
ified itself into a daughter of Asklepios, ILzva/ceta. In our lan 
guage we find no plant named all-heil, all-heila, but there is a 
selp-heila (euphrasia), Graff 4, 864, and the herbs heil-aller-welt 
(Achillea, millefolium), heil-aller-schaden (supercilium Veneris), as 


well as aller-mann-harnisch and neun-manns- kraft, 9 man power. 
The significance of the number nine shews itself no less in gar 
lands being made of nine sorts of flowers. Ileil-houbito, heal- 
head, Graff 4, 759, is hermodactylus, whatever that may be, and 
another name for it is hunt-louch, dog-leek 2, 143 (see Suppl.). 

Two herbs commonly coupled together by alliteration are 
doste and dordnt (origanum, antirrhinum). OHG. dosto (Graff 5, 
232) is our real native word for what we now call wilde majoran, 
thymian (marjoram, thyme), or wolgemut (well of mood), Boh. 
dobrd-mysl. For dorant we have sometimes ordnt ; some think 
it is not antirrhinum, but marrubium, OHG. Got-fargezzan. 
Both herbs are shunned by the little-wights and nixes ; hence 
the speeches put in their mouths : ( If ye hadn t dordnt and 
dosten here, I d help ye the sooner to sip that beer ! Up with 
your skirts, ye merrimen all, Lest into dost and dordnd ye fall ! 
See that ye bump not against durdnt, Or we sha n t get back to 
our fatherland/ DS. no. 65. Jul. Schmidt p. 132. Eedeker 
no. 45 (see Suppl. ). 

Along with doste, hart-heu (hypericum, St John s wort), other 
wise called hart-hun (p. 1029n.), will often scare spirits away: 
Marjoram, John s wort, heather white, Put the fiend in a proper 
fright/ Hypericum perforatum, fuga daemonum, devil s flight 
(see Suppl.). 

Widcrtdn (adiantum), formed with the past part, of tuon, to 
do, afterwards corrupted into widerthon, ividertod : the genuine 
form is retained by G. Frank (Schm. 4, 34). The Herbal says : 
Therewith be many pranks played, this we let be as foolery and 
devilry. Tis called maidenhair also, and is of fair golden hue. 
The old wives have many a fancy touching herbs, and say the red 
steinbrechlin (saxifraga) with small lentil leaves is indeed abthon, 
but the naked maidenhair is widerthon, and with these two they 
can both abthon and widerthon as it please them. Does 
this mean, remove and restore virility ? in that case abetdn and 
widertdn would be opposites, like f set on and take off on p. 
1074. Frisch 1, 5 b has abthon trichomanes, polytrichon, and 2, 
446 b widerthon lunaria, thora salutifera (see Suppl.). 

Some herbs, plantago and proserpinaca, take their names from 
growing on the wayside (proserpere) and being exposed to the 
tread (plantae) of passengers : OHG. wegarih (Graff 1, 670), our 


wegerich ; OHG. wegapreita, our wegebreit, AS. wegbrcede, Eiigl. 
waybrede [broad, not bread ], Dan. veibred ; OHG. wegaspreiti, 
-spreading (Graff 6, 395). Again, OHG. wegatreta, umbitreta 
(Graff 5, 552), our wegetritt ; OHG. wegawarta, our wegewarte 
(ward, watch, wait), a name also given to cichorium, succory. 
There are some myths about it : the herb was once a maiden that 
on the wayside awaited her lover (p. 828), like Sigune in Tit. 
117-8. Paracelsus observes (Opp. 1616. 2, 304), that the flowers 
of the wegwarte turn to the sun, and their strength is greatest 
in sunshine, but after seven years the root changes into the form 
of a bird (see Suppl.). 

Lauch, OHG. louh, AS. leac (leek), ON. laukr, is a general 
designation of juicy herbs ; some species appear to have been 
sacred : allium (gar-leek) caepasque inter deos in jurejurando 
habet Aegyptus/ Pliny 19, 6 [32]. When Helgi was born, and 
his father Sigmundr returned from the battle, it is said in 
Saam. 150* : 

sialfr geek visi or vigrymo 
ungom foera itrlauk grami. 

In Vols. saga cap. 8 : Sigmundr var ]?a kominn fra orrostu, ok 
gekk me& einum laiik imot syni sinum, ok hermeiS gefr hann 
honum Helga nafn/ The itr-laukr is allium praestans, allium 
victoriale : it is not clear whether the king bore it as home- 
returning victor, or whether it was usual to wear it in giving 
names. Antiquity sheds no light on either custom. 1 When the 
drinking-cup was blessed, a leek was thrown into it, Sasm. 195 b 
(see Suppl.). 

The sorbus or service-tree is in ON. reynir, Sw. ronn, Dan. 
ronne (rowan ?) : it is a holy shrub, for Thorr in the river clutched 
it to save himself, hence it is said : reynir er biorg Thors/ sorbus 
auxilium Thori est, Sn. 114. In Sweden they still believe that a 
staff of this ronn defends you from sorcery, and on board ship the 
common man likes to have something made of ronn-wood, as a 
protection against storms and watersprites ; flogronn is of use in 
occult science, Afzel. 1, 19 (see Suppl.). 

In Servian, samdokaz and okolochep are herbs which, put in a 
love-potion, compel the lover to come to his mistress. Ustuk is 

1 The Welsh associate their national leek with victory. TRANS. 


both a herb and the charm repeated by a sorceress to make a 
disease depart (ustuknuti), Vuk sub vv. 

The Pol. trojziele (three-herb) is a marvellous plant with blue 
leaves and red flowers : it inspires love, makes you forget, and 
transports you whither you please l (see Suppl.). 

In the poem of Elegast 763 seq. there occurs a nameless herb, 
which one need only put in the mouth to understand what the 
cocks crow and the dogs bark. Villemarque says, whoever acci 
dentally steps on the golden herb (p. 1207), falls asleep directly, 
and understands the speech of dogs, wolves and birds. In another 
case the knowledge of birds language comes of eating a white 
snake (p. 982), in the Edda by eating of the dragon s heart. A 
fairytale makes some one be three years learning what it is that 
the dogs bark, the birds sing, and the frogs croak 2 (see Suppl.). 


Stones are far less mythical than herbs, though among them 
also the noble are distinguished from the base. Stones neither 
grow so livingly, nor are they so accessible, as plants : whilst any 
shepherd or traveller can approach the flower in field or wood, 
precious stones are not produced on the surface of our soil, they 
are wrung from the bowels of the earth, and imported from dis 
tant lands. There was a meaning therefore in calling herb-lore 
heathen, and stone-lore Jewish (p. 1190) : Jewish and Moorish 
merchants fetched the gem from the far East. The miraculous 
and medicinal power of precious stones was known early in the 
Mid. Ages, but never was naturalized amongst us, hence also the 

1 Volkslieder der Polen, coll. by W. P., Leipzig 1833, p. 90. 

2 AS. herb-names, when once critically edited from the MSS., promise rich 
gleanings for mythology, of which I have given several specimens. I will here add 
a few obscure names : dweorges dwostle, dwosle, dwysle (pulegium, pennyroyal), 
was quoted p. 448, and if conn, with ON. dustl, levis opera, perh. quisquiliae, and 
dustla, everrere, it is dwarf s sweepings ; collan-crog is achillea or nymphaea, and 
as collen-ferh 5 in the poems is proud-hearted, so proud crocus (OHG. kruogo) or 
crock, pitcher, whichever we take crog to mean ; celf-fione, OHG. alb-dono, our alp- 
ranke (bittersweet?) ; wulfes comb, chamaelea ; foxes glofa, buglossa, OHG. hrindes- 
zunga, ox-tongue [or, digitalis?] ; hind-heleffe, paeonia, Engl. hind-hele, appar. 
1 cervam celans, defendens, conf. helefte, heolaft (it is spelt both ways) with 
heolofi-helrn p. 463, and beah-heolofte quoted by Lye ; ciieow-holen, now ruscus, 
now victoriale, i.e. herba victorialis, idaea daphne, Engl. kneeholly, kneeholm ; 
hicatend, iris illyrica, suggestive of hwatunga, omina, auguria; geormen-ledf, 
eormen-leaf, yeor man-leaf a, hoc-leaf a (Haupt s Zeitschr. 9, 408), malva, would in 
OHG. be i rmau-loup (p. 351-2). The OHG. names in Graff 1, 1050-1. 3, 80372 
are less interesting, and less perfectly preserved (see Suppl.). 


very few Teutonic names for them, or legends about them : a 
fact which goes to confirm the home character of our plant- 
myths. The widely circulated works of Marbod, Evax, Albertus 
Magnus and others on precious stones have left as little of last 
ing legend among the people as Walahfried or Macer Floridus, 
who in the dry learned fashion of physicians treat of herbs. 
Even Pliny s account in his 36th book seems to have had no 
effect at all on our superstitions. 1 

Yet a few time-honoured myths there are. The Edda names 
a holy iarkna-steinn, Ssem. 137 b . 139 a . 213 a . 238 d , which in the 
Cauldron-raid was thrown into the hot water, and which the 
cunning smith Volundr could manufacture out of children s eyes. 
The AS. eorcan-slan glosses both margarita and topazion ; 
in Cod. Exon. 73, 27. 238, 12. 478, 7 it has the general sense 
of precious-stone (eorcnan-stan is appar. a corruption). A cor 
responding Goth, airkna- stains, OHG. erchan-stein may safely be 
assumed, as airknis actually means genuine, holy, and erchan 
survives in similar compounds (Graff 1, 468). But it seems to 
be the oval milk-white opal, otherwise called orphanus, pupillus, 
MHG. weise (orphan), and so precious that it graced the crown 
royal of Germany. Albertus M. says : Orphanus est lapis qui 
in corona Rornani imperatoris est, neque unquam alibi visus est, 
propter quod etiam orphanus vocatur. Est autem colore vinosus, 
subtilem habens vinositatem, et hoc est sicut si candidum nivis 
candens seu micans penetraverit in rubeum clarum vinosuin, et 
sit superatum ab ipso. Est autem lapis perlucidus, et traditur 
quod aliquando fulsit in nocte, sed nunc tempore nostro non 
micat in tenebris. Fertur autem quod honorem servat regalem. 
If the OHG. weiso had already had the sense of the stone, it 
would hardly fail to appear in the glosses. We find it in full 
play in the MHG. poets, ever since the tale was told of how in 
distant land Duke Ernst with his sword cut it out of the living 
rock, and presented it as a gift to the king (11. 3604 23 and 5543 
of the Lay, and in Odo s Latin poem 6, 357). Philippe setzeii 
weisen uf ! Walth. 9, 15. schouwe wem der weise ob sime nacke 
ste, der stein ist aller fiirsten leitesterne/ Walth. 19, 3 ; conf. 

1 Look at the lifeless inventories in Parz. 791 and Fragm. 45 C . More inter 
esting is a poem by Strieker (in Hahn 44 52) ; and Eraclius was deep in stone-lore, 
Massm. pp. 46873. 


Helbl. 2, 881. der kimec also den weisen hat/ Ms. 1, 15 a . wie 
si durcli den berc bar wieder kamen, da sie der krone weisen inne 
namen/ Ms. 2, 138 a . f den weisen ie vil hohe wac (prized) der 
keiser und daz riche, dur daz (because) nie sin geliche wart unter 
manigem steine/ Troj. 20. ich stich im abe den weisen/ Otto 
bart. 314; see also passages in Heinr. von Krolewiz V. U., coll. 
in Liscli p. 208. Albert and Conrad account for the name, by 
the stone having no equal, and standing like an orphan cut off 
from kin ; so the gloss on Sspgl 3, 60. The Spanish crown once 
had a magnificent pearl, which was likewise named huerfana or 
so/a, and perished at he burning of the palace in 1734. A 
diamond mounted by itself is in French solitaire. But a deeper, 
a mythical meaning becomes apparent, which Haupt in his 
Zeitschr. 7, 278 disputes. Pupillus means first a little one, a boy 
under age, a ward, and then acquires the sense of orphan. Pu- 
pilla and tcoprj signify a girl and the pupil of the eye, in which a 
child s image is supposed to be seen (p. 1080). Now as Volundr 
fashions the iarknasteinn of the eyes of slain, children, the stone 
might be called either pupilla or pupillus, and so agree with our 
1 orphanus/ thus erchanstein comes to be f weise/ Of Thiassi s 
eyes were made shining stars, all stars are gems of the sky ; from 
this the transition to the sparkling stone was easy enough. 
Heinr. von Krolewiz, describing the sky as a house, again brings 
the eyes into connexion with the orphan, 11. 1194. 1203-16 (see 

The pearl, already in dreams a prognostic of the tear, is made 
in the myth to spring out of Venus s tear, as FreyjVs tears turned 
into drops of gold (p. 1194) l ; and Wainamoirien s tears fall into the 
sea as pearls, Kalew. rune 22. The pearl then is either metal or 
stone. Our ancestors regarded it as a stone found in the sea, 
hence eorcanstan too may have meant pearl, and even the Latin 
name unio approaches that notion of the incomparable orphan : 
in tantum ut nulli duo reperiantur indiscreti, unde nornen 
unionum Komanae imposuere deliciae/ Pliny 9, 35 [56] . ideo 

1 Not only does Freyja s tear turn into gold, but a Greek myth makes 
arise from the tears of Phaethon s sisters, daughters of the Sun, be that substance 
gold or amber, succinum. For amber, Tacitus and Pliny already know a German 
word glesum, Gramm. 1, 58 ; an ON. name is rafr, Sn. 156, Sw. raf, Dan. rav ; AS. 
glosses have eolhsand (in Mone 1106 eolcfang) ; conf. Werlauff s learned treatise on 
amber (bernstein), Schlesw. 1840 (see Suppl.). 

PEAEL. 1219 

uniones dictos quia nunquam duo simul reperiantur/ Isid. or. 16, 
10. Pliny goes on: nam id (nomem unionum) apud Graecos 
non est, ne apud barbaros quidem inven tores ejus aliud quam 
margaritae. If margarita, /jLapyapiTrjs was the word commonly 
used by barbarian pearl-fishers, the Greeks and Komans may have 
this time borrowed a word from Teutonic races, in whose lan 
guage the OHG. marigreoz, MHG. mergriez, OS. merigriota, AS. 
meregreot, meregrot is perfectly intelligible, meaning grit or pebble 
of the sea. It is true we now find the Goth, markreitiis, 1 Tim. 
2, 9, imitated from ^apyapLTTj^, and that with consonant-change ; 
and to correspond to this the OHG. should have been marchnz. 
Either OHG., OS. and AS. all strove to accommodate the foreign 
word to our idiom (which usually happens in one dialect, not 
in three at once), or the Goth had no marigriuts in his own 
language, or did not choose to write it, and so imitated the 
outlandish term, which is now stowed away in our female name 
Gret-chen. The OHG. perala, berala, AS. pearl, is appar. from 
beryllus, and again transfers the notion of gemmula to the 
growth in the shellfish. We might also put by the side of mar 
garita the Skr. marakata, though that signifies, and is directly 
allied to, o-pdpaySos, fjidpaySos (emerald). 

As erchanstein sprang out of the human eye, and the pearl out 
of the oyster, the medieval fancy seems to have been excited 
by some other precious stones which grew in or out of animals. 
What Marbod cap. 24 tells of the lyncurius may be read at 
greater length in Rudlieb 3, 101127 : these brilliant lynx-stones 
likewise befit the finger- ring of the queen, the crown of the king. 
Some legends speak of stones of power engendered in the head 
of the cock, the adder, the toad. Inside the body of a castrated 
cock of three years grows the alectorius, Marbod cap. 3 : Invic- 
tum reddit lapis hie quemcunque gerentem, Extinguitque sitim 
patientis in ore receptus/ The MHG. poem fixes the capon s age 
at seven, Albertus at nine years. But a poem in the Vienna 
Cod. 428 no. 136 (Hahn s Strieker p. 48) names the snake-stone 
as the right one to bestow victory : 
ich hoere von den steinen sagen, 

die natern und kroten tragen (adders and toads bear), 
daz groze tugend dar an lige (great virtue therein lies), 
swer si habe, der gesige (who has them, conquers) ; 

VOL. III. v 


mohten daz sigesteine wesen (if these be victory-stones), 
s6 solt ein wurm vil wol genesen, 
der s in sinem libe triiege, 
daz in nieman ersliiege 

(the reptile itself ought to live long, and never get killed) ; and 
the cock-stone as that which allays thirst : 
man sagt von hanensteinen, 
swer ir in inunt nem einen, 
daz er guot viir den durst im si. 

The sacred snake, the adder, who wears crowns of gold (p. 686) 
and jewels (Gesta Kom. ed. Keller pp. 68. 152), seems to have 
a better right to the stone of victory than the cock. Albertus 
mentions a stone borax, which the toad wears on its head, but he 
says nothing about its procuring victory : borax lapis est, qui 
ita dicitur a lufone, quod in capite ipsum portat/ Otnit, Mone 
557-8. In Ettm. p. 91 the toad is characterized as Hebrew : 

ez ist uz dem garten ein Abrahemsche krot (conf. p. 1241), 
swenne diu gewehset, sie bringet einen stein 
daz diu sunne uf erden niht bezzers iiberschein. 

The Dresden poem says more explicitly, that the stone grows 011 
him, and is of all stones the highest. The Pentameron 4, 1 
says, the preta de lo gallo grows in the cock s head, and is a 
wishing -stone, by which you can obtain anything. The Oriental 
fable of the three lessons taught by the captive bird (Reinh. 
cclxxxi. Ls. 2, 655) alludes to such a stone growing in the heart 
or crop of a lark or nightingale. The daughter of SigurSr grikr 
steals the stone of victory out of his pocket while he sleeps, and 
gives it to Dietleib (Vilk. s. cap. 96-7) ; such a one had king 
Nidung too (cap. 25), but neither passage specifies the kind of 
stone. Vintler (Sup. G, 1. 89) does not describe his sigelstein, 
but we find elsewhere that it could artificially, and in secret, be 
blown like glass, cast like metal; Seifr. Helbl. 4, 124 says of 
conspirators : ze samen si do sazen, sam (as if) sie einen sig stein 
Uiesen -, and Mich. Behaim 22, 11 : gar taugenlichen vor dem 
rat zusamen giengen fru und spat, pis sy gussen ain sigelstam. 
Ace. to Hagen s Coiner chron. 1003 the stone wherewith to con 
quer means the diamond. When the poets tell of fingerrings 


that lend victory, that make invisible (e.g. Troj. 9198), their 
power always comes of the stone set in them. Marbod cap. 27 
on gacjathromeus : Quern qui gestarifc dux pugnaturus in hostem, 
Hostem depulsum terraque marique fugabit (see Suppl.). 

The ceraunius (/cepavvlas) that falls from heaven is mentioned 
by Marbod cap. 28 : Qui caste gerit hunc, a fulmine non ferietur, 
Nee domus aut villae quibus affuerit lapis ille. What he adds : 
Crystallo similem Germania mittere fertur, Coeruleo tamen in- 
fectum rutiloque colore is derived from Pliny 37, 9, 51 : est 
inter Candidas et quae ceraunia vocatur, fulgorem siderum rapiens, 
ipsa crystallina, splendoris coerulei, in Germania nascens/ though 
the received text has Carmania. There can be no question about 
the thunderstone being German (p. 179); and Miolnir, like the 
liein (p. 903 n.) that OSinn hurled, or that which lodged in ThoVs 
head (p. 375), is sure to have been hallowed above all stones. 
Miolnir sounds remarkably like the Slavic names for light 
ning, molniya, munya-, this last the Servian songs personify 
into Munya, and represent as sister to Thunder (Grom), and 
bride of the Moon (Miesets, masc., Vuk 1, 151-4 new ed.), which 
jumps with our personification of Hammer (p. 181. 999). So 
much the more is Molniya identical with Miolnir. The Romans 
too must have regarded the thunderbolt, silex, as a c Jovis lapis : 
Lapidem silicem tenebant juraturi per Jovem,haec verba dicentes, 
Si sciens fallo, turn me Dispiter, salva urbe arceque, bonis ejiciat, 
ut ego hunc lapidem ! Those about to take an oath fetched out 
of the temple of Juppiter Feretrius a staff and lapidem silicem 
quo f oedus ferirent/ exactly as covenants were hallowed by Thor s 
hammer. Ace. to Livy 1, 24, when a swine was sacrificed, it was 
struck with this stone : Tu illo die, Jupiter, populum Romanum 
sic ferito, ut ego hunc porcum hie hodie feriam, tantoque magis 
ferito, quanto magis potes pollesque : id ubi dixit, porcum saxo 
silice percussit. This is like our malediction, Hammer strike 
thee ! The Finns in like manner called the thunderbolt TTkon- 
Idvi, stone of Ukko the progenitor ; the Indians liira, hiraka, 
Indra s thunderstone (Pott s Etym. for. 2, 421) or vajra, which 
means at once thunderbolt and diamond. As this makes it par 
take the nature of the brightest of stones, our fathers saw in it 
the hard flint, the Romans the silex ; myth and superstition alike 
accord to it the noblest powers : malleum aut silicem aerium, 


ubi puerpera decumbit, obvolvunt candido lintco contra iufesta- 
tionem fearum, albarum feminarum, strygum, lamiarum/ Gisb. 
Voetii sel. disput. theol., Ultraj. 1651. 3, 121 (see Suppl.). 

As there is supposed to be a philosopher s stone (lapis sapien- 
tum), that imparts wisdom, or the art of making gold and pro 
longing life (oska-steinn, wishing-stone, p. 144), Scandinavia also 
had its legend of the Uf-steinn. In Kormakssaga cap. 12, p. 
116-8 Bersi wears one on his neck, which brings him succour 
in swimming (see Suppl.). 

Only large stones, such as mountains and rocks, are named 
after gods, heroes or giants, who dwell upon them, or have 
hurled them ; rarely particular species of stone, at all events no 
healing ones. A certain slate indeed was called giant s bread, 
jyvrikling (p. 546), a tufa nackebrod (p. 489), a coal-stone Sur- 
tarbrandr (p. 809). 


A yet stronger power than that of herb or stone lies in the 
spoken word, and all nations use it both for blessing and cursing. 1 
But these, to be effective, must be choice, well knit, rhythmic 
words (verba concepta), must have lilt and tune-, hence all that 
is strong in the speech wielded by priest, physician, magician, 
is allied to the forms of poetry. 

Expressions for saying, singing pass into the sense of 
conjuring : aoi^r) (p. 899) becomes eVaotS*/, Od. 19, 457, eVwS?;, 
our sprechen, singen become besprechen, besingen, schworen 
(Goth, svaran = respondere) beschworen (Goth, bisvaran opKi&iv) 
so jurare conjurare, cantare incantare. The OHG. galstar, AS. 
galdor, gealdor, ON. galdr (incantatio) have sprung out of galan 
= canere ; the AS. spell, strictly dictum, fabula, Goth, spill, was 
tortured into meaning magic spell [and charm, Fr. charme is 
from carmen]. 

Opposed to blessing is cursing, to the wholesome the hurtful. 
For the former the Goth still used his native word piupeins 
ev\oyia, from }>iu]?jan 6v\oye2v ; the OHG. segan dicatio, dedicatio, 
benedictio, comes from Lat. signum, the AS. segen meant merely 
signum in the sense of flag ; MHG. segen, like our own, stands 
for magic as well. Karco\oyeiv is in Ulph. ubil-qij?an maledicere, 
but flekan simply plangere, while the OHG. fluoclion (MHG. 
vluochen, our fluchen) is already maledicere, imprecari, and fluoh 
maledictio (masc., quite distinct from fern, fluoh, rupes). OS. 
farflocan maledicere, harm-quidi maledictum. Another word is 
OHG. farlmdzan, MHG. verwazen 2 detestari, condemnare, appar. 

1 Pliny 28, 2 [3 5] examines the force of * verba et incantamenta carminum in 
many striking examples. 

2 Var hin verwazen (begone, with a curse to you), vil gar verteilter sn ! Ms. 
1, 23 a . mi var von mir verwazen and eweclich verlorn ! Ls. 3, 77. var von 
niir verstozen ! MsH. 3, 441 b . 



allied to AS. hwatung divinatio/ Poenit. Ecgb. 2,23. 4, 19. 
AS. wergan (misspelt wirgan, wyrgan) maledicere, detestari, 
strictly damnare, Goth, vargjan, OS. waragian. AS. cursian, 
Engl. curse. The ON. ban precatio, AS. ben (p. 31) both border 
011 irnprecatio (see Suppl.). 

Cursing, becrying, becalling/ may indeed be done aloud, but 
as a rule both blessing and cursing require soft murmured 
whispered speech. OHG. huispalon sibilare, Graff 4, 1239, AS. 
hwistlian, as whistling and hissing are imputed to the serpent 
who fascinates; MHG. wispeln: wispeln. wilde vogel zemt, 
hunde ez letzet und lemfc/ Renn. 22370 ; the asp will hear no 
wispelwort, Ms. 2, 202 b ; Caller wiirmel (insects 7 ) wispel unde 
im irmel, Mart. 74 C , for murmeln is the same thing too, OHG. 
murmulon, murmuron, our mummeln, mompeln, to mumble. Paul. 
Diac. 1, 13 in describing rnanumissio per sagittam, adds: im- 
murmur antes, ob rei firmitatem, quaedam patria verba/ a Lango- 
bardic hallowing spell. 1 Similar expressions are OHG. mutilon, 
Graff 2, 707, and our protzeln, pretzeln, propeln, signifying first 
the sound of water simmering, and then very appropriately the 
muttering of a spell : protzeln and wispeln over the sick man 
is to mutter a charm or blessing ; in some parts prebeln, Nethl. 
preeuelen; Franke s Weltb. 134 a has pretzeln (see Suppl.). 

But the most legitimate and oldest word of all is the Goth. 
runa, commonly the equivalent for fiver rrfpiov, sometimes for 
/3ov\ij, (rvfjiffovXiov. I believe it meant in the first place what is 
spoken softly and solemnly, then secondly a mystery : avpftovKiov 
is secret counsel. From secret speech to secret writing is but a 
step, as the ON. mal means both speech and sign. Fpr ypaQij, 
YpdjjL^a Ulph. always puts niel, not runa, because none of the 
passages happen to speak of secret writing ; one might wager 
that runa was the familiar term for this, as the early Franks had 
runa = litera. OHG. runa, AS. run, character magicus, mys- 
terium, Casdm. 211, 12. 250, 6. 262, 9, this last with an obvious 
reference to bocstafas in 262, 7. ON. run litera, but runa 
linea, which coexistence of u and u assures us of a strong verb 
riiina, raun, runum/ whence also raun (tentamen, experiment), 
reyna (tentare), perh. reynir (service or ronn tree, p. 1215). The 

1 Ter novies carmen uiagico demurmurat ore, Ov. Met. 14, 57. 

EUNES. 1225 

OHG. runeti susurrare, runazan murmurare, MHG. runen, our 
raunen, AS. runian, Engl. round, keep the original meaning of 
secret whispering, and OHG. 6r-runo is a confidant, one who 
rounds things in your ear. The ON. transitive r^na is secretuin 
scrutari, literas scrutari, and supplies the link to raun above. In 
Ben. 378 sanfte runen stands opposed to public singing. Finn. 
runo is a song (p. 901). And now a term that has often come 
before us becomes perfectly clear, and what is more, proves a good 
fit all round : the wise-woman of the ancient Germans is called 
Aliruna, because she is alja-runa, and speaking secret words not 
understood of the common folk, has skill at once in writing and 
in magic ; hers is the Gothic runa, hers the AS. runcraeft. All 
can only mean ( other (than common), strange, not vulgar and 
profane/ and thus heightens the meaning of runa. And this 
name of the heathen priestesses could easily be transferred to the 
holy herb (p. 1202) which perhaps pertained to their ritual. 

The olden time divided runes into many classes, and if the full 
import of their names were intelligible to us, we might take in 
at one view all that was effected by magic spells. They were 
painted, scratched or carved, commonly on stone or wood, f run- 
stones, runstaves ; reeds served the same purpose (p. 1083-4). 
The OHG. hahalruna, isruna, lagoruna are named after the 
letters hahal, is, lago ; clofruna and stofruna remain doubtful, 
the latter appar. the mere tip (stupf, apex). Helliruna means 
necromancy, death-rune, and plainly refers to Halja, Hella ; I 
connect with it our Jwllen-zwcing , control over hell, by which is 
understood the mightiest of magic spells, such as Doctor Faust 
possessed. Holzruna is to be taken not of a thing, but of a 
person, the wood-wife, lamia (p. 433), not without some allusion 
to her moaning and muttering. The OHG. women s names 
Kundrun, Hiltirun, Sigirun, Fridurun, Paturun, are properly 
those of valkyrs, but also traceable to a non-personal kundruna, 
hiltiruna, sigiruna, friduruna, paturuna ; and it is worth noti 
cing, that the personal names lack the final -a, and are consigned 
to a different declension. From the MHG. knieriinen (to croon 
over one s knee), MS. 2, 137 a , may be inferred a subst. knierurid. 
The AS. beadorun, Beow. 996 is litera belli =belluin, rixa; while 
helrune 324 and burgrune (p. 404 n.) are a personal furia, parca, 
death s messenger ; a gloss in Lye puts it for pythonissa. In 


Ssem. 194-5 Sigrdrlfa, i.e. Brynliildr, herself a valkyr, enumerates 
to SigurS the runes which it was most needful for her to know : 
the goblet she hands him is fullr lioffa ok liknstafa, goSra 
galdra ok gamanruna, full of lays and leech-staves, good spells 
and runes of bliss. She goes on to name sigrunar, olrunar, 
liargrunar, brimrunar } malrunar, hugrunar, runes of victory, 
of ale, of the rock, the sea, speech and thought. I am only 
doubtful as to olrun, because the proper name Olrun is evidently 
the Aliruna of Tacitus ; we can scarcely derive all the alirunes 
from alus, olr, ale, and I would rather hazard a guess, either that 
Olrun stands for Elrun, Elirun, having got confounded with 
olrun, or that the u of the second syllable converted the a of the 
first into o [quite the rule in declension and conjugation, not 
in composition]. In Sasm. 165 b sakrunar contentiones. Danish 
folksongs often speak of ramme runer, powerful runes 1, 235. 
280. 2, 33. 3, 335. 4, 47 (see SuppL). 

OSinn passed for the inventor of all runes (p. 181-2), and in 
him is lodged the greatest command of words. Yngl. saga cap. 
7 : f ]?at kunni hann enn at gera me$ ordum einum (do by words 
alone), at slock va eld ok kyrra sia, ok snua vindum. Oftinn vissi 
of allt iarSfe, hvar folgit var (earth-fee, where it was hid), ok 
hann kunni }>au lio$, er upplaukz fyrir honum (unlocked itself to 
him) iorftin ok biorg ok steinar ok haugarnir, ok batt (bound) 
hann meiS ordum einum ]?a er fyrir biuggu (dwelt), ok gekk 
(went) inn ok tok ]?ar slikt er hann vildi/ Afzelius in Sagoh. 1, 
4 mentions, too briefly and indistinctly, a strange Swedish folk 
tale of one Kettil Runske of Kettilsas in Alsheda, who stole 
Odin s rune-sticks (runekaflar), and with them cast a spell on his 
hounds and bulls, nay at last on the merwoman that would have 
come to Odin s aid. By this Odin seems to be meant a shepherd 
or giant representing the former god ; the surname runske 
evidently has to do with the acquisition and possession of the 

Songs and runes then can do very great things. They are able 
to kill and bring to life, as well as prevent from dying ; to heal 
or make sick, bind up wounds, stanch blood, alleviate pain, and 
lull to sleep ; quench fire, allay the sea-storm, bring rain and 
hail ; to burst bonds, undo chains and bolts, open mountains or 
close them up, and unlock treasures ; to forward or delay a birth ; 


to make weapons strong or soft, dull the edge of a sword ; loop 
up knots, loose the bark off a tree (p. 1085), spoil a crop (fruges 
ex can tare) ; call up evil spirits and lay them, to bind thieves. 
These wonders lie in the very nature of poesy (p. 907-8). The 
Runatal, Saem. 28 30, specifies eighteen effects of runes (see 

Curses, imprecations have a peculiar force of their own. Our 
MUG. poets have tiefe fluochen/ deeply, Ms. 2, 188 a ; swinde 
fluochen/ vehemently, Helbl. 2, 518 and zorn-vluoch, wrath-curse 
1, 656. Full of meaning is the phrase : ich brach des vluoches 
lierten kiesel, I brake yon curse s stubborn flint, MsH. 2, 339 b , 
its action is hard as pebbles, and not easy to break. Walther 
says 73, 29 : 

Zwene herzeliche fltieche kan ich ouch, 
die fluochent nach dem willen min. 
hiure miiezen s beide esel und der gowk 
gehoeren, e si enbizzen sin. 
we in (woe to them) denne, den vil armen ! 

(two round curses ken I eke, hitting whomso I bespeak ; them 
both ass and gowk shall hear, ere they baited be this year, etc.). 
Curses received on an empty stomach are the more effectual. It 
is the vulgar opinion in Ireland that a curse once uttered must 
alight on something : it will float in the air seven years, and may 
descend any moment on the party it was aimed at; if his guardian 
angel but forsake him, it takes forthwith the shape of some mis 
fortune, sickness or temptation, and strikes his devoted head. 
So in the Pentam. 2, 7 a curse takes wing, and mounts to 
heaven : mrsero le mardettiune dessa vecchia I ascelle, che 
sagliettero siileto 3 n cielo. When a horse has been cursed, his 
hair is thought to be luminous : a cavallo iastemmiato luce lo 
pilo/ ibid. 

Specimens of the most vigorous cursing might be picked out 
of our old poetry ; one in the Edda, Saem. 144 a , 

nio rostom er ]m skyldir neftar vera, 
ok vaxi J?er a baftmi barr ! 

may remind us of the phrases culled from our common people s 
talk, pp. 181-2. 952n. In a minnesong, Ben. 82: der nider 
schar, daz die vor kitchen lasgen ! the low set, may they lie out- 


side of church (in unconsecrated ground), 1 der bluomen schin sol 
iemer sin von ir gewalfc gescheiden/ put out of their reach. The 
runes on a tombstone will occasionally end with a curse against 
him that shall roll away or remove the stone : at rySi sa verSi 
(may he turn to rust) sa stain J?ansi velti ! So Latin deeds of 
the Mid. Ages wind up with imprecations on the violator, but 
scriptural ones pronounced by the church. 

Here is a string of curses from a MHG. poem : God from 
thee thy wife release ! Fish, fowl, worm, beast and man Storm 
the stronghold of thy peace ! Where er thou go, Be grace thy 
foe ! All good women s greeting shun thee ! Thy seed, thy 
crop be cankered too, The curse that dried Gilboa s dew Rest 
upon thee ! MsH. 3, 52 (see Suppl.). 

Though as a rule sowing is to be accompanied by prayer and 
blessing, there are some plants that thrive better under cursing : 
Nihilocimo (basil) foecundius, cum maledictis ac probris seren- 
dum praecipiunt, ut laetius proveniat, sato pavitur terra. Et 
cuminum qui serunt, precantur ne exeat/ Pliny 19, 7 [36] . 2 
Napos serere nudum volunt, precantem sibi et vicinis serere se/ 
18,13 [35]. 

To adjure solemnly is in OHG. munigon inti manon (hortari et 
monere), AS. mynegian and manian : sis bimunigot thuruh then 
himilisgon Got, bisuoran thuruh thes forahta (fear of Him), ther 
alia worolt worahta ! 0. iv. 19, 47. ih bimuniun din begins 
the formula in Spell VII. Even in MHG. : des wart vil manec 
wilder geist von ir gemuniet und gemant Troj. 10519 (see Suppl.). 

Helliruna, necromantia, shews itself in the lays sung after the 
heathen fashion on graves and barrows, to make the dead speak 
or send something out. The Indiculus superst. distinguishes 
between sacrilegium ad sepulcra mortuorum and sacriiegium 
super defunctos, id est dadsixas. 3 Dad is for dod, dcd (conf. 
nedfyr, nodfyr, p. 603-4) ; the OS. sisas I take to be the OHG. 
sisuwci neniae, of which the sing, would be sisu, siso : sisesang is 

1 A surname Outkirk must have meant the Excommunicated : Eudolphus de 
Solodoro cognomine vor chilchun, Hartmannus dictus vor kilchon (A.D. 1260). 
Solotlmrner wochenbl. 1827, pp. 128. 160. 

2 Fischart s Garg. 244 b : diss fiirmans gebett treibt schif und wagen, ein 
hauptmansfluch etzt durch neun harnisch. ich kont dannoch wol basilien, 
quendel und kressen setzen, dann dieselben vom fluchen gedeien. darumb wards 
jenes mannes entschuldigung vor dem richter, warumb er seiii weib gereuft hette, 
nemblich darumb well er hat rauten setzea miissen ; his excuse for thrashing his 
wife was, he had to plant some rue. 


carmen lugubre, Diut. 2, 283 b . Graff 6, 281, and an OS. form of 
confession has ik gihorda (heard) hetlunnussia endi unhrenia 
(unclean) sespilon, perh. for sese-spilon, dirge-spells ; the same 
obscure root appears in proper names Sisebutus, Sisenandus, etc., 
etc., Gramm. 2, 476. Hetlunnussia must mean imprecations, 
conf. OS. hatol dirus, Hel. 110, Sand OHG. hazzal malitiosus, 
Gl. Hrab. 95 7 a . Neniae are carmina funebria, hymns in honour 
of the dead ; Britferthi vita Dunstani (b. 925) cap. 1 (Acta sanct. 
19 May) says of that saint : avitae gentilitatis vanissima didicisse 
carmina, et historiarum frivolas colere incantationum nenias. In 
the same way Greg. Tur. mirac. 2, 1 : ad vicum in quo fanatici 
erroris naeniae colebantur. An AS. byrgensang translates epi- 
taphium, and Moneys Glosses 943-4 give Ucsang, KcZeocfepicedium, 
byriensang, bergelslooff, byrgleoft carmen super tumulum. Hros- 
witha s Proterius says of an adjuration : f supra gentilis tumulum 
sub tempore noctis stans, herebi domino suplex/ The ON. 
expression is val-galdr qvefta, to say corpse-incantation, Ssem. 
94 a : by it 0$inn compelled the vala, on whom snow and rain and 
dew had fallen (p. 314), to rise from her barrow and answer him. 
Groa s son and Hervor utter formulas almost identical : vaki }>u 
Groa ! vaki ]?u goft kona ! vek ek ]?ik dauftra dura/ Saem. 97* ; 
vaki ]?u Angant^r ! vekr )?ic Hervor einka dottir ykkar Svafu 
(of thee and Svafa)/ Fornald. sog. 1, 435 ; after a gruesome con 
versation with her father, the sword she craves is thrown out of 
the barrow. In the same way, at the son s adjuration, a sword is 
handed out of the tomb in the folksong of Orm (Sv. fornsanger 2, 
446-7. Danske viser 1, 59. 60-6-7), and in a Faroe song of 
Virgar, i.e. Wudga, Witege (Lyngbye p. 369). Wolfdietrich 
constrains the dead tongue of his buried father to utter seven 
words, Cod. Dresd. 313 (see Suppl.). 

As the spoken spell bursts open the tomb, so do locks and bars 
give way before it. Ferabras 2759 : 

Venc a 1 us de la cainbra, si la trobat tancada, 
et a dit son conjiir : tota s es desfermada. 

Though the following passage in Meier Helmbrecht 1205 mentions 
only the act of approaching, the cattle-stealer must, as he drew 
near, have uttered some unloosing spell : 

Miu geselle Wolves-driizzel (-throttle, -throat) 


uf tuot er ane sliizzel (opens without key) 

alliu sloz und isenhalt (bolts and iron staples) 

in einem jar ban ich gezalt (counted) 

hundert isenlialte groz, 

daz ie daz sloz dannen schoz (aye the bolt shot out of them, 

als er von verre gie dar zuo (from far came towards them) ; 

ros, ohsen und manic kuo, 

die ungezalt sint beliben, 

die er uz dem hove hat getriben, 

daz ie daz sloz von siner stat (from its place) 

schoz, swann er dar zuo trat (when he stept thereto). 

Even now some thieves and sharpers have the reputation of being 
able to bespeak their chains and locks, and make them burst. 

Gods and daemons could of their mere might raise wind and 
storm, magicians did the same by means of song. Saxo Gram, 
p. 71 has a certain Oddo, vir magicae doctus, ita ut absque 
carina altum pererrans hostilia saepe navigia concitatis carmine 
procellis everteret/ These tempestarii have been dealt with, 
p. 638. Again : carminibus in nimbos solvere coelum/ ibid. 17. 
But song could turn away storm and hail, as well as draw it on : 
cum averti carmine grandines credant plerique, cujus verba 
inserere non equidem serio ausim/ Pliny 17, 28 [47]. 

As the whole of sorcery sank into the hands of old wives, and 
the faith of bygone times was called kerlinga villa, Ssem. 169, 
alter wibe troume, Turl. Wh. 1, 82 a , rypacoSei? fivdoi, 1 Tim. 4. 7, 
in Gothic us-atyanaizo spilla ; the healing formulas handed 
down from the past fared no better. Already in the 12th cent, 
the Miracula S. Matthiae (by a Benedictine of Treves) expresses 
itself thus, cap. 34 : cujus dolore mater affecta medicinam et 
anilia adhibuit carmina, Fez. thes. anec. 2, 3 p. 234 (see Suppl.). 

These superstitious formulas are a gain to the history of our 
mythology, they yield information about deities and practices of 
heathenism, which but for them would be utterly lost. Even 
books by churchmen find room for them, because their use in 
certain cases, diseases of cattle for instance, was still considered 
lawful and beneficial. A comprehensive collection of them would 
be sure to lead to discoveries, but the time is hardly ripe for it 
yet, as they lie scattered, and have to be slowly gathered from 


the mouth of the people and out of witch-trials. 1 Here let a few 
striking examples place beyond a doubt, not only their value, but 
their obstinate diffusion through nearly the whole of Europe. 

In the Merseburg MS. the first poem is a bond-spell, to be 
sung while tying or unloosing bands, and this time relating to 
the release of a prisoner : 

Eiris stizun idisi, sazun hera duoder, 
suma hapt heptidun, suma heri lezidun, 
suma clubodun uinbi cuoniowidi : 
f insprincg haptbandum, invar vigandum ! 

i.e. Olim sedebant nymphae, sedebant hue illuc (AS. Jnder, 
thither), aliae vincula vinciebant, aliae exercitum morabantur, 
aliae carpebant redimicula : exsili e vinculis, elabere hostibus ! 
Wackernagel was the first to penetrate the sense of the last line, 
by which the last but one is also made clear : the plucking 
(clawing) at the bonds slackens their hold, and the captive then 
can slip them off. Of hapt heptian I have spoken p. 401 ; the 
binding and unbinding is alluded to in our minnesongs. Beda 4, 
22 tells of a man who could not be kept bound : nee tamen vinciri 
potuitj nam mox ut abiere qui vinxerant, eadem ejus sunt vincula 
soluta . . . Interea comes, qui eum tenebat, mirari et interro- 
gare coepit, quare ligari non posset, an forte literas solutorias, de 
qualib it s f alulae ferunt, apud se haberet, propter quas ligari non 
posset ? At ille respondit, nihil se talium artium nosse. He 
was sold to a third man : sed nee ab illo ullatenus potuit alligari. 
Beda s explanation of the marvel is, that his friends, thinking him 
dead, had had masses said for the deliverance of his soul. The 
AS. version goes a step farther, which seems worthy of notice : 
and hine acsade, hwae Ser he J>a dlysendlican rune cu$e, and ]?a 
stdnas mid Mm dwritene h8efde, be swylcum men leas spell 
secgaft/ What were these stones written over with runes, which 

the translator had in his mind ? We have to suppose three 

sets of women, each plying a separate task (see Suppl.). 

The second Merseburg formula is for healing a lamed horse : 
Phol ende Wodan vuorun zi holza, 
do wart demo Balderes volon sin vuoz birenkit (wrenched) ; 

1 Horst borrowed for his Zauberbibl. a parchm. MS. of the 15th cent, full of 
spells, from which he has extracted nothing, and which is missing at Treves ever 


do biguolen Sinthgunt, Sunnci era suister, 
do biguolen Fruwti, Folia era suister, 
do biguolen Wodan, so he wola conda, 
sose ben-renki, sose bluot-renki, 

sose lidi-renki 

ben zi bena, bluot zi bluoda, 
lid zi giliden, sose geliraida sin. 

llere is sung an adventure that befell the two gods (p. 224), and 
how Wodan healed the sprained foot of Balder s foal by besing- 
ing it (bigalan) . And now the repetition of the song cures other 
lame horses too. What the rest of the gods cannot do, Wodan 
can, just as the Yngl. saga 7 says of him : OSinn kunni at gera 
me"S ordum (words alone) einum at slockva eld ok kyrra sia, ok 
snua vindum hverja lerS er hann vildi. He is the greatest magi 
cian or wonder-man of all. 

Now observe in what shapes the same spell shews itself survi 
ving in the popular superstitions of today. In Norway : 

Jesus reed sig til hede, 

da reed ban sonder sit fole-been (his foal s leg asunder). 

Jesus stigede af, og lagte det : 

Jesus lagde marv i marv, 

been i been, kjod i kjod, 

Jesus lagde derpaa et blad (thereon a leaf), 

at det skulde blive i samme stad. 

In Sweden, for a horse s ailment flag (our anflug, fit) : 

Oden star pa berget (stands on the hill), 
ban sporjer (speers, asks) efter sin fole, 

floget bar ban fatt. 

spotta (spit) i din hand, och i bans mun (his mouth), 
ban skall fa bot (get boot) i samma stund (hour). 

Whilst another begins thus : 

Frygge fragade fra : 
buru skall man bota (heal) 
den flaget far (sheep) ? 

The two Swedish stanzas, evidently incomplete, are given by F. 
Magnusen in the Dagen 1842 no. 119, from Mimer, Ups. 1839. p. 
277. That similar snatches of song still live in the Netherlands, 
I am informed in a letter from Halbertsma : Een mijner boeren 
gaf my voorleden jaar een rijm, dat de toverdokters prevelden, 
terwijl zij den verrukten voet van een pard (foot of a horse) met 


de hand van boven naar beneden stroken, en alzo genazen/ I 
wish he had sent ine the rhyme itself. 

What sounds more significant is a Scotch tradition I take out 
of Chambers s Fireside stories, Edinb. 1842. p. 37: When a 
person has received a sprain, it is customary to apply to an 
individual practised in casting the wresting thread. This is a 
thread spun from black wool, on which are cast nine knots, and 
tied round a sprained leg or arm. During the time the operator 
is putting the thread round the affected limb, he says, but in such 
a tone of voice as not to be heard by the bystanders, nor even by 
the person operated upon : 

The Lord rade, set joint to joint, 

and the foal slade ; bone to bone, 

he lighted, and sinew to sinew. 

and he righted, Heal in the Holy Ghost s name ! 

Here the spell serves for sprains even in the human body, though 
it set out with the sliding of the foal ; and to the whispered 
words is added a ligature of woollen thread in nine knots. 

How exact the agreement, in these perfectly independent ver 
sions, of their ben zi bena, been i been, bone to bone/ their lid 
zi giliden, kjod i kjod, sinew to sinew ! Those who cannot 
believe in the faithful preservation of what is entrusted to popular 
memory, have here an example extending from the 10th cent, 
to the 19th over Germany, Scotland and Scandinavia. It is 
certain that the same or similar words have been superstitiously 
repeated countless times in all the countries of Teutonic tongue. 
The Cod. Vatic. 4395 has on fol. 83 a the following charm : Gott 
wurden iiii nagel (God had 4 nails) in sein hend und fuez ge- 
slagen, da von er iiii wunden enphie, do er an dem heiligen chreuz 
hieng (1. hie), die funft wunden im Longinus stach, er west 
nicht waz er an ihm rach ... an dem dritten tag gepot (bade) 
Got dem lichnam, der in der erden lag, fleisch zu fleisch, pluet 
zu pluet, adern zu adern, pain zu pain, gelider zu gelidern, yslichs 
(each) an sein stat. bei Demselbigen gepeut ich dir (bid I thee) 
fleisch zu fleisch/ etc. 

But what is more, a great deal farther back, among the very 
oldest Romans, there lingered dislocation-spells full of unintellig 
ible words. The one partially quoted p. 224-5 from Cato may 
as well be inserted in full, as it throws light on the nature of our 


German charms. Luxum si quod est, hac cnntione sanum fiet. 
Harundinem prende tibi viridem pedes IV aut V longam. 
Mediam diffinde, et duo homines teneant ad coxendices. Incipe 
cant-are "in alio. s. f. motas vaetas daries dardaries astataries 
Dissunapiter," usque dum coeant. Ferrum insuper jactato. Ubi 
coierint et altera alteram tetigerit, id manu prende, et dextra 
sinistra praecide. Ad luxuni aut ad fracturam alliga, sanum fiet, 
et tamen quotidie cantata " in alio s. f. vel luxato. Vel hoc 
modo, huat hanat huat ista pista sista, domiabo damnaustra, et 
luxato. Yel hoc modo, huat haut ista sis tar sis ardannabon 

dunnaustra." It is of this invocation that Pliny says at the end 

j j 

of book 17: Carminis verba inserere non equidem serio ausim, 
quanquam a Catone prodita, contra luxata membra, jungenda 
arundinum fissurae/ The words do seem nonsense to us now, 
and may also be corrupt; but why should not they belong 
originally to the Sabine or some neighbouring language of 
ancient Italy, that we know very little of? The rhymes ista 
pista sista and the alliteration domiabo damnaustra (the 
dannabon dunnaustra that follows is the same over again, and 
ought to have an ista pista sista before it too) remind us of 
the rhyming spell in Virgil s Eel. 8 : Limus ut hie durescit et 
haec ut cera liquescit Uno eodemque igni, sic nostro Daphnis 
amore. Dissunapiter is the god invoked, like the Phol and 
Wodan of our spells. Marcellus Empiricus, a physician of the 
4th cent., has in his De Medicamentis a charm for pain of the 
heart : In lamella stannea scribes et ad collum suspendes haec, 
antea vero etiam cane, Corcu ne mergito, cave corcu ne mergito 
cantorem, utos, utos, utos, praeparavi tibi vinum lene, libidinem, 
discede a nonita, in nomine Dei Jacob, in nomine Dei Sebaoth ! 
(see Suppl.) 

In the Cod. Vindob. theol. 259 Latin and German spells are 
intermixed. (De eo quo)d xpurihalz dicimus. 1 si in dextero pede 
contigerit, in sinistra aure sanguis minuatur ; si in sinistro 
pede, in dextera aure minuatur sanguis. Ad vermes occidendos. 
Feruina (?) Dei gracia plena, tu habes triginta quinque indices et 
triginta quinque medicinas. quando Dominus ascendit ad coelos 
ascendit, memorare quod dixit. Ad apes conformandos. vos 

1 MHG. spurhalz, Diut. 2, 140 ; conf. diu spurgalze, MsH. 3, 278 b (springhalt?). 


estis ancille Domini (conf. pp. 579. 755), adjuro vos per nornen 
Domini, ne fugiatis a filiis hominum. Ad pullos de nido. crescite 
et multiplicamini et vivite et implete terrain. Contra sagittam 
diaboli. palamiasit. palamiasit. calamia insiti per omne corpus 
meum. per ista tria nomina, per Patrem et Filium et Filium 
sanctum, aius aius aius, sanctus sanctus sanctus. in Dei uoniine 
cardia cardiani de necessu (recessu ?) propter ilium malannum 
(p. 1160), quod dominus papa ad imperatorem transmisit, quod 
omnis homo super se portare debet. amen, tribus vicibus. De 
hoc quod spurihalz dicunt. primum pater noster. 

vise flot aftar themo watare, verbrustun sina vetherun, 
tho gihelida ina use Druhtin ; the selvo Druhtin 
thie gehele that hors thera spurihelti ! 

Contra vermes : 

gang ut, nesso mid nigun nessiklinon, ut fana themo marge an that 
ben, fan themo bene an that flesg, ut fan themo flesge an thia hud, 
ut fan thera . . . strala ! Druhtin werthe sd. 1 

The nesso and his nine young ones are the worms to be cast 
out. Petrus, Michahel et Stephanus ambulabant per viam, sic 
dixit Michahel : Stephani equus infusus, signet ilium Deus, signet 

ilium Christus, et erbam comedat et aquam bibat/ Two of 

these charms are about lame horses again, and one about a sick 
horse (Ducange sub. v. infusio, infusus equus). Also the tran 
sitions from marrow to bone (or sinews), to flesh and hide, 
resemble phrases in the sprain-spells (see Suppl.). 

The oldest and most beautiful charms of all nations pass into 
prayers, which were repeated during sacrifice ; the simplest are 
found in pastoral life. What a fresh innocence breathes in those 
prayers to the Thunder-god (p. 176) ! When the Cheremisses 
keep their grand feast of Shurem, and bring quiet offerings of 
peace, at which no female creature must be seen (conf. p. 1152n.), 
they speak a prayer, out of which I pick a few sentences : Who 

1 A Cod. Tegerns. 524, 2 at Munich has a more complete version in OHG. : 
gang viz, nesso mit niun nessindinon, uz fonna marga in deo adra, vouna den 
adrun in daz fleisk, fonna demu fleiske in daz fel, fonna demo velle in diz tulli. ter 
pater noster. So nesso has ss in OHG. too. Tulli, like strala, is an implement, 
conf. MHG. tiille, Nib. 897, 3 and Haupt on Engelh. 1916. [Strala is arrow ; 
tiille the hole in the arrow-shaft for inserting the head. The disease charmed into 
your arrow, will pass on to your enemy (?) TRANS.] 

VOL. 111. 7 


to God hath sacrificed, to him God give health and wealth, bestow 
ing on the babes that shall be born store of money, bread, bees 
and cattle. May he cause the bees to swarm this year and make 
plenty of honey. When spring draws nigh, O God, let the three 
kinds of cattle set out on their three ways, defend them from deep 
mire, from bears, wolves and thieves. As the hops are thick and 
springy, so bless us with good hap and sound mind ! As the 
light burneth bright, so live we our life ! as the wax daily 
addeth to itself, 1 so be our increase! (from Aleks. Fuks 
Chuvashakh i Cheremisakb/ Kazan 1840, in Erman s Archiv 
1841-, 2nd no.). 

Dapem pro bubus piro florente facito. Dapem hoc modo fieri 
oportet. Joel dapali culignam vini quantum vis polluceto. Eo 
die feriae bubus et bubulcis, et qui dapem facient. Cum 
pollucere oportebit, sic facias : Jupiter dapalis, quod tibi fieri 
oportet, in domo familia mea culignam vini dapi, ejus rei ergo 
macte hac illace dape pollucenda esto ! macte vino inferio esto ! 
Vestae, si voles, dato. Daps Jovi assaria pecuina, urna vini Jovi 
caste. Profanato sine contagione, postea dape facta serito 
milium, panicum, alium, lentim (Cato de re rust. 132). 

Along with this, take (from Cod. Exon. 5214) an AS. lot, i.e. 
puoza (bettering) of barren land blasted by magic. Her is seo 
bot, hu }m meaht fine ceceras betan, gif hi nellaft wel weaxan, o$3e 
]?er hwilc ungedefe ]?ing ongedon br5, on dr oSSe on lyblace. 

Genim fonne (take then) on niht, cer hit dag i ye, feower tyrf 
on feower healfa )?a3s landes, and gemearca hu hi ser stodon. 
nini fonne ele and hunig and beorman, and selces feos meolc (each 
cattle s milk) j>e on )?em lande si, and aelces treowcynnes (tree- 
kind) dsel, ]>e on ]?8em lande si geweaxen, butan heardan bedman, 
aud selcre namcirSre wyrte dsel, butan glappan anon-, and do 
]?onne halig waeter ]?geron, and dr^pe fonne )?riwa (thrice) on J?one 
staftol J?ara turi a, and cwefte )?onne fas word : Crescite, weaxe, 
et multiplicamini, and gemaenigfealde, et replete, and gefylle, 
terram, ]?as eorSan, in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti 

1 Quidquid tangebam crescebat tanquam favus, Petron. cap. 43. 79 ; alluding to 
the steady growth of the honeycomb in the hive. When the Servian badmak burns 
at Yule, the invited polaznik steps up to the log, and strikes it with a shovel, 
making the sparks fly, and saying : As many sheep, as many goats, as many swme, 
as many oxen, as many god-sends and blessings, as here fly sparks ! Yuk s Monte 
negro p. 106. 


benedicti, and Pater noster swa oft swa past o$er. And here 
sift-San pa turf to cyrcean, and messepreost asinge feower messan 
ofer piim turfon, and wende man poet grone to pam weofode (altar), 
and siftftan gebringe man pa turf , freer hi cer wceron, cer sunnark 
sethjaiuje, and naebbe him geworht of cwicbedme feower Cristes 
maslo, and 4 write on aslcon ende Mattheus and Marcus, Lucas 
and Johannes, lege past Cristes masl on pone pyt neofteweardne, 
cwefte ponne : Crux Mattheus, crux Marcus, crux Lucas, crux 
Johannes, nim ponne pa turf and sette pasr ufon on, and cwefte 
nigon si-Son (9 times) pas word: Crescite, and. swa oft Pater 
noster. and wende pe ponne eastweard, and onlut (bow) nigon 
srSon eadmodlice (humbly), and cwe$ )?onne )?as word : 

Eastweard ic stande, arena (favours) ic me bidde, 

bidde ic J?one masran Dryhten, b. i. }>. miclan Dryhten, 

bidde ic pone haligan heofonrices Weard. 

eorffan ic bidde and upheofon, 

and ]?a so^an sancta Marian, 

and heofenes meaht and heahreced, 

]>8Qt ic mote fris gealdor mid gife Dryhtnes 

t63um ont^nan purh trumme ge]?anc, 

aweccan pas waestmas (fruits) us to woruldnytte (our use), 

gefyllan pas foldan (fields) mid fgeste geleafan, 

wlitigian pas wangturf, swa se witega cwse S, 

past se (he) hasfde are (honour) on eorStice se pe (who) aalmyssan 

daelde domlice Dryhtnes pances (for the sake). 

Wende pe ponne priwa sun-ganges. astrecce fre ponne on andlancj, 
and arim pasr letanias, and cwe ponne, Sanctus sanctus sanctus, 
0-5 ende. siag ponne Benedicite afrenedon (outstretched) earmon, 
and Magnificat and Pater noster III, and bebeod hit Criste and 
sancta Marian and paare halgan r6de t6 lofe and to weoriSinga 
(to the praise and glory of Christ, etc.), and pam to are (to the 
benefit of him) p e paat land a g e, and eallon pAm p e him under- 
peodde (subject) sint. ponne (when) past eall si gedon, ponne 
nime man uncuff sad aat celmesmannum, and selle him twa swylc 
swylce man aat him nime, and gegaderie ealle his sulhgeteogo 
(plough-tackle) to gaadere. borige ponne on pam beame stor 
and finol and gehdlgode sapan and gehalgod sealt. nim ponne 


J>aet saed, sete on j?aes sullies bodig. cweft ]?onne i 

Erce, erce, erce, eor&an modor, 1 

geunne )?e se alwealda ece Dryhten (God grant thee) 

aecera weaxendra and wrrSendra, 

eacniendra and elniendra ; 

sceaf taece 2 se scira (reaper) waestma, 

and ]?aere bradan bere waestma (barley s fruit), 

and j?aere hwitan hwaete waestma, 

and ealra eorSan waestma. 

geunne him ece Dryhten 

and his halige ]?e on heofonum sint, 

J?et his yr^S si gefri-Sod (spared) wr3 ealra feonda gehwaane, 

and heo si geborgen (protected) wr3 ealra bealwa gehwylc, 

]?ara lyblaca geond land sawen. 

nu bidde ic J?one Wealdend, se ]?e ]?as weoruld gesceop, 

J?aet ne si nan to ]?33S cwidol wif, ne to f>aes craaftig man, 

)?83t awendan ne maege word J?us gecwe^ene. 

]?onne man ]?a sulh for& drife and ]?a forman furh onsceote (cleaves 
the first furrow), cwe3 ]?onne : 

hal wes ]>\ifolde,fira modor ! 
beo ]?u growende on Godes fseftme (bosom, lap), 
fodre gefylled firum to nytte (for use to men) ! 
nim )?onne celces cynnes meloj and dbace man inneweardre handa 
brddne hldf, and gecned hire mid meolce and mid halig waetere, 
and lecge under fid forman furh. cwe^ ]>onne : 

ful aecer fodres fira-cynne (for mankind) 

beorht blowende, jm gebletsod weor S 

]?a3S haligan naman, J?e )?as heofon gesceop 

and j?as eor^an )?e we on Iifiai5. 

se God ]?e J?as grundas geweorhte geunne us growende gife, 

]?a3t us corna gehwylc cume to nytte ! 

cweft );onne )?riwa Crescite in nomine Patris benedicti amen, and 
Pater noster friwa. 

This notable document, notwithstanding that Christian cere- 

1 The explanation of this line attempted on p. 253 remains a bold guess. 
Another AS. gealdor, against adder s bite, begins : aerce aercre sernem nadre 
sercund bel oemem ni^aern, etc. 

2 MS. sceafltahen. I take it as manipulum capiat. 


monies have crept into it, seems to reach far back to the early 
times of heathen sacrifices and husbandry. As the daps was 
spread and the winebowl emptied to Jove, after which the millet, 
panic, leek and lentils might be sown, so ploughing is here 
preceded by sacrificial rites. Sods are cut out from the four cor 
ners of the field, oil, honey and barm, milk of each sort of cattle, 
some of every kind of tree (except hard wood, i.e. oak and beech, 
RA. 506), and of all name-known herbs (save burs) are laid on 
the sods, and holy water sprinkled ; then the four turfs are 
carried into church, the green side being turned to the altar, 
four masses are said over them, and before sunset they are 
taken back to their places in the field. And now the spells 
are spoken; unknown seed is bought of beggar- men (conf. p. 
1138), and placed on the plough, another spell is recited, and 
the first furrow ploughed with a Hail Earth, mother of men/ 
etc. Then meal of every kind is taken, a large loaf kneaded 
with milk is baked and laid under the first furrow, and one more 
spell is spoken. We know the Romans offered meal-cakes and 
fruit in their corn-fields; but it seems to me that our own 
ordinances (weisthiimer) have unconsciously preserved vestiges 
of the heathen rite : when the plower cometh to an end of the 
furrow, there shall he find a pot of honey, and at the other end a 
pot of milk, wherewith to refresh him lest he faint (Weisth. 2, 
547, melts here must be for milch, it cannot be meal or malt). 
Further : at the plowing shall be brought a loaf so great that 
one may stick it on the axle of the plow -wheel, and therewith 
plow a furrow ; if the loaf do break when the furrow is done, 
and the plower have not another wheel ready to put in its place, 
then shall he smart (pay a fine) ; if the bread break ere the fur 
row be finished, let him fare homeunfined (2, 356). Sometimes 
the regulation runs thus : if the plower break a wheel, he shall 
for penance provide a loaf as large round as the plow-wheel, and 
baleen of every grain that the plow doth win ; he shall so softly 
drive the plow, that a finch can feed her young on the wheel (2, 
179. 180), or, as expressed in 2, 547, that, if a grain of oat fall 
into the wheel, the fowls of the air shall pick it up. In 2, 120 
merely the size of the loaf is determined by that of the plow- 
wheel ; but at 2, 128 it says again: of the grain that the farm 
beareth and the mill breaketh, shall be baken a cake as great as 


the plow-wheel, and the plower therewith plow : if the wheel 
break ere he come to the end, he is finable, if it break not, yet 
is he finable notwithstanding/ The cake of all grain that the 
mill grinds occurs again at 2, 147; and the rye-loaf to be put 
in place of a plow-wheel that comes off at 2, 262. 412. 587. 
"What is the drift of these curious regulations ? Was ever 
ploughman fed on milk and honey ? were loaves and cakes ever 
stuck on the axle to cut the first furrow ? They are surely the 
ancient sacrificial loaves, which with milk and honey poured over 
them were laid in the furrow (ad piamentum, p. 1196), and dis 
tributed to the ploughmen, which even the birds were allowed to 
peck at ; their being made of all sorts of grain, so as to embrace 
the entire produce of the field, as the brade hlaf in the AS. spell 
is baked of each kind of meal, goes far to decide. 

Verelius in his Notes to the Hervararsaga p. 139 tells us, that 
the Swedish peasants, after baking the jula-galt (Yule-boar p. 51), 
dry it, and keep it till spring ; then they grate a part of it in 
with the seed-corn and give it to the plough-horses, and another 
part to the men that hold the ploughtail : Verrem fictum siccant, 
et ad veris tempus, cum semina sulcis sunt credenda, servant. 
Turn partem ejus comminutam in vas vel in corbem, ex quo 
semina sunt dispergenda, immittunt, hordeoque permixtani equis 
aratoribus, alteram servis stivarn tenentibus comedeudam re- 
linquunt, spe forte uberioris messis percipiendae/ Here then 
is another sacrificial cake, which was mixt with the seed, and 
tasted by the ploughing men and animals ; who knows but that 
burning the devil, and dividing and scattering his ashes over the 
cornfields, a deed the witches were accused of (p. 1073), may 
have arisen out of their baking a sacrificial cake in the shape of 
an idol ? A cake was also baked at the Bealtine, and distributed 
among the multitude, p. 613. 

The culture of flax is sure not to have been deficient in 
speeches and ceremonies of blessing : to this day the girls sing 
all kinds of songs over this work. In some places, at sowing 
time, the mistress of the house used to get on the table and 
dance, then jump off backwards : the higher she made this leap, 
the higher the flax would grow (conf. Sup. I, 519). Lasicz p. 50 
says of the Samogits : Tertio post ilgas die deum Waizganthos 
colunt virgines, ut ejus beneficio tarn lini quam cannabis habeant 


copiam. Ubi altissima illarum, impleto placentulis quas sikies 
vocant sinu, et starts pede uno in sedili manuque sinistra sursutn 
elata librum prolixum tiliae vel ulmo detractum, dextera vero 
craterem cerevisiae haec loquens tenet : Waizganthe, produc 
nobis tarn altuni linum quam ego nunc alta snm, neve nos nudos 
incedere perrnittas ! Post haec craterem exhaurit, impletumque 
rursus deo in terram effundit, et placentas e sinu ejicit, a deastris, 
si qui sint Waizgantho, comedendas. Si haec peragens firma 
perstet, bonum lini proventum anno sequenti futurum in animum 
inducit ; si lapsa pede altero nitatur, dubitat de futura copia, 
fidemque effectus sequitur. In the Wetterau, at the sowing of 
this plant, the dame has to jump up on the fireplace, and cry : 
Heads as big as mine, leaves like my apron, and stalks like my 
legs ! and then the plant will turn out well (see Suppl.). 

How the Romans kept the wolf out of their fields, we are in 
formed by Pliny 28, 20 [81] : Lupos in agrum non accedere, si 
capti unius pedibus infractis cultroque adacto paulatim sanguis 
circa fines agri spargatur, atque ipse defodiatur in eo loco ex quo 
coeperit trahi ; aut si vomerem, quo primus sulcus eo anno in 
agro ductus sit, excussum aratro, focus larium quo familia con- 
venit absumat ; ac lupum nulli animali nociturum in eo agro, 
quamdiu id fiat. 

A herdsman s charm from a MS. of the 15th cent, shews 
marks of a far remoter origin : ich treip heut aus in unser lieben 
Frauen haus, in Abrahams garten (conf. p. 1220), der lieber herr 
sant Mertein, der sol heut meines (vihes) pflegen und warten, 
und der lieber herr sant Wolfgang, der lieb herr sant Peter, der 
hat den himelischen slussel, die versperrent dem wolf und der 
vohin irn drussel, dass si weder plut lassen noch bein schroten. 
Des helf mir der man, der chain ubel nie hat getan (i.e. Christ, 
conf. sinless man/ p. 24, and the contrast p. 988), und die 
heiligen V wunden behiiten mein vieh vor alien holzhunden. V 
Pater et V Ave Maria. l 

Here the rhymes peep out fitfully. The wood-liounds are 

1 Today my herd I drove Into Our Lady s grove, Into Abraham s garden ; Be 
good St. Martin This day my cattle s warden, May good St. Wolfgang, good St. 
Peter (whose key can heav n unlock), Throat of wolf and vixen block, Blood from 
shedding, bone from crunching ! Help me the holy one, Who ill hath never done, 
And his V holy wounds Keep my herd from all wood-hounds ! 


Wuotan s forest-hounds (p. 147), the AS. holtes gehle&m/ 
silvae latrones, El. 223, the holzinge (Reinh. p. Iv) ; and that the 
fox named with the wolf should be vohe fern., is in harmony with 
Goth, failho, OHG. foha. The Wolfgang who is to fend the 
flock, is so named either because he gangs against the wolf, or 
because the wolf met the hero at a lucky moment, p. 114 On. 

As I have not met with a German bee-spell, I will give a Latin 
one in Baluze s Capitul. 2, 663 taken from a St Gall MS. : Ad 
revocandum examen apum dispersum : adjuro te, mater aviorum, 
per Deum regem coelorum, et per ilium redemptorem Filium 
Dei te adjuro, ut non te in altum levare nee longe volare, sed 
quam plus cito potes ad arborem venire (velis) ; ibi te alloces 
cum omni tuo genere vel cum socia tua, ibi habeo bona vasa 
parata, ut vos ibi in Dei nomine laboretis, etc/ Mater aviorum 
(for apum) is the AS. beomodor (p. 697) ; the steadily waxing 
comb (p. 1236n.) was beobredd, Cod. Exon. 425, 20,MHG. biebrot 
(Gramm. 3, 463), but also raz and wdbe (from weaving, working, 
p. 697) ; the hive bieJcar (vas, Goth, kasi), the fly-hole OHG. 
flougar (Graff 3, 163). Our forefathers had at their service 
many more terms in apiculture than we, and prettier (see Suppl.) 

As runes were written on bast (limrunar a berki rista ok a 
baftmi viiSar, Seem. ] 95 a ; cortex carminibus adnotatus, Saxo 
Gram. 44), the olden time may have had some runes for detaching 
the bast from the wood. Incantations have power to release the 
babe from ante-natal durance, the hard rind from the bast. 
Among shepherd lads in almost every part of Germany are pre 
served rhymes, in singing which they keep time by tapping a 
piece of willow on their knee with a knife-handle, till they can 
slip it off unbroken to make a whistle of. The simplest though 
not oldest version is : Fabian, Sebastian, lat mi de ividen-flot 
afganl (Voss on Idyl 6, 179) or in Ditmarsen : Fabian, 
Sebastian, lat den saft ut holt gan \ It is believed that on the 
day of these two saints (Jan. 20) the sap enters the willow. 
In some places both the names are wanting, but the spell is spun 
out longer : sa sa pipe (prob. for sap-pipe], up m molen-dike 
(mill-dam) dar sit en man, de heet Johan, de har dre rode stoveln 
(3 red shoes) an, de ene horde (belonged) mi to, de aimer horde 
di to, de drudde horde m papen to, do kam de ole hesse (old 
witch) mit en blanken meste (knife), sneet den kiiken den kop 


af, smeet en in busch, plumps sa de busch, is de sapipe noch 
nicht good ? Halbertsma says in the Overyssel Almanack for 
1836 : de twijg riip en gesneden zijnde, slaan (beat) de kinderen 
met het hecht (haft) van een mesje op een der groene rijsjes, tot 
dat de bast loslaat, dien zij er dan heel aftrekken (pulled off 
whole) en als een pijp gebruiken om op te fluiten of er erwten 
door te blazen. Zoo lang het kind met zijn mesje op den bast 
tikte, plag het (he used) oudtijds de volgende regelen te zingen : 
Lange lange pipej wenneer bistou ripe ? Te Meye, te Meye, as 
de veugeltjes eyer lekt. T ketjen op den dyk zat, sute melk 
met brokken (crumbs) at. Doe kwam de voele hesse al met de 
scharpe messe, wold et ketjen et oor (ear) afsnien; it ketjen 
ging ant lopen to hope, to hope 1 de voele hesse ging lopen. 
Heel of, half of, houwe dijn den kop af, so dood as een piere, 
kump siin levendage net weer hiere/ Firmenich gives the form 
as used in the Neumark, p. 121 : ( sipp sapp seepe, moak mi ne 
ilote! Wovon denn ? Yon meieroan (marjoram), von thymegoan, 
det se balle (soon) mag afgoahn. And in Priegnitz, p. 131 : 
sibbe sibbe sibbe saubken, loat mi det kleine fleutken goot afgoahn, 

goot afgoahn, bes up (up to) den letzten knoakenl We can 

see how Sebastian got in, from sap-pipe, sibbe sabbe/ perhaps 
also bast/ In the Bohmerwald the willow or alder twig is thus 
conjured (Jos. Rank p. 168) : pfofferl geiowa, sist schloga doowa ; 
lei s rintl o drahdo eiz, heargotl pfeiz ! little pipe, come off, else 
I knock thee off; dear little rind, do draw thee now, my lord god 
pipe ! Woycicki kl. 1, 92. 151 tells us, that to get a marvellous 
pipe (fuyarka) that can make everybody dance, one must find 
in the forest s gloom the green willow that never heard the rush 
of water nor the crow of cock : co by nigdy nie sfyszata szuma 
wody, ni piania koguta. This detail, expressly picked up among 
the peasantry on the Pruth and Dniester, strangely coincides 
with Pliny s statement 16, 37 [71] : f ex qua (sambuco) magis 
canoram buccinam tubamqiie credit pastor ibi caesa, ubi gallorum 
cantum frutex ille non exaudiat. Of peeling the willow there 
is nothing said (see Suppl.). 

An old AS. spell for fcer-stice, sudden stitch in the side, was 
communicated to me by Price from the Harley MS. no. 585 fol. 
186. First, three herbs are to be boiled in butter, feverfew 
(febrifugia=febrem fugans, Capit. de villis, Pertz 3, 186), red 


nettle that grows through a fence (conf. p. 1200, through a sieve), 
and waybread, OHG. wegabreita, plantago : Wi$ feerstice/e/e/-- 
fnge, and seo redde netele ]?e J?urh aarn * inwyxft, and wegbrcede, 
wylle in buteran. 

Hlude wffiron hi, la hlude, }>a hi ofer )>one hloew ridon, 
wa3ron anmode, J>a hi ofer land ridon. 
scyld }>ft J>e, nu |>ft Jnsne nift genesan mote. 

fit, lytel spere, gif her inne sie ! 
stod (I stood) under linde, under leohtum scylde, 
J>aer J>a mihtigan zci/hyra masgen beraeddon (mustered), 
and hi gyllende gdras (whizzing lances) sendon. 
ic him o$erne eft wille sendan (I ll send them back another) 
fleogende flan forane to geanes. 

ut, lytel spere, gif hit her inne sie ! 
saet smi S, sloh seax lytel (hammered little knife) 
. iserna wund swifte. 

ut, lytel spere, gif her inne sie ! 
sex smi Sas sseton, waslspera worhton, 
utspere, nses (was not) innspere. 
gif her inne sie isernes dsel (any iron), 
litegtessan geweorc (witch s work), hit sceal gemyltan (melt), 
gif >u WBre on fell scoten, o$5e waere on flaBSC scoten, 

o SSe ware on blGd scoten 

o"S5e waere on 11$ scoten, naefre ne si )>in lif dtsesed, 
gif hit ware esa gescot, oftfte hit waere ylfa gescot, 
oftSe hit waere hcegtessan gescot, nu ic wille Kn helpan : 
J>is be to bote esa gescotes, J>is J>e to bote ylfa gescotes, 
J>is )>e to bote hajtessan gescotes. ic Hn wille helpan. 

fleo J?aer on fyrgen (flee to the desert) . . . ! 
heafde hal westu, helpe )>in Dryhten ! 
nim bonne \>set seax, ado on waetan. 

A few gaps give trouble. The whole is based on the assump 
tion that the stitch is caused by the shots of spirits. Loud over 
land and rock have ridden mighty women, hsegtessan (p. 1040), 
and have sent whizzing darts, afterwards more narrowly defined 
as esa, ylfa and hasgtessan gescot/ shot of ases (p. 25), of elves 
(p. 443) and of witches (though the gen. sing, is used, not pi. 
hasgtessena). The exorcist, in relating the transaction, calls to 
the patient to shield himself, that he may get over the attack, 2 
and every now and then puts in the refrain Out, little spear, 
if herein thou be ! ; He goes on to tell how he stood under 

1 Should be hsern, conf. haarnflota, Cod. Exon. 182, 9. SUPPL. 

2 hisne ni5 genesan. In AS. this verb takes the Ace., not the Gen. as in 
OHG : ba saecce genass, Beow. 3950. niiSa gehwane genesen hasfde 4789. fela ic 
guftraesa genaes 4848. se }>a gu Se genaes, Caedm. 121, 33. 


shelter when those women let fly their darts, and means to send 
them a counter-shot, a knife, whose smiting by a smith is re 
ported, as also that of war-spears by six smiths. Every bit of 
the witches iron shall melt, wherever it may have been shot, 
into skin, flesh, blood or limb ; help is nigh. Lastly : flee thou 
(enchantress) to the wilderness ! be thou (patient) well in thy 
head, Lord help thee ! At the conclusion of the spell the knife 
(that forged by the smith V) is to be dipt in water. Apparently 
after scoten there ought to be oftcSe waBre on ban scoten ; 
and perhaps after fyrgen some such words as seo J?one flan 
sceat (or, sende) (see Suppl.). 

For other spells hitherto unprinted I have to thank Mr. 
Kemble. CwrS ymbe, nim eorcTun, oferweorp mid J?inre swrSran 
handa under Jnnum swiftran fot, and cwet : 

fo ic under fet, funde ic hit. 

hwget, eorffe mceg wiff ealra wilita gelavylce, 

and wr$ andan, and wr3 seminde, 

and wi$ J>a micelan mannes tungan. 

and wr$ on forweorp ofer greot ]>onne his wirman, and cwe$ : 
sitte ge, etc. (here come the verses given at p. 431). 

For the water-elf sickness : gif mon brS on ivcetercelf-ddle, 
J?onne beoft him J?i hand-nasglas wonne, and J;a eagan tearige, 
and wile locian niiSer. do him )?is to laecedome : eofor]>rote, 
cassuc, eowberge, elehtre, eolone, mersc-meal wan-crop, fenminte, 
dile, lilie, attorlafte, polleie, marrubie, docce, ellen, felterre, 
wermod, strawbergean leaf, consolde. ofgeot mid eala$, do halig 
wseter to, sing J>is gecddor ofer )?riwa : 

ic benne awraS betest beado-wrreiSa, 

swa benne ne burnon ne burston, 

ne fundian ne feologan ne hoppettan, 

ne wund waxian, ne dolh diopian, 

ac him self healde haleweege, 

ne ace ]?e ]>on ma, ]?e eorffan on eare ace (age ?} . 

sing )?is manegum si Sum. eorffe ]>e onbere mid ealhim hire (i.e. 
Earth s) mihtum and mcegenum. )?as gealdor mon maeg singan 
on wunde/ 

The earth, caught np in the right hand from under the right 


foot, heals and shelters ; might and main belong to the earth. 
Hahwcege answers to our heilawac, p. 585. 

About the elvish mare and nightmare, what was said on p. 464-5 
is by no means all : they ride not only men but horses, whose 
manes in the morning are found dripping with sweat and tangled, 
conf. Svantevit s horse p. 662. Cannegieter in Epistola de ara 
ad Noviomagum reperta p. 25 says : Abigunt eas nymphas 
(matres deas, mairas) hodie rustici osse capitis equini tectis injecto, 
cujusmodi ossa per has terras in rusticorum villis crebra est 
animadvertere (conf. p. 660). Nocte autem ad concubia equi- 
tare creduntur, et equos fatigare ad longinqua itinera. Illud 
namque datum deabus illis magisque, si rusticorum fabulis cre- 
dimus, ut manentes loca peregrina adeant, in equis manentibus, 
qui tamen viae labores sudore testantur. Nuper confabulatus 
mecum villicus aegerrime ferebat equos suos proxima nocte 
exagitatos, defluente per corpora sudore ; causam cum quaere- 
rem, respondit iratus, mairam nocturnam equitasse/ To this 
maira iiocturna, be it akin to matrona (p. 417) or even to polpa, 
one might be tempted to trace our naclitmar, nightmare, had we 
not a better derivation at hand. To the OHG. marah (equus), 
AS. mear, ON. marr, seems to correspond the AS. fern, meare 
(surely a better spelling than maere), ON. mara. True, the 
OHG. meriha means only equa, not ephialtes, and we now dis 
tinguish mahre from mahr ; on the other hand, in ON. it is to 
the fern, mara that the demonic sense attaches, and so early as in 
the Yngl. saga cap. 16 king Vanlandi is trodden to death in his 
sleep by a mara : mara tra^ hann ; when his people rush to 
his aid, tra$ hun fotleggina/ and at last kafdi hun hofirSit, sva 
at ]?ar do hann/ The image then seems to waver between the 
ridden beast and the riding trampling one, just as the devil 
sometimes rides men, sometimes as a horse takes them on his 
back. Like the mara, we saw p. 278 that the Stempe treads. 
Wolf (nos. 249254) gives some good mare-stories from the 
Netherlands ; I lay special stress on a spell-song he has against 
the sprite, p. 689 : 

maer, gy lelyk dier (ye loathly beast) , 
komt toch dezen nacht niet weer (again) ! 
alle waters zult gy waeyen (shall ye wade), 


alle boomen zult gy blaeyen (disleaf), 

alle spieren gersfc (spikes of barley) zult gy tellen, 

komt my toch dezen nacht niet kwellen ! 

With this take a Henneberg spell in Haupt s Zeitschr. 3, 360 : 

Das wallala alle berge durchtra (-trab, trot), 

alle wasser durchbat (-bade, bathe), 

alle bletlich ablat, 

onnerdesse word s tak (until it be day) ! 

Both refer to the spirit s nightly jaunt, it trots over all the hills, 
wades (or bathes) through the waters, strips the trees, counts the 
corn-stalks, until the break of day ; then on the maerentakken 
(mistletoes ?) the mare is said to rest. The name wallala may 
come from wallen, wadeln, or be a cry of wail (Gramm. 3, 293), 
for the night-spirits (Sup. I, 878) appear as wailing- mothers 

(p. 432-3, and Schm. 4, 54). A third spell I take from 

Schreiber s Tagb. 1839. p. 321 : Drude s-liead, I forbid thee my 
house and yard, I forbid thee my bedstead, that not over me 
thou trostest (trottest ? treadest ?) ; trost to some other house, 
till over all hills and waters thou climbest, and all the hedge- 
sticks ehlest (zehlest, tellest ?) ! Then comes dear day into my 
house again/ Drute is the same thing as mahre, as drutenzopf 
(plica) is also called marenzopf, alpzopf, and drutenfuss maeren- 
voet. I think the most important point is, that the sprite is shy 
of daylight, and the dawn scares it away (p. 466 n.) ; the Alvis- 
rnal closes exactly like these spells : nu scinn sunna i sali 
conf. dagr er nu/ Seem. 145 b . I hope the spell may yet turn 
up in other places, and in a purer form. 

Healing-spells are fond of beginning with something in the 
narrative way, some transaction from which the remedy derives 
its force ; and it is here especially that we find heathen beings 
left high and dry. When a spell opens with ( Sprach jungfrau 
Hille, blut stand stille ! who can fail at once to recognise the 
old valkyr Hilda, her that can make blood flow and stanch it 
again ? And even when the opening words are f Mary fared 
afield or Christ he crossed the land ; when a charm against 
finger-worm says God the Father afield did ride, stoutly the hoe 

0.1(10. /ceXcufoj ^ax^ov, Od. 19, 457. 


be plied, stubbed up the worms outright, one was black, another 
white, the third worm it was red; here lie the worms all dead ; 
it is clear that such formulas could not have originated iu 
Christian times, but might well survive among the people, who 
had merely to insert new sacred names. The heathen incident} 
that would account for the obscure or senseless words, is mostly 
hidden from us. On p. 1232-3 Jesus and the Lord have taken 
the place of Wuotan. Christus in petra sedebat, et virgam, 
manu tenebat, Moneys Anz. 7, 609 ; or again, Job went over 
land, had his staff in hand. When Jesus and Peter wandering 
go from country to country to and fro/ it is evidently the same 
widely diffused notion as at p. 337 ; but it is not always so easy 
to hit upon the heathen names that lie at the bottom. A 
favourite way is to start with tin ee personages : as the idisi fall 
into three sets (p. 1231), so the three Marys look out (p. 416), 
like three norns or three fays. Three brothers went afield 
(Keisersb. ameis 50 a ; three blessed br., Spell XXXI.). < Three 
virgins come down from heaven to earth, the one Blut-gulpe, the 
next Blut-stulpe, the third Blut-stehe-still, Mark, forsch. 1, 262 ; 
the last is the maid Hilda named alone in the other spell. I will 
only add from Roth, de nominibus vet. Germanorum medic., 
Helmst. 1735. p. 139 : Juvat subnectere incantationis formulam, 
qua in Marchia Brandenb. atque adjacentibus regionibus in 
ophthalmia curanda uti solent anus decrepitae, insanos ritus 
deperientes, quam quidem factis variis gesticulationibus ac digitis 
ante dolentes oculos ter decussatim niotis, rauco susurramine 
semel atque iterum emutire consuescunt, ita autem habent : 
Ibant aliquando tres puellae in via virente, prima noverat rerne- 
dium aliquod contra suffusionem oculorum, altera noverat reme- 
dium aliquod contra albuginem, et tertia profecto contra inflam- 
mationem, eaeque sanabant una ratione omnia, in nomine Patris, 
Filii et Spiritus sancti, Amen (see Suppl.). 

Against particular diseases the remedies are pitted as though 
in mortal strife : de ros un de wied, de stan in strid, de res 
verswann, de wied gewann ; or, deflecht (scrofula) un de ivied, 
de krakeelten sik, de wied de gewiinn, un de flecht verswiinn/ 
Meckl. jahrb. 5, 102-3; or again, de flockasch (flugasche) un de 
flechte, de flogen wol over dat wilde meer ; de flockasch de kam 
wedder, de flechte nirnmermehr, Sup. I, 811 (see Suppl.). 


Spells for the wishing-rod, when it is to strike treasure or a 
vein of metal, see p. 975. A formula used in looking for a clay- 
pit, in whose earth are to be wrapt up the written slips of paper 
which shall clear up a doubtful matter, in Haupt s Zeitschr. 3, 

In addresses to animals whose encounter is prophetic, whose 
ways are mysterious, we may fairly recognise antique spells, 
though their language has undergone a great deal of distortion ; 
such are the rhymes to the swan, p. 429, the stork 672, cuckoo 
676, Martin s bird 1130, Mary s chafer 695, and others, whose 
essential identity among the most various branches of our race 
is an interesting feature. 

In Scandinavia, where the reign of heathenism lasted longest, 
ought to be found the greatest number of such spells, either in 
writing or in the mouths of the people ; and from them we could 
gather most distinctly the connexion, both of the words and 
of their import, with heathen notions. The spell by which Groa 
was about to disengage the stone from Thor s head, p. 375, is 
not preserved in the Edda, but spells quite similar may have 
been still muttered over men and beasts in recent times. Much 
to be desired is the speedy publication of a collection set on foot 
by L. F. Raaf in Sweden, and containing over 2000 articles, 
of which a preliminary notice appeared in the monthly Mimer 
(Ups. 1838 40) pp. 271 7. Among these spells now reduced 
to writing, isolated runes can here and there be recognised even 
yet, and in some cases their use is enjoined ; thus, on the mode 
of compelling a thief to restore stolen goods on pain of losing his 
eye, we find the following prescription : Go at sunset on Sunday 
evening to a place that lies high, bearing a bucketful of water, 
cut the rune S, and charge the thief within a certain time to 
bring back what he has stolen, or lose his right eye. The rune 
S apparently refers to Sunday and sunset, perhaps to syn (sight, 
eye) ; does it also in connexion with the water-vessel point to the 
word sa (situla) ? Most likely the water was poured out, and 
ran down the hill (see Suppl.). 



Roman figures refer to the Author s Preface. 

Aaskereia 946. 

abant, sefen, aptan (evening) 748. 
abcut, abgott (false god) 14. 10G. 
Abel 944. 

Abent-rot 232 n. 239. 748. 
abis (hell) 805. 

Abraham, abrahemsch 1220. 1241. 
abrenuntiatio 161. 203. 1005 n. 
Abundia 286. 889. 1056. 
abyssus (hell) 805. 1002. 
Adam 565. 575. 
Adonis 949 n. 
Adrian! moles 1183 n. 
^Egel, Eigill 376. 380-2. 
self-adl (elf-burn) 1155. 1245. 
Aeolus 631-4. 640. 
aer-da3g (dawn) 747. 
Aesculapius 1148. 1213. 
jEsir (gods) 815. 902. 
^Ethel-Stan 119. 394. 
Aff en-berg 681. 
age, generation 792-3. 
Agemund 511. 913 n. 
a-genggun (lamiae) 500 n. 
ager-uld (field wool) 871. 
ages of the world, four 575. 
a-getroc (trickery) 464. 
a-gui-lan-neuf 755. 1206. 
Agro-mainyus, Ahriman 984 n. 1011. 
Ahuro-mazdao, Ormuzd 984 w. 
aibr (gift) 40. 
alyis (aegis) 238. 

Ai Sos Kvvft] (Pluto s helmet) 463. 
ATcra, aiza, ehre? 414. 
Ajo 362. 

aKivdicrjs (sword) 204. 
Akka xxxi. 

alah, alhs (temple) 66-7. 106. 
alba (elf, etc.) 462. 1073. 
Alb-donar 186. 

alb-dono, aelf-J>one, alp-ranke (bitter 
sweet ?) 448. 1216. 
Albe-rich, Mlt-rio 453. 
alb-leich (elf-lay) 470. 107. 
alb-schoss (elf-shot) 187. 460. 
Albuuea 496 n. 
Alcis 66. 71. 366. 
alder, erle 653 [Erl-kouig] . 
alectorius (caponstone) 1219. 



Alf-heimr 444. 

Al-for 22. 

filfr, elf 442. 

Alf-rikr 488. 

Aliruna xi. 95. 404. 1225. 

AXXoTrpc craXXos 207 n. 

alo-waldo, al-wealda (almighty) 21. 

alp, elf 442. 463. 

Alp-drud, Jlf-J>ry 423. 

Alp-ris 465. 

alp-ruthe, elf-rod 183-7. 

Alps 444. 

alpt, selfet (swan) 429. 444??. 

alptar-hamr (swan-garb) 427. 

Alraun, Alrune 513 n. 1202 n. 

alraun (mandrake) 1202-4. 

Al-svrSr 656. 

Altanus 162 n. 

Al-biofr 465. 

altissimus 21. 

altvil (scrat) 479 w. 

al-vitr (all-witting) 425. 

Alx xi. 66. 366. 

Amala 372. 

Amaltheia 872. 

Amazons 418. 

amber 1218 H. 

ambro (obor?) 527 w. 

ambrosia, amrita 317. 

Amphion 908. 

Ana sott (second childhood) 1153. 

Anar, Onar 735. 

Andlangr 808 n. 

aud-skotti (foe, fiend) 989. 

Andvari 488. 592. 978-9. 

anel (granny) 641. 1009. 

anemos and aetos 634. 

Angandeo 196 n. 

au-gang (what meets us) 1119. 

Augan-tyr (OSirm) 196 n. 

angel xliii. 420 n. 449 ;t. 575. 875-6. 

angels eyes 146 n. 

Angr-bo v 5a 246. 

animal sacrifices 46. 

Anningat (moon) 703. 716. 

ans, as, 6s (god) 24-5. 384. 

Ans.-pirin 25 n. 668. 

ant-heiz (vowed offering) 37-8. 

Antichrist 810-1. 980-1. 

A A 



Antilois449n. 465. 

anti-tago (end-day) 815 n. 

Antony s fire 1160. 

Aphrodite (Venus) 307. 313 n. 902 n. 

Apollo 79 n. 111. 115 n. 149. 161 w. 321. 

620?i. 812. 901-7. 1006. 1148. 1182. 
appearing, disappearing 325-7. 336-8. 
aptra-ganga (ghost) 915. 
aquilo and aquila 634. 
Arakho 707. 

aran-scart (crop-lifting) 475. 
"Apeos Kvvrj, Tyr-hialm 199. 1193. 
Ares (Mars) 111. 197. 201-3-4. 321. 343. 

Arian-rod (silver ring, galaxy) 357 n. 

412 n. 

Arktos (Ursa major) 151. 725. 
arin-hoop, looking thro the 939. 337. 
Artemis (Diana) 270. 949. 1148. 1188. 


artemisia (mugwort) 1192. 1211-2. 
Arthur xlvi. 668. 672. 942. 961. 
Ar-vakr 656. 
arweggers (dwarfs) 454 n. 
arzat, ersetre (physician) 1151. 
as, 6s (god) 24-5. 
As-biorn (ases bear) 25. 
As-bru (rainbow) 732. 
As-gar5r 817. 
As-ketill 63. 

as-megin (divine might) 24-5. 188. 
Asa-grim (Thorr) 150. 
Asa-heimr 530. 
Asa-thorr 166. 187. 243 n. 
Aschanes 572. 

aschen-brodel (cinderella) 388.- 
uses, the (gods) 24-5. 
Ashkenaz 572 n. 
ash-tree 571-2. 651. 796. 
Aski-burg 350. 365. 
Askr 560. 571-2. 
Asprian 387. 547. 556. 
asses sacrificed 49 n. 
astrology 721-2. 
asylum 85 n. 
asynja (goddess) 25071. 
at-bairan (offer, sacrifice) 38. 
Athena (Minerva) 265. 326-7. 337-8. 

537-8. 1148. 1193. 
a)m (year) 754. 
atisks (corn) 1115. 
Atlas 570. 
Atli 169. 

atonement-boar 51. 213. 
Atropos 414-5. 
atzmann (wax figure) 1091. 
Aucholf 762. 
Auftumla 559. 665. 
aue, ouwa, ea, -ey 225. 
aught, naught 440 n. 
Aurinia 95. 403-4. 
Aurora 749. 

Austheia 697. 

Austri, Vestri, Norfcri, SivSri 461. 

austr-vegr (east- ways) 187-8. 

Avar 292-4-7. 526. 

avara (image) 105 n. 115-6. 383. 

avatara 336-8. 

Ave, Ver (frau Ave) 675. 

Aventiure 310. 911. 

Avernus 806. 

aversiers (devil) 988. 

aviliudon (bless) 33. 

Aylesbury, Aylesford 376. 

Azdingi 342. 

baba, babka (granny) 478 n. 641. 784. 

Babehild 424. 

babes unchristened 271. 918. 920. 1070 n. 

Babilone 385 n. 954. 534. 

Bacchus, Dionysus 260. 306. 

badi (bed, altar) 68 n. 

badniak (yule-log) 628. 

Baduhenna 71 n. 

Badu-hilt, Beado-hild 377. 

Bffildffig 165. 221-9. 367. 744. 

Bak-rauf (elf, witch) 1079. 

Balaam s ass 392. 

Bald-ander 207 n. 

Balderschwang 222. 

Baldr 164. 220. 318. 320. 647. 823. 

baldrian (valerian) 1207-8. 

Baldrs-berg 222. 

Baldrs-bra, Bar-bro (anthemis cotula) 

222. 1191. 1207-8. 
Baldrs-brond 226. 
Baldrs-hagi 225. 
Baltero 996. 

balvonas, bolvan (image) 105 ?i. 
band (deity) 26. 
banning 951. 
ban-shi 444 n. 
baptizo, chrismo 3 n. 
bard 900. 

bare head, elbow, knee 31-3. 652. 
Barguest 512 n. 
bark 653; twixt wood and b. 10397?. 


barlebaen, barli-bak, -break (devil) 1003. 
barn-building 252 n. 
Barthel (goblin) 51571. 
barzdukkai, berstuhki (dwarf) 448 n. 
fiavKalvw, fascino 1100. 
Baugi 903. 
Bavo s pillar 394. 
Bayard 392. 656. 
Beal xxix. 228. 613-4. 
bealdor (prince) 220. 
beal-tine (May fire) 612-4. 
bear, king of beasts 667. 
bear-skin 1010. 1018. 
bear s loaf 783. 
Beaw, Beow 165. 369. 
Bechte 278. 281. 



bedd, weoh-bed (altar) 68 n. 

bee 696. 905 n. 1136. 

Beelzebub 998-9. 

beetles 183. 691-5. 

Befana 282. 

beh (pitch, hell) 804-5. 

Bel, Belenus 222. 613. 

belder (fatted ox) 50 n. 

belewitte (homesprite) 473. 

Beli 530. 

Bellona 208. 435. 

Bellovesus 614. 

bell-ringing 5. 459. 950. 1085. 

Belus, Baal 571. 613. 

Benz (devil) 1004. 

beo-modor (queen-bee) 697. 1242. 

Beo-wulf 369. 673. 697. 

Berche 277. 

Berecynthia 255 n. 

berg-bui, -rind, -risi (giant) 533. 

Bergelmir 529. 559. 563. 577. 

berg-smed (dwarf) 458 n. 471 n. 

berg-tagen (-taken) 466. 952-3. 

Berhta 222. 272-282. 416. 429. 430 n. 

791. 932. 947. 968. 1162. 
Berhtolt 279. 932. 
Berleih at Augsburg 293-5. 
Bernhart 373. 936. 
bertram 1213. 

beschaffen, beschert (destined) 862. 
beta-bur, -hfis (temple) 85-6. 
betan, boten (heal) 1036. 1151. 
betony 1208-9. 

Betphania (Twelfth-day ?) 281. 586. 
Bhavani 255. 
bianac (blessing) 133 n. 
Biarki, Biarco 337. 887 n. 939. 
bi-boz, beifuss (mugwort) 1211-2. 
bidental (struck by lightning) 185. 
bidjan (pray) 30. 
Bielbogh 222-8. 985 n. 
Bif-litSi, Bif-lindi (OSinn) 149. 882. 
Bif-rost (rainbow; 235. 732. 
Bil 374. 473 n. (man in moon) 717. 
Bildaberta 277. 
bildukkas (homesprite) 508. 
Bile! 453. 
Billich 374. 888. 
Billing 373-4. 454. 
bilmer-schnitt (crop-lifting) 475. 
bilse, bilisa (henbane) 593. 1198. 1208. 
bilsen-schnitt (crop-lifting) 476. 
Bilskirnir 336. 
bilwiz (spectre, witch) 472. 
binsen-schneider (crop-lifter) 476. 
Biorn 668. 
Biort 272 H. 1149. 
birds 669-683. 
bird s nest 871. 1205. 
birds of omen 1128-1136. 
birth 874-5. 
Biterolf 369. 

biudan (offer, sacrifice) 38. 

biuds (table, altar) 38. 68 n. 701. 

bja ra (conveyance) 1090. 

black art 1037 n. 

black cow, black ox 665 n. 

black goddesses 313n. 

Bla-kulla 1052. 

Blanche-fleur 429 n. 

Blaserle 461 n. 

Blaster 548. 630. 

blate-fuoz (blade-foot) 451. 

Blicero (death) 849. 

Bli, BlrSur 1149. 

Blocksberg 1051. 

blood-tree 649. 

blotan (sacrifice) 34. 

blot-lundr (sacrificial grove) 76. 

blot-maftr (sacrificer) 93. 

blot-risi (giant) 557. 

blue fire 178. 

bluote-kirl (priest) 37. 

Blut-stiilpe 1248. 

boar-badge 214. 

boar-vow, boar s head, 215. 

bock-schnitt (crop-lifting) 476-7. 995. 

bocks-horn (Easter fire) 616 n. 

Bon 902-4. 

Bodrok In. 

Bodvar-tyr (OSinn) 196. 

been, ben (boon, prayer) 31. 1224. 

boeuf gras 50 n. 

bogh (god) 13 n. 

boghatyr (hero) 343 w. 

Bogudes 293-5. 

Bol-J>orn (born = >urs) 559. 

Bolverkr (OSinn) 367. 903. 

bom-heckel (wood pecker) 973. 

bona d