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´╗┐Title: Fairy Tales, Their Origin and Meaning; With Some Account of Dwellers in Fairyland
Author: Bunce, John Thackray, 1828-1899
Language: English
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With Some Account of Dwellers in Fairyland

By John Thackray Bunce


The substance of this volume was delivered as a course of Christmas
Holiday Lectures, in 1877, at the Birmingham and Midland Institute, of
which the author was then the senior Vice-president. It was found that
both the subject and the matter interested young people; and it was
therefore thought that, revised and extended, the Lectures might not
prove unacceptable in the form of a Book. The volume does not pretend to
scientific method, or to complete treatment of the subject. Its aim is
a very modest one: to furnish an inducement rather than a formal
introduction to the study of Folk Lore; a study which, when once begun,
the reader will pursue, with unflagging interest, in such works as
the various writings of Mr. Max-Muller; the "Mythology of the Aryan
Nations," by Mr. Cox; Mr. Ralston's "Russian Folk Tales;" Mr. Kelly's
"Curiosities of Indo-European Folk Lore;" the Introduction to
Mr. Campbell's "Popular Tales of the West Highlands," and other
publications, both English and German, bearing upon the same subject. In
the hope that his labour may serve this purpose, the author ventures
to ask for an indulgent rather than a critical reception of this little


September, 1878.










We are going into Fairy Land for a little while, to see what we can find
there to amuse and instruct us this Christmas time. Does anybody know
the way? There are no maps or guidebooks, and the places we meet with
in our workaday world do not seem like the homes of the Fairies. Yet we
have only to put on our Wishing Caps, and we can get into Fairy Land in
a moment. The house-walls fade away, the winter sky brightens, the sun
shines out, the weather grows warm and pleasant; flowers spring up,
great trees cast a friendly shade, streams murmur cheerfully over their
pebbly beds, jewelled fruits are to be had for the trouble of gathering
them; invisible hands set out well-covered dinner-tables, brilliant and
graceful forms flit in and out across our path, and we all at once find
ourselves in the midst of a company of dear old friends whom we have
known and loved ever since we knew anything. There is Fortunatus with
his magic purse, and the square of carpet that carries him anywhere; and
Aladdin with his wonderful lamp; and Sindbad with the diamonds he has
picked up in the Valley of Serpents; and the Invisible Prince, who uses
the fairy cat to get his dinner for him; and the Sleeping Beauty in
the Wood, just awakened by the young Prince, after her long sleep of a
hundred years; and Puss in Boots curling his whiskers after having eaten
up the ogre who foolishly changed himself into a mouse; and Beauty and
the Beast; and the Blue Bird; and Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack the
Giant Killer, and Jack and the Bean Stalk; and the Yellow Dwarf; and
Cinderella and her fairy godmother; and great numbers besides, of whom
we haven't time to say anything now.

And when we come to look about us, we see that there are other dwellers
in Fairy Land; giants and dwarfs, dragons and griffins, ogres with
great white teeth, and wearing seven-leagued boots; and enchanters and
magicians, who can change themselves into any forms they please, and
can turn other people into stone. And there are beasts and birds who can
talk, and fishes that come out on dry land, with golden rings in their
mouths; and good maidens who drop rubies and pearls when they speak, and
bad ones out of whose mouths come all kinds of ugly things. Then there
are evil-minded fairies, who always want to be doing mischief; and there
are good fairies, beautifully dressed, and with shining golden hair and
bright blue eyes and jewelled coronets, and with magic wands in their
hands, who go about watching the bad fairies, and always come just in
time to drive them away, and so prevent them from doing harm--the sort
of Fairies you see once a year at the pantomimes, only more beautiful,
and more handsomely dressed, and more graceful in shape, and not so fat,
and who do not paint their faces, which is a bad thing for any woman to
do, whether fairy or mortal.

Altogether, this Fairy Land that we can make for ourselves in a moment,
is a very pleasant and most delightful place, and one which all of us,
young and old, may well desire to get into, even if we have to come back
from it sooner than we like. It is just the country to suit everybody,
for all of us can find in it whatever pleases him best. If he likes
work, there is plenty of adventure; he can climb up mountains of steel,
or travel over seas of glass, or engage in single combat with a giant,
or dive down into the caves of the little red dwarfs and bring up their
hidden treasures, or mount a horse that goes more swiftly than the wind,
or go off on a long journey to find the water of youth and life, or do
anything else that happens to be very dangerous and troublesome. If
he doesn't like work, it is again just the place to suit idle people,
because it is all Midsummer holidays. I never heard of a school in Fairy
Land, nor of masters with canes or birch rods, nor of impositions and
long lessons to be learned when one gets home in the evening. Then the
weather is so delightful. It is perpetual sunshine, so that you may lie
out in the fields all day without catching cold; and yet it is not too
hot, the sunshine being a sort of twilight, in which you see everything,
quite clearly, but softly, and with beautiful colours, as if you were in
a delightful dream.

And this goes on night and day, or at least what we call night, for
they don't burn gas there, or candles, or anything of that kind; so
that there is no regular going to bed and getting up; you just lie down
anywhere when you want to rest, and when you have rested, you wake up
again, and go on with your travels. There is one capital thing about
Fairy Land. There are no doctors there; not one in the whole country.
Consequently nobody is ill, and there are no pills or powders, or
brimstone and treacle, or senna tea, or being kept at home when you want
to go out, or being obliged to go to bed early and have gruel instead
of cake and sweetmeats. They don't want the doctors, because if you cut
your finger it gets well directly, and even when people are killed, or
are turned into stones, or when anything else unpleasant happens, it can
all be put right in a minute or two. All you have to do when you are in
trouble is to go and look for some wrinkled old woman in a patched old
brown cloak, and be very civil to her, and to do cheerfully and kindly
any service she asks of you, and then she will throw off the dark cloak,
and become a young and beautiful Fairy Queen, and wave her magic wand,
and everything will fall out just as you would like to have it.

As to Time, they take no note of it in Fairy Land. The Princess falls
asleep for a hundred years, and wakes up quite rosy, and young, and
beautiful. Friends and sweethearts are parted for years, and nobody
seems to think they have grown older when they meet, or that life has
become shorter, and so they fall to their youthful talk as if nothing
had happened. Thus the dwellers in Fairy Land have no cares about
chronology. With them there is no past or future; it is all present--so
there are no disagreeable dates to learn, nor tables of kings, and when
they reigned, or who succeeded them, or what battles they fought, or
anything of that kind. Indeed there are no such facts to be learned,
for when kings are wicked in Fairy Land, a powerful magician comes and
twists their heads off, or puts them to death somehow; and when they
are good kings they seem to live for ever, and always to be wearing rich
robes and royal golden crowns, and to be entertaining Fairy Queens, and
receiving handsome brilliant gifts from everybody who knows them.

Now this is Fairy Land, the dear sweet land of Once Upon a Time, where
there is constant light, and summer days, and everlasting flowers, and
pleasant fields and streams, and long dreams without rough waking, and
ease of life, and all things strange and beautiful; where nobody wonders
at anything that may happen; where good fairies are ever on the watch to
help those whom they love; where youth abides, and there is no pain or
death, and all trouble fades away, and whatever seems hard is made easy,
and all things that look wrong come right in the end, and truth and
goodness have their perpetual triumph, and the world is ever young.

And Fairy Land is always the same, and always has been, whether it is
close to us--so close that we may enter it in a moment--or whether it is
far off; in the stories that have come to us from the most ancient
days, and the most distant lands, and in those which kind and clever
story-tellers write for us now. It is the same in the legends of the
mysterious East, as old as the beginning of life; the same in the
glowing South, in the myths of ancient Greece; the same in the frozen
regions of the Scandinavian North, and in the forests of the great
Teuton land, and in the Islands of the West; the same in the tales that
nurses tell to the little ones by the fireside on winter evenings, and
in the songs that mothers sing to hush their babes to sleep; the same in
the delightful folk-lore that Grimm has collected for us, and that dear
Hans Andersen has but just ceased to tell.

All the chief stories that we know so well are to be found in all
times, and in almost all countries. Cinderella, for one, is told in the
language of every country in Europe, and the same legend is found in the
fanciful tales related by the Greek poets; and still further back, it
appears in very ancient Hindu legends. So, again, does Beauty and the
Beast, so does our own familiar tale of Jack the Giant Killer, so also
do a great number of other fairy stories, each being told in different
countries and in different periods, with so much likeness as to show
that all the versions came from the same source, and yet with so much
difference as to show that none of the versions are directly copied from
each other. Indeed, when we compare the myths and legends of one country
with another, and of one period with another, we find out how they have
come to be so much alike, and yet in some things so different. We see
that there must have been one origin for all these stories, that they
must have been invented by one people, that this people must have been
afterwards divided, and that each part or division of it must have
brought into its new home the legends once common to them all, and must
have shaped and altered these according, to the kind of places in which
they came to live: those of the North being sterner and more terrible,
those of the South softer and fuller of light and colour, and adorned
with touches of more delicate fancy. And this, indeed, is really the
case. All the chief stories and legends are alike, because they were
first made by one people; and all the nations in which they are now told
in one form or another tell them because they are all descended from
this one common stock. If you travel amongst them, or talk to them, or
read their history, and learn their languages, the nations of Europe
seem to be altogether unlike each other; they have different speech
and manners, and ways of thinking, and forms of government, and
even different looks--for you can tell them from one another by some
peculiarity of appearance. Yet, in fact, all these nations belong to one
great family--English, and German, and Russian, and French, and Italian,
and Spanish, the nations of the North, and the South, and the West, and
partly of the East of Europe, all came from one stock; and so did the
Romans and Greeks who went before them; and so also did the Medes
and Persians, and the Hindus, and some other peoples who have always
remained in Asia. And to the people from whom all these nations have
sprung learned men have given two names. Sometimes they are called the
Indo-Germanic or Indo-European race, to show how widely they extend; and
sometimes they are called the Aryan race, from a word which is found in
their language, and which comes from the root "ar," to plough, and is
supposed to mean noble, or of a good family.

But how do we know that there were any such people, and that we in
England are descended from them, or that they were the forefathers of
the other nations of Europe, and of the Hindus, and of the old Greeks
and Romans? We know it by a most curious and ingenious process of what
may be called digging out and building up. Some of you may remember that
years ago there was found in New Zealand a strange-looking bone, which
nobody could make anything of, and which seemed to have belonged to some
creature quite lost to the world as we know it. This bone was sent home
to England to a great naturalist, Professor Owen, of the British Museum,
who looked at it, turned it over, thought about it, and then came to the
conclusion that it was a bone which had once formed part of a gigantic
bird. Then; by degrees, he began to see the kind of general form which
such a bird must have presented, and finally, putting one thing to
another, and fitting part to part, he declared it to be a bird of
gigantic size, and of a particular character, which he was able to
describe; and this opinion was confirmed by later discoveries of other
bones and fragments, so that an almost complete skeleton of the Dinornis
may now be seen in this country. Well, our knowledge of the Aryan
people, and of our own descent from them, has been found out in much
the same way. Learned men observed, as a curious thing, that in various
European languages there were words of the same kind, and having the
same root forms; they found also that these forms of roots existed in
the older language of Greece; and then they found that they existed
also in Sanskrit, the oldest language of India--that in which the sacred
books of the Hindus are written. They discovered, further, that these
words and their roots meant always the same things, and this led to
the natural belief that they came from the same source. Then, by closer
inquiry into the _Vedas_, or Hindu sacred books, another discovery was
made, namely, that while the Sanskrit has preserved the words of the
original language in their most primitive or earliest state, the other
languages derived from the same source have kept some forms plainly
coming from the same roots, but which Sanskrit has lost. Thus we are
carried back to a language older than Sanskrit, and of which this is
only one of the forms, and from this we know that there was a people
which used a common tongue; and if different forms of this common tongue
are found in India, in Persia, and throughout Europe, we know that the
races which inhabit these countries must, at sometime, have parted
from the parent stock, and must have carried their language and their
traditions along with them. So, to find out who these people were, we
have to go back to the sacred books of the Hindus and the Persians, and
to pick out whatever facts may be found there, and thus to build up the
memorial of the Aryan race, just as Professor Owen built up the great
New Zealand bird.

It would take too long, and would be much too dry, to show how this
process has been completed step by step, and bit by bit. That belongs to
a study called comparative philology, and to another called comparative
mythology--that is, the studies of words and of myths, or legends--which
some of those who read these pages may pursue with interest in after
years. All that need be done now is to bring together such accounts of
the Aryan people, our forefathers, as may be gathered from the writings
of the learned men who have made this a subject of inquiry, and
especially from the works of German and French writers, and more
particularly from those of Mr. Max Muller, an eminent German, who lives
amongst us in England, who writes in English, and who has done more,
perhaps, than anybody else, to tell us what we know about this matter.

As to when the Aryans lived we know nothing, but that it was thousands
of years ago, long before history began. As to the kind of people
they were we know nothing in a direct way. They have left no traces of
themselves in buildings, or weapons, or enduring records of any kind.
There are no ruins of their temples or tombs, no pottery--which often
helps to throw light upon ancient peoples-no carvings upon rocks or
stones. It is only by the remains of their language that we can
trace them; and we do this through the sacred books of the Hindus and
Persians-the _Vedas_ and the _Zend Avesta_--in which remains of their
language are found, and by means of which, therefore, we get to know
something about their dwelling-place, their manners, their customs,
their religion, and their legends--the source and origin of our Fairy

In the _Zend Avesta_--the oldest sacred book of the Persians--or in such
fragments of it as are left, there are sixteen countries spoken of as
having been given by Ormuzd, the Good Deity, for the Aryans to live
in; and these countries are described as a land of delight, which was
turned, by Ahriman, the Evil Deity, into a land of death and cold;
partly, it is said, by a great flood, which is described as being like
Noah's flood recorded in the Book of Genesis. This land, as nearly as we
can make it out, seems to have been the high, central district of Asia,
to the north and west of the great chain of mountains of the Hindu
Koush, which form the frontier barrier of the present country of the
Afghans. It stretched, probably, from the sources of the river Oxus
to the shores of the Caspian Sea; and when the Aryans moved from their
home, it is thought that the easterly portion of the tribes were those
who marched southwards into India and Persia, and that those who
were nearest the Caspian Sea marched westwards into Europe. It is not
supposed that they were all one united people, but rather a number of
tribes, having a common origin--though what was this original stock
is quite beyond any knowledge we have, or even beyond our powers of
conjecture. But, though the Aryan peoples were divided into tribes, and
were spread over a tract of country nearly as large as half Europe, we
may properly describe them generally, for so far as our knowledge goes,
all the tribes had the same character.

They were a pastoral people--that is, their chief work was to look after
their herds of cattle and to till the earth. Of this we find proof in
the words and roots remaining of their language. From the same source,
also, we know that they lived in dwellings built with wood and stone;
that these dwellings were grouped together in villages; that they were
fenced in against enemies, and that enclosures were formed to keep the
cattle from straying, and that roads of some kind were made from one
village to another. These things show that the Aryans had some claim to
the name they took, and that in comparison with their forefathers, or
with the savage or wandering tribes they knew, they had a right to call
themselves respectable, excellent, honourable, masters, heroes--for all
these are given as probable meanings of their name. Their progress was
shown in another way. The rudest and earliest tribes of men used weapons
of flint, roughly shaped into axes and spear-heads, or other cutting
implements, with which they defended themselves in conflict, or killed
the beasts of chase, or dug up the roots on which they lived. The Aryans
were far in advance of this condition. They did not, it is believed,
know the use of iron, but they knew and used gold, silver, and copper;
they made weapons and other implements of bronze; they had ploughs to
till the ground, and axes, and probably saws, for the purpose of cutting
and shaping timber. Of pottery and weaving they knew something: the
western tribes certainly used hemp and flax as materials for weaving,
and when the stuff was woven the women made it into garments by the use
of the needle. Thus we get a certain division of trades or occupations.
There were the tiller of the soil, the herdsman, the smith who forged
the tools and weapons of bronze, the joiner or carpenter who built the
houses, and the weaver who made the clothing required for protection
against a climate which was usually cold. Then there was also the
boat-builder, for the Aryans had boats, though moved only by oars.
There was yet another class, the makers of personal ornaments, for these
people had rings, bracelets, and necklaces made of the precious metals.

Of trade the Aryans knew something; but they had no coined money--all
the trade was done by exchange of one kind of cattle, or grain or goods,
for another. They had regulations as to property, their laws punished
crime with fine, imprisonment, or death, just as ours do. They seem to
have been careful to keep their liberties, the families being formed
into groups, and these into tribes or clans, under the rule of an
elected chief, while it is probable that a Great Chief or King ruled
over several tribes and led them to war, or saw that the laws were put
into force.

Now we begin to see something of these ancient forefathers of ours, and
to understand what kind of people they were. Presently we shall have
to look into their religion, out of which our Fairy Stories were really
made; but first, there are one or two other things to be said about
them. One of these shows that they were far in advance of savage races,
for they could count as high as one hundred, while savages can seldom
get further than the number of their fingers; and they had also advanced
so far as to divide the year into twelve months, which they took from
the changes of the moon. Then their family relations were very close and
tender. "Names were given to the members of families related by marriage
as well as by blood. A welcome greeted the birth of children, as of
those who brought joy to the home; and the love that should be felt
between brother and sister was shown in the names given to them:
_bhratar_ (or brother) being he who sustains or helps; _svasar_ (or
sister) she who pleases or consoles. The daughter of each household was
called _duhitar,_ from _duh_, a root which in Sanskrit means to milk,
by which we know that the girls in those days were the milking-maids.
Father comes from a root, _pa_, which means to protect or support;
mother, _matar_, has the meaning of maker."[1]

Now we may sum up what we know of this ancient people and their ways;
and we find in them much that is to be found in their descendants--the
love of parents and children, the closeness of family ties, the
protection of life and property, the maintenance of law and order, and,
as we shall see presently, a great reverence for _God_. Also, they were
well versed in the arts of life--they built houses, formed villages or
towns, made roads, cultivated the soil, raised great herds of cattle and
other animals; they made boats and land-carriages, worked in metals for
use and ornament, carried on trade with each other, knew how to count,
and were able to divide their time so as to reckon by months and days
as well as by seasons. Besides all this, they had something more and of
still higher value, for the fragments of their ancient poems or hymns
preserved in the Hindu and Persian sacred books show that they thought
much of the spirit of man as well as of his bodily life; that they
looked upon sin as an evil to be punished or forgiven by the Gods, that
they believed in a life after the death of the body, and that they had
a strong feeling for natural beauty and a love of searching into the
wonders of the earth and of the heavens.

The religion of the Aryan races, in its beginning, was a very simple and
a very noble one. They looked up to the heavens and saw the bright sun,
and the light and beauty and glory of the day. They saw the day fade
into night and the clouds draw themselves across the sky, and then they
saw the dawn and the light and life of another day. Seeing these things,
they felt that some Power higher than man ordered and guided them; and
to this great Power they gave the name of _Dyaus_, from a root-word
which means "to shine." And when, out of the forces and forms of Nature,
they afterwards fashioned other Gods, this name of Dyaus became _Dyaus
pitar_, the Heaven-Father, or Lord of All; and in far later times, when
the western Aryans had found their home in Europe, the _Dyaus pitar_
of the central Asian land became the Zeupater of the Greeks, and the
Jupiter of the Romans; and the first part of his name gave us the word
Deity, which we apply to _God_. So, as Professor Max Muller tells us,
the descendants of the ancient Aryans, "when they search for a name for
what is most exalted and yet most dear to every one of us, when they
wish to express both awe and love, the infinite and the finite, they can
do but what their old fathers did when gazing up to the eternal sky, and
feeling the presence of a Being as far as far, and as near as near can
be; they can but combine the self-same words and utter once more the
primeval Aryan prayer, Heaven-Father, in that form which will endure for
ever, 'Our Father, which art in Heaven.'"

The feeling which the Aryans had towards the Heaven-Father is very
finely shown in one of the oldest hymns in the _Rig Veda_, or the Book
of Praise--a hymn written 4,000 years ago, and addressed to Varuna, or
the All-Surrounder, the ancient Hindu name for the chief deity:--

    "Let me not, O Varuna, enter into the house of clay.
       Have mercy! Almighty, have mercy!
    If I go trembling, like a cloud driven by the wind,
       Have mercy! Almighty, have mercy!
    Through want of strength, thou strong and bright God,
         have I gone wrong;
      Have mercy! Almighty, have mercy!"

But, besides Dyaus pitar, or Varuna, the Aryans worshipped other gods,
whom they made for themselves out of the elements, and the changes of
night and day, and the succession of the seasons. They worshipped the
sky, the earth, the sun, the dawn, fire, water, and wind. The chief of
these deities were Agni, the fire; Prithivi, the earth; Ushas, the dawn;
Mitra, or Surya, the sun; Indra, the sky; Maruts, the storm-winds; and
Varuna, the All-Surrounder. To these deities sacrifice was offered and
prayer addressed; but they had no priests or temples--these came in
later ages, when men thought they had need of others to stand between
them and _God_. But the ancient Aryans saw the Deity everywhere, and
stood face to face with Him in Nature. He was to them the early morning,
the brightness of midday, the gloom of evening, the darkness of night,
the flash of the lightning, the roll of the thunder, and the rush of the
mighty storm-wind. It seems strange to us that those who could imagine
the one Heaven-Father should degrade Him by making a multitude of Gods;
but this came easily to them, partly out of a desire to account for all
they saw in Nature, and which their fancy clothed in divine forms, and
partly out of reverence for the great All Father, by filling up the
space between Him and themselves with inferior Gods, all helping to make
His greatness the greater and His power the mightier.

We cannot look into this old religion of the Aryans any further, because
our business is to see how their legends are connected with the myths
and stories which are spread by their descendants over a great part of
East and West. Now this came about in the way we are going to describe.

The mind of the Aryan peoples in their ancient home was full of
imagination. They never ceased to wonder at what they heard and saw in
the sky and upon the earth. Their language was highly figurative, and
so the things which struck them with wonder, and which they could not
explain, were described under forms and names which were familiar to
them. Thus the thunder was to them the bellowing of a mighty beast or
the rolling of a great chariot. In the lightning they saw a brilliant
serpent, or a spear shot across the sky, or a great fish darting swiftly
through the sea of cloud. The clouds were heavenly cows, who shed milk
upon the earth and refreshed it; or they were webs woven by heavenly
women, who drew water from the fountains on high and poured it down as
rain. The sun was a radiant wheel, or a golden bird, or an eye, or
a shining egg, or a horse of matchless speed, or a slayer of the
cloud-dragons. Sometimes it was a frog, when it seemed to be sinking
into or squatting upon the water; and out of this fancy, when the
meaning of it was lost, there grew a Sanskrit legend, which is to be
found also in Teutonic and Celtic myths. This story is, that Bheki (the
frog) was a lovely maiden who was found by a king, who asked her to be
his wife. So she married him, but only on condition that he should never
show her a drop of water. One day she grew tired, and asked for water.
The king gave it to her, and she sank out of his sight; in other words,
the sun disappears when it touches the water.

This imagery of the Aryans was applied by them to all they saw in the
sky. Sometimes, as we have said, the clouds were cows; they were also
dragons, which sought to slay the sun; or great ships floating across
the sky, and casting anchor upon earth; or rocks, or mountains, or deep
caverns, in which evil deities hid the golden light. Then, also, they
were shaped by fancy into animals of various kinds-the bear, the wolf,
the dog, the ox; and into giant birds, and into monsters which were both
bird and beast.

The Winds, again, in their fancy, were the companions or the ministers
of Indra, the sky-god. The Maruts, or spirits of the winds, gathered
into their host the souls of the dead--thus giving birth to the
Scandinavian and Teutonic legend of the Wild Horseman, who rides at
midnight through the stormy sky, with his long train of dead behind
him, and his weird hounds before. The Ribhus, or Arbhus, again, were the
sunbeams or the lightning, who forged the armour of the Gods, and made
their thunderbolts, and turned old people young, and restored out of
the hide alone the slaughtered cow on which the Gods had feasted. Out
of these heavenly artificers, the workers of the clouds, there came, in
later times, two of the most striking stories of ancient legend--that
of Thor, the Scandinavian thunder-god, who feasted at night on the goats
which drew his chariot, and in the morning, by a touch of his hammer,
brought them back to life; and that of Orpheus in the beautiful Greek
legend, the master of divine song, who moved the streams, and rocks, and
trees, by the beauty of his music, and brought back his wife Eurydike
from the shades of death. In our Western fairy tales we still have these
Ribhus, or Arbhus, transformed, through various changes of language,
into Albs, and Elfen, and last into our English Elves. It is not needful
to go further into the fanciful way in which the old Aryans slowly made
ever-increasing deities and superhuman beings for themselves out of
all the forms and aspects of Nature; or how their Hindu and Persian and
Greek and Teuton descendants peopled all earth, and air, and sky, and
water, with good and bad spirits and imaginary powers. But, as we shall
see later, all these creatures grew out of one thing only--the Sun,
and his influence upon the earth. Aryan myths were no more than poetic
fancies about light and darkness, cloud and rain, night and day, storm
and wind; and when they moved westward and southward, the Aryan races
brought these legends with them; and they were shaped by degrees into
the innumerable gods and demons of the Hindus, the divs and jinns of the
Persians, the great gods, the minor deities, and nymphs, and fauns, and
satyrs of Greek mythology and poetry; the stormy divinities, the giants,
and trolls of the cold and rugged North; the dwarfs of the German
forests; the elves who dance merrily in the moonlight of an English
summer; and the "good people" who play mischievous tricks upon stray
peasants amongst the Irish hills. Almost all, indeed, that we have of
a legendary kind comes to us from our Aryan forefathers; sometimes
scarcely changed, sometimes so altered that we have to puzzle out the
links between the old and the new; but all these myths and traditions,
and Old-world stories, when we come to know the meaning of them, take us
back to the time when the Aryan races dwelt together in the high
lands of Central Asia, and they all mean the same things--that is, the
relation between the sun and the earth, the succession of night and
day, of winter and summer, of storm and calm, of cloud and tempest, and
golden sunshine and bright blue sky. And this is the source from which
we get our Fairy Stories; for underneath all of them there are the same
fanciful meanings, only changed and altered in the way of putting
them, by the lapse of ages of time, by the circumstances of different
countries, and by the fancy of those who kept the wonderful tales alive
without knowing what they meant.

When the change happened that brought about all this, we do not know. It
was thousands of years ago that the Aryan people began their march out
of their old country in mid-Asia. But from the remains of their language
and the likeness of their legends to those amongst other nations, we do
know that ages and ages ago their country grew too small for them, so
they were obliged to move away from it. They could not go eastward, for
the great mountains shut them in; they could not go northward, for the
great desert was too barren for their flocks and herds. So they turned,
some of them southward into India and Persia, and some of them westward
into Europe--at the time, perhaps, when the land of Europe stretched
from the borders of Asia to our own islands, and when there was no sea
between us and what is now the mainland. How they made their long and
toilsome march we know not. But, as Kingsley writes of such a movement
of an ancient tribe, so we may fancy these old Aryans marching
westward--"the tall, bare-limbed men, with stone axes on their shoulders
and horn bows at their backs, with herds of grey cattle, guarded by huge
lop-eared mastiffs, with shaggy white horses, heavy-horned sheep and
silky goats, moving always westward through the boundless steppes,
whither or why we know not, but that the All-Father had sent them forth.
And behind us [he makes them say] the rosy snow-peaks died into ghastly
grey, lower and lower, as every evening came; and before us the plains
spread infinite, with gleaming salt-lakes, and ever-fresh tribes of
gaudy flowers. Behind us, dark: lines of living beings streamed down
the mountain slopes; around us, dark lines crawled along the
plains--westward, westward ever. Who could stand against us? We met the
wild asses on the steppe, and tamed them, and made them our slaves. We
slew the bison herds, and swam broad rivers on their skins. The Python
snake lay across our path; the wolves and wild dogs snarled at us out
of their coverts; we slew them and went on. The forests rose in black
tangled barriers, we hewed our way through them and went on. Strange
giant tribes met us, and eagle-visaged hordes, fierce and foolish; we
smote them, hip and thigh, and went on, west-ward ever." And so, as they
went on, straight towards the west, or as they turned north and south,
and thus overspread new lands, they brought with them their old ways of
thought and forms of belief, and the stories in which these had
taken form; and on these were built up the Gods and Heroes, and all
wonder-working creatures and things, and the poetical fables and fancies
which have come down to us, and which still linger in our customs and
our Fairy Tales bright and sunny and many coloured in the warm regions
of the south; sterner and wilder and rougher in the north; more homelike
in the middle and western countries; but always alike in their main
features, and always having the same meaning when we come to dig it
out; and these forms and this meaning being the same in the lands of the
Western Aryans as in those still peopled by the Aryans of the East.

It would take a very great book to give many examples of the myths and
stories which are alike in all the Aryan countries; but we may see by
one instance what the likeness is; and it shall be a story which all
will know when they read it.

Once upon a time there was a Hindu Rajah, who had an only daughter, who
was born with a golden necklace. In this necklace was her soul; and
if the necklace were taken off and worn by some one else, the Princess
would die. On one of her birthdays the Rajah gave his daughter a pair
of slippers with ornaments of gold and gems upon them. The Princess went
out upon a mountain to pluck the flowers that grew there, and while she
was stooping to pluck them one of her slippers came off and fell down
into a forest below. A Prince, who was hunting in the forest, picked up
the lost slipper, and was so charmed with it that he desired to make its
owner his wife. So he made his wish known everywhere, but nobody came
to claim the slipper, and the poor Prince grew very sad. At last some
people from the Rajah's country heard of it, and told the Prince where
to find the Rajah's daughter; and he went there, and asked for her as
his wife, and they were married. Sometime after, another wife of the
Prince, being jealous of the Rajah's daughter, stole her necklace, and
put it on her own neck, and then the Rajah's daughter died. But her
body did not decay, nor did her face lose its bloom; and the Prince went
every day to see her, for he loved her very much although she was dead.
Then he found out the secret of the necklace, and got it back again, and
put it on his dead wife's neck, and her soul was born again in her, and
she came back to life, and they lived happy ever after.

This Hindu story of the lost slipper is met with again in a legend of
the ancient Greeks, which tells that while a beautiful woman, named
Rhodope--or the rosy-cheeked--was bathing, an eagle picked up one of her
slippers and flew away with it, and carried it off to Egypt, and dropped
it in the lap of the King of that country, as he sat at Memphis on the
judgment-seat. The slipper was so small and beautiful that the King fell
in love with the wearer of it, and had her sought for, and when she was
found he made her his wife. Another story of the same kind. It is found
in many countries, in various forms, and is that of Cinderella, the poor
neglected maiden, whom her stepmother set to work in the kitchen, while
her sisters went to the grand balls and feasts at the King's palace.
You know how Cinderella's fairy godmother came and dressed her like a
princess, and sent her to the ball; how the King's son fell in love with
her; how she lost one of her slippers, which the Prince picked up;
how he vowed that he would marry the maiden who could fit on the lost
slipper; how all the ladies of the court tried to do it, and failed,
Cinderella's sisters amongst them; and how Cinderella herself put on the
slipper, produced the fellow to it, was married to the King's son, and
lived happily with him.

Now the story of Cinderella helps us to find out the meaning of our
Fairy Tales; and takes us back straight to the far-off land where fairy
legends began, and to the people who made them. Cinderella, and Rhodope,
and the Hindu Rajah's daughter, and the like, are but different forms
of the same ancient myth. It is the story of the Sun and the Dawn.
Cinderella, grey and dark, and dull, is all neglected when she is away
from the Sun, obscured by the envious Clouds her sisters, and by her
stepmother the Night. So she is Aurora, the Dawn, and the fairy Prince
is the Morning Sun, ever pursuing her, to claim her for his bride. This
is the legend as we find it in the ancient Hindu sacred books; and this
explains at once the source and the meaning of the Fairy Tale.

Nor is it in the story of Cinderella alone that we trace the ancient
Hindu legends. There is scarcely a tale of Greek or Roman mythology, no
legend of Teutonic or Celtic or Scandinavian growth, no great romance of
what we call the middle ages, no fairy story taken down from the lips of
ancient folk, and dressed for us in modern shape and tongue, that we
do not find, in some form or another, in these Eastern poems. The Greek
gods are there--Zeus, the Heaven-Father, and his wife Hera, "and Phoebus
Apollo the Sun-god, and Pallas Athene, who taught men wisdom and useful
arts, and Aphrodite the Queen of Beauty, and Poseidon the Ruler of the
Sea, and Hephaistos the King of the Fire, who taught men to work in
metals."[2] There, too, are legends which resemble those of Orpheus and
Eurydike, of Eros and Psyche, of Jason and the Golden Fleece, of the
labours of Herakles, of Sigurd and Brynhilt, of Arthur and the Knights
of the Round Table. There, too, in forms which can be traced with ease,
we have the stories of Fairyland--the germs of the Thousand and One
Tales of the Arabian Nights, the narratives of giants, and dwarfs, and
enchanters; of men and maidens transformed by magic arts into beasts
and birds; of riches hidden in the caves and bowels of the earth, and
guarded by trolls and gnomes; of blessed lands where all is bright and
sunny, and where there is neither work nor care. Whatever, indeed, is
strange or fanciful, or takes us straight from our grey, hard-working
world into the sweet and peaceful country of Once Upon a Time, is to
be found in these ancient Hindu books, and is repeated, from the source
whence they were drawn, in many countries of the East and West; for the
people whose traditions the Vedas record were the forefathers of those
who now dwell in India, in Persia, in the border-lands, and in most
parts of Europe. Yes; strange as it may seem, all of us, who differ so
much in language, in looks in customs and ways of thought, in all that
marks out one nation from another--all of us have a common origin and a
common kindred. Greek and Roman, and Teuton and Kelt and Slav, ancient
and modern, all came from the same stock. English and French, Spanish
and Germans, Italians and Russians, all unlike in outward show, are
linked together in race; and not only with each other, but also claim
kindred with the people who now fill the fiery plains of India, and
dwell on the banks of her mighty rivers, and on the slopes of her great
mountain-chains, and who still recite the sacred books, and sing the
ancient hymns from which the mythology of the West is in great part
derived, whence our folk-lore comes, and which give life and colour and
meaning to our legends of romance and our Tales of Fairyland.

By taking a number of stories containing the same idea, but related in
different ages and in countries far away from each other, we shall see
how this likeness of popular tradition runs through all of them, and
shows their common origin. So we will go to the next chapter, and tell a
few kindred tales from East and West, and South and North.


Once upon a time there lived a king and a queen, who had three beautiful
daughters. The youngest of them, who was called Psyche, was the
loveliest; she was so very beautiful that she was thought to be a
second Aphrodite, the Goddess of Beauty and Love, and all who saw
her worshipped her as if she were the goddess; so that the temples
of Aphrodite were deserted and her worship neglected, and Psyche was
preferred to her; and as she passed along the streets, or came into the
temples, the people crowded round her, and scattered flowers under her
feet, and offered garlands to her. Now, when Aphrodite knew this she
grew very angry, and resolved to punish Psyche, so as to make her a
wonder and a shame for ever. So Aphrodite sent for her son Eros, the
God of Love, and took him to the city where Psyche lived, and showed the
maiden to him, and bade him afflict her with love for a man who should
be the most wicked and most miserable of mankind, an outcast, a beggar,
one who had done some great wrong, and had fallen so low that no man in
the whole world could be so wretched. Eros agreed that he would do what
his mother wished; but this was only a pretence, for when he saw Psyche
he fell in love with her himself, and made up his mind that she should
be his own wife. The first thing to do was to get the maiden into his
own care and to hide her from the vengeance of Aphrodite. So he put it
into the mind of her father to go to the shrine of Phoebus, at Miletus,
and ask the god what should be done with Psyche. The king did so, and he
was bidden by an oracle to dress Psyche as a bride, to take her to the
brow of a high mountain, and to leave her there, and that after a time
a great monster would come and take her away and make her his wife. So
Psyche was decked in bridal garments, was taken to a rock on the top of
a mountain, and was left there as a sacrifice to turn away the wrath
of Aphrodite. But Eros took care that she came to no harm. He went to
Zephyrus, the God of the West Wind, and told him to carry Psyche gently
down into a beautiful valley, and to lay her softly on the turf, amidst
lovely flowers. So Zephyrus lulled Psyche to sleep, and then carried her
safely down, and laid her in the place where Eros had bidden him. When
Psyche awoke from sleep she saw a thick grove, with a crystal fountain
in it, and close to the fountain there was a stately palace, fit for the
dwelling of a king or a god. She went into the palace, and found it very
wonderful. The walls and ceilings were made of cedar and ivory, there
were golden columns holding up the roof, the floors were laid with
precious stones, so put together as to make pictures, and on the walls
were carvings in gold and silver of birds, and beasts, and flowers, and
all kinds of strange and beautiful things. And there were also great
treasure places full of gold, and silver, and gems, in such great
measure that it seemed as if all the riches of the world were gathered
there. But nowhere was there any living creature to be seen; all
the palace was empty, and Psyche was there alone. And while she went
trembling and fearing through the rooms, and wondering whose all this
might be, she heard voices, as of invisible maidens, which told her that
the palace was for her, and that they who spoke, but whom she might not
see, were her servants. And the voices bade her go first to the bath,
and then to a royal banquet which was prepared for her. So Psyche, still
wondering, went to the bath, and then to a great and noble room, where
there was a royal seat, and upon this she placed herself, and then
unseen attendants put before her all kinds of delicate food and wine;
and while she ate and drank there was a sound as of a great number of
people singing the most charming music, and of one playing upon the
lyre; but none of them could she see. Then night came on, and all the
beautiful palace grew dark, and Psyche laid herself down upon a couch to
sleep. Then a great terror fell upon her, for she heard footsteps, which
came nearer and nearer, and she thought it was the monster whose bride
the oracle of Phoebus had destined her to be. And the footsteps drew
closer to her, and then an unseen being came to her couch and lay down
beside her, and made her his wife; and he lay there until just before
the break of day, and then he departed, and it was still so dark that
Psyche could not see his form; nor did he speak, so that she could not
guess from his voice what kind of creature it was to whom the Fates had
wedded her. So Psyche lived for a long while, wandering about her palace
in the daytime, tended by her unseen guardians, and every night her
husband came to her and stayed until daybreak. Then she began to long to
hear about her father and mother, and to see her sisters, and she begged
leave of her husband that these might come to her for a time. To this
Eros agreed, and gave her leave to give her sisters rich gifts, but
warned her that she must answer no questions they might ask about him,
and that she must not listen to any advice they might give her to find
out who he was, or else a great misfortune would happen to her. Then
Zephyrus brought the sisters of Psyche to her, and they stayed with her
for a little while, and were very curious to know who her husband was,
and what he was like. But Psyche, mindful of the commands of Eros, put
them off, first with one story and then with another, and at last sent
them away, loaded with jewels. Now Psyche's sisters were envious of her,
because such good fortune had not happened to themselves, to have such
a grand palace, and such store of wealth, and they plotted between
themselves to make her discover her husband, hoping to get some good
for themselves out of it, and not caring what happened to her. And it
so fell out that they had their way, for Psyche again getting tired of
solitude, again begged of her husband that her sisters might come to see
her once more, to which, with much sorrow, he consented, but warned her
again that if she spoke of him, or sought to see him, all her happiness
would vanish, and that she would have to bear a life of misery. But it
was fated that Psyche should disobey her husband; and it fell out in
this way. When her sisters came to her again they questioned her about
her husband, and persuaded her that she was married to a monster too
terrible to be looked at, and they told her that this was the reason
why he never came in the daytime, and refused to let himself be seen at
night. Then they also persuaded her that she ought to put an end to the
enchantment by killing the monster; and for this purpose they gave her a
sharp knife, and they gave her also a lamp, so that while he was asleep
she might look at him, so as to know where to strike. Then, being left
alone, poor Psyche's mind was full of terror, and she resolved to follow
the advice of her sisters. So when her husband was asleep, she went and
fetched the lamp, and looked at him by its light; and then she saw that,
instead of a deadly monster, it was Eros himself, the God of Love, to
whom she was married. But while she was filled with awe and delight at
this discovery, the misfortune happened which Eros had foretold. A drop
of oil from the lamp fell upon the shoulder of the god, and he sprang up
from the couch, reproached Psyche for her fatal curiosity, and vanished
from her sight; and then the beautiful palace vanished also, and Psyche
found herself lying on the bare cold earth, weeping, deserted, and

Then poor Psyche began a long and weary journey, to try to find the
husband she had lost, but she could not, for he had gone to his mother
Aphrodite, to be cured of his wound; and Aphrodite, finding out that
Eros had fallen in love with Psyche, determined to punish her, and to
prevent her from finding Eros. First Psyche went to the god Pan, but
he could not help her; then she went to the goddess Demeter, the
Earth-Mother, but she warned her against the vengeance of Aphrodite,
and sent her away. And the great goddess Hera did the same; and at
last, abandoned by every one, Psyche went to Aphrodite herself, and the
goddess, who had caused great search to be made for her, now ordered her
to be beaten and tormented, and then ridiculed her sorrows, and taunted
her with the loss of Eros, and set her to work at many tasks that seemed
impossible to be done. First the goddess took a great heap of seeds of
wheat, barley, millet, poppy, lentils, and beans, and mixed them all
together, and then bade Psyche separate them into their different kinds
by nightfall. Now there were so many of them that this was impossible;
but Eros, who pitied Psyche, though she had lost him, sent a great many
ants, who parted the seeds from each other and arranged them in their
proper heaps, so that by evening all that Aphrodite had commanded was
done. Then the goddess was very angry, and fed Psyche on bread and
water, and next day she set Psyche another task. This was to collect
a quantity of golden wool from the sheep of the goddess, creatures so
fierce and wild that no mortal could venture near them and escape with
life. Then Psyche thought herself lost; but Pan came to her help and
bade her wait until evening, when the golden sheep would be at rest,
and then she might from the trees and shrubs collect all the wool she
needed. So Psyche fulfilled this task also. But Aphrodite was still
unsatisfied. She now demanded a crystal urn, filled with icy waters from
the fountain of Oblivion. The fountain was placed on the summit of a
great mountain; it issued from a fissure in a lofty rock, too steep for
any one to ascend, and from thence it fell into a narrow channel, deep,
winding, and rugged, and guarded on each side by terrible dragons, which
never slept. And the rush of the waters, as they rolled along, resembled
a human voice, always crying out to the adventurous explorer--"Beware!
fly! or you perish!" Here Psyche thought her sufferings at an end;
sooner than face the dragons and climb the rugged rocks she must
die. But again Eros helped her, for he sent the eagle of Zeus, the
All-Father, and the eagle took the crystal urn in his claws, flew
past the dragons, settled on the rock, and drew the water of the
black fountain, and gave it safely to Psyche, who carried it back and
presented it to the angry Aphrodite. But the goddess, still determined
that Psyche should perish, set her another task, the hardest and most
dangerous of all. "Take this box," she said, "go with it into the
infernal regions to Persephone, and ask her for a portion of her beauty,
that I may adorn myself with it for the supper of the gods." Now on
hearing this, poor Psyche knew that the goddess meant to destroy her; so
she went up to a lofty tower, meaning to throw herself down headlong so
that she might be killed, and thus pass into the realm of Hades, never
to return. But the tower was an enchanted place, and a voice from it
spoke to her and bade her be of good cheer, and told her what to do. She
was to go to a city of Achaia and find near it a mountain, and in the
mountain she would see a gap, from which a narrow road led straight into
the infernal regions. But the voice warned her of many things which must
be done on the journey, and of others which must be avoided. She was to
take in each hand a piece of barley bread, soaked in honey, and in her
mouth she was to put two pieces of money. On entering the dreary path
she would meet an old man driving a lame ass, laden with wood, and the
old man would ask her for help, but she was to pass him by in silence.
Then she would come to the bank of the black river, over which the
boatman Charon ferries the souls of the dead; and from her mouth Charon
must take one piece of money, she saying not a word. In crossing the
river a dead hand would stretch itself up to her, and a dead face, like
that of her father, would appear, and a voice would issue from the dead
man's mouth, begging for the other piece of money, that he might pay for
his passage, and get released from the doom of floating for ever in the
grim flood of Styx. But still she was to keep silence, and to let the
dead man cry out in vain; for all these, the voice told her, were snares
prepared by Aphrodite, to make her let go the money, and to let fall the
pieces of bread. Then, at the gate of the palace of Persephone she would
meet the great three-headed dog, Kerberos, who keeps watch there for
ever, and to him, to quiet his terrible barking, she must give one piece
of the bread, and pass on, still never speaking. So Kerberos would allow
her to pass; but still another danger would await her. Persephone would
greet her kindly, and ask her to sit upon soft cushions, and to eat of
a fine banquet. But she must refuse both offers--sitting only on the
ground, and eating only of the bread of mortals, or else she must remain
for ever in the gloomy regions below the earth. Psyche listened to this
counsel, and obeyed it. Everything happened as the voice had foretold.
She saw the old man with the overladen ass, she permitted Charon to take
the piece of money from her lips, she stopped her ears against the cry
of the dead man floating in the black river, she gave the honey bread to
Kerberos, and she refused the soft cushions and the banquet offered to
her by the queen of the infernal regions. Then Persephone gave her the
precious beauty demanded by Aphrodite, and shut it up in the box, and
Psyche came safely back into the light of day, giving to Kerberos, the
three-headed dog, the remaining piece of honey bread, and to Charon
the remaining piece of money. But now she fell into a great danger. The
voice in the tower had warned her not to look into the box; but she was
tempted by a strong desire, and so she opened it, that she might see and
use for herself the beauty of the gods. But when she opened the box it
was empty, save of a vapour of sleep, which seized upon Psyche, and made
her as if she were dead. In this unhappy state, brought upon her by the
vengeance of Aphrodite, she would have been lost for ever, but Eros,
healed of the wound caused by the burning oil, came himself to her help,
roused her from the death-like sleep, and put her in a place of safety.
Then Eros flew up into the abode of the gods, and besought Zeus to
protect Psyche against his mother Aphrodite; and Zeus, calling an
assembly of the gods, sent Hermes to bring Psyche thither, and then he
declared her immortal, and she and Eros were wedded to each other; and
there was a great feast in Olympus. And the sisters of Psyche, who had
striven to ruin her, were punished for their crimes, for Eros appeared
to them one after the other in a dream, and promised to make each of
them his wife, in place of Psyche, and bade each throw herself from
the great rock whence Psyche was carried into the beautiful valley by
Zephyrus; and both the sisters did as the dream told them, and they were
dashed to pieces, and perished miserably.

Now this is the story of Eros and Psyche, as it is told by Apuleius, in
his book of _Metamorphoses_, written nearly two thousand years ago. But
the story was told ages before Apuleius by people other than the Greeks,
and in a language which existed long before theirs. It is the tale of
Urvasi and Pururavas, which is to be found in one of the oldest of the
Vedas, or Sanskrit sacred books, which contain the legends of the Aryan
race before it broke up and went in great fragments southward into
India, and westward into Persia and Europe. A translation of the story
of Urvasi and Pururavas is given by Mr. Max-Muller,[3] who also tells
what the story means, and this helps us to see the meaning of the tale
of Eros and Psyche, and of many other myths which occur among all the
branches of the Aryan family; among the Teutons, the Scandinavians, and
the Slavs, as well as among the Greeks. Urvasi, then, was an immortal
being, a kind of fairy, who fell in love with Pururavas, a hero and a
king; and she married him, and lived with him, on this condition--that
she should never see him unless he was dressed in his royal robes.
Now there was a ewe, with two lambs, tied to the couch of Urvasi and
Pururavas; and the fairies--or Gandharvas, as the kinsfolk of Urvasi
were called--wished to get her back amongst them; and so they stole one
of the lambs. Then Urvasi reproached her husband, and said, "They take
away my darling, as if I lived in a land where there is no hero and
no man." The fairies stole the other lamb, and Urvasi reproached her
husband again, saying, "How can that be a land without heroes or men
where I am?" Then Pururavas hastened to bring back the pet lamb; so
eager was he that he stayed not to clothe himself, and so sprang up
naked. Then the Gandharvas sent a flash of lightning, and Urvasi saw her
husband naked as if by daylight; and then she cried out to her kinsfolk,
"I come back," and she vanished. And Pururavas, made wretched by the
loss of his love, sought her everywhere, and once he was permitted to
see her, and when he saw her, he said he should die if she did not come
back to him. But Urvasi could not return; but she gave him leave to
come to her, on the last night of the year, to the golden seats; and he
stayed with her for that night. And Urvasi said to him, "The Gandharvas
will to-morrow grant thee a wish; choose." He said; "Choose thou for
me." She replied, "Say to them, Let me be one of you." And he said this,
and they taught him how to make the sacred fire, and he became one of
them, and dwelt with Urvasi for ever.

Now this, we see, is like the story of Eros and Psyche; and Mr.
Max-Muller teaches us what it means. It is the story of the Sun and the
Dawn. Urvasi is the Dawn, which must vanish or die when it beholds
the risen Sum; and Pururavas is the Sun; and they are united again at
sunset, when the Sun dies away into night. So, in the Greek myth, Eros
is the dawning Sun, and when Psyche, the Dawn, sees him, he flies from
her, and it is only at nightfall that they can be again united. In the
same paper Mr. Max-Muller shows how this root idea of the Aryan race
is found again in another of the most beautiful of Greek myths or
stories--that of Orpheus and Eurydike. In the Greek legends the Dawn has
many names; one of them is Eurydike. The name of her husband, Orpheus,
comes straight from the Sanskrit: it is the same as Ribhu or Arbhu,
which is a name of Indra, or the Sun, or which may be used for the rays
of the Sun. The old story, then, says our teacher, was this: "Eurydike
(the Dawn) is bitten by a serpent (the Night); she dies, and descends
into the lower regions. Orpheus follows her, and obtains from the
gods that his wife should follow him, if he promised not to look back.
Orpheus promises--ascends from the dark world below; Eurydike is behind
him as he rises, but, drawn by doubt or by love, he looks round; the
first ray of the Sun glances at the Dawn; and the Dawn fades away."

We have now seen that the Greek myth is like a much older myth existing
amongst the Aryan race before it passed westward. We have but to look
to other collections of Aryan folk-lore to find that in some of its
features the legend is common to all branches of the Aryan family. In
our own familiar story of "Beauty and the Beast," for instance, we have
the same idea. There are the three sisters, one of whom is chosen as the
bride of an enchanted monster, who dwells in a beautiful palace. By the
arts of her sisters she is kept away from him, and he is at the point of
death through his grief. Then she returns, and he revives, and becomes
changed into a handsome Prince, and they live happy ever after. One
feature of these legends is that beings closely united to each other--as
closely, that is, as the Sun and the Dawn--may not look upon each other
without misfortune. This is illustrated in the charming Scandinavian
story of "The Land East of the Sun and West of the Moon," which is told
in various forms; the best of them being in Mr. Morris's beautiful poem
in "The Earthly Paradise," and in Dr. Dasent's Norse Tales.[4] We shall
abridge Dr. Dasent's version, telling the story in our own way:

There was a poor peasant who had a large family whom he could scarcely
keep; and there were several daughters amongst them. The loveliest was
the youngest daughter; who was very beautiful indeed. One evening in
autumn, in bad weather, the family sat round the fire; and there came
three taps at the window. The father went out to see who it was, and
he found only a great White Bear. And the White Bear said, "If you will
give me your youngest daughter, I will make you rich." So the peasant
went in and asked his daughter if she would be the wife of the White
Bear; and the daughter said "No." So the White Bear went away, but said
he would come back in a few days to see if the maiden had changed her
mind. Now her father and mother talked to her so much about it, and
seemed so anxious to be well off, that the maiden agreed to be the wife
of the White Bear: and when he came again, she said "Yes," and the White
Bear told her to sit upon his back, and hold by his shaggy coat, and
away they went together. After the maiden had ridden for a long way,
they came to a great hill, and the White Bear gave a knock on the hill
with his paw, and the hill opened, and they went in. Now inside the hill
there was a palace with fine rooms, ornamented with gold and silver,
and all lighted up; and there was a table ready laid; and the White Bear
gave the maiden a silver bell, and told her to ring it when she wanted
anything. And when the maiden had eaten and drank, she went to bed, in
a beautiful bed with silk pillows and curtains, and gold fringe to them.
Then, in the dark, a man came and lay down beside her. This was the
White Bear, who was an Enchanted Prince, and who was able to put off
the shape of a beast at night, and to become a man again; but before
daylight, he went away and turned once more into a White Bear, so that
his wife could never see him in the human form. Well, this went on for
some time, and the wife of the White Bear was very happy with her kind
husband, in the beautiful palace he had made for her. Then she grew dull
and miserable for want of company, and she asked leave to go home for a
little while to see her father and mother, and her brothers and sisters.
So the White Bear took her home again, but he told her that there was
one thing she must not do; she must not go into a room with her mother
alone, to talk to her, or a great misfortune would happen. When the wife
of the White Bear got home, she found that her family lived in a grand
house, and they were all very glad to see her; and then her mother took
her into a room by themselves, and asked about her husband. And the wife
of the White Bear forgot the warning, and told her mother that every
night a man came and lay down with her, and went away before daylight,
and that she had never seen him, and wanted to see him, very much. Then
the mother said it might be a Troll she slept with; and that she ought
to see what it was; and she gave her daughter a piece of candle, and
said, "Light this while he is asleep, and look at him, but take care you
don't drop the tallow upon him." So then the White Bear came to fetch
his wife, and they went back to the palace in the hill, and that night
she lit the candle, while her husband was asleep, and then she saw that
he was a handsome Prince, and she felt quite in love with him, and
gave him a soft kiss. But just as she kissed him she let three drops of
tallow fall upon his shirt, and he woke up. Then the White Bear was very
sorrowful, and said that he was enchanted by a wicked fairy, and that
if his wife had only waited for a year before looking at him, the
enchantment would be broken, and he would be a man again always. But now
that she had given way to curiosity, he must go to a dreary castle East
of the Sun and West of the Moon, and marry a witch Princess, with a nose
three ells long. And then he vanished, and so did his palace, and his
poor wife found herself lying in the middle of a gloomy wood, and she
was dressed in rags, and was very wretched. But she did not stop to cry
about her hard fate, for she was a brave girl, and made up her mind to
go at once in search of her husband. So she walked for days, and then
she met an old woman sitting on a hillside, and playing with a golden
apple; and she asked the old woman the way to the Land East of the Sun
and West of the Moon. And the old woman listened to her story, and then
she said, "I don't know where it is; but you can go on and ask my next
neighbour. Ride there on my horse, and when you have done with him, give
him a pat under the left ear and say, 'Go home again;' and take this
golden apple with you, it may be useful." So she rode on for a long
way, and then came to another old woman, who was playing with a golden
carding comb; and she asked her the way to the Land East of the Sun and
West of the Moon? But this old woman couldn't tell her, and bade her
go on to another old woman, a long way off. And she gave her the golden
carding comb, and lent her a horse just like the first one. And the
third old woman was playing with a golden spinning wheel; and she gave
this to the wife of the White Bear, and lent her another horse, and told
her to ride on to the East Wind, and ask him the way to the enchanted
land. Now after a weary journey she got to the home of the East Wind,
and he said he had heard of the Enchanted Prince, and of the country
East of the Sun and West of the Moon, but he did not know where it was,
for he had never been so far. But, he said, "Get on my back, and we will
go to my brother the West Wind; perhaps he knows." So they sailed off to
the West Wind, and told him the story, and he took it quite kindly,
but said he didn't know the way. But perhaps his brother the South Wind
might know; and they would go to him. So the White Bear's wife got
on the back of the West Wind, and he blew straight away to the
dwelling-place of the South Wind, and asked him where to find the Land
East of the Sun and West of the Moon. But the South Wind said that
although he had blown pretty nearly everywhere, he had never blown
there; but he would take her to his brother the North Wind, the oldest,
and strongest, and wisest Wind of all; and he would be sure to know.
Now the North Wind was very cross at being disturbed, and he used bad
language, and was quite rude and unpleasant. But he was a kind Wind
after all, and when his brother the West Wind told him the story, he
became quite fatherly, and said he would do what he could, for he knew
the Land East of the Sun and West of the Moon very well. But, he said,
"It is a long way off; so far off that once in my life I blew an aspen
leaf there, and was so tired with it that I couldn't blow or puff for
ever so many days after." So they rested that night, and next morning
the North Wind puffed himself out, and got stout, and big, and strong,
ready for the journey; and the maiden got upon his back, and away they
went to the country East of the Sun and West of the Moon. It was a
terrible journey, high up in the air, in a great storm, and over the
mountains and the sea, and before they got to the end of it the North
Wind grew very tired, and drooped, and nearly fell into the sea, and got
so low down that the crests of the waves washed over him. But he blew as
hard as he could, and at last he put the maiden down on the shore, just
in front of the Enchanted Castle that stood in the Land East of the Sun
and West of the Moon; and there he had to stop and rest many days before
he became strong enough to blow home again.

Now the wife of the White Bear sat down before the castle, and began to
play with the golden apple. And then the wicked Princess with the nose
three ells long opened a window, and asked if she would sell the apple?
But she said "No;" she would give the golden apple for leave to spend
the night in the bed-chamber of the Prince who lived there. So the
Princess with the long nose said "Yes," and the wife of the White Bear
was allowed to pass the night in her husband's chamber. But a sleeping
draught had been given to the Prince, and she could not wake him, though
she wept greatly, and spent the whole night in crying out to him; and in
the morning before he woke she was driven away by the wicked Princess.
Well, next day she sat and played with the golden carding comb, and the
Princess wanted that too; and the same bargain was made; but again a
sleeping draught was given to the Prince, and he slept all night, and
nothing could waken him; and at the first peep of daylight the wicked
Princess drove the poor wife out again. Now it was the third day, and
the wife of the White Bear had only the golden spinning-wheel left. So
she sat and played with it, and the Princess bought it on the same terms
as before. But some kind folk who slept in the next room to the Prince
told him that for two nights a woman had been in his chamber, weeping
bitterly, and crying out to him to wake and see her. So, being warned,
the Prince only pretended to drink the sleeping draught, and so when his
wife came into the room that night he was wide awake, and was rejoiced
to see her; and they spent the whole night in loving talk. Now the next
day was to be the Prince's wedding day; but now that his lost wife had
found him, he hit upon a plan to escape marrying the Princess with the
long nose. So when morning came, he said he should like to see what his
bride was fit for? "Certainly," said the Witch-mother and the Princess,
both together. Then the Prince said he had a fine shirt, with three
drops of tallow upon it; and he would marry only the woman who could
wash them out, for no other would be worth having. So they laughed at
this, for they thought it would be easily done. And the Princess began,
but the more she rubbed, the worse the tallow stuck to the shirt. And
the old Witch-mother tried; but it got deeper and blacker than ever.
And all the Trolls in the enchanted castle tried; but none of them could
wash the shirt clean. Then said the Prince, "Call in the lassie who
sits outside, and let her try." And she came in, and took the shirt,
and washed it quite clean and white, all in a minute. Then the old
Witch-mother put herself into such a rage that she burst into pieces,
and so did the Princess with the long nose, and so did all the Trolls
in the castle; and the Prince took his wife away with him, and all the
silver and gold, and a number of Christian people who had been enchanted
by the witch; and away they went for ever from the dreary Land East of
the Sun and West of the Moon.

In the story of "The Soaring Lark," in the collection of German popular
tales made by the brothers Grimm, we have another version of the same
idea; and here, as in Eros and Psyche, and in the Land East of the Sun
and West of the Moon, it is the woman to whose fault the misfortunes are
laid, and upon whom falls the long and weary task of search. The story
told in brief, is this. A merchant went on a journey, and promised to
bring back for his three daughters whatever they wished. The eldest
asked for diamonds, the second for pearls, and the youngest, who was her
father's favourite, for a singing, soaring lark. As the merchant came
home, he passed through a great forest, and on the top bough of a tall
tree he found a lark, and tried to take it. Then a Lion sprang from
behind the tree, and said the lark was his, and that he would eat up
the merchant for trying to steal it. The merchant told the Lion why he
wanted the bird, and then the Lion said that he would give him the lark,
and let him go, on one condition, namely, that he should give to the
Lion the first thing or person that met him on his return. Now the first
person who met the merchant when he got home was his youngest daughter,
and the poor merchant told her the story, and wept very much, and said
that she should not go into the forest. But the daughter said, "What you
have promised you must do;" and so she went into the forest, to find the
Lion. The Lion was an Enchanted Prince, and all his servants were also
turned into lions; and so they remained all day; but at night they all
changed back again into men. Now when the Lion Prince saw the merchant's
daughter, he fell in love with her, and took her to a fine castle,
and at night, when he became a man, they were married, and lived very
happily, and in great splendour. One day the Prince said to his wife,
"To-morrow your eldest sister is to be married; if you would like to be
there, my lions shall go with you." So she went, and the lions with her,
and there were great rejoicings in her father's house, because they were
afraid that she had been torn to pieces in the forest; and after staying
some time, she went back to her husband. After a while, the Prince said
to his wife, "To-morrow your second sister is going to be married," and
she replied, "This time I will not go alone, for you shall go with me."
Then he told her how dangerous that would be, for if a single ray from
a burning light fell upon him, he would be changed into a Dove, and in
that form would have to fly about for seven years. But the Princess very
much wanted him to go, and in order to protect him from the light, she
had a room built with thick walls, so that no light could get through,
and there he was to sit while the bridal candles were burning. But by
some accident, the door of the room was made of new wood, which split,
and made a little chink, and through this chink one ray of light from
the torches of the bridal procession fell like a hair upon the Prince,
and he was instantly changed in form; and when his wife came to tell
him that all danger was over, she found only a White Dove, who said very
sadly to her--

"For seven years I must fly about in the world, but at every seventh
mile I will let fall a white feather and a drop of red blood, which will
show you the way, and if you follow it, you may save me."

Then the White Dove flew out of the door, and the Princess followed it,
and at every seventh mile the Dove let fall a white feather and a drop
of red blood; and so, guided by the feathers and the drops of blood,
she followed the Dove, until the seven years had almost passed, and she
began to hope that the Prince's enchantment would be at an end. But one
day there was no white feather to be seen, nor any drop of red blood,
and the Dove had flown quite away. Then the poor Princess thought, "No
man can help me now;" and so she mounted up to the Sun, and said, "Thou
shinest into every chasm and over every peak; hast thou seen a White
Dove on the wing?"

"No," answered the Sun. "I have not seen one; but take this casket, and
open it when you are in need of help."

She took the casket, and thanked the Sun. When evening came, she asked
the Moon--

"Hast thou seen a White Dove? for thou shinest all night long over every
field and through every wood."

"No," said the Moon, "I have not seen a White Dove; but here is an
egg--break it when you are in great trouble."

She thanked the Moon, and took the egg; and then the North Wind came by;
and she said to the North Wind:

"Hast thou not seen a White Dove? for thou passest through all the
boughs, and shakest every leaf under heaven."

"No," said the North Wind, "I have not seen one; but I will ask my
brothers, the East Wind, and the West Wind, and the South Wind."

So he asked them all three; and the East Wind and the West Wind said,
"No, they had not seen the White Dove;" but the South Wind said--

"I have seen the White Dove; he has flown to the Red Sea, and has again
been changed into a Lion, for the seven years are up; and the Lion
stands there in combat with an Enchanted Princess, who is in the form of
a great Caterpillar."

Then the North Wind knew what to do; and he said to the Princess--

"Go to the Red Sea; on the right-hand shore there are great reeds, count
them, and cut off the eleventh reed, and beat the Caterpillar with it.
Then the Caterpillar and the Lion will take their human forms. Then look
for the Griffin which sits on the Red Sea, and leap upon its back with
the Prince, and the Griffin will carry you safely home. Here is a nut;
let it fall when you are in the midst of the sea, and a large nut-tree
will grow out of the water, and the Griffin will rest upon it."

So the Princess went to the Red Sea, and counted the reeds, and cut off
the eleventh reed, and beat the Caterpillar with it, and then the Lion
conquered in the fight, and both of them took their human forms again.
But the Enchanted Princess was too quick for the poor wife, for she
instantly seized the Prince and sprang upon the back of the Griffin, and
away they flew, quite out of sight. Now the poor deserted wife sat down
on the desolate shore, and cried bitterly; and then she said, "So far
as the wind blows, and so long as the cock crows, will I search for my
husband, till I find him;" and so she travelled on and on, until one day
she came to the palace whither the Enchanted Princess had carried the
Prince; and there was great feasting going on, and they told her that
the Prince and Princess were about to be married. Then she remembered
what the Sun had said, and took out the casket and opened it, and there
was the most beautiful dress in all the world; as brilliant as the
Sun himself. So she put it on, and went into the palace, and everybody
admired the dress, and the Enchanted Princess asked if she would sell

"Not for gold or silver," she said, "but for flesh and blood."

"What do you mean?" the Princess asked.

"Let me sleep for one night in the bridegroom's chamber," the wife said.
So the Enchanted Princess agreed, but she gave the Prince a sleeping
draught, so that he could not hear his wife's cries; and in the morning
she was driven out, without a word from him, for he slept so soundly
that all she said seemed to him only like the rushing of the wind
through the fir-trees.

Then the poor wife sat down and wept again, until she thought of the egg
the Moon had given her; and when she took the egg and broke it, there
came out of it a hen with twelve chickens, all of gold, and the chickens
pecked quite prettily, and then ran under the wings of the hen for
shelter. Presently, the Enchanted Princess looked out of the window, and
saw the hen and the chickens, and asked if they were for sale. "Not for
gold or silver, but for flesh and blood," was the answer she got; and
then the wife made the same bargain as before--that she should spend the
night in the bridegroom's chamber. Now this night the Prince was warned
by his servant, and so he poured away the sleeping draught instead of
drinking it; and when his wife came, and told her sorrowful story, he
knew her, and said, "Now I am saved;" and then they both went as quickly
as possible, and set themselves upon the Griffin, who carried them over
the Red Sea; and when they got to the middle of the sea, the Princess
let fall the nut which the North Wind had given to her, and a great
nut-tree grew up at once, on which the Griffin rested; and then it went
straight to their home, where they lived happy ever after.

One more story of the same kind must be told, for three reasons: because
it is very good reading, because it brings together various legends, and
because it shows that these were common to Celtic as well as to Hindu,
Greek, Teutonic, and Scandinavian peoples. It is called "The Battle
of the Birds," and is given at full length, and in several different
versions, in Campbell's "Popular Tales of the West Highlands."[5] To
bring it within our space we must tell it in our own way.

Once upon a time every bird and other creature gathered to battle. The
son of the King of Tethertoun went to see the battle, but it was over
before he got there, all but one fight, between a great Raven and a
Snake; and the Snake was getting the victory. The King's son helped
the Raven, and cut off the Snake's head. The Raven thanked him for his
kindness and said, "Now I will give thee a sight; come up on my wings;"
and then the Raven flew with him over seven mountains, and seven glens,
and seven moors, and that night the King's son lodged in the house of
the Raven's sisters; and promised to meet the Raven next morning in the
same place. This went on for three nights and days, and on the third
morning, instead of a raven, there met him a handsome lad, who gave him
a bundle, and told him not to look into it, until he was in the place
where he would most wish to dwell. But the King's son did look into the
bundle, and then he found himself in a great castle with fine grounds
about it, and he was very sorry, because he wished the castle had been
near his father's house, but he could not put it back into the bundle
again. Then a great Giant met him, and offered to put the castle back
into a bundle for a reward, and this was to be the Prince's son, when
the son was seven years old. So the Prince promised, and the Giant put
everything back into the bundle, and the Prince went home with it to his
father's house. When he got there he opened the bundle, and out came the
castle and all the rest, just as before, and at the castle door stood a
beautiful maiden who asked him to marry her, and they were married, and
had a son. When the seven years were up, the Giant came to ask for the
boy, and then the King's son (who had now become a king himself) told
his wife about his promise. "Leave that to me and the Giant," said the
Queen. So she dressed the cook's son (who was the right age) in fine
clothes, and gave him to the Giant; but the Giant gave the boy a rod,
and asked him, "If thy father had that rod, what would he do with it?"
"He would beat the dogs if they went near the King's meat," said the
boy. Then Said the Giant, "Thou art the cook's son," and he killed
him. Then the Giant went back, very angry, and the Queen gave him the
butler's son; and the Giant gave him the rod, and asked him the same
question, "My father would beat the dogs if they came near the King's
glasses," said the boy. "Thou art the butler's son," said the Giant;
and he killed him. Now the Giant went back the third time, and made a
dreadful noise. "Out here _thy_ son," he said, "or the stone that is
highest in thy dwelling shall be the lowest." So they gave him the
King's son, and the Giant took him to his own house, and he stayed there
a long while. One day the youth heard sweet music at the top of the
Giant's house, and he saw a sweet face. It was the Giant's youngest
daughter; and she said to him, "My father wants you to marry one of my
sisters, and he wants me to marry the King of the Green City, but I will
not. So when he asks, say thou wilt take me." Next day the Giant gave
the King's son choice of his two eldest daughters; but the Prince said,
"Give me this pretty little one?" and then the Giant was angry, and said
that before he had her he must do three things. The first of these
was to clean out a byre or cattle place, where there was the dung of a
hundred cattle, and it had not been cleaned for seven years. He tried to
do it, and worked till noon, but the filth was as bad as ever. Then the
Giant's youngest daughter came, and bid him sleep, and she cleaned out
the stable, so that a golden apple would run from end to end of it. Next
day the Giant set him to thatch the byre with birds' down, and he had
to go out on the moors to catch the birds; but at midday, he had caught
only two blackbirds, and then the Giant's youngest daughter came again,
and bid him sleep, and then she caught the birds, and thatched the
byre with the feathers before sundown. The third day the Giant set him
another task. In the forest there was a fir-tree, and at the top was a
magpie's nest, and in the nest were five eggs, and he was to bring these
five eggs to the Giant without breaking one of them. Now the tree was
very tall; from the ground to the first branch it was five hundred feet,
so that the King's son could not climb up it. Then the Giant's youngest
daughter came again, and she put her fingers one after the other into
the tree, and made a ladder for the King's son to climb up by. When
he was at the nest at the very top, she said, "Make haste now with the
eggs, for my father's breath is burning my back;" and she was in such a
hurry that she left her little finger sticking in the top of the tree.
Then she told the King's son that the Giant would make all his daughters
look alike, and dress them alike, and that when the choosing time came
he was to look at their hands, and take the one that had not a little
finger on one hand. So it happened, and the King's son chose the
youngest daughter, because she put out her hand to guide him.

Then they were married, and there was a great feast, and they went to
their chamber. The Giant's daughter said to her husband, "Sleep not, or
thou diest; we must fly quick, or my father will kill thee." So first
she cut an apple into nine pieces, and put two pieces at the head of the
bed, and two at the foot, and two at the door of the kitchen, and two at
the great door, and one outside the house. And then she and her husband
went to the stable, and mounted the fine grey filly, and rode off as
fast as they could. Presently the Giant called out, "Are you asleep
yet?" and the apple at the head of the bed said, "We are not asleep."
Then he called again, and the apple at the foot of the bed said the same
thing; and then he asked again and again, until the apple outside the
house door answered; and then he knew that a trick had been played on
him, and ran to the bedroom and found it empty. And then he pursued the
runaways as fast as possible. Now at day-break--"at the mouth of day,"
the story-teller says--the Giant's daughter said to her husband, "My
father's breath is burning my back; put thy hand into the ear of the
grey filly, and whatever thou findest, throw it behind thee." "There is
a twig of sloe-tree," he said. "Throw it behind thee," said she; and he
did so, and twenty miles of black-thorn wood grew out of it, so thick
that a weasel could not get through. But the Giant cut through it with
his big axe and his wood-knife, and went after them again. At the heat
of day the Giant's daughter said again, "My father's breath is burning
my back;" and then her husband put his finger in the filly's ear, and
took out a piece of grey stone, and threw it behind him, and there grew
up directly a great rock twenty miles broad and twenty miles high. Then
the Giant got his mattock and his lever, and made a way through the
rocks, and came after them again. Now it was near sunset, and once more
the Giant's daughter felt her father's breath burning her back. So, for
the third time, her husband put his hand into the filly's ear, and took
out a bladder of water, and he threw it behind him, and there was a
fresh-water loch, twenty miles long and twenty miles broad; and the
Giant came on so fast that he ran into the middle of the loch and was

Here is clearly a Sun-myth, which is like those of ancient Hindu and
Greek legend: the blue-grey Filly is the Dawn, on which the new day, the
maiden and her lover, speed away. The great Giant, whose breath burns
the maiden's back, is the morning Sun, whose progress is stopped by the
thick shade of the trees. Then he rises higher, and at midday he breaks
through the forest, and soars above the rocky mountains. At evening,
still powerful in speed and heat, he comes to the great lake, plunges
into it, and sets, and those whom he pursues escape. This ending is
repeated in one of the oldest Hindu mythical stories, that of Bheki,
the Frog Princess, who lives with her husband on condition that he never
shows her a drop of water. One day he forgets, and she disappears: that
is, the sun sets or dies on the water--a fanciful idea which takes us
straight as an arrow to Aryan myths.

Now, however, we must complete the Gaelic story, which here becomes like
the Soaring Lark, and the Land East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and
other Teutonic and Scandinavian tales.

After the Giant's daughter and her husband had got free from the Giant,
she bade him go to his father's house, and tell them about her; but
he was not to suffer anything to kiss him, or he would forget her
altogether. So he told everybody they were not to kiss him, but an old
greyhound leapt up at him, and touched his mouth, and then he forgot all
about the Giant's daughter, just as if she had never lived. Now when the
King's son left her, the poor forgotten wife sat beside a well, and when
night came she climbed into an oak-tree, and slept amongst the branches.
There was a shoemaker who lived near the well, and next day he sent his
wife to fetch water, and as she drew it she saw what she fancied to be
her own reflection in the water, but it was really the likeness of the
maiden in the tree above it. The shoemaker's wife, however, thinking it
was her own, imagined herself to be very handsome, and so she went back
and told the shoemaker that she was too beautiful to be his thrall, or
slave, any longer, and so she went off. The same thing happened to the
shoemaker's daughter; and she went off too. Then the man himself went
to the well, and saw the maiden in the tree, and understood it all, and
asked her to come down and stay at his house, and to be his daughter.
So she went with him. After a while there came three gentlemen from the
King's Court, and each of them wanted to marry her; and she agreed with
each of them privately, on condition that each should give a sum of
money for a wedding gift. Well, they agreed to this, each unknown to the
other; and she married one of them, but when he came and had paid the
money, she gave him a cup of water to hold, and there he had to stand,
all night long, unable to move or to let go the cup of water, and in
the morning he went away ashamed, but said nothing to his friends. Next
night it was the turn of the second; and she told him to see that the
door-latch was fastened; and when he touched the latch he could not let
it go, and had to stand there all night holding it; and so he went away,
and said nothing. The next night the third came, and when he stepped
upon the floor, one foot stuck so fast that he could not draw it out
until morning; and then he did the same as the others--went off quite
cast down. And then the maiden gave all the money to the shoemaker for
his kindness to her. This is like the story of "The Master Maid," in Dr.
Dasent's collection of "Tales from the Norse." But there is the end of
it to come. The shoemaker had to finish some shoes because the young
King was going to be married; and the maiden said she should like to
see the King before he married. So the shoemaker took her to the King's
castle; and then she went into the wedding-room, and because of her
beauty they filled a vessel of wine for her. When she was going to drink
it, there came a flame out of the glass, and out of the flame there
came a silver pigeon and a golden pigeon; and just then three grains of
barley fell upon the floor, and the silver pigeon ate them up. Then
the golden one said, "If thou hadst mind when I cleaned the byre, thou
wouldst not eat that without giving me a share." Then three more grains
fell, and the silver pigeon ate them also. Then said the golden pigeon,
"If thou hadst mind when I thatched the byre, thou wouldst not eat that
without giving me a share." Then three other grains fell, and the silver
pigeon ate them up. And the golden pigeon said, "If thou hadst mind when
I harried the magpie's nest, thou wouldst not eat that without giving
me my share. I lost my little finger bringing it down, and I want it
still." Then, suddenly, the King's son remembered, and knew who it was,
and sprang to her and kissed her from hand to mouth; and the priest
came, and they were married.

These stories will be enough to show how the same idea repeats itself in
different ways among various peoples who have come from the same stock:
for the ancient Hindu legend of Urvasi and Pururavas, the Greek fable of
Eros and Psyche, the Norse story of the Land East of the Sun and West of
the Moon, the Teutonic story of the Soaring Lark, and the Celtic story
of the Battle of the Birds, are all one and the same in their general
character, their origin, and their meaning; and in all these respects
they resemble the story which we know so well in English--that of Beauty
and the Beast. The same kind of likeness has already been shown in the
story of Cinderella, and in those which resemble it in the older Aryan
legends and in the later stories of the Greeks. If space allowed, such
comparisons might be carried much further; indeed, there is no famous
fairy tale known to children in our day which has not proceeded from our
Aryan forefathers, thousands of years ago, and which is not repeated in
Hindu, Persian, Greek, Teutonic, Scandinavian, and Celtic folk-lore; the
stories being always the same in their leading idea, and yet always so
different in their details as to show that the story-tellers have not
copied from each other, but that they are repeating, in their own way,
legends and fancies which existed thousands of years ago, before the
Aryan people broke up from their old homes, and went southward and
westward, and spread themselves over India and throughout Europe.

Now there is a curious little German story, called "The Wolf and the
Seven Little Kids," which is told in Grimm's collection, and which shows
at once the connection between Teutonic folk-lore, and Greek mythology,
and Aryan legend. There was an old Goat who had seven young ones, and
when she went into the forest for wood, she warned them against the
Wolf; if he came, they were not to open the door to him on any account.
Presently the Wolf came, and knocked, and asked to be let in; but the
little Kids said, "No, you have a gruff voice; you are a wolf." So the
Wolf went and bought a large piece of chalk, and ate it up, and by this
means he made his voice smooth; and then he came back to the cottage,
and knocked, and again asked to be let in. The little Kids, however,
saw his black paws, and they said, "No, your feet are black; you are
a wolf." Then the Wolf went to a baker, and got him to powder his feet
with flour; and when the little Kids saw his white feet, they thought
it was their mother, and let him in. Then the little Kids were very much
frightened, and ran and hid themselves. The first got under the table,
the second into the bed, the third into the cupboard, the fourth into
the kitchen, the fifth into the oven, the sixth into the wash-tub, and
the seventh into the clock-case. The wicked Wolf, however, found all of
them out, and ate them up, excepting the one in the clock-case, where he
did not think of looking. And when the greedy monster had finished his
meal, he went into the meadow, and lay down and slept. Just at this time
the old Goat came home, and began crying for her children; but the only
one who answered was the youngest, who said, "Here I am, dear mother,
in the clock-case;" and then he came out and told her all about it.
Presently the Goat went out into the meadow, and there lay the Wolf,
snoring quite loud; and she thought she saw something stirring in his
body. So she ran back, and fetched a pair of scissors and a needle and
thread, and then she cut open the monster's hairy coat, and out jumped
first one little kid, and then another, until all the six stood round
her, for the greedy Wolf was in such a hurry that he had swallowed them
whole. Then the Goat and the little Kids brought a number of stones, and
put them into the Wolf's stomach, and sewed up the place again. When the
Wolf woke up, he felt very thirsty, and ran off to the brook to drink,
and the heavy stones overbalanced him, so that he fell into the brook,
and was drowned. And then the seven little Kids danced round their
mother, singing joyfully, "The wolf is dead! the wolf is dead!" Now this
story is nothing but another version of an old Greek legend which tells
how Kronos (Time), an ancient god, devoured his children while they were
quite young; and Kronos was the son of Ouranos, which means the heavens;
and Ouranos is a name which comes from that of Varuna, a god of the sky
in the old sacred books, or Vedas, of the Hindus; and the meaning of the
legend is that Night swallows up or devours the days of the week, all
but the youngest, which still exists, because, like the little kid in
the German tale, it is in the clock-case.

Again, in the Vedas we have many accounts of the fights of Indra, the
sun-god, with dragons and monsters, which mean the dark-clouds, the
tempest thunder-bearing clouds, which were supposed to have stolen the
heavenly cows, or the light, pleasant, rain-bearing clouds, and to have
shut them up in gloomy caverns. From this source we have an infinite
number of Greek and Teutonic, and Scandinavian, and other legends.
One of these is the story of Polyphemos, the great one-eyed giant,
or Kyklops, whom Odysseus blinded. Polyphemos is the storm-cloud, and
Odysseus stands for the sun. The storm-cloud threatens the mariners; the
lightnings dart from the spot which seems like an eye in the darkness;
he hides the blue heavens and the soft white clouds--the cows of the
sky, or the white-fleeced flocks of heaven. Then comes Odysseus, the
sun-god, the hero, and smites him blind, and chases him away, and
disperses the threatening and the danger, and brings light, and peace,
and calm again.

Now this legend of Polyphemos is to be found everywhere; in the oldest
Hindu books, in Teutonic, and Norse, and Slav stories; and everywhere
also the great giant, stormy, angry, and one-eyed, is always very
stupid, and is always overthrown or outwitted by the hero, Odysseus,
when he is shut up in the cavern of Polyphemos, cheats the monster by
tying himself under the belly of the largest and oldest ram, and so
passes out while the blind giant feels the fleece, and thinks that all
is safe. Almost exactly the same trick is told in an old Gaelic story,
that of Conall Cra Bhuidhe.[6] A great Giant with only one eye seized
upon Conall, who was hunting on the Giant's lands. Conall himself is
made to tell the story:

"I hear a great clattering coming, and what was there but a great Giant
and his dozen of goats with him, and a buck at their head. And when the
Giant had tied the goats, he came up, and he said to me, 'Hao O! Conall,
it's long since my knife is rusting in my pouch waiting for thy tender
flesh.' 'Och!' said I, 'it's not much thou wilt be bettered by me,
though thou shouldst tear me asunder; I will make but one meal for thee.
But I see that thou art one-eyed. I am a good leech, and I will give
thee the sight of the other eye.' The Giant went and he drew the great
caldron on the site of the fire. I was telling him how he should heat
the water, so that I should give its sight to the other eye. I got
leather and I made a rubber of it, and I set him upright in the caldron.
I began at the eye that was well, till I left them as bad as each other.
When he saw that he could not see a glimpse, and when I myself said to
him that I would get out in spite of him, he gave that spring out of the
water, and he stood in the mouth of the cave, and he said that he would
have revenge for the sight of his eye. I had but to stay there crouched
the length of the night, holding in my breath in such a way that he
might not feel where I was. When he felt the birds calling in the
morning, and knew that the day was, he said, 'Art thou sleeping? Awake,
and let out my lot of goats!' I killed the buck. He cried, 'I will not
believe that thou art not killing my buck.' 'I am not,' I said, 'but the
ropes are so tight that I take long to loose them.' I let out one of the
goats, and he was caressing her, and he said to her, 'There thou art,
thou shaggy hairy white goat; and thou seest me, but I see thee not.'
I was letting them out, by way of one by one, as I flayed the buck, and
before the last one was out I had him flayed, bag-wise. Then I went and
put my legs in the place of his legs, and my hands in the place of his
fore-legs, and my head in the place of his head, and the horns on top of
my head, so that the brute might think it was the buck. I went out. When
I was going out the Giant laid his hand on me, and said, 'There thou
art, thou pretty buck; thou seest me, but I see thee not.' When I myself
got out, and I saw the world about me, surely joy was on me. When I was
out and had shaken the skin off me, I said to the brute, 'I am out now,
in spite of thee!'"

It was a blind fiddler, in Islay, who told the story of Conall, as it
had been handed down by tradition from generation to generation; just as
thousands of years before the story of Odysseus and Polyphemos was told
by Greek bards to wondering villagers.

Here we must stop; for volumes would not contain all that might be said
of the likeness of legend to legend in all the branches of the Aryan
family, or of the meaning of these stories, and of the lessons they
teach--lessons of history, and religious belief, and customs, and morals
and ways of thought, and poetic fancies, and of well-nigh all things,
heavenly and human--stretching back to the very spring and cradle of our
race, older than the oldest writings, and yet so ever fresh and new that
while great scholars ponder over them for their deep meaning, little
children in the nursery or by the fire-side in winter listen to them
with delight for their wonder and their beauty. Else, if there were time
and space we might tell the story of Jason, and show how it springs from
the changes of day and night, and how the hero, in his good ship Argo,
our mother Earth, searches for and bears away in triumph the Golden
Fleece, the beams of the radiant sun. Or we might fly with Perseus
on his weary, endless journey--the light pursuing and scattering the
darkness; the glittering hero, borne by the mystic sandals of Hermes,
bearing the sword of the sunlight, piercing the twilight or gloaming
in the land of the mystic Graiae; slaying Medusa, the solemn star-lit
night; destroying the dark dragon, and setting free Andromeda the
dawn-maiden; and doing many wonders more. Or in Hermes we might trace
out the Master Thief of Teutonic, and Scandinavian, and Hindu legends;
or in Herakles, the type of the heroes who are god-like in their
strength, yet who do the bidding of others, and who suffer toil and
wrong, and die glorious deaths, and leave great names for men to wonder
at: heroes such as Odysseus, and Theseus, and Phoebus, and Achilles, and
Sigurd, and Arthur, and all of whom represent, in one form or another,
the great mystery of Nature, and the conflict of light and darkness;
and so, if we look to their deeper meaning, the constant triumph of good
over evil, and of right over wrong.


We have said something about the people and the countries which
gave birth to our Fairy Stories, and about the meaning of such tales
generally when they were first thought of. Then they were clearly
understood, and those who told them and heard them knew what they meant;
but, as time went on, and as the Aryan race became scattered in various
countries, the old stories changed a great deal, and their meaning was
lost, and all kinds of wild legends, and strange fables and fanciful
tales, were made out of them. The earliest stories were about clouds,
and winds, and the sun, and the waters, and the earth, which were turned
into Gods and other beings of a heavenly kind. By degrees, as the
first meanings of the legends were lost, these beings gave place to
a multitude of others: some of them beautiful, and good, and kind and
friendly to mankind; and some of them terrible, and bad, and malignant,
and always trying to do harm; and there were so many of both kinds that
all the world was supposed to be full of them. There were Spirits of the
water, and the air, and the earth, forest and mountain demons, creatures
who dwelt in darkness and in fire, and others who lived in the
sunshine, or loved to come out only in the moonlight. There were some,
again--Dwarfs, and other creatures of that kind--who made their homes
in caves and underground places, and heaped up treasures of gold
and silver, and gems, and made wonderful works in metals of all
descriptions; and there were giants, some of them with two heads, who
could lift mountains, and walk through rivers and seas, and who picked
up great rocks and threw them about like pebbles. Then there were Ogres,
with shining rows of terrible teeth, who caught up men and women and
children, and strung them together like larks, and carried them home,
and cooked them for supper. Then, also, there were Good Spirits, of
the kind the Arabs call Peris, and we call Fairies, who made it their
business to defend deserving people against the wicked monsters; and
there were Magicians, and other wise or cunning people, who had power
over the spirits, whether good or bad, as you read in the story of
Aladdin and his Ring, and his Wonderful Lamp, and in other tales in
the "Arabian Nights," and collections of that kind. Many of these
beings--all of whom, for our purpose, may be called Dwellers in
Fairyland--had the power of taking any shape they pleased, like the Ogre
in the story of "Puss in Boots," who changed himself first into a lion,
and then into an elephant, and then into a mouse, when he got eaten up;
and they could also change human beings into different forms, or turn
them into stone, or carry them about in the air from place to place, and
put them under the spells of enchantment, as they liked.

Some of the most wonderful creatures of Fairyland are to be found in
Eastern stories, the tales of India, and Arabia, and Persia. Here we
have the Divs, and Jinns, and Peris, and Rakshas--who were the originals
of our own Ogres--and terrible giants, and strange mis-shapen dwarfs,
and vampires and monsters of various kinds. Many others, also very
wonderful, are to be found in what is called the Mythology--that is, the
fables and stories--of ancient Greece, such as the giant Atlas, who bore
the world upon his shoulders; and Polyphemus, the one-eyed giant, who
caught Odysseus and his companions, and shut them up in his cave; and
Kirke, the beautiful sorceress, who turned men into swine; and the
Centaurs, creatures half men and half horses; and the Gorgon Medusa,
whose head, with its hair of serpents, turned into stone all who beheld
it; and the great dragon, the Python, whom Phoebus killed, and who
resembles the dragon Vritra, in Hindu legend--the dragon slain by Indra,
the god of the Sun, because he shut up the rain, and so scorched the
earth--and who also resembles Fafnir, the dragon of Scandinavian legend,
killed by Sigurd; and the fabled dragon with whom St. George fought; and
also, the dragon of Wantley, whom our old English legends describe as
being killed by More of More Hall. In the stories of the North lands of
Europe, as we are told in the Eddas and Sagas (the songs and records),
there are likewise many wonderful beings--the Trolls, the Frost Giants,
curious dwarfs, elves, nisses, mermen and mermaids, and swan-maidens and
the like. The folk-lore--that is, the common traditionary stories--of
Germany are full of such wonders. Here, again, we have giants and dwarfs
and kobolds; and birds and beasts and fishes who can talk; and good
fairies, who come in and help their friends just when they are wanted;
and evil fairies, and witches; and the wild huntsman, who sweeps across
the sky with his ghostly train; and men and women who turn themselves
into wolves, and go about in the night devouring sheep and killing human
beings, In Russian tales we find many creatures of the same kind, and
also in those of Italy, and Spain, and France. And in our own islands
we have them too, for the traditions of English giants, and ogres, and
dwarfs still linger in the tales of Jack the Giant-killer and Jack and
the Bean-stalk, and Hop o' my Thumb; and we have also the elves whom
Shakspeare draws for us so delightfully in "Midsummer Night's Dream" and
in "The Merry Wives of Windsor"; and there are the Devonshire pixies;
and the Scottish fairies and the brownies--the spirits who do the work
of the house or the farm--and the Irish "good people;" and the Pooka,
which comes in the form of a wild colt; and the Leprechaun, a dwarf
who makes himself look like a little old man, mending shoes; and the
Banshee, which cries and moans when great people are going to die.

To all these, and more, whom there is no room to mention, we must add
other dwellers in Fairyland--forms, in one shape or other, of the great
Sun-myths of the ancient Aryan race--such as Arthur and the Knights
of the Round Table and Vivien and Merlin, and Queen Morgan le hay, and
Ogier the Dane, and the story of Roland, and the Great Norse poems which
tell of Sigurd, and Brynhilt, and Gudrun, and the Niblung folk. And to
these, again, there are to be added many of the heroes and heroines who
figure in the Thousand-and-one Nights--such, for example, as Aladdin,
and Sindbad, and Ali Baba, and the Forty Thieves, and the Enchanted
Horse, and the Fairy Peri Banou, with her wonderful tent that would
cover an army, and her brother Schaibar, the dwarf, with his beard
thirty feet long, and his great bar of iron with which he could sweep
down a city. Even yet we have not got to the end of the long list of
Fairy Folk, for there are still to be reckoned the well-known characters
who figure in our modern Fairy Tales, such as Cinderella, and the Yellow
Dwarf, and the White Cat, and Fortunatus, and Beauty and the Beast,
and Riquet with the Tuft, and the Invisible Prince, and many more whom
children know by heart, and whom all of us, however old we may be, still
cherish with fond remembrance, because they give us glimpses into the
beautiful and wondrous land, the true Fairyland whither good King Arthur

            "The island-valley of Avilion,
    Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
    Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
    Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard lawns,
    And bowery hollows crowned with summer sea."

Now it is plain that we cannot speak of all these dwellers in Fairyland;
but we can only pick out a few here and there, and those of you who want
to know more must go to the books that tell of them. As to me, who have
undertaken to tell something of these wonders, I feel very much like the
poor boy in the little German story of "The Golden Key." Do you know the
story? If you don't, I will tell it you. "One winter, when a deep snow
was lying on the ground, a poor boy had to go out in a sledge to fetch
wood. When he had got enough he thought he would make a fire to warm
himself, for his limbs were quite frozen. So he swept the snow away and
made a clear space, and there he found a golden key. Then he began to
think that where there was a key there must also be a lock; and digging
in the earth he found a small iron chest. 'I hope the key will fit,' lie
said to himself, 'for there must certainly be great treasures in this
box.' After looking all round the box he found a little keyhole, and to
his great joy, the golden key fitted it exactly. Then he turned the
key once round"--and now we must wait till he has quite unlocked it and
lifted the lid up, and then we shall learn what wonderful treasures were
in the chest. This is all that this book can do for you. It can give you
the golden key, and show you where the chest is to be found, and then
you must unlock it for yourselves.

Where shall we begin our hasty journey into Wonderland? Suppose we
take a glance at those famous Hindu demons, the Rakshas, who are the
originals of all the ogres and giants of our nursery tales? Now the
Rakshas were very terrible creatures indeed, and in the minds of many
people in India are so still, for they are believed in even now. Their
natural form, so the stories say, is that of huge, unshapely giants,
like clouds, with hair and beard of the colour of the red lightning; but
they can take any form they please, to deceive those whom they wish to
devour, for their great delight, like that of the ogres, is to kill
all they meet, and to eat the flesh of those whom they kill. Often they
appear as hunters, of monstrous size, with tusks instead of teeth, and
with horns on their heads, and all kinds of grotesque and frightful
weapons and ornaments. They are very strong, and make themselves
stronger by various arts of magic; and they are strongest of all at
nightfall, when they are supposed to roam about the jungles, to enter
the tombs, and even to make their way into the cities, and carry
off their victims. But the Rakshas are not alone like ogres in their
cruelty, but also in their fondness for money, and for precious stones,
which they get together in great quantities and conceal in their
palaces; for some of them are kings of their species, and have thousands
upon thousands of inferior Rakshas under their command. But while they
are so numerous and so powerful, the Rakshas, like all the ogres and
giants in Fairyland, are also very stupid, and are easily outwitted by
clever people. There are many Hindu stories which are told to show this.
I will tell you one of them.[7] Two little Princesses were badly treated
at home, and so they ran away into a great forest, where they found a
palace belonging to a Rakshas, who had gone out. So they went into the
house and feasted, and swept the rooms, and made everything neat and
tidy. Just as they had done this, the Rakshas and his wife came
home, and the two Princesses ran up to the top of the house, and hid
themselves on the flat roof. When the Rakshas got indoors he said to his
wife: "Somebody has been making everything clean and tidy. Wife, did you
do this?" "No," she said; "I don't know who can have done it." "Some
one has been sweeping the court-yard," said the Rakshas. "Wife, did you
sweep the court-yard?" "No," she answered; "I did not do it." Then the
Rakshas walked round and round several times, with his nose up in the
air, saying, "Some one is here now; I smell flesh and blood. Where can
they be?" "Stuff and nonsense!" cried the Rakshas' wife. "You smell
flesh and blood, indeed! Why, you have just been killing and eating a
hundred thousand people. I should wonder if you didn't still smell flesh
and blood!" They went on disputing, till at last the Rakshas gave it
up. "Never mind," lie said; "I don't know how it is--I am very thirsty:
let's come and drink some water." So they went to the well, and began
letting down jars into it, and drawing them up, and drinking the water.
Then the elder of the two Princesses, who was very bold and wise, said
to her sister, "I will do something that will be very good for us both."
So she ran quickly down stairs, and crept close behind the Rakshas and
his wife, as they stood on tip-toe more than half over the side of the
well, and catching hold of one of the Rakshas' heels, and one of his
wife's, she gave each a little push, and down they both tumbled into the
well, and were drowned--the Rakshas and the Rakshas' wife. The Princess
then went back to her sister, and said, "I have killed the Rakshas!"
"What, both?" cried her sister. "Yes, both," she said. "Won't they come
back?" said her sister. "No, never," answered she.

This, you see, is something like the story of the Little Girl and the
Three Bears, so well known amongst our Nursery Tales.

Another story will show you how stupid a Rakshas is, and how easily he
can be outwitted.[8]

Once upon a time a Blind Man and a Deaf Man made an agreement. The Blind
Man was to hear for the Deaf Man; and the Deaf Man was to see for the
Blind Man; and so they were to go about on their travels together. One
day they went to a nautch--that is, a singing and dancing exhibition.
The Deaf Man said, "The dancing is very good; but the music is not worth
listening to." "I do not agree with you," the Blind Man said; "I think
the music is very good; but the dancing is not worth looking at." So
they went away for a walk in the jungle. On the way they found a donkey,
belonging to a dhobee, or washerman, and a big chattee, or iron pot,
which the washerman used to boil clothes in. "Brother," said the Deaf
Man, "here is a donkey and a chattee; let us take them with us, they may
be useful." So they took them, and went on. Presently they came to an
ants' nest. "Here," said the Deaf Man, "are a number of very fine black
ants; let us take some of them to show our friends." "Yes," said the
Blind Man, "they will do as presents to our friends." So the Deaf Man
took out a silver box from his pocket, and put several of the black ants
into it. After a time a terrible storm came on. "Oh dear!" cried the
Deaf Man, "how dreadful this lightning is! let us get to some place of
shelter." "I don't see that it's dreadful at all," said the Blind Man,
"but the thunder is terrible; let us get under shelter." So they went
up to a building that looked like a temple, and went in, and took the
donkey and the big pot and the black ants with them. But it was not a
temple, it was the house of a powerful Rakshas, and the Rakshas came
home as soon as they had got inside and had fastened the door. Finding
that he couldn't get in, he began to make a great noise, louder than the
thunder, and he beat upon the door with his great fists. Now the Deaf
Man looked through a chink, and saw him, and was very frightened, for
the Rakshas was dreadful to look at. But the Blind Man, as he couldn't
see, was very brave; and he went to the door and called out, "Who are
you? and what do you mean by coming here and battering at the door in
this way, and at this time of night?" "I'm a Rakshas," he answered, in
a rage; "and this is my house, and if you don't let me in I will kill
you." Then the Blind Man called out in reply, "Oh! you're a Rakshas,
are you? Well, if you're Rakshas, I'm Bakshas, and Bakshas is as good as
Rakshas." "What nonsense is this?" cried the monster; "there is no such
creature as a Bakshas." "Go away," replied the Blind Man, "if you make
any further disturbance I'll punish you; for know that I _am_ Bakshas,
and Bakshas is Rakshas' father." "Heavens and earth!" cried the Rakshas,
"I never heard such an extraordinary thing in my life. But if you are
my father, let me see your face,"--for he began to get puzzled and
frightened, as the person inside was so very positive. Now the Blind Man
and the Deaf Man didn't quite know what to do; but at last they opened
the door just a little, and poked the donkey's nose out. "Bless me,"
thought the Rakshas, "what a terribly ugly face my father Bakshas has
got." Then he called out again "O! father Bakshas, you have a very big
fierce face, but people have sometimes very big heads and very little
bodies; let me see you, body and head, before I go away." Then the Blind
Man and the Deaf Man rolled the great iron pot across the floor with
a thundering noise; and the Rakshas, who watched the chink of the door
very carefully, said to himself, "He has got a great body as well, so I
had better go away." But he was still doubtful; so he said, "Before I
go away let me hear you scream," for all the tribe of the Rakshas scream
dreadfully. Then the Blind Man and the Deaf Man took two of the black
ants out of the box, and put one into each of the donkey's ears, and the
ants bit the donkey, and the donkey began to bray and to bellow as loud
as he could; and then the Rakshas ran away quite frightened.

In the morning the Blind Man and the Deaf Man found that the floor
of the house was covered with heaps of gold, and silver, and precious
stones; and they made four great bundles of the treasure, and took one
each, and put the other two on the donkey, and off they went, But the
Rakshas was waiting some distance off to see what his father Bakshas was
like by daylight; and he was very angry when he saw only a Deaf Man, and
a Blind Man, and a big iron pot, and a donkey, all loaded with his gold
and silver. So he ran off and fetched six of his friends to help him,
and each of the six had hair a yard long, and tusks like an elephant.
When the Blind Man and the Deaf Man saw them coming they went and hid
the treasure in the bushes, and then they got up into a lofty betel palm
and waited--the Deaf Man, because he could see, getting up first, to be
furthest out of harm's way. Now the seven Rakshas were not able to reach
them, and so they said, "Let us get on each other's shoulders and pull
them down." So one Rakshas stooped down, and the second got on his
shoulders, and the third on his, and the fourth on his, and the fifth on
his, and the sixth on his, and the seventh--the one who had invited
the others--was just climbing up, when the Deaf Man got frightened and
caught hold of the Blind Man's arm, and as he was sitting quite at
ease, not knowing that they were so close, the Blind Man was upset, and
tumbled down on the neck of the seventh Rakshas. The Blind Man thought
he had fallen into the branches of another tree, and stretching out his
hands for something to take hold of, he seized the Rakshas' two great
ears and pinched them very hard. This frightened the Rakshas, who lost
his balance and fell down to the ground, upsetting the other six of his
friends; the Blind Man all the while pinching harder than ever, and
the Deaf Man crying out from the top of the tree--"You're all right,
brother, hold on tight, I'm coming down to help you"--though he really
didn't mean to do anything of the kind. Well, the noise, and the
pinching, and all the confusion, so frightened the six Rakshas that they
thought they had had enough of helping their friend, and so they ran
away; and the seventh Rakshas, thinking that because they ran there must
be great danger, shook off the Blind Man and ran away too. And then the
Deaf Man came down from the tree and embraced the Blind Man, and said,
"I could not have done better myself." Then the Deaf Man divided the
treasure; one great heap for himself, and one little heap for the Blind
Man. But the Blind Man felt his heap and then felt the other, and then,
being angry at the cheat, he gave the Deaf Man a box on the ear, so
tremendous that it made the Deaf Man hear. And the Deaf Man, also being
angry, gave the other such a blow in the face that it made the Blind Man
see. So they became good friends directly, and divided the treasure into
equal shares, and went home laughing at the stupid Rakshas.

From the legends of India we now go on to Persia and Arabia, to learn
something about the Divs and the Peris, and the Jinns. When the ancient
Persians separated from the Aryan race from which they sprang, they
altered their religion as well as changed their country. They came to
believe in two principal gods, Ormuzd, the spirit of goodness, who sits
enthroned in the Realms of Light, with great numbers of angels around
him; and Ahriman, the spirit of evil, who reigns in the Realms of
Darkness and Fire, and round whose throne are the great six arch-Divs,
and vast numbers of inferior Divs, or evil beings; and these two powers
are always at war with each other, and are always trying to obtain the
government of the world. From Ormuzd and Ahriman there came in time,
according to popular fancy, the two races of the Divs and the Peris,
creatures who were like mankind in some things, but who had great powers
of magic; which made them visible and invisible at pleasure, enabled
them to change their shapes when they pleased, and to move about on
the earth or in the air. They dwelt in the land of Jinnestan, in the
mountains of Kaf. These mountains were supposed to go round the earth
like a ring; they were thousands of miles in height, and they were made
of the precious stone called chrysolite, which is of a green colour, and
this colour, so the Persian poets say, is reflected in the green which
we sometimes see in the sky at sunset. In this land of Jinnestan
there are many cities. The Peris have for their abode the kingdom
of Shad-u-Kan, that is, of Pleasure and Delight, with its capital
Juber-a-bad, or the Jewel City; and the Divs have for their dwelling
Ahermambad, or Ahriman's city, in which there are enchanted castles and
palaces, guarded by terrible monsters and powerful magicians. The Peris
are very beautiful beings, usually represented as women with wings, and
charming robes of all colours. The Divs are painted as demons of the
most frightful kind. One of them, a very famous one named Berkhyas, is
described as being a mountain in size, his face black, his body covered
with hair, his neck like that of a dragon; two boar's tusks proceed from
his mouth, his eyes are wells of blood, his hair bristles like needles,
and is so thick and long that pigeons make their nests in it. Between
the Peris and the Divs there was always war; but the Divs were too
powerful for the Peris, and used to capture them and hang them in iron
cages from the tree-tops, where their companions came and fed them with
perfumes, of which the Peris are very fond, and which the Divs very much
dislike, so that the smell kept the evil spirits away. Sometimes the
Peris used to call in the help of men against the Divs; and in the older
Persian stories there are many tales of the wonders done by these
heroes who fought against the Divs. The most famous of these were called
Tamuras and Rustem. Tamuras conquered so many of the evil spirits that
he was called the Div-binder. He began his fights in this way. He was
a great king, whose help both sides wished to get. So the Peris sent a
splendid embassy to him, and so did the Divs. Tamuras did not know what
to do; so he went to consult a wonderful bird, called the Simurg, who
speaks all tongues, and who knows everything that has happened, or that
will happen. The Simurg told him to fight for the Peris. Then the Simurg
gave him three feathers from her own breast, and also the magic shield
of Jan-ibn-Jan, the Suleiman or King of the Jinns, and then she carried
him on her back into the country of Jinnestan, where he fought with and
conquered the king of the Divs. The account of this battle is given
at great length in the Persian romance poems. Then Tamuras conquered
another Div, named Demrush, who lived in a gloomy cavern, where he kept
in prison the Peri Merjan, or the Pearl, a beautiful fairy, whom Tamuras
set free. Rustem, however, is the great hero of Persian romance, and the
greatest defender of the Peris. His adventures, as told by the Persian
poets, would make a very large book, so that we cannot attempt to
describe them. But there are two stories of him which may be told. One
night, while he lay sleeping under a rock, a Div, named Asdiv, took the
form of a dragon, and came upon him suddenly. Rustem's horse, Reksh, who
had magic powers, knew the Div in this disguise, and awakened his
master twice, at which Rustem was angry, and tried to kill the horse for
disturbing him. Reksh, however, awakened him the third time, and then
Rustem saw the Div, and slew him after a fearful combat. The other story
is this. There came a wild ass of enormous size, with a skin like the
sun, and a black stripe along his back, and this creature got amongst
the king's horses and killed them. Now the wild ass was no other than
a very powerful Div, named Akvan, who haunted a particular fountain
or spring. So Rustem, mounted on his horse Reksh, went to look for him
there. Three days he waited, but saw nothing. On the fourth day the Div
appeared, and Rustem tried to throw a noose over his head, but the Div
suddenly vanished. Then he reappeared, and Rustem shot an arrow at him,
but he vanished again. Rustem then turned his horse to graze, and laid
himself down by the spring to sleep. This was what the cunning Akvan
wanted, and while Rustem was asleep, Akvan seized him, and flew high
up into the air with him. Then Rustem awoke, and the Div gave him
his choice of being dropped from the sky into the sea, or upon the
mountains. Rustem knew that if he fell upon the mountains he would be
dashed in pieces, so he secretly chose to fall into the sea; but he did
not say so to the Div. On the contrary, he pretended not to know what to
do, but he said he feared the sea, because those who were drowned
could not enter into Paradise. On hearing this, the Div at once dropped
Rustern into the sea--which was what he wanted--and then went back
to his fountain. But when he got there, he found that Rustem had got
ashore, and was also at the fountain, and then they fought again and
the Div was killed. After this Rustem had a son named Zohrab, about whom
many wonderful things are told; and it so happened that Rustem and his
son Zohrab came to fight each other without knowing one another; and
Rustem was killed, and while dying he slew his son. Now all these
stories mean the same thing: they are only the old Aryan Sun-myths put
into another form by the poets and story-tellers: the Peris are the rays
of the sun, or the morning or evening Aurora; the Divs are the black
clouds of night; the hero is the sun who conquers them, and binds
them in the realms of darkness; and the death of Rustem is the
sunset--Zohrab, his son, being either the moon or the rising sun.

But now we must leave the Peris and the Divs, and look at the jinns,
of the Arabian stories. These also dwell in the mysterious country of
Jinnestan, and in the wonderful mountains of Kaf; but they likewise
spread themselves all through the earth, and they specially liked to
live in ruined houses, or in tombs; on the sea shore, by the banks of
rivers, and at the meeting of cross-roads. Sometimes, too, they were
found in deep forests, and many travellers are supposed to find them in
desolate mountain places. Even to this day they are firmly believed in
by Arabs, and also by people in different parts of Persia and India. In
outward form, in their natural shape, they resembled the Peris and the
Divs of the ancient Persians, and they were divided into good and bad:
the good ones very beautiful and shining; the bad ones deformed, black,
and ugly, and sometimes as big as giants. They did not, however, always
appear in their own forms, for they could take the shape of any animal,
especially of serpents, and cats and dogs. They were governed by chief
spirits or kings; and over all, good and bad alike, there were set a
succession of powerful monarchs, named Suleiman, or Solomon, seventy-two
in number--the last of whom, and the greatest, Jan-ibn-Jan, is said by
Arabian story-tellers to have built the pyramids of Egypt. There is an
old tradition that the shield of Jan-ibn-Jan, which was a talisman of
magic power, was brought from Egypt to King Solomon the Wise, the son of
King David, and that it gave him power over all the tribes of the Jinns,
and this is why, in the common stories about them, the Jinns are made to
call upon the name of Solomon.

The Jinns, according to Arabian tradition, lived upon the earth
thousands of years before man was created. They were made, the Koran
says, of "the smokeless fire," that is, the hot breath of the desert
wind, Simoon. But they became disobedient, and prophets were sent to
warn them. They would not obey the prophets, and angels were then sent
to punish them. The angels drove them out of Jinnestan into the islands
of the seas, killed some, and shut some of them up in prison. Among the
prisoners was a young Jinns, named Iblees, whose name means Despair; and
when Adam was created, God commanded the angels and the Jinns to do him
reverence, and they all obeyed but Iblees, who was then turned into a
Shaitan, or devil, and became the father of all the Shaitan tribe, the
mortal enemies of mankind. Since their dispersion the Jinns are not
immortal; they are to live longer than man, but they must die before the
general resurrection. Some of them are killed by other Jinns, some can
be slain by man, and some are destroyed by shooting stars sent from
heaven. When they receive a mortal wound, the fire which burns in their
veins breaks forth and burns them into ashes.

Such are the Arab fancies about the Jinns. The meaning of them is clear,
for the Jinns are the winds, derived plainly from the Ribhus and the
Maruts of the ancient Aryan myths; and they still survive in European
folk-lore in the train of Woden, or the Wild Huntsman, who sweeps at
midnight over the German forests.

Some of the stories of the Jinns are to be found in the book of the
Thousand and One Nights.

One of these stories is that of "the Fisherman and the Genie." A poor
fisherman, you remember, goes out to cast his nets; but he draws no
fish, but only, at the third cast, a vase of yellow copper, sealed with
a seal of lead. He cuts open the seal, and then there issues from the
vase a thick cloud of smoke, which rises to the sky, and spreads itself
over land and sea. Presently the smoke gathers itself together, and
becomes a solid body, taking the form of a Genie, twice as big as any
of the giants; and the Genie cries out, with a terrible voice, "Solomon,
Solomon, great prophet of Allah! Pardon! I will never more oppose thy
will, but will obey all thy commands." At first the fisherman is very
much frightened; but he grows bolder, and tells the Genie that Solomon
has been dead these eighteen hundred years, to which the Genie answers
that he means to kill the fisherman, and tells him why. I told you just
now that the Jinns rebelled, and were punished. The Genie tells the
fisherman that he is one of these rebellious spirits, that he was taken
prisoner, and brought up for judgment before Solomon himself, and that
Solomon confined him in the copper vase, and ordered him to be thrown
into the sea, and that upon the leaden cover of the vase he put the
impression of the royal seal, upon which the name of God is engraved.

When he was thrown into the sea the Genie made three vows--each in a
period of a hundred years. I swore, he says, that "if any man delivered
me within the first hundred years, I would make him rich, even after his
death. In the second hundred years I swore that if any one set me free
I would discover to him all the treasures of the earth; still no help
came. In the third period, I swore to make my deliverer a most powerful
monarch, to be always at his command, and to grant him every day any
three requests he chose to make. Then, being still a prisoner, I swore
that I would without mercy kill any man who set me free, and that the
only favour I would grant him should be the manner of his death." And so
the Genie proposed to kill the fisherman. Now the fisherman did not
like the idea of being killed; and he and the Genie had a long discourse
about it; but the Genie would have his own way, and the poor fisherman
was going to be killed, when he thought of a trick he might play upon
the Genie. He knew two things--first that the Jinns are obliged to
answer questions put to them in the name of Allah, or God; and also that
though very powerful, they are very stupid, and do not see when they are
being led into a pitfall. So he said, "I consent to die; but before
I choose the manner of my death, I conjure thee, by the great name of
Allah, which is graven upon the seal of the prophet Solomon, the son of
David, to answer me truly a question I am going to put to thee."

Then the Genie trembled, and said, "Ask, but make haste."

Now when he knew that the Genie would speak the truth, the Fisherman
said, "Darest thou swear by the great name of Allah that thou really
wert in that vase?"

"I swear it, by the great name of Allah," said the Genie.

But the Fisherman said he would not believe it, unless he saw it with
his own eyes. Then, being too stupid to perceive the meaning of the
Fisherman, the Genie fell into the trap. Immediately the form of the
Genie began to change into smoke, and to spread itself as before over
the shore and the sea, and then gathering itself together, it began to
enter the vase, and continued to do so, with a slow and even motion,
until nothing remained outside. Then, out of the vase there issued the
voice of the Genie, saying, "Now, thou unbeliever, art thou convinced
that I am in the vase?"

But instead of answering, the Fisherman quickly took up the leaden
cover, and put it on the vase; and then he cried out, "O, Genie! it is
now thy turn to ask pardon, and to choose the sort of death thou wilt
have; or I will again cast thee into the sea, and I will build upon the
shore a house where I will live, to warn all fishermen against a Genie
so wicked as thou art."

At this the Genie was very angry. First he tried to get out of the vase;
but the seal of Solomon kept him fast shut up. Then he pretended that he
was but making a jest of the Fisherman when he threatened to kill him.
Then he begged and prayed to be released; but the Fisherman only
mocked him. Next he promised that if set at liberty, he would make the
Fisherman rich. To this the Fisherman replied by telling him a long
story of how a physician who cured a king was murdered instead of being
rewarded, and of how he revenged himself. And then he preached a little
sermon to the Genie on the sin of ingratitude, which only caused the
Genie to cry out all the more to be set free. But still the Fisherman
would not consent, and so to induce him the Genie offered to tell him a
story, to which the Fisherman was quite ready to listen; but the Genie
said, "Dost thou think I am in the humour, shut up in this narrow
prison, to tell stories? I will tell thee as many as thou wilt if thou
wilt let me out." But the Fisherman only answered, "No, I will cast thee
into the sea."

At last they struck a bargain, the Genie swearing by Allah that he would
make the Fisherman rich, and then the Fisherman cut the seal again, and
the Genie came out of the vase. The first thing he did when he got out
was to kick the vase into the sea, which frightened the Fisherman, who
began to beg and pray for his life. But the Genie kept his word; and
took him past the city, over a mountain and over a vast plain, to a
little lake between four hills, where he caught four little fish, of
different colours--white, red, blue, and yellow--which the Genie bade
him carry to the Sultan, who would give him more money than he had ever
seen in his life. And then, the story says, he struck his foot against
the ground, which opened, and he disappeared, the earth closing over

Another story is that of the Genie Maimoun, the son of Dimdim, who took
prisoner a young Prince, and conveyed him to an enchanted palace, and
changed him into the form of an ape, and the ape got on board a ship,
and was carried to the country of a great Sultan, and when the Sultan
heard that there was an ape who could write beautiful poems, he sent
for him to the palace, and they had dinner together, and they played at
chess afterwards, the ape behaving in all respects like a man, excepting
that he could not speak. Then the Sultan sent for his daughter, the
Queen of Beauty, to see this great wonder. But when the Queen of Beauty
came into the room she was very angry with her father for showing her to
a man, for the Princess was a great magician, and thus she knew that it
was a man turned into an ape, and she told her father that the change
had been made by a powerful Genie, the son of the daughter of Eblis.
So the Sultan ordered the Queen of Beauty to disenchant the Prince, and
then she should have him for her husband. On this the Queen of Beauty
went to her chamber, and came back with a knife, with Hebrew characters
engraved upon the blade. And then she went into the middle of the court
and drew a large circle in it, and in the centre she traced several
words in Arabic letters, and others in Egyptian letters. Then putting
herself in the middle of the circle, she repeated several verses of the
Koran. By degrees the air was darkened, as if night were coming on, and
the whole world seemed to be vanishing. And in the midst of the darkness
the Genie, the son of the daughter of Eblis, appeared in the shape of a
huge, terrible lion, which ran at the Princess as if to devour her.
But she sprang back, and plucked out a hair from her head, and then,
pronouncing two or three words, she changed the hair into a sharp
scythe, and with the scythe she cut the lion into two pieces through the
middle. The body of the lion now vanished, and only the head remained.
This changed itself into a large scorpion. The Princess changed herself
into a serpent and attacked the scorpion, which then changed into an
eagle, and flew away; and the serpent changed itself into a fierce black
eagle, larger and more powerful and flew after it. Soon after the eagles
had vanished the earth opened, and a great black and white cat appeared,
mewing and crying out terribly, and with its hairs standing straight
on end. A black wolf followed the cat, and attacked it. Then the cat
changed into a worm, which buried itself in a pomegranate that
had fallen from a tree over-hanging the tank in the court, and the
pomegranate began to swell until it became as large as a gourd, which
then rose into the air, rolled backwards and forwards several times, and
then fell into the court and broke into a thousand pieces. The wolf now
transformed itself into a cock, and ran as fast as possible, and ate up
the pomegranate seeds. But one of them fell into the tank and changed
into a little fish. On this the cock changed itself into a pike, darted
into the water, and pursued the little fish. Then comes the end of the
story, which is told by the Prince transformed into the Ape:--"They were
both hid hours under water, and we knew not what was become of them,
when suddenly we heard horrible cries that made us tremble. Then we saw
the Princess and the Genie all on fire. They darted flames against each
other with their breath, and at last came to a close attack. Then the
fire increased, and all was hidden in smoke and cloud, which rose to a
great height. We had other cause for terror. The Genie, breaking away
from the Princess, came towards us, and blew his flames all over us."
The Princess followed him; but she could not prevent the Sultan from
having his beard singed and his face scorched; a spark flew into the
right eye of the Ape-Prince and blinded him, and the chief of the
eunuchs was killed on the spot. Then they heard the cry of "Victory!
victory!" and the Princess appeared in her own form, and the Genie was
reduced to a heap of ashes. Unhappily the Princess herself was also
fatally hurt. If she had swallowed all the pomegranate seeds she would
have conquered the Genie without harm to herself; but one seed being
lost, she was obliged to fight with flames between earth and heaven, and
she had only just time enough to disenchant the ape and to turn him back
again into his human form, when she, too, fell to the earth, burnt to

This story is repeated in various forms in the Fairy Tales of other
lands. The hair which the Princess changed into a scythe is like the
sword of sharpness which appears in Scandinavian legends and in the tale
of Jack the Giant Killer; the transformation of the magician reminds
us of the changes of the Ogre in Puss in Boots; and the death of
the Princess by fire because she failed to eat up the last of the
pomegranate seeds, brings to mind the Greek myth of Persephone, who ate
pomegranate seeds, and so fell into the power of Aidoneus, the God of
the lower regions, and was carried down into Hades to live with him as
his wife; and in many German and Russian tales are to be found incidents
like those of the terrible battle between the Princess and the Genie


Now we come to an entirely new region, in which, however, we find, under
other forms, the same creatures which have already been described.
From the sunny East we pass to the cold and frozen North. Here the
Scandinavian countries--Norway, Sweden, and Denmark--are wonderfully
rich in dwarfs, and giants, and trolls, and necks, and nisses, and other
inhabitants of Fairyland; and with these we must also class the Teutonic
beings of the same kind; and likewise the fairy creatures who were once
supposed to dwell in our islands. The Elves of Scandinavia, with whom
our own Fairies are closely allied, were a very interesting people. They
were of two kinds, the White and the Black. The white elves dwelt in
the air, amongst the leaves of trees, and in the long grass, and at
moonlight they came out from their lurking-places, and danced merrily
on the greensward, and played all manner of fantastic tricks. The black
elves lived underground, and, like the dwarfs, worked in metals, and
heaped up great stores of riches. When they came out amongst men they
were often of a malicious turn of mind; they caused sickness or death,
stole things from the houses, bewitched the cattle, and did a great deal
of mischief in all ways. The good elves were not only friendly to man,
but they had a great desire to get to heaven; and in the summer nights
they were heard singing sweetly but sadly about themselves, and their
hopes of future happiness; and there are many stories of their having
spoken to mortals, to ask what hope or chance they had of salvation.
This feeling is believed to have come from the sympathy felt by the
first converts to Christianity with their heathen forefathers, whose
spirits were supposed by them to wander about, in the air or in the
woods, or to sigh within their graves, waiting for the day of judgment.
In one place there is a story that on a hill at Garun people used to
hear very beautiful music. This was played by the elves, or hill folk,
and any one who had a fiddle, and went there, and promised the elves
that they should be saved, was taught in a moment how to play; but those
who mocked them, and told them they could never be saved, used to hear
the poor elves, inside the hill, breaking their fairy fiddles into
pieces, and weeping very sadly. There is a particular tune they play,
called the Elf-King's tune, which, the story-tellers say, some good
fiddlers know very well, but never venture to play, because everybody
who hears it is obliged to dance, and to go on dancing till somebody
comes behind the musician and cuts the fiddle-strings; and out of this
tradition we have the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Some of the
underground elves come up into the houses built above their dwellings,
and are fond of playing tricks upon servants; but they like only those
who are clean in their habits, and they do not like even these to laugh
at them. There is a story of a servant-girl whom the elves liked very
much, because she used to carry all dirt and foul water away from the
house, and so they invited her to an Elf Wedding, at which they made
her a present of some chips, which she put into her pocket. But when
the bridegroom and the bride were coming home there was a straw lying in
their way. The bridegroom got over it; but the bride stumbled, and fell
upon her face. At this the servant-girl laughed out loud, and then all
the elves vanished, but she found that the chips they had given her were
pieces of pure gold. At Odensee another servant was not so fortunate.
She was very dirty, and would not clean the cow-house for them; so they
killed all the cows, and took the girl and set her up on the top of
a hay-rick. Then they removed from the cow-house into a meadow on the
farm; and some people say that they were seen going there in little
coaches, their king riding first, in a coach much handsomer than the
rest. Amongst the Danes there is another kind of elves--the Moon Folk.
The man is like an old man with a low-crowned hat upon his head; the
woman is very beautiful in front, but behind she is hollow, like a
dough-trough, and she has a sort of harp on which she plays, and lures
young men with it, and then kills them. The man is also an evil being,
for if any one comes near him he opens his mouth and breathes upon them,
and his breath causes sickness. It is easy to see what this tradition
means: it is the damp marsh wind, laden with foul and dangerous odours;
and the woman's harp is the wind playing across the marsh rushes at
nightfall. Sometimes these elves take the shape of trees, which brings
back to mind the Greek fairy tales of nymphs who live and die with the
trees to which they are united.

These Scandinavian elves were like beings of the same kind who were once
supposed to live in England, Ireland, and Scotland, and who are still
believed in by some country people. Scattered about in the traditions
which have been brought together at different times are many stories of
these fanciful beings. One story is of some children of a green colour
who were found in Suffolk, and who said they had lived in a country
where all the people were of a green colour, and where they saw no sun,
but had a light like the glow which comes after sunset. They said, also,
that while tending their flocks they wandered into a great cavern, and
heard the sound of delightful bells, which they followed, and so came
out upon the upper world of the earth. There is a Yorkshire legend of a
peasant coming home by night, and hearing the voices of people singing.
The noise came from a hill-side, where there was a door, and inside was
a great company of little people, feasting. One of them offered the man
a cup, out of which he poured the liquor, and then ran off with the
cup, and got safe away. A similar story is told also of a place in
Gloucestershire, and of another in Cumberland, where the cup is called
"the Luck of Edenhall," as the owners of it are to be always prosperous,
so long as the cup remains unbroken. Such stories as this are common in
the countries of the North of Europe, and show the connection between
our Elf-land and theirs.

The Pixies, or the Devonshire fairies, are just like the
northern elves. The popular idea of them is that they are small
creatures--pigmies--dressed in green, and are fond of dancing. Some of
them live in the mines, where they show the miners the richest veins of
metal just like the German dwarfs; others live on the moors, or under
the shelter of rocks; others take up their abode in houses, and, like
the Danish and Swedish elves, are very cross if the maids do not keep
the places clean and tidy others, like the will-o'-the-wisps, lead
travellers astray, and then laugh at them. The Pixies are said to
be very fond of pure water. There is a story of two servant-maids at
Tavistock who used to leave them a bucket of water, into which the
Pixies dropped silver pennies. Once it was forgotten, and the Pixies
came up into the girls' bedroom, and made a noise about the neglect. One
girl got up and went to put the water in its usual place, but the
other said she would not stir out of bed to please all the fairies in
Devonshire. The girl who filled the water-bucket found a handful of
silver pennies in it next morning, and she heard the Pixies debating
what to do with the other girl. At last they said they would give her a
lame leg for seven years, and that then they would cure her by striking
her leg with a herb growing on Dartmoor. So next day Molly found herself
lame, and kept so for seven years, when, as she was picking mushrooms on
Dartmoor, a strange-looking boy started up, struck her leg with a plant
he held in his hand, and sent her home sound again. There is another
story of the Pixies which is very beautiful. An old woman near Tavistock
had in her garden a fine bed of tulips, of which the Pixies became very
fond, and might be heard at midnight singing their babes to rest amongst
them; and as the old woman would never let any of the tulips be plucked,
the Pixies had them all to themselves, and made them smell like the
rose, and bloom more beautifully than any flowers in the place. Well,
the old woman died, and the tulip-bed was pulled up and a parsley-bed
made in its place. But the Pixies blighted it, and nothing grew in it;
but they kept the grave of the old woman quite green, never suffered a
weed to grow upon it, and in spring-time they always spangled it with

All over the country, in the far North as in the South, we find traces
of elfin beings like the Pixies--the fairies of the common traditions
and of the poets--some such fairies as Shakspeare describes for us in
several of his plays, especially in "Midsummer-Night's Dream," "The
Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Tempest," and "Romeo and Juliet"--fairies
who gambol sportively.

        "On hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
    By paved fountain, or by rushing brook,
    Or by the beached margent of the sea,
    To dance their ringlets to the whistling wind."

But the Fairy tribe were not the only graceful elves described by the
poets. The Germans had their Kobolds, and the Scotch their Brownies, and
the English had their Boggarts and Robin Goodfellow and Lubberkin--all
of them beings of the same description: house and farm spirits, who
liked to live amongst men, and who sometimes did hard, rough work out of
good-nature, and sometimes were spiteful and mischievous, especially to
those who teased them, or spoke of them disrespectfully, or tried to see
them when they did not wish to be seen. To the same family belongs the
Danish Nis, a house spirit of whom many curious legends are related.
Robin Goodfellow was the original of Shakspeare's Puck: his frolics are
related for us in "The Midsummer Night's Dream," where a hairy says to

        "You are that shrewd and knavish sprite
    Called Robin Goodfellow. Are you not he
    That frights the maidens of the villagery,
    Skims milk, and sometimes labours in the quern,
    And bootless makes the breathless housewife churn;
    And sometimes makes the drink to bear no harm,
    Misleads night wanderers, laughing at their harm?
    Those that Hob-Goblin call you, and sweet Puck;
    You do their work, and they shall have good luck."

In the "Jests of Robin Goodfellow," first printed in Queen Elizabeth's
reign, the tricks which this creature is said to have played are told in
plenty. Here is one of them:--Robin went as fiddler to a wedding. When
the candles came he blew them out, and giving the men boxes on the ears
he set them fighting. He kissed the prettiest girls, and pinched the
ugly ones, till he made them scratch one another like cats. When the
posset was brought he turned himself into a bear, frightened them all
away, and had it all to himself.

The Boggart was another form of Robin Goodfellow. Stories of him are
to be found amongst Yorkshire legends, as of a creature--always
invisible--who played tricks upon the people in the houses in which he
lived: shaking the bed-curtains, rattling the doors, whistling through
the keyholes, snatching away the bread-and-butter from the children,
playing pranks upon the servants, and doing all kinds of mischief. There
is a story of a Yorkshire boggart who teased the family so much that the
farmer made up his mind to leave the house. So he packed up his goods
and began to move off. Then a neighbour came up, and said, "So, Georgey,
you're leaving the old house?" "Yes," said the farmer, "the boggart
torments us so that we must go." Then a voice came out of a churn,
saying, "Ay, ay, Georgey, _we're_ flitting, ye see." "Oh!" cried the
poor farmer, "if thou'rt with us we'll go back again;" and he went
back.--Mr. Tennyson puts this story into his poem of "Walking to the

                         "His house, they say,
    Was haunted with a jolly ghost, that shook
    The curtains, whined in lobbies, tapt at doors,
    And rummaged like a rat: no servant stayed:
    The farmer, vext, packs up his beds and chairs,
    And all his household stuff, and with his boy
    Betwixt his knees, his wife upon the tilt,
    Sets out, and meets a friend who hails him, 'What!
    You're flitting!'  'Yes, we're flitting,' says the ghost
    (For they had packed the thing among the beds).
    'Oh, well,' says he, 'you flitting with us, too;
    Jack, turn the horses' heads and home again.'"

The same story is told in Denmark, of a Nis--which is the same as an
English boggart, a Scotch brownie, and a German kobold--who troubled a
man very much, so that he took away his goods to a new house. All but
the last load had gone, and when they came for that, the Nis popped his
head out of a tub, and said to the man, "We're moving, you see."

The Brownies, though mischievous, like the Boggarts, were more helpful,
for they did a good deal of house-work; and would bake, and brew, and
wash, and sweep, but they would never let themselves be seen; or if any
one did manage to see them, or tried to do so, they went away. There are
stories of this kind about them in English folk-lore, in Scotch, Welsh,
in the Isle of Man, and in Germany, where they were called Kobolds.
One Kobold, of whom many accounts are given, lived in the castle of
Hudemuhler, in Luneberg, and used to talk with the people of the house,
and with visitors, and ate and drank at table, just like Leander in the
story of "The Invisible Prince;" and he used also to scour the pots and
pans, wash the dishes, and clean the tubs, and he was useful, too, in
the stable, where he curried the horses, and made them quite fat and
smooth. In return for this he had a room to himself, where he made
a straw-plaited chair, and had a little round table, and a bed and
bedstead, and, where he expected every day to find a dish of sweetened
milk, with bread crumbs; and if he did not get served in time, or if
anything went wrong, he used to beat the servants with a stick. This
Kobold was named Heinzelman, and in Grimm's collection of folklore there
is a long history of him drawn up by the minister of the parish. Another
Kobold, named Hodeken, who lived with the Bishop of Hildesheim, was
usually of a kind and obliging turn of mind, but he revenged himself on
those who offended him. A scullion in the bishop's kitchen flung dirt
upon him, and Hodeken found him fast asleep and strangled him, and put
him in the pot on the fire. Then the head cook scolded Hodeken, who in
revenge squeezed toads all over the meat that was being cooked for
the bishop, and then took the cook himself and tumbled him over the
drawbridge into the moat. Then the bishop got angry, and took bell, and
book, and candle, and banished Hodeken by the form of exorcism provided
for evil spirits.

Now there are a great many other kinds of creatures in the Wonderland of
all European countries; but I must not stop to tell you about them or
we shall never have done. But there is one little story of the Danish
Nis--who answers to the German Kobold--which I may tell you, because it
is like the story of Hodeken which you have just read, and shows that
the creatures were of the same kind. There was a Nis in Jutland who was
very much teased by a mischievous boy. When the Nis had done his work he
sat down to have his supper, and he found that the boy had been playing
tricks with his porridge and made it unpleasant. So he made up his
mind to be revenged, and he did it in this way. The boy slept with
a servant-man in the loft. The Nis went up to them and took off the
bed-clothes. Then, looking at the little boy lying beside the tall man,
he said, "Long and short don't match," and he took the boy by the
legs and pulled him down to the man's legs. This was not to his mind,
however, so he went to the head of the bed and looked at them, Then said
the Nis--"Short and long don't match," and he pulled the boy up again;
and so he went on all through the night, up and down, down and up, till
the boy was punished enough. Another Nis in Jutland went with a boy to
steal corn for his master's horses. The Nis was moderate, but the boy
was covetous, and said, "Oh, take more; we can rest now and then!"
"Rest," said the Nis, "rest! what is rest?" "Do what I tell you,"
replied the boy; "take more, and we shall find rest when we get out of
this." So they took more corn, and when they had got nearly home the boy
said, "Here now is rest;" and so they sat down on a hill-side. "If I had
known," said the Nis, as they were sitting there, "if I had known that
rest was so good I'd have carried off all that was in the barn."

Now we must leave out much more that might be said, and many stories
that might be told, about elves, and fairies, and nixes, or water
spirits, and swan maidens who become women when they lay aside their
swan dresses to bathe; and mermaids and seal maidens, who used to live
in the islands of the North seas. And we must leave out also a number
of curious Scotch tales and accounts of Welsh fairies, and stories about
the good people of the Irish legends, and the Leprechaun, a little old
man who mends shoes, and who gives you as much gold as you want if
you hold him tight enough; and there are wonderful fairy legends of
Brittany, and some of Spain and Italy, and a great many Russian and
Slavonic tales which are well worth telling, if we only had room. For
the same reason we must omit the fairy tales of ancient Greece, some
of which are told so beautifully by Mr. Kingsley in his book about the
Heroes; and we must also pass by the legends of King Arthur, and of
romances of the same kind which you may read at length in Mr. Ludlow's
"Popular Epics of the Middle Ages;" and the wonderful tales from the
Norse which are told by Dr. Dasent, and in Mr. Morris's noble poem of
"Sigurd the Volsung."

But before we leave this part of Wonderland we must say something about
some kinds of beings who have not yet been mentioned--the Scandinavian
Giants and Trolls, and the German Dwarfs. The Trolls--some of whom were
Giants and some Dwarfs--were a very curious people. They lived inside
hills or mounds of earth, sometimes alone, and sometimes in great
numbers. Inside these hills, according to the stories of the common
folk, are fine houses made of gold and crystal, full of gold and jewels,
which the Trolls amuse themselves by counting. They marry and have
families; they bake and brew, and live just like human beings; and they
do not object, sometimes, to come out and talk to men and women whom
they happen to meet on the road. They are described as being friendly,
and quite ready to help those to whom they take a fancy--lending them
useful or precious things out of the hill treasures, and giving
them rich gifts. But, to balance this, they are very mischievous and
thievish, and sometimes they carry off women and children. They dislike
noise. This, so the old stories say, is because the god Thor used to
fling his hammer at them; and since he left off doing that the Trolls
have suffered a great deal from the ringing of church bells, which they
very much dislike. There are many stories about this. At a place called
Ebeltoft the Trolls used to come and steal food out of the pantries. The
people consulted a Saint as to what they were to do, and he told them
to hang up a bell in the church steeple, which they did, and then the
Trolls went away. There is another story of the same kind. A Troll lived
near the town of Kund, in Sweden, but was driven away by the church
bells. Then he went over to the island of Funen and lived in peace. But
he meant to be revenged on the people of Kund, and he tried to take his
revenge in this way: He met a man from Kund--a stranger, who did not
know him--and asked the man to take a letter into the town and to throw
it into the churchyard, but he was not to take it out of his pocket
until he got there. The man received the letter, but forgot the message,
until he sat down in a meadow to rest, and then he took out the letter
to look at it. When he did so, a drop of water fell from under the seal,
then a little stream, and then quite a torrent, till all the valley was
flooded, and the man had hard work to escape. The Troll had shut up a
lake in the letter, and with this he meant to drown the people of Kund.

Some of the Trolls are very stupid, and there are many stories as to how
they have been outwitted. One of them is very droll. A farmer ploughed
a hill-side field. Out came a Troll and said, "What do you mean by
ploughing up the roof of my house?" Then the farmer, being frightened,
begged his pardon, but said it was a pity such a fine piece of land
should lie idle. The Troll agreed to this, and then they struck a
bargain that the farmer should till the land and that each of them
should share the crops. One year the Troll was to have, for his share,
what grew above ground, and the next year what grew underground. So in
the first year the farmer sowed carrots, and the Troll had the tops; and
the next year the farmer sowed wheat, and the Troll had the roots; and
the story says he was very well content.

We can give only one more story of the Trolls. They have power over
human beings until their names are found out, and when the Troll's name
is mentioned his power goes from him. One day St. Olaf, a very great
Saint, was thinking how he could build a very large church without any
money, and he didn't quite see his way to it. Then a Giant Troll met him
and they chatted together, and St. Olaf mentioned his difficulty. So the
Troll said he would build the church, within a year, on condition that
if it was done in the time he should have for his reward the sun, and
the moon, or St. Olaf himself. The church was to be so big that seven
priests could say mass at seven altars in it without hearing each other;
and it was all to be built of flint stone and to be richly carved. When
the time was nearly up the church was finished, all but the top of the
spire; and St. Olaf was in sad trouble about his promise. So he walked
out into a wood to think, and there he heard the Troll's wife hushing
her child inside a hill, and saying to it, "To-morrow, Wind and Weather,
your father, will come home in the morning, and bring with him the sun
and the moon, or St. Olaf himself." Then St. Olaf knew what to do. He
went home, and there was the church, all ready except the very top of
the weather-cock, and the Troll was just putting the finishing-touch to
that. Then St. Olaf called out to him, "Oh! ho! Wind and Weather, you
have set the spire crooked!" And then, with a great noise, the Troll
fell down from the steeple and broke into pieces, and every piece was a

The same thing is told in the German story of Rumpelstiltskin. A maiden
is ordered by a King to spin a roomful of straw into gold, or else she
is to die. A Dwarf appears, she promises him her necklace, and he does
the task for her. Next day she has to spin a larger roomful of straw
into gold. She gives the Dwarf the ring off her finger, and he does this
task also. Next day she is set to work at a larger room, and then, when
the Dwarf comes, she has nothing to give him. Then he says, "If you
become Queen, give me your first-born child." Now the girl is only a
miller's daughter, and thinks she never can be Queen, so she makes the
promise, and the Dwarf spins the straw into gold. But she does become
Queen, for the King marries her because of the gold; and she forgets
the Dwarf, and is very happy, especially when her little baby comes.
Directly it is born the Dwarf appears also, and claims the child,
because it was promised to him. The Queen offers him anything he likes
besides; but he will have that, and that only. Then she cries and prays,
and the Dwarf says that if she can tell him his name she may keep the
baby; and he feels quite safe in saying this, because nobody knows
his name, only himself. So the Queen calls him by all kinds of strange
names, but none of them is the right one. Then she begs for three days
to find out the name, and sends people everywhere to see if they can
hear it. But all of them come back, unable to find any name that is
likely, excepting one, who says, "I have not found a name, but as I came
to a high mountain near the edge of a forest, where the foxes and the
hares say 'good-night' to each other, I saw a little house, and before
the door a fire was burning, and round the fire a little man was dancing
on one leg, and singing:--

    "To-day I stew, and then I'll bake,
     To-morrow shall I the Queen's child take.
     How glad I am that nobody knows
     That my name is Rumpelstiltskin."

Then the Dwarf came again, and the Queen said to him, "Is your name
Hans?" "No," said the Dwarf, with an ugly leer, and he held out his
hands for the baby. "Is it Conrade?" asked the Queen. "No," cried
the Dwarf, "give me the child." "Then," said the Queen, "is it
Rumpelstiltskin?" "A witch has told you that!" cried the Dwarf; and then
he stamped his right foot so hard upon the ground that it sank quite in,
and he could not draw it out again. Then he took hold of his left leg
with both his hands and pulled so hard that his right leg came off, and
he hopped away howling, and nobody ever saw him again.

The Giant in the story of St. Olaf, as we have seen, was a rather stupid
giant, and easily tricked; and indeed most of the giants seem to have
been dull people, from the great Greek Kyklops, Polyphemos the One-Eyed,
downwards to the ogres in Puss in Boots, and Jack and the Bean Stalk,
and the giants in Jack the Giant Killer. The old northern giants were no
wiser. There was one in the island of Rugen, a very mighty giant, named
Balderich. He wanted to go from his island, dry-footed, to the mainland.
So he got a great apron made, and filled it with earth, and set off to
make a causeway from Rugen to Pomerania. But there was a hole in the
apron, and the clay that fell out formed a chain of nine hills. The
giant stopped the hole and went on, but another hole tore in the apron,
and thirteen more hills fell out. Then he got to the sea-side, and
poured the rest of the load into the water; but it didn't quite reach
the mainland, which made giant Balderich so angry that he fell down
and died; and so his work has never been finished. But a giant maiden
thought she would try to make another causeway from the mainland to an
island, so that she might not wet her slippers in going over. So she
filled her apron with sand, and ran down to the sea-side. But a hole
came in the apron, and the sand which ran out formed a hill at Sagard.
The giant maiden said, "Ah! now my mother will scold me!" Then she
stopped the hole with her hand and ran on again. But the giant mother
looked over the wood, and cried, "You nasty child! what are you about?
Come here, and you'll get a good whipping." The daughter in a fright let
go her apron, and all the sand ran out, and made the barren hills near
Litzow, which the white and brown dwarfs took for their dwelling-place.

There are many other stories of the same kind. One of them tells of
a Troll Giant who wanted to punish a farmer; so he filled one of his
gloves with sand, and poured it out over the farmer's house, which it
quite covered up; and with what was left in the fingers he made a row of
little sand hillocks to mark the spot.

The Giants had their day, and died out, and their places were taken by
the Dwarfs. Some of the most wonderful dwarf stories are those which
are told in the island of Rugen, in the Baltic Sea. These stories are of
three kinds of dwarfs: the White, and the Brown, and the Black, who live
in the sand-hills. The white dwarfs, in the spring and summer, dance and
frolic all their time in sunshine and starlight, and climb up into
the flowers and trees, and sit amongst the leaves and blossoms, and
sometimes they take the form of bright little birds, or white doves, or
butterflies, and are very kind to good people. In the winter, when the
snow falls, they go underground, and spend their time in making the most
beautiful ornaments of silver and gold. The brown dwarfs are stronger
and rougher than the white; they wear little brown coats and brown caps,
and when they dance--which they are fond of doing--they wear little
glass shoes; and in dress and appearance they are very handsome. Their
disposition is good, with one exception--that they carry off children
into their underground dwellings; and those who go there have to serve
them for fifty years. They can change themselves into any shape, and
can go through key-holes, so that they enter any house they please, and
sometimes they bring gifts for the children, like the good Santa Klaus
in the German stories; but they also play sad tricks, and frighten
people with bad dreams. Like the white dwarfs, the brown ones work in
gold and silver, and the gifts they bring are of their own workmanship.
The black dwarfs are very bad people, and are ugly in looks and
malicious in temper; they never dance or sing, but keep underground,
or, when they come up, they sit in the elder-trees, and screech horribly
like owls, or mew like cats. They, too, are great metal-workers,
especially in steel; and in old days they used to make arms and armour
for the gods and heroes: shirts of mail as fine as cobwebs, yet so
strong that no sword could go through them; and swords that would bend
like rushes, and yet were as hard as diamonds, and would cut through any
helmet, however thick.

So long as they keep their caps on their heads the dwarfs are invisible;
but if any one can get possession of a dwarf's cap he can see them, and
becomes their master. This is the foundation of one of the best of the
dwarf stories--the story of John Dietrich, who went out to the sandhills
at Ramfin, in the isle of Rugen, on the eve of St. John, a very, very
long time ago, and managed to strike off the cap from the head of one
of the brown dwarfs, and went down with them into their underground
dwelling-place. This was quite a little town, where the rooms were
decorated with diamonds and rubies, and the dwarf people had gold and
silver and crystal table-services, and there were artificial birds that
flew about like real ones, and the most beautiful flowers and fruits;
and the dwarfs, who were thousands in number, had great feasts, where
the tables, ready spread, came up through the floor, and cleared
themselves away at the ringing of a bell, and left the rooms free for
dancing to the strains of the loveliest music. And in the city there
were fields and gardens, and lakes and rivers; and instead of the sun
and the moon to give light, there were large carbuncles and diamonds
which supplied all that was wanted. John Dietrich, who was very well
treated, liked it very much, all but one thing--which was that the
servants who waited upon the dwarfs were earth children, whom they had
stolen and carried underground; and amongst them was Elizabeth Krabbin,
once a playmate of his own, and who was a lovely girl, with clear blue
eyes and ringlets of fair hair. John Dietrich of course fell in love
with Elizabeth, and determined to get her out of the dwarf people's
hands, and with her all the earth children they held captive. And when
he had been ten years underground, and he and Elizabeth were grown up,
he demanded leave to depart, and to take Elizabeth. But the dwarfs,
though they could not hinder him from going, would not let her go, and
no threats or entreaties could move them. Then John Dietrich remembered
that the little people cannot bear an evil smell; and one day he
happened to break a large stone, out of which jumped a toad, which gave
him power to do what he pleased with the dwarfs, for the sight or smell
of a toad causes them pain beyond all bearing. So he sent for the chiefs
of the dwarfs, and bade them let Elizabeth go. But they refused; and
then he went and fetched the toad. Then the story goes on in this way:--

"He was hardly come within a hundred paces of them when they all fell
to the ground as if struck with a thunderbolt, and began to howl and
whimper, and to writhe as if suffering the most excruciating pain. The
dwarfs stretched out their hands, and cried, 'Have mercy, have mercy!
we feel that you have a toad, and there is no escape for us. Take the
odious beast away, and we will do all you require.' He let them kneel a
few seconds longer, and then took the toad away. They then stood up,
and felt no more pain. John let all depart but the six chief persons, to
whom he said, 'This night, between twelve and one, Elizabeth and I
will depart, Load for me three waggons with gold, silver, and precious
stones. I might, you know, take all that is in the hill; but I will be
merciful. Further, you must put into two waggons all the furniture of my
chamber (which was covered with emeralds and other precious stones, and
in the ceiling was a diamond as big as a nine-pin bowl), and get ready
for me the handsomest travelling carriage that is in the hill, with six
black horses. Moreover, you must set at liberty all the servants who
have been so long here that on earth they would be twenty years old and
upwards, and you must give them as much silver and gold as will make
them rich for life; and you must make a law that no one shall be kept
here longer than his twentieth year.'

"The six took the oath, and went away quite melancholy, and John
buried his toad deep in the ground. The little people laboured hard
and prepared everything, and at midnight John and Elizabeth, and their
companions, and all their treasures, were drawn up out of the hill. It
was then one o'clock, and it was midsummer--the very time that, twelve
years before, John had gone down into the hill. Music sounded around
them, and they saw the glass hill open, and the rays of the light of
heaven shine on them after so many years; and when they got out they saw
the first streaks of dawn already in the East. Crowds of the underground
people were around them, busied about the waggons. John bid them a last
farewell, waved his brown cap in the air, and then flung it among them.
And at the same moment he ceased to see them; he beheld nothing but a
green hill, and the well-known bushes and fields, and heard the church
clock of Ramfin strike two. When all was still, save a few larks, who
were tuning their morning song, they all fell upon their knees and
worshipped God, resolving henceforth to lead a pious and Christian
life." And then John married Elizabeth, and was made a count, and built
several churches, and presented to them some of the precious cups and
plates made by the underground people, and kept his own and Elizabeth's
glass shoes, in memory of what had befallen them in their youth. "And
they were all taken away," the story says, "in the time of the great
Charles the Twelfth of Sweden, when the Russians came on the island, and
the Cossacks plundered even the churches, and took away everything."

Now there is much more to be told about the dwarfs, if only we had
space--how there were thousands of them in German lands, in the Saxon
mines, and the Black Forest, and the Harz mountains and in other places,
and in Switzerland, and indeed everywhere almost--how they gave gifts
to good men, and borrowed of them, and paid honestly; how they punished
those who injured them; how they moved about from country to country;
how they helped great kings and nobles, and showed themselves to
wandering travellers and to simple country folk. But all this must
be left for you to read for yourselves in Grimm's stories, and in the
legends of northern lands, and in many collections of ancient poems, and
romances, and popular tales. And in these, and in other books which
deal with such subjects, you will find out that all these dwellers in
Wonderland, and the tales that are told about them, and the stories
of the gods and heroes, all come from the one source of which we read
something in the first chapter--the tradition's of the ancient Aryan
people, from whom all of us have sprung--and how they all mean the same
things; the conflict between light and darkness, the succession of day
and night, the changes of the seasons, the blue and bright summer skies,
the rain-clouds, the storm-winds, the thunder and the lightning, and all
the varied and infinite forms of Nature in her moods of calm and storm,
peace and tempest, brightness and gloom, sweet and pleasant and hopeful
life and stern and cold death, which causes all brightness to fade and
moulder away.


In a very delightful book which has already been mentioned, Campbell's
"Popular Tales of the West Highlands," there are many curious stories
of fairy folk and other creatures of the like kind, described in the
traditions of the west of Scotland, and which are still believed in by
many of the country people. There are Brownies, for instance, the farm
spirits. One of these, so the story goes, inhabited the island of Inch,
and looked after the cattle of the Mac Dougalls; but if the dairymaid
neglected to leave a portion of milk for him at night, one of the cattle
would be sure to fall over the rocks. Another kind of Brownie, called
the Bocan, haunted a place called Moran, opposite the Isle of Skye, and
protected the family of the Macdonalds of Moran, but was very savage
to other people, whom he beat or killed. At last Big John, the son of
M'Leod of Raasay, went and fought the creature in the dark, and tucked
him under his arm, to carry him to the nearest light and see what he was
like. But the Brownies hate to be seen, and this one begged hard to be
let off, promising that he would never come back. So Big John let him
off, and he flew away singing:--

     "Far from me is the hill of Ben Hederin;
      Far from me is the Pass of Murmuring;"

and the common story says that the tune is still remembered and sung by
the people of that country. It is also told of a farmer, named Callum
Mohr MacIntosh, near Loch Traig, in Lochaber, that he had a fight with
a Bocan, and in the fight he lost a charmed handkerchief. When he went
back to get it again, he found the Bocan rubbing the handkerchief hard
on a flat stone, and the Bocan said, "It is well for you that you are
back, for if I had rubbed a hole in this you were a dead man." This
Bocan became very friendly with MacIntosh, and used to bring him peats
for fire in the deep winter snows; and when MacIntosh moved to another
farm, and left a hogshead of hides behind him by accident, the Bocan
carried it to his new house next morning, over paths that only a goat
could have crossed.

Another creature of the same kind is a mischievous spirit, a Goblin
or Brownie, who is called in the Manx language, the Glashan, and who
appears under various names in Highland stories: sometimes as a hairy
man, and sometimes as a water-horse turned into a man. He usually
attacks lonely women, who outwit him, and throw hot peats or scalding
water at him, and then he flies off howling. One feature is common
to the stories about him. He asks the woman what her name is, and she
always replies "Myself." So when the companions of the Glashan ask who
burned or scalded him, he says "Myself," and then they laugh at him.
This answer marks the connection between these tales and those of other
countries. Polyphemos asks Odysseus his name, and is told that it is
Outis, or "Nobody." So when Odysseus blinds Polyphemos, and the other
Kyklopes ask the monster who did it, he says, "Nobody did it." There is
a Slavonian story, also, in which a cunning smith puts out the eyes
of the Devil, and says that his name is Issi, "myself;" and when the
tortured demon is asked who hurt him, he says, "Issi did it;" and then
his companions ridicule him.

Among other Highland fairy monsters are the water-horses (like the
Scandinavian and Teutonic Kelpies) and the water-bulls, which inhabit
lonely lochs. The water-bulls are described as being friendly to man;
the water-horses are dangerous--when men get upon their backs they are
carried off and drowned. Sometimes the water-horse takes the shape of a
man. Here is a story of this kind from the island of Islay: There was a
farmer who had a great many cattle. Once a strange-looking bull-calf was
born amongst them, and an old woman who saw it knew it for a water-bull,
and ordered it to be kept in a house by itself for seven years, and fed
on the milk of three cows. When the time was up, a servant-maid went to
watch the cattle graze on the side of a loch. In a little while a man
came to her and asked her to dress or comb his hair. So he laid his head
upon her knees, and she began to arrange his hair. Presently she got
a great fright, for amongst the hair she found a great quantity of
water-weed; and she knew that it was a transformed water-horse. Like
a brave girl she did not cry out, but went on dressing the man's hair
until he fell asleep. Then she slid her apron off her knees, and ran
home as fast as she could, and when she got nearly home, the creature
was pursuing her in the shape of a horse. Then the old woman cried out
to them to open the door of the wild bull's house, and out sprang the
bull and rushed at the horse, and they never stopped fighting until they
drove each other out into the sea. "Next day," says the story, "the body
of the bull was found on the shore all torn and spoilt, but the horse
was never more seen at all."

Sometimes the water-spirit appears in the shape of a great bird, which
the West Highlanders called the Boobrie, who has a long neck, great
webbed feet with tremendous claws, a powerful bill hooked like an
eagle's, and a voice like the roar of an angry bull. The lochs,
according to popular fancy, are also inhabited by water-spirits. In
Sutherlandshire this kind of creature is called the Fuath; there are,
Mr. Campbell says, males and females; they have web-feet, yellow hair,
green dresses, tails, manes, and no noses; they marry human beings, are
killed by light, are hurt by steel weapons, and in crossing a stream
they become restless. These spirits resemble mermen and mermaids, and
are also like the Kelpies, and they have also been somehow confused with
the kind of spirit known in Ireland as the Banshee. Many stories are
told of them. A shepherd found one, an old woman seemingly crippled, at
the edge of a bog. He offered to carry her over on his back. In going
over, he saw that she was webfooted; so he threw her down, and ran for
his life. By the side of Loch Middle a woman saw one--"about three years
ago," she told the narrator--she sat on a stone, quiet, and dressed in
green silk, the sleeves of the dress curiously puffed from the wrists to
the shoulder; her hair was yellow, like ripe corn; but on a nearer view,
she had no nose. A man at Tubernan made a bet that he would seize the
Fuath or Kelpie who haunted the loch at Moulin na Fouah. So he took a
brown right-sided maned horse, and a brown black-muzzled dog, and with
the help of the dog he captured the Fuath, and tied her on the horse
behind him. She was very fierce, but he pinned her down with an awl
and a needle. Crossing the burn or brook near Loch Migdal she grew very
restless, and the man stuck the awl and the needle into her with great
force. Then she cried, "Pierce me with the awl, but keep that slender
hair-like slave (the needle) out of me." When the man reached an inn at
Inveran, he called his friends to come out and look at the Fuath. They
came out with lights, and when the light fell upon her she dropped off
the horse, and fell to the earth like a small lump of jelly.

The Fairies of the West Highlands in some degree resembled the
Scandinavian Dwarfs. They milked the deer; they lived underground, and
worked at trades, especially metal-working and weaving. They had hammers
and anvils, but had to steal wool and to borrow looms; and they had
great hoards of treasure hidden in their dwelling places. Sometimes they
helped the people whom they liked, but at other times they were spiteful
and evil minded; and according to tradition all over the Highlands, they
enticed men and women into their dwellings in the hills, and kept them
there sometimes for years, always dancing without stopping. There are
many stories of this kind; and there are also many about the fondness of
the Fairies for carrying off human children, and leaving Imps of their
own in their places--these Imps being generally old men disguised as
children. Some of these tales are very curious, and are like others that
are found amongst the folk-lore of Celtic peoples elsewhere. Here is the
substance of one told in Islay:--

Years ago there lived in Crossbrig a smith named MacEachern, who had
an only son, about fourteen; a strong, healthy, cheerful boy. All of a
sudden he fell ill, took to his bed, and moped for days, getting thin,
and odd-looking, and yellow, and wasting away fast, so that they thought
he must die. Now a "wise" old man, who knew about Fairies, came to see
the smith at work, and the poor man told him all about his trouble. The
old man said, "It is not your son you have got; the boy has been carried
off by the Dacorie Sith (the Fairies), and they have left a sibhreach
(changeling) in his place." Then the old man told him what to do. "Take
as many egg-shells as you can get, go with them into the room, spread
them out before him, then draw water with them, carrying them two and
two in your hands as if they were a great weight, and when they are
full, range them round the fire." The smith did as he was told; and he
had not been long at work before there came from the bed a great shout
of laughter, and the supposed boy cried out, "I am eight hundred years
old, and I never saw the like of _that_ before." Then the smith knew
that it was not his own son. The wise man advised him again. "Your son,"
he said, "is in a green round hill where the Fairies live; get rid of
this creature, and then go and look for him." So the smith lit a fire in
front of the bed. "What is that for?" asked the supposed boy. "You will
see presently," said the smith; and then he took him and threw him into
the middle of it; and the sibhreach gave an awful yell, and flew up
through the roof, where a hole was left to let the smoke out. Now the
old man said that on a certain night the green round hill, where the
Fairies kept the smith's boy, would be open. The father was to take a
Bible, a dirk, and a crowing cock, and go there. He would hear singing,
and dancing, and much merriment, but he was to go boldly in. The Bible
would protect him against the Fairies, and he was to stick the dirk into
the threshold, to prevent the hill closing upon him. Then he would see
a grand room, and there, working at a forge, he would find his own son;
and when the Fairies questioned him he was to say that he had come for
his boy, and would not go away without him. So the smith went, and did
what the old man told him. He heard the music, found the hill open, went
in, stuck the dirk in the threshold, carried the Bible on his breast,
and took the cock in his hand. Then the Fairies angrily asked what he
wanted, and he said, "I want my son whom I see down there, and I will
not go without him." Upon this the whole company of the Fairies gave
a loud laugh, which woke up the cock, and he leaped on the smith's
shoulders, clapped his wings, and crowed lustily. Then the Fairies took
the smith and his son, put them out of the hill, flung the dirk after
them, and the hill-side closed up again. For a year and a day after he
got home the boy never did any work, and scarcely spoke a word; but at
last one day sitting by his father, and seeing him finish a sword for
the chieftain, he suddenly said, "That's not the way to do it," and he
took the tools, and fashioned a sword the like of which was never seen
in that country before; and from that day he worked and lived as usual.

Here is another story. A woman was going through a wild glen in Strath
Carron, in Sutherland--the Glen Garaig--carrying her infant child
wrapped in her plaid. Below the path, overhung with trees, ran a very
deep ravine, called Glen Odhar, or the dun glen. The child, not a year
old, suddenly spoke, and said:--

    "Many a dun hummel cow,
     With a calf below her,
     Have I seen milking
     In that dun glen yonder,
     Without dog, without man,
     Without woman, without gillie,
     But one man; and he hoary."

Then the woman knew that it was a fairy changeling she was carrying, and
she flung down the child and the plaid, and ran home, where her own baby
lay smiling in the cradle.

A tailor went to a farm-house to work, and just as he was going in,
somebody put into his hands a child of a month old, which a little lady
dressed in green seemed to be waiting to receive. The tailor ran home
and gave the child to his wife. When he got back to the farm-house he
found the farmer's child crying and yelping, and disturbing everybody.
It was a fairy changeling which the nurse had taken in, meaning to give
the farmer's own child to the fairy in exchange; but nobody knew this
but the tailor. When they were all gone out he began to talk to the
child. "Hae ye your pipes?" said the Tailor. "They're below my head,"
said the Changeling. "Play me a spring," said the Tailor. Out sprang
the little man and played the bagpipes round the room. Then there was a
noise outside, and the Elf said, "Its my folk wanting me," and away he
went up the chimney; and then they fetched back the farmer's child from
the tailor's house.

One more story: it is told by the Sutherland-shire folk. A small farmer
had a boy who was so cross that nothing could be done with him. One
day the farmer and his wife went out, and put the child to bed in the
kitchen; and they bid the farm lad to go and look at it now and then,
and to thrash out the straw in the barn. The lad went to look at the
child, and the Child said to him in a sharp voice, "What are you going
to do?" "Thrash out a pickle of straw," said the Lad, "lie still and
don't grin, like a good bairn." But the little Imp of out of bed, and
said, "Go east, Donald, and when ye come to the big brae (or brow of
the hill), rap three times, and when _they_ come, say ye are seeking
Johnnie's flail." Donald did so, and out came a little fairy man, and
gave him a flail. Then Johnnie took the flail, thrashed away at the
straw, finished it, sent the flail back, and went to bed again. When the
parents came back, Donald told them all about it; and so they took the
Imp out of the cradle, put it in a basket, and set the basket on the
fire. No sooner did the creature feel the fire than he vanished up the
chimney. Then there was a low crying noise at the door, and when they
opened it, a pretty little lad, whom the mother knew to be her own,
stood shivering outside.

A few notes about West Highland giants must end this account of wonder
creatures in this region. There was a giant in Glen Eiti, a terrible
being, who comes into a wild strange story, too long to be told here.
He is described as having one hand only, coming out of the middle of his
chest, one leg coming out of his haunch, and one eye in the middle
of his face. And in the same story there is another giant called the
Fachan, and the story says, "Ugly was the make of the Fachan; there was
one hand out of the ridge of his chest, and one tuft out of the top of
his head; it were easier to take a mountain from the root than to
bend that tuft." Usually, the Highland giants were not such dreadful
creatures as this. Like giants in all stories, they were very stupid,
and were easily outwitted by cunning men. "The Gaelic giants (Mr.
Campbell says)[9] are very like those of Norse and German tales,
but they are much nearer to real men than the giants of Germany and
Scandinavia and Greece and Rome, who are almost, if not quite, equal to
the gods. Their world is generally, though not always, underground; it
has castles, and parks, and pasture, and all that is found above on the
earth. Gold, and silver, and copper abound in the giants' land, jewels
are seldom mentioned, but cattle, and horses, and spoil of dresses, and
arms, and armour, combs, and basins, apples, shields, bows, spears, and
horses are all to be gained by a fight with the giants. Still, now and
then a giant does some feat quite beyond the power of man, such as
a giant in Barra, who fished up a hero, boat and all, with his
fishing-rod, from a rock and threw him over his head, as little boys do
'cuddies' from the pier end. So the giants may be degraded gods, after
all." In the story of Connal, told by Kenneth MacLennan of Pool Ewe,
there is a giant who was beaten by the hero of the tale. Connal was the
son of King Cruachan, of Eirinn, and he set out on his adventures. He
met a giant who had a great treasure of silver and gold, in a cave at
the bottom of a rock, and the giant used to promise a bag of gold to
anybody who would allow himself to be let down in a creel or basket,
and send some of it up. Many people were lost in trying it, for when the
giant had let them down, and they had filled the creel, the giant used
to draw up the creel of gold, and then he would not let it down again,
and so those who had gone down for it were left to perish in the deep
cavern. Now Connal agreed to go down, and the giant served him in the
same way that he had done the rest, and Connal was left in the cave
among the dead men and the gold. Now the giant could not get anybody
else to go down, and as he wanted more gold, he let his own son down in
the creel, and gave him the sword of light, so that he might see his
way before him. When the young giant got into the cave, Connal took the
sword of light very quickly, and cut off the young giant's head, Then
Connal put gold into the bottom of the creel, and got in himself, and
covered himself over with gold, and gave a pull at the rope, and the
giant drew up the creel, and when he did not see his son, he threw the
creel over the back of his head; and Connal took the sword of light,
and cut off the giant's head, and went away home with the sword and the

There was a King of Lochlin, who had three daughters, and three giants
stole them, and carried them down under the earth; and a wise man told
the King that the only way to get them back was to make a ship that
would sail over land or sea. So the King said that anybody who would
make such a ship should marry his eldest daughter. There was a widow who
had three sons, and the eldest of them said he would go into the forest
and cut wood, and make the ship; and his mother gave him a large bannock
(oat cake), and away he went. Then a Fairy came out of the river, and
asked for a bit of the bannock, but he would not give her a morsel; so
he began cutting the wood, but as fast as he cut them down, the trees
grew up again, and he went home sorrowful. Then the next brother did the
same, and he failed also. Then the youngest brother went, and he took a
little bannock, instead of a big one, and the Fairy came again, and he
gave her a share of the bannock; and she told him to meet her there in a
year and a day, and the ship should be ready. And it was ready, and the
youngest son sailed away in it. Then he came to a man who was drinking
up a river; and the youngest son hired him for a servant. After a time,
he found a man who was eating a whole ox, and he hired him too. Then he
saw another man, with his ear to the earth, and he said he was hearing
the grass grow; so he hired him also. Then they got to a great cave, and
the last man listened, and said it was where the three giants kept the
King's three daughters, and they went down into the cave, and up to the
house of the biggest giant. "Ha! ha!" said the Giant, "you are seeking
the King's daughter, but thou wilt not have her, unless thou hast a man
who will drink as much water as I." Then the river-drinker set to work,
and so did the giant, and before the man was half satisfied, the giant
burst. Then they went to where the second giant was. "Ho! ho!" said the
Giant, "thou art seeking the King's daughter, but thou wilt not get
her, if thou hast not a man who will eat as much flesh as I." Then
the ox-eater began, and so did the giant; but before the man was half
satisfied, the giant burst. Then they went on to the third Giant;
and the Giant said to the youngest son that he should have the King's
daughter if he would stay with him for a year and a day as a slave. Then
they sent up the King's three daughters, and the three men out of the
cave; and the youngest son stayed with the giant for a year and a day.
When the time was up the youngest son said, "Now I am going." Then the
Giant said, "I have an eagle that will take thee up;" and he put him on
the eagle's back, and fifteen oxen for the eagle to eat on her way up;
but before the eagle had got half way up she had eaten all the oxen,
and came back again. So the youngest son had to stay with the giant for
another year and a day. When the time was up, the Giant put him on the
eagle again, and thirty oxen to last her for food; but before she got to
the top she ate them all, and so went back again; and the young man had
to stay another year and a day with the giant. At the end of the third
year and a day, the Giant put him on the eagle's back a third time, and
gave her three score of oxen to eat; and just when they got to the mouth
of the cave, where the earth began, all the oxen were eaten, and the
eagle was going back again. But the young man cut a piece out of his
own thigh, and gave it to the eagle, and with one spring she was on the
surface of the earth. Then the Eagle said to him, "Any hard lot that
comes to thee, whistle, and I will be at thy side." Now the youngest son
went to the town where the King of Lochlin lived with the daughters he
had got back from the giants; and he hired himself to work at blowing
the bellows for a smith. And the King's oldest daughter ordered the
smith to make her a golden crown like that she had when she was with the
giant, or she would cut off his head. The bellows-blower said he would
do it. So the smith gave him the gold, and he shut himself up, and broke
the gold into splinters, and threw it out of the window, and people
picked it up. Then he whistled for the Eagle, and she came, and he
ordered her to fetch the gold crown that belonged to the biggest giant;
and the Eagle fetched it, and the smith took it to the King's daughter,
who was quite satisfied. Then the King's second daughter wanted a silver
crown like that she had when she was with the second giant; and the
King's youngest daughter wanted a copper crown, like that she had when
she was with the third Giant; and the Eagle fetched them both for the
young man, and the smith took them to the King's daughters. Then the
King asked the smith how he did all this; and the smith said it was his
bellows-blower who did it. So the King sent a coach and four horses for
the bellows-blower, and the servants took him, all dirty as he was, and
threw him into the coach like a dog. But on the way he called the eagle,
who took him out of the coach, and filled it with stones, and when the
King opened the door, the stones fell out upon him, and nearly killed
him; and then, the story says, "There was catching of the horse gillies,
and hanging them for giving such an affront to the King." Then the King
sent a second time, and these messengers also were very rude to the
bellows-blower, so he made the eagle fill the coach with dirt, which
fell about the King's ears, and the second set of servants were
punished. The third time the King sent his trusty servant, who was very
civil, and asked the bellows-blower to wash himself, and he did so,
and the eagle brought a gold and silver dress that had belonged to the
biggest giant, and when the King opened the coach door there was sitting
inside the very finest man he ever saw. And the young man told the King
all that had happened, and they gave him the King's eldest daughter for
his wife, and the wedding lasted twenty days and twenty nights.

One story more, of how a Giant was outwitted by a maiden. It is told
in the island of Islay. There was a widow, who had three daughters, who
went out to seek their fortunes. The two elder ones did not want the
youngest, and they tied her in turns to a rock, a peat-stack, and a
tree, but she got loose and came after them. They got to the house of a
Giant, and had leave to stop for the night, and were put to bed with the
Giant's daughters. The Giant came home and said, "The smell of strange
girls is here," and he ordered his gillie to kill them; and the gillie
was to know them from the Giant's daughters by these having twists
of amber beads round their necks, and the others having twists of
horse-hair. Now Maol o Chliobain, the youngest of the widow's daughters,
heard this, and she changed the necklaces, and so the gillie came and
killed the Giant's daughters, and Maol o Chliobain took the golden cloth
that was on the bed, and ran away with her sisters. But the cloth was
an enchanted cloth, and it cried out to the Giant, who pursued them till
they came to a river, and then Maol plucked out a hair of her head, and
made a bridge of it; but the Giant could not get over; so he called out
to Maol, "And when wilt thou come again?" "I will come when my business
brings me," she said; and then he went home again. They got to a
farmer's house, and told him their history. Said the Farmer, who had
three sons, "I will give my eldest son to thy eldest sister; get for me
the fine comb of gold and the coarse comb of silver that the Giant has."
So she went and fetched the combs, and the Giant followed her till they
came to the river, which the Giant could not get over; so he went back
again. Then the farmer said he would marry his second son to the second
sister, if Maol would get him the sword of light that the Giant had. So
she went to the Giant's house, and got up into a tree that was over the
well; and when the Giant's gillie came to draw water, she came down and
pushed him into the well, and carried away the sword of light that he
had with him. Then the Giant followed her again, and again the river
stopped him; and he went back. Now the farmer said he would give his
youngest son to Maol o Chliobain herself, if she would bring him the
buck the Giant had. So she went, but when she had caught the buck, the
Giant caught her. And he said, "Thou least killed my three daughters,
and stolen my combs of gold and silver; what wouldst thou do to me if
I had done as much harm to thee as thou to me?" She said, "I would make
thee burst thyself with milk porridge, I would then put thee in a sack,
I would hang thee to the roof-tree, I would set fire under thee, and
I would lay on thee with clubs till thou shouldst fall as a faggot
of withered sticks on the floor." So the Giant made milk porridge and
forced her to drink it, and she lay down as if she were dead. Then the
Giant put her in a sack, and hung her to the roof tree, and he went away
to the forest to get wood to burn her, and he left his old mother to
watch till he came back. When the Giant was gone Maol o Chliobain began
to cry out, "I am in the light; I am in the city of gold." "Wilt thou
let me in?" said the Giant's mother. "I will not let thee in," said
Maol o Chliobain. Then the Giant's mother let the sack down, and Maol o
Chliobain got out, and she put into the sack the Giant's mother, and the
cat, and the calf, and the cream-dish; and then she took the buck and
went away. When the Giant came back he began beating the sack with
clubs, and his Mother cried out, "Tis I myself that am in it." "I know
that thyself is in it," said the Giant, and he laid on all the harder.
Then the sack fell down like a bundle of withered sticks, and the Giant
found that he had killed his mother. So he knew that Maol o Chliobain
had played him a trick, and he went after her, and got up to her just as
she leaped over the river. "Thou art over there, Maol o Chliobain" said
the Giant. "I am over," she said. "Thou killedst my three bald brown
daughters?" "I killed them, though it is hard for thee." "Thou stolest
my golden comb, and my silver comb?" "I stole them." "Thou killedst
my bald rough-skinned gillie?" "I killed him." "Thou stolest my glaive
(sword) of light?" "I stole it." "Thou killedst my mother?" "I killed
her, though it is hard for thee." "Thou stolest my buck?" "I stole it."
"When wilt thou come again?" "I will come when my business brings me."
"If thou wert over here, and I yonder," said the Giant, "what wouldst
thou do to follow me?" "I would kneel down," she said, "and I would
drink till I should dry the river." Then the poor foolish Giant knelt
down, and he drank till he burst; and then Maol o Chliobain went off
with the buck and married the youngest son of the farmer.


This brings us towards the end--that is, to show how some of our own
familiar stories connect themselves with the old Aryan myths, and also
to show something of what they mean. There are four stories which we
know best--Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack the Giant
Killer, and Jack and the Bean Stalk--and the last two of these belong
especially to English fairy lore.

Now about the story of Cinderella. We saw something of her in the first
chapter: How she is Ushas, the Dawn Maiden of the Aryans, and the Aurora
of the Greeks; and how the Prince is the Sun, ever seeking to make
the Dawn his bride, and how the envious stepmother and sisters are the
Clouds and the Night, which strive to keep the Dawn and the Sun apart.
The story of Little Red Riding Hood, as we call her, or Little Red Cap,
as she is called in the German tales, also comes from the same source,
and refers to the Sun and the Night. You all know the story so well that
I need not repeat it: how Little Red Riding Hood goes with nice cakes
and a pat of butter to her poor old grandmother; how she meets on the
way with a wolf, and gets into talk with him, and tells him where she is
going; how the wolf runs off to the cottage to get there first, and eats
up the poor grandmother, and puts on her clothes, and lies down in her
bed; how Little Red Riding hood, knowing nothing of what the wicked
wolf has done, comes to the cottage, and gets ready to go to bed to her
grandmother, and how the story goes on in this way:--

"Grandmother," (says Little Red Riding Hood), "what great arms you have

"That is to hug you the better, my dear."

"Grandmother, what, great ears you have got!"

"That is to hear you the better, my dear."

"Grandmother, what great eyes you have got!"

"That is to see you the better, my dear."

"Grandmother, what a great mouth you have got!"

"That is to eat you up!" cried the wicked wolf; and then he leaped out
of bed, and fell upon poor Little Red Riding Hood, and ate her up in a

This is the English version of the story, and here it stops; but in the
German story there is another ending to it. After the wolf has eaten up
Little Red Riding Hood he lies down in bed again, and begins to
snore very loudly. A huntsman, who is going by, thinks it is the old
grandmother snoring, and he says, "How loudly the old woman snores; I
must see if she wants anything." So he stepped into the cottage, and
when he came to the bed he found the wolf lying in it. "What! do I find
you here, you old sinner?" cried the huntsman; and then, taking aim with
his gun, he shot the wolf quite dead.

Now this ending helps us to see the full meaning of the story. One of
the fancies in the most ancient Aryan or Hindu stories was that there
was a great dragon that was trying to devour the sun, and to prevent him
from shining upon the earth and filling it with brightness and life and
beauty, and that Indra, the sun-god, killed the dragon. Now this is the
meaning of Little Red Riding Hood, as it is told in our nursery tales.
Little Red Riding Hood is the evening sun, which is always described as
red or golden; the old Grandmother is the earth, to whom the rays of the
sun bring warmth and comfort. The Wolf--which is a well-known figure for
the clouds and blackness of night--is the dragon in another form; first
he devours the grandmother, that is, he wraps the earth in thick clouds,
which the evening sun is not strong enough to pierce through. Then, with
the darkness of night he swallows up the evening sun itself, and all is
dark and desolate. Then, as in the German tale, the night-thunder and
the storm winds are represented by the loud snoring of the Wolf; and
then the Huntsman, the morning sun, comes in all his strength and
majesty, and chases away the night-clouds and kills the Wolf, and
revives old Grandmother Earth, and brings Little Red Riding Hood to
life again. Or another explanation may be that the Wolf is the dark and
dreary winter that kills the earth with frost, and hides the sun with
fog and mist; and then the Spring comes, with the huntsman, and drives
winter down to his ice-caves again, and brings the Earth and the Sun
back to life. Thus, you see, how closely the most ancient myth is
preserved in the nursery tale, and how full of beautiful and hopeful
meaning this is when we come to understand it. The same idea is repeated
in another story, that of "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood," where the
Maiden is the Morning Dawn, and the young Prince, who awakens her with
a kiss, is the Sun which comes to release her from the long sleep of
wintry night.

The germ of the story of "Jack and the Bean Stalk" is to be found in old
Hindu tales, in which the beans are used as the symbols of abundance,
or as meaning the moon, and in which the white cow is the clay and the
black cow is the night. There is also a Russian story in which a bean
falls upon the ground and grows up to the sky, and an old man, meaning
the sun, climbs up by it to heaven, and sees everything. This comes very
near the story of Jack, who sells his cow for a handful of beans, and
his mother scatters them in the garden, and throws her apron over her
head and weeps, thus figuring the Night and the Rain; and, shielded by
the night and watered by the rain, the bean grows up to the sky, and
Jack climbs to the Ogre's land, and carries off the bags of gold, and
the wonderful hen that lays a golden egg every day, and the golden harp
that plays tunes by itself. It is also possible that the bean-stalk
which grows from earth to heaven is a remembrance, brought by the
Norsemen, of the great tree, Ygdrassil, which, in the Norse mythology,
has its roots in hell and its top in heaven; and the evil Demons dwell
in the roots, and the earth is placed in the middle, and the Gods live
in the branches. And there is another explanation given, namely, that
"the Ogre in the land above the skies, who was once the All-father,
possessed three treasures: a harp which played of itself enchanting
music, bags of gold and diamonds, and a hen which daily laid a golden
egg. The harp is the wind, the bags are the clouds dropping the
sparkling rain, and the golden egg laid every day by the red hen is the
dawn-produced sun."[10] Thus, in the story of "Jack and the Bean Stalk"
we find repeated the same idea which appears in Northern and Eastern
fairy tales, and in Greek legends; and so we are carried back to the
ancient Hindu traditions, and to the myths of Nature-worship amongst the
old Aryan race.

It is the same with the story of "Jack the Giant Killer," which also has
its connection with the legends of various countries and all ages, and
has also its inner meaning, drawn from the beliefs and traditions of the
ancient past. There is no need to tell you the adventures of Jack the
Giant Killer; how he kills the Cornish giant Cormoran by tumbling
him into a pit and striking him on the head with a pick-axe; how he
strangles Giant Blunderbore and his friend by throwing ropes over their
heads and drawing the nooses fast until they are choked; how he cheats
the Welsh giant by putting a block of wood into his own bed for the
giant to hammer at and by slipping the hasty-pudding into a leathern
bag, and then ripping it up, to induce the giant to do the same with his
own stomach, which he does, and so kills himself; or how he frightens
the giant with three heads, and so gets the coat of darkness, the cap of
knowledge, the shoes of swiftness, and the sword of sharpness, and uses
these to escape from other and more terrible masters, and to kill them;
and gets the duke's daughter for his wife, and lives honoured and happy
ever after.

Now Jack the Giant Killer is really one of the very oldest and most
widely-known characters in Wonderland. He is the hero who, in all
countries and ages, fights with monsters and overcomes them; like Indra,
the ancient Hindu sun-god, whose thunderbolts slew the demons of drought
in the far East; or Perseus, who, in Greek story, delivers the maiden
from the sea-monster; or Odysseus, who tricks the giant Polyphemus, and
causes him to throw himself into the sea; or Thor, whose hammer beats
down the frost-giants of the North. The gifts bestowed upon Jack are
found in Tartar stories, in Hindu tales, in German legends, and in the
fables of Scandinavia. The cloak is the cloud cloak of Alberich, king
of the old Teutonic dwarfs, the cap is found in many tales of Fairyland,
the shoes are like the sandals of Hermes, the sword is like Arthur's
Excalibur, or like the sword forged for Sigurd, or that which was
made by the horse-smith, Velent, the original of Wayland Smith, of old
English legends. This sword was so sharp, that when Velent smote his
adversary it seemed only as if cold water had glided down him. "Shake
thyself," said Velent; and he shook himself, and fell dead in two
halves. The trick which Jack played upon the Welsh giant is related
in the legend of the god Thor and the giant Skrimner. The giant laid
himself down to sleep under an oak, and Thor struck him with his mighty
hammer. "Hath a leaf fallen upon me from the tree?" said the giant. Thor
struck him again on the forehead. "What is the matter," said Skrimner,
"hath an acorn fallen upon my head?" A third time Thor struck his
tremendous blow. Skrimner rubbed his cheek and said, "Methinks some moss
has fallen upon my face." The giant had done what Jack did: he put a
great rock upon the place where Thor supposed him to be sleeping, and
the rock received all the blows. The whole story probably means no
more than this: Jack the Giant Killer is the Wind and the Light which
disperses the mists and overthrows the cloud giants; and popular fancy,
ages ago, dressed him out as a person combating real giants of flesh and
blood, just as in all ages and all countries the forces of nature have
taken personal shape, and have given us these tales of miraculous gifts,
of great deeds done, and of monsters destroyed by men with the courage
and the strength of heroes.

Now our task is done. We have seen that the Fairy Stories came from
Asia, where they were made, ages and ages ago, by a people who spread
themselves over our Western world, and formed the nations which dwell
in it, and brought their myths and legends with them; and we have seen,
too, how the ancient meanings are still to be found in the tales
that are put now into children's books, and are told by nurses at the
fireside. And we have seen something of the lessons they teach us,
and which are taught by all the famous tales of Wonderland; lessons of
kindness to the feeble and the old, and to birds, and beasts, and all
dumb creatures; lessons of courtesy, courage, and truth-speaking; and
above all, the first and noblest lesson believed in by those who were
the founders of our race, that God is very near to us, and is about us
always; and that now, as in all times, He helps and comforts those who
live good and honest lives, and do whatever duty lies clear before them.


[Footnote 1: Edward Clodd, _The Childhood of Religions: Embracing a
    Simple Account of the Birth and Growth of Myths and
    Legends_, p. 76-77. (1878)]

[Footnote 2: Kingsley's _Heroes_, preface, p. xv.]

[Footnote 3: _Oxford Essays:_ "Comparative Mythology," p. 69.]

[Footnote 4: _Popular Tales from the Norse_, by George Webbe Dasent, D.C.L.]

[Footnote 5: _Popular Titles of the West Highlands_. Orally collected,
    with a Translation by J. F. Campbell. Edinburgh: Edmonton
    and Douglas. 4 vols.]

[Footnote 6: Campbell's _Popular Tales of the West Highlands_, i. 112.]

[Footnote 7: _Old Deccan Days_. Miss and Sir Bartle Frere.]

[Footnote 8: _Old Deccan Days_.]

[Footnote 9: _Popular Tales of the West Highlands_, vol. i., Introduction, p. c.]

[Footnote 10: Baring-Gould, _Myths of the Middle Ages._]

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