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Title: Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories - Rendered into English
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                    RUMANIAN BIRD AND BEAST STORIES
                         RENDERED INTO ENGLISH

                                   BY

                            M. GASTER, Ph.D.

     VICE-PRESIDENT AND SOMETIME PRESIDENT OF THE FOLK-LORE SOCIETY
              VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY
 VICE-PRESIDENT AND SOMETIME PRESIDENT OF THE JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY
                               ETC., ETC.



                 "But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee;
                And the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee."

                                                             Job xii. 7.


                                 LONDON
                 Published for the Folk-Lore Society by
          SIDGWICK & JACKSON, LTD., 3 ADAM ST., ADELPHI, W.C.
                                  1915



                                   To
                 HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELISABETH OF RUMANIA
                             "Carmen Sylva"
       To Whom the Soul of the Rumanian People is as an Open Book
                          A Page of that Book
                                   Is
                         By Gracious Permission
                               Dedicated



PREFACE.


"Neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the
heavens and the beast are fled, they are gone." The forests are silent,
over hill and dale hangs a black pall; beast and bird are in hiding;
the voices are hushed. But before they have disappeared, following
in the track of others, I have endeavoured to catch the hum of the
bee, the twitter of the bird, the chirp of the cricket, the song of
the dying swan, and all the tales which beasts and birds and little
beetles tell their young before they go to sleep ere the flash of
the glow-worm flits across the darkness of the forest.

I have followed up to their lairs the ferocious wolf, the cantankerous
dog, the sly fox and the wise hedgehog, have listened to the lark and
to the nightingale, and paid homage to little king wren. Who knows how
much longer they will disport themselves in the fields and forests of
Rumania, where the hoofs of the horses, the feet of the marching men,
the shout of battle and the thunder of the guns have silenced--let
us hope only for a while--the voice of the dumb creatures, who still
speak so eloquently to him who knows their language and understands
the cunning spell of their hidden wisdom. It is as if I had gathered
flowers from the field of the Rumanian popular imagination. They are
fresh from the field, and the dew still hangs upon them like so many
diamonds, flashing in the light of popular poetry; nay, sometimes a
few specks of the original soil are still clinging to the roots. I
have not pressed them between the leaves of this book. I have handled
them tenderly. It has been a work of love, the dreamy fancies of youth,
the solace of maturer age. Peradventure one or the other may be taken
out and planted anew in the nurseries of the West, where they may
blossom and grow afresh. They might bring with them the breath of the
open field, the perfume of the forest. They might conjure up the time
when the nations were still young and lived in the great Nursery of
Nature. If one could only bring to the nations of the West for awhile
a glimpse of the time of their youth! In my wanderings through these
enchanted fields I have tried to find whence the seeds have come,
whose hands have sown them, and what spiritual wind and weather have
fostered their growth, whether the rain of heaven or the fountains
of the deep have watered the roots, what sun has shone upon them,
what fiery blast has made these flowers wither and die.

Such as they are, then, they are offered in love to the English people.

I have to thank Mr. S. L. Bensusan, who in true friendship, with
admirable skill and with untiring zeal has helped me to remove the
boulders, to level the ground, to plan the beds and to trim the edges;
Miss C. S. Burne, whose keen sympathy, unerring eye and deft hand have
helped to weed the tares and group the flowers; my son Vivian, who
with loving care and gentle touch has brushed away the dead leaves that
had fallen on the green sward, and last, but not least, the Folk-Lore
Society, which has granted me a niche in its great Pantheon. It is
indeed no small honour to be in the company of the gods.


M. G.

        In the month when
            "smale fowles maken melodie."



CONTENTS.


Introduction

    I.

    Why is the Bee black, and why is it making Honey? How did the Bee
    outwit the Devil?

    I. B.

    How did the Bee outwit the Mole?

    II.

    Why is the Bee busy and the Spider sullen?

    III.

    Why is the Bee black, and why has it a Narrow Waist?

    IV.

    Why does the Little Worm glow?

    V.

    Why does the Little Worm glow?

    VI.

    Why does the Little Worm glow?

    VII.

    Why is the Wolf ferocious?

    VIII.

    Why do the Eyes of the Wolf glow and his Hair bristle?

    IX.

    Why does the Wolf run after the Devil?

    X.

    Why the Goat's Knees are bare

    XI.

    Why did Noah get drunk?

    XII.

    God and the Lamb

    XIII.

    The Hart and the making of the World

    XIV.

    Why is the Fly called the Devil's Horse?

    XV.

    The Devil stealing the Sun

    XVI.

    Why is it called the Bull-Fly?

    XVII.

    Why is the Saw-Fly red?

    XVIII.

    Why does the Saw-Fly live in Stables?

    XIX.

    Why is the Lady-Bird dainty?

    XX.

    Why does the Gad-Fly sting the Cattle?

    XXI.

    Why does the Fly of Kolumbatsh poison the Cattle?

    XXII.

    Why is there a Worm in the Apple?

    XXIII.

    Why are the Locusts voracious?

    XXIV.

    Why does the Grasshopper run to and fro?

    XXV.

    Another Story of the Grasshopper

    XXVI.

    Why does the Nun Beetle cover its Face?

    XXVII.

    Why is the Beetle called the Nun?

    XXVIII.

    Why is the Wasp the Gipsies' Bee?

    XXVIII. A.

    Another Version of the Wasp Legend

    XXIX.

    Why does the Hornet live in Smoky Places?

    XXX.

    Why is the Hornet so spiteful?

    XXX. A.

    Hornet Charm

    XXXI.

    Why has the Woodpecker such a Long Beak and why does it peck at
    the Trees?

    XXXII.

    Why has the Pelican a Big Pouch under its Beak?

    XXXIII.

    Why does the Titmouse get into the Pumpkin?

    XXXIV.

    Why has the Nightingale a Drab Colour?

    XXXV.

    Why has the Nightingale Twelve Tunes and why does the Turtle-Dove coo?


    XXXVI.

    Why is the Nightingale the Songster of the King?

    XXXVII.

    Why does the Thrush hide in the Tree?

    XXXVIII.

    Why has the Partridge a Mottled Colour?

    XXIX.

    Why has the Thistle-Finch Ruffled Feathers?

    XL.

    Why has the Bullfinch a Red Breast and a Big Mouth?

    XLI.

    Why does the Hoopoe feed on Droppings?

    XLII.

    Why is the Wagtail called the Gipsies' Bird?

    XLIII.

    Why is the Hoopoe such a Dirty Bird?

    XLIV.

    Why does the Cuckoo lead a Restless Life?

    XLV.

    Why is the Cuckoo silent in the Winter?

    XLVI.

    The Story of the Crow and its Ugly Fledglings

    XLVII.

    Why is there enmity between the Crow and the Hawk?

    XLVII. A.

    Crow Charms

    XLVIII.

    Why does the Heron drink only Rain-Water?

    XLIX.

    Why does the Kite cry in Dry Weather?

    L.

    Why can the Mole not come out on the High Road?

    LI.

    Why has the Tortoise a Round Back?

    LII.

    Why have the Fish no Feet?

    LIII.

    Why do the Plover fly singly?

    LIV.

    Why does the Spider hang on a Thread?

    LIV. A.

    Why are the Spider and the Mouse accursed?

    LV.

    Why has the Swallow a Forked Tail and a Red Spot on its Breast?


    LVI.

    Why does the Frog shrivel up at Death?

    LVII.

    Why does the Silkworm spin a Thin Thread?

    LVIII.

    Why is it right to kill a Sparrow?

    LIX.

    Why should the Oak Tree not boast?

    LX.

    Why does the Mosquito live in the Well?

    LXI.

    Why does the Mosquito feed on Blood?

    LXII.

    Why does the Fly eat the Cherry?

    LXIII.

    Why has the Butterfly Rings on its Wings?

    LXIV.

    Why does the Cricket chirp?

    LXV.

    Why do the Ants feed the Cricket?

    LXVI.

    Why do Cats and Dogs fight?

    LXVII.

    Why do Cats eat Mice?

    LXVII. A.

    Another Version

    LXVIII.

    Why does a Cat sit on the Doorstep in the Sun?

    LXIX.

    Why does the Fly settle on the Dead?

    LXX.

    Why is the Foot of Man arched?

    LXXI.

    Why has a Snake no Tail? and why do Fleas suck Human Blood?

    LXXII.

    Charms against Fleas and other House Vermin

    LXXIII.

    Charms against Bugs

    LXXIV.

    Why does the Cuckoo call "Cuckoo"?

    LXXV.

    Why does a Wagtail wag its Tail?

    LXXVI.

    Why has the Hoopoe a Tuft?

    LXXVII.

    Why does the Eagle live on Raw Meat?

    LXXVIII.

    Why has the Lark a Tuft?

    LXXIX.

    Why is the Tuft of the Lark dishevelled?

    LXXX.

    Why do Larks fly towards the Sun?

    LXXX. A.

    The Story of the Lark

    LXXXI.

    The Wooing of the Sister of the Sun

    LXXXII.

    The Wooing of a Fairy

    LXXXIII.

    Where did the Swan come from?

    LXXXIV.

    The Swan Maiden, the Bird of Heaven and the Crown of Paradise

    LXXXV.

    Why does the Duck feed on Refuse?

    LXXXVI.

    Why has the Stork no Tail?

    LXXXVII.

    Why has the Swallow a Forked Tail and a Red Spot on its Breast?


    LXXXVIII.

    Why does the Swallow live in Hot Places?

    LXXXIX.

    Why is the Dove a Homing Bird?

    XC.

    Why does the Raven feed on Carcases?

    XCI.

    Why is the Ant cut in the Middle?

    XCII.

    Why does the Cuckoo call "Cuckoo"?

    XCIII.

    Why does the Armenian love the Dirty Hoopoe?

    XCIV.

    The Story of the Partridge, the Fox and the Hound

    XCV.

    The Story of the Partridge and her Young

    XCVI.

    The Story of the Lark and the taming of Women

    XCVII.

    The Story of the Turtle Dove and its love for its Mate

    XCVIII.

    Why does the Wren hide himself?

    XCIX.

    Why is there no King over the Birds?

    C.

    The Story of King Log and King Stork

    CI.

    The Story of the Stork and Little Tomtit

    CII.

    The Story of the Flea and the Gnat

    CIII.

    The Story of the Gnat, the Lion, and the Man

    CIV.

    The Story of the Gnat and the Buffalo

    CV.

    The Story of the Town Mouse and the Field Mouse

    CVI.

    The Story of the Hare and the Frogs

    CVII.

    Why does the Buffalo walk slowly and tread gently?

    CVIII.

    The Story of the Pointer and the Setter

    CIX.

    The Story of the Rat and his Journey to God

    CX.

    The Story of the Seven-Witted Fox and the One-Witted Owl

    CXI.

    The Story of the Fox and his Bagful of Wits and the One-Witted
    Hedgehog

    CXII.

    The Story of the Peasant, the Snake, and King Solomon

    CXIII.

    The Story of the Dog and the Snake and the cure of Headache

    CXIV.

    The Story of the Horse, the Lion, and the Wolf

    CXV.

    The Marriage of Tom and the Vixen

    CXVI.

    The Story of Man and his Years

    CXVII.

    The Judgment of the Soul of Man, accused and defended by Beast
    and Birds

    CXVIII.

    The Pilgrimage of the Soul after Death

    CXIX.

    The Reward of the Good Man


APPENDIX I.

RUMANIAN INCANTATIONS AGAINST THE ILLNESSES OF ANIMALS.

    I.

    Against the Illness of Poultry

    II.

    Charm for a Cow against the Evil Eye

    III.

    Charm for a Suckling Calf

    IV.

    Charm for a Cow against Snake-Bite

    V.

    Charm against Evil Eye

    VI.

    Charm against Evil Eye

    VII.

    Charm against Worms in Beasts

    VIII.

    Against Worms

    IX.

    Charm against Snake-Bite

    X.

    Charm if bitten by a Weasel


APPENDIX II.

THREE STORIES FROM ARKIR.

    The Rumanian Version of the Story of Ahikar


APPENDIX III.

ANIMAL STORIES FROM THE HEBREW ALPHABET OF BEN SIRA.

    I.

    Why were Flies created which live only One Day?

    II.

    Why did God create Wasps and Spiders which are of no use?

    III.

    Why has the Ox no Hair on his Nose?

    IV.

    Why does the Cat eat Mice more than any other Creeping Thing?

    V.

    Why does the Ass mix his Water with that of other Asses, and smell
    the Dung?

    VI.

    Why does the Dog fight the Cat?

    VII.

    Why is it that the Dog recognises his Master and the Cat does not?


    VIII.

    Why is there a Seam in the Mouth of the Mouse?

    IX.

    Why does the Raven hop in its Walk?

    X.

    Why does the Raven mate differently from any other Bird?

    XI.

    Why are there no Counterpart to the Fox and the Weasel among the
    Creatures of the Sea? and the Story of the Fox's Heart and the
    Fishes



INTRODUCTION.


The Rumanian animal tales, which appear here for the first time
outside Rumania, are so weird, so different from any known to the
folk-lore of the West, that they arrest our attention and invite
close examination. They are, for the most part, not only beautiful
in themselves, but by reason of a peculiar flight of fancy and a
powerful imagination are so unlike anything known in other collections
of folk-lore that they raise problems far reaching, and, I venture to
think, of the highest importance to the study of popular literature. We
are moving in a religious atmosphere. Many of the tales start, as
it were, from the beginning of creation. God, the Apostles, the Evil
One seem to take a hand in the work and to rejoice more or less in the
labour of their hands. We have, besides, animal fables pure and simple,
tales designed for enjoyment, tales of fancy in which the nimble and
small creatures outwit the burly and heavy ones. We have also fairy
tales like those known to us in the West and made familiar to us
by numerous collections. A prominent characteristic is the childlike
simplicity of all the stories, the absence of any dualistic element. No
"moral" has been tacked on to these tales, and probably they were not
even intended to teach one. The questions which the study of folk-lore
has raised, whether anthropological, psychological, or historical will
be raised with a renewed force. I shall endeavour, however briefly,
to deal with some of the problems in the light which this collection
of Rumanian tales is able to shed upon the study of folk-lore.

The anthropological, historical and psychological problems underlying
our studies must be attacked--I venture to think--from a fresh point of
view. The view I hold is that the European nations form one spiritual
unit, and that within that unit the various degrees of development
through which one or the other has passed are still preserved. I
believe that we must study the manifestations of the human spirit
from a geographical angle of vision, that this development has spread
directly from one group of men to another, and that, before going
to the extreme ends of the earth for doubtful clues, we must first
try to find them, and perhaps we shall succeed in finding them more
easily and satisfactorily, among some of the European nations whose
folk-lore has not yet been sufficiently investigated. We can find
in Europe various stages of "culture," and these we must trace by
slow descent to the lowest rung of the ladder. At a certain stage of
our descent we may strike the stratum of Asiatic folk-lore which may
lead us further in our comparative study. Let me give some practical
examples of my meaning. The relation between man and animal has been
the subject of numerous highly speculative but none the less extremely
interesting and acute investigations. We have had Totemism, we have
had Animism and many other explanations, which by their number became
simply bewildering. Students have gone to the Bushmen of Australia,
and to the Red Indians of America for parallels and explanations,
or for proofs of their highly ingenious theories. But are there no
animal and bird stories in Europe which would show us how, to this
day, the people understand the relations between man and other living
creatures, what views they hold of birds and beasts and insects? Are
the animals humanised--using the word in the sense of impersonating
a human being? Do the people see any fundamental difference between
the created things? In the fairy tale, at any rate, no such definite
clear-cut distinction between man and animal can be discerned.

But at the root of many anthropological myths the animal is only a
disguised human being. The worth of these Rumanian stories--culled
as they are from the mouth of the people--is their ability to show
how to this very day the people look upon the animal world. Perhaps
another view will ultimately find its way among the students of
folk-lore. What I am anxious to emphasise is the fact that there are,
for the investigation of folk-lore students, mines of untold wealth
that have hitherto not been sufficiently worked.

These tales represent one or more of the earlier stages of European
folk-lore. The elements, not yet quite closely moulded together,
allow us at times to lay bare the sources and thus trace the inner
history of this part of folk-lore. The people are confronted by
a world filled with weird and mysterious animals, birds, insects,
each with their own peculiarities to invite question.

Almost everything that is not of daily occurrence excites the people's
curiosity, and they ask for an explanation of it; where does this
or that animal come from, and why has it this or that peculiarity
in its habits, colours, form and other matters? They are very
grateful for instruction. But it must be of a kind adapted to their
understanding. It must be plausible, even if it puts some strain on
their imagination. The more wonderful and weird that explanation,
the more easily it is accepted by the people, and the more firmly
is it believed. This question of "belief" has often been raised in
connection with fairy tales. It is asked whether the people believe
in the existence of fairies, monsters, marvellous and wonder-working
animals, in short, in all the mechanism of the fairy tale.

To this an unhesitating answer can be given in so far as these Rumanian
tales and legends are concerned. They are believed in implicitly. They
form an integral part--I feel almost inclined to say they form an
exclusive part--of the popular religious beliefs of the folk. The
people are neither too squeamish, nor too sophistical in their faith,
nor do they enquire too closely into the dogmatic character of such
beliefs or into the sources from which they have come.

In the East too the people, as a rule, are good-natured, and a good
story remains a good story, whether told by a believer or an infidel.

The study of these tales promises to exceed by far in interest the
study of mere "fairy tales." We are moving in a spiritual world,
which appears to be much more primitive in the animal tale than in
the fairy tale. We are getting much nearer to the very soul of the
people, to its power of imagination and abstraction. We can see more
clearly the manner of its working.

The comparative study of fairy lore has led to the surprising
recognition of the world-wide range of these tales. In spite of
investigations carried on for close upon a century, no satisfactory
solution has yet been found which would explain the appearance of one
and the same fairy tale at such widely separate parts of the world
as India and England. Various answers have been advanced in order
to explain this surprising similarity. And the same problem arises
here. This collection of tales, as already mentioned, contains two
groups. The larger group consists of the legend or creation stories--in
which, however, one section contains fairy tales though used also
as creation stories--and the other group consists of fables pure
and simple. It would be unscientific, I hold, to treat these groups
on one plane as if they were all contemporary in their origin. They
may represent various degrees either of local evolution, and if so,
that may be found to be the best solution, or they may have come
in various stages of transmission. The theory of migration has been
applied hitherto to the fairy tale. I am not aware that the history of
the popular fable has been attempted, still less that of the creation
legends, which have remained almost unknown until quite recently. I
will deal with each of these groups as far as possible separately,
and the conclusions drawn from each group will afterwards be merged
into one final conclusion established by the fact of their actual
presence in Rumanian popular lore.

Migration, no doubt, offers the best solution of the riddle set by
the fairy tale. No one, unless he solves the riddle of the heroine
in the fairy tale, can win her. But still the opinion of scholars is
divided. The mistake, I venture to think, has been that all the tales
called by this title, and even culled from the mouth of the people,
have been treated on one general principle, without recognising
the possibility that there may be divers layers, some older, some
of a more recent date. This probability seems to have been entirely
overlooked. That which holds good for one cycle need not hold equally
good for all the rest. But the question of the central origin of tales
must not be confused with that of their transmission. Thus a tale may
originate in India or Egypt, but once it has started on a journey of
its own it will be carried, chiefly by word of mouth, from country
to country. And as its structure is loose, a mere framework with
a very simple plot, it will assimilate other elements and undergo
those manifold changes, the investigation of which is the delight
and despair of the folk-lorist.

We are now faced by a new set of stories, some of which are mere tales,
while others are of a more legendary character. I class under the
latter heading all those in which the religious element stands out
prominently. They have assumed their actual form no doubt probably
under the powerful sway of some religious influence. The peculiar
shade of religious teaching which has moulded the actual form of
these legendary stories, and which is of decisive importance in our
investigation, will be discussed more fully later on, after we have
been able to dispose of other solutions offered by the explanation
of the origin of these tales. It will then be possible to approach
the question of the fairy tales from the coign of vantage gained.

Within this class of tales there are some in which the legendary
character is not so pronounced, where the tale is intended to
explain certain peculiarities of animals. These seem to be of so
primitive a character that the closest parallels can only be found
among primitive nations. Here a new problem sets in--the problem of
origins. For curiously enough a striking similarity cannot be denied
to the Rumanian, Indian, African and possibly American tales. But
the similarity is only in the aim. The other nations ask precisely
the same questions about the animals with which they are familiar,
and they endeavour to give an answer to their query. The parallelism
is in the question. Are we, then, to treat these tales in the same
manner as the "fairy tales" and account for that similarity in the
same manner as that of fairy tales gathered from distant regions? Or,
in other words, have we here another set of tales which have been
carried chiefly by word of mouth from one country to another? Are these
stories also new witnesses to the process of "migration"? And are we,
then, to assume that this theory of migration should be applied to
these animal tales, as it has been to the fairy tale? Or, are we to
assume that the unity of the human soul works on parallel lines in
divers countries among divers nations not otherwise connected with
one another? If not, how is this similarity to be explained? True,
the parallelism between Rumanian and Indian tales is not so close as
it is between the "fairy tales." For the animals are often not the
same. They are everywhere local beasts. This change in the animals
chosen may be due to different circumstances and local assimilation. It
is quite natural that for a tiger and jackal, a wolf and a fox might
have been substituted when the animal tale reached Europe, for the
tale had to be localised in order to preserve its interest in a new
atmosphere. One need not go very far to find the same change taking
place even in written literature. The jackals in the frame story of
the Panchatantra become "foxes" in Kalila Wa Dimna in the European
versions. Or, to take another example, in the famous parable of the
"man in the pit" in the Barlaam Josaphat legend the furious elephant
becomes a camel, however incongruous the substitution may appear. If
such changes could take place in the written literature in which the
incidents are fixed, how much more easily could it take place when
a story is carried only by word of mouth? Then the substitution of
a familiar animal for one unknown would be quite natural. The people
want to know the reason for the peculiarities of those animals that
they know. They are not likely to care much for unknown fauna. Unless
those other animals are of a purely mythical and fantastical character,
and as such appeal to the universal imagination, there is no room in
the popular mythology for animals of foreign countries.

If, then, we admit that these animal fables have been brought to Europe
in the same manner as the fairy tales, by means of oral transmission,
then they have preserved their original character and their primitive
form less modified than has happened in the case of the fairy tale,
for reasons which would have to be explained. The only other suggestion
is that these legends and animal tales are of a local origin, the
product of the poetical imagination of the Rumanian peasant, and as
such quite independent of any other source. If this is not acceptable
we must admit a continuous stream of popular tradition, setting in
at a time not yet determined and spreading from East to West or from
South to North, the direction of the stream having been determined
by the presumable centre of origin in Asia, before or contemporary
with the spread of the real fairy tales.

But, it might be argued, as has been also done in the case of the fairy
tales, that these stories are the product of individual efforts of
local myth-makers and popular poets, that they are purely indigenous in
origin. One cannot deny that the people could invent such stories. Some
one must have invented them, and why could they not have been invented
by the Rumanian peasant independently of the Indian story teller?

The cosmogonic setting invalidates this suggestion. Such a setting
presupposes a definite set of ideas about the beginnings of things
which are neither spontaneous nor indigenous. All that can be said is
that, once the impulse had been given, the imagination of the people
followed the lead and worked in its own way on the given lines. This is
the general trend of real popular lore. Each nation mints in its own
fashion the gold brought from elsewhere, and places its own imprint
upon it.

This view I find myself unable to accept. It could be entertained
only and solely if no parallels whatsoever could be found anywhere to
some at least of the more important and characteristic creation tales,
fairy tales and fables.

The question then remains, Where do these tales come from? Are they
indeed the expression of the primitive mind, and if so, have we to
recognise these specific Rumanian beast tales as so many indigenous
products of the primitive Rumanian mind?

Tylor, in his Primitive Culture (i. 3 ed. 410 ff.), discusses at
some length the beast tales found among primitive peoples, tales
that as yet are not the excuse for a moral and have not been reduced
to the background of an allegory. He takes his examples from the
North Indians of America, from the Kamtchadals of Kamtchatka and
from the inhabitants of Guinea. These stories are thus, as it were,
the primitive expression of the myth-making imagination of peoples in
which the animal stands in as close a relation as any human being. Be
this as it may, the conclusions drawn by Tylor rest on this evidence
gathered only from so-called dark ages. He is not aware of any such
tales among the nations of Europe, who certainly cannot be classed
among the primitive peoples. And on the other hand he is fully alive to
the fact that a number of such beast tales have been worked up in the
eleventh and twelfth centuries in the famous epic of Reynard the Fox.

The question arises, Whence came some of the incidents believed
to be more ancient? They lead us straight to the supposition that
such animal tales in a primitive form must have existed among the
peoples of Europe, even as far west as Flanders and France. They
were afterwards woven into one consecutive narrative, conceived
in a spirit of satire on existing social and clerical conditions. A
"moral" has thus been introduced into a set of more ancient tales. But
of this anon. In view of these Rumanian tales we can no longer be
content to leave the question of the compilation of Reynard where
Tylor has left it. The new materials now at our disposal allow us to
follow it much further and to arrive at conclusions differing from
those of Tylor. From the moment that we find in Europe similar beast
tales to those found among primitive peoples in other parts of the
world, we are confronted by a new problem. We may recognise the same
spiritual agency at work: we may see the same action of the mind,
asking everywhere for an explanation of the phenomena from beast and
bird, from sky and sea. Thus far the minds of all the nations run on
parallel lines. The differentiation begins with the answer, and here,
then, the problem sets in. How many nations give the same answer, and
in so doing form, as it were, a group by themselves? How old is this
or that answer or the tale that contains it? And what is the form in
which it is given? Is it a fable or has it a religious colouring? In
endeavouring to reply to these queries we find ourselves face to
face with the problems of indigenous character, primitive origin,
independent evolution and question of survival. We are thus brought
face to face with yet another theory--the theory of survivals--the
most important of all, which sways the trend of the study of modern
folk-lore. I must deal with it here at some greater length. I mean,
of course, the theory that sees in every manifestation of the popular
spirit, in every story, in every ballad or song, a survival from
hoary antiquity, a remnant of prehistoric times, to which the people
have clung with a marvellous tenacity, although they have entirely
forgotten its meaning. Out of an unconscious antiquarian weakness
they are supposed to have preserved every fossil even if and when it
had become burdensome to them. But it must not be forgotten that the
people retain only those practices and beliefs by means of which they
hope to obtain health, wealth and power, and they will take care not
to jeopardise such benefits by any neglect. So long as these results
are expected, the people will cling tenaciously to the beliefs which
promise them the greater gifts. It is not impossible that such beliefs,
being too deeply rooted, might survive local political changes.

But in order to survive, two conditions are essential, continuity of
place and continuity of ethnical unity. The religious continuity is
also an important condition, though not by any means so essential. The
clash of two or more religious doctrines causes on the one hand
the destruction of the official system of religious ceremonies
and practices, and on the other drives to the bottom that mass of
ceremonies from the observance of which benefits to health and wealth
are expected. In the moment when the belief in their efficacy has gone
they disappear without leaving a trace. Very little, if anything,
survives. It is a fallacy to believe, as is now the fashion, that
without such continuity any real survival can take place. This
theory has been carried to extreme lengths, without the slightest
justification. It all rests on finely spun hypotheses in which time
and space have entirely disappeared.

No connecting link has been brought forward to bind the present to
the past. However plausible some aspects of the "vegetation god"
may appear, one must remember the essential fact, that there is now
not a single nation in Europe living on the soil where such practices
as the slaying of an annual king god has been practised, if, indeed,
they have ever been practised, beyond a very strictly limited area
in Asia Minor and possibly in Sicily or Italy. With whom could such
practices survive, for example, in Bulgaria or even in Thrace? It is
known that the population there has changed its character many times,
even within the last eight hundred years. There is such a medley of
races, some old, some new, that it would be impossible to expect
survivals from the Pelasgian or Dacian past. Nor would they have
anything in common. The Rumanians of Latin origin are certainly not
the oldest inhabitants of Rumania. If, then, each of these ethnical
unities had separate practices or, to come nearer to our subject,
separate tales and stories marked with its own individuality, it
might perhaps be argued that these stories and popular beliefs are
survivals from prehistoric times, remnants of a past long forgotten,
embodying a folk-lore and popular psychology which date back to remote
antiquity. None of these nations, and, in fact, none of the modern
nations of Europe, reach back to any extreme antiquity, nor are they
homogeneous in their ethnical character nor the descendants of the
autochthonous inhabitants. There may be a few rare strains of other
blood in the modern admixture, but not of any decisive character,
certainly it is not strong enough to have preserved any survivals.

True, many of the modern practices are no more of yesterday than
these tales and stories are, but again, they are certainly not so old
as a modern school of thought endeavours to make out. Comparatively
modern nations, often alien to the soil which they inhabit, none of
them of a pure unmixed origin, cannot have retained beliefs, tales,
etc., of which their forefathers knew nothing. They could not have
laid stress on things which had disappeared with the nations whom
their successors or victors had destroyed. If, then, we find that
these nations of diverse origins and of diverse times possess a
certain stock of folk-lore in common, it follows naturally that
they must have obtained it in common at a certain definite period,
when in spite of their ethnical and possibly political differences
they were all subjected together to one pervading influence. A great
spiritual force moulded them at one and the same time, and this
produced one common result, which, in spite of its genetic unity,
would have allowed a certain latitude for individual development. If,
as I assume, it was the all-pervading influence of religious sects
which stretched from far East to extreme West and embraced all the
cultured nations of Europe, impressing them with the same seal--a
certain popularly modified Christianity embellished with legends and
tales appealing to the imagination, containing a strong didactic and
ethical strain, propounding a new solution of the world's problem
suited to the understanding of the people, accounting satisfactorily
for the evil in the world, warding off the effects of these spirits
of evil--then it is small wonder that their teaching sunk deeper into
the heart of the people and brought about that surprising spiritual
unification in the religion of the masses which survives in folk-lore.

They would thus date from more or less the same period, when the
whole of Europe felt the influence of teachings which lasted two to
three centuries at least, quite long enough to leave indelible traces.

It is not to be denied that among these tales some may belong to an
anterior period. The newer facts had in some cases been grafted on
older ones. Some remnants of ancient myths had survived the first
process of forcible Christianisation. But only there where ancient
paganism can be shown to have flourished when this new wave of
proselytism set in, only there might one be able to discover such
traces. These are the local incidents, the local colouring, which
give to each tale its own popular character without changing its
substance. Such process of assimilation is akin to the other before
mentioned, viz. the substitution of the European fauna for Asiatic or
Indian animals. Though references to ancient Greek myths occur in these
stories, yet in spite of that the Rumanian versions approximate more
closely to the later Byzantine than the ancient classical forms. The
transformation sets in practically where the Middle Ages part from
antiquity. Here is yet another proof for the more recent phase of
this popular literature.

A grave danger threatens the scientific character of folk-lore, if
a wrong method of investigation be persisted in much longer. I refer
to the system of haphazard comparisons arising out of the view that
everything done and every rite kept by the folk must of necessity be a
survival from extreme antiquity and belong to a period anterior to our
modern civilization--a fossil from the age of man's childhood embedded
in layers of more recent date. For proof of this theory parallels are
sought and found among primitive nations, or those who we believe have
not yet left the rude stage of primitive culture. If, then, something
is found among them which resembles closely or remotely any of the
customs, tales, and beliefs, in our own midst, we are convinced that
these customs, tales or beliefs are really remnants of an older stage,
through which the modern nations have passed before they reached the
present stage of development, and which they have cherished and kept
unchanged throughout the ages. The history of comparative philology
offers the best analogy for the demonstration of the futility of
such reasoning. Nothing contributed so much to make the study of
comparative philology a laughing-stock as this endeavour to build up
theories of the origin of the language on such arbitrary foundations.

How deceptive such haphazard similarities can be is best demonstrated
by the endeavours to derive all the European languages from the
Hebrew. This was believed to have been the original language which
Adam spoke. Nothing more natural, then, than to trace all the languages
back to the Hebrew, which moreover was a holy language. Much ingenuity
and immense learning were spent--nay wasted--for centuries in this
undertaking. The most trifling incident, the most superficial identity
in sound or meaning was looked upon as complete evidence. It has taken
close upon half a century to demolish this fabric of philological
fallacy, and to place comparative philology on a sound basis. We
know now that similarities in different languages may be the result
of independent evolution.

The similarities are often quite superficial. No one would, for
example, compare a modern English word with an old Latin or Greek stem
or with any archaic dialect of these languages, without showing the
gradual development of our modern word. He would take it back step by
step, and then compare the oldest English form with a contemporary
form. Most of the European languages, as we now see, are derived
from one common stock, more archaic than any of them. No one would
now trace a French word directly to that old Indo-European root,
without going first to the Latin; and so with every other language
belonging to the same group. Each nation has put the seal of its
own individuality on its language, which it has moulded and shaped
according to its own physiological and psychical faculties. The
one will have retained more primitive forms; for example, local and
historical as well as ethnical continuity have kept the Italian much
closer to the Latin than Spanish or Portuguese. No one dreams to-day
of reducing a French word to a Hebrew root, despite any similarity
of form which they might have in common.

We can go now one step further and suggest a common origin for the
Indo-European and Semitic groups of languages, a unity which lies
beyond the time of their separation, and it is the dream and aim of
comparative philology to attain this goal.

Returning now to our science of folk-lore, we have a perfect analogy
in the study of comparative philology briefly sketched above. The
analogy is so complete that it is almost unnecessary to elaborate
it in detail. It is obvious that safety and scholarship lie in the
following line of investigation. A European group of folk-lore must
first be established, and the dependence on an earlier common stock
demonstrated. But the historical connection stands foremost, and the
fixing, more or less definitely, of the time of its appearance in the
form in which it now exists. In adopting this line of investigation,
it will then become unscientific to postulate early survivals
for elements that may date from a comparatively recent period,
and for which an explanation can be found by this historical and
comparative study. And just as it has happened in the case of the
study of comparative philology, so it will happen that we shall be in
a much better position to separate and to appreciate the individual
character of the folk-lore of each nation, the form which the common
stock assumes under the psychical and cultural conditions which
characterise its spiritual life. This method will give us also the
key to the ethno-psychology, the ultimate aim and goal of folk-lore
studies. No doubt some higher unity may possibly emerge out of this
historical investigation, for which again the study of comparative
philology offers us the best parallel. Separate groups may be formed of
European and Asiatic folk-lore. The artificial geographical division
need not form the separating barrier either in folk-lore, or, as has
been proved, in the study of language. But to continue the method of
haphazard parallelism and indiscriminate comparison between old and
new will be indefensible. It will be found that even in the so-called
immutable East continual changes have taken place which do not allow us
to assume favourable conditions of continuity and "survivals." Still
less is this the case with the peoples who concern us more directly,
the inhabitants of the south-eastern part of Europe. One has only to
cast a glance at the medley of nationalities inhabiting the Balkan
Peninsula and the neighbourhood to realise the profound differences
of faith, origin and language of Greeks and Albanians, Slavs and
Rumanians, Hungarians and Saxons, and one is forced to the conclusion
that whatever these may possess in common is not a survival from olden
times, but must have come to them at a time when they were all living
together in that part of Europe, subject to one common influence
strong enough to leave an indelible impression on their imagination.

This result is unavoidable if we remember also the past history of
these countries. They have been swept over by nations, one more
barbarous than another, one more ruthless than another, and none
remaining there long enough to become a decisive factor in the
formation of the existing nationalities. Dacians and Pelasgians,
Romans and Goths, Petchenegs and Cumans, Alans and Huns, Tartars and
Hungarians, Bulgars, Slavs and Turks have succeeded one another with
great rapidity, not to mention the numerous colonies of Armenians,
Syrians and Gipsies planted in the heart of the Byzantine Empire by
the foreign rulers on the throne of Byzantium. It would be a sheer
miracle if anything of ancient times could have survived. Assuming
even the theoretical possibility of such a miracle--and those who
hold strongly to such a theory of unqualified survivals evidently
do believe in such miracles--even then it will remain to be shown,
with whom these ancient beliefs and tales originated and survived. The
romantic legend may have, and practically has, been forgotten in its
entirety. Out of one of the episodes have grown the popular Rumanian
poems of the Wanderer.

If folk-lore is to become an exact science I venture to think that the
problem of survivals will have to undergo a serious re-examination. We
shall have to revise our views and try to define more precisely
the method according to which we ought to label certain practices,
customs and tales as survivals, and also to determine the period to
which such survivals may be ascribed. A primary condition consists
in establishing historical continuity and ethnical unity.

If nations of diverse origin and of different ages possess the same
tales and practices, it follows that this common property cannot be a
survival, but each must have received all these at a certain fixed date
simultaneously, quite independent of their own ethnical or historical
and local past. All of them must have been standing under one and
the same levelling influence. This new influence may have brought
with it some older elements belonging to different traditions and
to a different past, and introduced them among these nations, as in
the case of the Barlaam legend or that of the legend of St. George
and the Dragon; but though locally accepted and assimilated they are
not original constituent elements of the local folk-lore of these
nations. These were only adopted and assimilated materials brought
from elsewhere. They are not local survivals.

The analogy between the study of folk-lore and that of comparative
philology can be pursued profitably much further. It may prove of
decisive importance. It is not an indifferent question as to whether
language and ethnic character are interchangeable terms. Russified
Tartars, Magyarised Rumanians, Anglicised Hindoos will speak Russian,
Hungarian or English as the case may be, but this will not change
their ethnical character. They will remain what they were: Tartars,
Rumanians or Hindoos. Thus also nothing can be proved for the specific
origins of folk-lore if found among any one of these nations; it
may be just as much Tartar as Russian, Rumanian or Hungarian, etc.,
for it can easily have been taken over with the language.

The fact that these tales are found in Rumania and are told by
Rumanian peasants is in itself not yet sufficient proof of their
indigenous origin. We are taken out of the region of hypothetical
speculation into that of concrete facts by modern philology. In the
first place, it is put on record, on the irrefutable evidence of the
modern languages themselves, that there is no nation in Europe which
speaks a language of its own so pure as to be free from admixture with
foreign elements. All owe their very origin, in fact, to this clash
of languages, which was the determining factor in their creation and
form. English is typical in that respect in the west, and Rumanian
in the east of Europe. Both languages have been born through the
combined forces of at least two different languages. In England,
through the violent Norman conquest, French was superimposed upon
Anglo-Saxon. In Rumania, through peaceful penetration and religious
influence, Slavonic became part of the Rumanian language.

If, then, we should examine each of the European languages to find
the various elements of which they are composed, we should be able
to trace the origin of much that is also the spiritual property of
these nations. Every word borrowed from another language represents
a new idea, a fresh notion taken from elsewhere and embodied. We
can study the history of nations from their vocabulary. We can
trace the migrations of the Gipsies by the foreign words now in
their language. The proportion of these alien elements helps us to
determine the period which elapsed since they went from one nation
to another. The large number of Rumanian words in the Gipsy language
shows that the Gipsies must have lived a long time peaceably among the
Rumanians, and the Rumanian words in all the dialects of the Gipsy,
from Spain to Siberia, are conclusive evidence for the fact that
Rumania was a centre of diffusion for the European Gipsy. And yet
step by step one can follow up a modification; small at the confines
of the Balkans, it grows greater the further it is carried westwards.

The conclusion is obvious. In Rumanian, the language is preponderantly
of a Latin origin, but other tongues come in to make up its
present character. A comparatively large proportion of the popular
language--which alone is of importance--is Slavonic; then follow in
decreasing proportions Hungarian, modern Greek, Turkish and Albanian
elements, but scarcely any trace of a more ancient local language. In
the Hungarian language there is a large proportion of Slavonic,
then of Rumanian and German elements. The other languages of the
Balkans show a similar mixture of heterogeneous influences. So
thorough has been this process of assimilation that the original
Tartarian language of the Bulgars, who hailed from the Volga--hence
their name--has entirely disappeared. The same has happened with the
Cumans in Hungary. If there is anything tenacious it is undoubtedly
the human language, the means of satisfying one's daily wants. And
yet there is constant change and assimilation going on all the time,
one nation borrows freely from its neighbour and enriches its own
treasury with the possessions of the others. How easily, then, could
a philologist of the eighteenth century, who wanted to compare these
languages among themselves, by collecting similar words haphazard
prove that Rumanian was Turkish, that Hungarian was Slavonic and
that Bulgarian was Greek, or on finding some Albanian words in
Rumanian and Bulgarian how easily could he declare these languages
to be survivals of the ancient mythical Pelasgians with whom the
Albanians were connected. Thanks to our modern comparative science
these languages are placed on their proper basis, and the words and
elements are sifted and separated from one another. Each one by the
form in which it appears in the other languages yields to the scholar
the secret of the time when it was adopted. Having got thus far,
we may now apply these results to the question which is before us,
viz. the origin of these tales and apologues.

It is obvious that where new words went, stories could also go, and
very likely did go. It is clear that the presence of a large number of
foreign elements in the language denotes a peaceful intercourse between
these nations, long enough and intimate enough to make them borrow
freely from one another and to become fixed into one spiritual unity.

If a language contains a large number of foreign elements, no one
can deny the direct influence which the latter has exercised upon the
former. Words, then, are not a mere combination of sounds, they are
the outward expression of the mind. They are the materialised spirit
of the nation, and whither they go that spirit also goes. Spirit
communes thus with spirit. There is and there has always been such
a give and take. And it is for us to follow up this constant barter,
in which the richer unhesitatingly parted with their treasures to the
poor, for the more they gave the more was left with them, as is meet
in the charmed realm of folk-lore.

These nations learn from one another not only words, but the thoughts
and ideas expressed in words. The proportion of these linguistic
elements in the vocabulary connotes the proportion of influence upon
the other people. It must not be forgotten that we are dealing with
illiterate nations, and with "oral" literature. It takes less time and
it requires less influence to disseminate a tale than to disseminate
a language and cause it to be acquired. The difficulty of borrowing
is thus obviously eliminated. We have the fact that even the language
had been borrowed and thoroughly assimilated. No archaic linguistic
element has been found in these languages. And it is therefore not
possible to postulate for the tales and apologues survivals of such
antiquity as is now so often assumed.

Two more points stand out clearly from this investigation into the
history of the language: First, the existence of numerous layers in the
modern languages, some elements being older, others of a more recent
origin. There is no uniformity either in language or in literature,
no contemporary unity of all the elements, but as far as can be seen
none are very old, except a few stray elements of an older period which
may have survived, always subject to the two fundamental conditions,
ethnical and geographical continuity.

The second point is the principle of concentric investigation. If tales
and apologues are borrowed, then those nearest the centre will preserve
the original form less changed; and the further a tale travels--always
by word of mouth--the more it will lose of its original character and
the more it will become mixed up and contaminated with other tales
which have undergone a similar emaciating and attenuating process.

Following up, then, this line of investigation, our first endeavour
is to find out whether there are parallels to these Rumanian animal
tales among the nations round about, and if so, how far they agree
with the Rumanian, and how far they differ. The fact itself that
parallels exist would be an additional proof that we are dealing
here with matter introduced from elsewhere, matter that has been
transmitted from nation to nation and possibly may have also reached
the west of Europe, although very few traces have been preserved to
this day. This is not yet a question of origin, but the next step
towards the solution of the problem. For obviously, if these tales
had been imported, their origin must be sought elsewhere. If we then
compare Rumanian tales with those of the ancient Byzantine Empire
and especially with those of the modern Greeks, then, in our case,
it might be argued that the Greeks were the repositories of ancient
folk-lore. The logical conclusion would be that these tales must be
found most profusely and in a more archaic form in the folk-lore
of modern Greece, and that the variants and parallels among the
other nations must show a distinct falling away from the original
types. Literary tradition or written folk-lore is, of course, excluded
from this investigation, for once folk-lore becomes fixed by being
written in a book it is no longer subject to any appreciable change.

We are dealing here exclusively with the oral folk-lore of illiterate
peoples. The relation between written and oral folk-lore and the
mutual influence of one upon another will be incidentally touched
upon in connection with the tales themselves. But, curiously enough,
a comparison of these stories with the known and published tales
of modern Greece is thoroughly disappointing. Only very few bird
tales--no insect or beast tales--seem to have been preserved, and
these mostly in Macedonia, the population of which is overwhelmingly
Slavonic, but scarcely any from among the Greeks proper inhabiting
European Greece. On the other hand, those few tales, which have been
mentioned by Abbott and Hahn, are very significant. They show the
profound difference which separates these modern bird tales from the
"Metamorphoses" known in ancient Greek mythology. A goodly number of
changes into animals are recorded in ancient Greek literature.--The
story of Philomela and Halcyon is sufficiently well known.--All these
are, with perhaps a few exceptions, the results of the wrath of an
offended god, rewards for acts of personal kindness or for steps
taken to assuage physical pain. They are all strictly individual in
character, and while none of them is intended to explain the origin
of bird, beast or insect, still less are they of the "creation" type,
in which each animal stands as the beginning of its species. And even
in those few tales in which supernatural beings are mentioned, very
little of the "Moirai" or goddesses of fate appears in the Greek form,
though the belief in them is now very strong among modern Greeks. Even
then these "Moirai" differ considerably from those of ancient Greek
mythology. Their attributes differ and their appearance and shape have
nothing in common with those of classical antiquity. The name also
has assumed a peculiar significance, different from that of ancient
times. This, then, is all which the modern Greeks have retained of
the ancient goddesses of fate; none of the other neighbouring nations
knows the "Moirai" by name. They have other goddesses of fate, Vilas or
Zanas, etc. Charon, who is now the angel of death among modern Greeks,
is remembered by them also as the boatman who carries the souls over
the waters of forgetfulness. The boatman alone may still be found in
one tale or another retaining something of the Greek local colour. But
no other direct parallels are found among the animal tales of modern
Greece. Much greater, on the contrary, is the approximation with the
Slavonic nations south and north of Rumania.

Turning, then, from the Greek to the Slavonic tales, we shall find
a much larger number of parallels between them and the Rumanian. In
the collection of South Slavonic tales and fables published by Krauss
only one or two real "creation" tales are found, and others are pure
and simple animal tales of the type of the "Gnat and the Lion,"
"The Wedding Feast of Tom," etc., agreeing more or less with the
Rumanian versions. They prove thereby the popular character of the
Rumanian tales; yet they differ sufficiently from them--as is shown
later on,--when they are quoted in connection with the above. One
of the creation stories is that of the sheep which, according to the
South Slavonic tale, was made by the Evil One, when he boasted that
he could improve on God's creation.

Incidentally I may mention the collection of tales from the Saxon
colony in Transylvania, collected by Haltrich. There is not one single
"creation" tale among them. Only two of the Rumanian animal fables
find their parallels in that collection. Turning to the Russian
tales, notably the great collection of Afanasiev, we shall find a
large number of animal tales, including also a number of "creation"
tales. In the former the central figures are, as in the South
Slavonic, Rumanian, Saxon, etc., the fox, the bear, the wolf, the
hedgehog and sometimes domestic animals, the dog, the cock, the hen,
the duck, etc. The same can be said also of tales collected from the
Lithuanians, Letts and Ruthenians, and to a smaller degree of those
from the Poles and Czechs. All, however, have retained definite
traces of such animal tales and legends. The animal character has
been thoroughly preserved. The fox is generally the "clever" animal,
but is, as often as not, outwitted by smaller animals or by man. The
general trend of these animal tales is to pit the cunning of the
smaller and weaker against that of the more powerful animal and to
secure the victory for the former. It is so natural for the people,
who live under the despotism of the mighty and powerful, to rejoice
in seeing the discomfiture of the great and stupid brought about by
the wit and cunning of the small and despised, and answers so aptly
to their feelings.

In these tales, which belong to the group of animal fables, we are
in a different atmosphere, far removed from that of the creation
legend. We are approaching that phase in the evolution in which the
animal stands for a disguised human being, which, in spite of its
appellation, speaks and acts entirely in accordance with human ways
and notions. These have not yet been found among the Rumanians and
those nations whose folk-lore shows close affinity with theirs.

Having thus far established that these animal tales, fables and
creation legends are neither of a local nor an indigenous origin,
nor survivals from a remote past, and also that the Rumanian tales
do not stand isolated, but form part of a group of tales and legends
common to most of the nations surrounding Rumania in a more or less
complete degree, it behoves us to endeavour to trace these tales to
their probable origin, and also to account for the shape which they
have assumed, as shown in the course of this investigation. These tales
among the Eastern nations of Europe are so much akin to one another
that they must have reached these nations almost simultaneously. All
must have stood under the same influence, which must have been powerful
and lasting enough to leave such indelible traces in the belief and
in the imagination of the people.

A great difficulty arises, when we attempt to define the influence
which brought these stories and fables to the nations of the near
East and thence to the West. Some have connected them with the
invasion of the Mongols. If similar tales could be found among them,
such a date might fit also the introduction of the animal tales
into Eastern Europe, especially if they had originally a Buddhist
background. Nothing, in fact, could apparently harmonise better with
the Buddhist teaching of Metempsychosis and the principle of man's
transformation into beast in order to expiate for sins committed
than some of these tales.--Of course, Egyptian influences cannot be
overlooked in this connection. I may refer to them later on.--The
burden of the majority is indeed that the birds and insects are,
in fact, nothing else than human beings transformed into ungainly
shapes for some wrong which they have done.

Many theories have been put forward on the mediation, among them also
the theory of transmission by the Gipsies. These came first to Thrace,
and lived long enough among the nations of the Balkans, in Rumania
and Russia, to have exercised a possible influence upon them. But this
theory can be dismissed briefly. The Gipsies are not likely carriers
of folk-tales. They came too late, and their march through Europe is
nothing if not a long-drawn agony of suspicion, hatred, persecution.

Some occult practices may have been taken over by some adepts of
the lower forms of magic, and possibly Playing Cards, originally an
oracle of divining the future, may have been brought by the Gipsies
to Europe, but popular tales, though they possess a good number, have
certainly not been communicated to Europe by them. They never had the
favourable occasion for meeting the people on a footing of equality,
or of entering with them into any intimate intercourse.

The Gipsy of the Rumanian fairy tale is mostly a villain, and is
merely the local substitute for the Arab or Negro of the Eastern
parallels. In the Rumanian popular jests the Gipsy is always the
fool. From such as these the people would have nothing to learn.

Next the Mongolian theory has long been put forward as a plausible
explanation, for it has been believed that Russia formed one of the
channels of transmission. This latter assumption, however, rests
on a geographical misconception, and also on a want of historical
knowledge. Up to comparatively modern times, the whole of the South
of Russia was inhabited by Tartars, and the Mongolian influence upon
Russia could not pass the border of the so-called White Russia. Nor
can a temporary invasion of Europe by the Mongolians, who left ruin
and desolation behind them, have been the means by which such tales
could be introduced. They are told at the peaceful fireside or in the
spinning-rooms, and are not carried by the wings of the arrow sped
from the enemy's bow, nor are they accepted if presented on the point
of the sword. They are frightened away by the din of battle. Years
must pass ere the blood is staunched, the wounds healed, and only
after peaceable concord and social harmony have been established,
can a spiritual interchange take place; this was impossible between
Russians or Mongols. We must look elsewhere, then, for a possible
channel of transmission, always subject to the theory of "migration."

Besides, to Kieff, the centre of Russian inspiration, the place
hallowed by the minstrels and poets, the Mongols never came. The only
influence which prevailed there was that of Byzance, and to that we
shall have to look as the channel of transmission and the centre of
dissemination of these tales and legends. These had come from Asia,
carried on the crest of the wave of that religious movement known
as Manichaeism and Bogomilism, and from there they started their
triumphant course throughout Europe. They came along with other
religious legends, carried by the current of thought which also taught
the doctrine of Dualism and Metempsychosis. This is the only possible
source for most of the legends and tales found among the Rumanians
and Slavs, and, as will be seen, it must have been the primary source
for such tales in the West of Europe.

A dualistic heterodox teaching with such a background reached from
the confines of India far into the South of France across central
Europe. It was probably the same agency which transformed the life
of Buddha into the legends of the saints Barlaam and Josaphat.

Nor is this the only legend invented, manipulated and circulated by
the numerous Gnostic sects. Those who have studied the history of the
apocryphal literature are fully aware of the apocryphal Gospels, Acts
of the Apostles and of the rest of the apocryphal tales which were
already put on the "Index," in the first centuries of the common era.

Some of the cosmogonic tales of the dualistic origin of the world,
of the influence of the Evil Spirit, of the origin of the Bee, the
Glow-worm, the Wolf and others show unmistakably such a Gnostic origin.

It is therefore not too much to assume that they have been brought to
Europe and disseminated by the same agency. These sectaries alone came
into direct contact with the masses of the people. They preached their
doctrines to the lowly and the poor. They were known themselves as
the pure (Cathars) and the poor (Pobres). They alone reached the heart
of the people, and were able to influence them to a far higher degree
than the murderous Mongols, or other nations that ravaged the country.

The dualistic tales connected with the story of the Creation are found
also among other nations, especially among those in Russia and in the
countries which belonged to the ancient Persian Empire. Dähnhardt,
who has made the investigation of such legends and tales the object
of special study (Natursagen, i.; Berlin 1907), comes to the same
conclusion that they rest ultimately on the Iranian dualism of the
Avesta. He believes that Zoroastrian teaching has penetrated far
into the North and West, and has produced these peculiar dualistic
cosmogonic legends.

The point to bear in mind in this investigation of the origin of the
Rumanian tales and legends is not so much to trace the remote possible
source of dualism, but the immediate influences which have been
brought to bear upon the shape which these legends have taken. This
is the salient problem. Dähnhardt, of course, discusses the further
development of the dualistic conception, through Manichaeism and
Bogomilism, and thus far is helpful in establishing the connection
between Iran and Thrace, and in strengthening the argument that we
must trace a number of these "creation" legends to the propaganda of
these sects.

It must be remembered that these tales in the European versions have
a thoroughly Christian aspect. They presuppose the existence of God
and His saints; nay, they show a close acquaintance with apocryphal
narratives, which have gathered round the canonical biblical stories
and episodes. The Evil Spirit is a clearly-defined personality, and
his antagonism to God is not of the pronounced acute controversial
type as is the Angromainya who, in the teaching of the Avesta, is
the direct opponent and almost negative of God.

A complete transformation had taken place ere these tales became
the property of the Rumanian peasants, and for that, also, of the
Russian and other North-Eastern peoples, who also have similar
tales akin to certain of the cosmogonic legends--to which reference
will be made at the proper place in the short notes to the stories
themselves. It will not be disputed that some of them are imported,
i.e. belong to the circulating stock of popular literature. Mongolian
influence--as already remarked above--is entirely excluded, in spite
of Dähnhardt. The Mongols never came in direct contact either with
the Rumanians or with the nations of the Balkans, who also possess
a number of similar tales, and must have derived them from another
source, more direct and, as will be seen, more complete than the
versions published by Dähnhardt from Russia, Lithuania, Finland and
Esthonia, not to speak of Northern Asiatic nations. Of real animal
tales there are only a few among those studied by Dähnhardt, such as
a peculiar version of "the Bee and Creation," very much shorter than
the Rumanian version; then a version of the creation of the Wolf and
the Lamb, and of the Goat's knees. These are all taken by Dähnhardt
from South-Slavonic and Albanian collections, again corroborating the
view that we have to look to the Balkans as the immediate centre of
this class of "creation" tales, and then further back to Asia Minor.

The appearance of the "Creation" legends in a compilation of the
seventh or eighth century is not to be taken as the date of their
origin. They may be very much older, and no doubt are, and may
have formed part of a primitive Physiologus in which the origin
as well as the peculiarities of the various birds and beasts were
described. This is not the place to discuss the remarkable history of
the Physiologus. The only point to be noted is that the symbolical and
allegorical interpretation of the tales contained in the Physiologus
is of a strictly religious Christian character.

The absence from the popular literature of such bird and beast tales
as are found in the Physiologus--the Bestiaires of the West--is not
surprising, for the Physiologus deals mostly with animals and birds
which are of an outlandish character. Very few have any reference to
the animals with which the people are familiar, and in which alone
they take an interest.

Though the book was known also among the Rumanians, only a faint
trace of it could be detected among the popular tales in the
present collection. The oldest Fathers of the Church made use of this
Physiologus in their homilies, and the other sects have no doubt done
the same. Some of the creation legends may have found their way into
the old legendary homiletical interpretation of the creation, like
the Hexameron of Basil, and other kindred compilations. All these
tales form part of a wider cycle of allegorised animal fables. In
Jewish literature a collection of Fox fables is mentioned as early
as the second or third century.

Indian literature is full of such animal tales, approximating often
to some of the Rumanian fables. The collections of Frere, Temple,
Steele, Skeat, and Parker abound in such animal tales, in which
the more nimble and quick-witted, though small and weak, animal
regularly gets the best of the bigger and stronger, yet duller and
slower rival. No moral lesson is squeezed out of the tales, and the
animal is not a thinly-disguised human being. Yet there can be no
greater fallacy than, guided by this similarity, to assume a direct
Indian origin for the Rumanian fables.

None of these animal tales finish with the usual "moral," known to
us from Aesop onward. Nor do the people seem to be influenced by
these artificial fables. In the literary European fable the animal
is merely a disguised human being. The animals are performing acts
which have nothing of the animal in them. The Indian and Oriental
fable differs in this respect from the European, inasmuch as in a
good number of them the animal character of the performing beasts
is faithfully preserved. Exactly the same happens with the Rumanian
animal fables. The cat does not play the rôle of the queen, and the
fox is not a sly courtier. Cat is cat, and fox is fox. And yet they
were not unaware of the fables of Aesop. I have found these fables in
many old Rumanian manuscripts, and one of the first printed popular
books of the country was the Collection of Aesop.

Unquestionably a good many proverbs are intimately connected with
tales. The "moral" in Aesop has often dwindled down to a simple
proverb, or has expanded out of it. These proverbs are, as it were,
succinct conclusions drawn out by the people. Anton Pann (in the
middle of the last century)--to whom the Rumanian popular literature
will for ever remain indebted--therefore calls his Collection of
Proverbs and Tales "Povestea vorbii," i.e. "The tale which hangs by
the Proverb." One and all of the hundred tales found in the second and
last edition of this book are mostly of a purely popular origin. The
process throughout is not to invent a story for the moral, but the
"moral," such as it is, is to flow naturally from the story.

This is not the place to discuss the origin of the animal fable
in general. But one cannot overlook the fact that all the Indian
fables--with the exception of some embodied in the Panchatantra--are
found in modern collections. All that we know of them is that they
live actually in the mouth of the modern people. They may be old,
they may be of more recent date.

Against these modern collections must be set now the story of Ahikar,
which carries us back at least to the fifth century B.C., and is
thus far the oldest record of animal tales. It has become one of the
popular stories which circulated in a written form, and became the
source of many a quaint proverb, as probably also of some animal tales.

The recent discovery among the Papyri of Elephantine in Southern Egypt
of the Story of Ahikar has carried back the knowledge of allegorical
beast fables to at least the fifth century B.C. For not only do we find
in that story the prototype of the life of Aesop, but also a number
of maxims and saws, and not a few beast tales, which are mentioned by
Ahikar in order to teach his ungrateful nephew Nadan. We find there,
e.g. the prototype of "pious" wolf, who appears in the Ahikar story as
an innocent student, but who cannot take in the lesson given to him,
his mind wandering to the sheep. There are other wolf, fox, rat and
bird fables in the Rumanian and, still more so, in the Oriental and
other versions. Ahikar himself relates the beast tales, allowing Nadan
to draw the lesson. By the manner in which these tales are referred
to, it is obvious that they must have been well known tales current
among the people.

The real importance of this discovery lies in the fact that we have
here a number of cleverly-used popular animal tales, more than two
thousand years old, whose home was in all probability Syria or Egypt,
embedded in a collection which has deeply influenced the apocryphal
Book of Tobit, and to a certain degree even the writers of the New
Testament, as shown by Professors Rendel Harris and Conybeare in
the Introduction to their edition of the Story of Ahikar (second
edition). The claim for an Indian origin of these fables will
have to be abandoned, unless someone could show older writings
from India, and the possible road by which these fables could have
reached the Western shore of Asia Minor and been taken up by the
peoples of Syria and Egypt at such an early date. It is not at all
unlikely that some of the fables, just as they travelled westwards,
also travelled eastwards and found a home in India as they found a
home in Rumania and Russia. If one remembers now that the fabulous
"Life" of Aesop ascribed to Planudes is almost identical with part of
that of Ahikar, as I have shown, as far back as 1883 in my History
of the Rumanian Popular Literature (Bucharest 1883, p. 104 ff.),
it will not be difficult to account for the West-Asiatic origin of
the fables themselves.

From a Rumanian MS. of the eighteenth century, I have since published
the fuller narrative of that version in an English translation
(the Journal of the Royal As. Soc., 1900, pp. 301-319). The two
tales contained therein have also been reprinted here at the end
of the collection, especially as they vary somewhat from the other
ancient and mediæval recensions of the Story of Ahikar. This story
has become one of the Rumanian popular chap-books in the shortened
version of Anton Pann. The practical application of the fable, the
"moralisation," is a second stage, limited, as it seems, to the purely
literary composition. The people put their own interpretations upon
the fables and often dispensed with any such interpretations.

We are brought back again to the same centre, Syria and Byzance,
for the dissemination of these fables. Such tales were then within
the reach of the teaching of the various sects, such as Manichaeans,
Bogomils, Cathars, etc., and travelled with them from East to West,
where they met the other current of the Aesopian fables transmitted to
the West through Latin and Arabic sources. According to this theory
the religious sectarians made deft use also of animal tales, for the
purpose of inculcating a moral, of drawing a lesson, of holding up the
Church and State to the ridicule and contempt of the masses, and thus
creating the animal satire, the best type of which is the cycle of
Reynard the Fox. I am not oblivious of the fact that an allegorical
use has been made of animal tales in the Arabic literature, such as
the "Judgment of the Animals," under the title of Hai ben Yokdhan,
written in Arabic by Ibn Tophail, translated into English by Simon
Ockley in 1711, in which the lion holds a court, and animal after
animal appears to accuse man; or the collection of Sahula (thirteenth
cent.) in his ancient apologue Mashal ha-kadmoni. But there is no
real connection between this cycle and that of Reynard the Fox.

Any reference to the epic of Reynard the Fox must be incidental. It can
only be alluded to here, and not followed up in detail. A real Western
origin for these tales, taking them separately or as "branches,"
as they appear in the old French versions, has not been found,
nor any explanation for their sudden appearance in the eleventh or
twelfth century.

There are two or three points in connection with this cycle which have
to be kept steadily in view. In the first place its almost complete
independence of the purely Aesopian fable with its polished form,
with its thinly-disguised human attributes, and with its stilted
and stiff "moral." Though modified somehow in Babrius, Avianus, even
Marie de France and Berachya, this latter cycle belongs more to the
literary class. The "clerks" could not take umbrage at them. Not so the
tales in the Reynard cycle. They are thoroughly popular. The animals
retain their natural attributes, they act as they are expected to do,
and they are utilised in the same manner as "political broadsides"
were in later times. The human beings represented in these "satirical
sheets" are disguised as animals, and not the animals disguised as
human beings. There lies the profound difference between these two
sets of beast tales.

And because of their animal propensity, the human beings are ridiculed
and lampooned in the form of animals and held up to the scorn and
laughter of the reader. The bad man, as in the old story of Ahikar, is
likened to the beast, and chastised accordingly. The popular origin
and character of this kind of satire is self-evident. Courtiers
and clerks would not attempt such persiflage of their superiors,
and certainly not in so sustained a manner.

Of the men thus ridiculed none are so virulently assailed as the
Clergy. People do not mind occasionally a slight skit on priests and
other privileged classes, and there are abundant fabliaux which leave
very little to be desired from the point of view of ridicule. But to
have singled out the Clergy for such unmeasured vituperation shows a
deliberate attempt to lower and destroy the influence and authority
of the Church in general and of its ministers in particular. Only
partisans of heterodox teaching could find pleasure and profit in
applying the beast tales to break down the walls of the Church. Only
men in contact with the masses could throw that leaven of critical
examination into the hearts of the people and open their eyes by
means of animal tales to the weaknesses and vices of their official
clergy. Such outspoken criticism seldom comes from within. It is
often imported wholesale from without, or at least comes from an
opposing quarter. In their polemical propaganda these heterodox
teachers brought and used also some of those fox tales for which,
significantly enough, parallels are to be found mostly in Slavonic
tales from Russia and the Balkans.

If such be the partial origin of these Reynard tales, one can easily
understand why they appeared in the eleventh or twelfth century,
and notably in the countries then the very centres of such heterodox
teaching: South of France, Flanders and elsewhere. A very remarkable
fact seems to corroborate this hypothesis. One of the presumed authors
of a "branch" of the French Reynard cycle, Pierre Cloot, was burnt in
Paris in 1208 for heresy. Here we have a man who paid with his life
for his heretic faith, actually working on these tales. It may be a
mere coincidence, still some connection between the Reynard poem and
"heretics" cannot be denied.

With the victory of the Church, Reynard nearly disappeared, yet that
satirical leaven has continued to work in those political animal
broadsides, which stretch from the "Who killed Cock Robin?" in England
to "Who killed the Cat?" in Russia among the Russian broadsides.

There remains now still one section of these Rumanian tales to be
considered, that in which the origin of the animal is closely connected
with what is commonly known as the fairy tale. It is just in this fact
that the pre-eminence of these tales can be found. It is like a window
through which the East is looking westwards. It is noteworthy that the
"fairy tales" found here connected with the origin of the birds and
beasts do not stand so isolated as the legends. To more than one of
them parallels may be adduced from other than Eastern collections. In
spite of similarity, they differ, however, in many points so profoundly
that they lead to a very serious question. It cannot be passed over,
though it cannot be treated here at such length as the problem raised
would demand. To put it briefly, the difference between these fairy
tales and those of the West, is that in these versions of the former
a "moral" or perhaps a plausible reason is given to the fairy tale
which is often missing in the general form of the fairy tales.

The question has been asked repeatedly, "What is the meaning of such
and such a tale," e.g. the "Cinderella" tales or "Bluebeard"? To
Miss Cox's indefatigable labour we owe a monumental investigation of
the first-mentioned tale, and yet for all that the main question has
remained unanswered. This is but one example out of many.

Every collection of fairy tales teems with them. Of course, the
æsthetic pleasure of seeing innocence triumphant and virtue rewarded
might be a sufficient motive, and no doubt often is. The people
like to see, in the imaginary tale, a vindication of the justice
which they often miss in real life. The adventurous hero will also
appeal to the chivalrous instincts of the people, and especially to
the young. Such tales as the epic romances of old require no further
explanation. Still there are a good many fairy tales the reason and
meaning of which are anything but clear. If it can now be shown that
there is a cosmogonic background, or one which gives the clue to
it, inasmuch as it tells the "origin" of certain creatures, such a
tale is at once its own explanation and justification: if e.g. the
final development of "Cinderella" is not that she becomes the wife
of a prince, but that she becomes the "dove" or the "sparrow," then
"Cinderella" assumes a definite meaning. Under other influences,
when such heterodox teachings cannot be tolerated by the powers that
be, obviously the creation tales, with this specific character, had
to lose their "tail," as the stork does in the story, and hence the
fairy tale became partly meaningless. Thus, if the "Bluebeard" could
no longer be "a cannibal," as in the tale No. 83, such a person not
being tolerated in a modern state, except as a wizard, lycanthropos,
or werwolf, he had to be changed into what he is now. The modern
"Bluebeard" is a mere pale reflex of the original monster. He does
not even make the flesh creep sufficiently. This watering down may
have taken place also in other tales which appear to us without any
sense. They have lost that decisive part which gave point to the story.

I am fully aware of the objection which could be raised against this
view of the original character of some of our fairy tales. It might
be urged with some show of plausibility that the process might have
been an inverse one, that the popular story-teller used a fairy tale
to tack on his moral, that the question of the origin of the bird or
insect was an "after-thought," and did not belong originally to the
tale. Theoretically, such an objection could be urged, and it might
even gain in force if applied to the fairy tales of the West. Andersen,
not to speak of minor poets, would supply a proof of it. But we must
bear in mind that we are dealing with the unsophisticated people,
who would not use the folk-lore material in the manner of the
literary artist. They have no preconceived idea to which a tale
or legend is made artificially to fit. Moreover, these tales and
legends are believed in implicitly. They bear the stamp of their
primitiveness. They do not represent a later degree of development,
such as the parallels from the West often show. The existence side by
side with them of other creation tales of animals is an additional
support of the view that the fairy tales have not been "edited" or
adapted to cosmogonic purposes to explain the origin of beast and bird.

Fairy tales are, as a rule, taken out of the range of the survival
theory. The similarity of fairy tales, so striking among a large
number of nations, precludes the possibility of seeing in them local
survivals, and yet it appears unscientific to separate one section
of oral literature from the other. The line of demarcation between
creation legend and creation fairy tale is so thin that it is often
indistinguishable. Both spring from the same root, and the theory that
endeavours to explain the origin of the one must also be applicable
to the other.

In the theory of survivals, however, no attempt is made to deal at
the same time with the question of origins. It has not yet been made
clear, by any of the more prominent representatives of the theory
of survivals, how the similarity in customs and ceremonies is to
be explained, in tales and fables, between the most diverse nations
living separated from one another. If these survivals represent local
tradition, which has persisted throughout the ages, how, then, does it
come to pass that they should resemble so closely other ceremonies and
customs observed by different nations also as local traditions? Is it
to be inferred that at some distant time, far back in the prehistoric
ages, some such ceremonies were used, that, in spite of evolution
and separation, they have survived everywhere almost unchanged, in
spite of the profound modifications of the nations in their ethnical,
political and religious status? Either they are local inventions,
in which case they could not resemble any other, or they all go back
to one common stock, and have survived in such a miraculous manner
contrary to every law of human nature. The only explanation feasible
and satisfactory is, I believe, the theory of transmission from nation
to nation; those resembling one another closely in modern Europe are
not of so early an age as has hitherto been assumed, but have come at
a certain time from one definite centre, and were propagated among the
nations, and disseminated by means of a great religious movement at
a time when the political and national consolidation of the peoples
of Europe had already assumed a definite shape.

To this conclusion we are forced by the examination of these Rumanian
animal tales in their manifold aspect, "creation" tales, fables, fairy
tales. They are all more or less of comparatively recent origin. They
owe their actual shape to the dualistic teaching of the Manichaeans
and Bogomils. They have come by these intermediaries of the religious
sects from Syria and the Balkans. These tales stopped first among the
nations in the Near East, and then by the same agency were carried to
the extreme West. Only in such wise can we explain the appearance of
these tales--whatever their archaic character may be--among nations
of comparatively recent origin like those now under consideration,
Rumanians, Bulgars, Russians and even Saxons and Hungarians. This
is the only possible explanation of the very remarkable dualistic
character, and of the peculiar teachings embodied in these tales. For,
whatever these nations have in common, there cannot be any question
of survivals, for the reasons advanced above. All the nations are
comparatively modern. It is impossible to assume that what might be
a Latin survival among the Rumanians could be so closely connected
with what might be a Turanian survival among the Bulgars or a
Pelasgian survival among the Albanians. There might be found among
these tales traces of more ancient beliefs, myths and customs, just
as it is possible to find similar traces among the folk-lore of the
nations of the West. But what I contend is that these are not local
survivals--that, whatever their primitive character may be, they
need not originally belong to the nations among whom they are found
now. They were brought by the same movement that brought the tales
and legends, customs and ceremonies. The new and the old were carried
along by the same stream of tradition and religious influence. An
adjustment and readjustment of materials, the placing of layer upon
layer, localisation and assimilation then took place. But these are
rocks swept along by the stream and deposited far away from the place
of origin, or, to take another simile, that of the insect and the
amber. The amber has been carried from the North Sea many centuries
ago, nay, thousands of years ago, along the trade routes from North
to South, and has found its way also to ancient Egypt. Embedded in the
amber we have here and there a North European insect which was caught
at the time when the amber was still a liquid, and, imprisoned in it,
became fossilised, and was carried a long distance. If found, then,
among the beads in the tombs of the ancient Pharaohs, no one could
say that that insect was of Egyptian origin, or that fly a remnant
of the local fauna. It had come thither together with the amber that
carried it, and may have remained there if the amber had decayed.

In the same manner ancient customs, ancient beliefs and ancient
tradition have been caught in the liquid tales, apologues and legends,
like the fly in the amber, and carried along with them from East
to West. In this manner they may perhaps be termed survivals, but
survivals of a different kind than has been assumed hitherto. They have
survived only as long as they were tolerated in the lore of the people.

Hand in hand with dissemination go the assimilation and localisation of
these diverse elements. It is impossible to do more within the compass
of this introduction than merely touch the fringe of a far-reaching
problem which arises from the examination of these peculiar beast and
bird tales. One of the most instructive examples of this religious
syncretism, of the manner in which it has influenced the people, and
the form in which it has been preserved, localised, and assimilated,
among them, is shown to advantage in the stories of the origin of
the Glow-worm and in the stories of the Bee. Some of the cosmogonic
legends of the Rumanians are also found among the Balkan people. They
are a fragmentary reflex of a great conception of the world. If I
may use the mystical and symbolical language of the legends, they are
also sparks from a great light that had fallen down from heaven. The
creation of man, the fall of the angels, are here curiously blended
together. They represent part of the teaching that went under many
names but, in essence, was one. That is, of course, the belief in
the dualism of the creative powers, the good God and the wicked one,
styled Satan.

From these tales and legends, which are derived from well-known
apocryphal writings, we can see how deeply the latter have entered the
life of nations which have not yet fallen under the unifying sway of
strict dogmatism, and how unable the people are to grasp the higher
spiritual interpretations of the dogmas and practices of the Church.

From a purely dogmatic point of view, all these tales are rank heresy;
but who among the simple folk knows the distinction between orthodox
and heretical teaching? The people are more easily disposed towards
a simple philosophy which explains satisfactorily the phenomena of
life. They listen with pleasure to tales of imagination. One of the
fundamental theories of Gnosticism or, rather later, of dualism,
is this peculiar conception of the creation. The world is divided
between the power of light and the power of darkness. The latter is
anxious to participate in the possession of light, and for that reason
steals some, which it breaks up into sparks and covers over with
thick matter so that it may not escape. These sparks are the human
soul deeply embedded in human clay, anxious always to be reunited
with the ancient glory.

In this Gnostic teaching we have the very source of the legend of these
angelic sparks now relegated to glow-worms, originally placed in other
"earthly worms"--the human race. We hear, moreover, the faint echo of
the fall of the angels and of the angels of a lower rank inhabiting
(and ruling) the planets and the stars. We even have the legend, found
in the Book of Enoch, of the angels who fell in love with a woman and
remain upon earth as evil spirits, whilst she is translated to heaven
and becomes a star. The interest lies not only in the fact that these
ancient religious conceptions have been so faithfully preserved among
the people, but also in the manner of their preservation. They have
been adapted to the understanding of the folk, and, from dogmatic
teachings, they have become beautiful popular legends. But the inner
meaning has been entirely lost. The old sparks have been embedded in
very thick clay indeed, as can be seen in the treatment meted out to
God, Christ, the Virgin, the Apostles and Saints. They are greeted
with an apparent lack of reverence and respect that must disturb the
equanimity of people of a Puritanic mind. The gods could not have been
put on a footing of greater familiarity; it almost borders on the
burlesque. Primitive nations show the same apparent want of respect
to their gods, idols or fetishes, and we are inclined to put them on
a lower scale of faith and reverence than the peoples of Europe.

A better knowledge of the life and religion of the peoples in the East
and of the Eastern part of Europe would soon change such a view. In
fact, I believe, that if we could descend to the lower depths of
the masses of Western Europe, and especially of those in Catholic
countries, and get a peep into their innermost soul, we should not find
it very different from that of the Slav and the Rumanian. The Saints
are not treated differently in Spain and in Italy on the one hand, or
in Rumania and in Bulgaria, or even Russia, on the other. They have all
the same essential conditions in common, viz. all have a Pantheon of
Saints of various degrees and of both sexes. In Protestant countries
the people have been impoverished. All the saints have been driven
away; a cold abstract spirituality has taken their place, and yet depth
of fervour and strength of belief cannot be denied to these Eastern
peoples. There is, moreover, a sufficient fund of humour and innate
rectitude to keep them at a certain level of morality and albeit free
from the hypocrisy of the so-called higher civilization. So that, if
the Rumanians take liberties with God and the Church and the Saints,
and pay homage to the Devil by mocking and laughing at the jokes
which God performs for his confusion, it is all done more in the
spirit of good-natured banter, not in that of polemical or fanatical
intolerance. Why should the poor Devil not also occasionally have a
good time? He is always sure to be outwitted in the long run.

I am fully aware of the objection that may be raised against
attributing so much influence to the activity and propaganda of the
heretical sects. It may be argued, that their influence was not in
any way commensurate with the results ascribed to them, that they
did not carry the masses with them to such an extent as to leave
indelible traces on their religious life and popular imagery. Some
may go so far as to look upon their activity as similar to that
of some of the mendicant friars during the Middle Ages. Yet the
mendicant friars were able to exercise a tremendous influence upon
the people and, helped by other political powers, they were able to
create a movement which led up to the Crusades. It seized upon the
masses of Europe with an irresistible force. In a minor, yet no less
effective manner, the same agencies were able to arm the Kings of
France against the Albigenses in Provence. Church history, however,
shows very clearly that the power of the Manichaeans was so great
that it has taken the Church many centuries to bring the fight to a
satisfactory close.--The Cathars (pure) have given the name Ketzer to
the German heretics, and every language in Europe shows traces of this
heretic nomenclature.--The struggle was a terrible and a long one,
and if it had not been for the secular arm which placed itself at
the service of the Church for political reasons, who knows whether
the Romish Church would have come out victorious in the struggle?

The question may be asked, How did it come about, that the teaching
of an obscure sect could be propagated from the Black Sea to the
Atlantic and could win the support of so many peoples? The answer lies
in a fact which has hitherto been entirely ignored. The connection
between Arianism and Manichaeism in Europe has to my mind not yet been
even hinted at; yet there must have been a very close and intimate
one. Arianism, in fact, prepared the ground for the new wave of
heretical teaching which, a few centuries after the former's official
extinction, followed in its wake. No one has, as yet, endeavoured to
trace the effect which the Arian teaching has had in Europe when it
became the national faith of the Goths. In them we have a nation which,
from the third century to the end of the sixth, practically dominated
central Europe. It established more than one kingdom between the Black
Sea and the Atlantic, in Illyricum, in Northern Italy, one of might and
strength in the South of France in Provence, with its headquarters in
Toulouse. It had overflowed into Spain, and broke down only after the
invasion of the Arabs. These Goths are described as rude barbarians,
because they differed in their life, and probably in their original
forms of faith, from the Greeks and the Romans. The modern idea is
that their original home was somewhere in the North-West of Europe,
that they came along the Vistula, and then migrated to the country
between the Don and the Ural.

This is not the place to discuss the question of their original home,
yet the whole history of the migration of the nations shows that
the movement came also from the same direction as that of the other
nations which followed upon one another from east to west, and that
these migrations were prompted by tremendous political changes among
the nations of Central Asia. It is therefore probable that the Goths
migrated from the western shore of the Caspian Sea, somewhere near
Lake Ascanius--hence the confusion--then to the countries between the
Ural and Don, and thence by slow degrees southwards and westwards. This
would explain many obscure points in the migration of the Goths. Be it
as it may, we find them in the second century settled in those very
countries in which we now find the Ruthenians and the Rumanians, and
stretching further into Pannonia. The Goths are said to have adopted
Christianity towards the end of the third century, as it is alleged,
by priests and lay Christians brought as captives from Cappadocia
and other parts of Asia Minor. As early as the Council of Nicæa, 325,
a Gothic bishop is mentioned among the signatories to the decrees. An
outstanding figure of the Gothic Christians was Ulfilas, who, owing
to pressure from the non-converted section of the Goths, crossed the
Danube and settled at the foot of Mount Haemus (the Balkans) in the
middle of the fourth century. He had become converted to the Arian
doctrine, and took part in the Council under the Emperor Valens,
which was held in Constantinople in 358.

Theodosius, who became the Great after his recantation of Arianism,
towards the end of the fourth century, promulgated decree after decree,
one more drastic than the other, for the persecution and extirpation of
this heresy; in fact, he was the very first to establish an inquisition
of faith. The example set by Theodosius was followed afterwards by the
Catholic Emperors and Kings of the West, even down to the Holy Office,
as the Inquisition was afterwards called. But, in spite of this,
Arianism spread among the Goths, and, whatever were their political
vicissitudes, they kept staunch to this peculiar form of Christianity,
the greatest and most powerful enemy of the orthodox and Catholic
Church. They spread eastwards and westwards, partly as vassals of the
Huns and partly acting quite independently under their own kings and
rulers. They overran the Balkan peninsula, destroying every heathen
temple, and not sparing Catholic churches. They then sacked Rome,
entered Gaul, and occupied the South of France, with Toulouse as
the capital. They spread into Burgundy and conquered Spain. It
took many battles and many centuries to break the political power
of the Goths. It was rather the subtle influences of the Catholic
women than religious conviction that brought about the conversion
to Catholicism of the Gothic rulers in Spain and Italy. The Catholic
Church, in the year 507, armed the Frankish King Clovis--who adopted
Catholicism--against the Gothic Arian King Alaric, and thus brought
about the first "crusade" between Catholics and heretics in the country
north of the Pyrenees. A crusade was to be renewed hereafter for a
second time against the Albigenses in the very same country and against
the very same cities. Unfortunately very little is known of the beliefs
and practices of the half-heathen, half-Christian Goths. The fact,
however, remains that they held on to their faith for many centuries
in spite of the official conversion of the leaders. In Burgundy,
Arianism persisted down to the sixth century, and among the Lombards
(merely another tribal name for Goths) in Northern Italy, it persisted
to the eighth century.

Meanwhile, other nations poured into the Balkans. Whether they
entirely annihilated the Goths, or whether they assimilated with
them, will remain a problem unsolved. Very few Gothic words can,
however, be traced among the nations of the Balkans. The Slavs,
probably coming from Pannonia, are first noticed in large numbers in
the fifth and the sixth centuries. The Bulgars from the old haunts
of the Goths near the Volga came in the seventh century. The last
heathen king was Boris, who was converted to Christianity in the
middle of the ninth century. No sooner has Christianity an official
status among the Bulgars than we hear of the heresy of the Bogomils
and Cathars spreading among them to such an extent that they almost
overthrew the orthodox Church. The break between the eastern and
western Churches--between Constantinople and Rome--at the end of the
ninth century also contributed, in a way, to weaken the allegiance
of the faithful to the orthodox Church, and the manner in which the
Orthodox vilified the Catholics must have been quite sufficient to
reconcile the people to heterodox doctrines. Manichaeans and Bogomils
took advantage of the schism and the violence of the two parties to win
the people over to their tenets. Bogomilism in a slightly varied form,
as Cathars and Albigenses, etc., spread henceforth from east to west,
following exactly the same course as that taken by the Goths in their
migration from east to west. The ground had been prepared for them,
the seed had been sown, and the work was made easy for them by the
preceding Arians.

There is one feature in this schismatic movement, the importance
of which cannot be appraised too highly. The Word of God was
taught in the vernacular, the Bible and, along with it, uncanonical
writings, were translated into the vernacular. While the Orthodox and
Catholic Churches kept strictly to Greek and Latin as the language
of Scripture and Service, the Arians no doubt, on the contrary,
allowed the people to pray and to learn in their own language. It
was the outstanding merit of Ulfilas that he translated the Bible
into Gothic. This practice of translating the word of God into the
vernacular remained a distinctive characteristic of the schismatic
Arians and other sectaries. They were thus able to reach the heart
of the people much more easily than the Catholic and Greek clergy,
and to exercise a lasting influence upon the masses, far deeper
than that of the representatives of a creed taught in a foreign
tongue. This also continued to keep the Arian-Goths away from the
Catholic Church for many centuries. The change, which came later on,
was due to two causes--the conversion of the kings and rulers, and,
to a far larger degree than has hitherto been recognised, the loss of
the Teutonic language. The Goths slowly forgot their own language and
adopted that of the nations in whose midst they lived as a minority.

This explains much more satisfactorily than has hitherto been attempted
the mysterious disappearance of the Goths after the official conversion
of Recared in Spain, and the overthrow of Alaric by Clovis in the
beginning of the sixth century in the South of France. In Italy
they kept to their Arianism under the name of Lombards, down to
the eighth century. It must not, however, be assumed that with the
public disappearance of Arianism and that of the Goths as a ruling
nation, the Arian heresy and all that it brought to the people had
also disappeared. That teaching could not easily be uprooted. It was
merely driven underground. The Catholic Church was satisfied with
having obtained an official public victory. Then followed a slow
process of extirpation. The writings of the schismatics were hunted
up and destroyed, and thus the wells of heresy were dried up. The
people were weaned from their errors by the convincing power of sword
and faggot. But so long as these sinners did not belong to the higher
classes, the Church winked at their aberrations, especially when they
kept quiet and were not aggressive in their action.

Thus the fire of heresy smouldered on under the ashes of the
autos-da-fé until it was fanned again into a mighty blaze through the
Cathars and Albigenses. The ground was prepared for their reception by
the Arianism of the Goths, and by the Manichaean propaganda, which had
penetrated into Europe from the West as early as the fourth century.

It is important in this connection to refer, however briefly, to
the Priscillianites in Spain, who flourished from the middle of
the fourth to the second half of the sixth century, close upon two
hundred years. The founder was Priscillianus (d. 385) a man of noble
birth and great achievement. He was a great scholar, and had become
acquainted with Gnostic and Manichaean doctrines. He was accused of
heresy, and was the first Christian who was executed by Christians for
preaching a different form of creed. The accusations made against him
and his followers were precisely the same which were raised centuries
afterwards against the Cathars and Albigenses, and no doubt just
as false. From them we learn, however, that he had apocryphal books
and mystical oriental legends, which he used for his teaching, and
which were believed by his followers. It took two, or close upon three
centuries, before the public traces of Priscillianism disappeared from
Spain and Gaul. The followers, probably, shared the fate of the Gothic
Arians settled in these countries. Then the conquest of Spain by the
Arabs or Moors prevented the Catholic Church from further sifting the
chaff from the grain. No doubt a good number of so-called heretics,
who could not enter the bosom of the Catholic Church, embraced Islam,
just as a good number of prominent Cathars in Dalmatia and Bosnia
preferred to become Mohammedans after the conquest of the country by
the Turks rather than become united with the Orthodox Church. When
the Cathars started their propaganda, they followed, as it were,
in the track of the Goths. They occupy exactly the same tracts of
land as those held for so many centuries by the former, and without
a doubt they found there remnants of the old heresy, popular legends
and beliefs, even tales and mystical as well as mythical songs, all
so many welcome pegs on which to hang their own teaching. It may in a
way have been a kind of revival, in which what had been preserved by
the descendants from the Goths of old was blended with the new matter
brought afresh from the East. Unfortunately--as already remarked--too
little is known of the beliefs and practices of the Goths in their
pagan state and afterwards as Arian Christians. That they, in spite
of being "rude barbarians," had also some theological treatises is
evident from Anathema No. 16 of the Council of Toledo (589), when
Recared forswore his Arianism and became a fervent Catholic. The
anathema runs against "the abominable treatises which we composed to
seduce the provincials into the Arian heresy." Many such compositions,
especially in the vernacular, must be meant here; they all fell under
the ban.

The Cathars followed the same practice and were zealous propagators and
translators of the Bible and Apocrypha into the vernacular. They knew
the Bible so well that in disputations with the Catholic clergy the
latter were easily beaten. Almost every one of the "forbidden" books,
i.e. forbidden by the Orthodox and Catholic Church, was preserved in
old Slavonian (and Rumanian) translations, and some are to be found
this very day among the holy books of the Russian schismatics. Nay,
even the oldest French translation of the Bible was the work of
Albigenses. So much did this affect the Catholic Church that she
excommunicated it, and forbade the people to read the Bible at the
Council of Toulouse in 1229; the Bible in the vernacular having before
been ordered to be burned publicly by the decree of the Church.

No wonder, therefore, at the popularity of these sectaries and
the immense influence they wielded upon the popular mind and
imagination. And if it be true that Arius set forth his religious
views in doggerel rhymes to be sung to popular tunes by the sailors
and labourers, then he initiated a movement which has continued ever
since in religious minstrelsy, and is practised amongst others, by the
Russian blind beggar-minstrels and other popular ballad singers on
festive occasions among the Rumanians and southern Slavs. Nothing,
in fact, could better serve the purpose of propaganda than such
songs. They would appeal at once to the primitive, unlettered nations,
specially amongst those who had such mythological epics of their
own. The rude barbarians would be deeply impressed, and they would very
easily adopt such songs and the teaching they contained. We can then
easily understand a Volsunga Saga or a similar saga originating under
such influences, or moulded in accordance with such new models. Neither
the Orthodox nor the Catholic Church knows of such popular religious
songs of an epic character, filled with the mysteries of the Holy
Writ, much less of any filled with mysteries from the apocryphal and
legendary writings. They have no more than Church hymns sung in the
Church, only on special occasions, together with a certain psalmody
chanted by the officiating clergy. And when these Greek (or Syriac)
hymns were translated into Slavonic or Rumanian, they practically
lost their tune and their inspiration, and they were recited with a
peculiar monotonous cantilation. Quite otherwise were the popular
carols, and the popular epic ballads with a distinctive religious
background and full of wonderful incidents from the life of the
saints. Unlike the former, they are not congregational litanies, but
purely popular songs and ballads, devoid of any official or liturgical
character. This may also explain the origin of the so-called Ambrosian
chant as an attempt on the part of St. Ambrose of Milan to counteract
the other popular chants by introducing, as it were, congregational
singing into the Church. But there it remained, whilst the other
spread and has retained its original popular character. Thus, through
Gothic Arianism, a certain continuity of the dualistic and peculiar
schismatic form of religious teaching has been established.

Moreover, an historic explanation has been found for the origin and
spread of these doctrines, tales and fables. Put to the test, these
beast tales yield a dogmatic system which approximates in many points
to such heterodox teaching. The old Ebionite conception of Jesus,
taken up by Arius and afterwards adopted by the Manichaeans, sees in
him only a deified human being, and very little more can be found in
these tales. Jesus is seldom mentioned, and even then is more like
a deified all-powerful human being. God Himself is often treated as
a simple human being, almost like the Ialdabaoth of the Gnostics or
the inferior God of the Manichaean doctrine. With this, agrees also
the notion of the dualism in the creation of the world, i.e. that the
evil creatures, wolves, poisonous snakes, etc., are the work of the
Evil One. This was also the view held by the Priscillianites. There
seem to be, also, reminiscences of such myths as "the world tree,"
the wolf, etc., which are found in Teutonic mythology and which
may also be of an Oriental origin. The Rumanian tales are almost a
running commentary on Grimm's German Mythology (Germ. 4th ed. 1876,
ch. xxiii. pp. 539-581), which ought to be read in conjunction with
the present volume. The legend of the Cuckoo, the hoopoe referred to
by Grimm, can be read here under No. 43.

It is significant that there is not a trace of Mariolatry in these
tales and fables. If anything, St. Mary appears in a character far
from loveable. She is easily offended, she does not spare her curses,
she takes umbrage easily at the slightest mishap. She is altogether
very disagreeable, just as in the apocryphal literature, where there
is not much room for her. Her intercession is invoked only in some
Rumanian charms and spells in a peculiar stereotyped form. But of real
worship there is scarcely any trace. Quite different is the position
which the Catholic Church assigned afterwards to St. Mary. She has
become there second to none outside the Trinity.

More prominently almost than any of these points, stands out the fact
that, underlying these creation and other tales, is the belief in the
transmigration of the human soul into an animal body--the well-known
belief in Metempsychosis, or change of human beings into animals,
so important a feature of Manichaean teaching, in which all the
heretical sects seem to have shared.

It is impossible now to follow this question further. I am satisfied
to have indicated the rôle which the Goths may have played in the
preparation for the dissemination of special myths and legends,
branded as heretical, which other sectaries had brought from the East
and propagated in the West of Europe.

As to possible ethnical and geographical continuity, it may be
remarked that the places where these tales are found were also the
homesteads of the Goths, in which they dwelt for at least two or
three hundred years. They were then after a short interval almost
supplanted by the Slavs. It is a moot point how long the Rumanians
have dwelt there, and when they were converted to Christianity. Not
a single old Teutonic word has hitherto been found in the Rumanian
language. Any direct contact or convivium of any length of time is
thus excluded. The tales may have been remnants carried along from
Illyricum across the Danube by the new missionaries of the dualistic
doctrine. The problem would be less intricate if we only knew anything
definite about Gothic heathen and Christian mythology.

With the Cathars and Bogomils we are on more solid ground. This
new stream of similar traditions was brought by a similar religious
movement and was propagated by identical means--viz. writings and
songs in the language of the people, legends and tales and a simple
creed understood by all.

It may be asked, if this theory is correct, if these tales and legends
were brought first into Thrace and then spread from that country to
the other nations, how does it come to pass that so few traces of
them can be found in Greek folk-lore? Paradoxical as it may sound,
the absence of such creation and other legends and tales from the
Greek folk-lore is, if anything, a further proof of the accuracy of the
theory advanced. It must be remembered that there was no more ruthless
persecution of ancient paganism, idolatry, ceremonies and legends than
that carried out by the Greek Church against anything that reminded
them of the Hellenic or pagan past. Nothing was spared, neither
shrines nor books. The Greek's subtle mind devised the first thorough
system of heresy-hunting and persecution. It ranged from polemical
and harmless dialogues to the handing over of the so-called heretics
to fire and sword. The secular power was there more than anywhere
else the representative of the religious power, and justified its
existence, as it were, only as the executor of the Church's mandate.

One has only to read about the innumerable decrees of councils and
synods, to see the way in which Manichaeism, Arianism and Gnosticism
in every shape and form were mercilessly uprooted, and to understand
that this fight did not stop at Bogomilism. The polemics were carried
out even down to the time of Eutemios Zygabenos and even the Emperors
on the throne of Byzance did not consider it below their dignity
to combat heretical teaching, the followers of which were given no
pardon. There was also another factor which militated against the
success of the Gnostic teaching--the literary past of the Greeks. To
the circulation of apocryphal books and legendary tales, the Greeks
were able to oppose a vast literary array. In Greece the Bogomils did
not deal with simple-minded, illiterate folk at the beginning of whose
literature they stood; on the contrary, they had to fight against
an ancient influential literature, and against minds trained in the
subtlest dialectics. They could not, therefore, succeed so easily,
if at all.

Quite different were the conditions of the other nations with which
they came in contact. None of these had yet more than the very
beginnings of a literature. They were rude, simple-minded folk,
and wherever the Greek Church or Greek Emperors did not wield any
influence at all, as it happened in the Bulgaro-Vallachian kingdom
established by Peter and Asan (1185 to 1257), the Bogomils had an easy
task. For centuries, then, the Rumanians formed with the Bulgarians not
only a religious, but also a political unity. The Bulgaro-Vallachian
kingdom stretched from the Haemus to the Carpathians, and down to the
end of the seventeenth century Slavonic was the official language of
State and Church in Rumania. There could not have been a more close
intimacy than between these two nations, despite the difference of the
language which each of them spoke. They had their literature in common,
and no doubt shared the same traditions. Bogomilism was just as rife
in Vallachia as it was in Bulgaria. Even the written literature of
Rumania shows how profound its influence has been: still more so does
the oral literature of tales and legends, of fables and beliefs. Though
the Bogomils did not bring Christianity to these peoples, for they were
Christians, they brought at any rate a kind of religion to the mass of
the folk. It was one of their own making and in their own image. It
was clothed in beautiful tales, and answered the expectations of the
rank and file, satisfied their curiosity, and gave them a glimpse of
the moral beauty underlying the work of creation. In a way, it tended
to purify the heart and to elevate the soul by allegories, parables
and apologues, and thus it found ready acceptance, and struck deep
root in the heart of the people, unaffected by decrees of Councils
and by the fanatical intolerance of the established Church.

Not so successful, therefore, if successful at all, was the fight
of the Greek Church against the heretical sects even in the Balkan
Peninsula, where they were so numerous and so powerful. They persisted
down to the time of the capture of Constantinople and the Turkish
rule. A large number of the aristocracy in Bosnia and Dalmatia
still adhered to the teaching of the Cathars, and when the Turks
occupied the country in the sixteenth century, the majority of them
embraced Islam, instead of entering either the Catholic or the Greek
Church. A whole mass of apocryphal and spurious literature placed
on the Index, has been preserved in Slavonic and Rumanian texts
with outspoken dualistic views. Many of them have found their way
into the Lucidaria, or "Questions and Answers," a kind of catechism,
very popular among the nations of the Balkans, the Rumanians and the
Russians. Similar Lucidaria were known in the West, but there they have
been thoroughly expurgated, whilst, in the above-mentioned "questions,"
many an answer is found to which no orthodox Church would subscribe,
but which form now a popular living belief among these nations. The
political lethargy which settled upon most of these nations after
the Turkish conquest created a happy brooding-place for such tales,
and thus it can easily be understood why they have lived to this very
day practically undisturbed and little changed.

To those who have followed the history of the religious development
of the Russians, it will therefore not be surprising to find among
their popular tales a number of variants closely allied to the
Rumanian animal tales, and, what is of the utmost importance in
this connection, not a few of the "creation" tales. No country
perhaps has been so much torn by religious discussions and sects
as Russia. The number of sects is legion. The most extraordinary
notions, extreme views on dogma and practice, heterodox principles
expressed in worship, belief and popular song or tale are all found
in Russia: unadulterated Dualism, Bogomilism, Manichaean teaching are
openly professed by a number of the sects persecuted and condemned
by the Orthodox Church. Almost all the books condemned as heretical
in the early Indices Expurgatoria put forth by Councils and Church
Assemblies, have been preserved almost intact in the old Slavonic
and Russian language, and the religious and epic songs of the "blind"
minstrels of Russia are full of the legendary lore of those heterodox
sects. This fact has been established beyond doubt by the researches
of Russian scholars, and notably by Wesselofsky. Among the Russians,
then, we find the nearest parallels to the Rumanian "creation"
stories; a clear evidence of common origin, both drawing upon the
same source of information; the religious in the form of apologues,
legends and tales, so prominent a feature of heterodox propaganda.

The weapons used by the Catholic Church in its persecution of
heretical sects are, almost every one of them, borrowed from the
Greek armoury. One learns to know this fact more and more from a
closer enquiry into the inner history of Byzance, its laws, decrees,
administration and practice. And, precisely the same influence
destroyed later the heretical teaching in the West as it destroyed it
among the Greeks. The power of the Church and the secular arm were
both used ruthlessly for exterminating any idea or any belief that
ran counter to the doctrines taught by the established Church. The
Cathars had also a much more difficult task in converting the East of
Europe, inasmuch as they were also confronted there by some amount of
literary tradition. Illiterate as were the masses, there were still
among them and among their clerics, men of ability, men of learning,
men trained in the scholastic schools, able, if not to refute, at
any rate to confuse, the strange doctrine.

All these forces combined, produced in the East the same result
as they have produced among the Greeks. We are thus on the track
of one of the most important sources of Western European folk-lore,
always remembering that the medium in which this propaganda flourished
differed considerably in the West from that in the East. In the former
such propaganda met with a more ancient layer of well-established
literary tradition. The Catholic Church, as mentioned above, was first
in possession. It was not a tabula rasa on which the new teaching
could be written, but yet that which existed was profoundly modified
and a new fund of highly poetic yet popular material was added to the
small store of knowledge possessed by the common people. But in time
the Church took up the challenge, and remorselessly hunted down the
apostles of popular heterodox teaching, just as the Greeks had done,
going even further. It punished with sword and fire the followers of
unauthorised practices, and branded every deviation from the strait
path as rank heresy. The books containing legends and tales were burnt,
and their possessors were often treated in like fashion.

Inquisition, Church and other influences helped, as already mentioned,
to destroy them. In the tragedy of heresy-hunting and burning
of witches, the charge of devil worship was the basic principle,
the chief head of accusation. It was clearly devised against the
followers of the dualistic teaching. To tell a tale like any of these
Rumanian "creation" tales, would have been inviting the heaviest
punishment--to believe in it would have meant sure death. No wonder
that they disappeared quickly, or were changed into harmless satires,
as in the Reynard Cycle, or were even used for political cartoons,
in broadsides, like the Cock Robin Cycle in the time of Charles II.,
which, when transplanted to Russia, became a political lampoon on
Peter and his Court.

Heresy-hunting becomes a popular distraction only when the official
clergy find it profitable to make it so, and when the people are made
to trace their own ills and troubles, their losses in field and stable,
to the evil machinations of these tools of the devil. So long as they
are not suffering in body or purse, the folk are absolutely indifferent
to dogmas, and they will eagerly accept anything that pleases them. It
will therefore not come as a surprise, in view of what has been stated,
if we find some weird conceptions among the Rumanian peasantry.

Studied from the point of view of heresiology or rather of popular
psychology, some of these tales will appear to us as so many living
records of the great spiritual movement, which for centuries dominated
Europe, and which has since died out.

Too little attention has been given hitherto to the influence of those
numerous sects, which stretched from Asia Minor to the south of France,
and overflowed even into England. Their dualism, the strong belief
in the Power of Evil, Satan and his host, the consequent duty of the
faithful to banish him or to subdue him, thus developed into belief in
sorcery and witchcraft, with the attending horrors of the Inquisition.

Then came a period of wider education still less tolerant of old
women's superstition and nursery tales. What was left still standing
has been, and is being, finally destroyed by our modern schools and
schoolmasters. From this dire fate, the folk-lore of the nearer East
has as yet been preserved. The importance of the study of folk-lore
has happily been recognised in those countries, early enough to stop
the blight which had set in and which threatened to destroy it more
ruthlessly than even in the West. The modern "man of science" is a
more relentless iconoclast than the religious fanatic. He starts
from the mind in his attempt to destroy folk-lore, using to this
end cold reasoning, logical conclusions, spiritual prepossession
and intolerance. The religious fanatic starts from the heart, with
overwhelming passion, fiery zeal, unreasoning hatred, from which
there is a possible escape for mysticism and mythical lore, whilst
from the former there is none. Happily, our science of folk-lore with
its deep sympathy and profound appreciation of these manifestations
of the popular psyche has come in the nick of time to rescue from
total extinction what the schoolmaster and the heresy-hunter have
not yet annihilated.

I turn now to another aspect of these bird and beast tales. If, as I
believe, they show us what is at the back of the mind of the people,
they are of invaluable service to the student of anthropology, above
all to him who seeks enlightenment in the grave problems of education
and civilization; and they are not without importance for the solution
of political problems.

Attempts are made--well meant, no doubt--to foist that state of culture
which the West calls "modern civilization," or "civilization" pure
and simple, upon the reluctant people of the Near and Far East. We
are forgetful of the fact that these nations have had a civilization
of their own, and that something more important is included in this
forcible change than the change of a dress.

As the outcome of a long-drawn battle between feudalism and modern
society, as a result of political and economic evolutions, the
civilization of the West, when introduced among nations that have not
gone through the same experience, acts like the Juggernaut car, which
crushes under its wheels the worshippers of this new god and destroys
at the same time the foundations of the old order of things. Only
students of folk-lore, those who try to reach the hidden depths, nay,
to penetrate the inner soul of the people, are in a position to judge
of the results of these civilizing attempts. They can compare the past
with the present, and draw a proper balance between gain and loss. Are
the people happier, more contented, more moral, and even more religious
after the change, than they were before it? Surely not. And if not,
why not? The answer is very simple: because in this violent change no
tenderness is shown to those beliefs and practices which are dear to
the people and which help to lighten the burden of life by innocent
mirth and the wholesome play of fancy. Wire brooms may sweep well; but
they may do it too well, and they can sweep everything away, leaving
the home bare and the gardens stripped of every leaf and flower.

A few words concerning the order and grouping of these tales. They
have been arranged in three main groups. The first comprises those
tales which I have characterised as creation legends. In them the
origin of birds, beasts and insects is explained as the result of
some direct act of God, or the Saints, or the Devil. An attempt has
been made to follow a certain chronological order. Those tales stand
first in which God is acting at the beginning of the creation. Then,
following the Biblical order, the legends connected with the persons
of sacred history from Adam to the Apostles, including St. Mary
and St. Anne. Mystical Christmas carols or rather epic ballads,
in which similar subjects are treated, have been inserted between
the legends. The second section comprises such legends as are more
like fairy tales. The mythical personages are no longer those known
through the Scriptures. On the contrary, there are in these tales
reminiscences of ancient heathen gods and heroes, chief among them
being Alexander the Great.

In the third section the animal fables are grouped together. It
is the literature of the apologues without any framework or moral
setting. The parallels, as far as could be found, are given briefly at
the end of each legend, tale or fable. I have striven to be concise in
my references to the best-known collections of tales, such as Grimm,
Hahn, Cosquin, and Gonzenbach, where the student of fairy tales can
easily find the whole comparative literature.

For the genuine and unadulterated popular origin of these tales I
can vouch absolutely. Some I have heard in my early youth, but the
majority have been culled from the works of S. Fl. Marian (Ornitologia
poporana Româna, 2 vols., Cernauti 1883; and Insectele, Bucharest
1903), than whom a more painstaking trustworthy collector could
not be imagined. Some have been taken from the Folk-lore reviews,
Sezatoarea, ed. by A. Gorovei (i.-xii., Falticeni 1892 to 1912),
and Ion Creanga, published by the Society of that name (i.-viii.,
Barlad 1908-1915). Anton Pann (Poveste si istoriaire, Bucharest 1836)
has given us a few stories, as well as A. and A. Schott (Walachische
Maehrchen, Stuttgart and Tübingen 1845). The Pilgrimage of the Soul is
from S. Mangiuca, Calindariu, pe. 1882, Brasiovu 1881 and the Story
of Man and his Years, No. 113, from M. Gaster, Chrestomatie Romana,
vol. ii., Bucharest 1891. These tales have been collected from every
country where Rumanians live, not only in the Kingdom of Rumania,
but also from the Rumanians of Transylvania and Bukovina, as well as
from the Kutzo-Vlachs of Macedonia.

I have added a few charms and also a few more mystical religious
songs and carols, which throw light on some of the beliefs underlying
the tales and legends, taken mostly from the great collection of
G. Dem. Teodorescu (Poesii Popularare Romane, Bucharest 1885).

In some cases I have given also variants of the same tale.

I have endeavoured to render the stories as faithfully as the spirit
of the Rumanian and English languages allows, and I fear that I have
on sundry occasions forced the latter in my desire to preserve as far
as possible the quaintness and the flavour of the Rumanian original.

There is one characteristic feature in the collection of animal tales
and legends given here, upon which I should like to lay great stress,
and that is the complete purity which pervades them all. There is
no playing with moral principles. No double meaning is attached to
any story: and this, to my mind, is the best proof of their popular
origin. These tales are not sullied by a morbid imagination, nor
contaminated by sexual problems. The people are pure at heart and in
the stories their simplicity and purity appear most beautifully.

In these tales and legends we have syncretism in full swing. It is
not a picture of the past which we have to piece laboriously together
from half-forgotten records, from writing half obliterated by the
action of time and by changes which have swept over those nations of
the past, whose life and thought we are endeavouring to conjure up
and to understand. In our midst, at our door, under our own eyes,
this process of mixing and adjusting, of change and evolution, of
differentiation, combination and assimilation is still going on. It
is a wonderful picture for any one who is able to discover the forces
that are at work, who can trace every strand of the webbing, every
thread in the woof and warp, to its immediate and to its remoter
source. We see the shuttle of human imagination, of human belief,
flying busily through the loom, charged at one time with one thread,
at another with a different one. Many of the ways of the human mind
meet here, cross one another, and new roads are thus created by busy
wayfarers. And thus paganism sustains a busy and robust life. The old
Pantheon is still peopled with the old gods, or, shall we better say,
the Pandaemonium in its highest and best sense is displaying itself
with unexpected vigour. The heathen gods, the Christian saints, God and
the devil legends, fairy tales, oriental imagery, mystical traditions
and astrological lore are all inextricably blended together. The line
of demarcation between man and animal has not been clearly drawn, or
it has not yet been attempted. These multifarious elements have not
yet been combined into one homogeneous structure. The problem arises
whether other nations have also passed through a similar mental and
psychical process; whether they have had a similar Pandaemonic mixture,
out of which their more colourless folk-lore had been distilled in
the crucible of "civilization."

Primitive people can often hear the footfall of men by putting the
ear to the ground. We may, by putting an ear to the ground, hear the
footfalls of the Past, and listen to the echo before it dies away
into eternity.



BIRD AND BEAST STORIES


I.

WHY IS THE BEE BLACK, AND WHY IS IT MAKING HONEY? HOW DID THE BEE
OUTWIT THE DEVIL?


In the beginning only water and God and the devil existed. These two
were all the time moving about upon the surface of the waters. After
some time God, feeling rather tired of this flitting about without
rest or peace, said to the devil, "Go down to the bottom of the sea
and bring up in my name a handful of the seed of the earth." The devil
did as he was told, but whilst he was plunging in the depths he said
to himself, "Why shall I bring up the seed in his name? I will take
it in my own." And so he did. When he came up God asked him, "Hast
thou brought the seed?" The devil replied, "Yes, here it is." But
when he opened his hand to show the seed to God, lo, it was quite
empty. The water had wasted the seed away.

Then God told him to plunge again and bring up the seed of the earth
in his name. The devil, however, again took the seed from the bottom
of the sea in his own name, and when he opened his hand to give
the seed to God the waters had again washed his hand clean. For a
third time God sent him down to the bottom of the sea to bring up
seed. This time the devil bethought himself, and instead of taking
the seed in his own name as he had determined, now took it in God's
name and in his own. He would not do it in God's name alone. When he
came up the waters had this time also washed everything away that he
had taken in his hand. Only a few grains, however, remained under the
nails of his fingers. God asked him whether he had brought the seed
up, and he replied "To be sure." But when he opened his hand it was
again empty. Still, there were the few grains which had stuck under
the nails. God greatly rejoiced at these few, which he carefully
scraped out from under the nails, and made of them a small cake
which he put upon the water, where it floated, and God sat upon it
to rest. Being now very tired, God fell asleep on that little cake
of earth. When the devil saw God fast asleep, what did the unclean
one think? "What a lucky thing that is for me," he said to himself,
"I can now drown him." And so he tried to turn the cake over, so
that God should fall into the water. But what happened? In whatever
direction God rolled, the cake of earth expanded and stretched
under him. He first rolled him towards the east, and the earth grew
under God. The devil then tried to upset the cake towards the west,
and again the earth stretched under God. Now, said the devil, "Now
there is also room for me to rest," and he sat down on the opposite
side where the earth had grown bigger. There again he endeavoured
with all his weight to press down the earth, so as to make the earth
turn turtle, once towards the north, once towards the south; and God
rolled towards them and the earth grew in all directions.

Now by this continual rolling the earth grew so big that it became
wider and larger than the waters. When God awoke and saw what the
devil had done he did not know what to do with this huge earth,
which had become far too big. The devil, seeing what he had done,
and being afraid of God's wrath, ran away and hid himself in one of
the clefts of the earth. God then decided to ask the devil what he
was to do with this earth, which had become so big.

Now, of all the beasts and creatures which God had made, none was more
pleasing in his sight than the bee, which was then playing in Paradise.

The bee was white, and not black as she is now, and I will tell you
presently how it came about that she changed her colour.

God sent the bee to ask the devil what he was to do and what good
advice he could give him. The bee, at once, went as she was commanded,
and came to the place where the devil lived.

"Good morning, uncle," said the bee.

"Good morning, sister," said the devil. "What has brought thee to me?"

"Well, you see, God has sent me to ask what he was to do with this
huge earth."

But the devil grumpily and sneeringly replied, "If he is God he ought
to know better than to ask a poor devil for advice. I am not going
to tell him. Let him find it out for himself."

The bee, who was a clever little thing--it was not for nothing that
God's choice had fallen upon her--pretended to fly away. But she soon
crept back quite stealthily and settled noiselessly on the upper
beam of the door. She knew that the devil cannot keep any secrets,
and he would surely speak out. So, indeed, it happened. No sooner
did he believe himself alone, than he started muttering to himself,
chuckling all the time.

"A clever man that God really is. He asks me what to do. Why does
he not think of mountains and valleys?" You must know that the earth
when first made was quite flat, like a pancake.

"Let him take the earth in his arms and squeeze it a bit, and it will
fit all right."

The bee overheard what he said, for he spoke loud enough, and rejoicing
that she had got the answer, spread out her wings and started flying
away. The buzzing of her wings betrayed her, and the devil, hearing
the noise, rushed out of his cave with his whip in his hand and said:
"O you thief! So that is the way you have cheated me. Mayst thou feed
on what comes out of thy body." And he struck the bee with his whip.

This changed her white colour into black. Moreover, he hit her so
badly that he nearly cut her in two. That is why the bee has such
a narrow waist, that she looks as if she were cut in two and barely
hanging together by a thread.

Limping and sore, the bee came back to God and told him what she
had overheard from the devil. God was greatly pleased and, squeezing
the earth in his arms, he made mountains and valleys, and the earth
grew smaller.

Then turning to the bee he said, "Out of thy body henceforth shall
come only honey to sweeten the life of man and he shall bless thee for
that gift; also shalt thou bring forth wax for candles on the altar."

And God went on to ask the bee what reward she would claim for the
errand which she had so well fulfilled. The bee, impudent and greedy,
replied: "Why should man share in my gift and have my honey? Give me
the power to kill with my sting."

And God was angry at the impudence of the bee, and replied: "All the
honey shall be thine alone, if thou art able to make a gallon of it
during the summer: if not, man may share it with thee. And because
thou hast asked for the power of killing with thy sting, meaning to
kill man by it, thine own death shall be by thy sting."

This is the reason why the bees work so industriously and indefatigably
during the summer. Each hopes to make a gallon of honey, but they can
never succeed. And this, too, is the reason why the bee dies when it
stings anyone.

There is another variant of the cosmogonic part.

The place of the devil is taken by the mole [1] whom the Rumanians
believe to be a very deep fellow.



The story then runs as follows:

When God had made the heavens there was as yet no earth. So God took
a ball of string and measured the span of heaven. Then he called
the mole and told him to keep the ball whilst he was busy making the
earth, according to the measure which he had taken. But whilst God
went on measuring by the string which he had rolled off the ball,
the mole very slyly let the ball roll on whilst God was tugging at
the string. And so it came to pass that the earth made thus by God
was larger than the span of heaven, and could not be got under it.

The mole, seeing what he had done, went away and hid himself in his
earth. Hither the bee was sent to get the secret from him how the
earth could be made smaller.

The story then runs on like the one just told, without the explanation
of the dark colour and of the narrow waist. Nor is any reference made
in that version to the sting and the gallon of honey.

The dualistic conception of the creation of the world is here clearly
set out. The people believe in it. In the formation of the earth the
devil has his full, nay an equal share, though he always is fooled
in the end and is cheated even by a little bee.

To this creation story a few variants can be found among the
Bulgarians and Letts, but they are neither so full nor so complete
as the Rumanian version.

They are given by Dähnhardt, Natursagen, i. pp. 127-128 (Leipzig and
Berlin 1907). The first part of the story of the devil being sent
down to bring up seed from the bottom, and only that part, is found
among the Gipsy tales from Transylvania, published by Wlislocki,
Zigeuner-märchen aus Transylvania, p. 1, No. 1.

Among the Russians, Ralston gives a short variant in which only God
and the devil are mentioned, nothing of the bee, and even the first
part is extremely short. (Russian Folk Tales, p. 329, London 1873.)

The existence of hills is accounted for by legendary lore in this
wise. When the Lord was about to fashion the face of the earth he
ordered the devil to dive into the watery depths and bring thence
a handful of the soil he found at the bottom. The devil obeyed,
but when he filled his hand he filled his mouth also. The Lord
took the soil, sprinkled it around, and the earth appeared, all
perfectly flat. The devil, whose mouth was quite full, looked on
for some time in silence. At last he tried to speak, but choked,
and fled in terror. After him followed the thunder and lightning,
and so he rushed over the whole face of the earth, hills springing
up where he coughed, and sky-cleaving mountains where he leaped.



I. B.

HOW DID THE BEE OUTWIT THE MOLE?

Another Version.


When the Lord made the heavens he took a ball and spanned the heavens,
and after he had finished spanning the heavens he started making
the earth. The mole, cunning little beast, came to him and said:
"O Lord, let me help thee in making the earth"; and the Lord, who is
always good, said in the goodness of his heart: "Very well," and he
gave the ball to the mole to keep it.

The Lord started working, and was busy weaving and working making
the earth. But the sly mole let just a little bit of the thread go
from time to time, and the Lord worked on without noticing it. When
he had finished, how great was his astonishment when he found that
the earth was greater than the heavens. What was he to do? how could
he fit them together? He turned to the mole, but the mole was not
there; he knew what was coming and had buried himself deep down in
the earth. So the Lord walked up and down the earth, but could not
find him. What was he to do? At last he sent the bee to discover the
mole and to find out from him what was to be done. The bee flew away
alone, and, buzzing about, at last came to the hole where the mole
was sitting buried in the earth.

The bee came to him and said, "Good morning, uncle."

"What brings thee to me, my sister?"

"Well," she said, "the Lord God has sent me to ask thee what is to
be done. The earth is so big and the heavens so small."

The mole, a sly beast, chuckled and said to himself, "The Lord ought
to know better than I. I am not going to tell him, though I know what
ought to be done."

The bee would not take this answer. She pretended to fly away, and
then went stealthily and settled herself in a flower which was near
to the mole's burrow. She knew that the mole would talk to himself,
and hoped to overhear what he would say.

So in sooth it happened. The bee overheard him chuckling and laughing
and saying to himself: "Oh what a clever fellow I am! if I had to
do it, I would take the earth in my arms and squeeze it tightly,
and then mountains would be pressed out and valleys would be sunk,
and then the earth would get small enough to fit under the heavens."

No sooner had the bee heard what the mole had said, than she started
flying away. The mole, who heard her buzzing, ran after her and said:
"O sister, is that the way thou art dealing with me? Very well then,
now take my curse. Henceforth thou shalt feed on thyself."

But the bee never listened, and flew straight to the Lord and told
him what she had heard when the mole muttered to himself. And the
Lord took the earth in his hands and squeezed it, and from the flat
that it was, mountains rose up and valleys were cut, and it fitted
the heavens which God had spanned. And God, hearing of the curse with
which the mole has cursed the bee, turned it into a blessing. That is
why the bee makes honey and feeds on itself, whilst the mole always
lives underground and is frightened to see the sky.



II.

WHY IS THE BEE BUSY AND THE SPIDER SULLEN?

The Story of the Widow and her two Children.


There is still another story about the origin of the bee, totally
different from those told hitherto.



Once upon a time there lived a very poor widow. She had only two
children, a son and a daughter. When they had grown up, seeing that
their mother could no longer provide for them, they left her house
and went each one his or her way to find work. The girl went to a
place where they were building houses, and there she worked day and
night carrying bricks and mortar to the builders. The son went to a
weaver and learnt there to weave clothes.

Not long after that, the mother grew very ill, and knowing that her
end was approaching, she sent for her children to come to her. When
the message reached the daughter, she was carrying a heavy load of
bricks in her apron.

She did not hesitate for a moment, and saying, "I must not leave my
poor mother alone," she dropped the load of bricks and ran home as fast
as she could, and there she found her mother on the point of death.

When the message reached the son, he was sitting at his weaving. He
said, "Let her die. I cannot give up my work. Here I am, and here
I stay."

And there he stayed quite alone, working away, surly and grumbling
all the time.

When the mother saw her daughter, who had left everything and had
come to her, she raised herself on her bed and, kissing her on the
forehead, blessed her, saying: "Daughter, thou hast been sweet to me
and a joy in my last hour. Mayst thou always be sweet to all."

When she heard what her son had said, and why he had not come, she
cursed him and said: "As thou hast said so shall it go with thee. Day
and night shalt thou be weaving incessantly and never see the joy of
it: what thou doest, others shall destroy. In a corner shalt thou sit,
far away from everybody, and hated by everybody."

And with these words she died, and her blessing and curse both came
true. The girl was changed into the busy active bee, whose honey
sweetens everything, and of whose wax candles are made to be lit before
the ikons of the saints and in the churches, and put by the head of
the dying and the dead. The brother was changed into the spider, who
sits alone and sullen and spiteful in the corner and weaves his webs,
never finishing: whoever sees a web brushes it away, and whoever can,
kills the spider.



To this story I have not been able to find a parallel. A different
kind of curse seems to rest on the spider, according to the legend
of the "Lady Mary and the Spider," No. 54.



III.

WHY IS THE BEE BLACK, AND WHY HAS IT A NARROW WAIST?

The Story of the Bee and the Devil.


When God created the bee she was white of colour, hence her name
albina, the white one. One day, however, God sent the bee to the
Evil One to ask him for his advice, whether God should make one
sun or several. The bee went to the Evil One and told him God's
message. Then she slyly hid herself in his bushy hair, for the bee
knew that he would talk to himself aloud, and she would be able to
find out his true thought. And so it happened: for no sooner did he
think that the bee was not within earshot, than he started talking
aloud to himself and said:

"One sun is better than a number of suns, for if there were a number
of suns the heat would be much greater than my fire and I should not
be able to torture and to burn. Then, too, if there were several suns,
they would shine all day and all night, and the people would not be
able to fall into my power. One sun would be best."

When the bee had heard his reasoning and the conclusion to which he
had come, she started flying back to God. As she started, the Evil One
heard her buzz and, filled with anger at the trick which the bee had
played him, he struck her across the body with his whip. The white
colour was then turned black and the body of the bee nearly cut in
twain. The waist became as thin as a thread. In the beginning it was
white, and hence the name. It is due to the merit of the bee that
there is only one sun now in the heavens and not many.

In the Bulgarian parallel it is not a question as to how many suns
were to be created but whether the sun is to get married. The story is
as follows (Dähnhardt, Natursagen, Leipzig u. Berlin 1907, i. p. 127):

When God grew old he wanted to marry the sun. He invited all the
creatures. Among them also the devil, but he saddled his ass and rode
away angrily. Then God sent the bee to find out the thought of the
devil. The bee settled on his head and heard him mumble to himself:

"Oh yes, it is a long time since God had remembered me, who helped
him in the making of the world, but he does not know what he is
doing now. If he marries the sun he will destroy mankind and burn up
the world."

The bee heard it, and flying away went to God. The devil noticed her
and, thinking that she had overheard what he was saying, wanted to
kill her. He ran after her and shot at her. The bee hid herself in a
willow tree. After trying many times, he at last hit her and cut her
in two. With difficulty she reached God and told him what had happened.

The Lord blessed her and said, "The lower part shall be thy best
and the upper part may remain as it is;" and he joined the two parts
together. God thereupon stopped the wedding, and the sun has remained
an unmarried maiden to this very day, whilst the bee is making honey
even now.



The story of the marriage of the sun does not concern us here. In
a different form it occurs in Rumanian Fairy Tales, where we are
told that sun and moon were a brother and sister. They wished to woo
one another, but God forbade it, and therefore God put them in the
heavens and changed them into sun and moon, which never meet. When
one rises the other sets. (L. Saineanu, Basmele Române, Bucur 1895,
p. 398.) Other mythical references to sun and moon, and the way in
which the devil tries to steal them from Paradise, will be found in
the Carol given below, No. 15.



IV.

WHY DOES THE LITTLE WORM GLOW?

The Story of the Fallen Angel and the Maiden.


When God had created the world, men multiplied. There were then towns
and hamlets and gardens and fields. So one day a band of angels came
to the Lord and said: "O Lord, let us see the world which we now see
only from afar. Grant us in thy infinite mercy that we may go down
and see it more closely."

And the Lord in his infinite love granted their request, although he
who knows everything knew what would happen to them hereafter. And
the angels came down and mixed with the men and women and rejoiced at
everything they saw. After a time God Almighty came down to them and
told them that the time for their return to heaven had come. The angels
gathered together in a joyful band and went up to heaven. But there was
one angel who did not share in their joy. He walked sadly and alone.

God asked every one of the angels what they had seen. And one told
him of the flowers and their sweet smell, and another one told of the
fruit and a third of the singing birds. Everyone had a pleasant tale to
tell. When the turn came of that angel who was walking sadly in that
joyful company, the Lord asked him whether he had anything to tell,
and whether he would like to return to heaven as his companions did,
to which he replied that he would prefer to remain on earth, for he
would not like to go back to heaven. And the good God asked him why
he was so sad and why he would prefer to remain in this world. The
angel hesitated for a while, and then he said that he had looked too
far into the eyes of a girl, eyes which were as the blue of heaven,
and he could not bear to go away from her. And the Lord asked who
she was, and the angel replied, "A shepherdess feeding her flock on
a mountain." And the Lord asked him, "Hast thou spoken to her?" and
he said, "I could not forbear doing so." And the Lord asked him,
"What didst thou tell her?" and he replied, "I said I would forego
my angelic station rather than leave her."

The Lord, who had up till then looked very young, suddenly turned
very old and careworn, and, after looking at him for a long time,
walked on slowly and silently with the band of angels. When they
reached the Gates of Heaven the Lord stopped short and, turning to
the angels, said:

"You can no longer enter the heavenly abode. You are bringing
tidings of the ways of the world which must not be heard by the other
angels. And as you liked the world, you shall continue to look at the
soul's doings." Thereupon the Lord changed the angels and made them
into stars, which he scattered all over the heavens, and from there
they smile joyfully and kindly upon the earth.

But the angel who wished to return did not turn into a pleasant,
twinkling little star. He turned into a fiery star that, always
blazing and unsteady, looked angrily at the other stars. At last
the Lord, fearing that there would be strife between them, cast the
red star down to the earth, and it came down on the meadow where the
shepherdess was; it came down as a shower over the whole field. But
the sparks never died out. The glow-worms carry them still.



V.

WHY DOES THE LITTLE WORM GLOW?

The Story of the Devil hurled down from Heaven.


Another legend about the origin of the glow-worm is of a similar
character. I will discuss later the possible origin, which will lead
us to the same remarkable results.



The time of separation between the good and the evil angels had
come. The good ones gathered to the right, and the evil ones, under
the leadership of the devil, gathered to the left. You can imagine
what a confusion and uproar there was, for they could not easily
disentangle themselves.

Whilst that confusion went on, there was a little devil who, after
all, did not like parting with the bliss of heaven. So what did he
do? He stole away from his own companions and hid himself among the
good angels, hoping that, by one way or another, he would get into
heaven. But he had not reckoned with St. Peter, who stands at the
gate of heaven and examines and searches every one asking leave of
entrance. Each angel had to present his pass, duly signed. St. Peter
examined the signature, and when he found it correct he allowed the
angel to enter heaven. So, one by one, they passed on, until the turn
of the little devil came. In vain did he protest that he was a good
angel. He had to produce his papers, and when St. Peter came to the
end, there was no proper signature. So St. Peter got very angry, and
without much ado, got hold of the little devil and cast him down to
earth. He came down with such violence that he broke up in millions
of luminous sparks, and these are the lights of the glow-worm.



VI.

WHY DOES THE LITTLE WORM GLOW?

The Story of St. Peter and the Cuckoo.


The tale of the glow-worm tells us that in olden times the people
were better and the earth cleaner than to-day. It was on this account
that God's saints used to walk about upon the earth. The saints and
the apostles had also their establishments just as we have them now,
house, table, cattle, children and everything that appertains to the
house of man. The most important of the saints was St. Peter. He used
to walk about with God more than any of the others, but, like every
Rumanian, he also had his house and all that belongs to it, just
as beseems one of God's saints. The tale from our forefathers tells
us that, among other things, he also had a stable full of beautiful
horses; black of skin like the raven's wing, and quick as the flame,
they were eating up the clouds, so fleet were they. In those times,
unfortunately, as in our times, besides saints, there were also
wicked people, thieves and the like, for the devil has had and will
always have his share in this world. But in those times there were
only a very few thieves, and they were very much ashamed of their
doings. They used to live in forests to which no one else went except
evil spirits. To-day--for our sins--the thieves are so numerous that
there is not a spot which is free of them. They rob you everywhere;
in the very midst of the town and in the open light of day.

In those days, there lived a great thief, whose name was Cuckoo. I
do not know how it came to pass, but he heard of St. Peter's horses
and made up his mind to steal them. One day St. Peter had gone on
one of his usual journeys to a distant part of the country. Cuckoo,
who had learned of it, came in the night and stole the horses
and drove them into the forest. On the morrow, by a mere chance,
St. Peter came home from his journey and asked about the horses. They
were nowhere to be found. Do what he might, he could not find them;
they were gone. But who had taken them, and whither had he gone with
them? St. Peter asked God to give him some powerful dogs to go with
him to the forest. God gave him the wolves, and from that time they
have remained St. Peter's dogs.

He went with them into the forest and searched high and low, but all
in vain. All through the day they hunted, but could find no trace of
the thief or of the horses. Night fell, and it was one of those dark
nights in which you can put your finger into your eye and yet not
see it. It was blacker and darker than the blackness and darkness
of hell. St. Peter did not know which way to turn, and he asked God
to perform some miracle for him to light up his way. God heard his
prayer, and before one could wipe one's eyes the whole forest was
full of glow-worms. St. Peter greatly rejoiced, and by the light
of the glow-worms he searched the forest all the night through,
but returned home with empty hands. Then St. Peter cursed the thief
Cuckoo, that he should be changed into a black, ill-omened bird, and
wherever he should find himself he was to call out his name. Since
then the cuckoo became a black and accursed bird, and when it sings
(calls) at the back of the house or in the courtyard it betokens
death. It speaks nothing else, but calls its own name, Cuckoo. The
cuckoo is frightened of the glow-worms, and, as soon as he sees them
in the forest he stops calling, for he thinks St. Peter is looking
out for him to catch him for stealing his horses. At the same time
the glow-worms were blessed by St. Peter and made the guides of
the wanderers through the forest. They come out about St. Peter's
day. Then the cuckoo keeps silence.



In these glow-worm stories, much of the apocryphal literature
concerning the fall of the angels has been preserved. It is not,
however, the pride of Satan that causes his downfall, but it is
the love of the earthly woman which causes the angel to fall. The
story in this form is found in the Hebrew versions preserved in the
Chronicles of Jerahmeel (my ed. London 1899, ch. xxv. p. 52 ff.),
and in other kindred books, from which it has passed through the Greek
into the Slavonic apocryphal literature. The contest between the devil
and angels is, however, not unknown. It is referred to here rather
humorously in the story of the little devil who wanted to steal slily
into heaven in the rush and is detected by the wily Peter. It is also
referred to in the Dragon-fly story, No. 14. Curiously enough, very
little of it seems to have been preserved in Slavonic literature. In
Albanian literature a faint trace is recorded by Hahn (ii. No. 107),
where the connection with the Wolf story is entirely missing, and
therefore inexplicable there. But the fragmentary Albanian tale is
fully set out here in the Rumanian version about the creation of the
wolf, Nos. 7, 8, 9.



VII.

WHY IS THE WOLF FEROCIOUS?

The Story of God, St. Peter and the Devil.


Once upon a time God was walking with St. Peter. On the way they met a
dog who came close to them and frolicked round them, and God stroked
the animal. St. Peter looked at God questioningly, and God said,
"I know what is in thy mind, but since thou art he who keeps the key
of heaven it is meet that thou shouldst know everything, and I will
therefore tell thee the story of the dog and the wolf, for thou must
know whom to let into heaven and whom to shut out. Thou seest, Peter,
what that brother of mine--"

"You mean the devil?" interposed St. Peter.

"Yes," said God, "I mean him. You see what he has done to me with
Adam and Eve, and how he made me drive them out of Paradise. What was
I to do? When the poor man was starving I had to help him, so I gave
him the sheep to feed him and to clothe him. But dost thou think the
devil will give them peace?--no, not he!"

"Yes," said Peter, "all very well, but what about the dog? I know
all that about Adam and Eve."

"Do not be in such a hurry," replied God, "I will tell thee everything;
bide thy time."

"Now, where was I? It was when I made the sheep, and the devil then
must again try and do something to hurt Adam, so he is now making the
wolf, who will destroy the sheep and bring Adam and Eve to grief. For
that reason I have made the dog, and he will drive the wolf away
and protect the flocks of sheep, and will be friendly to man, whose
property he will guard with faithfulness."

St. Peter said, "I know that in thy goodness thou art going again to
help the devil, as thou hast done aforetime."

The devil had made many things aforetime, but could not give them
life or movement, and it was always God who helped and completed
the work. Thus the devil made a car, but built it inside the house,
and did not know how to take it out and use it until God widened the
door and took it out, and as the devil was pulling away at it he broke
the hind wheels, so God took the first part of the car and put it in
the heavens, and it forms the constellation known as the Great Bear
(in Rumanian, the Great Car).

Then the devil made the mill, but he could not start it, so God
did. Then he made a house, but put no light into it, so God had to
make the windows. Then the devil made a fire, but did not know how
to kindle it.

He was now working away at moulding the wolf from clay. He worked so
hard that the perspiration ran down his face. Scratching his head,
he pulled out three hairs, but would not throw anything away--they
were much too precious--so he stuck them in the head of the wolf
between the eyes.

When he thought he had finished, he turned to God and said, "See what
I have done."

"Yes," replied God, "I see, but what is it?"

"Thou shalt know more about it soon," replied the devil; and, turning
to the wolf, which lay there lifeless, he said, "Up, wolf, and go
for him." But the wolf never stirred.

Then God turned to St. Peter and said, "Just wait and see how I will
pay him out," and, waving his hand over the wolf, he said, "Up, wolf,
and go for the devil."

The devil can run fast, but never ran faster than on that day when
the wolf jumped up and ran after him. In running he jumped into the
lake. He dipped under the waters and saved himself from the fangs
of the wolf. And ever since that time, the wolf has power over the
devil: when he catches him, he eats him up. All the year round the
devils are hiding in pools and bogs, but, from the night of St. Basil
(1st January) until the Feast of Epiphany, the waters are holy, being
sanctified through the Baptism. The devil can no longer stay in the
water, and he must get on to the land, where the wolf lies in wait
for him, and woe unto the devils who get too near the wolf.

When God and St. Peter saw the flight of the devil, they laughed
until the tears ran down their cheeks. Then God turned to St. Peter
and said to him, "I give these wolves now into thy care." Poor
St. Peter trembled from head to foot when he heard the charge that
was given to him, but God reassured him and said, "Never fear, Peter,
they will not harm thee; on the contrary, they will follow thee and
listen to thy command, as if they were friendly dogs." And so it has
remained. Once every year, on the day of the Feast of St. Peter, in
the winter-time, all the wolves come together to an appointed place
to meet St. Peter. Thither he comes with a huge book in his hand, in
which are written the names of all the persons who had given themselves
over to the devil, and he tells the wolves whom they are to eat.

The three hairs which the devil had put on the wolf are of a green
colour, and make the wolf look ferocious, for they are the devil's
hairs, and it is from them that the devil's fire got into the wolves'
eyes, which are lit up by it.



VIII.

WHY DO THE EYES OF THE WOLF GLOW AND HIS HAIR BRISTLE?

The Story of the Wolf, God and the Devil.


When God had finished the creation of the world, and had made all the
good animals and beasts, the devil thought he would also make some
creatures. He took some of the clay and made the wolf. When he had
finished God came to see what he had done. When he saw the brute he
asked the devil what it was.

"Ho, thou wilt soon see what it is. Up, wolf, and go for him." But
the wolf did not stir. There he lay where the devil had fashioned
him. When the devil saw that the wolf did not move, that there was
no life in him, he turned to God and said:

"Just make him go."

And God said, "Very well."

But before he made him go, he chipped the wolf about, and moulded
him and fashioned him a bit better than the devil had done. Out of
these chippings came the snakes and the toads. When he had finished
shaping him, God cried:

"Up, wolf, and go for him."

Up jumped the wolf and went for the devil, who got so frightened that
he ran away as fast as his feet would carry him.

When the devil saw that the wolf was running him close he pulled
out three hairs from his body and threw them behind him on to the
wolf. The wolf, who up to that time was hairless and smooth, was
suddenly covered with thick bristles, which, in one way or another,
were to prevent him from running so fast after the devil. It is
for that reason that the wolf has such thick bristles, and his eyes
glisten in the dark. They are the hair of the devil and the sparks
which have got into him through the devil's hair. And since that
time when he hears the wolves howling the devil takes to his heels,
lest they catch him as God commanded them to do.

Polish, Lettish and other Slavonic variations of the legend
concerning the creation of the wolf by the devil are given by Dähnhardt
(l.c. pp. 147 ff.), yet none so full as the Rumanian version. According
to one, the devil had made the wolf so as to have a creature of his
own. But he endeavoured in vain to call his creature to life, for he
would persistently say to it, "Arise, for I have made thee." Only,
however, when he whispered into his ear, "Arise, God has made thee,"
did the wolf spring to his feet. Then he attacked the devil, who ran
away and escaped with difficulty.



IX.

WHY DOES THE WOLF RUN AFTER THE DEVIL?

The Story of God, the Devil and the Stone.


According to a curious Rumanian version from Transylvania (in
Archiv. f. Siebenburg Landeskunde, 23, pp. 4-8, abbreviated by
Dähnhardt, pp. 152-3), the devil went to God and said to him, "O Lord,
thou hast created man and so many other creatures, but thou hast not
yet created the wolf." And God replied, "Very well," and, showing him
a huge boulder near a forest, told him to go and say to the stone,
"Devil, eat the stone." The devil went and said, "Stone, eat the
wolf." The boulder did not move. The devil went to God and said,
"The stone does not move." "What didst thou say?" "Stone, eat the
wolf." "But thou must say, 'Devil, eat the stone.'" The devil went
again to the stone and said, "Stone, eat the devil." Whereupon the
stone moved and ate the devil, and in its place there stood a wolf
with the face of the devil. Since then there are no more devils in
the world, but wolves too many.



This story, as here abbreviated, is undoubtedly corrupted. The real
form must have been at the beginning, "Stone, eat the devil," but
the devil changed it into, "Devil, eat the stone," until he spoke
exactly as he was told, and the stone turned into a wolf.

The wolf is dreaded as the most savage beast, and could therefore only
be conceived by the popular imagination as the creation of the devil.

In the northern mythology there occurs the wolf Fenrir, whose father
is Loki, the God of Fire, who will play such a decisive rôle at
Doomsday. Hahn (No. 105) contains the following version:

After the creation of man, the devil boasted that he could create
something better. God allowed him to do so. He took some clay and
moulded it and made the wolf. Then God said to him, "Give him life,
as I have done." The devil started blowing into the wolf until he
got red and blue in the face, but all in vain. Then God took a cane
and smote the wolf on his back, and that is why the back of the wolf
looks broken in the middle, and he said, "Creature, eat thy maker." Up
jumped the wolf and ate the devil. (Cf. Grimm, 148.)



X.

WHY THE GOAT'S KNEES ARE BARE.

The Story of God, the Fire and the Devil.


In the beginning the goats had wings, and used to fly about eating up
the tops of the trees. They did it so thoroughly that they left no
leaf or bud, and never allowed a tree to grow up. When God saw what
mischief they were doing, and how they were destroying all the trees,
he cursed them, and, taking away their wings, he said that henceforth
they should only be able to climb up crooked trees. And so they do.

When they came down upon earth, finding themselves without wings,
they went and made a pact with the devil, that they should henceforth
help one another. The devil willingly entered into an agreement with
them. It so happened that the devil's fire went out, and he was not
able to rekindle it himself, so he sent the two goats to God to steal
the fire from him. God had lit his fire, he had put the tripod over
the fire, and had hung on it the bowl to cook his food in. Then he
sat down quietly, watching the wood crackle and burn up. When the
goats came they started a conversation with God, speaking of this and
speaking of that, so that God should not see that they had come for
the purpose of stealing fire. When they saw they could not get on, they
decided to make a rush upon the fire, and to snatch a brand from it.

So they ran towards the tripod trying to snatch the fire. God, who
knew what they were bent upon, took the ladle which was sticking in
the food, and with the hot stuff on it he smote the goats on their
knees. The goats started running, and they shrieked from the pain of
the burning food on their knees, which burned the skin so that all
the hair fell out, and from that time the goats have no hair on their
knees, and the devil's beasts they have remained to this very day.



In other South-Slavonian versions (Dähnhardt, i. 142 f.) it is the
Evil One who invents the fire, and God is anxious to obtain it from
him in order to give it to mankind. The Evil One had deprived them
of it. God sends St. Peter to the Evil One with an iron rod in his
hands. This he was to poke in the fire until it got white hot; then
he was to touch some wood and the fire would leap up. Pursued by the
Evil One, who perceived the ruse, St. Peter struck the flint before
the rod had got cold, and thus got the spark inside the flint. Thus
it is that sparks fly when the flint is struck by iron.



As for the goats, the following variants and parallels are of interest:

According to an Armenian legend of Transylvania (Dähnhardt, 154;
Wlislocki, 12), the goat is the very work of the Evil One. Jealous of
God, who has made all the creatures, he boasted that he also would
make a creature of his own. When he saw how God fashioned the lamb,
one of the last of God's creatures, he set to work to make an animal in
the likeness of the lamb. So he made a goat. But he wanted to make it
more beautiful, so he added a beard and planted some pointed horns on
its head. Then he asked God to give life to his creation. God did so,
and thus made for man two new animals, the good, useful and meek lamb,
and the mischievous goat. God then took a vase, in which he had put
the intelligence of the animals, and, finding in it only a few drops
of the liquid at the bottom of the vase, he said to the devil that he
must be careful in the use of these drops. So he dropped a few on the
head of the lamb, but when he was going to pour some on that of the
goat the devil shook the vase, and thus many more drops fell on the
head of the goat than on that of the lamb. The devil laughed and said,
"My creature is cleverer than thine." To which God replied, "That
may be, but thy creature shall play the fool and live on scanty food."

In a Polish version (Dähnhardt, i. 162), the goat is made by the devil
almost in the same manner as he made the wolf in the tales Nos. 8,
9. And the goat comes to life only when, after saying "get up," he
whispers, "by the power of God." When the goat rises, the devil in
his fury gets hold of its tail and pulls it off; and ever since the
goats have had no tails.

In the South-Slavonic tale, curiously enough, the sheep take the
place of the goat and are made by the devil, which, in the light of
the above version, is due to some confusion made by the story-teller
between the ram and the goat. (Krauss, Sud-slav. Sagen, Leipzig 1883,
No. 29, p. 109.)

In a modern Greek legend, the devil made the goat, but he made the
knees stiff, and the goats perished from hunger. One day Christ was
walking upon earth, and he met the devil, who showed him the goats,
and said to him: "I have also made something, but I cannot make it sit
down; its knees are so stiff; so the goats die off." Whereupon Christ
took his seal and placed it upon the goats' knees. Afterwards they
could easily bend them. Hence the sign of the seal upon the goats'
knees. (Politis, No. 842; Dähnhardt, pp. 153-4.)

In these two tales we have peculiar variants to some of the incidents
in the Rumanian version, only so far as the connection of the goat
with the Evil One and the bareness of the goats' knees are concerned,
though the explanation is totally different from--nay, opposite
to--that given in the Rumanian version, where the bareness is the
sign of God's punishment of the goats.

A German tale (Grimm, 148) tells us: God made all the animals, even
the wolves, which were his dogs. The devil made the goats, which
destroyed the vines, the young trees, etc. The wolves then went and
killed the goats, and God offered to pay the devil the price of his
destroyed creatures, but only when all the oaks should lose their
leaves. But the devil was told that one oak in Constantinople keeps
its leaves all the year. He went in search of it for six months,
and could not find it. When he returned, the other oaks had got their
leaves again, and he got nothing. He poked out the eyes of the goats,
and put his own in instead, and therefore they have the devil's eyes,
and so the devil sometimes assumes their form.

These stories of the goat and the devil are probably one chapter of
the larger and yet unwritten book on the goat-devil in popular beliefs
and customs. It must suffice merely to mention the "scape-goat," the
goat-demons (seirim of the Bible), the Greek fauns and satyrs. Satan,
worshipped under the guise of a goat in the alleged orgies of the
witches, is found in the record of the Inquisition in medieval
accusations against the heretics. Is not the devil himself depicted
in medieval imagery with the cloven hoof--of the goat and with the
horns of the goat? The why and wherefore is another story. It is not
here and now the place to enter upon it. The mischievous character
of the goat, the amorous inclinations, the offensive smell, may to a
certain extent have contributed later on to justify this equation of
goat and devil, but there must be some other reason for making the
goat, if not a type, at least the friend of Satan.



XI.

WHY DID NOAH GET DRUNK?

The Story of the Goat, Noah and the Vine.


It is said that the vine did not exist before the flood, and of
course, therefore, there was no wine. The giants, whatever mischief
they may have done, and however wicked may have been their ways,
at any rate were never drunk. They only drank water, which is the
eternal beverage for man and beast. When the flood came the giants and
all the living creatures, except those whom Noah saved in the ark,
were destroyed. When the flood had subsided, the animals went out,
spread themselves over the earth, and multiplied very quickly.

Thus from the few head of cattle, sheep and goats there grew up soon
a large number, and Noah was able to live by his cattle and his goats.

Of all these animals, Noah loved the goats best, especially when he
saw them climbing about everywhere up the trees and up the rocks,
going freely in all directions. One day Noah saw that one of the
he-goats left the rest alone and went his own way, and when the
evening came he came down dancing and jumping, quite jolly; this he
repeated many days, and every evening he came home jumping and dancing,
and frolicking like a madman. Noah, anxious to find out what was the
reason of this peculiar behaviour of the goat, followed him quietly
one day, and he found out what it was. There, on one of the hillsides,
he saw a tree with very huge grapes, each one as big as a bucket. The
goat went straight to these and ate his fill. Getting drunk, he laid
himself down to sleep. When he woke up he started the game again,
and so until the evening, when he returned home quite jolly.

Old Noah was greatly surprised at this sight, for he had never seen
before any grapes; and so, climbing up as best he could, he plucked
a bunch in order to take it home and show his family.

On his way home the heat grew unbearable, and he got very thirsty. He
turned to the right, he turned to the left; nowhere a drop of water to
be seen. I do not know what he thought; but, having the grapes in his
hand, he put one in his mouth, and sucked at it. He found the juice
very sweet and refreshing, so he took the other grapes and squeezed
the juice into his mouth. Not satisfied with that, as his thirst was
not yet quenched, he went back to the vine tree, and taking a whole
cluster, he sucked it dry. When he returned, he felt somehow that his
head had got rather heavier than usual, and his legs, on the contrary,
were much lighter than before. Altogether he felt in a merry mood, and
though old and advanced in years, he started singing a song. Getting
near his house, the goat overtook him, frolicking and jumping as it
had done every day.

What should enter Noah's head but to follow the example of the goat,
frolicking and jumping, and in that state of high merriment both
reached the house. When Noah got near the house, he looked at himself,
and he could not make out what had happened to him, for he had lost
almost all his clothes. They had fallen off him on the way. He
could not get into the house, but, dropping down in front of it,
he fell fast asleep. There his sons found him, and thinking that he
was dangerously ill, put him on his bed and began wailing over him,
for they were sure he was at death's door.

The next morning, to their astonishment, he woke hale and hearty,
and there and then he told them all about the goat and the vine and
the grape and the sweet juice. Then Noah gave orders that the vine
should be taken from the hills and planted in his garden. Before
he did so, he killed the goat and poured the blood of it on to the
roots in remembrance of the fact that it was through the goat that
he discovered the vine.

Thus far the Rumanian story, which, however, requires completion. As
far as it goes it agrees almost verbatim with a story found in a very
ancient Hebrew collection of legends (Midrash Abkhir); the sequel
there is as follows: When Noah started planting the vine, the devil
came and asked to be allowed to take a part in it. Noah willingly
agreed. After killing the goat, the devil brought a lion, whose blood
was also used to water the roots of the vine, and finally brought a
swine, and his blood was also poured over the roots of the vine.

For this reason it comes to pass that, when a man drinks a little
wine he gets merry and jumps and frolics like a young kid; and if
he drinks a little more, he becomes hot and roars like the lion; and
his last stage is reached when he wallows in the mire like the pig,
for he has drunk the blood of all of them.

Here, then, we have a tale which shows how a man can become a beast
without changing his human form, not like all the other tales, in
which he remains a bird or a beetle to the end of his days.

A peculiar transformation of this legend is found in the following
variant, in which the bones of the animals are substituted for their
blood. The whole setting is different from the more primitive type
preserved in the Rumanian.



When Saint Dionysios was still young, he once made a journey through
Greece, in order to go to Naxia (the isle of Naxos), but the way
being very long, he got tired and sat down on a stone to rest. While
he was sitting, and looking down in front of himself, he saw at his
feet a little plant sprouting from the earth, which seemed to him so
beautiful that he resolved at once to take it with him and to plant
it. He took the plant out of the ground and carried it away; but,
as the sun was very hot just then, he feared that it might dry up
before his arrival in Naxia. Then he found the small bone of a bird,
and put the plant into it and went on. In his holy hand, however,
the plant grew so quickly that it peeped forth from both sides of
the bone. Then he again feared that it would dry up, and thought of
a remedy. He found the bone of a lion, which was thicker than the
bird's bone, and he put the bird's bone, together with the plant,
into the bone of the lion. But the plant quickly grew, even out of
the lion's bone. Then he found the bone of a donkey, which was still
thicker, and he put the plant, together with the bird's and lion's
bones, into the donkey's bone, and so he came to Naxia. When he was
planting it, he saw that the roots had wound thickly round the bones
of the bird, the lion and the donkey; and, as he could not take it
out without injuring the roots, he planted it in the ground as it
was, and it quickly grew up and produced, to his delight, the finest
grapes, from which he made the first wine, which he gave to men to
drink. But what a wonder did he see now! When men drank of it, they
sang in the beginning like merry little birds; drinking more of it,
they became strong as lions; and drinking still more, they became
stupid like donkeys. (Hahn, Albn. Märchen, ii. 76; v. also Thumb,
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, Manchester, vol. ii. No. 1,
Oct. 1914, p. 38 and note 50).

I add here a Christmas carol about the shepherd and the sheep,
for it seems that at the basis of it lies the idea of God giving a
special blessing to the sheep. It is a second stage after the idea
of creation of the sheep by God.



XII.

GOD AND THE LAMB.

A Christmas Carol.


    On the flowery mountain,
    O Lord, good Lord,
    Nica feeds his flock.
    He feeds them,
    He drives them,
    He touches the foremost,
    He gathers the hindmost,
    And leads them into the pasture.
    But where has he fixed the pasture?
    On the top of the mountains,
    Under the yellow plane tree.
    A summer breeze is blowing,
    Shaking the leaves,
    And scattering them over the plain.
    The sheep grew excited,
    And they made a great noise.
    They bleated, and the bleating reached the heaven and the earth.
    The Holy God heard them,
    And he came down to them,
    And thus he spake with his mouth:
    "Halloo, brave Nica, whose are these sheep,
    Which bleat so beautifully,
    So beautifully and devoutly?"
    Nica the brave replied:
    "O dear merciful God,
    As thou hast come and askest me,
    I will answer truly
    To whom these sheep belong:
    They are thine,
    As well as mine.
    I feed them;
    Thou guardest them.
    I milk them;
    Thou multipliest them.
    I shear them;
    Thou makest them grow."
    The good God replied
    And said to Nica the brave:
    "May they be given to thee
    From me as a gift--
    From a good father
    To a clever son--
    For thou art sweet of tongue.
    But thou shalt give me,
    On St. John's day,
    Two lambs;
    On St. George's day
    One suckling lamb;
    And on Ascension day
    A cake of cheese."
    Nica the brave
    May live in health,
    He and his brothers
    And his parents.
    May God keep you all.


This refers no doubt to the creation of the sheep by God--as mentioned
before--and the manner in which the sheep were expected to help Adam
after the fall. (v. Wolf Story No. 7.)



XIII.

THE HART AND THE MAKING OF THE WORLD.

A Christmas Carol.


    Slowly, slowly, O Lord,
    The little river Olt
    Has grown big,
    So big
    That the borders cannot be seen.
    But what is coming
    Down the Olt?
    Tall pines
    And dry fir trees.
    Among the pines,
    Among the fir trees,
    A three-year-old stag
    Is swimming.
    The stag swims,
    And lifts up its horns.
    On the top of his horns
    A cradle is hanging and swinging,
    A green cradle made of silk,
    Woven in six strands.
    But who sits in the cradle?
    The maiden, the young girl,
    With her tresses hanging down the back,
    Shining
    Like the holy sun.
    She sits and sews,
    And embroiders
    A collar for her father,
    A kerchief for her brother.
    But she stops and does not sew,
    Nor does her mouth keep quiet,
    For she is singing:
    "Slowly, slowly,
    Old stag,
    Slowly, slowly be thou swimming.
    Do not hinder my work.
    And the waves are rising;
    They might wash me off and carry me off thy horns.
    Slowly, slowly,
    Dear old stag,
    For I have three brothers at court,
    Where they learn many things.
    All the three are noted hunters,
    And good falconers.
    They will discover thee,
    And run after me.
    With their falcons they will pursue thee.
    With their dogs they will worry thee.
    With their lances they will prick thee.
    Slowly, slowly,
    Dear old stag--
    For if my brothers find thee,
    They will make my wedding feast
    With thy poor flesh.
    With thy bones
    They will build
    My little house.
    With thy skin
    They will cover
    My little home.
    With thy blood
    They will paint
    My little courts.
    And with thy head
    They will celebrate
    The holy feast.
    They will place it
    Over the gate,
    At the entrance of the little garden.
    Of thy hoofs
    They will make
    Crystal cups,
    Out of which
    Nobles drink.
    On rare occasions--
    On Christmas day and Epiphany--
    When the whole world rejoices,
    I drink to the health of these houses
    For many years.


The mythical stag carrying on his horns a girl who is like the sun
is similar to the bull of Mithras and to the bull in the Avesta,
out of which the world was created. The stag provides here all the
elements for the building of a house and for the merriment of the
nobles. Each part of its body is accounted for.



XIV.

WHY IS THE FLY CALLED THE DEVIL'S HORSE?

The Fight of St. George and the Devil.


In Rumania, the dragon-fly is known as the devil's horse or perhaps the
dragon's horse. It is also known as St. George's horse. The following
legends explain this peculiar name.



We are told that in olden times there was continual strife between God
and the devil. God, however, who is peacefully inclined, let the devil
play his game as long as possible. He thought that perhaps after some
time the devil might become better behaved. But what can you expect
of the devil? He is what he is, and neither good nor bad treatment
will change him. And so it proved even to God. He waited a very long
time to see him quiet down and become more satisfied. But no sooner
had God granted him one thing, than the devil asked for another, and
so he went on asking continually. When at last God saw that nothing
could be done with Satan, he armed his host of angels and gave each
one a beautiful horse to ride on. One morning, at early dawn, they
all mounted their horses and, led by St. George, who was riding at
the head of the host, they started the fight with the devil.

After a time St. George--who rode a horse, which was like unto none
of the others, wondrously beautiful--felt suddenly that his horse was
backing instead of going ahead. So St. George found himself involved
among his own host, and some other horses following his example,
started moving backwards and hitting those who were riding behind
them. He then suddenly heard the voice of God telling him to dismount,
for his horse had been bewitched by the devil. "If that is the case,"
said St. George, "then be it the devil's own," and he let it go. And
so it happened. Scarcely had it made three steps when it was changed
into a flying insect, which we, upon this earth, call the devil's horse
(libellula depressa).



A similar legend must have been current in West Europe and in England,
as otherwise the English name of Dragon-fly could not be explained. At
the root of it there must be some legend of St. George and the Dragon,
in addition to the fight between the hosts of heaven and the army of
Satan. This part must have entirely dropped out, and the knowledge and
recollection of the part which St. George played was connected either
with the worm, i.e. dragon probably transformed into an insect, or the
horse of St. George, believed to have been a winged horse. To us here,
however, the first part of the legend is of the utmost interest,
for it is nothing less than the Biblical legend of the rebellion
of Satan which led to the combat and to the fall. Satan had lost
Paradise, and ever since then he had been yearning for the light
of Paradise, either by attempting to steal the heavenly fire, as in
the Goat stories, or by stealing the sun and moon as in some of the
Christmas carols. Thereby he entered into a contest with the heavenly
power. Though these variants do not contain much of the legendary
fauna, they form an important part in the mythological conception
which lies at the root of many of these creation-tales and legends.



XV.

THE DEVIL STEALING THE SUN.

A Christmas Carol.


    In the glory of the heavens,
    On the outskirts of Paradise,
    Close to the throne of God--
    The throne of Judgment--
    Where the whole world gathers,
    Tables are decked,
    And the saints sit round the table.
    John St. John,
    Ilie St. Ilie,
    Peter St. Peter,
    With all the other saints,
    Are feasting joyously.
    The Lord came then to the table,
    Sat down at the table,
    Blessed the bread,
    And began
    To eat.
    They were eating,
    Or not eating,
    For on a sudden
    They lifted their eyes,
    And whom should they see from afar?
    The archangel Gabriel
    And the angel Michael,
    Who were coming, always coming,
    Drawing nearer and nearer, and then they reached the table.
    They bent their knees before the Lord,
    Bent their knees and prayed.
    And said the following:
    "Dost thou know, O Lord, or dost thou not know,
    What has happened in Paradise?
    What we have seen and what has been done?
    No sooner had St. Peter gone,
    And Ilie followed suit,
    And St. John had left us,
    When the heathen gods, realising it,
    Stormed Paradise,
    Entered inside,
    Robbed it and
    Have taken away the crown of Paradise.
    They have taken the moon,
    With its light.
    They have taken the twilight,
    With its glimmer.
    They have taken the stars,
    With their flowers.
    They have taken the sun,
    With its treasures.
    The heathen gods have further taken away
    The throne of judgment,
    Before which the whole world must appear.
    They have carried it all away into hell.
    Paradise is darkened,
    Whilst hell is lit up.
    We have fought as much as we could fight,
    But they overpowered us.
    They refuse to give up the spoil.
    We have now come to tell you,
    To bring our prayer as a sacrifice,
    That you may render us help,
    And come back with us to Paradise."
    When the Lord heard it,
    He made a sign to the saints,
    And turned his eyes upon the angels,
    And went with them
    To bear them company.
    First St. Ilie,
    Who is the most powerful saint;
    And second to him St. Peter,
    To smite the heathen gods with drought.
    They followed him.
    They started,
    John baptising,
    St. Ilie striking with his lightning flashes,
    St. Peter drenching with rains and downpours.
    When they arrived at hell
    St. Ilie struck with his lightning;
    St. Peter cursed them;
    St. John baptised them.
    The idols were seized with trembling.
    They fell on their knees,
    And submitted to St. John.
    The archangel Gabriel,
    Together with the angel Michael,
    Entered hell,
    Took everything
    In their arms,
    And brought them back to Paradise.
    Holy moon with its light,
    The twilight
    With its rays,
    The stars
    With their flowers,
    The sun
    With its treasures,
    The throne of judgment,
    Before which all men must appear,
    They brought them back to Paradise,
    And Paradise again shone brightly.
    Hell was darkened.
    They turned to the Lord,
    And prayed:
    "May, O Lord, thy will
    And thy kingdom last forever.
    To your health for many years to come."


This carol is full of apocryphal reminiscences and mythical
elements. The contest between Satan and God, and between the evil and
good powers is here described under the form of Satan, stealing the
sun from heaven and plunging the world into darkness, but the angels,
with the prophet Ilie (Elijah) at their head, are able to defeat the
machinations of Satan, and to restore the sun to Paradise. Cf. among
others the English poem, "The Harrowing of Hell," and the literature
connected with the Gospel of Nicodemus. Wesselofsky has studied the
transformation of the prophet Elijah into the Ilie of the popular
faith, who rides the heavens with a thunderbolt in his hands, and
smites the devil wherever he finds him. It is a combination of the
prophet Elijah with a modified form of the Greek Helias. The archangels
Gabriel and Michael are here in their proper place, whilst in the
story of the dragon-fly they have been supplanted by St. George. We
shall find the same saint disguised as a knight and almost forgotten
as a saint in the legend of the Fly of Kolumbatsh, No. 21.



XVI.

WHY IS IT CALLED THE BULL-FLY?

The Story of God, the Sun and the Bulls.


In those days when God used to walk through fields and lanes carrying
his knapsack on his back and feeding his herds and flocks, his oxen
and cows, his sheep and goats, it is told that, once upon a time,
feeling very tired, he went to sleep with his head upon a hillock
of earth. He slept for a long while, and woke up very late. Before
lying down, he told the older and stronger oxen to take care to
behave themselves well, and also to look after the younger ones,
so that there should not be any fight or trouble among them. But no
sooner had he closed his eyes, when such a shouting and bellowing
was started that one might think that the hills were falling and the
earth was breaking up. The Lord sprang upon his feet as if he had
been touched by fire, for the holy sun had come to him, and waking
him up had said:--"O Lord, these creatures of yours have bellowed all
night long so loud and so vigorously that you might have thought that
they intended driving me away from the face of the earth. Look and
see what they have done to me. They have fought against me so long
that they have well-nigh torn my clothes into shreds and tatters,
and with great difficulty I saved myself behind that flower-bed."

"What beetles are you speaking of?" asked the Lord.

"I mean your oxen which have behaved so badly. They are not worthy
to be anything else but horned beetles."

"Let it be so! But I must first look into the matter, and if I find
them guilty, I will punish them just as you wish."

And as the Lord had said, so he did. For, finding them guilty, he drove
them away into the forest. There they climbed up the oak-trees, and
suddenly they all became horned beetles, bull-flies, with larger and
smaller horns, viz. the cows became cow-flies with smaller horns and
the oxen bull-flies with larger horns, through God's punishment. That
is why they are called the Lord's bulls and cows (Lucanus cervus).



According to another legend, the bull-flies were originally the angels
who refused to help St. Elias in fastening the felloes to his fiery
chariot. Therefore their mouths have been closed as with a vice,
for ever, so that they be no longer able to speak, and that is why
they are also called wheelwrights.

The horns of these bull-flies are used by women, who tie them into
their hair against the evil eye. The sharp points of these horns
have the same magical properties as the sharp points of the coral,
or of the horns, fingers, etc., which figure so largely in the magical
charms and amulets against the workings of the evil eye.



XVII.

WHY IS THE SAW-FLY RED?

The Story of Ileana, Voinic and the Archangel Gabriel.


The following legend is told of this little beetle.

I do not know how long ago it was that Ileana Cosinziana (Ileana the
fay) walked about with her young, beautiful, and brave hero (Voinic
inflorit), and, singing with a loud voice, they filled mountain and
valleys with their music. It must have been long ago, for at that time
the archangel Gabriel also walked the earth in the form of a very
old man, leaning on iron crutches. He went about warning the people
that God would send upon them a new flood of foreign tongues and
wild nations, if they would not stop their quarrels and put an end
to their curses. After having travelled through many countries and
empires, St. Gabriel found himself one day at the top of a cliff,
so high that it made your head turn when you looked down. There
he met Ileana Cosinziana, who was weeping and singing a doleful
tune. With her was Voinic inflorit, whom she had met in the land of
the fairies, just as God makes men meet in their journeys. "How far
art thou going?" asked Voinic, seeing the old man. "Much farther than
thou wilt go," replied the archangel Gabriel. The young man looked up,
feeling wroth with the answer. And quite naturally so, when he heard a
very old man boasting that he was going much farther than he. Was he
not a young sturdy man, and more likely to walk ever so much further
than a bent-down old fellow grey of hair? "O old man, you must take
me for a weakling, when you say that I cannot walk as far as you do."

"Young man, your sweet, strong voice will not be heard any more a
year hence."

"And why?"

"Because such is the will of God."

"Yes, that might be so if you were the brother of Christ," replied
the young man, sneering.

"I may not be the brother of Christ, but that of St. Peter I may well
be. If you do not believe me, let us enter a wager that a year hence
we will meet here again. But you will be weak and broken, much more
so than you think me to be now."

"Well, be it so, but woe betide thee if I win the wager."

"So it shall be."

And wishing one another good-bye, each went his own way, bent on
winning the wager.

"Who was that daring old man?" asked the Ileana; "it seems to me that
he is not so old as his grey hair betokens. He is a valiant man. God
knows who he may be, but one thing is certain, he is not an old man."

"How did you know it?"

"Well, when he put out his hand, he gripped mine with so much strength
that he very nigh burnt my soul out of me with the fire of his hand."

When the young Voinic heard it, he got so angry that he was more like
a wild beast than a human being, and being overpowered by his fury,
got hold of her by the hair of her head and hurled her down the cliff
so that she broke into a thousand pieces. He then began to run away
so fast that the earth seemed to fly away under his feet. And thus
he continued running through many lands and many countries, until
the year had come round when he was to meet the old man again. On
the last day of the year, Voinic remembered the wager, and looking
into the water at the bottom of a well, he saw himself much weaker
and older than the old man had looked a year ago. In his anger he
threw himself into the well. But, in accordance with the will of God,
the water would not keep him, and cast him out. He had got very old
indeed, for the thoughts and worries had cut deep furrows into his
face; his hair from black, turned white as the snow. This was because
in his fury and in an unlucky hour he had killed his beloved Ileana
by throwing her down the cliff.

The archangel Gabriel, who knew all that had happened, changed into
a young man beautiful as the sun, valiant as a king and brave as a
lion. He was mounted on a charger black as the night and swift as the
wind. Thus arrayed, he came to the cliff where they had arranged to
meet. Voinic noticed that against his will he had also come to that
spot. How great then was his fright when, instead of a decrepit old
man, he found there so valiant a knight.

"Good morning, Voinic."

"All hail! I am no longer a hero full of sap; I am now an old weak
man."

"He, he, seest thou now that what I had told thee has come to pass? I
have grown young and thou hast grown old. So it is, for who can
alter the will of God? He can do what he likes, and man must submit
to his decrees. So it is, indeed, but how now about our wager? Where
is that beautiful maiden of thine, in whom thou didst believe more
than in God?"

"She died soon after we met."

"True, she is dead, for thou, O wretch, hast killed her."

"I assuredly did not; she died by the will of God."

"Oh no, thou hast thrown her down the cliff. I know it well, for I
have seen the rut on the cliff she fell down."

"That is not true, for I have buried her with the assistance of the
priest of the next village. If thou dost not believe, come with me,
and I will show thee the grave."

"This is an infamous lie. Thou hast murdered her. Thou come and I
will show thee her real grave and her blood."

And, getting hold of him, he took him down and showed him a place
which seemed covered with red blood. But it was no blood. It was
a vast number of small red beetles. "Out of the blood of Ileana,
seest thou, have come these little flies."

When Voinic heard this, he was seized with such a great fright that
he became changed from the old bent man that he was into a small
black insect, which unto this very day cries for his lost beloved
Ileana. The people call it the little cricket, or rather the bull
or cow of the Lord (Lygaeus equestris). The little red beetles which
come out of the blood of Ileana they also call Easter beetle, for it
was on Easter Day that she was thrown down the cliff.



XVIII.

WHY DOES THE SAW-FLY LIVE IN STABLES?

The Story of St. Mary and the Miserly Farmer.


Another legend of a totally different character is also told of this
little beetle.



When the Holy Mother gave birth to Jesus, she had not enough milk
in her breasts to suckle the child. Next to her on the right lived a
very rich farmer who had a large number of cows. So the mother Mary
sent to him, and asked him to give her a little milk, as much as was
necessary to feed her little baby. But rich farmers are, as a rule,
very stingy. So he replied, "I am not going to give my good milk to
a witch to bewitch my cows and take away their gift."

The Holy Mother, on hearing his words, got very angry, especially when
she heard that he had called her a witch. But she kept her counsel,
and went to the neighbour on the left, who had only one cow. He was
a kind-hearted man, and gave her at once a bowl full of milk. When
she left, she blessed him and said: "On the morrow thou shalt not
know what to do with the milk," i.e. he would have so much milk that
he would not know how to handle it. And so it happened. When, on the
next morning, he entered the stables he found them full of beautiful
fat kine, from which the milk was running, so rich were they.

But the stingy neighbour the Holy Mother cursed, and said: "On the
morrow thy stable shall be empty, and in lieu of cows, beetles shall
be there." And so also it happened. When he entered the stables the
next morning, he found them empty, and instead of the cows, which
were no longer there, the stables were full of little red flies with
black spots on their backs, crawling up the walls and filling the
manger. And that is why they are called the cows and oxen of the Lord.



To obtain abundance of milk peasant women in the Bukovina go on
a Tuesday evening to a place where there are a number of these
insects. The next morning, before sunrise, they go there again and,
taking a number of them, bring them home, chop them up with their
choppers and, mixing them with the food, give them to the cows to
eat. The cows will then yield much milk.



XIX.

WHY IS THE LADY-BIRD DAINTY?

The Story of the Wicked Maiden and the Archangel Michael.


In olden times, when the men were not yet so wicked and bad, there
was no hell, for the good God saw that it would remain empty, as there
would be no one to go there. The people were happy and grateful, and
satisfied with whatever God gave them. It did not enter their minds to
complain of God's wisdom and love. After a time the people multiplied
so much that they could no longer have enough of anything. So they
began to quarrel with one another. Those who had nothing, without
knowing that they were doing anything wrong, began to demand whatever
they wanted from the wealthy ones. They did not know that it was
forbidden to take another man's property. For up till then no one knew
what sin was. The Allmerciful God, who sees and knows everything,
noting that strife and quarrels increased more and more among men,
sent his trusty servant, the archangel Michael, to awaken mankind
to the sense of sin, and to train them to good deeds. The archangel
went among the people, enlightened their minds, and told them all
about sin and wrong-doing, and what they had to do in order to avoid
sin. That was just the knowledge that the people were lacking; but
no sooner did they know what evil was, than, curiously enough, they
took to wrong-doing. Jealousy, greed, strife, and murder were born
among them. When God saw the obstinacy and perverseness of mankind,
he let them go their own way to do whatever they liked, even if they
acted against his wishes. In order to punish them, however, he decided
not to allow them to get into Paradise. At the edge of the garden he
made a deep well; so deep that it was very dark, almost black. He then
took a fiery morning star, and cast him into the depth of the well,
thus filling it with burning coals. And then he turned every wicked
man into that fire so that he might repent. He called that place
Hell: and so it has remained to this day. In order that men should
know that God knows how to reward them, he at times left the gate of
Paradise open, so that everyone, if he liked, could enter into it
and see how beautiful it was. He also opened the gates of Hell, so
that they might also see the tortures and hear the cries of the wicked.

Many people went and looked, and when they looked into Paradise, their
hearts swelled with joy; but when they went and looked into Hell,
their hearts got as small as a flea on account of the great fright
they got, when they saw how severely God punished the sinner. They
all repented of their evil ways, all of them, great and small, except
one single person, who on no account would repent. This one was a
girl as beautiful as an angel, and clever beyond comparison. She was
strong, with a fine body, round and sleek as no other, and she had a
head so beautiful that you might believe it was a picture. Her long
black hair, soft like silk, shone like the feathers of a raven. Her
eyes were black and sparkling--she could almost burn you up with her
look--her mouth had lips as red as the berries of the field--her cheeks
were white and smooth as snow lit up with two blood-red roses. I do
not know--by God I do not--where there is anyone who would not have
fallen in love with her. God sent the archangel Michael to take her
out of this world and put her in Hell, there to repent of her sins
of obstinacy and perversity. He went, but when he looked at her,
he could not utter a single word. He felt as though he had a knot
in his throat when he was to tell her that she must prepare for the
journey. For he knew how terrible it is in Hell. So he returned to
Heaven without taking the girl with him to throw her into the abysmal
depths. When God saw him so sad, he asked him what was the cause of it.

"O Lord," said the archangel, "I have fulfilled all thy commands
except one, which I could not fulfil; I had pity on the beauty of
that girl. She is so beautiful that you cannot help feeling full
of pity, and to feel a sweet shiver passing through you when you
behold her. If it be possible, O Lord, let her live on for a while,
perchance she will repent."

"O my son Michael, thou dost not know that thy pity will cause me much
trouble and worry. Just look down and see. Since thou hast left her,
she has increased the number of the wicked and sinful. For whoever
looks at her is seized with lust. Everyone thinks only of her eyes and
her face. When I sent thee, she was the only one left who was wicked,
for she alone was possessed of pride, obstinacy and perverseness. Now
the number has grown."

"O, Lord, if it be only possible, do not uproot that example of
womankind, for she is beautiful, and it is not likely that another
like her will ever be born."

"Very well, then, I will let her live on, perchance she will repent and
get better; but if she does not grow better at the end of one year,
I will send thee again, and then thou wilt throw her down into the
depths of Hell."

"Well, let thy will be done."

And with these words they separated, God going to mend the hinges of
the world, and the archangel to teach and to enlighten the mortals. So,
going through many countries, walking on foot or riding in a car,
when a year had past he came at last again to the house of the
beautiful maiden. There was a vast multitude assembled before her
house. He pushed his way among the people to see at what they were
looking. The beautiful maiden was enticing the people to follow only
pleasure and pride.

"It is not good," so she spoke, "to believe only in what God and his
counsellors tell us. We must do what we think best, for no evil will
happen to us."

When the archangel Michael heard these words, he grew very furious,
and, with a mighty effort, he got near her, so as to seize her and
hurl her into the fire of Hell.

"Do not carry her to Hell," said the voice of God; "for she might
start fresh mischief and wickedness there also, and engender strife:
she had better be changed into some insignificant insect."

When the archangel heard the command, he got hold of her by the hair
of her head, and he whirled her round so many times that she became
as small as a speck; and then, throwing her away, she turned into
a small red insect with black points on her wings, which was called
Bubureaza (Coccinella septempundata). To this very day, when you put
her on your finger, she will show you the way you are to go, but it
is better for men to do the reverse and go in the opposite direction;
for she leads one only to evil.



XX.

WHY DOES THE GAD-FLY STING THE CATTLE?

The Story of God, St. Peter and the Lazy Shepherd.


In olden times God and St. Peter used to walk about in the world, to
see what was happening, and how the world was going on. And after they
had seen what happened in one province, they used to go to another.

Once upon a time, after leaving a certain village, they got into
a deep and dark forest. Walking along for a while, they lost their
way, and did not know how to get out of it. Tired and hungry, they
walked on, lost in that thick and gloomy wood, when suddenly before
them they saw a field, in which grass and flowers were growing and
herds of cattle were feeding. The cowherd lay fast asleep under the
shadow of a tree. He could take it easily, for the cattle were not
suffering from flies, and were wandering quietly about the field. God
and St. Peter rejoiced greatly when they saw a man lying there. They
went up to him and woke him, and asked him to tell them the way which
would take them out of the forest. The cowherd, being asked by God
which was the quickest road, did not even lift up his head to give a
polite answer. But lying outstretched on the grass, he merely moved
his right leg and, half asleep and lazy as he was, and pointing in
one direction, said, "If you wish to get out to the world of men,
just go that way and you will get there." Then, turning over on the
other side, he again fell asleep.

God and St. Peter, resenting the rudeness of the cowherd, said, "Are
these, then, thy manners? Very well, thou wilt no longer be lazy from
this day onwards. Thy cattle will no longer feed quietly; the gad-fly,
which I am sending, will sting them, and they will run like mad whither
their feet and their eyes will carry them." And so it happened. The
gad-fly came and the cows and oxen suddenly started running like mad
in all directions, and so it has remained to this very day.

The cowherd, when he saw the cattle running like mad things with their
tails in the air, jumped up like one stung to madness, and started
running after them to bring them back. But in vain, for the cattle,
which had run away as quickly as you strike a spark from the flint,
entered into a swamp.

After they had thus punished the cowherd, God and St. Peter went on
walking without knowing whither they were going. So again, after a
long walk in that same forest, they came to another meadow, where a
shepherd tended his flock of sheep. But the sheep were running all
the time so fast that you could not see their legs. Hither and thither
they went, and the shepherd after them, out of breath, and the sweat
running down his face, hoping that he might get them together. But the
sheep were as if they had been bewitched, so fast did they run. And
whilst the shepherd could scarcely keep on his legs, and the sweat was
standing on his forehead like beads, God and St. Peter approached him
and asked him which was the way they were to go to come back to this
world. Although he was dead tired and hot, the shepherd none the less
stopped still and, wiping his face with the sleeve of his shirt, said:

"Please, take that way, for if you follow that road, you will soon
get to the end of the forest."

They took the way he showed them, and soon they found themselves in
this world. And God said to his companion:

"From this day onward, the flock of this shepherd, who has given us
good advice, so courteously, shall no longer suffer from the gad-fly
(and the running madness), and they shall only run at times of rain and
wind. They will henceforth feed quietly, and the shepherd also will be
able to sit down and play his pipe." And from that day on the sheep
feed quietly, and the shepherd can tend them in peace and comfort,
for the sheep do not suffer from the gad-fly (Hypoderma bovis),
whilst the cowherds must weary their legs, as otherwise their cattle
would disappear.



There is a Macedonian variation:

Once upon a time God changed into a very old man. Walking one day in
a terrific heat, he met a cowherd and asked him for a drop of water,
for he said he would die of thirst. "Die," replied the cowboy, and
would neither give him a drop of water nor tell him where to find it.

God found afterwards a shepherd hotly pursuing his sheep, and the
perspiration running down him. "Give me a drop of water, for I die,"
said God.

"I give you willingly, but my sheep have run away and I do not know
how to gather them"; and going to a fountain at the foot of a hill
he took some in his fur cap and gave him to drink. God gathered the
sheep, and blessed them to be God's flock, who should never henceforth
separate on the road or be scattered. Remembering the cowherd, he
cursed him and said: "The gad-fly is always to scatter his herd just
when the heat is greatest, so that he may run like mad."

Therefore the sheep always walk together in flocks, and gather together
in hot summer weather in the shade. And for that reason the oxen are
driven mad by the fly in the hot season, and they run like mad as
if they were ridden by devils. The cowherd has to run after them,
and there are but few fountains in Thessaly from which to slacken
his thirst.



XXI.

WHY DOES THE FLY OF KOLUMBATSH POISON THE CATTLE?

The Ballad of the Knight and the Dragon.


Numerous ballads recount the same story of the origin of the Poison-fly
of Kolumbatsh, with slight variations, of which the most complete is
the following:


    High up in the green forest
    What does appear?
    High up in the forest of Cerna,
    At the ford of Rushava,
    Have gone forth, verily gone forth,
    From some village nigh,
    Very early in the morning,
    Through dew and mist,
    Three sisters,
    Beautiful maidens.
    The elder sister,
    Dressed sweetly,
    Fair like a pink flower,
    Surpassing a fairy,
    When you espy her breast,
    White like a lily.
    The younger sister,
    Darling Maria,
    Full of pride
    In her eyebrows,
    In her eyes and lashes,
    And when you look into her eyes,
    You are like one smitten by the evil eye.
    The youngest sister,
    Like unto a dove,
    Ana Ghirosana,
    Like the fairy Sanziana,
    Surpassed them all.
    She is like the evening star,
    And the star of morn,
    The flower of flowers.
    They played and frolicked,
    And gathered flowers.
    They made wreaths,
    And while they twisted them they sang.
    Through the forest the singing was heard.
    Thus they went on,
    Until, overcome,
    The youngest lay down,
    And went to sleep.
    The elder two,
    The sisters twain,
    When night arrived,
    To their home they turned.
    They left the youngest behind,
    Who was fast asleep,
    Until the dawn appeared,
    When she called for them.
    But none heard her,
    Except the little cuckoo,
    Beautiful and brave,
    Who flitted among the trees,
    And sang with a loud voice.
    "Dear Cuckoo mine,
    Listen to me, you brave one!
    Lead me out into the open,
    To the road of carriages,
    That I find my sisters,
    For I will be unto thee a cousin!"
    "My sweet one!
    I do not know
    Whether I will lead thee into the open or not,
    For I have many cousins,
    As many as there are flowers on the mountain!"
    "Cuckoo, cuckoo, listen, O brave one!
    Lead me into the open,
    To the road of cars.
    I will be a sister unto thee."
    The cuckoo replied:
    "No, my child, no,
    For I have sisters as many
    As flowers that bloom in spring."
    "Cuckoo, cuckoo, listen, O brave one!
    Lead me into the open,
    That I may find my sisters,
    For I will be a wife unto thee
    As long as I live."
    "O no, for I am not a young man
    Able to wed.
    I am only a little bird,
    And I know not of a beloved one."
    Then suddenly appeared from a rock
    The most horrible fright,
    Gruesome and cruel--
    Twisting and crawling across the path--
    A terrible dragon.
    Running after her,
    He coiled himself round her,
    Twisted his tail
    Round her waist; he encircled her.
    She was seized with terror,
    And shrieked aloud.
    The forest resounded.
    High up the Cerna,
    Very high up the river,
    Many a brave has passed,
    And all were laid low.
    A valiant Ruman,
    Ioan Iorgovan,
    Whose arms were like clubs,
    Was riding upon a horse,
    Swift as the eagle,
    Followed by two little dogs,
    Keen and quick.
    He was riding gaily,
    Walking up the Cerna
    Quite quickly,
    His horse prancing,
    Encouraging his dogs,
    And waving his lance.
    He suddenly heard a noise,
    But he did not understand,
    However much he strained,
    Whether it was the voice of a man
    Or that of a woman.
    For the waves of the Cerna raged,
    Sounding loud through the forest.
    So he turned himself back,
    And said to the Cerna:
    "O my clean Cerna,
    Stop, I pray thee, stop,
    For I will throw
    Into thy bed,
    And I will give thee a silver lamprey,
    And a golden distaff,
    With dragon's eyes,
    Which will spin and turn by itself."
    The Cerna heard him,
    And at once stood still.
    Then Ioan Iorgovan,
    With arms like clubs,
    At once heard
    And knew the voice,
    That it was not that of a man,
    But that of a woman.
    Then he got angry,
    Spurred on his horse,
    And, striking it hard,
    He roared like a lion,
    Splitting the air.
    The dragon got sight of him,
    And, seized with fear, it ran away.
    But he followed it,
    And jumped across the Cerna,
    And approached it.
    The dragon waited for him,
    And asked him:
    "Ioan Iorgovan,
    With arms like clubs.
    With what kind of a good message
    Dost thou come this day to me?
    Or hast thou the thought
    To destroy me?
    I pray thee, grant me peace,
    And turn back to thy home.
    I swear on my head
    That, dead, I shall be worse.
    For, if thou killest me,
    My head will rot.
    Worms will breed;
    Flies will swarm,
    Who will bite thy horse.
    It will burst of the poison,
    The oxen will run mad,
    The plough will come to a standstill!"
    "Accursed snake!
    Thou still bandiest words.
    I will teach the country,
    And the people will hearken to me.
    They will raise the smoke,
    And thy flies they will choke.
    My horse will not die,
    But thou shalt perish,
    For I have heard
    That thou hast killed
    A beautiful maid
    With thy robber's jaw."
    "Ioan Iorgovan,
    When I heard thy approach,
    Thy horse's trot,
    Roaring like a dragon,
    I at once left the maid
    Safe and unhurt.
    I pray thee,
    Leave me alone,
    And turn back to thy home.
    I swear on my head,
    Worse shall I be dead."
    Ioan Iorgovan,
    With arms like clubs,
    Brandished his sword,
    Hit the snake,
    And cut it up in pieces.
    The maid looked on
    Until he had finished it,
    Then she showed herself,
    And thus she spake:
    "Ioan Iorgovan,
    With arms like clubs,
    Lead me out in the open,
    To the carriage road,
    That I may meet my sisters,
    For I shall be unto thee a wife
    As long as I be alive."
    When he beheld her,
    Wonder seized him
    Of her beauty and of her youth.
    "Ho, my beautiful flower,
    Who art like a young fairy,
    Be then to me a wife
    As long as you be alive."
    He then embraced her
    And kissed her.
    He then looked on--
    May it burst--
    There was the dragon's head
    Running away,
    Painting the Cerna red with his blood.
    And it ran across the Danube,
    Until it hid itself in the dark cave.
    There it rotted.
    The worms bred
    And flies swarmed.
    And so it is to this very day;
    When the fly comes out
    It bites the horses,
    It poisons the oxen,
    And stops the plough.


Thus far this, the most complete version.

There are a number of other variants, but the central idea is the
same, that the poison-fly (Musca Columbaca) comes from the head of
the dragon, slain by the knight Ioan Iorgovan.

The people show the imprint of the hoofs and the traces of Iorgovan's
dogs on the high cliff overhanging the banks of the Danube.

This legend, localised in Rumania on the borders of Servia, is of
special interest for hagiography. It is nothing else but a variant of
the legend of St. George and the Dragon. It has assumed a peculiar
form, differing greatly from the other versions of that fight,
which is known all over the East and West, and lives in many forms
and versions. In the Rumanian hagiography there are at least two or
three versions of the legend as found in the Vitae Sanctorum and the
Synaxarium of the Greek and Slavonic Church. Thus it is found in one
of the oldest Rumanian prints, the Homiliary of 1646, the very first
book printed at Jasi, in Moldavia, in the Rumanian language. It occurs
also in part in the Lives of the Saints by the Archbishop Dositheus,
who used MS. collections for his book, printed also in Jasi, in
1682. An elaborate version is to be found in the great collection
of the Lives of the Saints in twelve volumes, by Bishop Benjamin
of Moldavia, and then reprinted in Bucharest in 1836. All these
collections are full of apocryphal matter, and the Life of St. George
makes no exception. There is one point more to which attention must
be drawn in this connection, viz. the influence of the Genoese and
Venetian traders who had established emporia along the Danube and
the Black Sea, among them one which to this very day has retained
the name of St. George. Along the Danube, on the left bank, on what
is now Rumania, stands that place, called Giurgiu in honour of the
patron saint of the Genoese who found it. Thus, from many quarters,
one or the other version became known to the folk, and was localised
at that point where the Carpathian mountains seem to dip into the
Danube, to emerge again on the other side and continue rising and
forming the chain of the Balkans. From a philological point of view
the name Iorgu Iorgovan denotes Servian influences.



XXII.

WHY IS THERE A WORM IN THE APPLE?

The Story of God and the False Teachers.


Before God came upon the earth there were a number of men who were
very clever, and who followed the rule of the devil. They claimed
that they could change themselves into dogs and cats, for the devil,
who took much pleasure in his clever people, helped them. Those who
saw them, believed them to be gods, and worshipped them and brought
them gifts. The devil almost jumped out of his skin with delight, for
he hoped that all the nations would do likewise, and soon God would be
forgotten. But God was watching the doings of the devil quietly from
above, until at last, seeing to what lengths he was going, he said:

"By God! it is no good sitting here with my hands in my lap. I must
go down and put matters straight."

So God took on the form of man, and went down among the people, going
from country to country and from village to village. At last, one day,
he made it known through all the land that all the clever men should
come together at a certain place to perform their arts, and whoever
would win in that competition, he would give him a sackful of gold.

On the appointed day, all the clever men came together in a big hall
which God had prepared. It was surrounded by numerous apple-trees on
all sides. The clever men did what they could, each one more clever
than the other. They changed themselves into cats and dogs. At last
God said to them:

"You have all done very well, but I would ask you to make me an apple
like those on the trees here around."

In vain did they try to make an apple, but they could not succeed. So
God sent lightning among them, which so terrified them that they
crawled into the apples to hide themselves there. And God turned them
into caterpillars that can only live in apples. This is the origin of
the worm (Carpocapsa pomonella) which infests the orchards of apples
and pears. In order to protect them from this pest the Rumanians of
Bukovina keep a special Day of the worms, on the Tuesday in the first
week of the month of May. On it, it is strictly forbidden to work,
and it is good to give away a cake and other good things in alms for
the benefit (of the souls) of these men turned into flies. It is also
good to bring into the orchard a red Easter egg, which has been taken
to Church.

Whoever catches an orchard worm and spits on its head, he spits on
the devil between the horns.

Whoever throws any of these worms into the fire throws into it the
devil's servant.



If we should call the "clever" men by the name of "Perfecti," of
which the former is an excellent translation, we might find in this
legend a slightly changed report of an act of accusation raised by
the Inquisition against the Albigenses and Cathars whose teachers
went by the name of "Perfecti." These men were accused of being
the servants and tools of the devil, and of possessing the power of
changing themselves into animals, the cat being the special animal
of the devil. It was said, moreover, that they enticed the world
to the worship of the devil, and that they had almost succeeded in
turning whole nations away from the true worship of God, so that it
required his own interposition in order to save the world from the
machinations of these men. He turned them into worms, which at any
rate continued to exist in apples and pears--the Inquisition has
turned them into dust and ashes. And yet their memory is preserved,
in spite of persecution and lives on in the memory of the people.



XXIII.

WHY ARE THE LOCUSTS VORACIOUS?

The Story of the Arrogant King and the Monks.


It is related that when the Emperor Por married his daughter he made
a great banquet, as big as had never been done before, for he called
all the kings and governors, and so many guests came together that
one might have thought that they would eat up even Por's ears.

But Por the emperor knew what he had to do, and he prepared food for
all. He opened casks of wine, which had been kept closed for a thousand
years, and he spread tables in a field as large as a country, and he
brought musicians who were so skilled that one would have liked to
listen to them for ever.

Everything had he prepared, only one thing had he forgotten. He
did not call the priests and the nuns. The priests he left out just
because he wanted to insult them, and he did not think of having the
marriage service performed in a Church.

"What do I want them for?" he said, "all this can be done without their
blessing, and to have popas (priests) always about you in your house,
by God, is not quite a lucky thing, for it is well known if you meet
a popa in your way you are sure to have no luck, for you have met
the devil."

The priests, seeing that Por had mocked at them, and the mothers of
the Church (the nuns) got very angry. They began ringing the bells
and praying, and they fasted three days on end, hoping that God
would hearken to their prayer and would punish the Emperor Por in
such signal manner as God alone in his wisdom could do.

And God, as it seems, hearkened to their prayer, for while the tables
were laden with meat and drink, and all the guests had sat themselves
down to eat and drink, suddenly the heavens grew dark, a mighty wind
arose, and out of the sky came down a thick black cloud of winged
things with large mouths, voracious and hungry.

They settled on the tables and devoured every bit of food that could
be found, and drank every drop of wine. The guests turned sick at this
horrible sight, and, falling ill, they all died there and then. From
a wedding feast it became a huge burial, the fame of which spread
throughout the lands. No one knew why this misfortune had befallen
them, only Por understood what had happened, and before his death
he said:

"Nothing can be done without the mercy and grace of God. And this
has been my punishment."

These were the locusts (Pachytylus migratorius) which God sends upon
men when they forget the true God.



The rôle assigned here to the official priests, the "popa" of the
orthodox religion, is in perfect harmony with that sectarian teaching
which could not find words strong and opprobrious enough against the
"official" Church and its ministers. The belief is still alive in
Rumania that to meet a "popa," as he is called, is an evil omen,
and the people will often desist from some enterprise if a popa has
met them. There are practices by which the evil consequences of such
a meeting could be averted; but they belong to those of primitive
society. This story seems also to have been originally a satire against
these popas. They were the original locusts who descended upon the
tables of the rich and mighty, but now the point has been blunted and
the lesson deliberately turned round, making the locusts the means of
punishment for ignoring the priests. The man who told this tale must
have had a mischievous twinkle in his eye, not lost on his hearers,
but evidently lost upon him who wrote it down afterwards.

The Emperor Por is none else than the Indian King Porus who plays so
important a part in the legendary history of Alexander the Great. This
is one of the most popular Rumanian chap-books--probably the oldest
in Rumanian folk-lore. There are a number of traces of this legendary
history in the Rumanian popular literature. We shall meet another
reference to it in the history of the cricket, No. 65, and of the
cuckoo, No. 91.

This story evidently belongs to the cycle of legends in which an
emperor tries to invite God and his host to dine with him, boasting
that he would be able to feed them. He decks tables along the sea
shore and waits for God to come to the banquet. But a wind rises and
blows everything into the sea. A sage explains to the emperor that
thus far only one of the servants of God--the wind--has partaken of
his banquet. (v. Gaster, Exempla of the Rabbis, No. 12.)



XXIV.

WHY DOES THE GRASSHOPPER RUN TO AND FRO?

The Story of Jesus and the Unkind Reaper.


Another large kind of locust or grasshopper is also known by the name
of "little horse" or "mower." For the explanation of the last name
the following legend is told:



Once upon a time when Jesus and St. Joseph hid themselves for fear
of the heathen in some very high grass which reached to their waist,
it is told that a giant came there to cut the grass, and he carried a
huge scythe, and with each stroke he cut down a large swath. Christ and
St. Joseph, seeing the work of that man and fearing lest they should
be discovered by the heathen if all the grass were cut down, asked him
not to cut any more. But when he heard that Christ begged him to stop,
he just went on with his work more furiously, full of spite, for was
not he also a heathen who wanted to catch him? When Christ saw this he
prayed to God to put as many obstacles in the giant's way as possible,
for it was still some time before the sun would set, and he would
otherwise quickly finish the cutting of the whole field. God heard
him, and he sent a heat so fierce that it dried up even the tongue
in the man's mouth. The mower, however, did not care. He only cast
off all his clothes and went on with his work in his shirt. When God
saw that the giant would not stop he changed the weather and made it
so bad that you would not have allowed a dog to leave the house. But
the mower went on with his work undisturbed. The only thing which he
did was to pick up the clothes which he had cast off and to put them
on again, and he made swaths as wide as the high road.

When Christ saw the progress which he made he trembled like a reed. He
feared lest the heathen would catch him. Angrily, he knelt down, and
cursing the giant, he said: "Cursed shalt thou be, thou disobedient
and callous mower, all thy life henceforth thou shalt be always
only mowing and never gain any benefit from it. As long as the world
stands thou shalt always be running to and fro among the reapers, who
will cut thy legs as a punishment for not having listened to me." No
sooner was this curse uttered, when the giant was turned into a small
green insect with long legs, which to this very day is seen hopping
between the blades of grass on meadows and fields, running in front
of the scythes of cutters of grass. This insect is called the mower
(Locusta viridissima).



XXV.

ANOTHER STORY OF THE GRASSHOPPER.

St. Mary and the Wicked Innkeeper.


There is another legend of the origin of the grasshopper.



When Christ was born in the stable, the animals which were there were
starved to death by the owner. There was no one who would as much as
put a handful of hay into the manger. The Holy Mother, full of pity
for the poor animals, asked the master of the house to give them at
least a forkful of hay. The master, however, shrugging his shoulders
said that all that he had, was gone and he could not give her even
as little as a handful. "If that be so, why did not you provide more
hay last summer?" asked the Holy Mother.

"Why? just because I was too lazy to cut more."

"If that be so," replied the Holy Mother, angrily, "then thou shalt
become a mower, and all thy life thou shalt not do anything else,
but from early morning to late at night thou shalt cut grass and yet
have no benefit therefrom."

No sooner had she uttered these words than the master was turned into
the grasshopper called the "mower," and such has he remained to this
very day.



XXVI.

WHY DOES THE NUN BEETLE COVER ITS FACE?

The Story of St. Peter and the Girl Messenger.


In the time of the Holy Apostles, there was great trouble among the
heathen giants, as they did not know whom to elect as ruler. The
heathen then came in large numbers to the Christians, asking for
their vote, and came even to St. Peter, who was then the headman of
the Apostles. St. Peter, realising the importance of this election,
took counsel with his brothers the Apostles. They decided to call
together all the Christians in an Assembly to decide which part they
were to take. A good number came together. But as at that time the
Christians were scattered far and wide, and lived a good way distant
one from another, and also were afraid of the heathen, the greater
number stayed at home.

For in such troublous times who would have liked to leave his wife
and children alone at home? Moreover, at that time Christians were
not permitted to meet, for when the heathen caught them speaking
to one another, they poured oil upon them and burned them like
torches. Still, when St. Peter had got a few counsellors together,
they discussed what was best to be done. The one said one thing,
the other another, as people do even to-day when talking in council,
but if you think you are getting on any further, you are waiting in
vain, for nothing comes out of it.

St. Peter, who was more learned than the rest, saw that no good
was coming out of their deliberations, and as he was the headman,
he got up from his seat and said, "If we are to give our people good
and sound advice, we all know that as for battle, good and strong men
are wanted, so we must also have clever men. Unfortunately, however,
there are no such men in our midst. We also know that if the heathen
see us going from house to house, and find out our intentions, it
might go very ill with us. We must therefore find out other means,
so that our enemies should not even suspect our action. I, as the
oldest among you, have come to the conclusion that we must get some
very clever women. We might then possibly win our case. Let us make a
list of all such women and instruct them carefully. We can then send
them to the houses of the Christians to advise them what to do."

"Excellent," replied the other learned men, and they called out all
the clever women from the list which they had made, and by teaching
them day and night, they fitted them for their work and sent them to
the houses of the Christians. Before they left, however, they were
told that they were neither to turn back and look at anything, nor
were they to look straight into the eyes of strangers, for their eyes
were bewitched by the devil, nor should they speak to strangers, who
would pour poison into their souls. After receiving these instructions,
they all covered their faces and left only holes for their eyes. Then
they took food for the journey, taking care to fast regularly for
two days and eating only on the third. One of them, called "Nun,"
going into a town where the people were dressed up more richly than
in any other town, met a young man, tall as a reed, white as foam,
with a crisp upturned moustache, a small well-proportioned mouth,
and eyes glittering like those of a snake. He stood quite alone! The
young man, cunning as the young men of our days are, no sooner set
eyes on the young woman, when he began to tell her of all that is
in the heavens and upon earth, and made her forget her errand and
the instructions which she had received. So she unveiled her face,
and began to talk in such a manner that no man would have stopped her
from going on. In the end she told him even of the intentions of the
Christians and of the teaching of St. Peter. As soon as he had heard
all she had to tell him, the young man disappeared, for he was none
else than the son of Satan. St. Peter, who knew all that had happened,
for the angel of God had told him, started after the young woman in
order that he might stop her from revealing to others the intentions
of the Christians. He found her in a meadow playing with some children.

"Thy name is nun, thy name shall remain nun (Mantissa religiosa),
but thou shalt not have any longer a human shape, as thou hast thrown
away the veil, and has denied thy beautiful face."

When the nun beheld St. Peter she got frightened, and tried to pull
the veil over her face, which was uncovered, but she could not do it,
for God had changed her into a little green beetle which to this very
day joins its front legs, and it looks as if it intended to cover
its face with them.



This legend has been turned into a charm against a bad wife. Put the
nun under her head at night, and say three nights consecutively the
following charm:


    "Faithless Nun, St. Peter had taught thee;
    St. Peter has sent thee to do good to the Christians, to give
    them good teaching; to the ignorant thou hast given instruction.
    But thy conduct was bad,
    For thou hast spoken to the enemies,
    And hast shown thy uncovered face;
    And God has punished thee.
    I now have also a wife, like unto a spark, with bad tongue and
    evil speech--
    Evil in every way--
    Bad, envious, cheating,
    Restless,
    Always in motion, with a heart full of sin.
    Thou, O faithless Nun, smitten by God,
    Condemned by men,
    Make my wife to become good.
    From bad and faithless, make her good and faithful.
    From cheating and envious, make her good and loving.
    Otherwise, woe unto her.
    Woe unto thy kind,
    For I will set upon it and utterly destroy it.
    I will fall upon it and annihilate it.


She will then repent of her evil ways. This charm is only to be used
in the case when the wife is younger than the husband.



In the charm we have the "historical" or narrative element,
in the legend we have the symbolical in the application which is
assumed to run on parallel lines--the woman must also be faithful,
obedient, chaste, must not look into other people's eyes nor talk to
strangers--a grave danger for her soul. And finally the "threat" that
unless the "nun" will do the bidding, she will be severely chastised,
just like the demons in older conjurations, who are first cajoled
and then threatened. It is thoroughly typical, and shows the depths
of belief in the power of even the little insect which is, however,
still seen as a "nun" in a human form well instructed and powerful,
in spite of its actual "disguise." No real line of demarcation is
drawn between the human being and the meanest creature. In popular
belief and imagination they all live and move on the same plane.

There is another tale told about this insect, which seems to be
another attempt to explain its name Nun.



XXVII.

WHY IS THE BEETLE CALLED THE NUN?

The Story of the Devil's Daughter in the Cloister.


It is said that the devil--may he go into the wild desert and remain
there--had a very bad-tempered daughter. She was so bad that in
the whole world there was none other like her to make a couple of
them. When the devil saw that, devil though he was, he was yet no
match for his daughter, he slyly got her into a convent and made a
nun of her, in the hope that she might perchance repent and change
for the better. But the daughter remained what she was; ill-tempered
and bad. She kept making mischief without end. God, who could not
tolerate a daughter of the devil in a convent, and seeing also that
the daughter of the unclean was doing all kinds of mischief, changed
her into an insect. The other sisters, seeing what had happened,
called it Nun, and this has remained its name to our very days.

It is curious that this insect should bear the name "nun" in almost
all European languages. I am not aware, however, of any legend except
the Rumanian explaining the name.



XXVIII.

WHY IS THE WASP THE GIPSIES' BEE?

The Story of the Wasp, the Gipsies and the Rumanians.


In the beginning the wasp belonged to the Rumanians, and the bee
to the Gipsies. When the former saw how useless, nay, dangerous,
the wasps were, and how useful the bees, they cheated the Gipsies
into changing with them.

Those of aforetime tell us that when God made the living creatures
which move with the sun, he made the bee first. The Gipsy, impudent
and greedy, as he has remained to this very day, stole the bee from
the hand of God saying, "Give it to me, O Lord, that I may eat of
its honey, I and my little ones. And of the wax--I will make candles
to light them up for thee in the Church." God did not say anything,
but kept silent and looked angrily at the Gipsy, for he was annoyed at
the Gipsy's impudence. He made up his mind to punish him. He therefore
at once made the big wasp, and, after he had made it, he gave it to
the Rumanians, saying, "Take this, for the bee has been ordained for
the Gipsy, and he has taken his share." The Rumanian took the wasp,
and thanked God. Sometime afterwards the Gipsy met the Rumanian,
and he asked him whether his bee had brought him much honey. The
Rumanian, smart as ever, replied, "My bee has filled many barrels,
for this bee carries the honey in bagfuls, as it was big and strong."

"Oh," cried the Gipsy, "I see that he has deceived me; my bee has not
filled a cup with honey, and my duckies have not even rubbed their
lips with honey. Let us exchange our bees, my little Rumanian."

"But what do you give in addition?"

"What shall I give you? By God, I have nothing. I will make an axe
of my iron and give it to you."

"Well, then, let it be so. Bring here your hive and I will bring
you mine."

"I will do so," and the Gipsy went with the Rumanian to the hut and
gave him the hive. The Rumanian took it home, and when they reached
the forest the Rumanian showed him a big tree, as thick as a barrel
and high as the heavens, where the Rumanian had put before the wasps
and where they had grown to a very large number.

"Here, you Gipsy, are my bees in this hollow tree. It is full of
honey enough to satisfy your whole nation of Gipsies and some to
remain over."

"Thank you. May God bless you," replied the Gipsy.

The Rumanian went home to look after the bees. The Gipsy gathered his
whole nation together. They brought copper pans and pots and ladders,
and came to the tree to eat of the honey to their fill. Arrived there,
they leaned the ladder just against the hole by which the wasps went
out and came in. Full of courage, as the Gipsy is by nature, he took
a pot for the honey and climbed up the ladder. No sooner had he got
there when a wasp thrust its sting into him. Another stung him on the
nose, and another, and again another, and the Gipsy could not see
out of his eyes because of the pain, and he began howling there on
the top of the tree. He forgot the honey and everything, and cried,
"Keep the ladder, keep the pot, keep me also, for we are falling,"
and down he came with a thud. How long he lay there with broken
bones I do not know, but I do know that he had had enough of wasps'
honey to last him to the end of his days. Since then the bees belong
to the Rumanians, and the wasps are the Gipsies' bees.



XXVIII. A.

ANOTHER VERSION OF THE WASP LEGEND.


Another legend which omits the first part of the story does not mention
anything about the Gipsy stealing the bee from God, but simply tells of
a Gipsy who found a hive in the forest, and taking it home, went about
bragging of his wonderful hive and of the honey. A clever Rumanian,
finding a wasp nest, told the Gipsy that his bees were making gold,
and induced him to change with him. Since then the bees belong to
the Rumanians.



XXIX.

WHY DOES THE HORNET LIVE IN SMOKY PLACES?

The Story of God and the Odd Present.


When God had finished making the trees and grass, the sun and moon,
and all that lives and moves, he sat down on his seat and ordered
all the creatures to come to him that he might bless them. Every one
came and brought a gift according to its best, and God blessed each
one according to its nature. The sheep brought wool and milk, and the
Lord blessed it, and bade it clothe the house of the Rumanians with
its wool and feed the babies with its milk. The bee brought sweet
honey and wax with the perfume of all the flowers. God blessed it,
so that with the honey man's food should be sweetened, and the wax
should light the Church at the Holy Office. Thus each creature got the
blessing according to its ways. Now came the turn of the hornet, by
nature lazy and accustomed to live by theft. What could she bring? and
again, how could she come with empty hands before the throne of the
Almighty? So, finding a piece of cardboard, she picked it up and
brought it to God. The Lord understood the trick which the hornet
wanted to play on him, and how lazy she was. He, therefore, cursed
her that all her work should be as brittle as bits of cardboard, and
she should live only by theft. Her habitation should be the chimney,
and her nest should be broken by everybody. So has it remained to
this very day. The nests look as if they had been made of cardboard,
they hang down from the smoky chimneys of houses, as if they were to
be smoked; she lives by theft and even upon dead bodies, and her nest
is always broken up.



XXX.

WHY IS THE HORNET SO SPITEFUL?

The Story of the Children of Cain.


It is told that one of the descendants of Cain had many children, one
worse than the other. When sent on an errand to bring one thing, out of
spite they would bring another; they were of no good to anyone. Their
mother, who was a wicked and stingy bird (eagle), did nothing else
from morning to evening but curse and shout and peck at them. The
youngest, who was the worst, finding his mother in a violent temper,
started quarrelling with her so loudly that the noise could be heard
at the other end of the country. They even went so far as to fight
one another. The mother, who was a strong woman, got the best of her
son at first, but the youngster, biting her in the throat, drank all
her blood until she died. Before dying, however, the mother cursed
him that none of his children should ever be prosperous, though they
should be very numerous. They should live in the hollows of trees and
feed on dead human bodies. They should become flies with poisonous
stings, and their blood should change into poison. When he heard his
mother's curse the youth ran into the forest, and the quicker he ran
the more it appeared to him that he became smaller and lighter, until
one morning he found himself changed into a hornet with a yellow body.



XXX. A.

HORNET CHARM.


The hornet is used for the following charm:

If people wish a dog to become savage, they take some hornets, and
mixing them with the food, give it to the puppies to eat, and say
the following words: "Just as the hornet is burning and unbearable,
so shalt thou become hot and savage and intolerable, and thou shalt
not tolerate any one else besides me and those of this household...."



The hornet's nest in the stubble indicates the strength of the winter
and the depth of the snow, according as it is built high or low.



XXXI.

WHY HAS THE WOODPECKER SUCH A LONG BEAK AND WHY DOES IT PECK AT
THE TREES?

The Story of God and the Inquisitive Woman.


Know that the woodpecker was originally not a bird but an old woman
with a very long nose, which she put into everybody's pots and pans,
sniffing about, eavesdropping, inquisitive and curious about everything
whether it belonged to her or not, adding a little in her tale-bearing
and taking off a bit from another tale, and so making mischief
among her neighbours. When God saw her doings, he took a huge sack
and filled it with midges, beetles, ants, and all kinds of insects,
and, tying it tightly, gave it to the old woman, and said to her:
"Now take this sack and carry it home, but beware of opening it,
for if your curiosity makes you put your nose into it you will find
more than you care for, and you will have trouble without end."

"Heaven forbid," replied the old hag, "that I should do such a thing;
I am not going against the will of God. I shall be careful." So she
took the sack on her back and started trotting home, but whilst she
was carrying it her fingers were already twitching, and she could
scarcely restrain herself, so no sooner did she find herself a short
distance away than she sat down in a meadow and opened the sack. That
was just what the insects wanted, for no sooner did she open it than
they started scrambling out and scampered about the field, each one
running his own way as fast as its little legs would carry it. Some
hid themselves in the earth, others scrambled under the grass, others,
again, went up the trees, and all ran away as fast as they could.

When the old woman saw what had happened, she got mightily frightened,
and tried to gather the insects to pack them up again, and put
them back into the sack. But the insects did not wait for her. They
knew what to do, and a good number escaped into the field. Some she
was able to catch, and these she packed into the sack, and tied it
up. Then came the Voice of God, who asked her what she had done,
and if that was the way she kept her promise.

"Where are the insects, beetles and midges, which I gave you to
carry? From this moment you shall change into a bird and go about
picking up all these insects until you get my sack full again, and
only then can you become a human being again."

And so she changed into a woodpecker; the long beak is the long nose
of the old woman, and she goes about hunting for these midges, beetles
and ants in the hope of filling up the sack, when she would again
resume her human shape. But to this very day she has not completed
her task, and has remained the woodpecker.



XXXII.

WHY HAS THE PELICAN A BIG POUCH UNDER ITS BEAK?

The Story of God and the Disobedient Man.


The story of the woodpecker finds its closest parallel in the story of
the pelican. It is difficult to say which of the two is the original,
and which has been borrowed from the other. Certain legends have been
adapted to more than one subject, in the same manner as ballads and
tales and legends are often transferred from one hero or another. It
is that elasticity of adaptation, which to a certain extent gives
them the popularity which they enjoy. It is the very essence of the
tale not to be too much localised, but on the contrary to be able
to pass from one country to another, and to be fitted to the most
diverse circumstances and persons, so long as the general framework
has been retained. Popular imagination has no patience, and, in fact,
no room, for rigid forms or for mathematical formulae. The material
which it handles must be soft as wax to be moulded and kneaded,
and thin like gossamer to be woven into many strands. Of course,
the work of it can be seen in the variations in the theme and in its
adaptation to the new purpose. Thus in the following story:

God and St. Peter were once upon a time walking upon the earth. There
came a great swarm of creeping things like rats, snakes, scorpions and
other vermin of this kind, as well as beetles, insects, ants and so
on. They crowded round them, and with great impudence worried them,
nay, even tried to bite them. St. Peter, who felt annoyed by the
constant worry of the vermin, said at last to God:

"What is the good of keeping all these vermin upon the earth? see how
impudent, how aggressive they are! They molest even us, and try to bite
us, what then must the poor human beings be suffering through them?"

"Very well," said God, "if it is thy wish, and thou thinkest to save
mankind of the attacks and molestations of these animals, I will try
to do as thou desirest."

So he gathered them all together and put them in a huge sack, and
tied it carefully by the mouth, and he said to St. Peter, "Let us go
and throw it into the sea."

On the way they fell in with a man, who was going in the same
direction. And God said to him, "Whither art thou going?"

"I am going to the sea for fishing."

"I will pay thee well," said God, "if you will take this sack and
take it to the sea and empty it into it. But mind, you must not open
it before you reach the shore; there, turning the sack upside down,
loosen it gently and let everything fall straight into the water. Be
careful and carry out my orders exactly, otherwise instead of obtaining
a reward you will get yourself into serious trouble."

"For sure," replied the man, "I know how to carry out orders, you may
rely on me, I will do exactly as I am bidden." Then, shouldering the
sack, he went on his way to the sea. The sack was somewhat heavy and
the way to the sea rather long. Tired by the weight of the sack, he
sat down in the midst of his journey and rested. Then he asked himself:

"What can be in that sack? why should those old men want me to empty
it into the sea? I will just loosen it a little and see." And so he
did. But no sooner had he loosened it a little when the animals, which
were all squeezed by God into the sack, pressed forward, and, before
the man could count two, out they were running, each one wherever his
eyes would lead him and his legs would carry him. Before he had time
to recover from his astonishment, he saw the two old men standing by
his side, and, pointing to the sack, God said to him:

"Is that the way thou hast kept thy promise? As a punishment thou
shalt no longer be a human being, but a bird with long legs to be
able to run quickly after all these animals, and with a long beak to
pick them up, and under thy throat I will fasten the empty sack to
fill it with the animals caught."

And thus he has remained to this very day, walking about on his long
legs, looking round with his keen eyes, and trying to pick up all
possible vermin which he espies crawling upon the earth.



XXXIII.

WHY DOES THE TITMOUSE GET INTO THE PUMPKIN?

The Story of God and the Food of the Titmouse.


When God had made all the creatures, he called every one of them
and told them what their food should be. Among the birds was the
titmouse. To her God turned and said, "Thy food shall be the seed of
the pumpkin."

The titmouse, knowing that the seed of the pumpkin was very sweet,
did not wait to hear whether God said anything more, but, greedy
and impatient, ran as fast as she could, relishing beforehand the
delightful food which God had given her. So coming down to the earth,
she alighted on a field in which maize was growing, and among it a
large number of pumpkins.

"Here, now, I have the food ready for me, and I am going to have a
good time." But she had made a wrong calculation. When she got up to
the pumpkins, she found to her dismay that the skin of the pumpkin
was as hard as bone. So she tried to pick a hole in it. She went
round and round, but wherever she tapped it with her little beak,
she found the shell too hard for her.

Bitterly disappointed, she went away and tried to feed as best she
could by catching flies and beetles. So she eked out a miserable
livelihood only and solely because she was greedy, and had not waited
to hear what God had to say to her when he gave her that food.

The time came when God was walking upon the earth. The titmouse heard
of it, and knowing the loving-kindness and mercy of God, and that he
would have pity if he heard of her miserable life, she took courage
and went to meet him, and told him how hard it was for her, that after
having had a gift from God, she could not enjoy it. She asked God,
therefore, that he would at least make a soft part in the skin of
the pumpkin that would become a hole, by which she could get inside
the pumpkin and eat the pips which were given to her for food. God
took pity on the little creature, who begged so piteously, and so,
taking a pumpkin, God made a hole in it. The titmouse got into it,
and did not leave the pumpkin until she had picked all the seeds. From
that time onwards the titmouse, whenever she sees a field of pumpkins,
will go round and round each pumpkin trying to find one with a hole,
by which to get into it and eat the pips.

The titmouse was too quick again this time, for it did not ask God
to make two holes, to get in by one and out by the other, so now the
pumpkin often becomes a snare and a prison. Boys have only to make
a hole in the pumpkin for the titmouse to get into it and then they
catch it without any trouble.



XXXIV.

WHY HAS THE NIGHTINGALE A DRAB COLOUR?


When God created the world he made all the living creatures of one
colour, or rather with none, for no one had any colouring on its
wings, feathers, or skin. So, one day, God called all his creatures
to paint them with different colours as he chose. All the birds and
beasts and creeping things came, and God gave every one a different
coat to wear. Only the nightingale did not come, as she had not heard
of God's command. At last some birds, seeing her, told her what had
happened. So she hastened to come to God. But when the nightingale
appeared before God, the paint-pot was quite empty, and no trace of any
paint (colour) was left. It had all been spent on those who had come
before. Thus nothing could be done, and the nightingale remained with
her drab colour. God, however, wanted to compensate the nightingale
for the lack of any colour, so he gave her a very beautiful voice.



XXXV.

WHY HAS THE NIGHTINGALE TWELVE TUNES AND WHY DOES THE TURTLE-DOVE COO?


Once upon a time the nightingale met the turtle-dove. After greeting
one another, the nightingale said, "Sister, let us keep awake during
the night and learn some tunes to sing."

"Quite agreeable," said the turtle-dove, "and in the morning we shall
see what each one of us has learned."

In the following night the nightingale kept awake and listened
attentively to all the sounds that could be heard. She heard the
shepherd playing on his pipe, and the wind whistling, and the dogs
barking, and lambs calling, and many more sounds, and thus learned no
less than twelve tunes. The turtle-dove, lazy as she is by nature, did
not keep awake, but went to sleep as soon as the night grew dark. She
slept almost the whole night through, and awoke only at the break
of dawn. There was no sound to be heard. It was all quiet. Suddenly
she heard a man driving his horses to the fields shouting "trr,
trr." This sound she picked up, and no other. In the morning she
went to find her sister the nightingale, and asked her whether she
had heard anything, and whether she had learned any tunes. If so,
would she mind singing to her?

The nightingale replied, "Oh, I have heard many songs, and have
learned many tunes." And without waiting any longer, she began to
warble her songs. The turtle-dove sat listening, lost in admiration
at the beautiful singing of the nightingale. When the latter had
finished her songs, she asked the turtle-dove: "And what have you
learned, sister mine?"

The turtle-dove, full of shame over her laziness, owned that she had
not kept awake, but had gone to sleep, and that the only sound and song
she had learned was "trr, trr," which she had picked up from the man
who was driving his horses to the field. And so it has remained to this
very day. The nightingale sings all the night through and stops towards
the morning, when the turtle-dove awakens and starts its "trr, trr."



XXXVI.

WHY IS THE NIGHTINGALE THE SONGSTER OF THE KING?

The Story of the Nightingale, the Blackbird and the Thrush.


The king of the birds, feeling one day in a good humour, wanted to find
out which of his subjects could sing best. So he sent an order to his
birds to select from amongst themselves those whom they thought to be
the best singers. All the birds came together, and, after having heard
many of the birds who said they could sing, they selected three from
amongst them and sent up, as the best singers for the king to choose
from, the yellow thrush, the blackbird, and the nightingale. The
thrush, with his beautiful golden feathers which glow in the light
of the sun, was allowed to go first as the most beautiful of them;
nay, he put himself at the head and walked first. The blackbird,
which has a yellow beak, and whose feathers are shining like silk,
walked immediately behind, whilst the little nightingale, small
of build, with the drab-coloured feathers, followed meekly in the
rear. When they reached the palace, the king, seeing how beautiful
the thrush looked with his golden feathers, received him affably and
placed him at the head of the table. The thrush, swelling with pride,
began its song. The king listened attentively, and being pleased with
the song he praised the thrush very much. Then came the turn of the
blackbird; when the king saw it, he welcomed it and ordered a chair to
be brought near the table. The blackbird took its place and started
singing. It sang much more beautifully than the thrush. The king was
very pleased, and he expressed his delight. The last to come in was
the nightingale. When it entered the hall, it bowed down meekly to the
earth before the king, touching the floor with its little beak. When
the king saw that little ungainly bird, so small and meek and skinny
and of no appearance, he wondered what that bird wanted at the court,
and somewhat angrily he asked:

"What do you want?" without even offering her a seat, as he had done
to the other guests.

"May it please your majesty, do not be angry with your servant; I have
been selected by the other birds to sing here before your majesty."

"Very well then; sing, I will just see what you can do."

The nightingale, which did not even dare to look at the king, just
cleared her voice and started singing as she alone knows how to sing,
not like the others. When the king heard her singing, he was quite
taken aback with the beauty and sweetness of her voice; he was full
of admiration, for the nightingale had thrown the other birds into
the shade (lit. had put them under the bushel).

When the nightingale had finished her song, the king did not allow
her to stop in the doorway where she had been standing any longer,
but called her up to the head of the table, and gave her the seat of
the thrush, and, when the meal was over and all the guests rose from
the table, it was the nightingale who walked first, and the blackbird,
which sang better than the thrush, walked immediately behind, whilst
the thrush, in spite of his grand array, now came third, feeling
abashed and ashamed by his failure. And from that time onward the
nightingale has been recognised as the best singer amongst them all,
and all the birds must bow their heads before her.



There are a few more tales about the origin of the nightingale, but
they are somewhat confused. They do not seem to account either for
the beauty of its voice or for the simplicity of its appearance.



XXXVII.

WHY DOES THE THRUSH HIDE IN THE TREE?

The Story of the Boastful Thrush and St. Peter.


It was in the month of March, when Christ was walking on the earth
with St. Peter. Going through a forest they saw a thrush strutting
about on the top of a tree.

"Good morning, Mr. Thrush," said St. Peter.

"I have no time for you," replied the thrush.

"And why not, prithee?"

"Oh, you see, I am just now making summer, and I am busy. To-day I am
going to be married, and to-morrow a brother of mine has a wedding,"
he said, turning his back upon them proudly.

St. Peter and Christ said nothing, but went on their way. In that
afternoon there came a cold and heavy rain. It came down in torrents
all the afternoon, and during the night there came a frost from God
which made the stones crack, and it snowed heavily also. The next
morning, after they had done what they had to do, Christ and St. Peter
came again through the forest, and they found the thrush sitting
now on one of the lowest branches of the tree, huddled together and
trembling, with no more thoughts of marriage.

"Good morning, Mr. Thrush," said St. Peter, when he saw him sitting
there huddled together and trembling.

"Thank you," he replied angrily.

"But what are you doing now? Why are you sitting so huddled up?"

"To-day I am dying, and to-morrow a brother of mine is dying," he
answered, letting his beak down and ruffling his feathers to protect
himself a little more against the frost which had struck him to
the heart.

From that time on the thrush does not boast any more that he is making
summer, and that he is going to marry; but he cries anxiously: "Socks
and sandals, for to-morrow it snows, good socks of cloth and sandals
of leaves to go in them to my beloved." This he sings because of the
fear of being caught again in snow and frost, and of not being able
to walk about in safety.



XXXVIII.

WHY HAS THE PARTRIDGE A MOTTLED COLOUR?


In the beginning the partridge had red feathers. God had painted her
so when he painted all the other creatures, but for one reason or
another the partridge was not very pleased with this colour. After
a time she thought she would go to God and ask him to change her
colour. When she came to God, he asked her, "What ails thee?"

"Well," she said, "I do not like the dye of my feathers." And God
asked her what was the reason for it.

"Well," she said, "I do not like it." Upon which God, getting hold
of her, threw her into a box filled with ashes. When the partridge
recovered her senses--for she was dazed by the fall--she was mightily
indignant at the disgrace, and, climbing out of the box, she went as
fast as she could to the nearest brook, wishing to wash away the ashes
in which she was smothered. She wished to avoid being seen in that
state by the other birds. So she started dipping her beak into the
water and trying to wash off the ashes on her back. But, instead of
washing the ashes completely off, she managed to carry the ashes with
her wet beak under her wings also and along her sides. And that is why
she has remained to this very day mottled and freckled, the grey of the
ashes being mixed with the red--the original colour of her feathers.



XXXIX.

WHY HAS THE THISTLE-FINCH RUFFLED FEATHERS?


When God created the world, he made all the creatures to be of one
colour, or rather none of them of any colour at all. You see, God was
too busy to bother about these little things. When he had finished
making everything that he intended to make, he called all the birds
together and said, "Now, I am going to paint you with nice colours."

When the birds heard that message, they came all overjoyed to God, who
took his brush and dipped in various pots filled with paint and painted
them one by one. When he had almost finished, who would come but the
thistle-finch, with his feathers all ruffled and out of breath. When
God saw the little bird, he said to him, "Well, little master, how do
you look, where have you been, have you not heard my command, why did
you not come in time? Now all the paint is gone, I cannot do anything
for you, and it serves you right, you should have come in time like
the others did." And the little bird began to weep and said, "O God,
I am quite innocent, just look at me and see what a state I am in;
I was very hungry and tried to find something to eat, but could not
find anything for a long time, until I espied at last a few grains of
millet in a bush of thistles. So I got in and started picking. But, as
soon as I moved, the thistles got hold of me and would not let me go,
and the more I tried to get out, the more strongly did they hold me,
and tore my feathers and dishevelled my hair, and it was only after
a long tussle that I was able to get myself free and come here."

When God saw that the little bird had told the truth, and that
it looked torn about and ruffled, he took pity on it and said,
"Wait a little and I will see what I can do," and taking his brush
he endeavoured to pick up the drops of paint which were left at
the bottom of the various pots. Taking them all on the tip of his
brush, he sprinkled the little bird all over with the drops of the
various colours which he had picked up from the bottom of the pots,
and that is the reason why the thistle-finch has so many spots and so
many colours. His name has remained to this very day "little master"
(domnisor in Rumanian) and also thistle-finch, because the thistles
ruffled his feathers and tore at him.



XL.

WHY HAS THE BULLFINCH A RED BREAST AND A BIG MOUTH?

The Story of the Brutish Innkeeper.


There lived in a town a brutish man, a grocer, who had only one care,
and that was how to cheat and rob in the quickest fashion the people
who came to deal with him. But this was not all, for, bad as it is,
one might let it pass, as there are so many others who do likewise,
cheating their customers right and left. But this man was also a
usurious moneylender, and he managed it so well that, instead of
helping people, he took the last shirt off their backs and sent them
out to die in misery. He sucked the blood of everyone who fell into
his clutches.

But everything comes to an end. But no man is likely to repent
unless he has first come to grief. So it happened also to this
wicked man. Instead of being satisfied with what he had been able
to get by draining the very blood of his Christian fellow-men, he
persisted in his evil doings, robbing and fleecing right and left,
without mercy and without pity. When the cries of his victims came up
to God, he decided to punish him, and for his wickedness he changed
him into the bullfinch, which has still kept some of the features of
the man, when he was a human being. For he had a head like a melon,
and a wide mouth, and that is why the bullfinch has such a big head
and such a broad beak. The black feathers on its head are the black
cap of lambskin which he used to wear. The red breast is the blood
of the victims whom he had sucked dry, and the big body is the big
belly of the voracious fellow.

Now when a bullfinch is caught, remembering its evil deeds, it will
bite out its tongue and die rather than become a mockery to the people
whom he had ill-treated in his former life.



XLI.

WHY DOES THE HOOPOE FEED ON DROPPINGS?

The Story of the Hoopoe and its Greed.


When God had created all the creatures, he gave everyone the food
which he thought best for them. When the turn of the hoopoe came,
God said to her, "Thy food shall be millet seed." The hoopoe was not
satisfied. She did not think it was good enough for her. So God in his
goodness gave her barley grains for food, but the hoopoe cannot easily
be satisfied. So she went on asking for better food. And God said,
"Let wheat be thy food." And still the hoopoe was not satisfied. So
God got angry, and said, "Thou impudent and greedy thing, I have
given thee the best food that is in this world, and in which even man
rejoices and is satisfied, but as this is not good enough for thee,
thou shalt find thy food henceforth in the droppings of other animals."

The same happened when God arranged the dwelling-places of birds,
where they should build their nests. He had at first given to the
hoopoe sweet-smelling bushes and flowering trees to build her nest
in. But she wanted something better, and she was punished in the
same way as with the food. She now makes her nest in places which
are anything but clean and sweet-smelling.



XLII.

WHY IS THE WAGTAIL CALLED THE GIPSIES' BIRD?


When God had made the world and all the creatures and man, he gave to
each one the food from which they should eat and be satisfied. All
the creatures thanked God, and whenever they eat their food they
are satisfied, except only the wagtail and the Gipsy who are never
satisfied. When God saw the greed of these two, he grew very angry and
said to the wagtail, "You shall not be allowed to go near any village
unless the Gipsies, after having eaten, say with their full heart that
they are quite satisfied." And to the Gipsy he said, "When the wagtail
will come into the villages, only then shall you be satisfied." But
the Gipsies, even when they are invited to the meals freely given in
honour of the dead, however much they may eat and stuff and fill, will
say as soon as they have got up from the table and gone a few steps,
"I am starving; I am dying of hunger." And therefore the wagtails
never come near the village. And it is also called the Gipsies' bird,
because it can only come near the village, when the Gipsy says he
has eaten enough and is satisfied. But as such a thing never happens,
this bird cannot approach the houses of men like other birds. Also it
is called "half a bird," for all the other birds get into the village
except the wagtail.



XLIII.

WHY IS THE HOOPOE SUCH A DIRTY BIRD?

The Story of the Hoopoe, the Cuckoo and God.


There are a good many stories told about the hoopoe, some of them
in connection with the cuckoo. These two birds seem to be found very
often together, and the people believe them to be a pair, the cuckoo
being the male and the hoopoe the female bird. The following story
is told of them:

The cuckoo had married the hoopoe, and they lived happily together
for a time. But after a time the hoopoe grew ambitious, and told
the cuckoo that if he wanted to have peace in the house, he must go
to God and ask that the hoopoe should become the head woman of the
village. God, who listens patiently to the weakness of his creatures,
received the cuckoo affably and said to him, "Go home in peace, the
wish of your wife shall be fulfilled." So it came to pass. After a
while the hoopoe grew more ambitious, and she sent the cuckoo again
to God, and told him to go and ask God to make her the mayoress. And
God again listened to the cuckoo's pleading and made his wife a
mayoress. But a woman can never be satisfied. So, after a while,
she sent the cuckoo again to God to ask him to make her the queen
over all the birds. God again listened to his prayer, and he made her
queen over all the birds. Moreover, as sign of her queenly station,
God gave her the tuft of feathers on her head, which were to be like a
crown. But also this did not satisfy the foolish hoopoe, although God
had told the cuckoo, "Mind, this is the last time thou comest to me to
trouble me for thy wife's sake; there are many more things in the world
for me to do, than to listen to her wishes." Still she insisted on the
cuckoo going again to God, and to ask him that he should allow her to
sit next to him on his throne in heaven. When God heard these words,
he said, "As thy wife has had the temerity and impudence to make such
a demand and to send such a request to me, she shall now be the least
considered of all the birds. She may whoop henceforth as much as she
likes, no one is to take any notice of her. She is to hatch her eggs
in dung, whilst thou, O cuckoo, shall be singing for as many months
in the year as thou hast spent in coming to me with these messages,
and everyone shall be pleased to hear thy song."

And so it has remained as God said. The people like the cuckoo,
whilst the hoopoe is detested by everybody.



XLIV.

WHY DOES THE CUCKOO LEAD A RESTLESS LIFE?

The Story of the Cuckoo and the Wonderful Bush.


Many a tale is told about the origin of the cuckoo. Curiously enough,
they generally agree in seeing in the cuckoo a man punished for his
wickedness and cruelty, or for his faithlessness against his companion
or brother whom he is now seeking in vain.

There are, however, also other tales and legends in which the cuckoo
is the victim of the cruelty of others; one is the preceding one,
and others now follow: in the first place, one which tells also of
the greed of the wife--The Story of the Cuckoo and Hoopoe.



Once upon a time there lived in a village a man who was so poor that
sometimes days passed and he could not get a crumb of bread. So one
day he said to his wife, "What is the good of my stopping here any
longer. We are both dying of hunger; I will go away into the wide
world and see what luck may bring." So he took up his axe and went
along. Before he left, his wife said to him: "Do not go far away, and
do not forsake me and the children, for we have no one else to look
to for help." So he went away. Walking alone, he came to a forest. At
the edge of the forest he saw a beautiful bush with shining leaves,
and all the twigs of equal length. It was so beautiful that the man
thought, "I will just cut it up." When he drew near, how great was
his astonishment when he saw the bush bending its boughs towards him,
and speaking with a human voice, it said, "Do not touch me, do not
hurt me, for I will do you much good."

"What good can you do me?" enquired the man.

"Go back to the village and they will appoint you headman. Just go
and try."

Amazed as he was on hearing the bush speak, he said to himself, "I
lose nothing if I go back; I shall see whether the bush is speaking
the truth. If not, woe unto it," and so he returned. No sooner had he
come near the village, when he saw the people coming out to meet him,
and without asking him any questions, they, for reasons of their own,
appointed him to be their headman. His poverty was now a thing of the
past, and he lived in cheer and comfort. This went on for three years,
and then, for the same reasons unknown to him, the people changed
their minds, and without saying anything to him one day he was the
headman, the next he was so no longer. They had put another man in his
stead. So he returned to his want, and again began to feel the pinch of
poverty. For a time he went on as best he could, but not being able to
stand it any longer, he again took his axe, and going into the forest
he went to the bush and said, "Now I am going to cut you down." The
bush again began to speak, and said to the man, "Do not touch me;
I will do you much good. You have seen what I have done before. You
go now to that and that town and they will appoint you to be judge."

Believing the words of the bush, the man continued his journey,
and came to the town of which the bush had spoken to him; and
there, as had been foretold, without asking him a single question,
the people appointed him mayor over the place. The man now lived in
affluence and comfort, forgetting his time of poverty and suffering
he had gone through. Here, again, after three years, just as he
was appointed without a question, so he was dismissed by the people
without a question.

The evil days came back, and he was looking about for a crust of bread,
but could not find any for himself and his family. He bethought himself
again of the bush, and, taking his axe upon his shoulder, he went away
to find it. The bush said to him: "Don't touch me; much good will
I do you, still more than I have done hitherto. You go to such and
such a kingdom, and there they will appoint you to be their emperor."

He did as he was bid, and as he came near the town, all the people came
out to meet him, and they appointed him to be their emperor. He took
his wife and children with him, and there he lived in great state,
great power and riches. The law of that land was that no man could
be emperor for more than three years, so when the three years came
round he lost his position and another emperor was appointed in his
stead. He had meanwhile amassed great fortune and no longer feared
poverty. But his wife was ambitious, and was not satisfied at living
in affluence and wealth. Envious of the other emperor, she nagged
the man and worried him and sneered at him for being so meek and
being satisfied with his lowly state, and made him go to the bush
to ask for something more. She wanted him to be even better treated
than any emperor. The poor man, what was he to do? he could not stand
the trouble in his house, so again taking his axe upon his shoulder,
he came for a fourth time to the bush. When the bush saw him, it said:

"What has brought you hither? You are no longer in want of
anything." "Well," he said, "my wife has sent me to you. She says
you must make me as great as God, greater than all emperors."

The bush grew angry, and said to him: "O miserable wretch, always
dissatisfied! I have made thee headman and judge and emperor, and thou
lackest nothing. Thou art not in want of anything. Now, because thou
hast become impudent and insolent, for thy impious wishes thou shalt
be punished. From the man thou hast been thou shalt henceforth be a
bird, restless, without peace, and without quiet, flitting from tree
to tree, and from branch to branch, always dissatisfied, without a
home, without a family, and thy name shall be Cuckoo. Tell thy wife,
who, because she had been urging thee on and driving thee to do this
impious thing, that she shall become the hoopoe; puffing herself
up she shall cry whoop, whoop." And so it has remained to this very
day. (Cf. Story in Grimm, No. 19.)



XLV.

WHY IS THE CUCKOO SILENT IN THE WINTER?

The Story of the Cuckoo and the Palace of the Goldfinch.


After the creation of all the birds, God called them together and
told them they should elect a king to rule over them.

The birds, like human beings, would chatter and chirrup, and talk
and fight, and never come to any decision.

When God saw that it was going on without an end, and that it was
no good waiting for them to make their choice, he picked out the
goldfinch and said, "This is to be your king." The birds submitted,
as they were bound to do, and making their obeisance to the new king,
each one departed to its own place. Although the gathering had lasted
for some time, the cuckoo was still missing, and who was the last to
come but the cuckoo. When all the birds had departed, he turned up
and made his obeisance to the new king. The goldfinch looked at him
and said, "Hallo, cuckoo, where have you been?"

"Oh, I lost my way in the forest, and it took me a long time to
come here."

"I will forgive you," said the goldfinch, "but on one condition;
you know the forest so well. Go and make me a nice palace out of the
bast of the trees."

The cuckoo, glad to have got off so cheaply, said, "Willingly will
I do so," and went away.

You know the cuckoo, how light-headed and unstable he is: he says one
thing one day and forgets it the next, so, light-heartedly he flew
from tree to tree and allowed the summer to pass without remembering
the promise which he had made to the goldfinch.

When autumn drew near he suddenly recollected that the goldfinch
expected him to build him a palace out of the bast of the tree, for
the goldfinch wanted to live in a shining palace. And that was just
what the cuckoo never intended to do.

Fearing the wrath of the king, he stopped singing and hid himself in
the thickest part of the forest. The goldfinch waited month after
month to see the palace, and seeing the cuckoo flitting from tree
to tree and hearing him singing, thought he was busily at work. But
when the autumn came, and no trace of any palace could be seen, he
looked round to see where the cuckoo was. But catch him if you can,
for he had disappeared.

And that is why the goldfinch never had the palace which he
desired. And that is also the reason why the cuckoo stops singing
from the feast of St. John, lest he be discovered by the goldfinch
and taken to task for his broken promise.



XLVI.

THE STORY OF THE CROW AND ITS UGLY FLEDGLINGS.


Let us turn now to the crow, with which the raven is often confused
in the popular mind.



Of all the birds, this is considered the ugliest, especially its young
fledglings. The legend tells that sometime after God had created
all the living beings, he called everyone to see them and their
offspring. He wanted to see how the young birds and animals looked,
and then to give them suitable gifts, and food for their little ones.

They came one by one, and God looked at them, patted some and stroked
others, and was very pleased with every one of them, for each one had
something of beauty in it. And so he blessed them and gave them food
by which to live. The last to come was the crow, bringing her little
brood with her, very proud of them. When God cast his eyes upon the
young crows, he spat in astonishment, and said:

"Surely these are not my creatures. I could not have made such ugly
things. Every one of my creatures has such beautiful young ones that
they are a pleasure to look at, but thine are so ugly that it makes
one sick to look at them. Whence hast thou got this one?" "Where
should I get them from?" replied the crow; "it is my very own young
child," she added with pride. "You had better go back and bring me
another one, this is much too ugly, I cannot look at it." Annoyed at
the words of God, the crow went away, and flew all over the earth
to search for another young one that would be more beautiful than
the one she had brought to God. But no other young bird appeared so
beautiful in her eyes as her own. So she returned back to God and said,
"I have been all over the world, and I have searched high and low,
but young birds more beautiful and more dainty than mine I have not
been able to find." Then God smilingly replied, "Quite right, just
so are all mothers; no other child is so beautiful in their eyes as
their own." Then he blessed the little crows and sent them away into
the world with his gifts.



XLVII.

WHY IS THERE ENMITY BETWEEN THE CROW AND THE HAWK?


The Rumanians tell another tale about the ugliness of young crows. It
is the story of the crow and the hawk.



The crow was in very great distress, for however she tried and whatever
she did, she could not rear a family. No sooner were the young hatched,
than the hawk would come and pick them up. In vain did she try to
hide her nest in the hollows of a tree or in the thickets of a bush,
as sure as death would the hawk find them and eat them.

Not knowing what to do, she bethought herself and said, "How would it
do if I try and get the hawk to be godmother, for then, being a near
relation, she is sure to spare my little ones?" Said and done. She went
out of her place to search for the hawk, and finding her, she said,
"Good morning, sister."

"Good morning," replied the hawk.

"How pleased I should feel," said the crow, "if you would become
godmother to my children."

"With pleasure," replied the hawk, "why not?" And so they made up a
covenant of friendship and of good-fellowship between them.

Before leaving the hawk, the crow said to her, "Now, sister, I have
one request to make."

"Granted," replied the hawk, "what is it?"

"I only beg of you to spare my children, do not eat them when you
have found them."

"All right," replied the hawk, "I shall certainly not touch them, but
tell me how they look so that in case I meet them I may spare them."

"O," replied the crow, "mine are the most beautiful creatures in the
world, they are more lovely than any other bird can boast of."

"Very well, rest assured. Go in peace." And they parted.

The crow, being quite satisfied with the hawk's promise, began flying
about the next day trying to find something with which to feed her
children. The hawk the next morning went about her own business
and tried to find some nice little young ones to eat. Flying about,
she saw the young ones of the thrush, the blackbird, and of other
beautiful birds, and she said to herself, "Surely these are the
children of the crow; look how lovely and beautiful they are, I am
not going to touch them."

She went all day, without finding any little birds but these; and
she said to herself:

"I must keep my word to my sister, I am not going to touch them." And
she went to bed hungry. The next day the same thing happened, and
still the hawk kept her word and would not touch them.

On the third day she was so hungry that she could scarcely see out
of her eyes. Roaming about, the hawk suddenly lighted upon the nest
of the crow. Seeing the little, miserable, ugly things in the nest,
the hawk at first would not touch them, although she never dreamt that
these ugly things were the children of the crow, so much praised by
her for their beauty, and thought they must belong to some hideous
bird. But what is one to do when one is hungry? One eats what one
gets and not finding anything better, she sat down and gobbled them
up one by one, and then flew away.

Not long after the hawk had left, the crow came in, feeling sure this
time to find her little ones unhurt; but how great was her dismay
when she found the nest empty! First she thought the little birds
had tried their wings and were flying about in the neighbourhood,
and she went in search of them. Not finding them, she began to be a
little more anxious, and hunting a little more closely, found on the
ground near some rushes some tufts of feathers with little bones and
blood. She knew at once that the hawk had again been there, feeding
on her children.

Full of wrath and fury, she went to find the hawk. Meeting her, she
said, "A nice sister and godmother you are! After you had promised
most faithfully not to touch my children, no sooner had I turned my
back on them, than you come again and eat them."

"I do not understand what you are saying," replied the hawk. "It is
your own fault. You told me your children were the most beautiful
in the world, and those which I have eaten were monsters of
hideousness. If I had not felt the pinch of hunger so strong, I
would not have touched them, not for anything, such ugly things they
were! They nearly made me sick."

"Is that the way you keep your promise?" replied the angry crow;
"after having eaten them, you even have the impudence to tell lies
and insult me. Off with you! and woe betide you if I ever catch you,
I will teach you to behave properly."

From that day on, the hawk, if it gets near the crows, attacks
them. And from that day on there is implacable hatred between the
crows and the hawks.



XLVII. A.

CROW CHARMS.


It is said that the crow bathes its young in some waters between
frontiers. This water becomes poisonous, and is used by witches
for philtres and spells. If a man wants to obtain the water, he
must go to nine witches, who assemble on a Tuesday at midnight
at the fountain. Each one brings a stolen pot, or, in preference,
the skull of a dog. In each they take three drops of that water, and
they say their spell over it, waving over it a tuft of hair from a mad
wolf. This incantation they must repeat for nine weeks on each Tuesday
at midnight, and with the water thus obtained they make their philtres.

The croaking of the crow is considered as evil an omen as that of the
raven. A very peculiar custom prevails among the people, who, when the
children lose their teeth, take them and throw them if possible on the
roofs of the houses and say: "Here, crow, I give you a tooth of bone,
bring me one more beautiful." Or, according to other versions, "bring
me one of gold. I give you a tooth of iron, bring me one of steel."



XLVIII.

WHY DOES THE HERON DRINK ONLY RAIN-WATER?

The Story of the Heron and the digging of Wells.


When God had created the world, there were no springs or wells. The
only water from which to satisfy the thirst of all the creatures was
rain-water. After a time the rain was not enough to satisfy them all;
the grass and trees were fading and withering, burnt up by the fiery
heat of the sun, and the animals were perishing from thirst.

So God called all the birds together, and told them that they should
dig holes in the earth with their claws and beaks, in order that the
water from underneath should come up and water the earth and slake
the thirst of all the creatures. At the bidding of God all the birds
came together and started working with their beaks and claws. They
all worked together. The hawk worked side by side with the young
chickens, and the owl with the doves. Such a thing never happened
before or since.

The heron alone flew about as if it did not affect her. She was quite
indifferent to see how hard the other birds worked. She cared not
for the sweat which stood out like beads, and ran down the neck of
the lark as it went scratching away at the earth with legs as thin
as two straws, nor did she care for the titmouse which hacked away
at the foot of a hillock. And God asked her:

"Why dost thou not do anything?"

"Why should I soil my feet with mud," she replied, "when the
rain-waters are not yet dried up?"

And God said:

"Because thou hast not hearkened to my command, thou shalt slake thy
thirst only from the rain, and then only by the water running down thy
wings." From that time onwards one hears the heron crying in time of
drought. She prays to God to send some rain to moisten her dry mouth.



XLIX.

WHY DOES THE KITE CRY IN DRY WEATHER?

The Story of the Kite and the making of Rivers.


The same story is told of the kite in the following version:

When God made the world, he called all the birds together to help him
to dig wells for the water and beds for the rivers. All the birds
came except the kite, which, looking at its claws, said, "See how
beautiful and dainty they are! I am not going to soil them with the
mud of the rivers and wells." Then all the other birds cursed her,
that she might never be able to drink water out of wells and rivers,
and should slake her thirst only with the dew and rain from heaven,
nor should she be able to drink by lifting her beak and catching the
falling rain, but she would only be able to drink the rain-water
which was running down her wings. Therefore, in time of drought,
the kite flies high up to God and prays for rain and dew, for if she
drinks of the water of rivers and wells she dies.



A remarkable parallel to this story has been given by Grimm in his
D. Mythologie, 4th ed. p. 561; and for a Russian parallel, v. Ralston,
Russian Folk Tales, p. 331.

An oriental version substitutes the raven for the kite as the bird
whose piteous cries bring about the breaking of the drought. It is
said that when Adam beheld his dead son Abel, he did not know what
to do, for he was the first man to die. A raven dug a hole and put
into it his companion who had died.

Adam saw this and followed his example. God therefore granted to the
raven that henceforth when there would be drought in the world, his
cry would bring about the breaking up of the drought and a downpour
of rain (Chapters of Eliezer, ch. xxi.).



L.

WHY CAN THE MOLE NOT COME OUT ON THE HIGH ROAD?

The Story of the Mole and the making of Roads.


When the world was made, there were no roads and no pathways. It was
very difficult to get about from one place to another.

Seeing this, God ordered all the animals to come and work together and
straighten out paths and make roads. All the animals came and worked
as they were commanded. Only the mole stayed away, so God asked him
why he had not come, when all the others had?

"I do not want any roads and ways, for they are of no use to me,"
he replied; "I burrow under the earth and there I spend my life."

"So shall it always be henceforth," said God, "and thou shalt not be
able to make thy little hills on roads or highways, and it shall not
be a sin to kill thee."

And so it has remained to this day. No mole-hill has ever been seen
on any public road. The mole cannot make them except in fields and
meadows.

Whoever destroys a mole-hill gets a peculiar wart on his hand. In
order to get rid of it he must pass over it seven times the paw
(the claws) of a mole.



LI.

WHY HAS THE TORTOISE A ROUND BACK?

The Story of the Tortoise, St. Peter and God.


When God and St. Peter were walking on the earth, one day they made a
very long journey, and grew very hungry. Coming to a little hut, they
found the woman in, and they asked her for something to eat. "Well,"
she said, "I have very little flour in the house, but I am going to
bake two loaves, and when you come back in half an hour they will be
ready and you will be welcome to one." Taking the flour, she kneaded
it in the trough and made two loaves, one for herself and one for
the travellers. Meanwhile they went to church, but they said before
going that they would come back at the end of the service.

The woman covered over the dough, and to her great astonishment,
when she lifted the cover, the dough of the loaf for the strangers
had risen much higher than the other. Then she put both loaves in the
oven. How great was her surprise, on taking out the loaves from the
oven, when she found that the one for the travellers had been baked
nicely and was a very big loaf, whilst the one for herself was half
burned and almost shrivelled to a pancake. When she saw the miracle
her greed overtook her, and she forgot the promise which she had
made to the travellers. She said to herself: "Why should I give my
best bread to strangers whom I do not know? Let them go elsewhere to
richer people than I am."

So she took the pasteboard and put it on the floor, and crouching on
it, covered herself over with the trough. She told her little girl
to stand in front of the door, and if two old people should come
and ask for her she was to say that her mother had gone away and
that she did not know where she was. The travellers then, of course,
would not come in, and she would be able to enjoy the loaf.

After a while God and St. Peter came back from church, and asked
the little girl where her mother was, to which the child replied as
she had been told. God said, "Where she is there shall she remain";
and went away. The child came in and tried to lift the trough off
the back of her mother, who was lying hidden underneath, but try as
hard as she could the trough would not come off. It had grown on to
the back of her mother, and the pasteboard had grown underneath on
to her. The woman was only able to put out her little head with the
glistening, greedy eyes, and her tiny little hands and feet, and the
handle of the pasteboard had turned into a waggling tail.

And that is how the tortoise was made, when the old woman became the
tortoise always carrying the trough and the pasteboard with her.



LII.

WHY HAVE THE FISH NO FEET?


When God had made all the creatures, he gave every one the power of
walking and saving themselves from danger.

Among others, came the fish, and God asked him what he would like,
and the fish replied: "If I am to have my choice I would ask you to
give me seven wings; I should fly much quicker than any other animal,
and no one would be able to catch me: but should I be caught I am
willing to die alive on the grill with my eyes open." And God shook
his head at the foolish request, for he knew that man would be able
to find out how to make the line and hook, and that all the wings of
the fish would not help him. So he is caught with his mouth open,
and that is why the fish takes his punishment without murmuring,
and dies quietly on the grill with his eyes open.



LIII.

WHY DO THE PLOVER FLY SINGLY?

The Story of the Plover and Lady Mary.


In the beginning the plover used to fly in large coveys. But one day,
when Our Lady was riding on a horse, they ran across the road and
frightened the horse so much that it threw the rider. Angry at the
mishap, St. Mary cursed the plover that they should no longer gather
in coveys but should go singly. And so it has remained to this very
day. The plover nest quite alone and never join others in their flight.



LIV.

WHY DOES THE SPIDER HANG ON A THREAD?

The Story of the Spider and Lady Mary.


One day a spider, meeting the Holy Mother, challenged her as to which
of the two could spin the finer thread. The Holy Mother accepted the
challenge, and started to spin a very fine thread indeed. But, however
fine her thread was, the yarn spun by the spider was much finer,
and then, to add to the discomfiture of the Holy Mother, the spider
let himself down on one of its threads and remained dangling, and,
turning to the Holy Mother, he said to her: "Can you do anything like
it?" And the Holy Mother replied, "No"; and being angry she cursed the
spider, and said, "Thy web shall be of no use to anyone, and because
of thy spite, whoever kills thee shall be forgiven three of his sins."



We meet the spider again in controversy with the Holy Mother on a
more dramatic occasion.



She was searching for her son, and going to St. John, she asked him
what had happened to him, as she had not seen him for some time. "The
cruel people have taken him and are torturing him." Going on her
way she met the carpenters, who said to her that instead of making
a light cross they had made a heavy cross. She cursed them, saying,
"May you work all the year and see no profit."

Then she met the smiths, who, instead of making short nails, had made
long nails, and she cursed them likewise. She came to the gate of the
palace of Pilate, and on her touching the gate, it opened, and going
in, she saw all that happened. On her way, weeping and crying, she met
a flight of swallows, who asked her why she was crying and weeping,
and she replied, "My only son has been taken away from me." And they
replied, "Do not weep and do not cry, for three days hence thou shalt
see him alive, thou and thy friends."

And the Holy Mother blessed them, that they should always be welcome
in the house of the people, that they should nest on the roofs, and
that no one should disturb them, and that whosoever should kill a
swallow should be guilty of three sins.

Going further, she met the spider, and the spider asked her why she
was weeping and crying, and she replied, "My only son has been taken
away." And the spider replied, "You may cry till the day of doom;
what is gone is gone, and can never come back again." Next to the
spider was standing the mouse, and the mouse chimed in: so the Holy
Mother cursed him and went on her way, but finding that her way led
her nowhere, she came back the same road.

When she had gone, the mouse said to the spider: "The Holy Mother
has not blessed us, so I think you had better make a rope and stretch
it from tree to tree, and I will dig a pit underneath, and when she
comes back we will hang her by the rope and throw her into the pit."

But the Holy Mother knew what they were plotting, and when she came
back, she said:

"Thou ugly and spiteful spider, worms shall settle on thee, and by thy
own rope shalt thou hang. All the days of thy life an unclean animal
shalt thou be. And thou, O mouse, who hast plotted against me, thy
habitation shall be henceforth in the pits and hollows of the earth,
and thou shalt be an unclean beast. Whatever thou touchest shall
be defiled, and whoever kills thee or the spider shall be forgiven
three sins." And so it has remained to this very day, the spider
hanging on its own rope, and the mouse lying hidden under the earth,
and both are killed by men and beasts.

This same legend has become a carol which is also used as a charm.



LIV. A.

WHY ARE THE SPIDER AND THE MOUSE ACCURSED?

The Story of Lady Mary, the Mouse and the Spider (a Charm).


After the crucifixion, the Lady Mary went along crying and weeping in
pain and grief for that they had crucified her son. Wherever she went
all the creatures wept with her, and the flowers in the grass of the
field bent low in sign of mourning. A flight of swallows met her in
the beautiful meadow, and seeing her crying, comforted her, and said:
"Do not weep, for thy son will come to life again three days hence,
and will show himself to thee and to the Apostles." Then the Lady Mary
became more comforted, and said to the swallows: "Ye swallows from
this day on shall be the cleanest birds on the face of the earth,
and the house at which you build your nests will be a happy one,
and whoever destroys your nest shall be cursed." The Lady Mary went
on her way, and passing on her way she met a spider weaving his web,
and a mouse burrowing in the ground. When they saw her weeping they
mocked at her, and said: "In vain dost thou weep and cry. Know that
thy son is dead; he will never come to life again, although thou
mayest believe it." But the Lady Mary replied: "My child is the son of
God. He will do what he wills." And she went on her way. She went on
until she came to another forest. Fearing that she might lose her way
she returned the same way as she had gone. The spider and the mouse,
seeing that she had not blessed them, took counsel together to hang
her on a rope and to kill her the next time they met her again. And
the mouse said to the spider: "Now thou weave a rope and get it ready,
and upon that rope we will hang her as soon as we set our eyes on
her." A short time afterwards the Lady Mary returned, and came back
to the same spot. Meanwhile the spider had woven a strong rope, and
had tied one end to a branch of the tree, and the mouse had digged a
deep pit under that tree. But the Lady knew what they had intended,
and she said: "Thou, O spider, hast woven a rope for hanging me,
thou shalt always dangle on a rope. Thou shalt be unclean and full of
vermin, and whoever catches thee shall kill thee. And thou, O mouse,
thou shalt be so dirty from this day onwards, that wherever thou diest
that place shall become unclean, and whoever sees thee shall kill thee,
and whoever will kill a mouse or a spider God shall forgive him three
sins." And as she had said, so it has remained to this very day. From
that time on the mouse and the spider have remained accursed.



LV.

WHY HAS THE SWALLOW A FORKED TAIL AND A RED SPOT ON ITS BREAST?

The Story of Lady Mary and the Wicked Stepmother.


In Oriental folk-lore the swallow seems to be considered everywhere
as a sacred bird, of which many legends are related. We hear, that
when the Temple was burning in Jerusalem the swallows were the birds
which brought water in their beaks with which to quench the flame,
whilst the spider brought fiery coal to fan the flame. Hence he who
kills a swallow commits seven sins, whilst he who kills a spider is
forgiven seven sins. In the Appendix, No. III., a peculiar legend is
also told of the spider, the gnat and the swallow. As for the origin
of the swallow, which would account for the forked tail and for the
colour of the feathers, the Rumanians have the following tale.



It is a story of a mother-in-law, who, like all mothers-in-law, treated
her daughter-in-law in a most cruel manner. Whatever the young woman
did was not right. Her mother-in-law persecuted her from morning
till evening, and gave her neither peace nor rest. One day, seeing
that she could not get rid of her by any other means, she killed her,
and cut her up in pieces. Her son, who had been away, came in just in
time to see the foul deed which his mother had done. Enraged, he made
a pile of wood, and dragging his mother on to it, he lit the wood, so
as to burn his mother on the fire. For reasons which we do not know,
St. Mary came down from heaven and pulled the old woman away from
the fire after her. Her clothes had already began to burn. She got
hold of her, changed her into a swallow, and pulled her through the
chimney. As soon as she saw herself saved, the wicked woman wanted
to fly away. But St. Mary said: "Stop, and do not fly away. Do not
imagine that because I have saved you from being burned on the fire,
I will let you go away like that: you just wait, for I must put a sign
on you, that everybody may know what a good mother-in-law you have
been, and that you have killed your daughter-in-law." And as she said
these words, she caused her tail to become like a pair of scissors,
or rather like two sharp knives joined in one point, like the knives
with which she had cut up her daughter-in-law. But this was not the
only sign. For when St. Mary pulled her through the chimney, a lot
of soot fell on her, and wherever it fell it made the feathers black,
and so they have remained to this very day. The red spot on the breast
of the swallow is the red blood of her daughter-in-law, and the white
spots are the remnants of the shirt which remained unburned when all
the other clothes had caught fire, but it has not kept white either,
for it was just a little singed.



There are besides these a number of tales about the swallow. They
are told in Nos. 86, 87.



LVI.

WHY DOES THE FROG SHRIVEL UP AT DEATH?

The Story of the Frog and Lady Mary.


When Christ was being crucified, his mother went in search of him;
she did not know whither he had betaken himself. On her way she met
a band of carpenters. Weeping, she asked them, "Have you seen my
son?" "We have seen him," they said. "Nay, we have made the cross,
and instead of light timber, we have taken heavy timber." "So," she
said, "you shall henceforth work from morning till night and never
get any richer."

Then she met a band of Gipsies, and she asked them, "Have you seen
my son?" "O yes," they replied, "we have seen him, and we were told
to make thick and blunt nails, but we have made them thin and pointed
so they should pass easily through and not give much pain." And Mary
replied, "May your work be light and your profit great."

Going on her way she met a frog, and the frog asked her, "Dear
lady mine, what are you weeping and crying for?" And she replied,
"I am weeping and crying for my only son, whom they are killing now
in Jerusalem." And the frog replied, "What am I to say; I have had
ten children and nine were crushed to death by the wicked wheel of
the carts, only one is left to his mother, a sweet darling and pet,
a beauty." When Mary heard the frog lauding her child, she said,
"Let me see that beauty of yours, just come out, little froggie,
beloved darling of mother." And there came out of the lake behind a
little frog with its crooked legs and ungainly face, and with eyes
staring out of his head. And when Mary saw that beauty she could not
help laughing under her tears. And she said to the frog, "Because
thou hast made me smile in my grief, may thy body never rot when
thou diest, and the worm never have a share in it." And ever since,
when the frog dies, the body shrinks into nothingness and disappears.



LVII.

WHY DOES THE SILKWORM SPIN A THIN THREAD?

The Story of the Tortoise and Lady Mary.


The blessed Mary, great and glorious as she is--she must not take
it amiss--was one day too lazy to go out on behalf of her son to
distribute his gifts among the children of the village. So when she
left the house with the loaves of bread, some cake, and other gifts
which she was to distribute, under her arm, she met the tortoise.

"Good morning," said the one. "Welcome, daughter," said the
other. St. Mary said, "Prithee, auntie, just give this bread as alms
for souls to the boys of the village."

"That is not much, my daughter, I will willingly do it," and taking
the bread under her arms, there she went crawling along until she
came to the boys.

The tortoise had scarcely left her, when St. Mary bethought herself
that it might have been better if she herself had given the alms away,
and not sent them through a stranger. So without more ado she followed
the way the tortoise had gone, and came to the school.

What did she see there? Auntie tortoise performed her deed as she had
promised, and going from boy to boy gave everyone a bit. But when at
last she came to the youngest, who was her own child, she took out
the cake and gave it to him. "I should like to know," said St. Mary,
"how it happened that the last piece to be given away was a cake?"

"Well, daughter, or rather mother, I had kept the cake for the most
beautiful child, and I could not find anyone more beautiful than
mine." St. Mary, who had heard many things, when she heard this,
could not help laughing aloud.

When she stopped laughing she was rather sorry, for why should she have
laughed so loud? She said, "Verily, there is nothing more beautiful
in the eyes of a mother than her own child."

Her beautiful face grew sad, and in order that her laughter should
not bewitch the little tortoise--as if struck by the evil eye for
being praised as beautiful--she spat out upon the ground, and out of
the spittle there grew the silkworm. St. Mary blessed it and said,
"Thou shalt live upon green leaves, and thou shalt draw out fine silk
threads" (like the thread of the spittle). It is therefore forbidden
to say anything evil of the silkworm, or to touch it whilst it is
spinning the cocoon, for no sooner is an evil word spoken or the worm
touched, than it stops drawing the silk.



The variant from the Balkans is as follows:

When Jesus went up to Golgotha, the Virgin Mother followed,
crying. There she saw in the procession also a tortoise, and she
could not help laughing. She then reproached herself, and said, "O
evil mouth, thou art only good for worms." There and then she spat on
the ground in disgust, and worms came out of the spittle. But having
come from a holy mouth the worms which grew out of the spittle became
the silkworms, which have remained so to this very day.



A peculiar variant in which, however, the second part--the origin of
the silkworm--is omitted, is found among the Kutzovlachs of Macedonia
as "The Story of St. Mary and the Tortoise."

Once upon a time the Virgin Mary sat sadly at the door of the school,
waiting for her son, who was learning within, to come out so that she
might give him a piece of cake which she had brought with her. Whilst
she was sitting there she said to herself, "I will wait and see whether
all the creatures recognise my son to be the most beautiful child in
the world."

A tortoise just then came along. In order to put her to the test,
St. Mary said to her, "Would you like to give this cake to the most
beautiful child here in this school?"

"Willingly," replied the tortoise, and taking the cake she went into
the school room. It so happened then that her own child was also
among the pupils. She went straight up to it, and without a moment's
hesitation gave it the cake destined for the most beautiful child in
the school. When St. Mary saw what the tortoise had done, instead of
being angry she laughed heartily, and said to her:

"Thou hast acted as every mother would act, for to a mother no one
could be more beautiful than her own child. And because thou hast
driven away my sadness, the finest and softest grass shall henceforth
be thy food, and when thou diest thy bones shall not rot away."

And so it has remained to this very day, and the shell of the tortoise
remains sound.



LVIII.

WHY IS IT RIGHT TO KILL A SPARROW?

The Story of the Sparrow and the Crucifixion.


Another legend brings us again to the same events. This time it is
in connection with the sparrow. It is said that the sparrows were
originally much bigger birds than they are now, but at the time of
the crucifixion they flew round the cross and cried half mockingly,
"Jiviu Jiviu," which means "Live, live." Christ, who was in pain, and
annoyed at their behaviour, cursed them and said, "May you live only
on the crumbs which you will pick up on the roadside, and henceforth,
becoming smaller, you will be snared by little boys and tormented
by them, and the passers-by shall hit at you with whips, and kill
you." And so it has remained to this very day.

They live on crumbs wherever they can pick them up. They have become
very small birds. They are snared by children, who often play with them
cruelly, and the passers-by strike at them with a whip, and kill them.



A Russian Legend, Afanasief, p. 13, is a close parallel to this
story, though it differs somewhat from it in detail; v. Ralston,
Russian Folk Tales, p. 331.



LIX.

WHY SHOULD THE OAK TREE NOT BOAST?

The Story of the Sparrow and the Oak Tree.


The people regard the sparrow as one of the greatest pests, for he
eats up the seeds and the crops. The people believe that the sparrows
reach an age of over nine hundred years, and they tell the following
tale about it:



In a clearing of a huge oak forest, there grew up a tiny little
tree. All the other trees looked upon it with pleasure, it was so
green and so tender. Suddenly a sparrow flying over the trees came
down and settled on that little sapling, which bent under the weight
of the bird. Angrily, the little tree said to the sparrow, "It is a
great shame that thou shouldst have come and settled on me, I who am
so weak and tender and scarcely able to stand up, why didst thou not
go and settle on one of those huge trees of which the forest is full."

The sparrow, feeling ashamed and angered at the words of the little
sapling, replied: "Very well, I am going, but when thou shalt be
on thy death-bed I will come back, and thou wilt have to render me
account for these offensive words which thou hast spoken to me." And
the sparrow went away.

Now it is known that an oak lives for nine hundred years: for three
hundred years it grows in strength and might, the next three hundred
it rests quiet, and during the last three hundred it slowly decays and
dies. First the heart, that is, the core, dies, then the wood is slowly
eaten away, the branches fall off, and at the end of nine hundred years
the tree is changed into dust. And so it happened with that little
sapling. It grew for three hundred years, it stopped still for the
next three hundred years, and finally it decayed and died at the end
of the last three hundred years. When the last day of the nine hundred
years had come, and scarcely anything was left of the tree but dust,
the sparrow came back, and rolling about in the dust it said: "Dost
thou remember when thou wast a mere sapling, how thou didst insult me,
thou didst believe thou wouldst grow on and live for ever? Dost thou
see that my word has come true, thou proud tree of the forest, now
thy head is lying low and thou hast been changed into dust, thou hast
been humbled, whilst I am still living on in strength, and I am now as
I have then been." This longevity of the sparrow makes him the dread
of the peasants and farmers, and among the means taken to save the
crops from the inroads of this pest are magical practices and charms.

I will only quote one or two.



Charms against the Sparrow.

On the first day of Lent the man must collect all the crumbs and
bones from his table after he has finished his meal, and, taking them
out in the table-cover, he must strew them upon the field, and say,
"O ye birds of heaven, here I have brought you of the food from my
table, eat this, and do not touch the food from off the field." Or,
taking a handful of corn and standing with one foot on his field and
with the other on the roadside, he must throw the corn on the road
outside the field and to say, "O St. Mary, here I have brought food
for the birds of heaven. Let them feed on this seed and not on the
seed which I sow in my field."

There is still another charm.

At the time when the sparrows begin to pick at the corn the youngest
of the household must go to the field. He must take off all his
garments, then, tying a kerchief over his eyes, he must hold in
his hand a candle, which has been burning at the head of a corpse,
and carrying also a tuft of hair cut off from the head of the dead,
he is to walk with the lighted candle in his hand over the four sides
of the field and say, "As I do not see now, and as the dead man does
not see, so shall the birds not see this field with the corn growing
in it. And the mind of the birds should be taken off from this field,
as the mind of the dead is off it." When he comes to the fourth
corner of the field he must tie the hair of the dead round some of
the ears of corn and say, "I do not tie up this crop, but I tie the
mouth of the birds, that they may not be able to eat it, as the dead
man is unable to eat it. And they shall not be able to see the corn,
as the dead man does not see the world."



LX.

WHY DOES THE MOSQUITO LIVE IN THE WELL?

The Story of King Pic, Lady Mary and the Sun.


Once upon a time St. Mary talked with the sun about the sins of
this world. They also talked about the wicked deeds of the Emperor
Pic among others, of whom an evil report had spread on account
of his cruelty. The sun talked to her about all that he had seen,
and St. Mary, weighing up all his sins, came to the decision that he
should be thrown into the depths of the sea, so that even his memory
should be lost to the end of days.

But before she had time to pronounce her judgment, up came the Emperor
Pic himself in mighty wrath. He caught hold of St. Mary by the hair
of her head, for was he not the emperor, and was there anyone of whom
he should stand in awe? He feared no one, and cursing as fast as he
could fill his mouth with blasphemous words, he started fighting the
sun. When St. Mary wanted to remonstrate with him he gave her a blow
on her mouth, so as to stop her from speaking. The sun, seeing this
infamous conduct, got angry, and catching him by the throat, hurled
the Emperor Pic into a well with the intention of drowning him before
he could utter a single word. The only sound which he made before
sinking was Zi Zi Zi. St. Mary, having pity upon him, wanted to save
him from drowning, and tried to draw him out of the water. But she
looked in vain for him. Instead of finding Pic in the well, she only
found a little insect that was shivering with cold and was hiding
under one of the beams of the well. God had no doubt punished Pic
for his impudence. The mosquito (Culex pipiens) does not leave his
hiding place until the sun disappears, for he is frightened of him,
and this fear has remained with him. For this reason no mosquito will
come out during the daytime: he will wait until it gets dark, then he
will come out and, sitting on the edge of the well, sings Zi, Zi, Zi.



LXI.

WHY DOES THE MOSQUITO FEED ON BLOOD?

The Story of God and the Food of the Mosquito.


After God had made all the creatures, he called them together, to tell
them what they would have to do so that they might live. They all came,
and God gave every one its gift and the manner of its food. All had
come and gone, but the mosquito did not come until very late. When
asked why he had done so, he started telling tales, until God got
angry and, turning to him, said:

"I have no time to waste with thee, hurry up and tell me quickly,
what kind of food dost thou wish?"

The mosquito replied, "I wish to live by sucking."

"So it shall be," replied God, "now go and suck the juice of trees
and plants."

What was he to do? He went and sucked the trees and plants. After a
fortnight had passed he got weak and shrivelled from this kind of
food. His wife, seeing the state into which he had fallen by his
foolish demand, said to him:

"See what has become of you! You are shrivelled up and weak, a few
days more and you are sure to die. You had better go to God and beg
him to give you another food."

But he said, "I cannot go; if you have the impudence you had better
go."

"Very well, then, I will go," replied the female mosquito, and up
she went to God.

When he saw her he asked her, "What has brought you to me?"

"The miserable food which my husband has got is killing us. We cannot
live by it. We are getting shrivelled up."

"If so," said God, "I will give you the right to suck also blood
from man and beast, but as soon as you cannot get blood you must
die. Your husband, however, he may live on the blood and juice of
plants alike." And so it has remained, the female dies when she cannot
find blood to suck.



According to some local tradition, the mosquito has been made out
of the smoke of the devil's pipe, and for that reason he hates the
smoke. According to another they are also the servants of the devil
and the enemies of the angels, who cannot come into a room where
there are many mosquitos



LXII.

WHY DOES THE FLY EAT THE CHERRY?

The Story of Lady Mary and the Cherries.


It is told that, once upon a time, the Lady Mary wanted to bring some
cherries to her son. So she went to a cherry tree and began to shake
it. But to her surprise, instead of coming down as she expected,
the cherries seemed to rise higher and higher. It was a cherry tree
dedicated to the devil, and it was not meet that such cherries should
be brought to God. So she went away full of wrath, and cursed the
cherries. And lo! they were changed into small black mites that flew
away. But the love of their sisters--the cherries--brings them back,
and they come and kiss them, and when they kiss them they leave their
eggs behind, which, growing into little white worms, eat the cherries.



LXIII.

WHY HAS THE BUTTERFLY RINGS ON ITS WINGS?

The Story of St. Anne and the Magician.


Once upon a time the rumour spread through Palestine that there was
a man who could perform greater miracles than God. St. Anne, hearing
of it, determined to go and see him, and so she did.

When she approached the house where he lived, she washed her feet,
as it is customary in those parts of the world, and with meekness and
devotion she went in and asked the man to change a withered trunk into
a green tree. The man got very angry, and said he did not perform
miracles, and after insulting her before the assembled multitudes,
seized her hands and thrust her out of his house.

When St. Anne saw what he had done she fell upon her knees and prayed
to God to punish him. As she was lifting up her hands in prayer she
suddenly noticed that the ring which she had from her dear mother had
gone. She remembered that the man had got hold of her by the hand,
and she understood that he then must have slipped the ring off her
finger. So she prayed that God would punish this impostor, thief,
and robber.

And God heard her prayer. Of a sudden the man disappeared from amongst
the people, and a small ring appeared round one of the boughs of the
tree outside the house. Whilst the people were gazing upon this ring
into which the thief had been changed, it opened, and out of it came
a hundred of small butterflies with the mark of the ring on their
wings. This was the sign of the ring, which had been stolen from
St. Anne.

The miracle which St. Anne asks the man to perform, namely, to change a
withered trunk into a green tree, belongs to the large cycle of similar
miracles starting from the rod of Aaron, the story of Lot and Abraham,
the Tannhäuser legend, etc. (v. Gaster, Literatura Populara Româna,
Bucharest 1883, p. 286 ff.).

This ring of small insect eggs round the twigs of trees is also known
as the cuckoo's ring, and taken off from the tree is used for charms
by girls, who say "as men are pleased to hear me." This ring is also
called "Sleep," and it is therefore often put into the cradle of
restless children in order to cause them to sleep.



LXIV.

WHY DOES THE CRICKET CHIRP?

The Story of Lady Mary and the Yellow Bird.


It is said that at the time of the birth of Christ, there was a
beautiful little bird with feathers, yellow as gold and with a beak
shining like silver, and a thin, fine little body. Just as the bird
was beautiful, so she was insolent and disobedient. She was a friend
of St. Mary, who liked her singing. When she was sad, the bird would
come and comfort her with her sweet songs. And the Holy Mother also
helped the little bird when she was in trouble, and when the nest
was broken, she helped to mend it.

But when the Holy Mother got Jesus, her friendship with the bird came
to an end. For the bird did not like children. It could not stand their
crying. The bird believed that the crying child mocked at her singing,
and therefore, whenever she saw Christ, she made faces at him and
mockingly chirped, Gri Gri Gri. Christ, hearing it, got frightened
and cried bitterly. When St. Mary saw the insolence of the bird,
she drove her away from the house, and, cursing her, said: "From
the beautiful bird which thou art, thou shalt become one of the most
hideous insects, and, living only in clefts and holes, thou shalt sing
only Gri Gri Gri, as a punishment for having mocked at God's child."

Since then, that bird has entirely disappeared, and all of her kind
which were living at that time were turned into crickets chirping in
the hearths and mocking at the children of men, Gri Gri Gri.



LXV.

WHY DO THE ANTS FEED THE CRICKET?

The Story of Alexander and the Knight.


There is another legend of the origin of the cricket which leads us
to the cycle of the Alexander legends.



It is told that in the time of Alexander there lived a young man who,
when he was sixteen years old, was more beautiful than any one had
been before him, or after him. The princesses were fighting for him,
calling one another as many names as the moon and stars, and each
one vowing that hers only he was to be, none other was worthy of
him. Still more beautiful was his singing, for when you heard him your
mind stopped still, so sweet was his voice. Even the mothers of the
maidens fell in love with him. And grey-haired old kings with long,
white beards and bushy eyebrows, would lift their brows to see him,
who was as beautiful as a wonder and dear as a ball of gold. But whilst
everyone liked him, Alexander could not suffer him. He must hate him,
for though Alexander was the mightiest emperor of the world, yet
none could please him, no not one even of those princesses. For this
reason there grew up an enmity between them, which became so strong
that even the sun, which used at that time to walk about on the earth,
could not make peace between them. Alexander might perhaps have made
peace, but he would do so only on the condition that the other would
not make love to his own favourite.

But the young knight would not hear of any conditions, and in order to
spite him still more, he went more often than before to Alexander's
favourite wife, and sang to her as much as he could. When the sun
told how insolent he was, Alexander turned on him and drove him out of
the house. The sun chased him and burned him, so that from the white
that he was he turned as black as a coal, and from the big and tall
man that he was he shrivelled up and became as small as a hazelnut,
and hid himself away under the hearth of a poor woman's house, from
which he squeaked "Griji, Griji ( = take care) that the sun does not
catch me." When the sun heard it, he said, "Now thou shalt always live
here where thou art, and hungry and thirsty shalt thou cry Griji,
Griji without stopping." When the beautiful maidens heard what had
happened, they became very angry, and then, turning into ants, they
brought food to the poor cricket. To this very day they bring him food,
so that he may not die of hunger.



LXVI.

WHY DO CATS AND DOGS FIGHT?

The Story of the Dog, the Cat and the Mouse.


In the beginning there was no enmity between the cat and dog, and
they lived on friendly terms together and served their master (Adam)
faithfully, each one doing its own work. But as you know, it is very
much better to have a written agreement at the beginning than to have
a row afterwards, so they decided to draw up an agreement defining
the work which each had to do, and decided that the dog was to do
the work outside the house, and the cat the work inside. For greater
safety the dog agreed that the cat should take care of the agreement,
and the cat put it in the loft.

After a time, the devil, who could not allow peace to last for a long
time, must needs set the dog up against the cat; so one day the dog
remarked to the cat that he was not fairly treated, he did not see
why he should have all the trouble outside the house, to watch for
thieves and protect the house and suffer from cold and rain, and
only have scraps and bones for food, and sometimes nothing at all,
whilst the cat had all the comfort, purring and enjoying herself,
and living near the hearth in warmth and safety. The cat said,
"An agreement is an agreement." The dog replied, "Let me see that
agreement." The cat went quickly up the loft to fetch the agreement,
but the agreement, which had been a little greasy, had been nibbled
by the mice who were living in the loft, and they went on nibbling
away until nothing was left of it but a heap of paper fluff, and as
it was as soft as down the mice made their home of it. When the cat
came up and saw what the mice had done, her fury knew no bounds, she
pursued them madly, killing as many as she could seize, and running
after the others with the intent of catching them.

When she came down the dog asked her for the agreement, and as the
cat had not brought it, the dog, taking hold of her, shook her until
he got tired of shaking her.

Since that time, whenever a dog meets a cat he asks her for the
agreement, and as she cannot show it to him he goes for her, and the
cat, knowing what the mice had done to her, runs after them when she
sees them.



In the South Slavonic folk-lore (Krauss, No. 18) there is a parallel
to this story, but greatly changed from the original form. It is no
longer a "creation" legend. It runs as follows:

The dogs used to receive all the meat that fell off the table. This
became a habit, and so he and the cat drew up a statement to that
effect, and made it a permanent rule. They wrote it on the hide
of an ass, and the king of the dogs gave it to the cat--the first
chancellor--to take care of it. The cat hid it away in the rafters
of the house. There the skin was found by the mice, who nibbled it
until there was scarcely anything left. One day a dog got badly beaten
because he picked up some meat that had fallen from the table. He went
and complained to the king, who sent the cat to find the document. The
cat could not find it, and saw that the mice had eaten it. Since then
there is a continual feud between the cat, the mice and the dog.

In this version, the entire origin of the tale has been lost. It is
no longer referred to Adam, nor is there any question of a compact
between a cat and dog which was broken by the latter. In the Slavonic
tale there is no authority for this arrangement.

The Rumanian version approximates much more closely to the Oriental,
and seems to have preserved much more faithfully the ancient form. The
oldest which can thus far be traced is that in the "Alphabet of Pseudo
Sirach," printed here in the Appendix (No. III.).



LXVII.

WHY DO CATS EAT MICE?

The Story of Adam and Eve and the Devil.


When Adam and Eve had lived for some time together, Adam suddenly
noticed a change in his wife's demeanour. Watching her narrowly, he
found that she had fallen in love with the devil. She had introduced
him into the house, which she had built close to the seashore. Adam,
as a wise man, kept his peace, but he thought day and night what was he
to do to get rid of the devil and to save his wife? At last he thought
that the only way would be to take his wife away into some distant
land across the sea, where the devil could not follow him. But how
were they to cross that sea? At last he discovered that the best way
to cross the sea would be to make a boat, and then, when it was ready,
he would take his wife quietly and they would both sail away. But the
devil has nothing to do but to watch other people's doings, and to
put a spoke into the wheel wherever he can. He was therefore not to
be outdone in as simple a manner as Adam thought. He saw that Adam was
cutting wood, and making timber and laths, and joining them together,
but whenever he asked Adam what he was doing he would not answer him.

So at last he came to Eve and told her: "Look here, that husband
of yours is preparing some trick, and it is meant against you and
me. You better find out what is in Adam's mind. What is he doing,
and what is the meaning of it?"

Eve, in order to please the devil, asked Adam what he was doing, but
he knew it was no good giving a secret into the keeping of a woman. So
he kept his counsel to himself. At last, when the devil saw the boat,
he told Eve:

"I know what Adam means, he wants to take you away and leave me
here alone. That you must not allow, but when everything is ready
and he is coming to fetch you, you ask him to allow you to bring the
house-snake with you. He will not refuse you, and I will take the form
of the snake, and so you will carry me with you into the boat. Then
we shall see who will be the cleverer, Adam or I."

So when Adam came to fetch Eve, she asked him to be allowed to bring
also the house-snake with her. Adam, good-hearted fellow as he was,
did not refuse her. What did the devil do? He took the form of the
snake, and to make sure of being carried into the boat, he coiled
himself round Eve's bosom, and so was carried by her into the boat,
chuckling all the while at the stupidity of Adam. Adam had no suspicion
who the passenger was, he had brought with him.

One day, after he had sailed a long time, Adam, tired from his work,
laid himself down to rest, when he suddenly felt that the boat was
sinking. Up he jumped, trimmed the sail, and looked round to see
whether the boat had sprung a leak and was making water, for he could
not understand why the boat should suddenly sink and let the water
in. The devil, thinking that Adam was asleep and not able to watch
his tricks, had made himself heavy like lead in the hope of sinking
the ship and drowning Adam. But he had reckoned without his host,
for Adam woke up in the nick of time and caught the Wicked One at
his evil deeds. When the devil saw that Adam was awake, he changed
himself quickly into a mouse. Adam did not trouble, but thought his
time would come. The devil, who cannot keep quiet but must do mischief
whenever he can, was not content to be left in peace, and be carried
across the water, but he must needs start gnawing away at one of the
planks of the ship, and so make a hole and drown Adam. His misfortune
was that, just when the plank at which he was gnawing had got as thin
as a sheet of paper, Adam surprised the Black One at his work. What
did he do? He took off his fur glove and threw it at the mouse.

The fur glove changed into a cat which, seizing the mouse, killed
it and ate it up. And thus the cat got the devil into it. And that
is why the cat's hair bristles and makes sparks, and the eyes of the
cat glisten in the dark. These are sparks of the devil in the cat.



LXVII. A.

ANOTHER VERSION.

The Story of the Devil, Noah and the Ark.


There is another version of this tale which transfers the origin of
the mouse to the ark of Noah. Noah would not allow the devil to get
into the ark which he had built. In order, therefore, to get in,
the devil transformed himself into a mouse, which, being surprised
at the same work of gnawing away the boards of the ark, was eaten up
by the cat--the fur glove which Noah threw at her.

A legend concerning the cat and mouse is found in the so-called
"Alphabet of Pseudo Sirach," here in the Appendix, No. III. According
to a Bohemian legend, the devil created the mouse that it might
destroy "God's corn," whereupon the Lord created the cat. (Ralston,
p. 330 note.)

The apocryphal interpretation of the temptation of Eve by the
serpent which has been identified with Satan is found in many ancient
biblical legends. This story of the temptation has been transformed
into a somewhat primitive love story between Eve and the devil--her
paramour--who assumes the form of the house-snake and then wishes to
drown poor unsophisticated Adam.



LXVIII.

WHY DOES A CAT SIT ON THE DOORSTEP IN THE SUN?

The Story of the Cat, the Mouse and Noah.


When Noah had built the ark, he kept the door wide open for the
animals to enter. After they had all gone in, his own family came,
and last of all his wife.

Noah said to her "Come in." She obstinately said "No." Noah again said
"Come in." She again said "No." Noah, getting angry, said "Oh, you
devil, come in." That was just what the devil was waiting for. He knew
that Noah would not allow him to come in otherwise, and so he waited
for an invitation, of which he promptly availed himself. Getting into
the ark the devil changed himself into a mouse.

When the devil has nothing to do he weighs his tail. But here he found
plenty to do, for, he thought, now is an opportunity of putting an end
to the whole of God's creatures. So he started gnawing on one of the
planks, trying to make a hole in it. When Noah surprised him at this
devilish work he threw his fur glove at him. It turned into a cat,
and, in the twinkling of an eye, the mouse was in the mouth of the cat.

But Noah could not allow the peace of the ark to be broken, the animals
had to live in peace with one another. So he seized the cat, with
the mouse in her mouth, and flung her out of the ark into the water.

The cat swam to the ark and, getting hold of the door step, climbed
on to the sill and lay down there to bask in the sun.

There she remained until the water had subsided: and ever since then,
the cat likes to lie on the doorstep of the house and bask in the sun.



LXIX.

WHY DOES THE FLY SETTLE ON THE DEAD?

The Story of God and the Giants of the Flood.


In olden times, huge giants existed in this world. They were so big
that they could put one leg on the top of one mountain and the other
on the next one. They reached as high as the heavens, and getting
hold of the handles of the great gate would shake it as a man shakes a
kettle. They even rebelled against God, for they knew no fear. At last,
God, realising their nature, decided to destroy them, and he sent
a flood which covered the highest mountains, so that you could not
see of them as much as the black under the nail. So all the giants
died, except one, who was the biggest of them all. He stood with
one leg on the top of one mountain, and with the other on the next
mountain, and with his hands he got hold of the handles of the gate
of heaven. But God would not tolerate a single one of these giants,
for he had decided to make men, very similar creatures to giants
but smaller and more obedient. So he sent a fly to pick at his eyes,
and worms to gnaw at the soles of his feet. Feeling the pain in his
eyes, the giant let the gate of heaven go and wiped his eyes, with
his hand, but he could not stand the gnawing of his feet, and he,
falling down into the water, was drowned. From the gnawing of the
soles the instep in man's foot has come, and these flies (Sarcophaga
carnaria) and worms still eat up the human bodies and all the carcases.

It is therefore a bad sign if such a fly settles on a sick man;
a sure sign of death.



LXX.

WHY IS THE FOOT OF MAN ARCHED?

The Pact between God and the Devil.


When God created the world, I do not know how it came about and why
it was done, enough that it was done, God made a pact with the devil
which they signed and sealed, and God kept the document in which
it was stated that they had divided the world between them. It was
settled that all the dead should go to the devil and all that was
living should belong to God. After a while, the devil repented himself
of this arrangement and tried to get hold of the contract. Taking
advantage of God's indulgence, he stole into heaven, and, taking the
document, he made off with it. Clever though he thinks himself to be,
the devil is a fool and remains a fool. So, going down from heaven,
he lost the document, and did not even notice his loss until after
he had plunged deep down to the bottom of the sea. The document which
had fallen out of his hands was lying on the sand of the seashore.

When God noticed what the devil had done, he sent a frost so hard that
it split the stones and covered up all the waters with a thick crust
of ice, so that the devil could not get out. Then God sent St. Peter
to fetch the agreement where it lay. St. Peter descended and was about
to take it, when a magpie which watched his doings went to the sea,
and whack! whack! made a hole in the ice with its beak. That was just
what the devil was waiting for, and quick as lightning he came up from
the bottom of the sea. But quick as he was, St. Peter was quicker,
and picking up the pact he went up to heaven. The devil went after him,
but could not catch him up.

When St. Peter got near the gate of heaven, the devil, seeing that he
had escaped him, threw his spear after him. He missed him; but not
entirely, for he hit St. Peter in the sole of his foot. St. Peter
cried out of pain. God asked him what had happened, and he replied,
"The devil has hit me in my foot with his venomous spear."

"Cut that bit out and throw it away," said God.

St. Peter did as he was told, and, cutting out the wounded part from
the sole of his foot, threw it at the devil. Since then the human
foot is short of that bit which St. Peter had cut out when the devil
had hit him with his spear.



It is not quite clear from the story as it stands whether the magpie
acted as a confederate of the devil, and picked a hole in the ice
deliberately so as to free him from the imprisonment, or whether
the magpie quite innocently went and helped the devil against
St. Peter. There is no sequel here to its action. It is neither
punished nor rewarded. In this respect the story is imperfect.

There exists another popular legend intended to explain the arch in the
sole of the human foot. According to the latter, it so happened that
the Archangel Michael was the foremost angel in the fight between
Satan and the heavenly hosts, which added to the discomfiture of
Satan. When he finally was hurled down from heaven he tried to get
hold of the archangel. But the angel was too quick for him. The devil
missed him, but not entirely, for he seized the archangel by the sole
of his foot and tore out a part of the flesh. Since then the sole
of the human foot is curved in the middle. That portion is missing,
which was torn out of the sole of the archangel.



LXXI.

WHY HAS A SNAKE NO TAIL? AND WHY DO FLEAS SUCK HUMAN BLOOD?

The Story of the Devil in Noah's Ark.


When God had brought the Flood, and Noah's ark was floating on the
face of the waters, the wretched good-for-nothing devil wanted to
destroy Noah with all those who were with him in the ark. So he fell
a-thinking for a while, and invented an iron tool called now gimlet,
with which he could bore holes in the wall of the ark.

The murderous devil started on his work, and poor Noah and those with
him were in great danger of being drowned. They all worked hard to get
the water out, but who can get the better of the devil? He worked much
more quickly, and making many holes in the boards, the waters came in
fast. They all believed themselves lost. But God, who does not desire
the death of the sinner, and did not wish to see the work of his
hands destroyed, gave cunning to the snake, and it is possible that
since that day the snakes have remained wise, for does not Holy Writ
tell us to be wise as the serpent? The snake came to Noah and said,
"What wilt thou give me if I stop up the holes which the devil is
making by which the water enters the ark?"

"What dost thou want?" replied Noah in despair.

"After the Flood thou art to give me a human being every day to be
eaten by me and my seed."

Noah, hard pressed by the imminent danger, promised to do so. No
sooner did the devil bore a hole than the snake stopped it up with
the tip of its tail, which it cut off, leaving it in the hole, and
that is why ever since the snakes have no tails. When the devil
saw that his plan had failed, he ran away and left Noah's ark in
peace and all those who were in it. As soon as the Flood had passed
away, Noah brought a thanksgiving sacrifice to God for having been
miraculously saved. In the midst of these rejoicings the snake took
courage and came up to Noah, asking for the human being of which he
had promised to give her one every day to be eaten by her and her
seed. When Noah heard it, he got very angry, for he said to himself,
"There are so few human beings now in the world, if I give her one
every day, the world will soon come to an end." So he took hold of
the beast which dared to speak to him in such a manner, and threw it
into the fire. God was greatly displeased with the evil smell which
arose from the fire in consequence, and sent a wind which scattered
the ashes all over the face of the earth. From these ashes the fleas
were born. If one considers the number of fleas that are in the world,
and the amount of human blood which they are sucking, then, taking
them all together, they eat up without doubt as much as a human being
every day. And thus the promise made by Noah is being fulfilled.



A similar tale seems to be known among the Russians, as far as the
first part of this legend is concerned. According to Ralston, Russian
Folk Tales, p. 330, when the devil in the form of a mouse gnawed a
hole in the Ark, the snake stopped it up with its head. In the Russian
tale the two tales of the mouse and the snake are thus combined.

An Oriental legend which seems to have retained some of the incidents
in the Rumanian legend is referred to in Hanauer, Folk Lore of the Holy
Land, p. 283. We are told that Iblis (the devil) promises the serpent
the sweetest food in the world, that is, human blood, if it helps to
deceive Eve. Adam protests, as no one knew yet which is the sweetest
blood. The mosquito is sent out to suck the blood of all the animals,
and find out which is the sweetest. The swallow shadows the mosquito,
and in the end plucks out its tongue so that it shall not be able to
tell. The serpent, enraged, darts after the swallow, but only gets
hold of the middle feathers of the swallow's tail, which it plucks
out, hence the forked tail of the swallow. The serpent still tries
to hurt man, but cannot do so in virtue of any claim.

The flea is also called the devil's horse, for Satan rode upon a flea
when he started on his rebellious fight with God.



LXXII.

CHARMS AGAINST FLEAS AND OTHER HOUSE VERMIN.


In the first quarter of the moon she who wishes to make the charm
must be told by a neighbour that the moon has just risen. She then
takes a glazed dish or bowl, which she has bought at the fair of the
Mummers (Mosii) at the Eastertide, or one that has been given to her
at that time. She fills it with "living" water taken from three wells
in three new jugs brought by three virgins, who must not look back
from the time they have drawn it.

This bowl filled with water is put on the window facing the moon,
and she waits until the moon strikes the window and the bowl. When
she can see the moon well in the bowl and at the bottom of it, she
begins to charm (conjure) the fleas, etc., with three stalks taken
from a new broom, and says, "New moon in the house, bugs, vermin,
fleas, get ye out of the house, leave this house, be scattered--let
no one meet the other before mountain meets mountain--and hill top
knocks against hill top--then and then only may they meet, and not
even then." She repeats the charm three times, then she pours the
water into four vessels, places them in the inner four corners of the
house, and in the morning she is sure to find some of the house vermin
in the vessels. These she must take out, and put into an empty box,
stolen from somewhere. She must wait for a car that returns home after
everything brought in it has been sold at the market, and must throw
the box into that empty car, saying: "Yes, fleas, little fleas--from
the house have I taken you, into a stolen box have I put you, charmed,
drowned, cursed, thrown into a box, charmed at new moon now, may
you become the devil's own, may you become numbed and stiff--in the
nine countries--beyond the nine seas--for there they are waiting for
you--at spread tables--with torches lit up. Amen!"

It is almost unnecessary to discuss at any length the charms against
fleas, etc., which were considered the special tools and associates
of the Evil One. The philtres in the Western countries consist mostly
of poisonous ingredients taken from toads, snakes, etc., and some
of the oldest charms are against flies, fleas, midges, etc. This is
now, perhaps, the only complete charm in which not only the formula
has been preserved, but also, what is of the highest importance,
a detailed description of the ceremonial used on that occasion.

Every detail of this magical operation might be made the starting
point of a separate investigation. The symbolic character of some of
them is too clear to be gainsaid. We have here the crescent of the
moon as an operative factor: the bowl and the box must be stolen,
probably to bring down a curse upon the thief and upon him who
uses it. The living water, the three maidens, the three wells,
the curse of the vermin, the empty car carrying it, as it were,
away for ever, the inducement for those fleas to remain there in the
mythical nine countries for a feast that is awaiting them. Each and
all are found in other charms, but here we have the whole operation
minutely described. It is, moreover, typical of a large class of such
enchantments or binding by charms. For our purpose it must be deemed
quite sufficient. I have only introduced it as it is one affecting
the insects and throwing light on many more charms and conjurations
in which the Rumanian literature abounds. I may on another occasion
discuss the whole range of the Rumanian charms. They cover the whole
field of human ailments and physical troubles--a wide range indeed.



LXXIII.

CHARMS AGAINST BUGS.


Curiously enough, there do not seem to be any special legends about
the origin of the bugs, but there are a good many charms which
are used for getting rid of these troublesome vermin. The charms
are of a symbolical nature. A suggestive action is performed which
the conjurer believes will be followed by the conjured bugs. Thus:
A woman in a complete state of nudity takes a mealie cake into one
hand, or a crust of bread, or some other flour, and a brush used
for whitewashing in the other. She nibbles at the cake or food, and
whitewashes the wall, and while she is doing it, she says: "As I am
eating my food and cleaning my walls so may you eat up one another
and leave my walls clean of you," after which the bugs will perish.

It is advisable to do this when the moon wanes, and the whitewashing
should start from the wall which faces the door and then go on to
the right until the door is reached again.

Another charm--A boy in a state of complete nudity takes bread and salt
into one hand, and in the other he holds his flute and also a number
of bugs, called the wedding party. Thus equipped, he goes into the high
road until he passes the boundary of his field. There he starts playing
the flute, and then he throws the bugs away into the road, saying:
"Here I have brought for you bread and salt, and I have been singing
to you with my flute, now go and have a merry wedding, and remain
where you are, never returning to my home." The bugs then never return.

Another charm, like that of the fleas, is connected with the new moon.

When the new moon appears, a man, coming outside his house and
seeing it, exclaims, "A new king in the land, a new king in the
land." To which one in the house standing by the window replies,
"All the bugs must now go out of the house one by one, so that none
remain behind." And after repeating these words three times he rides
on a besom, poker, or the oven-peel (with which the bread is shovelled
into the stove), and running through the house he begins sweeping the
rooms, and says whilst so doing, "Get out of the house, ye bugs, for
the new king is getting married, and he invites you to his banquet,
for he has no one to eat, to drink, or to dance there. Get ye out
and you will eat and drink and dance until you are satisfied."

These words must be repeated three times, viz. at the beginnings of
three months. The bugs are then believed to leave the house in the
form of a swarm, and to go elsewhere.



LXXIV.

WHY DOES THE CUCKOO CALL "CUCKOO"?

The Story of the Little Boy and the Wicked Step-mother.


Once upon a time there was a poor man, who had a wife and two children,
a boy and a girl. He was so poor that he possessed nothing in the
world but the ashes on his hearth. His wife died, and after a time
he married another woman, who was cantankerous and bad-natured, and
from morning till evening, as long as the day lasted, she gave the
poor man no peace, but snarled and shouted at him. The woman said to
him, "Do away with these children. You cannot even keep me, how then
can you keep all these mouths?" for was she not a step-mother? The
poor man stood her nagging for a long time, but then, one night, she
quarrelled so much that he promised her that he would take the children
into the forest and leave them there. The two children were sitting
in the corner but held their peace and heard all that was going on.

The next day, the man, taking his axe upon his shoulder, called to
the children and said to them, "Come with me into the forest, I am
going to cut wood." The little children went with him, but before they
left, the little girl filled her pocket with ashes from the hearth,
and as she walked along she dropped little bits of coal the way they
went. After a time they reached a very dense part of the forest,
where they could not see their way any longer, and there the man said
to the children, "Wait here for a while, I am only going to cut wood
yonder, when I have done I will come back and fetch you home," and
leaving the children there in the thicket he went away, heavy hearted,
and returned home. The children waited for a while, and seeing that
their father did not return, the girl knew what he had done. So they
slept through the night in the forest, and the next morning, taking
her brother by the hand, she followed the trace of the ashes which
she had left on the road, and thus came home to their own house. When
the step-mother saw them, she did not know what to do with herself,
she went almost out of her mind with fury. If she could, she would have
swallowed them in a spoonful of water, so furious was she. The husband,
who was a weakling, tried to pacify her, and to endeavour to get the
children away by one means or another, but did not succeed. When the
step-mother found that she could not do anything through her husband,
she made up her mind that she herself would get rid of them. So one
morning, when her husband had gone away, she took the little boy,
and without saying anything to anybody, she killed him and gave him
to his sister to cut him up, and prepare a meal for all of them. What
was she to do? If she was not to be killed like her brother, she had
to do what her step-mother told her.

And so she cut him up and cooked him ready for the meal. But she took
the heart, and hid it away in a hollow of a tree. When the step-mother
asked her where the heart was, she said that a dog had come and taken
it away. In the evening, when the husband came home, she brought the
broth with the meat for the husband to eat, and she sat down and ate
of it and so did the husband, not knowing that he was eating the flesh
of his child. The little girl refused to eat it. She would not touch
it. After they had finished, she gathered up all the little bones and
hid them in the hollow of the tree where she had put the heart. The
next morning, out of that hollow of the tree there came a little bird
with dark feathers, and sitting on the branch of a tree, began to sing,
"Cuckoo! My sister has cooked me, and my father has eaten me, but I
am now a cuckoo and safe from my step-mother." When the step-mother,
who happened to be near the tree, heard what that little bird was
singing, in her fury and fright she took a heavy lump of salt which
lay near at hand, and threw it at the cuckoo, but instead of hitting
it, the lump fell down on her head and killed her on the spot. And
the little boy has remained a cuckoo to this very day.

This tale is more or less a variant of a well-known type of fairy
tales. Nos. 43, 44 are tales of men with inordinate and foolish wishes,
who by constantly changing bring about their own undoing. This last is
a variant of the story of the bad step-mother and the two children. But
here the fairy tales assume a different character.



LXXV.

WHY DOES A WAGTAIL WAG ITS TAIL?

The Story of the Cuckoo and the Wagtail.


The wagtail did not have the tail from the beginning. This tail
originally belonged to the wren, but it happened in this manner. The
wagtail was one day invited to the wedding of the lark, and as
she felt ashamed to go there without any tail, as she had none,
she went to the wren and asked the wren to lend her her tail for a
few days. The wren, which had as now a small body but in addition a
long tail, did not wish to be churlish, and lent her the tail. When
the wagtail saw herself with a long tail, she did not know what to do
with herself for joy, she was dancing and prancing all the way to the
wedding. The wedding lasted some days. When it was over, the wren came
to the wagtail and asked for the tail, but the wagtail, finding that
the tail suited her so well, pretended not to hear and not to see,
and took no notice of the wren. And thus it came about, from the time
of the lark's wedding, that the wren has remained without a tail,
and the wagtail with one. But, fearing lest the wren would come one
day and steal it, the wagtail is wagging its tail continually to be
sure that she has it, and that it has not been taken away.



LXXVI.

WHY HAS THE HOOPOE A TUFT?

The Story of the Hoopoe and the Cuckoo.


The tuft of the hoopoe's head has given rise to a tale, similar to
some extent to the story of the tail of the wagtail, and yet not quite
identical. Like the wagtail, which originally had no tail, the hoopoe
had originally no tuft on its head. But when the lark had her wedding,
she invited all the birds. Among them also the hoopoe. She did not want
to come with her simple feathers, but went to the cuckoo and borrowed
them from him, for he had the tuft, promising to return it to him as
soon as she had come back from the wedding. The cuckoo, who was a good
natured and obliging fellow, trusted the hoopoe and lent her the tuft.

She went to the wedding, and her beautiful ornament was greatly
admired by all the birds. Most of all was the lark pleased with
it. The hoopoe grew very elated, and thought she had better keep
it. And so she did. She came home, and entirely forgot the cuckoo
and her promise to return him his tuft. The cuckoo waited for a while
for the hoopoe to return to him the tuft which he had lent her. But
the hoopoe was nowhere to be found; she never showed herself. Seeing
this, the cuckoo went to her and asked her to return the tuft. She
pretended not to know what the cuckoo was saying, and coolly replied,
"I do not know what you are talking about." Enraged at her callous
conduct, the cuckoo called all the other birds together to lay his case
before them, and to ask them to pass judgment on the hoopoe. When the
birds came together, they appointed the lark to be the judge, but the
lark had taken a fancy to the hoopoe ever since the wedding day, so,
in spite of the protestations of the cuckoo, he decided that the tuft
must remain with the hoopoe, as it suited her so much better. And so
it has remained to this day. But since then there is no friendship
between the cuckoo and the lark, who delivered a wrong judgment.



An Eastern popular tale, Hanauer, Folk-lore of the Holy Land, p. 254
ff., explains the origin of the tuft on the head of the hoopoe as a
crown given by King Solomon to this bird for its wisdom in refusing
to pay homage to women.



LXXVII.

WHY DOES THE EAGLE LIVE ON RAW MEAT?

The Story of the Bewitched Brothers.


Let us pass to the story of the eagle. It is the largest bird of
prey known in Rumania, and lives on young animals, lambs, goats,
and so on. The story runs as follows.



Once upon a time there was such a famine in the land that the people
lived on grass and even on sawdust, and were dying of hunger in untold
numbers. At that time there lived a widow who had managed to husband
a little flour. When she found that nothing else was left to her she
took that flour and mixing it with water kneaded it into dough. Then
she lit the furnace, and got a shovel to put the dough on it and thence
into the furnace to bake. This woman had two sons and one daughter. The
two boys came in just at the moment when the loaves of dough were on
the shovel. They were so hungry that they did not wait for the dough
to be baked, and before their mother had time to put the shovel into
the oven they got hold of the dough, raw and uncooked as it was,
and ate it up to the smallest bit. They did not leave even a little
piece for their mother and sister. When the mother saw the terrible
greediness of her children, and that they ate the raw stuff and did
not leave even a small piece for her or their sister, she cursed them
and said, "May you be cursed by God and be changed into two birds;
may you haunt the highest peaks of the mountains; may you never be
able to eat bread even when you see it, because you did not leave any
for me this day." No sooner had the boys gone out of the house than
they were changed into two huge eagles, who, spreading their wings,
flew away to the ends of the earth, no one knowing whither they had
gone. A short time afterwards their sister, who had not been at home
when all this had happened, came in, and she asked the mother where
her brothers were. Her mother did not tell her what had happened,
and said that the brothers, finding it was impossible for them to live
any longer here, had gone out into the wide world to live by their own
earnings. When the girl heard this she wept, and said, "If that be so,
then I will also go out into the wide world, and will seek my brothers
until I find them," and would not listen to the words of her mother,
who wanted to keep her back. She said good-bye and departed, and
travelled on and on for a long time, until she came to the ends of the
earth, where the sun and moon no longer shone and the days were dark.

So she fell a-praying, and said, "I have gone in search of my brothers;
O God, help me," and as she turned round she saw a forest full of
high trees which she had not noticed before, and she said to herself,
"I will go into that forest; I am sure nothing will happen to me,"
and so she did. She went into the forest not knowing where she was
going. In the midst of it she saw a beautiful meadow full of singing
birds, and there was a huge castle surrounded by thick walls and
closed by a gate with six locks. At the entrance of the gate there
were two huge monsters. She was very frightened. Still she watched
until these monsters had fallen asleep, and then slipping past them
she entered the gates. There she was met by a fox, who said to her,
"What has brought thee hither into this the other world from the world
outside? I fear our master will eat you up. As soon as he comes home
he will swallow you." Still she went on, and on entering the house
she met the mistress of the house, who asked her the same question,
and she told her what had happened to her from the beginning to the
end, and that she had gone out into the wide world to seek for her
lost brothers. When the mistress heard her tale she took pity on
her, and taking her into the innermost chamber she hid her there,
and then went to await the home-coming of the master. About midday,
when the sun stands on the cross-ways of heaven, there was a great
noise in the house; the place shook, for the master had come, and he
was none other than a huge lion.

At table, the mistress said to him, "O my master, thou hast always
been so good to me; I ask you to be once more good and kind; promise
me." And he promised, and asked her her request. She told him what
had happened to that girl, and said that she had come there from
the other world in search of her brothers. The lion called the young
girl, who was greatly frightened, and she told him again all that had
happened to her. He then said, "I will call together all my subjects
and ask them whether they have seen your brothers passing by this way,
or whether meeting them they have eaten them."

So he called from far and near all the animals who were in his
dominion, and he asked them about the brothers. But they all said
that these had never passed through the land, and they had neither
seen them nor eaten them. So the lion told her to go on. She went on
and came to another forest, very big and dark, and walking for a time
in it she came to another meadow full of birds singing so beautifully
that you could not hear enough of them, and there in the midst was
a house deep down in the ground with a thatched roof. The girl went
in the house, and there was an old woman sitting on the oven. [2]
"May God help you," said the young girl, and the old woman replied,
"Welcome, my daughter, what has brought you here into this part of the
world never yet trodden by human foot?" And the girl told her that she
had left her mother's house and gone in search of her brothers. The
woman said, "Your brothers are alive, but they are under a spell,
for they have been charmed into huge birds, and they live yonder in
the castle on that steep mountain. If you can reach that place you
will be able to see your brothers."

Full of joy at these tidings, the girl went to the mountain and
found that it was a bare, steep, high cliff with little patches
of grass here and there, just the place for eagles' nests. Taking
courage, she started climbing up, and after endless toil reached
the top. There she saw a huge palace surrounded by iron walls, and
going inside she saw a room; the table was set and food was on the
table. As she was very hungry, she went round the table and took a
bit from every dish. Then she hid herself, watching to see what would
happen. She had not to wait very long, for soon two huge eagles came
from the depths of heaven. They entered and sat down at the table
and began to eat their meal. Suddenly one of them said to the other,
"Halloo, some one must have been here, for I see that my food has been
nibbled." The other said, "It is impossible for any one to come here,"
and took no further notice of it.

On the second day they noticed that once again some of their food had
been eaten again, and so on the third day, when more of it had been
eaten. So they started hunting through the house to find out who was
hidden there, for surely some one must have come to eat the food. After
a long search they found the girl huddled up in a small room. As soon
as they saw her they recognised her as their sister, and taking her
into the large hall they asked her what had happened and what had
brought her to them. She told them all that had happened to her,
and how she had been through the forest and climbed up the mountain,
and that she was now there with them. The brothers then said to her,
"We are under a spell; mother has cursed us. We have now been changed
into birds of prey; but if you will stay here for six years and not
speak a single word, that will save us; the spell will be broken,
and we shall again be human beings." The girl promised to do all they
wished, as the old woman whom she had met before had told her that
she was to do whatever her brothers would wish her to do. And there
she remained. Her brothers spread their wings and flew away. Five
years had past, the girl not seeing anything of them, and not speaking
all the time. After that time she said to herself, "What is the good
of my sitting here and keeping silent when none of them have come;
perchance they are dead, or who knows what has happened?" No sooner
had she opened her mouth and spoken a word when in came her two
brothers, and said to her mournfully, "Thou hast not kept thy vow,
thou hast broken thy promise, thou hast spoken! If thou wouldst have
waited one more year we would have become human beings, and the spell
would have been broken. Now we are cursed forever. We must remain
eagles and birds of prey." And so they have remained to this day,
preying on birds and beasts, living on raw meat, never being able
to touch bread, and even picking up children under six years of age,
the years which their sister had to wait in order to break the spell.



In this story we find again well-known motives from fairy tales,
especially that of "Snow White and the Dwarfs," in which Snow White
comes into the house and nibbles at the food which is on the table, so
that her presence is thereby disclosed. But here the tale has been used
for the purpose of explaining the origin of the eagle. Other details
there are in that tale which are not clearly brought out in this,
for at the bottom of it lies the tale of the grateful animals. That
is the reason why the lion spares the girl and also the good fairy,
whom she serves faithfully, here represented by the old woman in the
house with the thatched roof, by whom she is rewarded by being shown
the way to her lost brothers.

All these elements have here been combined in the bird tale. A close
parallel to this tale is to be found in Grimm, No. 25.



LXXVIII.

WHY HAS THE LARK A TUFT?

The Story of the Glass Mountain.


Once upon a time there was a man who was under a spell. He got married
to a woman, and after a time he suddenly disappeared. He was carried
away by the spell, no one knew whither. The poor woman waited for him
one day and another day and a third day, and seeing that he did not
return she went out into the world to search after him. And so, passing
through many a country, she came at last to the house where Holy
Thursday lived, a good old woman, who was the mistress of a third of
all the birds in the world. When she saw the traveller, she asked her
what had brought her there, and the poor woman, weeping, told her how
she had gone in search of her husband, who had suddenly disappeared,
and whom she had not been able to find anywhere in the world.

Holy Mother Thursday said to her, "Wait, I will call all my birds
together, and I shall hear from them whether they know where your
husband is." In the evening she called all the birds who were under
her rule, and asked them whether they knew what had happened to the
man. They all replied that they had not seen him, and they did not
know whither he had gone. Sad at heart, the poor woman went away,
and came to Holy Mother Saturday, who ruled over half the birds in
the world. She asked the young woman how she had come to that part
of the world, and what had brought her thither.

The poor woman told her tale, and also that Holy Mother Thursday could
not find where her husband was. So Mother Saturday called her birds,
and asked them whether they had seen anything of the poor woman's
husband. They all replied that they had not seen anything of him,
and did not know what had become of him. Greatly disappointed, the
poor woman went on her way, until she came to the house of the Holy
Mother Sunday, who ruled over all the birds. After hearing from the
woman what had brought her to her house, she called all the birds
together, and put the same question to them. None of the birds knew
where the husband was except the cock lark. He said he knew where
the husband was, a very long way off. Then Mother Sunday asked the
bird whether he could carry the woman to that place.

"Willingly will I abide by your command, O mistress," said the bird;
and taking the woman on his back, he rose up high in the air, and
started flying to the place whither the husband had been carried. And
so flying, they came at last to a high mountain made all of glass. The
bird could not go up that mountain, so they shod his little feet
with iron, and slowly, slowly, they climbed up that mountain until
they came to the top. The woman, however, was so much frightened by
the flight that she clutched at the feathers on the top of the lark,
and held tightly to them, fearing to lose her hold. Since that time
the ruffled feathers have remained upstanding, and hence the tuft on
the head of the male lark.



It is peculiar that the tale here ends abruptly without telling us
whether the woman met her husband, or whether she was able to break
the spell. It is probably tacitly assumed.



LXXIX.

WHY IS THE TUFT OF THE LARK DISHEVELLED?

The Story of the Helpful Lark.


Another story of the lark tells of one who went in search of his
sister, who had been stolen away from her home by Sila Samodiva. [3]
He was directed by a curious dream, in which he saw an old man with
a long white beard, who told him to go in search of her, for he was
sure to find her. On his way he came to a very old man, who turned
out to be the king of all the birds. In the evening all the birds
came to him to be fed, but one bird was missing. It came in rather
late, limping and tired, and when the king saw it he recognised it
to be the lark. And he asked the bird why it was so tired and what
had befallen it. The bird said, "Thou hast ordered me to live so far
away that it takes me a very long time to come to the court, and it
is with great difficulty that I have been able to come here to this
place in obedience to thy command." Then the king asked the lark where
he had his nest, and when he replied in the gardens of Sila Samodiva,
the brother was full of joy, for that was the place where his sister
had been taken. Then the king asked the bird whether he could lead
the man to that place. "Willingly will I do so," replied the lark. "I
will jump from tree to tree and from bush to bush, and flutter about
gently, and if he follows me I am sure to lead him to the place of his
desire." And so following the bird, he reached a golden palace in which
the fairy Sila Samodiva was living. He entered the palace by holding
on to the tuft of the lark, which has since remained dishevelled. A
fairy put him to various trials, which he successfully accomplished,
and thus was able to rescue his sister and to return home in safety.



Needless to point out, that in these two tales we have parallels to
the famous legend of the hoopoe in the Solomonic cycle. In it Solomon
orders all the birds to come and render homage; only one bird does
not appear at the proper time. It comes in very late, limp, tired
and exhausted, and excuses itself by telling Solomon of its long
flight from the court of the Queen of Sheba, to whom King Solomon
then sends a message by means of the same bird. But we are not told
in this story anything of the origin of the bird, except that it is
described as one leading the travellers to the places in the other
world which they wish to reach. Another very elaborate fairy tale
gives us the origin of the lark.



LXXX.

WHY DO LARKS FLY TOWARDS THE SUN?

The Story of the Princess and her Love for the Sun.


A very long time ago, so long indeed that no one can remember when
it happened, there lived a king and queen. They had everything which
their heart desired, except that they had no children. They were good
and charitable people, and distributed alms and prayed, but all in
vain. At last, when they had given up every hope, they were suddenly
blessed with a child. It was a little girl, and she was so sweet and
so beautiful that they called her Little Light. The parents could not
see enough of her, and so they kept her in their palace all the time,
until one day her mother allowed her to go out into the garden.

In the wall of the garden there was a small gate leading into a
beautiful meadow. The young princess opened the gate and went into
the meadow and looked around her, for she had never before been out
of her rooms. She rejoiced at the flowers and birds and animals, but
more than anything was she pleased with the sight of the sinking sun,
and with the golden rays which he sent through the heavens. She was so
pleased with that sight that she went every day in the afternoon to
watch for the glorious sun and his golden rays. Thus one day passed,
and again another day, and she fell deeply in love with the sun, and
being in love, she decided that she must go and find him. So great
was her love that she did not look at any young man, and grew thinner,
weaker and sadder every day, until she could not bear it any longer;
and going to her parents, she said that she could not stay any longer
at home, and that she must go out into the world. The parents tried
in vain to keep her at home, but, seeing that all their efforts were
of no avail, they let her go, and she went. She took money and food
with her, and went along not knowing the right way.

So long as the money and the food lasted she felt quite happy, but a
time came when both had come to an end, and she was in a very sore
plight, not knowing what to do. Moreover, she was frightened to go
alone, for she was in woman's clothes. Suddenly she found herself
in the midst of a wide field full of dead bodies. A battle had been
fought there, and the field was strewn with the dead. So she took
one of the uniforms of the soldiers, dressed herself up in a man's
garb, and, finding a horse, mounted on it and rode along with her face
turned towards the sinking sun. On the way she found then an old woman
dressed all in black, sitting close to a well, and weaving gossamer
and cobweb. She addressed her as the Black One, which seemed to please
the old woman, who told her to turn towards the rising sun until she
would come to a glass mountain; she would have to reach the top of
the mountain, and then she was sure to find her way to the palace
of the sun. She rode on and came to the glass mountain. When she had
reached the top, after having had the horse shod again at the bottom
of the hill, she found a palace, but it was not that of the sun. It was
inhabited by three sisters, who received her in very friendly fashion,
and treated her with great hospitality. Thinking that she was a man,
they all fell in love with her; but she told them she was a woman,
and they left her to continue her quest. Before leaving they gave her
a magic sword, which, if drawn half out of its sheath, killed half
the number of an army, and if drawn entirely, killed the entire army
of the enemy. By this means she was able to vanquish the enemies of
a great king, who, discovering her to be a girl, wanted to marry her;
but she escaped and continued her journey towards the rising sun.

On the way she met with a very old man, whose white hair had grown
down to his ankles, and who was so weak that he could scarcely open
his mouth. Little Light washed him and fed him and cut his hair. When
he had eaten and felt himself refreshed, he told her which way to go;
then he gave her a piece of bread, and told her that on her way to the
palace a wild dog would come out against her; she must give him that
bread and none other, and before entering the palace she must drink
of the water of the fountain at the gate of the palace. A three-headed
dog met her, she gave him the bread, and he suddenly disappeared after
having eaten it. Then she went and drank of the water in the well,
and was able to look at the golden palace in front of her, which
was so radiant and so luminous that no human eye could look at it
without being blinded. Then she went into the palace, and there, in
the middle of the hall, who should be sitting at the table and eating
but the glorious sun, beautiful and luminous as only the sun can be?

When Little Light saw him, she almost fainted with joy, but he also,
turning to her and seeing her beautiful face, felt himself drawn to
her, for he had never yet seen such a wonderful human being. There in
the hall was also the mother of the sun. When she saw Little Light,
she turned fiercely on her, and cursing her said, "O thou wicked child
of man, born of sin, thou hast come here to defile the immaculate
purity of my son and to lead him on to sin and wickedness. Thou shalt
no longer remain a human being, thou shalt become a bird flying as
high as to get near the sun, and there, seeing the beloved who cannot
be thine, thou shalt cry plaintively for him whom thou hast won and
yet lost." At that moment Little Light was changed into the lark,
which at the break of dawn, before the sun rises, flies up into the
sky trying to get as near as possible to the sun, and there cries
plaintively at the loss of her beloved.



LXXX. A.

THE STORY OF THE LARK.

Another Version.


A variant of this story tells us that after the girl had left the
king's palace and had gone on seeking for the sun, she came to a
river, and did not know how to cross it. Whilst she was sitting there
at the bank of the river, not knowing what to do, there came out of
the river a girl dressed in white, who told her that she would reach
the palace and yet not reach it; and as she spoke these words, there
came a bridge and spanned the river. The girl went across the bridge,
and going on in her journey, she came to a field where an old woman
was watching a flock of geese. Curious as old women are, this one
asked the girl what had brought her hither, and whither she was going,
and who she was. The girl answered politely, and the old woman, being
touched by her beauty, gave her a twig in her right hand and placed
a ring on her left hand, and told her to cross herself with the twig,
and then she would see what would happen. She did so, and she suddenly
felt herself lifted up high in the air and carried as fast as a thought
to some distant land. When she found herself again on the ground, she
saw the palace of the sun facing her, but the palace was surrounded by
a river, over whose waters, clear as tears, there was no bridge. An
old man carried the passengers across, but he had to be paid with
a silver coin. Those who did not pay had to wander round that river
for a year. Remembering the ring which the old woman had given her,
she offered it to the old man instead of a coin; he accepted it and
carried her across. On the other side a two-headed dog came out and
barked at her furiously. At his barking an old woman came out, who was
none other than the mother of the sun. The poor girl did not know who
it was; she might have been careful with her answer if she had. The
woman asked her who she was and what she had come for. The girl, who
was truthfulness itself, said in her simplicity that she had come to
see the sun whom she loved so much. When the old woman heard this,
she cursed her, and thus she became the lark flying about high in
the air, and trying in vain to reach her beloved.



It is evident that we have here reminiscences of ancient myths,
which have assumed a very peculiar shape in the mind of the people. It
would be difficult to say whether these are survivals of Greek myths,
of Charon, who ferries the dead across the river, and other legends
connected with Apollo, or whether we have here later stories which
have lingered on in the Balkans and have then been carried across the
Danube. Whatever the connection, one cannot deny that we are dealing
here with materials closely akin to those which form the substance of
some parts of ancient Greek mythology, but in a modified form. Charon
has survived to this very day in the legends and in the folk-lore
of modern Greece, no less than in that of Macedonia and the other
peoples of the Balkans. It is curious, however, that in this tale no
blending with Christianity has taken place. We find various layers of
religious belief which seem to have been superimposed upon one another,
each one as it were leading an independent life of its own, seldom
mixing to such an extent that the line of demarcation between what,
in the absence of another term, one might call heathen mythology and
Christian mythology or legendary lore.



LXXXI.

THE WOOING OF THE SISTER OF THE SUN.

A Christmas Carol.


    White flowers, O Ler, [4]
    What cloud appears on the horizon?
    It is not a cloud, a black cloud,
    But a young man
    On a yellow charger.
    The saddle glitters like gold;
    The stirrups shine like silver;
    The whip with a beautiful handle;
    And bells tinkling on his reins.
    He is gone to hunt--
    To hunt, to woo.
    He met a beautiful maid,
    The like of whom there is not in the world.
    It was the queen of the fairies--
    Iana, the sister of the Sun.
    He met her,
    He took hold of her,
    And in his cellar he hid her--
    In the cellar of the peacocks.
    The Sun, as soon as he got wind of it,
    Sent immediately after her
    The morning dawn to search,
    The twilight stars to seek.
    But the young man,
    What did he say?
    "For what are you searching,
    Dawn of the morning?
    And what are you seeking,
    Stars of the evening?
    Go into every nook,
    But beware of the cellar.
    If a peacock will escape,
    I will take one of the sun's steeds instead.
    And if a hen will escape,
    I will wed his sister.
    For I have found her,
    I have taken her,
    And into my house I brought her."
    This the young man--
    May he keep in good health,
    With his brother,
    And his parents,
    And with all of us together.


This belongs to the series of the sun myths, curiously connected
here also with the peacock. I am not aware of any parallel to this
legend. Here a young man tries to woo the sister of the sun. In
the lark stories it is the young girl who wishes to marry the sun,
represented as a young man. They all belong to the same cycle, into
which apparently so far the Christian element is absent. The remarkable
part of it is, that this and the other songs are Christmas carols,
connected probably with the Festival of the Sun with which Christmas
was originally connected. It is the time of the winter solstice and
the birth of the new sun. This probably explains the part which the
sun legend plays in so many Rumanian Christmas carols.



LXXXII.

THE WOOING OF A FAIRY.

A Christmas Carol.


    Here, O Lord; there, O Lord,
    In these houses, in these palaces and yards,
    There have grown, O Lord,
    Grown two tall apple trees.
    Wonderful they are,
    Joined in their roots,
    United and entwined in their tops
    The tree reaches up to the sky,
    The bark is of silver,
    And the fruit of gold.
    But the fruit
    Could not be plucked,
    Through the threat of the Black Sea,
    For the Sea was boasting,
    And with its mouth saying:
    "Who is here in the world
    Who would dare to shoot at my apples?"
    No one was found;
    No one dares.
    But when he heard the boast of the Sea,
    Went home quickly to his house,
    Went up the stairs,
    Took the bow from the nail--
    The bow with the arrows--
    Placed them in his bosom,
    And riding on his black charger,
    He came to the Sea.
    Arrived at the Sea,
    He put his hand into his bosom,
    Drew forth
    The bow with the arrows,
    And pointed the arrow to the tree.
    The tops of the apple-tree--
    The wonderful apples--
    Thus spake to him:
    "Stop. Do not shoot,
    For we will give thee
    The sister of the sun,
    The niece of the fairies, the beauty among the beauties,"
    He was persuaded,
    And did not shoot the apples.
    He mounted his charger,
    Took his bow and arrow,
    And turned back.
    He had not gone a long way,
    When he looked back,
    And what he saw filled him with wonderment;
    For there came,
    There ran a pale-faced damsel.
    She neither laughed
    Nor rejoiced,
    But wept bitterly, tearing her golden hair,
    Scratching her white face.
    But the knight said to her:
    "Stop, O Princess.
    Stop, O Queen.
    I do not take thee
    For a slave to me,
    But my mistress shalt thou be,
    A good mistress of the house,
    A good ruler
    Of the household,
    A niece
    To uncles,
    A sister-in-law to brothers,
    A daughter-in-law to parents,
    Dispenser at the treasury,
    Mistress of my wealth."
    The girl, hearing his words,
    Ceased from crying,
    And joined him joyfully.
    And ... the brave man, may he live in health with his brothers,
    With his parents,
    And with all of us together.


We have here again the intertwined trees of the Tristram and Isolde
legend; the special golden apples of Hesperides fame, and even since
of the fairy tales. In the latter, the golden apple represents often
the palace of the giant, with all the treasures that it contains,
and the possession of the apple brings with it the possession of the
princess. The Black Sea plays here a part, which reminds one of the
raging sea in the pilgrimage of the soul. But what is of importance
here is that the princess is called "the sister of the sun."



LXXXIII.

WHERE DID THE SWAN COME FROM?

The Story of the Swan Maiden and the King.


This is in its essence the well-known story of the swan-maidens,
but with a very marked difference. It is here used more or less to
describe the origin of the swan, whilst the tale of the swan-maiden
presupposes the existence and knowledge of such birds.

The version, which I have been able to find is, however, not complete;
still it is clear enough for our purpose. It runs as follows:



Once upon a time a king went out hunting, and after he had been
hunting in the forest for a long time without finding anything, he
found himself suddenly in an open plain, in which there was a huge
lake, and in the midst of the lake he saw there a bird swimming about,
the like of which he had never seen before. It was a swan.

Drawing his bow, he wanted to shoot it. To his surprise it spoke to
him in a human voice, and said, "Do not kill me." So he tried his
best to catch it, and succeeded. Pleased with the capture of the bird,
he carried it home alive, and gave it to the cook to kill it to make
a meal of it for him. The cook was a Gipsy. She whetted her knife
and went to the bird to cut its throat, when, to her astonishment,
the bird turned three somersaults, and there stood before her a most
beautiful maiden, more beautiful than she had ever seen before. So
she ran to the king and told him what had happened.

The king, who first thought that the cook was trying to play some
trickery with him, did not listen to her, but when she persisted
in her tale, the king, driven by curiosity, went into the kitchen,
and there he saw a girl more beautiful than any that he had ever yet
set his eyes upon.

He asked her who she was, and she said she was the swan who was
swimming on the lake, that she had wilfully gone away from her mother,
who lived in the land of fairies, and that she had left two sisters
behind. So the king took her into the palace and married her. The
Gipsy, who was a pretty wench, had thought that the king would marry
her, and when she saw what had happened, she was very angry. But she
managed to conceal her anger, and tried to be kind to the new queen,
biding her time all the while.

The king and queen lived on for a while in complete happiness, and
after a time a child was born unto her.

It so happened that the king had to go on a long journey, leaving the
wife and child in the care of the Gipsy. One day the Gipsy came to the
queen, and said to her, "Why do you always sit in the palace? come,
let us walk a little in the garden, to hear the birds singing,
and to see the beautiful flowers." The queen, who had no suspicion,
took the advice of the Gipsy, and went with her for a walk into the
garden. In the middle of the garden there was a deep well, and the
Gipsy said artfully to the young queen, "Just bend over the well,
and look into the water below, and see whether your face has remained
so beautiful as it was on the first day when you turned into a maiden
from being a swan."

The queen bent over the well to look down into the depths, and that
was what the Gipsy was waiting for, for no sooner did the queen bend
over the well, than, getting hold of her by her legs, she threw her
down head foremost into the well and drowned her. When the king came
home and did not find the queen, he asked what had happened, and where
she was. The Gipsy, who had meanwhile taken charge of the child, and
looked after it very carefully, said to the king that the young queen,
pining for her old home, had turned again into a swan and flown away.

The king was deeply grieved when he heard this, but believing what
the Gipsy had told him, he thought that nothing could be done, and
resigned himself to the loss of his wife.

The Gipsy woman looked after the child with great care, hoping
thereby that she might win the king's love, and that he would marry
her. A month, a year passed, and nothing was heard of the wife. And
the king, seeing the apparent affection of the Gipsy for the child,
decided at last to marry her, and fixed the day of the wedding. Out
of the fountain into which the queen had been thrown, there grew
a willow tree with three branches, one stem in the middle and two
branching out right and left. Not far from the garden there lived a
man who had a large flock of sheep. One day he sent his boy to lead
the sheep to the field. On his way the boy passed the king's garden
with the well in the middle of it.

As the boy had left his flute at home, when he saw the willow he
thought he would cut one of the branches and make a flute.

Going into the garden, he cut the middle stem, and made a flute of
it. When he put it to his lips, the flute by itself began to play as
follows: "O boy, do not blow too hard, for my heart is aching for
my little babe which I left behind in the cradle, and to suckle at
the black breast of a Gipsy." When the boy heard what the flute was
playing, not understanding what it meant, he was greatly astonished,
and ran home to tell his father what had happened with the flute.

The father, angry that he had left the sheep alone, scolded him, and
took away the flute. Then he tried to see whether the boy had told the
truth. As soon as he put it to his mouth the flute started playing
the same tune as when the boy had tried to play it. The father said
nothing, and wondering at the meaning of the words he hid the flute
away in a cupboard.

When the king's wedding-day drew near, all the musicians of the kingdom
were invited to come and play at the banquet. Some of them passed
the old man's house, and hearing from them that they were going to
play at the king's banquet, he remembered the marvellous flute, and
he asked whether he could not go also, as he could play the flute so
wonderfully well. His son--the young boy--had meanwhile gone into the
garden in the hope of getting another flute, as the willow had three
branches. So he cut one of the branches and made a flute of it. Now
this flute did not play at all.

When the old man came to the palace, there was much rejoicing and
singing. At last his turn came to play. As soon as he put the flute
to his lips, the flute sang: "O man, do not blow so hard, for my
heart aches for my little babe left in the cradle to be suckled by
a black Gipsy."

The Gipsy, who was the king's bride and sat at the head of the table,
at once understood the saying of the flute, although she did not know
what the flute had to do with the queen whom she had killed.

The king, who marvelled greatly at the flute and at the tune which it
was singing, took a gold piece and gave it to the man for the flute,
and when he started blowing it, the flute began to sing: "O my dear
husband, do not blow so hard, for my heart aches for our little babe
whom I left in the cradle to be suckled by the black Gipsy. Quickly,
quickly, do away with this cruel Gipsy, as otherwise thou wilt lose
thy wife."

The guests who were present marvelled at the song, and no one
understood its meaning. The Gipsy, however, who understood full well
what it meant, turning to the king, said, "Illustrious king, do not
blow this flute and make thyself ridiculous before thy guests, throw
it into the fire." But the king, who felt offended by the words of
the Gipsy, made her take up the flute and blow. With great difficulty
she submitted to the order of the king, and she was quite justified
in refusing to play it, for no sooner had she put the flute to her
lips when it sang: "You enemy of mine, do not blow hard, for my heart
aches for my little babe left in the cradle to be suckled by thee,
thou evil-minded Gipsy. Thou hast thrown me into the well, and there
put an end to my life, but God had pity on me, and he has preserved
me to be again the true wife of this illustrious king."

Furious at these words, the Gipsy threw the flute away with so much
force that she thought it would break into thousands of splinters. But
it was not to be as she thought, for by this very throw the flute was
changed into a beautiful woman, more beautiful, indeed, than any had
ever seen before. She was the very queen whom the Gipsy had thrown
into the well.

When the king saw her, he embraced her and kissed her, and asked her
where she had been such a long time. She told him that she had slept
at the bottom of the well into which she had been thrown by the Gipsy,
who had hoped to become the queen, and this would have come to pass
had it not been for the boy cutting a flute out of the stem of the
willow-tree. "And now, punish the Gipsy as she deserves, otherwise
thy wife must leave thee."

When the king heard these words, he called the boy and asked him
whether he had cut himself a flute from the stem of the willow tree
which had grown out of the well in the garden.

"It is so, O illustrious king;" said the boy, "and may I be forgiven
for the audacity of going into the king's garden. I went and cut for
myself a flute from the stem of the willow tree, and when I began
to blow it, it played, 'Do not blow so hard, O boy, for my heart is
aching within me,' etc." Then he told him he had gone back to his
father, who instead of praising him for the marvellous flute, gave
him a good shaking. He had then gone a second time into the garden,
and had cut off one of the branches to make a flute; but this did
not play like the first one. The king gave the boy a very rich gift,
and he ordered the Gipsy to be killed.

Some time afterwards, the queen came to the king and asked leave to
go to her mother to tell her all that had happened to her, and to
say good-bye for ever now, as she henceforth would live among human
beings. The king reluctantly gave way. She then made three somersaults,
and again became a swan, as she had been when the king found her for
the first time on the waters of the lake.

Spreading her wings she flew far away until she reached the house of
her mother, who was quite alone. Her two sisters were not there. They
had left her some time ago and no one knew whither they had gone. The
young queen did not go into the house, she was probably afraid lest her
mother would not let her go back again, so she settled on the roof,
and there she sang: "Remain in health, good mother mine, as the joy
is no longer granted thee to have me with thee in thine house, for
thou wilt only see me again when I lose my kingdom, dear mother mine,
not before, and not till then." And without waiting for the answer
of her mother she returned back again to her husband. Sitting on the
window sill, she sung again: "Rise up, O husband, open the doors, wake
up the servants and let them be a witness of my faithfulness to thee,
for since I have married thee I have left my mother, and my sisters
have gone away from me, and from a swan I have become a true wife to
live in happiness with thee. Henceforth I shall no longer be a swan,
but thou must take care of me that I do not go hence from thee. I
do not know whether my fate will be a better one by being a queen in
this world. O sweet water, how I long to bathe in thee! And my white
feathers, they will belong to my sisters. Since I am to leave them
for ever, and my mother with them, O Lord, what have I done? Shall I
be able to live upon the earth, and shall I keep the kingdom? Thou, O
Lord, O merciful, hearken unto me and grant that this kingdom may not
be in vain." And turning again head over heels, she became a woman as
before, and entering the palace she lived there with her husband--the
king--and if they have not died since they are still alive.



Here we have the origin of the swans, for since that time the swans
have come to this world.

It is a remarkable tale, in which the element of the swan-maiden
story has been mixed up with the type of the false wife. It claims,
however, special attention, for we have here what I believe to be
"the song of the dying swan." It is practically the song of the swan
before her death as a swan, and her rebirth as a fairy maiden, which
is contained in the concluding portion.

I am not aware of any other parallel to this peculiar song, although
the fable that the swan sings a very beautiful song before his death
is well known from antiquity.

Here follows another version of the swan legend in the form of
a ballad.



LXXXIV.

THE SWAN MAIDEN, THE BIRD OF HEAVEN AND THE CROWN OF PARADISE.

A Christmas Carol.


    High up on the top of the mountains,
    On the brow of the rocks,
    At the gates of the fairies,
    On the land of Neculea,
    Appeared a white swan
    Sent by God,
    Selected by God.
    She has been flying under the heavens,
    And settled on the rock.
    She turned off from her flight,
    And fell near the brave,
    For he is to wed
    The little white swan.
    The king's son, as soon as he saw her,
    Was wounded at his heart,
    And spake as follows:
    "O thou white fairy,
    O thou beautiful swan,
    I will bathe thee in a bath of white milk,
    So that thou shouldst not be able to depart."
    The swan replied, and said:
    "Young son of kings,
    I will not be bathed,
    For I am not a white swan,
    But the fairy from heaven,
    From the gate of Paradise."
    The prince, when he heard her,
    His love burned in him fiercely
    And what did he say with his mouth?
    "O thou white little swan,
    O thou beautiful fairy,
    Stay here and be my wife."
    The swan answered and replied,
    And thus spake with her mouth:
    "I will wed thee,
    And remain as wife to thee,
    If thou wilt go,
    If thou wilt bring me
    The bird of heaven
    And the crown of Paradise.
    The bird which sings in heaven with sweet and beautiful speech,
    To which God Almighty and the angels listen constantly,
    Singing among the trees in bloom,
    And some laden with ripe fruit;
    And the crown of Paradise,
    Of the Paradise of God,
    Woven of jasmine,
    With the fruits of virginity."
    When the prince heard her words,
    He went to his stable-yard of stone,
    Brought forth his whole stud--a great company--
    And he started on his journey
    On the road
    Where the sun rises.
    Nine horses he made lame,
    Other nine horses he broke ere he arrived at the mansion of
    the Lord,
    At the gate of Paradise.
    Who came there to meet him?
    St. Basile came to meet him,
    Came to try him, and to ask him
    What might be his wish?
    What might be in his mind?
    The prince replied and said:
    "The Holy God has selected for me,
    The Holy God has sent to me
    A wonderful swan to wed me,
    But she will not marry me
    Until she wears
    The crown of Paradise,
    The crown of our Lord,
    Woven with jasmine,
    With fruits of virgin maidens.
    She will not marry me,
    Unless at our wedding sings
    The bird of heaven and the Lord's bird,
    Which discourses here in Paradise,
    With such sweet and charming speech,
    In between the blooming trees--
    Some decked with flowers,
    Others laden with fruit--
    And the Lord
    And the angels listen constantly."
    Thus spake the Prince,
    Praying very deeply,
    And shed tears all the while.
    St. Basile had mercy on him.
    He gave him the bird
    And the crown.
    He then returned to
    The crest of the mountains,
    The valley of Neculea.
    There he set the bird free,
    And placed the crown upon the altar,
    And he spake thus:
    "Come forth, my beautiful swan,
    Come forth, my wonderful fairy.
    Behold the crown,
    And listen to the bird;
    For the crown is that of Paradise,
    From the mansions of the Lord;
    And the bird is the bird of heaven,
    From among the trees of Paradise."
    When the swan came forth, it turned into a maiden fair;
    The crown leapt on to her head;
    The bird began to sing,
    With sweet and beautiful song,
    The song of heaven.
    They went to church,
    And the priest married them.
    Who was his sponsor?
    Who but St. John,
    Who stood sponsor to Jesus.
    He blessed them,
    And gave them,
    To each one gifts,
    To her a small cross,
    As well as a small Ikon;
    To him a staff of silver,
    To rule over the whole world,
    To have power upon earth.
    And this young bride
    With golden tresses
    That shone like the sun's rays,
    Together with her groom,
    Young and brave,
    May they live
    For many years
    With happy cheer and with health,
    Together with their brothers
    And with their parents.


Here we have a remarkable "carol," full of mystical lore, in which the
swan-like maiden in the tale is really a fairy in disguise. The bird
of heaven, and the crown of paradise, and all the rest stand here for
the tests which often are found in fairy tales. The hero must first
win these mythical beings before he can obtain the love of the maiden,
or probably before she can turn from a swan into a human being, and
remain as such. We have here thus a version of the large cycle of the
Swan Maiden (v. Cosquin, ii. 16; Saineanu, p. 264 ff.). Such miraculous
birds occur very often in Rumanian (v. Saineanu, p. 410 ff.).



LXXXV.

WHY DOES THE DUCK FEED ON REFUSE?

The Story of the Cannibal Innkeeper.


This is more or less a fairy tale, but of a very complicated
character. Various elements are combined in it. It begins as do many
tales, with the fact that a couple had a child after many years:
that child is a beautiful girl, who, left as an orphan, dresses up in
a man's clothes, works at the house of a rich man, where she after a
time resumes her character as a girl: the chieftain of robbers falls
in love with her, but when he asks his companions to go and steal
her away from her master, everyone refuses. He then goes himself,
disguised as a servant: he stays for some time in the same house:
when he asks her to marry him, she refuses. His attempts at stealing
her are frustrated by a little dog which she had received from her
parents. One night he succeeds in catching the dog, and, assisted by
some of his comrades whom he had summoned for the purpose, he is able
to carry her away to his house. There she refuses again to marry him,
and when he finds that neither good words, nor threats, nor beating
make her change her mind, he gets so furious that he decides to sell
her to a wild and cruel innkeeper who lives some distance away.

Now this innkeeper used to rob the travellers: then he used to kill
them, cut them in pieces, and, after having cooked them, he gave
their flesh to his customers to eat. When he received the girl he
took her first into a very large room, in which there was only a table
and chairs round it. That was the room where he used to feed all the
travellers who came to him. Then he took her into another apartment
which was full of gold and silver and vestments of silk, and round the
walls were hanging weapons of all kinds, all robbed from the people
who had lodged in that place, and whom he had murdered. Then he took
her into a third room. There was a pillar, and on it were hanging two
knives and an axe, with which he used to kill and cut up his victims;
and along the walls there were hooks, and on each hook a human head. He
showed all these things to the girl, who was greatly frightened,
and who expected now to be killed by this cruel man. But he somehow
seemed to have taken some pity on her, or perhaps he wanted to keep
her for some time longer; whatever the reason, he took her and pushed
her into another room, quite behind all these rooms, and locked the
door upon her; and he told her to wait until he came back, and she was
to do all that she was told. She had taken the little dog with her,
and that seemed to comfort her. Soon afterwards he brought in a boy
whom he had captured in the forest gathering berries, and taking him
into an inner apartment he cut his head off, and cut him in pieces,
and calling the girl in, he told her to take the meat and cook it and
get it ready for the customers whom he was expecting. When the people
came, he fed them in his usual way with human flesh. The people did
not know what manner of food it was they were getting, but they seemed
to like it; then he did with these guests what he had done with all
the others, and so it went on day after day, the poor girl was kept
there locked up and helping to prepare the food of the chopped-up men.

One day a very old woman was brought in, whom the man had bought,
but she was so ugly and so wizened that one could scarcely recognise
a human countenance. Not knowing who she was, the wild man thrust her
into the chamber where the young girl was: very likely he wanted to
kill her later on, as he had killed all the others, but possibly he
wanted first to feed her up, as she was only skin and bones. When the
young girl saw that bag of bones, she was very frightened; but the old
woman spoke in friendly fashion to her, and asked her who she was and
how she came to be in that house, telling her at the same time that she
was a great witch, she could do anything, change everything, and that
she had cursed her son for his cruelty, when he was still a young boy,
and that she had come now to punish him. She had disguised herself in
this ugly form, for she knew that if her son recognised her he would
not wait long, but would kill her at once without mercy. The girl then
told her her pitiful tale, and begged of her to save her. She told her
what a terrible life she was leading, how she had been fed on human
flesh, and that he was probably only waiting for an opportunity to
kill her also and to give her flesh to others to be eaten. The old
woman took pity on her, and told her she need not fear; though her
son had put her in the innermost recess and there was no outlet, yet
she would be able to escape. She must kill the little dog, and taking
out a small bit from the heart was to swallow it. While she was doing
it, the old woman took out some ointment from her bosom and began to
rub her with it all over her body, when she suddenly became changed
into a duck. There she sat quietly in a corner, and when the wild man
came and opened the door she flew away and escaped into the open. The
man looked round, and not finding the girl he went all over the place
searching for her. At that moment the mother followed him out of that
room, and uttered a terrible curse, on which the whole house fell
down over him and killed him. When the duck had flown some distance
away, she turned back to see what had happened, for the old woman had
foretold her that she was going to destroy it. When she turned round
she saw the heap of ruins, but as the old woman had not told her how
she could again become a human being, the spell remained unbroken,
and she has remained a duck to this very day.

It is for this reason that ducks are so fat, and they seek their food
among the dead bodies and dirty places.



It will be seen that we have here a remarkable parallel of the
Bluebeard story, but in a much more primitive form, for this Bluebeard
does not kill only his wives, but he kills indiscriminately all those
upon whom he can lay his hands, and then he uses the flesh of his
victims for food. There are dim recollections of cannibalism in this
tale, which in a way also reminds us of Polyphemus, who keeps Ulysses
and his companions for the purpose of killing them and eating them,
and the same story is found in another form in the adventures of
Sindbad the Sailor.



LXXXVI.

WHY HAS THE STORK NO TAIL?

The Story of the Water of Life and Death.


This tale, though part of a longer fairy tale, is still complete
in itself.



The hero of the tale, Floria, having shown some kindness to a stork,
who afterwards turns out to be the king of the storks, receives from
him a feather, which when taken up at any time of danger would bring
the stork to him and help him. And thus it came to pass that the hero,
finding himself at one time in danger, remembered the gift of the
stork. He took out the feather from the place where he had hidden it,
and waved it. At once the stork appeared and asked Floria what he
could do for him. He told him the king had ordered him to bring the
water of life and the water of death. [5]

The stork replied that if it could possibly be got he would certainly
do it for him. Returning to his palace, the stork, who was the king
of the storks, called all the storks together, and asked them whether
they had seen or heard or been near the mountains that knock against
one another, at the bottom of which are the fountains of the water
of life and death.

All the young and strong looked at one another, and not even the
oldest one ventured to reply. He asked them again, and then they
said they had never heard or seen anything of the waters of life and
death. At last there came from the rear a stork, lame on one foot,
blind in one eye, and with a shrivelled-up body, and with half of
his feathers plucked out. And he said, "May it please your majesty,
I have been there where the mountains knock one against the other,
and the proofs of it are my blinded eye and my crooked leg." When
the king saw him in the state in which he was, he did not even take
any notice of him.

Turning to the other storks, he said: "Is there any one among you who,
for my sake, will run the risk and go to these mountains and bring the
water?" Not one of the young and strong, and not even any of the older
ones who were still strong replied. They all kept silence. But the lame
stork said to the king, "For your sake, O Master King, I will again
put my life in danger and go." The king again did not look at him,
and turning to the others repeated his question; but when he saw that
they all kept silence, he at last turned to the stork and said to him:

"Dost thou really believe, crippled and broken as thou art, that thou
wilt be able to carry out my command?"

"I will certainly try," he said.

"Wilt thou put me to shame?" the king again said.

"I hope not; but thou must bind on my wings some meat for my food,
and tie the two bottles for the water to my legs."

The other storks, on hearing his words, laughed at what they thought
his conceit, but he took no notice of it. The king was very pleased,
and did as the stork had asked. He tied on his wings a quantity of
fresh meat, which would last him for his journey, and the two bottles
were fastened to his legs. He said to him, "A pleasant journey." The
stork, thus prepared for his journey, rose up into the heavens, and
away he went straight to the place where the mountains were knocking
against one another and prevented any one approaching the fountains of
life and death. It was when the sun had risen as high as a lance that
he espied in the distance those huge mountains which, when they knocked
against one another, shook the earth and made a noise that struck
fear and terror into the hearts of those who were a long distance away.

When the mountains had moved back a little before knocking against
one another, the stork wanted to plunge into the depths and get the
water. But there came suddenly to him a swallow from the heart of
the mountain, and said to him, "Do not go a step further, for thou
art surely lost."

"Who art thou who stops me in my way?" asked the stork angrily.

"I am the guardian spirit of these mountains, appointed to save every
living creature that has the misfortune to come near them."

"What am I to do then to be safe?"

"Hast thou come to fetch water of life and death?"

"Yes."

"If that be so, then thou must wait till noon, when the mountains rest
for half an hour. As soon as thou seest that a short time has passed
and they do not move, then rise up as high as possible into the air,
and drop down straight to the bottom of the mountain. There, standing
on the ledge of the stone between the two waters, dip thy bottles into
the fountains and wait until they are filled. Then rise as thou hast
got down, but beware lest thou touchest the walls of the mountain or
even a pebble, or thou art lost."

The stork did as the swallow had told him; he waited till noontide,
and when he saw that the mountains had gone to sleep, he rose up into
the air, and, plunging down into the depth, he settled on the ledge of
the stone and filled his bottles. Feeling that they had been filled,
he rose with them as he had got down, but when he had reached almost
the top of the mountains, he touched a pebble. No sooner had he done
so, when the two mountains closed furiously upon him; but they did
not catch any part of him, except the tail, which remained locked up
fast between the two peaks of the mountains.

With a strong movement he tore himself away, happy that he had saved
his life and the two bottles with the waters of life and death,
not caring for the loss of his tail.

And he returned the way he had come, and reached the palace of the king
of the storks in time for the delivery of the bottles. When he reached
the palace, all the storks were assembled before the king, waiting to
see what would happen to the lame and blind one who had tried to put
them to shame. When they saw him coming back, they noticed that he
had lost his tail, and they began jeering at him and laughing, for he
looked all the more ungainly, from having already been so ugly before.

But the king was overjoyed with the exploit of his faithful messenger;
and he turned angrily on the storks and said, "Why are you jeering
and mocking? Just look round and see where are your tails. And you
have not lost them in so honourable a manner as this my faithful
messenger." On hearing this they turned round, and lo! one and all
of them had lost their tails.

And this is the reason why they have remained without a tail to this
very day.



Compare the story of the lark, No. 78, who alone of all the birds obeys
the king's command; for the story of the stork, the only bird that can
reach the fountains of life and death, v. Cosquin (i. No. 3, p. 48).



LXXXVII.

WHY HAS THE SWALLOW A FORKED TAIL AND A RED SPOT ON ITS BREAST?

The Story of the Young Maiden and her Husband the Demon.


Once upon a time there was a widow who had one only child. She had a
flock of sheep and a magic dog. The widow died, and the girl was left
quite alone. So she took the flock of sheep and went to feed them in
the mountain, accompanied only by her faithful little dog. After some
time, there came also to the same pastures a young shepherd leading
his flock. Before leaving, the girl had put on man's clothes, and
so when the other shepherd, who was the son of a she-demon, came,
they got very friendly, and the girl often went with her flock to
spend the night in the house of the demon. She did not know who the
other shepherd was, nor who was his mother. After a time, the young
man began to feel suspicious about his comrade, and he said to his
mother, "Methinks my friend is a girl, despite his man's clothes;
his gait and his speech are just like that of a maiden." The mother
would not listen; but after a time, when the son went on saying that he
believed his mate to be a maiden, she said to him, "Very well, then,
we will put him to the test, and we can easily find out what he is. I
will take a special flower and put it under his pillow, and if it is
faded in the morning he is for sure a maiden." The dog, who knew what
the old woman was up to, called the girl aside and told her: "Listen
to me, my mistress. Follow my advice, it will go well with thee. The
old dragon is going to put a flower under thy pillow as soon as thou
hast gone to bed; now keep awake, take it out from under the pillow
and put it on the pillow. Early in the morning, before any one else is
awake, put it back under the pillow, and nothing will happen to thee."

The girl did as the dog had told her. She took the flower from under
her pillow, and kept it on her pillow all through the night, and put
it back again early in the morning. The old woman afterwards took the
flower out; she found it was even fresher than it had been the night
before. So she told her son that he must be mistaken. His companion
could not be a maiden. He persisted in his belief despite of it,
and so the woman said to him, "Go and ask your companion to bathe,
and if he is eager to do so, be sure it is not a girl; but if he
makes any difficulties, you will know that you are right."

The dog, who knew of the plotting of the old woman, told the girl to
put on a pleasant face, and not to hesitate to go to the river with her
companion, "for," he said, "no sooner will you be near the water than I
will get among the flock, and so you will have to jump up and run after
the sheep, and there will be no more question of bathing." As the dog
said, so he did, and again the young man did not know what to make of
his companion. The mother then told him to go with his companion to
the forest, and to find a big tree, and to ask his companion what it
would be good for. If he replied for distaff and spindle, then it is
a girl; but if he answered it was good to make carts out of, then it
was a boy." So he took her into the forest, and, finding a big tree,
he asked her what could be best made out of the wood. The girl replied
"carts." When the girl saw that the boy troubled her too much, she went
to the sea-shore, and, smiting the waves with her shepherd's staff,
she rent the waters in twain, and passed dryshod with her flock and
dog to the other shore of the sea. The other shepherd--the demon--came
to the sea-shore just when she had already passed over to the other
side. She removed her fur cap, and her long golden hair fell down
to her knees. Then she moved her wand, and the waters again closed
up. When he saw that she had escaped him, he was very angry, and he
went to his mother and told her all that had happened. She said to him,
"Do not mind; I will help you to get her into your hands." So the old
woman went to the sea and built there a huge ship. This she filled
with all kinds of merchandise, and told the young man to sail in it
across the sea, and try and find his beloved; and she told him how
to get hold of her when he had found her. So sailing along in the
boat he got across, and anchored near a great town. The people came
out to look at the wares which he had brought. The last to come--led
by curiosity--was the girl. As soon as he saw that she had entered
the boat, he set sail, and off he went. When the girl saw what had
happened, she recognised him, and, finding herself in his power, she
offered no resistance. But when they were in the middle of the sea,
she took off the ring which she had on her finger, and, casting it
into the sea, she said to him, "From this day onward I shall remain
dumb. I shall not speak to thee until this ring is brought back to me";
and she kept her word faithfully. For many a year she lived with him,
but never spoke a word. One day her mother-in-law thought that it
would be better to get rid of her. As she herself dared not kill her,
she sent the girl with a message to her elder sister to bring her
the sword and the threads, knowing full well that her sister would
kill her. When her husband heard the errand on which she was sent,
he came out quietly, and, meeting her outside the house, he whispered:

"When you go to my mother's sister, she is sure to offer you some
food; take the first bite, and keep it under your tongue. Then
you may eat; otherwise you will be lost." The girl never replied,
but listened attentively to what he had said. So she came to the old
crone, who was ever so much worse than her own mother-in-law, and she
certainly was bad enough. As soon as she entered the house, the young
woman greeted her. Great was the surprise of the old woman, who said,
"Now who is to believe my sister; she made that girl out to be dumb,
and now she speaks so sweetly. Come in, my child."

Then she went out, killed a cock, grilled it, and gave it to her
to eat.

The young woman, remembering her husband's advice, took the first
bite and put it under her tongue; then she sat down and made a
hearty meal of the cock. When she had finished, the old woman said,
"I do not have the sword or the threads; they are with my younger
sister. She lives not very far from here; you just go to her."

Taking leave, she went a little way further, and she came to the
second sister, who was worse than the other. She saluted her when
she came in, and this sister also said:

"How is one to believe your mother-in-law? She made you out to be dumb,
and now you speak so sweetly and so nicely. What have you come for?"

She said, "I have come for the sword and the threads."

"Sit down and eat, my child," she said, and, going out, she took a
young lamb and killed it and prepared it for her. Remembering the
advice given to her, she put the first bite under her tongue, and
then she went on eating until she had satisfied her hunger.

When she had finished eating, the old woman said, "I do not have that
sword; it is with my younger sister. You must go further; she lives
quite close by, and she will give it to you."

So she went to the third sister, and greeting this third one, who was
the worst of all and the ugliest of all, said to her, "Sit down and
eat." Then she took out the hand of a dead man and gave it to her to
eat. But this the wife could not do.

Meanwhile the old woman had gone up into the loft of the house,
saying she was going to fetch the spade, but in reality to watch the
young woman to see what she was doing.

When she was left alone, she took the hand and threw it under
the hearth. Then came a voice from the loft crying. "Hand, hand,
where art thou?" and from under the hearth the hand replied, "Here
I am under the hearth." So she turned on the young woman and said,
"You eat this or something worse will happen to you; I am going to
eat you." She was very frightened; so she took it and put it in her
bosom under her girdle. And again the old woman cried, "Hand, hand,
where art thou?" and the hand replied, "I am under her heart." The old
witch thought that she had eaten it, and coming down, she brought the
sword and gave it to her together with the threads. Before she left,
the old witch asked her to give her back the hand; so she put her hand
in her bosom, and drew out the dead hand and gave it back to her. And
so she had to let her go in peace, as she had retained nothing.

Then, coming to the other sister, this one said to her, "Give me back
my lamb." The young woman heaved, and out came the little lamb quite
alive and started frolicking through the house. It was because she had
kept the first bite under her tongue. She therefore had to let her
go unharmed. Then she came to the eldest one. And she said to her,
"Give me back my cock," and then the young woman spat, and out came
the cock, running and crowing through the house. And so she came back
to her own house with the sword and the threads.

Shortly before she had come, some fishermen had caught a large number
of fish, among them a huge fish which her husband had bought. When
he opened that fish, he found the ring which his wife had cast into
the sea. So, full of joy, he ran out to meet her and to give her the
ring. He embraced her with one hand, and with the other, which was full
of the blood of the fish, he stroked her chin gently, saying to her,
"O my dear little girl, here is thy ring." No sooner had he spoken
these words, when the woman was changed into a bird with a red breast,
the mark of the blood stains on her chin; then, breaking a pane of the
window (lit. an eye of the window), she flew away. Her husband tried
to catch hold of her, but he only got hold of the middle feathers of
the tail, which remained in his hand. The bird flew away. The young
woman had become a swallow. For that reason the tail looks like two
prongs of a fork, for the middle part was plucked out by the husband
in his attempt to catch her.



In this legend we have a combination of many tales. The central
incident of the magical ring recovered from the depth of the sea
inside the fish, upon which the whole future depended, is somewhat
obscure in this tale. It is part of the Polykrates tale, but still
more so of the Solomonic legend, where the recovery of the ring means
the recovery of power by King Solomon. It is a curious romance,
in which Solomon is married as a poor man, i.e. in disguise, to a
princess, for his ring by which he was able to rule all the spirits
and demons had been cast into the sea by a demon and swallowed by a
fish. From that fish Solomon recovered it later on, and with it his
kingdom and power. The incident of the sword and the threads is an
obscure episode. No doubt it is a magical sword, by which the power
of the ogre is to be broken, and the threads are magical threads,
by which he is to be tied and made powerless.



LXXXVIII.

WHY DOES THE SWALLOW LIVE IN HOT PLACES?

The Story of the Swallow and Holy Mother Sunday.


In another tale the swallow was originally a servant of Holy
Sunday. Holy Sunday, going to church, told her servant, whom she had
left at home, that she was to prepare the dinner for her, and that
she should take care that it should neither be too hot nor too cold,
but just as she liked it best. The servant remaining at home did as
she was told; she cooked the dinner, but forgot to take the food off
the hob in time to get it cool enough for Holy Sunday when she came
home from church.

When Holy Sunday came home and began to eat the food burned her
mouth, as it was too hot, having been left on the fire so much
too long. So she got very angry, and cursed the servant, saying,
"As thou hast not done my will and hast burned me with the food,
so mayest thou now be henceforth a bird burned and frizzled up by
the great heat of the places and the countries where thou shalt dwell."

No sooner had Holy Sunday spoken these words, when the servant girl was
changed into a swallow, and therefore it makes its nest in the lofts
of houses where it is hottest, and travels the countries where the
sun is burning like fire, frizzling up the inhabitants with its heat.



Holy Sunday is here merely a Christianised form of some of the older
divinities, who did not scruple at the slightest provocation to vent
their feelings and to punish their sub-ordinates without pity and
without mercy.

It is not here the place to discuss the personification of the
days of the week in the form of divinities. They occur very often
in Rumanian legends and tales, and are in most cases described as
choleric old women, spiteful and revengeful. On rare occasions they
are helpful. They resemble much more the three parcae, Moirai or
Fates of the Roman and Greek mythology and the Norns of the Teutonic
mythology, than Christian saints. That these divinities are identified
with special days of the week belongs to that process of heretical
teaching to which I have referred already, and in which certain days
of the week are endowed with a peculiar character of sanctity; and
the apotheosis has reached such a degree that they are looked upon
as real saints. And the swallow still is looked upon as a more or
less sacred bird. According to popular belief, swallows will not
build nests in bewitched or cursed houses; to kill a swallow is
considered a heinous sin, almost tantamount to killing one's wife
and children. As the people believe that the swallow was originally
a girl, they refrain from eating it. They consider it wrong to eat
a swallow. They are also called "God's hens," and are a sign of luck
to the people where they build their nests.



LXXXIX.

WHY IS THE DOVE A HOMING BIRD?

The Story of the Bewitched Calf and the Wicked Step-mother.


It is very curious that, so far, very few tales and legends have been
collected referring to the dove, a bird which plays so prominent a part
in Ancient Greek and heathen worship. I have not been able hitherto to
discover more than passing references to the dove in legendary tales,
nor is there anything in Rumanian folk-lore that would explain the
origin of the dove. There is only one legend, which is in a way a
distinct variant of the Cinderella cycle.

I will give it here briefly.

The beginning agrees on the whole with the usual type. There is
the bad step-mother, who has an ugly daughter, and persecutes the
beautiful daughter of her second husband. Among other trials, besides
keeping her unkempt and dirty and sending her out to feed the cattle,
she gives her one day a bag full of hemp, and tells her that in the
evening she is to bring it home carded, spun, woven into cloth and
bleached. The poor girl did not know what to do. Her father had given
her a calf. This calf was "a wise one." So the calf came to the girl
and said, "Do not fear; look after the other cows: by the evening it
will be all ready." So it was.

When she brought the white cloth home, her step-mother did not know
what to say. The next day she gave her two bags full of hemp, and again
the little calf worked at it and got it ready by the evening. When
the woman saw what had happened, she said, "This is uncanny; no human
being can do such work in one day. I must find out what is happening."

The next morning she gave her three bags full of hemp and followed her
stealthily to the field to see what she was doing. There, hidden in
a bush, she overheard the conversation between the little calf and
the girl. Straightway she went home, put herself to bed, and said
that she was very ill and was sure to die.

Her husband, coming home and finding her in what he thought was a very
sorry plight, believed that she was really very ill. She called him
to her bedside, and said, "I know I am dying; there is only one way,
however, by which I can be saved, and that is to kill the little calf
and to give me some of its meat roasted." The poor man did not know
what to do, and he said to his wife, "Why, that is all that my little
girl has, and if that calf is killed she will remain with nothing."

"Do as you like," she replied, "if you prefer a calf to my life." The
little calf, which was "wise," knew what was going to happen, and
told the girl that the step-mother was sure to have it killed, but
she must not grieve. The only thing the calf wanted her to do was to
gather up all the bones after the meal, and to hide them in a hollow
of a tree not far from the field. Everything happened as the calf
had foretold, and on the next day the woman ate as one who had been
starving for a week, as ravenously as if the wolves were fighting at
her mouth. The old man also ate of the calf, but the girl refused to
touch the meat. After the meal was over she took all the bones and
put them in the hollow of a tree as she was told.

Soon afterwards, the step-mother again put her to a trial. Going with
her husband and her own daughter to church, she left her at home in
her dirty clothes, and giving her a bag full of linseed and poppy-seed
mixed, she told her that she must sweep the room, get the meal ready,
wash the plates, clean the pots and separate the linseed from the
poppy seed.

Now the bones of the calf had turned into three white doves. These
came to her and did all the work, and told her at the same time to
go to the hollow tree; there she would find a carriage and pair and
beautiful clothes waiting for her. She did so, went to church in state,
left before the others, and was at home to meet her people coming
back from church and found the house swept and clean, and the linseed
separated from the poppy seed. They spoke of the beautiful girl who
had come to church, and chided their poor daughter for staying at home.

The second week the same thing happened. This time there were two
sacks of poppy seed and linseed which she had to separate. And again
the doves helped. And so on the third Sunday. The son of the squire,
who had seen her on the former two Sundays, tried to stop her on
her way out of church, and trod on her slipper, which was knocked
off her foot. She did not wait to recover it, but returned home
as fast as she could. The young man went round with the slipper to
find the person whom it would fit. When he came near the house, the
step-mother, fearing lest he see her step-daughter, hid her under a
big trough behind the door. When the young man, after having tried
the slipper on her daughter, whom it did not fit, asked whether there
was another girl in the house, and she replied, "None," but a cock
who was standing by began to sing: "O that old crone is telling lies;
there is another girl hidden under the trough behind the door."

The young man, hearing the words of the cock, which the old woman
tried in vain to drive away, sent his servant into the house to find
out whether it was so. He lifted the trough and found there the other
girl, clothed in dirty rags and huddled up. The woman, seeing that the
girl had been discovered, said to the man, "Do not take any notice of
her; she is a dirty slut and an idiot." But the cock again sang out,
"O that old crone is telling lies; it is the daughter of the old man,
and she is very wise." The young man, who was waiting outside, became
impatient, and calling for the servant, he told him to bring the girl
out. He tried the slipper, which fitted like a glove, and there and
then he married her.

And this is the origin of the dove.



XC.

WHY DOES THE RAVEN FEED ON CARRION?

The Story of Noah and the Raven.


The Rumanian story about the raven is more or less the well-known
story of the raven in Noah's ark as told in the Bible. But it has
not reached the people in that simple ungarnished form. It has been
embellished with legends. Those found among the Rumanian peasants
agree in the main with those told by oriental writers and found in
"historiated" Bible's--that great treasure-house of legendary Biblical
lore and the depository of many of the legends of the past.

It is important to see how stories, the literary origin of which
cannot be doubted, have penetrated among the people and have become
actual popular legends. We can almost trace the way which they have
come. And this lends a special value to such popular Biblical legends.

The story runs as follows:

The raven was originally a bird with white feathers. When Noah sent
out the raven to find out how things were in the world, the raven
espied the carcase of a horse floating on the waters which had begun
to subside. Forgetting his errand, the raven settled on the carcase
and started eating, and he continued eating for three days and three
nights. He could not get satisfied; only at the dawn of the fourth
morning did he remember the errand on which he had been sent, and
started on his return. When Noah saw him at some distance, he cried,
"Why hast thou tarried so long, and what is thy message, and how does
the world without look?"

The raven, unabashed, replied, "I do not know anything about the
world and how things are going; I only know that I was very hungry,
and finding the dead body of a horse, I sat down and ate, and now
that I have had my fill, I have come back."

When Noah heard this answer from the raven, he grew very angry, and
said, "Mayest thou turn as black as my heart is within me," for his
heart had turned black from anger and fury. And from that minute the
raven's feathers turned as black as coal. And Noah went on saying,
"As thou hast fed on carrion, so shalt thou feed henceforth only on
the dead bodies of animals and beasts."

And in order that the ravens should not multiply too quickly, it was
ordained that they should lay their eggs in December and not hatch
them until February, for only then, when the frost is so strong that
even the stones burst, does the shell of the raven's eggs split, and
the young are able to come out and be fed by their parents, for they
are unable to hatch them unless they are aided also by a hard frost,
which causes the shells to break. Otherwise, if they had laid their
eggs in the summer and hatched them in the summer, like other birds,
they would grow so numerous that people would not have been able to
defend themselves from the raven.

Moreover, the raven, when sent by Noah, saw only the peaks of the
mountains, and those have remained to this very day the real haunt of
the bird. They only nest in very high crags and peaks of mountains,
and never in villages.



Thus far the legend, which occurs in many variants. The raven, whose
peculiar appearance is well known, has become the bird of oracle
par excellence. There are a large number of treatises on the augury
of the raven, notably in the Arabic literature, some of which are
traced back to Indian originals. As for the part which the raven has
played in Northern mythology, it is sufficient to mention the ravens
of Odin, not to speak of the Biblical legend according to which the
raven fed the prophet Elijah. (Another interpretation of the word in
the Bible changes the raven into Arabians, who fed the prophet in his
hiding-place.) There are some Rumanian popular beliefs connected with
the raven which I will mention here.



If two or three ravens fly over a village and croak, it is a sure
sign that there will be death in the village.

If two ravens, one coming from the north and one coming from the south,
meet over the roof of a house, it is a sure sign of the death of one
of the inmates of the house.

It is an old saying that if ravens are seen flying in a great number
in one direction, it is a sure sign of plague or some death among
beasts and men.

If ravens croak over a flock of sheep, the shepherds keep a double
watch, for they believe the ravens foretell an inroad by wolves or
other wild beasts.

If a raven, meeting a herd of cattle, croaks, the Rumanian responds,
"May it be on thy head, thy feathers and thy bones," for he believes
that one of his animals will die and become food for the raven.

And, if one raven is seen flying over the head of a man and continues
to do so for a while, it is a sign of the death of that man.

It is generally assumed that the ravens fly in pairs, and the
appearance of one alone is therefore ominous.

These few examples will suffice. They stamp the raven as the bird
of ill-omen.



XCI.

WHY IS THE ANT CUT IN THE MIDDLE?

The Story of the Young Maiden and her Step-mother the Demon.


Once upon a time there was a widow who had only one child, a girl, and
all her possessions (goods and chattels) consisted of a flock of sheep.

When the girl grew up, the mother sent her with the flock, and told
her at the same time to put on a man's clothes and not to speak to
anyone in the manner of women.

The girl did as she was told, and fed the flock for a long time. One
day, however, she was in the forest, where a young boy also fed his
flock. But he was not the son of man; he was the son cf the serpent
(dragon). How was she to know it? And even if she had known it, what
good would it be to her, seeing that she did not know what a dragon
or a she-dragon was?

Regarding him as a shepherd like herself, she began talking to him,
and the whole day they went together with their flocks. When the young
dragon came home in the evening, he told his mother, "I think that
he with whom I spent the day is not a man in spite of the clothes
but a woman, but he does not seem to have a woman's voice. Would
it not be better if I brought him here, and you might then tell me
whether it is a man or a woman, for if she be a woman, I should like
to have her as my wife. I have not yet seen in the whole world one more
beautiful." "Go," said the mother, "bring him. If he be a man, he will
return safely from us, but if she be a woman, then thine shall she be."

On the next day, meeting the daughter of the widow, they fed their
flocks together, and in the evening, when they were to separate,
he asked the girl to spend the night at his house. The girl, not
thinking aught evil, and being somewhat far away from her own house,
accepted his invitation and went with him. What did the she-dragon do
when she saw her coming? She went out to meet her and engaged her in
conversation. Then she turned to her son and spoke to him, but in a
foreign tongue. She told him to put a flower under the pillow of his
companion, and if in the morning the flower will be faded, for sure
then she is a girl; otherwise the flower would remain fresh. So he
did. The girl, seeing that they talked in a foreign tongue, understood
that they were talking about her, and determined to watch and see. No
sooner had she gone to bed than she began to snore, as if she had
fallen fast asleep, but she did not sleep. Her hosts, thinking her
fast asleep, got up, went on tip-toe into the garden, and, taking a
carnation in full flower, put it under her pillow and fell asleep.

The girl, feeling that something had been put under her pillow,
understood that something was wrong. So she got up and took out of
her bag a charmed mirror by which to undo the sorcery of her hosts. No
sooner had she taken out her mirror, than the dragon-mother woke up,
and, running quickly to the bed, found the flower faded, to her own
great joy and that of her son. What was the girl to do now? She
could not deny that she was a girl. So she began to speak with a
woman's voice. The young dragon then insisted on her marrying him,
but she said, if he insisted on taking her she would neither speak
to him nor kiss him. The young dragon, more in a joke, took her in
his arms and squeezed her so tight that her face got swollen and her
eyes almost started out of her head. She then changed herself into an
insect and ran to the door to get out from under the threshold. But
the old dragon took a knife and slashed her across the body when she
had crept half-way out of the house, so that she nearly cut her in
twain. Her luck was that just a little flesh remained by which the
other part of the body was kept hanging on, and thus she has remained
to this very day, for she became the ant.



The first part of this story agrees in the main with the first part of
the swallow story, No. 87. It is another example of the transfer of
a story from one object to another, like the story of the woodpecker
and the pelican. (Cf. also the slashing of the bee in the stories,
No. 1 ff.)

Popular belief is that the ant is the grandchild (niece nepoata)
of God, and the handmaid of the Virgin, although I have not yet been
able to find the legend upon which this belief rests. The ant must
not be molested, for the Virgin sighs as often as an ant is killed.

The red ant comes from the tears shed by St. Mary over the grave
of Christ.

The ant is used as a remedy against toothache by boiling it together
with the earth of its nest and rinsing the mouth with the water
(which thus contains the well-known arnica of the pharmacopoeia).



XCII.

WHY DOES THE CUCKOO CALL "CUCKOO"?

The Story of the two Brothers and King Alexander.


In the time of Alexander the Great, King of Macedon, there lived a very
wealthy man who had two sons, each one more beautiful than the other,
and both more beautiful than any other living being. When they grew up
to be twelve years old, the fame of their beauty had reached the Court
of King Alexander. He was told that no young men so beautiful as they
were could be found over nine seas and nine countries. Alexander went
himself to see them, and no sooner had he seen them than he appointed
them captains in his army, for he was a high and mighty king, and he
liked to have in his army valiant knights like himself.

At that time there lived the dog-headed people, who were human from the
waist down and dogs from their waist upward. Their kingdom stretched
far away to the north of Alexander's realms. Every year the king of
the dog-men and his people made incursions into the countries, and,
capturing many women, carried them away. The men they fattened, and,
after killing them, used to eat them, but the beautiful women they
brought to their king to become his wives. They treated the men just
as we treat our animals, which we fatten to kill and eat.

When Alexander saw that these wild dog men would not give him peace,
he decided to make war upon them, and to free the world of such wild
creatures. But to fight with these dog-men was not an easy task, and he
therefore selected the best men among his host, all seasoned warriors,
and he put the best captains over them. Among these were also the two
brothers, one of whom was called Cuckoo and the other Mugur. Wherever
they went they did wonders. The heads of the dog-men fell before the
strokes of their swords like the grass cut by the scythe. The battle
lasted for three days and three nights. On the fourth, the two brothers
captured the king of the dog-men and brought him to Alexander. There
they killed him. Then they set fire to the land of the dog-men, and
the fire burnt for over a month. It was so wide a country that no one
has ever known the end of it, and so these dog-men were routed utterly
and none were left; only their name has remained behind. When Alexander
saw the valiant deeds of these two brothers, he appointed them leaders
of his army. They had to be always near him, and wherever they went
and drew their swords, the blood of the heathen ran like water.

Alexander had many wars with kings and emperors, and he conquered
them all. No one dared to stand up against him, for God had given
him strength, and he marched on to the ends of the earth; he was to
become king over the whole world and then die.

He went to the south with his army, passing through many desolate
countries, filled with wild animals and monsters, dragons and
serpents: wherever he went he burned them with fire so as to cleanse
the world. For months Alexander went on with his march, accompanied by
the two brothers and his army, for he had set his heart upon going to
the very ends of the earth. One day on their march they met a company
of women riding on white horses, one more beautiful than other, and
there was one who by her beauty outshone them all. She was dressed,
moreover, so radiantly that she shone like the sun. Alexander drew
near, and he asked them how it came about that they were riding such
beautiful horses, and where were the men?

To this the women replied: "Ours is the country where the women
rule, the women take the place of the men and the men that of the
women." Alexander rested there for a while with his two companions
and his army, and they were well entertained by the women, who were
more beautiful than any known among men of this part of the world.

Among these there was one who was like the moon among the stars. Cuckoo
fell in love with her, and they became inseparable. Cuckoo thought he
could not live without her. Mugur, who was of a more retiring nature,
restrained his love and kept aloof from the women.

When the two weeks had elapsed which Alexander had appointed for him
to stay there, he broke up his camp and journeyed onward until the
army reached the gates of Paradise. These were guarded by angels with
flaming swords, who would allow access only to those who were pure
and sinless. When the soldiers beheld the beauty of Paradise they
wondered greatly at it, and some of them were desirous of entering
it, and went to the angel to ask his permission. Amongst these were
Mugur and his brother Cuckoo. Mugur went in front, Cuckoo followed
with his beautiful wife at his side. When Mugur drew near, the gate
of Paradise was flung open and he entered without hindrance. Cuckoo
wanted to follow him, but the door was shut in his face, and for his
audacity he and his fair companion were turned into birds, for no
man is allowed to enter Paradise with a companion.

Since then Cuckoo is continually calling aloud his name in the hope
that his brother may look for him and thus find him.



This story is remarkable for its origin. We have here the popular
reflex of the famous Romance of Alexander, which had reached
Rumania, as all the other countries of Europe, in a literary
form. The book has been read for at least three hundred years,
and it is extremely interesting to see how deeply it has influenced
the popular imagination. What we have here is not one incident only
from the "Romance," but practically an abridged recital of the famous
"Journey to Paradise," and "Alexander's Letter to Aristotle." We have
here his wars with the Kynokephaloi, or the people who were believed to
be human beings with dog's heads. The Eastern Church, and no less the
Rumanian, even venerates a saint with a dog's head, Christophorus. In
the Rumanian monastery of Neamtz there appeared a "Life" of that saint,
in which the woodcut picture of the saint represented him as having a
dog's head. We have, further, Alexander's war with the Amazons, and
even the fact that he reached the gates of Paradise. But what gives
to this tale importance is that the "Romance of Alexander" has become
the tale accounting for the origin of a bird. No doubt there must be
some more detailed account of this immediate fact, explaining a little
more clearly the sudden transformation of the cuckoo and his mate into
particular birds. Here it is described as a punishment for Cuckoo's
audacity in attempting to bring his female companion into Paradise.

The only point of resemblance between this and the Albanian tale of
Hahn (No. 105), is that Cuckoo was originally a man by that name,
and he was the brother of Gion.



XCIII.

WHY DOES THE ARMENIAN LOVE THE DIRTY HOOPOE?

The Story of the Armenian, the Cuckoo and the Hoopoe.


A funny story about the hoopoe and the cuckoo is told by the Rumanians
at the expense of the Armenians. It is said that in olden times the
forefather of the Armenians had to flee for his life. So, taking all
his belongings with him, and mounting on a horse, he rode away as fast
as he could. He feared lest his enemies would overtake him. Riding on,
he came to a forest and, not being able to find the way, he got into
a bog. In vain did he try to get his horse up again. The more he tried
the further it sank; so, taking all his belongings, he dismounted, and
wading through the mud, he sat down at the edge of the bog and thought
all the time what was he to do to get his horse out. He could not carry
all his belongings, and, if he tarried much longer where he was, his
enemies were sure to overtake him. Where he sat, there was a cuckoo,
resting on the tree, and singing all the time, but the more he sang the
deeper the horse seemed to sink into the mire. He took some food out of
his bags, and, showing it to the horse, he tried to tempt it, but the
horse paid no attention to him. Whilst he was now in great despair,
there came a hoopoe and sat on another tree and began to cry "Hoop,
Hoop." No sooner did the horse hear the bird shouting "hoop, hoop,"
than up it jumped as if stung by wasps. Overjoyed, the Armenian got
hold of it, and putting his food into his sack he mounted again and
went on his way. And out of gratitude the Armenians call the hoopoe
to this very day by the name of cuckoo, for he saved their ancestor
by his cry "up, up." The cuckoo had made it lie down by singing "coo,
coo," but the hoopoe made it jump up by singing "up, up."

There are some beliefs attached to the cry of the hoopoe forming part
of that great section of prognostications by the cry of the birds. It
is not, however, considered as an ominous bird. It merely foretells
the fruitfulness or the barrenness of the coming year.



XCIV.

THE STORY OF THE PARTRIDGE, THE FOX AND THE HOUND.


Once upon a time there was a partridge, and that partridge was sorely
troubled, for no one in this world is safe from trouble and worry. Her
trouble was that for some time back she was not able to rear her young,
because of AUNTIE FOX, who made a royal feast of the young brood. No
sooner did the fox find out that the partridge had hatched her young,
than she tied some brambles to her tail, and, dragging it along the
ground, pretended to plough the land, close to the place where the
partridge had her nest. Turning to the partridge, the fox would say:

"How dare you trespass on my land. Off you go, lest I eat you up." The
partridge, frightened, would run away, and the fox would eat the
young. This had gone on for three years. On the fourth year it so
happened that, while the partridge was weeping, just as a man will
do out of worry and grief, she met a hound.

"What is the matter with thee, friend; why dost thou weep so, what
ails thee, why art thou so inconsolable?"

"Eh!" said the poor bird, "I am full of trouble."

Then the hound said sympathetically, "What has happened unto thee?"

"What has happened unto me? O! dear friend, so many years have I
tried to rear my young, and no sooner do I see God's blessing when
auntie fox, with the brambles and thorns trailing behind her tail,
comes and claims the land, and says, 'Hast thou again hatched young
on my land? Get thee off lest I eat thee.' And I am so frightened
that I run away, and the fox then takes the family and leaves me
childless." The bird stopped here and looked despairingly at the
hound. She wondered what he could do for her. But no one knows whence
help may come, and just when it is least expected it comes. And so
it happened to the bird. The dog who had been sitting all the time,
listening as it were with half-closed ears, suddenly shook himself
and said, "Is that the trouble which ails thee?"

"Yes, that is my trouble."

"Well, if that be so, let me come with thee, and may be that I shall
be of some help."

And so they both went to the nest of the partridge. There the dog
crouched behind the bushes and waited for the fox to come. He had not
to wait very long until the fox came with the brambles tied to her
tail, and, pulling it along, made pretence of ploughing the land. "Now
then you partridge, are you trespassing again--"

But the fox was not allowed to finish the sentence, for out of the
bushes sprang the dog. The fox took to her legs, running as fast as
they would carry her. Now, whether the hound ran or did not run I do
not know, but I certainly can say that the fox ran for all she was
worth and raised a cloud of dust behind her. And so she ran and ran
until she reached her lair, and she buried herself deep in the ground,
very thankful to have saved her skin from the jaws of death. The hound,
wearied, tired, and vexed that the fox had escaped, settled down at the
mouth of the lair waiting for the chance that the fox would come out
again, that he might set his eyes upon her, but it was all in vain,
for the fox, once safe, never dreamt of coming out again. But then
the fox, having nothing else to do, started talking to herself.

"Clever fox, clever fox, I know that thou takest care of thy
skin. Well, thou didst well to save thyself, and to get safely away
from that hound. Now let me ask my eyes, 'What did you do when the
hound was after me?'"

"Well, we, turning right and left, looked out to see which way we
could save thee and hide thee."

"Dear eyes," said the fox, and full of satisfaction, she stroked them
with her paws.

"Now I will ask my forelegs."

"And ye, my forelegs, what did you do when the hound was chasing me?"

"What did we do? We ran as fast as we could to carry thee safe to
the lair and to save thee."

"Very good, then, my darlings," and she kissed them and stroked
them lovingly.

Then she asked the hind legs.

"What did you do when the hound was chasing me?"

"What did we do? We raised the dust and threw it into his eyes to
save thee."

"My darlings," again the fox said, and licked them and caressed them,
"so must you always do."

The fox, having nothing else to do, said, "I must now ask thee, tail,
'What didst thou do, O my tail?'"

"I, what was I to do? I waddled to the right and left and yet he
never caught me. If it were not for the legs, I am afraid I should
not see the sun any more, and neither wouldst thou, O fox."

"As thou sayest, then, thou art the only one who did not help me,
thou art mine enemy, for if it were not for the blessed legs, none of
us would have seen the sun any more. All right, out thou goest, thou
fool. Thou must no longer be with me or with my darling eyes." And,
turning round, she crawled backwards and pushed it out of the lair. The
hound, who was sitting outside, was just waiting for this, and no
sooner did he see the bush of the tail coming out than he pounced on
it and, getting hold of it, he pulled with all his might and dragged
out tail and fox together. And that was the end of the fox. The fox
may have been very clever, but the old proverb is true. "Each animal
dies through his own tongue." And since that time the partridge hatches
her young unmolested, and the land of the fox has remained unploughed.



This Rumanian tale belongs to a large cycle of similar tales, of
which the Rumanian seems to have preserved only the first part,
unless the second part has afterwards been tacked on to it. In the
extended tale the dog asks for the payment of the food, drink, and
merriment which the bird had promised.

An almost identical story is found among the Slavonic Tales, Krauss,
No. 9. In this no mention is made of the fox claiming to be the
landowner. It is only out of pity for the partridge that the dog
attacks the fox, which runs away, and then the story continues exactly
like the Rumanian. The first part of No. 6 is another parallel to
the Rumanian tale, but it is greatly reduced and is only the first
part of a much longer tale of "The Starling, the Fox, and the Dog."

The starling promises the dog food, drink, and merriment, if he
would avenge it against the fox, who, in spite of sworn friendship,
had taken advantage of the absent starling to eat the young birds. The
tale contains also the episode of the fox's undoing. But then the
Slavonic story goes on to detail the manner in which the starling
outwitted a boy who carried food to his people on the field, a man
who carried a wine cask, and a hewer of wood, all to provide for the
promised food, drink, and merriment of, the dog.

This last part, as a tale by itself, quite independent of the story
of the dog and fox, is found in Haltrich, No. 81. Here the bird offers
food, drink and merriment to the fox who is to spare her young.

In a more reduced form still, the first part having entirely
disappeared, the story appears in Grimm, iii. p. 100, who refers to a
similar episode in the French version of Reinecke and to an Esthonian
tale. Cf. also the Russian Tale in Afanasief, No. 32.



XCV.

THE STORY OF THE PARTRIDGE AND HER YOUNG.


A partridge once built her nest in the furrows of a newly ploughed
cornfield, and hatched her young when the stalks of the corn had
grown tall and the corn began to ripen. There was food in plenty and
safety enough for them to play and to frolic about without fear of
any danger. But the good things in this world never stay long with
us, and this the partridge was soon to find out. The time came when
the corn was cut and hunters appeared followed by their dogs, whose
barking they could hear drawing nearer and nearer. The partridge now
began to be frightened for her young. She tried to cover them with
her wings, but they could not help hearing the reports of the guns and
the barking of the dogs. One day, not being able to stand the strain
any longer, she remembered a place of safety which she had known, in
the cleft of a mountain beyond the seas. Tucking her eldest under her
wing, she started one morning on her flight, intent on carrying it to
the mountain beyond the sea. When she reached the border of the sea
there stood a huge tree. Tired from her long flight, she settled on
one of the branches of the tree overhanging the water. And she said
to her young, "Little darling, see how great is the love of a mother
and what trouble I am taking. Nay, I am putting my life in danger in
order to save you."

"Never mind, mother," replied the little one, "Wait till we grow up
and then we will take care of you when you grow old and weak."

When the partridge heard these words she tilted her wing and
let the young bird fall into the water of the sea, where it was
drowned. Distressed, weary, and lost in thought, she returned to
her nest and took the middle one of her three young, and, putting it
on the wing, she started again on her flight to the mountain beyond
the sea. On the way she again alighted on the tree with the branches
overhanging the sea. And she spoke to this one in the same manner as
she had spoken to the first. And he replied, "Do not worry, mother,
when you get old we shall take care of you and show you our love."

The partridge, grieving at the words of this one, again dipped her
wing and the young bird slid down into the bottom of the sea, where
it was drowned. Almost broken hearted, not knowing any more what to
do with herself, and heavy with sorrow and anxiety, her only hope
being the youngest one, she returned to her nest, and, taking the
youngest--the mother's pet--she tucked it under her wing and flew
again to the mountain beyond the sea.

Tired from her continual flight hither and thither, she again alighted
on the tree with the branches overhanging the sea, and with her heart
trembling within her for fear and love, she said to the youngest,
"See, my beloved little pet, how much trouble mother is taking to save
her dear little ones, how willingly I am suffering pain and fatigue;
see how exhausted I am and wearied, but nothing is too much for a
mother if only she knows that her young will be safe."

"Do not worry, mother dear, for we when we grow up will also take
care of our young children with the same love and devotion."

At these words, the mother pressed the little one nearer to her heart,
and, full of joy, carried him across the sea to a place of safety,
for of all her children this alone had spoken the truth. And is it
not so in the world?

This is the story of the partridge and her young.



XCVI.

THE STORY OF THE LARK AND THE TAMING OF WOMEN.


A man was once ploughing his field. In the midst of it a lark had
made her nest and was hatching her young. When the cock lark saw
what the man was doing, and that he was coming nearer and nearer with
the plough, he feared that the nest would be destroyed. So he turned
to the man and said, "Prithee, spare my nest; go round it with your
plough and do not touch it, for I might also do you some good."

The man, surprised at hearing the lark speak to him, said, "What good
can you do to me?"

"Oh," replied the lark, "you never know what I can do. Just bide your
time, there might be a chance."

"Well," said the man, "I do not mind going with my plough round that
piece of ground, it will not make much difference, but you see I have
a very bad-tempered wife, and should she come out and see what I have
done, and that I have left a part of the field without ploughing it,
I shall come in for a good hiding."

"What," said the lark, "you a man, and your wife, a woman, beating you,
how can that be?"

"Oh," replied the man, "you do not know her; from morning till evening
she does nothing but strike and beat me, I have not a minute's rest
and peace."

"I can help you," replied the lark, "if only you will do what I
tell you."

"If you will help me I shall be for ever grateful to you."

"Well then, this is what you have to do. You get yourself a stout
stick, and should she come and start chiding you, you just lay out
and go for her without mercy. You will see it will be all right."

Whilst they were thus speaking, the woman came out, with one jaw on
earth and the other in heaven, spitting fire and fury; and when she saw
that the man had left a part of the field not ploughed she started to
go for him with her fists and to give him a good beating. But before
she had time to get to him, remembering the advice which the lark had
given him, he got hold of the stick, and there was a great change. The
woman did not know what it was that happened to her; the blows fell
upon her fast and thick over her head, face, shoulders, hands. At last
she got frightened, and ran away vowing vengeance. After she had gone,
the lark said to the man:

"Don't be a fool, I know she awaits you at home with a long stick,
but you get yourself a short, stout stick, and just slip into the
house before she has time to use her long rod, and then you go for
her, hitting as fast as you can and as hard as you can, for, being
in the house, the woman will not be able to use the long rod to
any advantage."

The man did as the lark had taught him, and the woman came in for a
drubbing she never expected. The tables were now turned, and instead
of beating the husband the woman got it now, and twice over.

That was the first case of the men beating their women, instead of the
men being beaten by the women, for the neighbours, seeing how things
had changed with this man, soon followed his example, and there was
yelling and shouting and cursing as never before, the women getting
the worst.

When the women saw that the men got the upper hand, they all
gathered together in the market-place and held a conference under the
leadership of the head woman of the town. After a long consultation
and discussion, they all decided to leave their husbands alone and
to get across the Danube to the other side.

So they did; they gathered themselves together and, led by the head
woman, left the town to go across the Danube. When the men saw what
the women were doing, and that they were in earnest, they turned on
the first man who had set the example and threatened to kill him, for
he had brought all that trouble upon them. And the man got frightened
and ran out into the field, and going to the lark told all that was
going on and that he was in danger of his life.

The lark laughed and said, "Oh, you are worse than a set of old
women. Do not be afraid, nothing will happen to you; you just wait
and see, I am going to bring the women home again."

So saying, the lark rose up in the air, and flying over the heads
of the women who were standing by the banks of the Danube waiting to
cross, it sang out, "Tsirli, tsirli, on the other side of the Danube
there are no men."

One of the women, hearing the bird's song, said to her neighbour,
"Did you hear what that bird was singing?"

"Oh, yes, we can all hear it saying that across the Danube there are
no men, and if that be true I think we had better return to our own
husbands, never mind whether they beat us or not."

And they all returned home quite meekly to their houses, and ever
since then the men beat their wives, but the women never beat their
husbands. And you should know that if a woman does beat her husband,
he is not a man, but a donkey.



XCVII.

THE STORY OF THE TURTLE DOVE AND ITS LOVE FOR ITS MATE.


Of the turtle-dove the Rumanian popular poetry relates that when she
loses her mate she never associates with any bird, but sits solitary on
the branches of trees, not on the green or the high bough, but on the
low, and on the withered branches of the tree. She no longer goes to
clear water, but she first stirs the mud and then drinks the troubled
water, and when she sees the hunter she goes to meet him cheerfully,
hoping that he will kill her. The tears of the turtle-dove are the
most powerful antidote against every spell and sorcery.

An incident in one of the Rumanian Fairy Tales reminds us of the
story of the Shirt of Nessus given to Hercules.

It is of a step-mother who tries to kill her daughter-in-law by
inducing her to buy such a poisoned shirt. As soon as she has put
one on she becomes very ill, and her illness grows with every day
that passes.

Her father, who has been absent, comes home and sees what is the cause
of her illness, so he washes her in tears of the turtle-dove. The
spell is broken, the fire is driven out, and the young woman recovers
her health.



XCVIII.

WHY DOES THE WREN HIDE HIMSELF?

The Story of the Wren, the Eagle, and the Owl.


The wren is called by the Rumanians the little king. The reason for
it is that the birds once came together to elect a ruler. They were
all there, big and small, and after much wrangling and discussion
they agreed that he who flew highest of all should be king. It was
the eagle who suggested it, for he knew that no bird could fly so
high as he could, and he told them that the highest place they could
reach would be the region of the wild winds. They arranged that he
who would reach so high, should give them a sign and then they should
descend. They all started for the race. There was much fluttering
of wings and shrieking and boasting, for every bird believed that
he would be the winner. But they had not measured their strength,
for after a while the weakest stopped in their flight and began to
descend slowly. The stronger ones flew a little higher but they too
got tired and came down to the ground, until at last almost every
bird that had entered the race had given it up. Only one bird was
continuing the flight. It was the eagle, who was soaring higher and
higher. At a certain moment, the eagle signalled to them that he had
reached the wild wind, that is the wind which blows very high up in
the sky and is bitterly cold, much colder than ice and frost. But
the eagle was not to win the race. The little wren, a midget among
the birds, had crept stealthily under one of the outer feathers of
his wings; the eagle did not feel it, and so it was borne aloft to
the very high heavens. Now when the eagle stopped in his flight, and
began to descend, the little bird, not at all tired, came out from
under the wing, and he, flying higher, far above the eagle, shouted:

"He! he! you thought you would be the king, that no one could fly
as high as you do! You see I have flown much higher, no one can
deny it, you can all see me, and though I am very small and light,
I am your king." The birds, hearing the little wren and seeing that
it had been flying far above the eagle, wondered greatly, but they
could not help themselves, they had to stand by their agreement,
and so the wren was proclaimed king.

But the birds soon learnt the trick by which the wren had outwitted
them, and furious at the way in which they had been played, they
wanted to tear him to pieces. The little wren, knowing what was in
store for him from the enraged birds, ran away quickly, and hid
himself inside the hollow of a tree, slipping in by so narrow an
opening that no other bird could follow him. When the birds found
out the hiding-place of the wren, and that they could not get at it,
they decided to starve him out, and put some to watch over the opening
to prevent the wren escaping. The wren thought it better to starve
than to come out and be torn in pieces. "I will wait my chance,"
he said to himself, and the chance came when they appointed the
owl to watch over the tree. The owl is a lazy bird, and sitting down
quietly soon fell asleep. That was just what the wren was waiting for,
and before the owl could have turned round, it was out and away in
the bushes and under the roots of the trees. When the owl awoke it
found that the prisoner had gone: catch him if you can! The birds,
full of wrath, turned on the owl for letting the wren escape and
the owl had to run for its life. It is for that reason that the owl
never shows itself in day-time. It is frightened of the birds, for
they bear it a grudge for not keeping careful watch over the wren,
and as the wren knows what the birds have in store for him, he hides
himself under the bushes and trees and has become a very furtive bird.

Cf. Grimm, No. 171.



XCIX.

WHY IS THERE NO KING OVER THE BIRDS?

The Story of the Hawk and the Election of the King.


Once upon a time the birds came together to decide which was to rule
over them all, and in what order authority should be distributed
among them, who was to be the superior and who was to be inferior
among them. After a long discussion it was agreed that the eagle
should be the highest of all. The second in command should be the
falcon, the third in command the black vulture, under him the white
vulture, under him the vulture with the striped tail, under him the
lamb's vulture and under him the kite, under him the hen-harrier,
under him the blue heron, and under him the sparrow-hawk. All the
birds consented and accepted this arrangement without much demur or
contradiction. Only the sparrow-hawk, who though the smallest and
the weakest, yet knew himself to be quicker and cleverer than many
of them, objected to the arrangement, and said to them:

"Do you expect that I should submit to you? or be frightened of you,
as if you were the strongest and mightiest creatures in the world? You
are greatly mistaken. There are other beings stronger and mightier
and greater than you. Of these I am frightened, but not of you. I do
not care for you."

"But what creatures are stronger and more powerful than we?" asked
the other birds greatly surprised.

"What!" said he, "you do not know who is greater and stronger than you
are? You all think yourselves to be the cleverest of created beings,
and you expect me, the smallest of you, to tell you that? Very well,
then, since you do not know even as much as this, hear it from
me. Stronger than all of you are the archers and the sportsmen."

"Why," replied the birds, "how can that be?"

"Well," he said, "if they meet you they can make an end of you,
and that, before you know where you are; you, who are so clever,
that you wanted to put me at the tip of your tail!"

"What can we do to save ourselves?"

The sparrow-hawk replied, "You must never gather together and fly in
large numbers, for thus we are sure to fall a prey to them. Our only
safety lies in our dispersion."

As soon as the birds heard that, they dispersed quickly, and since
that time hawks are never found together in large numbers, except
when they see carrion. In such wise did the little sparrow-hawk free
himself from the domination of the other birds of his clan.



C.

THE STORY OF KING LOG AND KING STORK.

The Story of the Frogs.


This is the well-known story of King Log and King Stork.



Once upon a time the frogs assembled and decided to ask God to appoint
a king who would guide them and rule over them, for they were like a
people scattered all over the waters and seas with no one to look after
them. God gratified their request, and taking a log of wood cast it
into the water and said to the frogs, "This is to be your king." When
the log fell into the water it made such a splash and such a noise,
that the poor frogs did not know where to hide themselves in their
fright. After a while the noise subsided, and the log lay still in the
place where it had fallen. Gaining a little courage, the frogs came out
of their hiding places and crept slowly on to the log of wood, which
they found lying quite still and motionless. They waited for a time
to see it move, but in vain. So they went again to God and said to him:

"What is the good of a king who can neither guide us, nor rule over
us, and cannot even move about to look after us?"

And God said, "You shall have one who will move about, and he will
guide you and rule you after the manner of kings." And he called the
stork and appointed him king over the frogs. He moves about amongst
them very fast indeed, and guides them and rules them in the proper
manner of kings, for he gobbles them up as soon as he sets eyes on
them in the proper manner of kings, who always go about and eat up
their subjects as fast as they can.

Here, of course, a moral from modern life has been added to the old
tale, but this does not detract from its popularity.



CI.

THE STORY OF THE STORK AND LITTLE TOMTIT.


Once upon a time there was a stork who could not rear any young. His
wife's eggs had become addled, or something else had happened to them,
and the long and short of it was that there were no young birds. Very
distressed, he was walking about in the forest when he noticed a little
tomtit on the ground. Seeing he was so small, he thought it was a young
bird, a chick that had fallen out from a stork's nest somewhere. So
he picked him up gently and carried him to his own nest, and there
he kept him and fed him most tenderly. He would fly about for miles
to get worms to feed the little bird. The days passed, and the stork
could not help wondering why that little bird of his did not grow:
it remained so small. One day there came a down-pour of cold rain
mixed with hailstones. In order to protect his little young, he put
the tomtit under his wing, and going into the forest placed himself
under the branches of a thick-leaved tree to shelter himself from the
rain and hail. In the trunk of that tree there was a little hollow. As
soon as tomtit espied it he glided into it, and from there he kept up
a conversation with the stork. Among other things, the stork said,
"What terrible weather that is, I cannot remember anything like it
all my life."

"What," piped little tomtit, "you call this bad weather. You should
have seen what bad weather means, when the red snow fell."

"Hush, you little thing," said the stork, "how do you come to speak
of red snow, you have never seen such a thing?"

"Oh," replied tomtit, "I remember it quite well, although it was so
many years ago."

"You remember it, you little cunning beast, who made yourself out to
be quite a little chicken!" and the sharp beak of the stork pierced
the hollow of the tree and spiked the insolent little tomtit, who
had made a fool of the stork.



CII.

THE STORY OF THE FLEA AND THE GNAT.


The flea once upon a time meeting a gnat, said to her:

"I say, sister, why is your back so bent, and why is your head so
low? What heavy care is worrying you?"

"Oh, my sister," replied the gnat, "it is the heavy work which I have
to do that bends my back and pulls my head so low. I have to drive the
oxen to the plough, and make them do their work. I must sit between
the horns and prick them to urge them on. Their hide is so thick
that I have to bend my body and put my head very low to drive the
sting through it. But, then, tell me, why is your back so much bent,
sister flea? You have no heavy work like me."

"You do not know what you are talking about. I have to keep mankind
to their duties. These men have such heavy clothing that it takes
all my strength to lift it up so that I can move about, to get at him."



CIII.

THE STORY OF THE GNAT, THE LION, AND THE MAN.


The fable of the gnat and the lion is told in order to explain
the proverb, "The gnat, small as it is, proved stronger than the
lion." Once upon a time a lion sat himself down to rest under a
tree. Suddenly a gnat appeared and settled upon his nose. The lion,
feeling the tickle, struck out with his paw, but missed her. The
gnat then settled in his ear, and again the lion tried to strike her,
but failed. So he said to the gnat:

"Who are you? and why do you come here and worry me? Who are you
that although so small can worry so much and give so much trouble,
and yet are one whom it is impossible to catch?"

"I am the gnat, and I drink the blood of anyone I choose, and no one
can hurt me."

"You may drink blood from whomever else you choose, but my blood you
shall not drink, for I am the stronger."

"If you believe that I cannot drink your blood, very well then,
let us wait and see who is the stronger," said the gnat.

"I am quite satisfied," said the lion, and they made the bet. Without
saying a single word, the gnat jumped on to the nose of the lion,
and digging its point into the flesh of the lion sucked the blood
until it was full, but the lion could not do anything to her. When
she had finished, she asked the lion:

"What do you say now? have I not beaten you? Now it is your turn to
show me your strength."

"I am so strong that if a man should happen to pass here I could eat
him up."

He had scarcely finished speaking when a boy happened to pass. The
lion, as soon as he saw him, wanted to catch him and eat him. "Stop,"
said the gnat, "this is not yet a man, wait until he grows to be a
man." The lion felt ashamed and let the boy pass.

Soon afterwards a very old man happened to pass. Again the lion,
saying, "Now, a man is passing," wanted to get hold of him. And again
the gnat stopped him, saying, "This is no longer a man, he has been
so some long time ago. It is a pity to break your teeth on him." And
the lion left him also alone.

Now there came riding along a hussar.

"This is a man," said the gnat, "go for him and show your strength."

The lion went for him, but when the hussar saw him he drew his sword
and smote him two or three times over his head. The lion, seeing that
this was not a joke, turned tail and ran away; there was his road
to safety. The gnat, following him, settled on his ear and asked him
how he felt. The lion, half-stunned, replied:

"That foolish man drew a rib from his side and hacked lustily away
and had I not run away only bits of me would have been left."

Hence the proverb, "However small, the gnat proved more powerful than
the lion."



This is a parallel to the story of the "Gnat and the Lion." Among the
South Slavonic Tales, (Krauss, No. 12) we find another parallel to it,
though differing in some details. A lion was continually boasting of
its strength. One day a tiger, tired of his boasting, said to him:

"You wait until you meet a man and see what strength is."

One day, as they were walking, a young boy passed along, and the lion
asked whether that was a man.

"No," replied the tiger, "that is a man that is to be."

Shortly afterwards an old woman passed, and the lion asked whether that
was a man. "No," replied the tiger, "that is one who has made men."

At last a hussar passed. The tiger said, "This is a man."

The hussar drew near, shot at the lion, and, quite dazed, it ran away.

The hussar overtook him, and drawing his sword wounded him in many
places. The lion escaped and said afterwards, "When he blew at me it
was bad enough, but how much worse was it, when he pricked me."

Another version from the inhabitants of Transylvania is found in
Haltrich D. Volksmärchen a. d. Sachsenlande i. Siebbrgn, Wien 1877
(No. 86). Here it is the wolf who boasts, and the fox tells him that
there is something much more powerful than he is and that is man. The
wolf asks the fox to show him man. An old man passes, the fox says,
"This was a man."

A boy passes and the fox says, "This is not yet a man."

A hunter comes, and from behind the bush the fox whispers, "That
is man." The hunter shoots at the wolf, then draws his knife and
slashes him. The wolf runs away and owns himself beaten by the man,
who makes thunder and lightning, throws stones in his face, and then
draws a shining rib and cuts away at him.

Cf. also Grimm, 72.



CIV.

THE STORY OF THE GNAT AND THE BUFFALO.


A man was driving his buffalo to market. On the way they passed a
marsh. The buffalo, in accordance with its habit, went into it and
started wallowing. The man tried to get him out of it and threatened
him with his stick, but the buffalo took no notice.

There came a gnat buzzing by the man and saying to him:

"What wilt thou say if I drive him out of the swamp?"

"You," replied the man contemptuously, "what can a little midget like
you do, when the buffalo does not care even for me?"

"Just so," said the gnat, "I will show you that I can do what you
cannot."

"Try, then, if you can." So the gnat went and placed itself under the
fold of the buffalo's belly, and stung him just between the creases
of the skin where the flesh was softest.

Up jumped the buffalo, and in a wink he had got out of the mire, and
was brought to the market by the man who owned shamefacedly that of
the two the gnat was the stronger.

"Hi! hi!" hissed the gnat, "didst thou see that I could do with my
little tongue, what thou with thy mighty cudgel couldst not do?"



CV.

THE STORY OF THE TOWN MOUSE AND THE FIELD MOUSE.


A mouse living in the town one day met a mouse which lived in the
field.

"Whence do you come?" asked the latter when she saw the town-mouse.

"I come from yonder town," replied the first mouse.

"How is life going there with you?"

"Very well, indeed. I am living in the lap of luxury. Whatever I want
of sweets or any other good things is to be found in abundance in my
master's house. But how are you living?"

"I have nothing to complain of. You just come and see my stores. I
have grain and nuts, and all the fruits of the tree and field in
my storehouse."

The town-mouse did not quite believe the story of her new friend, and,
driven by curiosity, went with her to the latter's house. How great
was her surprise when she found that the field-mouse had spoken the
truth; her garner was full of nuts and grain and other stores, and her
mouth watered when she saw all the riches which were stored up there.

Then she turned to the field-mouse and said, "Oh, yes, you have here
a nice snug place and something to live upon, but you should come to
my house and see what I have there. Your stock is as nothing compared
with the riches which are mine."



The field mouse, who was rather simple by nature and trusted her new
friend, went with her into the town to see what better things the
other could have. She had never been into the town and did not know
what her friend could mean when she boasted of her greater riches. So
they went together, and the town-mouse took her friend to her master's
house. He was a grocer, and there were boxes and sacks full of every
good thing the heart of a mouse could desire. When she saw all these
riches, the field mouse said she could never have believed it, had
she not seen it with her own eyes.

Whilst they were talking together, who should come in but the cat. As
soon as the town-mouse saw the cat, she slipped quietly behind a box
and hid herself. Her friend, who had never yet seen a cat, turned to
her and asked her who that gentleman was who had come in so quietly?

"Do you not know who he is? Why, he is our priest (popa), and he has
come to see me. You must go and pay your respects to him and kiss
his hand. See what a beautiful, glossy coat he has on, and how his
eyes sparkle, and how demurely he keeps his hands in the sleeves
of his coat." Not suspecting anything, the field-mouse did as she
was told and went up to the cat. He gave her at once his blessing,
and the mouse had no need of another after that: the cat gave her
extreme unction there and then. That was just what the town-mouse had
intended. When she saw how well stored the home of the field-mouse was,
she made up her mind to trap her and to kill her, so that she might
take possession of all that the field-mouse had gathered up. She had
learned the ways of the townspeople and had acted up to them.



This story reminds one of the story of La Fontaine, yet the conclusion
here is quite different. The popular tale undoubtedly underwent a
definite change in the hands of La Fontaine, who used the fable for
driving home a totally different moral lesson, just in the style of
all the fables so used since Aesop downwards. The popular tale as
told here is perhaps more crude, but still much more true to nature--a
picture of life.

Hahn (No. 90) tells an Albanian tale where the fox goes on a pilgrimage
and becomes a monk, just as the cat in the Rumanian story is a priest.



CVI.

THE STORY OF THE HARE AND THE FROGS.


One day, the hare, thinking of his miserable life, decided to put an
end to it. "What is my life worth to me?" he said to himself, sighing
heavily. "The dogs tear me, the wolves cat me, the eagles claw me,
the man hunts me. I have no peace, no rest, everybody is against
me and wishes to take my life. I had better go and drown myself,
and then there will be an end to my miseries." So speaking, he got
up and went to the neighbouring lake to drown himself in the water.

As he drew near he saw a number of frogs sitting by the water. When
they saw the hare coming up, they got frightened and jumped into the
water, some of them getting drowned in it. When the hare saw that he
had frightened the frogs to such an extent that he caused a number of
them to jump into the water and to get drowned, he stopped short and
said, "If there are creatures whom I can frighten, then surely even
I am not the weakest of all, as I had hitherto thought." Comforted
by this thought, he returned to his form.



CVII.

WHY DOES THE BUFFALO WALK SLOWLY AND TREAD GENTLY?

The Race of the Buffalo and the Hare.


In olden times, so we are told by those who know best, there was
constant strife between the hares and the buffaloes. Each of them
contended for the honour of being the most swift-footed.

Both did run very fast and neither would give in to the other. So
it went on year after year, and there seemed to be no end to the
strife. Tired of this constant fight, one day the hare said to the
buffalo, "Let us try a race together and settle this quarrel once
for all." The buffalo was well contented with the proposal, and they
agreed to race one another. When the day came the hare, putting his
ears back, started the race. He ran so fast that you might have said
he was flying upon the ground.

But the buffalo was a match for him. He went thundering away, his
hoofs splashing the mud and raising seas of mire. The earth shook
at his furious tread. He soon overtook the breathless hare which was
running panting as fast as its little legs could carry it.

Then a thought struck the hare, and he cried to the buffalo, "Ho,
friend! Take heed how thou art thundering along. The earth is shaking,
and if thou art not careful, the earth will give way under thee. See
how it is rocking under thy feet."

When the buffalo heard the hare's story, he stopped still for a while
bewildered, and then, being frightened, lest the earth should give
way under him and he sink beneath, he checked his pace and began to
walk slowly and tread gently.

That was just what the hare had wanted, and pulling a long nose at the
buffalo, he ran swiftly by, leaving the buffalo a long way behind. Thus
he won the race, and there was no longer any strife between the hares
and the buffaloes. But ever since the buffalo walks slowly and treads
lightly upon the ground.



CVIII.

THE STORY OF THE POINTER AND THE SETTER.


It is told that the pointer and the setter kept a public-house
together. All the animals would come and eat and drink and pay their
account, except the wolf and the hare who would come and eat and
drink very heavily, and regularly forget to pay. At last, the pointer
and setter could stand it no longer, and they went and lodged their
complaint before God. And God said, "As they have treated you so badly,
you are free to go for them whenever you see them. You must try and
catch them and make them pay."

And that is the reason why these dogs will go for the wolf as soon as
they scent his track, and also that is the reason why, when they catch
a hare, he will squeak, "Miat, miat"--which sounds like mart (Tuesday
in Rumanian)--as if he were saying "Wait till next Tuesday when I am
going to pay." And they are still waiting for that Tuesday to come.



CIX.

THE STORY OF THE RAT AND HIS JOURNEY TO GOD.


In a mill a rat once lived and prospered. It took after the miller,
and from day to day its paunch grew bigger. It became as round as
cucumber and as fat as a candle.

One day, looking at his round, sleek figure, the rat said to itself,
"Behold I am so beautiful and strong. Why should I not go and pay a
visit to God? He is sure to receive me."

No sooner said than done. Leaving the mill, he started on his journey
to God. After travelling a few days and not coming nearer to God, he
stopped and said, "Methinks that either God lives much farther away
than I believed, or I have lost my way. I will go to the sun and ask
where God is." Coming to the sun, the rat asked, "Where is God?" "Off
with thee," shouted the sun, "I have no time for idle talkers."

The rat went to the clouds and asked them, "Where is God?" The clouds
stared at him and said, "We cannot stop to bandy words with the like
of you." Away the rat went and came to the wind. "Where is God?" asked
the rat. "There," replied the wind, whistling, and getting hold of
the rat hurled him down into an ant-heap, and there he found his level.



This story is a curious parallel to another series of rat or mouse
tales. In these a rat wishes to marry the daughter of the mightiest
thing, and asked for the daughter of the sun. But he is not great
enough. The sun is covered by the clouds. The clouds are carried by the
wind, the wind is stopped by the mountain, the mountain is sapped by
the rat, thus he comes back to his own and finds his proper level. So
in the Rumanian Tale (Sevastos, Basme, Moldov. p. 236). (Cf. Benfey,
Pantschatantra, i. 375 ff.)

In an ancient Biblical legend Abraham discusses with Nimrod, Who
might be God? The sun cannot be worshipped as God, for the sun sets
and is followed by darkness, the moon is eclipsed by the sun, the
fire is quenched by water, the clouds of rain are carried by the
wind, the wind is stopped by the mountains, and so on. (Cf. Gaster,
Chronicles of Jerahmeel, London 1899, chap. xxxiv. p. 72 ff.)

The biblical setting of the legend is about two thousand years old. In
the Rumanian tale the comparison has disappeared, but the principal
elements have been preserved whilst invested with a different rôle.



CX.

THE STORY OF THE SEVEN-WITTED FOX AND THE ONE-WITTED OWL.


One day the owl met a fox, and the latter bragged about his
intelligence and cleverness, and said that he was very cunning and
slim. The owl asked him, "Brother mine, how many minds (wits) have
you?" "Seven," he said, boastingly. "No wonder you are so clever,
I have only one," said the owl.

A short time afterwards the owl again met the fox, but this time he
was running for his life. The hunters were after him, and the hounds
were trying to catch him.

Running as fast as his legs could carry him, he at last managed to slip
into a hole. The owl followed him, and seeing him there, exhausted,
asked him, "How many minds (wits) have you?" And he replied, "Six,
I have lost one by the chase."

Meanwhile the hunters and dogs came nearer and nearer, so they could
hear the baying of the dogs. The fox did not know what to do. The
owl asked him, "How many minds (wits) have you now, old fellow?"

"Oh, I have lost all my minds (wits). I have none left."

"Where is your cunning of which you bragged?"

"It is not kind of you, now, to go for a poor fellow when the dogs
are at his heels and there is no escape for him."

"Well," said the owl, "I have but one mind (wit), and I will see
whether I cannot save you with my one wit. It is my turn. I am going to
lie down here at the entrance as though dead. When the hunters come,
they will see me and get hold of me and talk about me. Meanwhile they
will forget you, and in the midst of the trouble you just dash out
and run for your life."

It happened just as the owl had said.

No sooner did the hunters come up and find the owl than they said,
"What is this ugly bird doing here? and a dead owl to boot"; and whilst
they were busy with the owl trying to get hold of it to throw it away,
off went the fox through them and escaped.

Soon afterwards the owl met him again and she said, "How have your
seven minds (wits) helped you when in time of danger? It is like that
with people who have too much, they often have nothing when they want
it most, but you see I had only one mind (wit), but a strong one and
not a dissolute one like yours, and that saved both you and me."



CXI.

THE STORY OF THE FOX AND HIS BAGFUL OF WITS AND THE ONE-WITTED
HEDGEHOG.


I do not know how he managed it, but a fox one day got into a
poultry-yard and there he ate his fill. Some time afterwards, going
along to the poultry-yard, the hedgehog met him. "Where are you going,
brother?"

"I am going to eat my fill."

"Surely you cannot get it just as you like."

"Oh," he said, "you just come with me and I will show you. I know my
way, and there is plenty for me and for you, and some to leave behind
for another time."

The hedgehog, who was a wise old fellow, said to the fox:

"Now, be careful; are you sure that the owners of the poultry yard
will let you in again so easily?"

"Don't you trouble," said the fox. "I know my business, you just come
with me." And the hedgehog went with him.

But the people of the poultry-yard were not such fools as the fox had
taken them for, and just where the fox had got in last time they had
dug a deep pit, and into that the fox and the hedgehog tumbled. When
they found themselves at the bottom of the pit, the hedgehog turned
to the fox and said, "Well, you clever fellow, is that the proper
way to get into the poultry-yard? Did I not warn you?"

"What is the good of talking?" replied the fox, "We are here now,
and we must see how to get out of it."

"But you are so clever, and I am only a poor old fool."

"Never mind, you were always a wise one. Can you help me?"

"No," he said, "I cannot help you. This sudden fall has upset me,
and I feel queer and sick."

"What," cried the fox, "you are not going to be sick here; that is
more than I can stand; out you go!"

So he got hold of the hedgehog by the snout, and the hedgehog coiled
himself up with his little paws into a little ball round the fox's
mouth, the fox lifted up his head with a jerk and threw the little
fellow out of the pit.

As soon as he saw himself safely out of the pit, the little hedgehog,
bending over the mouth of the pit, said, chuckling to the fox:

"Where is your wisdom, you fool? You boast that you have a bagful of
wits, whilst it is I who get myself out of the pit though I have only
a little wit."

"Oh," said the fox, whining, "do have pity on me! you are such a
clever old fellow, help me out of it too."

"Well," said the hedgehog, "I will help you. Now, you pretend to be
dead, and when the people come and find you stiff and stark, and a
nasty smell about you, they will say, 'The fox has died and his carcase
is rotting; it is going to make all the poultry yard offensive.' They
will take you and throw you out. And then see whither your way lies."

The fox did as the hedgehog had advised him, and when the people came
and found him in that state, they hauled him out and threw him out
of the yard on to the road.

Quicker than you could clap your hands, the fox was on his legs,
and he ran as if the ground was burning under him.

Since then the fox and the hedgehog are good friends.



South Slavonic Tales, Krauss, No. 13.

A fox meeting a hedgehog asked him, "How many wits have you?" And he
replied, "Only three. But how many have you?" "I," boasted the fox,
"have seventy-seven."

As they were talking and walking along, not noticing whither they
were going, they fell into a deep hole which the peasants had
dug. The fox asked the hedgehog to save him. The hedgehog said,
"I have only three wits, perhaps you will save me first, then I
will see about you afterwards"; and he asked the fox to pitch him
out of the hole. The fox did so, and then asked the hedgehog whether
he could help him. The hedgehog said, "I cannot help you with three
if you cannot help yourself with seventy-seven." And so the fox was
caught in the morning by the peasants and killed.

In the Rumanian version, the hedgehog saves the fox by one wit and
puts him to shame, which rounds off the story much better; in the
Slavonic tale there is scarcely any point.

But this probably goes back to a more ancient legend referred to in
a Greek epigram, v. Benfey, Pantschatantra, i. 316.

Compare the parallel story in Grimm (No. 75) of a fox with the hundred
wits, and also Hahn (91).



CXII.

THE STORY OF THE PEASANT, THE SNAKE, AND KING SOLOMON.


Once upon a time, when King Solomon the wise ruled over the people,
some shepherds gathered under a tree and lit a fire, not for any
special reason, but just to pass their time, as they often do. When
they left, they did not take care to put the fire out; it was left
burning under the ashes. Spreading slowly, it caught the great tree,
which soon afterwards became a mass of living flames. A snake had crept
on to that tree before and found itself now in danger of perishing in
the flames. Creeping upwards to the very top of the tree, the snake
cried as loud as it could, for she felt her skin scorched by the
fire. At that moment a man passed by, and hearing the shrieking of the
snake, who begged him to save her from the flames, he took pity on her,
and cutting a long stick, he reached with it up to the top of the tree
for the snake to glide down on it. But he did not know the mind of the
cunning beast, which had aforetime deceived his forefather Adam, for,
instead of gliding down to the ground, no sooner did the snake reach
the neck of the good man than she coiled herself round and round his
neck. In vain did he remind her that he had saved her life, she would
not hear of anything, for she said, "My skin is dearer to me than to
you, and I remain where I am, you cannot shake me off." Finding that
he could not get rid of the snake, the man went from judge to judge,
from king to king, to decide between them, but no one could help him.

At last, hearing of the wisdom of King Solomon, he came to him and laid
his case before him. But King Solomon said, "I am not going to judge
between you unless you both first promise to abide by my word." Both
did so. Turning to the snake, King Solomon then said, "You must uncoil
yourself and get down on the earth, for I cannot judge fairly between
one who is standing on the ground and one who is riding."

Cunning though the snake may be, she did not understand the wisdom
of King Solomon, and therefore uncoiling herself she glided down
and rested on the ground. Turning to the man, King Solomon said,
"Do you not know that you must never trust a snake?" The man at once
understood what the king meant, and taking up a stone he bruised the
snake's head. And thus justice was done.



Needless to point out, that we have here a variant of the widespread
tale of the man and the snake. At one time the judge is King Solomon,
who looms largely in the minds of the people as the very type of human
wisdom, at another time the judge is a child playing at justice, who
induces the snake to loosen her hold on the man and is then killed
by the man, who finds himself suddenly freed.

In other parallels animals are appointed as judges and this leads to
the undoing of the snake. (v. Benfey, Pantschatantra, i. p. 113 ff.);
Hahn (87), and the literature given by him; Afanasief (No. 15).



CXIII.

THE STORY OF THE DOG AND THE SNAKE AND THE CURE OF HEADACHE.


Once upon a time, I do not know how it came about, the dog had a
frightful headache, such a headache as he had never had before. It
nearly drove him mad, and he ran furiously hither and thither, not
knowing what to do to get rid of it. As he was running wildly over
a field, he met a snake that was lying there coiled up in the sun.

"What is the matter that you are running about like a madman,
brother?" asked the snake.

"Sister, I cannot stop to speak to you. I am clean mad with a splitting
headache, and I do not know how to be rid of it."

"I know a remedy," said the snake, "it is excellent for the headache
of a dog, but it is of no good to me who am also suffering greatly
from a headache."

"Never mind you, what am I to do?"

"You go yonder and eat some of the grass, and you will be cured of
the headache."

The dog did as the snake had advised him. He went and ate the grass,
and soon felt relieved of his pain.

Now, do you think the dog was grateful? No such luck for the snake. On
the contrary, a dog is a dog, and a dog he remains. And why should he
be better than many people are? He did as they do, and returned evil
for good. Going to the snake, he said, "Now that my headache is gone,
I feel much easier; I remember an excellent remedy for the headache
of snakes."

"And what might it be?" asked the snake eagerly.

"It is quite simple. When you feel your head aching, go and stretch
full length across the high-road and lie still for a while, and the
pain is sure to leave you."

"Thank you," said the simpleton of a snake, and she did as the dog had
advised her. She stretched herself full length across the high-road
and lay still, waiting for the headache to go.

The snake had been lying there for some time, when it so happened that
a man came along with a stout cudgel in his hands. To see the snake
and to bruise her head was the work of an instant. And the snake had
no longer any headache. The cure proved complete. And ever since that
time, when a snake has a headache it goes and stretches across the
high-road. If its head is crushed, then no other remedy is wanted,
but if the snake escapes unhurt, it loses its headache.



CXIV.

THE STORY OF THE HORSE, THE LION, AND THE WOLF.


There once lived a Sultan who had a charger. It had served him most
faithfully for a good number of years, carrying him in many battles
and on numerous other occasions.

At last the horse grew old and was no longer fit to serve him as
before. The Sultan, remembering its faithful services, decided to
free it from every manner of work, and in token of recognition of
its faithfulness he set it free to roam about and to feed wherever
it liked.

In order that it should not be molested, he ordered that a special
coating should be made for it of red cloth adorned with many coloured
stripes and patches. He also had it shod with steel shoes, which last
for a very long time.

So, covered with the king's cloth, the horse went about from field
to field eating whatever and whenever it pleased. Being now at ease,
the horse got fat again and strong, and when it walked on the road,
it struck with its feet against the stones and pebbles, and made the
sparks fly from them.

In a forest near by there lived a lion. One day, coming out to the
edge of the wood, he saw the horse in the distance, and as he had
never yet seen such a peculiar animal, he got frightened and started
running back into the thickest part of the forest.

There he met a wolf, who, seeing the lion run, asked him why he
was running.

"If your life is dear to you," he replied, "do not stop here talking,
for that terrible beast which I have seen yonder in the field is sure
to overtake us, and then good-bye to us."

"What beast?" asked the wolf. "I know no beast that could frighten
a lion."

"Well, then, thank God that you have never come across it."

"How does it look?"

"It is a huge beast with a head so big as I have never seen a head
before, and a mouth so large that it could devour us in one bite. As
to its skin, I have never yet seen any like it, all red with stripes
and patches of every colour. It stands on huge feet, and whenever it
walks it scatters fire right and left."

"That may all be as you describe it," said the wolf, "but still it
might also be otherwise. I should like to see it myself, and I might
perhaps know what it is."

"Very well then, let us go higher up the hill, where we can look down
on the field."

"I would rather see it from here, if possible, near at hand."

"As you please. I will squat down on my hind-legs and lift you up
with my fore-legs, so that you can see some distance from here."

The lion did as he said, and taking the wolf in his fore-paws he lifted
him up. But whilst doing so he pressed the wolf so hard that he nearly
lost his breath, and his eyes began starting out of his head. When
the lion saw it, he said, "You cur, you talk bravely and laugh at
me who have been close to that terrible beast, and you, who are so
far away and scarcely able to get a glimpse of it, you are already
losing your breath, and your eyes are starting out of your head."

With these words he threw the wolf down, and away he ran as fast as
his legs would carry him.



This story reminds us of the framework of the famous Indian
Panchatantra, which had so successful a run through the literature of
East and West, becoming one of the most popular books of the Middle
Ages, better known as the story of Kalila and Dimna, or even falsely,
Syntipas.

In Krauss (No. 2) the animal which frightens the lion, or rather
imposes on his credulity, is an ass. The ass makes the lion believe
that he, the ass, was the real king of beasts. The wolf, to whom
the lion says that he was not the real king but that another animal
claimed the right to rule, listens incredulously. The lion ties their
two tails together and takes the wolf to the summit of a hill, from
which they can see the ass. The lion, misunderstanding the exclamation
of the wolf and thinking that he said "there are six," runs away as
fast as he can, dragging the wolf behind him and killing him in his
mad flight. It is obviously the same tale but slightly varied in
the details. In the Rumanian the lion never gets so near the other
animal as to be undeceived by his own sight. He merely sees from a
distance an animal the like of which he had never seen before, and
he works himself up into a great fright. This seems to be the more
primitive form. In the South Slavonic, the lion is simply deceived
by an animal with which he ought to be familiar enough.

A curious and corrupted version is found in Grimm (No. 132), where
only the tying of the tails has been retained. In this version the
horse is tied to the lion, and he drags the lion to his master's house.

Similar is the story of the dib-dib (the name used by the woman for the
dropping rain), whom the leopard, who listens at the door, takes to be
a great monster. A man jumps on the back of the frightened leopard,
thinking it was an ass. The leopard carries him to the dib-dib,
and he runs away. He meets a fox, who laughs at his fear, and they
tie their tails together. The man, who had sought safety in the
branches of the trees, says that the fox had brought the leopard to be
killed. The leopard, who had distrusted the fox, runs away with him,
and as their tails are knotted together, both get killed. (Hanauer,
p. 278.) (Cf. also Afanasief, No. 19.)



CXV.

THE MARRIAGE OF TOM AND THE VIXEN.


Once upon a time there lived a very poor man who had a wife and
family, and there was also a tomcat prowling about the house. One day
a neighbour took pity on them and gave the man a handful of flour
of maize. Overjoyed he went home, and mixing it with water made a
nice dish. Pouring it out on to the plates, he and his wife and the
children sat round eating as much as they could.

Tom, smelling the dish, began to mew, and the father, taking pity on
Tom, said to the children:

"Poor Tom is starving too, give him some of the mameliga" (maize
pudding). But they said, "He must have it in a better style. We will
gird him with a sword round his loins, and he will draw it and cut for
himself as big a slice as he likes." And so they did. But when Tom saw
himself girded with a sword, which clanked as he moved about, he said,
"I am much too good for this family," and off he went into the world.

On his way he met a vixen, and she asked him:

"Where are you going, Sir Knight?"

He said, "I am going to get married."

"Will you marry me?"

Tom replied, "Yes, you are just as good as any other bride."

So they went together to the vixen's lair, and a happy life began
for our friend. For the vixen went catching birds, rabbits, and other
animals, and bringing them home to feed her husband.

One day the vixen met the wolf. "Hallo, sister," he cried, "have you
got a meal ready?"

"I have and I have not. I am married now, and I have a soldier for
a husband."

"I should like to see him," said the wolf; "show him to me."

"Come, I will show him to you," said the vixen, and going to her lair
called Tom, who came out and met the wolf. Tom came out with his sword
clanking behind him, and when he saw that huge beast with his huge
head, his hair stood on end and he began to spit and to snarl for
very fear. The wolf, thinking that Tom was getting angry and ready
to draw his sword and cut him up, turned tail and ran away.

Running very fast he met the bear, who asked him:

"What is the matter with you that you run so fast? Who is running
after you?" The wolf told him all that had happened, and how the vixen
had got a mighty soldier for a husband, who killed anybody who came
near him.

The bear began to get curious and ran to the vixen's lair, and the
same thing happened to him, for Tom came out with his hair standing
on end, and growled, and snarled, and spat, shaking all the time with
fear. The bear ran away as fast as he could and came to the wolf,
and they discussed between themselves how best to get rid of that
terrible Tom, as their lives were no longer safe. So they called the
hare and the lion into counsel. These decided to invite the vixen and
her Tom to a banquet at which they would all fall upon him and end his
career. So they spread a table-cloth under a huge tree, but none had
the courage to go and call the guests. The bear said, "Send the wolf,"
but he replied he was too weak and they would catch him. The bear
said he was rather stout and heavy and they would catch him. So the
trouble fell upon the hare. He, poor fellow, could not help himself,
so he went with the message to invite them. But he did not venture
too near. From a distance he called out to them that they were invited
to a banquet, and off he went after he had delivered the message.

When the vixen heard the message she told Tom, and together they went
to the banquet. On the way Tom saw a crow on the top of a tree, and,
as is the way with cats, before one could turn round Tom had climbed
to the top of the tree and had caught the crow. He then killed it,
and threw it down on the ground.

The hosts, who were sitting at the table, saw what had happened,
and said to one another, "Just see what that knight is doing. Even
the people on the very top of the tree are not safe from him. He
catches them and kills them. How then can we fight him on the earth?"

So the lion crawled under the table, the bear climbed up the tree,
and the wolf and the hare hid themselves in a bush.

When the vixen and Tom came to the place, no one was there, and they
wondered where their hosts could be. Whilst they were looking round,
Tom saw the tip of the lion's tail, and, thinking it to be a rat,
he attacked it. When the lion felt someone tugging at his tail he did
not wait any longer, but ran away as fast as his legs could carry him.

When Tom saw that huge lion he got frightened and ran up the tree. Now
the bear saw Tom running up the tree, and he got frightened and
tumbled head over heels down the tree on to the table with Tom after
him, who, being frightened, ran into the bush. There the wolf and the
hare were crouching, hidden away. No sooner did they see Tom than off
they dashed in a fright. Tom ran back to the vixen, who was sitting
at the table thinking with great satisfaction how they had all run
away out of fear of Tom.

She embraced him, and they sat down alone to the banquet and enjoyed
themselves, no one disturbing them.



In Krauss, No. 3, there is a story parallel yet not identical with
it. In the South Slavonic, a cat, together with a dog, a duck and a
gander, defeats the wolf, fox, bear and wild pig arrayed against them
in battle. Tom contributes most to the victory by sudden attacks on
the ear of the hidden pig, and frightening the bear in the tree by
climbing up in fear, etc. In other respects the stories disagree.

The setting is entirely different. The wolf challenged to combat the
dog, who had betrayed him on two occasions, and each one brought his
contingent to the appointed place of battle. The dog brought his
friends of the courtyard, and the wolf his of the forest, and the
battle ended in the discomfiture of the latter as mentioned above.

Another version is found in Haltrich (No. 82), in which a cat feeds on
the carcase of a horse. It is seen successively by the fox, the wolf,
the bear and the wild pig, who get frightened by the sight of a small,
wild beast, which had killed an animal many times their size and was
eating it.

The cat runs after them by mere chance, and manages to bite the pig's
ear and frighten the others to such an extent that they are still
running, all except the wolf, who has fallen on a pointed stick and
got impaled.

Among the Cossack Tales (W. Bain, London 1894, p. 130 ff.) there is
a story similar, not quite identical.



CXVI.

THE STORY OF MAN AND HIS YEARS.


When God had created the world, he called all his creatures together
to grant them their span of life, and to tell them how long they
would live and what manner of life they would lead.

The first to appear before God was man. And God said to him, "Thou,
man, shalt be king of the world, walking erect upon thy feet and
looking up to heaven. I give thee a noble countenance; the power of
thought and judgment shall be thine, and the capacity of disclosing
thy innermost thoughts by means of speech. All that lives and moves
and goes about the earth shall be under thy rule, the winged birds
and the creeping things shall obey thee, thine shall be all the fruits
of the tree and land, and thy life shall be thirty years."

Then man turned away dissatisfied and grumbling. "What is the good
of living in pleasure and in might, if all the years of my life are
to be thirty only?" So did man speak and grumble, especially when he
heard of the years granted to other animals.

The turn came to the ass. He stepped forward to hear what God had
decreed for him. The Creator said, "Thou shalt work hard; thou shalt
carry heavy burdens and be constantly beaten. Thou shalt always be
scolded and have very little rest, thy food shall be a poor one of
thistles and thorns, and thy life shall be fifty years." When the ass
heard what God had decreed for him he fell upon his knees and cried,
"All merciful Creator, am I indeed to lead such a miserable life,
and am I to have such poor food as thistles and thorns. Am I to work
so hard and carry such heavy burdens and then live on for fifty years
in such misery? Have pity on me and take off twenty years." Then man,
greedy of long life, stepped forward and begged for himself these
twenty years which the ass had rejected. And the Lord granted them
to him.

Then came the dog. To him the Creator said, "Thou shalt guard the
house and the property of thy master; thou shalt cling to them as if
thou wast afraid of losing them; thou shalt bark even at the shadow
of the moon, and for all thy trouble thou shalt gnaw bones and eat
raw meat, and thy life shall be forty years."

"All merciful Creator," cried the dog, "if my life is to be of worry
and trouble, and if I am to live on bones and raw stuff, take off,
I pray thee, twenty years."

Again man, greedy of life, stepped forward and begged the Creator to
give him the twenty years rejected by the dog. And the Creator again
granted his request.

Now, it was the turn of the monkey. The Creator said, "Thou shalt only
have the likeness of man, but not be man; thou shalt be stupid and
childish. Thy back shall be bent; thou shalt be an object of mockery
to the children and a laughing-stock of fools, and thy life shall be
sixty years."

When the monkey heard what was decreed for him, he fell upon his
knees and said, "All merciful God, in thy wisdom thou hast decided
that I should be a man and not a man, that my back shall be bent,
that I shall be a laughing-stock for young and fools and I shall be
stupid. Take, in mercy, thirty years off my life." And God, the all
merciful, granted his request.

And again, man, whose greed can never be satisfied, stepped forward and
asked also for these thirty years which the monkey had rejected. And
again God gave them to him.

Then God dismissed all the animals and all his creatures, and each one
went to his appointed station and to the life that has been granted
to him.

And as man has asked, so has it come to pass.

Man lives as a king and ruler over all creatures for the thirty
years which the Lord had given to him, in joy and in happiness,
without care and without trouble.

Then come the years from thirty to fifty, which are the years of
the ass; they are full of hard work, heavy burdens, and little food,
for man is anxious to gather and to lay up something for the years
to come. It could not be otherwise, for were not these the years
which he had taken over from the ass? Then come the years from fifty
to seventy, when man sits at home and guards with great trembling
and fear the little that he possesses, fearful of every shadow,
eating little, always keeping others away lest they rob him of that
which he has gathered, and barking at every one whom he suspects
of wanting to take away what belongs to him. And no wonder that he
behaves like that, for these are the dog's years, which man had asked
for himself. And if a man lives beyond seventy, then his back gets
bent, his face changes, his mind gets clouded, he becomes childish,
a laughing-stock for children, an amusement for the fool, and these
are the years which man had taken over from the monkey.



Thus far the story which I found in some old Rumanian MSS., and which
may, therefore, not be quite of a popular origin. I have retold it here
because we have in it the animal in the man. It may be a caricature,
but it does not show up man to advantage in comparison with the animal
world. And yet, he is endeavouring to conquer the animal, to shake
off the fateful inheritance of greed, and to return to that rule and
kingdom which are his own by the grace of God to his thirtieth year,
and which he endeavours to carry even beyond that limited span of time.



CXVII.

THE JUDGMENT OF THE SOUL OF MAN, ACCUSED AND DEFENDED BY BEAST
AND BIRDS.


When a man dies two angels appear, the good one and the evil one. The
good one walking on his right, and the evil on his left, each one holds
a book in his hand in which man's deeds are written. When the soul
appears before the divine judge, there comes first the cat accusing
the man, and the cat says, "He gave me no peace all my life through;
he put me to catch mice and I often remained hungry. Then man drives
me out of the house, and during daytime he never lets me in."

"What are you talking of? you should be ashamed of yourself," is
the rejoinder of the dog, "you live in a warm house, you have food
in plenty, you have nothing to complain of. What am I to say, who
am kept out in the cold and rain, and have to watch day and night,
and if ever I get a bone thrown at me I think myself happy." The
judge replies: "That is your work; to that you have been appointed:
off with you." The evil angel writes it all down and puts the weight
of guilt on the one scale, and the good angel writes it in his book
and he puts a counter-weight in the other scale.

Then come the birds. First the wild duck. He says, "O unfailing judge,
see how this man has ill-treated us, he comes to our resting-place
and shoots us down mercilessly." "It serves you right," is the reply
of the judge, "if you live as a wild bird, you must be treated like
a wild bird. You ought to be domesticated and no hurt will befall you."

Then the sparrow comes, and he says, "O mighty Lord, this man here
snared us and killed us." And the judge replies, "You have stolen his
corn and destroyed his crop." And other birds, like the finch and the
thrush and the heron, come, and all bring accusations against the man,
and the evil angel enters them in his book.

Then come the good witnesses. First the swallow, and she says, "O
Lord, this man has been kind to us. We built our nest in his house
and under his roof, and he never as much as molested us, and even
when my young spoil the food, which he is preparing under their nest,
he never hurts them." Then the stork comes, he says, "I build my nest
on the very roof of his house, and on his storehouses, and he never
interferes with us, and we hatch our young and feel no hurt. All
merciful father, have mercy on him, as he was full of pity for us."

Then the cuckoo comes, and he said, "I who have been thy servant pray
thee to forgive his sins, for even to me he does no hurt, and though
I often announce death to him, he none the less listens with pleasure
to my call. Have mercy on him and forgive his sins." And so the other
birds come and ask the forgiveness of sin. And the good angel writes
it all down in his book and puts it as counter-weights in his balance,
and often the pleading of the birds opens the gates of heaven to the
human soul.



CXVIII.

THE PILGRIMAGE OF THE SOUL AFTER DEATH.


    O rosebush, O rosebush,
    Thou art evil tempered!
    Why hast thou tarried
    And not budded
    Since yester-morning
    Until this morning?
    It was bitter enough to watch,
    How they became separated,
    The soul from the body.
    Going away from the beautiful world,
    From the world with the sun shining,
    From the blowing wind,
    From the flowing waters.
    O rosebush, why hast thou hastened not to bud?
    I have budded quickly,
    For my time also has come,
    To go away like thee,
    To travel to the setting of the sun,
    Where the sun is hiding,
    Where the flowers dwell
    With all their sisters,
    And where the flower of the sun
    Sits at the gate of Paradise
    To judge the flowers,
    Where they have left their scent.
    In the evening the rain did fall.
    In the night the sky cleared up.
    In the dawn the dew has fallen,
    And the scent has gone astray.
    The soul divided from the body,
    Full of grief and sorrow,
    Journeys far away.
    It reaches the sea.
    The sea is raging furiously.
    It comes howling and foaming,
    Frightening the whole world.
    The wave rose up high,
    To swallow the world.
    It brings in its sweep blackberry trees, elder-trees,
    Pines torn from the roots.
    On the border of the sea,
    Where the pine tree of the fairies stands,
    The way across the waters,
    The soul stood praying to the pine.
    O pine,
    Be a brother unto me.
    Stretch, oh stretch
    Thy boughs,
    That I may lay hold of them,
    And thus pass across
    That wide sea
    Which divides me from the world.
    I may not stretch my boughs
    For thee to lay hold of them,
    And to pass across by them,
    For on my crest a red hawk has hatched its young,
    With a cursed heart
    And a proud eye.
    Ere thou art aware,
    The young will see thee.
    They will whistle,
    And frighten thee,
    And thou art sure to drop into the sea beneath,
    And be engulfed there.
    Let it be so!
    The sea was raging furiously.
    It came howling and storming,
    Frightening the whole world.
    The wave rose,
    To swallow the world,
    And brought in its sweep,
    Blackberry trees,
    Elder trees,
    Pines torn from their roots.
    On the shore of the seas,
    Where the pine tree of the fairies stands,
    The passage across the water,
    The soul stood praying to the pine:
    O pine tree,
    Be a brother unto me.
    Stretch, I pray thee,
    Thy trunk,
    That I may pass across the seas
    Which separate one world from the other.
    I may not stretch my trunk
    For thee to pass,
    For in it the barking otter has laid her young,
    Which lie in wait for men.
    Before thou art ware,
    The young ones will find thee.
    They will bark at thee,
    And frighten thee,
    And thou art sure to drop into the sea beneath,
    And be engulfed by it.
    Let it be so!
    The sea was raging furiously.
    It came howling and foaming,
    Frightening the whole world.
    The waves rose high up to swallow the world.
    It brought in its sweep,
    Blackberry trees,
    Elder trees,
    Pine trees torn from the roots.
    On the shore of the sea,
    Where the pine tree of the fairies stands,
    The passage across the waters,
    The soul stood praying.
    O pine tree,
    Be a brother unto me.
    Stretch thy roots,
    That I may lay hold of them,
    And pass across the seas
    To the other part,
    From which the sea separates me.
    I may not stretch my roots
    For thee to lay hold of them,
    To pass across,
    For in it the yellow dragon has hatched its young,
    And they are starving.
    Ere thou art aware,
    They will discover thee,
    And they will hiss.
    Thou wilt be frightened,
    And art sure to drop into the sea,
    Which will engulf thee.
    Let it be so.
    And now, pine tree,
    Pine tree,
    Long enough have I prayed of thee,
    But I have a brother,
    A fine shepherd.
    He has a small axe,
    And he has two cousins,
    Two strong boys.
    They will come and cut thee down,
    And throw thee down.
    The carpenters will come,
    And cut thee to measure,
    And they will make out of thee
    A bridge over the sea,
    To give peace to all,
    For the souls to have a passage,
    The tried souls,
    That journey on the way to Paradise.
    The pine tree considered,
    It stretched out its boughs,
    And the soul passed across the nameless sea,
    To go where its desire carried it,
    To the other world.
    Pass on, O soul;
    Pass on unharmed,
    Until thou hast gained in mercy
    The seven heavy toll-houses.
    Then go on straight, O dear soul,
    Until thou reachest a place
    Where the road divides.
    Stop there and consider
    Which road to take,
    Until thou seest
    A tall acacia tree,
    Bent and with broad leaves.
    Take good care
    Not to turn to the left,
    For it is the narrow way--
    Narrow and a blind alley,
    Watered with tears.
    And there are also fields badly ploughed,
    And covered with briars and thistle.
    There dwells the old fay,
    Who takes thy passport out of thy hand.
    But turn to the right.
    Thy own desire leads thee,
    For there thou shalt find
    Delightful fields,
    With choice flowers,
    Fields well tilled, sown with flowers.
    Thou wilt pick flowers,
    And the longing for this world will vanish.
    Take further good care,
    For thou shalt find
    In two beds,
    Only one flower in each,
    Flower close upon the ground
    Not touched by the wind;
    Flower in the shade
    Never seen by the sun.
    Pick them,
    For these are the flowers of Paradise.
    Journey on,
    Until thou reachest that apple tree
    Which belongs to St. Peter.
    It is a high and mighty tree,
    And somewhat bent
    On its side.
    The top reaches the heavens.
    The sides go down to the seas.
    The top is full of bloom,
    And the boughs are full of fruit;
    And down at the roots trickles a gentle fountain.
    There sits St. Mary.
    May her mercy be with us!
    Whoever passes by
    She takes pity on them,
    And gives them all to drink,
    And guides them into the right path.
    The soul drinks of the water,
    And forgets this world.
    Go on thy journey
    Until thou reachest the noble willow tree
    Covered with bloom.
    But it is not a noble willow covered with bloom.
    It is St. Mary
    In a beautiful garment,
    A garment of silk.
    She sits at a table,
    Adorned with flowers.
    There she sits and writes--
    She the holy Mary--
    The dead and the living.
    And she writes down the fate of each of them.
    Pray to her
    To take the page of the living.
    Perchance she will have compassion on thee,
    And will write thee among the living.
    But she will not have pity on thee,
    And will not write thee among the living,
    For her sheet is full up,
    And she has lost her pen.
    Pray her, however, very much
    That she take thee with her into the Paradise,
    If thou hast not prayed,
    When the call has reached thee
    In thine own village.
    Go then further
    Upon beaten tracks, until thou comest
    To the very gate of Paradise,
    Where there stands the flower of the sun.
    There stop.
    There take shelter,
    And wait patiently
    The hour of quickening,
    For it is sure to come,
    And thou wilt return,
    When the stags will draw the plough,
    And the hinds will scatter the seeds.
    O earth,
    From this day on
    Be thou my father.
    Do not hurry
    To eat me up,
    For I am giving thee now,
    Without ever taking them back,
    My shoulders in thy arms,
    And my face under thy green sward.


The conception which is here revealed is totally unlike popular
apocryphal Christian tales like the Visions of St. Peter, Paul,
and the Lady Mary, all well known in Rumanian literature. Nor are
there traces of the other set of ideas, originating probably in Egypt,
according to which the soul has to pass through many toll-houses where
angels and devils are waiting for it, and through which it can only
pass with extreme difficulty, if and when the good deeds outweigh the
evil deeds. The poem of the "Pilgrimage of the Soul" has almost an
heathen aspect. Noteworthy are the huge trees, at the shore of the
boundless sea, which must bend across it so as to form a bridge for
the soul to pass, and the three animals living in it which threaten
the soul with destruction. It reminds one strongly of the Northern
Ygdrasil, and almost the same beasts which inhabit it. This is not
the place to discuss at any length this tree upon which the world
rests, which no doubt goes back to, or is somehow connected with,
the tree of life in Paradise and the legends which have clustered
round that tree. This conception of the "Pilgrimage of the Soul,"
with its allegorical and mystical meaning, is certainly not a product
of the Orthodox Church. It reminds one forcibly of the fantastical
and poetical conceptions of the heterodox sects.



CXIX.

THE REWARD OF THE GOOD MAN.

A Christmas Carol of the Lord's Justice.


    Lord, O Lord,
    In this house,
    In this yard,
    This place,
    Two tall apple trees have grown,
    Two trees tall and wonderful,
    Their tops intertwined.
    High above,
    In their very tops,
    Two candles are burning,
    And from these two candles
    Three drops are falling,
    And from these three drops
    Three rivers have grown--
    One of wine,
    One of balsam,
    And one of pure water.
    Who bathes in the river of wine?
    God himself, the good God,
    Bathes himself,
    Washes,
    Cleanses himself in pure limpid water,
    Changes his clothes,
    And anoints himself with balsam.
    Further down the river John--
    St. John--
    And old Christmas [6] bathe and wash,
    And in limpid water cleanse themselves,
    Change their raiment,
    Anoint themselves with balsam.
    And further down, along the river,
    Other saints bathe and wash,
    And rinse themselves in pure limpid water,
    And put on white clothes.
    Still much further down,
    This good man bathes,
    Washes,
    Rinses himself,
    In clean water,
    And puts on clean garments.
    The good God said:
    "To whom, O man, doest thou liken thyself?
    To me?
    To the saints?
    To St. John?
    Or to old Christmas?"
    "No, O Lord.
    I do not liken myself
    Neither to Thee,
    Nor to the Saints,
    Nor to St. John,
    Nor to old Christmas,
    But to the good deeds which I have performed.
    I married as a young man,
    I have built a house
    On the highroad,
    I have kept a decked table
    On the high road.
    Whosoever passed
    Sat down at my table.
    All ate and drank at my table,
    And all thanked me.
    I have further built
    Bridges in dangerous paths.
    Whosoever passed
    Thanked me.
    I have further digged wells
    In dry lands.
    Whosoever drank of the water
    Blessed me."
    The good God then replied:
    "May thou therefore be blessed.
    Thou hast done good deeds
    In that world.
    Blessing shalt thou find in this.
    Enter Paradise without trial.
    Sit at table not invited,
    And drink the cup unasked."
    We wish health to this house,
    To these beautiful courts,
    To all of us a happy life
    For many years.



APPENDIX I.

RUMANIAN INCANTATIONS AGAINST THE ILLNESSES OF ANIMALS.


I am adding here a number of incantations or charms, which are used
by the Rumanians to ward off evil from animals and to save from hurt
and disease such victims of witchcraft. In the mind of the people,
the old conception is still strong that every sickness is caused by
some malignant spirit, and that the most potent remedy is the magical
word of incantation or conjuration. And what holds good for the cure
of the Evil Eye holds good similarly in the case of a snake bite or
any other apparently incurable disease.

The Rumanians resort to magical performances of a peculiarly
symbolical and sympathetic nature. Those practices are accompanied by
"incantations" or rather "disenchantments," i.e. chants used for the
purpose of destroying the spell. This is not the place to discuss at
any length the history and origin of these charms and the mechanism
of their composition. I have dealt with them largely in my history
of Rumanian Folk-Lore (Lit. pop. Româna, 1883, p. 406 ff.). I have
shown there the similarity between some of these "incantations" or
"conjurations" with some Byzantine and mediæval Latin charms, and
not a few ancient oriental incantations of Babylon and Palestine. In
connection with the foregoing Tales and Legends, it is of no small
importance now to find that similar conjurations are used for the
protection of animals. The same procedure is followed as in the case
of human beings, and practically the same words and images are used
to free the cattle from sickness. In one or two instances (Nos. 2,
3) the cow is being bewitched and loses her milk, or the calf does
not suck. The "virtue" (Rum. mana), the "abundance" or "blessing,"
is being taken by some witch, or is waning on account of the Evil
Eye. Even in these cases the formula is almost identical with that
used in a stereotyped form in human "incantations." Each of these given
here could be made the starting-point of discursive explanations. But
this must be reserved for a special study of the Rumanian charms and
incantations. For our purpose here the translation accompanied only
by a few explanatory foot-notes, is quite sufficient. It proves that
to the Rumanian peasant, there is no essential difference between
man and beast. They are both treated alike, and even the Lady Mary
knows no difference between them. She helps the beast in the same
manner as she descends the "silver ladder" to help the man. And
the evil spirits, who attack man and beast with the same virulence,
are driven out by precisely the same method: charms and incantations.



I.

AGAINST THE ILLNESS OF POULTRY.


    "Good one" (Dobritza) went with the broom to sweep the poultry
    yards, the hens, and the geese runs, with the geese,
    The turkey yard, with the turkeys,
    The gardens and the orchards,
    The hills with the vineyards,
    The mountains with the forests.
    Then, Good One! do not go to sweep the gardens and the orchards,
    the hills and vineyards,
    The mountains with the forests,
    The run with the poultry, but come and sweep away the sickness
    of the hens,
    The ducks, and the geese of Mr. N. N. Sweep away the sickness
    with thy broom,
    And I with my mouth will say the charm (disenchantment).
    With my hand I will seize it,
    And beyond the Black Sea I will throw it,
    That it may perish, truly perish, there,
    As the foam of the sea,
    As the dew before the sun,
    And the birds of Mr. N. N. shall become pure, sweet, clean and
    shining,
    As made by God.


This charm is said whilst stirring the "virgin water" with a broom.



II.

CHARM FOR A COW AGAINST THE EVIL EYE.


    The Monday cow has gone on her way, on her pathway,
    On to untrodden grass,
    With the virtue (Mana) not taken away,
    And with the dew not yet shaken off,
    To the field with butter,
    To the well with cream.
    She was met by nine evil-eyed ones,
    Nine witches,
    And nine takers-away of blessing (abundance mana).
    The cow lowed and roared;
    She turned back.
    The Holy Mother heard her.
    She came to her with dew under her feet and with "abundance"
    on her back.
    She took hold of her by the right horn,
    And led her to green reeds,
    And sprinkled her with (the branches) of the willow tree and basil.
    The cream thickened,
    The eyes sparkled,
    The hair became smooth,
    And the milk started running.
    It spurted like a vein,
    It issued forth like a well, and ran like a river.



III.

CHARM FOR A SUCKLING CALF.


    I rose up early in the morning.
    I took the sickle (scythe)
    In my hand.
    I went up to the hill of love.
    I went down into the valley of affection.
    I cut nine handfuls of flowers,
    I cut (gathered) love from nine jolly widows,
    From nine beautiful girls,
    From nine kings and nine rulers.
    With the same zest as kings hasten to their kingdom,
    Rulers to their rule,
    Ministers to their ministration,
    Knights to their knighthood,
    And merchants to their business,
    So shall the "Thursday [7] one"
    Hasten to the calf,
    And the calf to her.
    As the tongue is fast in the mouth,
    So shall "Thursday one" stick to her calf,
    And the calf on to her.
    I burnt it (the spell) with fire,
    I singed it with the flame,
    I enveloped it with love,
    With affection I kindled it.
    As the honey is sweet,
    So shall the calf long for "Thursday one."



IV.

CHARM FOR A COW AGAINST SNAKE-BITE.


    N. N. rose up,
    Got up very early,
    And met the accursed on the way,
    And he poisoned him as one bitten by the poisoned fly.
    The Lady Mother heard it from heaven.
    She took the staff in her hand,
    And came down upon a silver ladder.
    Do not cry, and do not low, O "Thursday one."
    Come with me to that old woman, that she may say the charm
    (disenchantment) for thee,
    With water from the well,
    With three stalks of elder-tree,
    With twigs of hazelnut tree,
    With a knife that has been found and with silver coins.


These charms were told in the year 1913 by a woman who was believed
to be in her 109th year.



V.

CHARM AGAINST EVIL EYE.


    Fly away, evil eye, from the White one.
    Do not wonder at her.
    Do not stare at her admiringly
    Of the milk that is milked,
    Of the calf that is sucking
    Her sweet body,
    That it is sweet to me as honey and yellow as wax; but wonder at,
    And stare admiringly
    At that green bush,
    That it is as green as the ivy,
    And white as the lily.
    Fly away, yawn,
    Fly away, shout,
    Of the great evil eye.



VI.

CHARM AGAINST EVIL EYE.


    The mistress has gone on her way with Joyana (Thursday one)
    To feed her on the green field.
    Well she did feed her,
    Well did she satisfy her,
    Well did she slake her thirst.
    She turned her back.
    In the middle of the way
    She met an old woman
    Dressed in a shirt of nettles,
    With sandals of a black sow on her feet.
    She broke Joyana's horns,
    Her eyes she caused to shed tears,
    Her hair she ruffled (bristled),
    The tail she cut off,
    The breasts she squeezed (flattened),
    The udders she emptied.
    The cow lowed and the cow moaned.
    No one saw her;
    No one heard her;
    But the Holy Mother saw her.
    Only she heard.
    She said to her:
    "Thursday one, do not low, do not moan."
    "How am I not to low?
    How am I not to moan?
    As I went with my mistress to feed in pastures green,
    She fed me well.
    She slaked my thirst well.
    Back she did turn me.
    When in the middle of the way,
    An old woman met me,
    Dressed in a shirt of nettles,
    With sandals of a black sow on her feet.
    She lopped my horns,
    She caused my eyes to run over,
    My hair she made to bristle,
    My tail she has cut off,
    She has flattened my breasts,
    She has emptied my udders."
    "(Joyana) 'Thursday one,' do not low, do not moan.
    Go to N. N.
    He will disenchant thee with the nettle in flour,
    From the little horns
    To the little tail,
    From the little tail to the little horns.
    The horns will become sharp again.
    The hair will be smooth,
    The breasts will be strong,
    The udder will be full again.
    Go to thy mistress,
    And she will milk thee from the pail into the can,
    From the can into the pail."



This disenchantment is made with nettles in flour.



VII.

CHARM AGAINST WORMS IN BEASTS.

Take three stalks of madwort. Go to the beast that has worms, touching
the wound with the madwort, say:


    May there be as many maggots in the wound as there are (popi)
    priests in Paradise.
    As many and not even as many.


Say it three times, and the worms will fall off.

The implication is obvious.



VIII.

AGAINST WORMS.

On a day of Lent, before sunrise, take the beast, which has worms
outside the village to a place where reeds are growing. Get nine bushes
of reeds, each with three reeds (stalks) in one root. Stop still at
each bush, cut the middle reed, shake it three times over the wound,
and say:


    "Ye three reeds are three brothers,
    And ye all three are to join together,
    And drive away the worms from Joyana;
    For, if not,
    I come to-morrow at the same time,
    To cut you off from the root,
    To take away your peace,
    And dust and ashes shall you become."


Then spit aside. Repeat this with each of the reed-bushes. At mid-day,
when the sun stands in "the balance" (noontide), repeat the whole
incantation, and yet a third time shortly before sunset. The cut
reeds must be tied together by their roots, and you will see the
worms dropping off when you finish the charm.

This cure can also be effected when the beast is not present. In this
case, go alone, and remember the animal whilst making the operation. It
will be found quite effective.



IX.

CHARM AGAINST SNAKE-BITE.


    Above it is thundering,
    Lightning,
    Speckling, clinging to the skin,
    Skin to bone,
    Bone to flesh.
    The flesh has been bitten,
    Bitten by a snake.
    God, send the cure.
    Holy Mother, overshadow him.


This charm is made with "virgin water," using a hazelnut twig,
especially if a snake has been killed with it. The bite is washed
with the water, and a mouthful is taken three times.



X.

CHARM IF BITTEN BY A WEASEL.


    Weasel, beautiful girl,
    There are nine boils.
    Nine boils have gone down;
    Eight boils have grown,
    Eight boils have gone down;
    Seven boils have grown,
    Seven boils have gone down;
    And so on until one boil has grown,
    And one has gone down.
    And the cow N. N. shall now remain clean and sweet (strong),
    as she was made by God.


This charm is said three times over a pail with "virgin water";
a cross is made over with the skin of a weasel, or with the twig of
hazel-nut, or with a found knife.

The cow is washed with the water, and the rest is poured into running
water.

The charm must be repeated three times daily, and for three consecutive
days, if the bite is a bad one and the swelling does not go down.



APPENDIX II.

THREE STORIES FROM ARKIR, THE RUMANIAN VERSION OF THE STORY OF AHIKAR.


I.

And Anadan said: "Forgive me, my father, and let me be the meanest
of swineherds, only let me live." But Arkirie said: "No, my son, thou
hast acted towards me in the same manner as the wolf acted when he went
to the teacher to be taught; for whilst the teacher said A B C D, the
wolf said: 'For the lambs' and 'for the sheep' and 'for the goats' and
'for the kids'; in the same manner hast thou acted towards me, my son."



II.

And he began to beat him. And Anadan said: "Have mercy on me, and I
will be a shepherd." And Arkirie said: "Thou hast acted towards me as
the wolf who followed the sheep and met the shepherd, who said to him:
'Thank thee.' And he asked him: 'Whither art thou going so fast?' And
the wolf said: 'I follow the track of the sheep, for an old woman
told me that the dust of the sheep was wholesome for the eyes.' In
the same manner hast thou acted against me."



III.

And he began again to beat him, but Anadan said: "Have pity on me,
and I will groom thy horses." But Arkirie said: "No, my son, thou hast
acted towards me like a man who, leading an ass on the road, tied it
with a loose rope. The ass broke the rope and ran away. On his way he
met the wolf, and the wolf said unto him: 'Happy journey unto thee,
ass!' And the ass replied: 'Unhappy it will be, for the man tied me
up with a rotten rope, so that I broke it and ran away, and he did
not tie me with a good rope.'" And Arkirie continued to beat him
until he died (M. Gaster, Jrnl. Royal Asiatic Society, 1900, p. 309).

A larger number of animal fables are found in the other versions
of Ahikar, thus in the Armenian (Story of Ahikar, edited by Rendel
Harris Conybeare, etc., second edition, Cambridge, 1913, p. 51),
and in the Slavonic (ibid. pp. 21 and 22).



APPENDIX III.

ANIMAL STORIES FROM THE HEBREW ALPHABET OF BEN SIRA.


This seems to be the oldest collection of animal tales which agree
most closely with some of the Rumanian. They are of a purely oriental
origin, and are therefore invaluable in helping to determine that of
the latter. They are taken from the Venice edition, 1544, reprinted
page by page by Steinschneider, Berlin 1858 (f. 24a ff.).



I.

WHY WERE FLIES CREATED WHICH LIVE ONLY ONE DAY?

Q. Why were the flies created which live only one day?

Reply. For the sake of the fly which in the future will torture Titus
the wicked, and also for the sake of the fledglings of the raven. When
they are hatched they are white and the parents fly away and leave
them. Then they cry to God, as it is written, "The young of the raven
which cry unto Him and He brings to them these flies and they are fed
thereby." After three days they become dark; then the parents return
to them. Thus the Lord, blessed be He, prepares the cure before the
illness (f. 24a).



II.

WHY DID GOD CREATE WASPS AND SPIDERS WHICH ARE OF NO USE?

Q. Why did God create wasps and spiders which are of no use?

R. Once upon a time David was sitting in his garden and he saw a wasp
eating a spider, and there came a fool with a stick in his hand, and
he drove them away. Then David said, "O Lord of the Universe, what
benefit is there in these creatures? The wasp eats up the honey and
is destructive; the spider weaves the whole year and there is nothing
with which to clothe oneself; the fool only hurts people, and he does
not know thy unity and thy greatness, the world has no benefit from
him." The Lord replied and said, "David, thou dost scoff at these
creatures now, but a time is sure to come when they will be of use
to thee, and then thou wilt recognise the reason of their creation."

It happened thereafter, when he hid in the cave, being pursued by Saul,
a spider came and made his web across the mouth of the cavern. Saul
coming up, saw the web and said, "Certainly no man has entered this
cave, as otherwise that web would have been torn to pieces." So he went
away without searching the cave. When David came out, and beheld the
spider, he kissed it and blessed it and said, "Lord of the Universe,
who can accomplish works like any of thy works? For all thy deeds
are beautiful."

When he came to Achish, David simulated the fool before him and his
men. The daughter of Achish also was foolish and mad. When they
brought David before him, he said to his men, "Are ye mocking at
me, considering that my daughter is a fool, or am I in want of
lunatics?" So they left him and he fled. When he found himself
in safety he thanked God for all that he had made, for it was all
beautiful.

When David (had entered the cave) he found Saul sleeping his noon-day
sleep. Abner slept across the opening with his legs bent. David tried,
slipped through the legs, and went in and took the jug of water. When
he returned Abner suddenly stretched out and kept David as in a hedge,
as if two heavy pillars had come down upon him. Then David prayed for
God's mercy and said, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" In
that hour a miracle was performed for him, for a wasp came and stung
Abner in his leg. He lifted it up and David was able to escape. Then
David praised and thanked God.

It is not fit for man to mock or scoff at God's works (f. 24 a-b).



III.

WHY HAS THE OX NO HAIR ON HIS NOSE?

Q. Why has the ox no hair on his nose?

R. When the Israelites were going round Jericho with Joshua in order
to destroy it, they brought him successively a horse, an ass, and
a mule to ride upon, but they all died, for Joshua was a very heavy
man. Then they brought an ox and he carried him on his back. When he
saw this Joshua kissed the ox on his nose, and for this reason the
ox has no hair on that spot (f. 25a).



IV.

WHY DOES THE CAT EAT MICE MORE THAN ANY OTHER CREEPING THING?

Q. Why does the cat eat mice more than any other creeping thing?

R. In the beginning the cat and the mouse were friends. At one time
the mouse went and accused the cat falsely before God, and said,
"Lord of the Universe, the cat and I are companions and we have now
nothing to eat." God replied, "Thou hast brought a false accusation
against thy friend in order to be able to eat him. Now the reverse is
to happen, the cat will eat thee and thou shalt serve her as food." The
mouse replied, "Lord of the Universe, what have I done?" And God said,
"O thou unclean creature! Hast thou not heard what happened to the
sun and moon which originally were of equal size, but because the
moon brought a false accusation against (slandered) the sun, I have
reduced its size and made it smaller than the sun? So also hast thou
slandered thy companion in order to eat him, and he therefore will
eat thee." "If that be so," the mouse replied, "then the cat will
surely utterly destroy me." And God replied, "I will leave thee a
remnant as I have done to the moon."

Then the mouse went, and springing on the head of the cat began to
bite it. The cat then threw the mouse on the ground and killed it.

From that time on, the fear of the cat fell upon the mice, and for
this reason does the cat eat the mouse (f. 25b).

(The Hebrew word used for cat is khatool which originally means
weasel!)



V.

WHY DOES THE ASS MIX HIS WATER WITH THAT OF OTHER ASSES, AND SMELL
THE DUNG?

Q. Why does the ass mix his water with that of other asses and smell
the dung?

R. When God had created all the beings, the ass said to the horse
and mule, "Every creature has some time of rest, but we are destined
to work on continuously without any rest. Let us pray to God to give
us also some time of respite, and if our prayer be not heard let us
decide no longer to procreate so that we may die out." So they prayed,
but their prayer was not heard. But God said, "When your water becomes
rivers to drive mills thereby, and when your dung has the smell of
perfume, then you will obtain your respite." And this is the answer
to the question (f. 25b).



VI.

WHY DOES THE DOG FIGHT THE CAT?

Q. Why is there enmity between the cat and the dog?

R. When the cat (weasel) was created it became the companion of the
dog. Both hunted together and ate together of the prey. It so happened
at one time that two or three days had passed and they had not got
anything to eat. Then the dog said to the cat, "Why are we sitting
here a hungered? Go to Adam and sit in his house and be fed there,
and we will go after the creeping things and reptiles and will feed
upon them, and we shall both be kept alive." The cat then replied
to the dog, "Let it be so, but we must take an oath that we will
not go both together to one master." He replied, "Thou hast spoken
well." There and then they both took an oath, and the cat went to
the house of Adam, where she found mice, which she caught and ate:
the rest ran away from her. When Adam saw what had happened, he said,
"A great salvation ("cure") has God sent me."

Then he took the cat into his house and fed it and gave it to drink.

The dog went to the wolf and said unto him, "Let me come and spend
the night with thee." He replied, "Very well." Both went to a cave to
sleep there. In the night the dog heard the footsteps of the various
animals, so he woke the wolf and told him, "I heard the steps of
thieves." The wolf replied, "Go out to them and drive them away."

The beasts turned upon him to kill him. The dog fled away and went to
the ape, but the ape drove him away. Then he went to the sheep. The
sheep received him and allowed him to sleep there. He heard the
noise of feet and he said to the sheep, "I hear the footsteps of
robbers." The sheep replied, "Go out." The dog went out, and began to
bark. The wolves said, "Surely sheep are there." So they went thither
and ate the sheep.

The dog fled away and went from place to place trying to find some
shelter, but could not find any. At last he came to Adam, who took
him in and allowed him to sleep there. In the middle of the night the
dog said to Adam, "I hear the noise of footsteps." Adam rose at once,
took his spear, and going out with the dog drove the wild beasts
away and returned home with the dog. Then Adam said to the dog,
"Come into my house, dwell with me, eat of my food and drink of my
water." And the dog went with him. When the cat heard the voice of
the dog she came out to him and said, "Why dost thou come thither to
my place?" And he replied, "Adam has brought me hither." Adam said
to the cat, "Why dost thou quarrel with him? I have brought him in,
for I found him clever and full of courage. Thou needst not grieve,
thou shalt be kept also as before." The cat replied, "My Lord, he
is a thief, is it right to dwell in one place with a thief?" And the
cat went on to say to the dog, "Why hast thou broken (transgressed)
thy oath?" He replied, "I will not enter thy dwelling place, I will
not eat of anything that belongs to thee, I will not cause thee the
least harm." But the cat did not listen and began to quarrel.

When the dog saw this, he went away from the house of Adam, and going
to that of Seth, dwelt there. And the dog tried all the time to make
peace with the cat, but it was all in vain. In that state they have
remained to this very day, in constant enmity, for the children follow
the example of their forebears: as the proverb has it: sheep follow
sheep (f. 25b, 26a).



VII.

WHY IS IT THAT THE DOG RECOGNISES HIS MASTER AND THE CAT DOES NOT?

Q. Why is it that the dog recognises his master and the cat does not?

R. Whoever eats of anything at which mice have nibbled forgets what
he has been taught. It is only natural that he who eats the mouse
itself should forget his master (f. 26b).



VIII.

WHY IS THERE A SEAM IN THE MOUTH OF THE MOUSE?

Q. Why is there a seam in the mouth of the mouse?

R. At the time of the Flood, all kinds of creeping things and reptiles
had come into the Ark, male and female. Once upon a time the mouse
and its mate were sitting by the cat, when the cat suddenly said,
"I remember that in former times my forefathers used to eat yours,
and what they did then I might as well do now." With these words the
cat sprang at the mouse wishing to eat it. The mouse fled and sought
for a hole to hide itself, but could not find any. A miracle happened,
and a hole appeared which the mouse entered and hid itself. The cat
came to the hole and tried to follow the mouse, but could not, as the
hole was very narrow. So she put her paw into it with the intention
of dragging it out. The mouse opened its mouth. So the cat cut its
lower chin open with its nail about half the length of a span. When
the cat had gone away the mouse crept out of the hole and running to
Noah said to him, "O thou righteous man, do me an act of charity and
sew up the chin, which my enemy the cat has torn open." Noah replied,
"Go to the pig and bring me one of the bristles of its tail." He went
and brought it to Noah, who sewed up the chin. To this very day the
seam can be seen (f. 26b).



IX.

WHY DOES THE RAVEN HOP IN ITS WALK?

Q. Why does the raven hop in its walk?

R. Once upon a time the raven saw how beautiful was the stepping (walk)
of the dove, more beautiful than that of all the other birds. He liked
the walk of the doves very much, and he said to himself, "I will also
put my feet in the same step." And he nearly broke his bones in the
attempt to imitate the dove. The other birds laughed and mocked at
him. The raven felt ashamed and he said, "Let me return to my former
walk." So he tried to walk as before, but he could not, for he had
forgotten it. Thus he remained with a halting step, like one who is
jumping, neither walking as before, nor being able to walk as the dove
(f. 26b).



X.

WHY DOES THE RAVEN MATE DIFFERENTLY FROM ANY OTHER BIRD?

Q. Why does the raven mate differently from any other bird?

R. There are various explanations. One is that he has been punished
for his lewdness in the Ark, and for the same reason also the dog
has been punished.

Others say, because he is wicked, a thief, and froward. There is one
answer which combines and explains it more satisfactorily. When Noah
wanted to send the raven to see whether the waters were falling, the
raven fled and hid himself under the eagle's wing. Noah searched after
him and found him there under the wing of the eagle. He said to him,
"Go, thou wicked one, and see whether the waters are falling." The
raven replied, "Hast thou not found any other bird but me." Noah
replied, "I can only send one of the two birds whose first letter
is either Ain or Yod." The raven replied, "Why not the eagle and
dove"? (Nun, Yod). Noah said, "Because there will be a town in
existence called Ai whose inhabitants will kill Yair, who will
forbid the raven and permit the dove (to eat)." Then the raven
replied impudently to Noah, "The reason why thou hast chosen to
send me out is that thou wishest to kill me in order to marry my
mate, as I belong to those birds of which thou hast introduced into
the Ark only one pair."

When Noah heard these words, he cursed the raven that he should
mate differently from any other bird, and all the birds in the Ark
replied Amen. Then the raven replied, "Why hast thou cursed me? I
have a legal complaint against thee." Noah replied, "Because thou
art lewd and foolish and dost suspect innocent people. If I do not
approach my own wife, who is like unto me, whilst we are in the Ark,
how can I approach thy wife, who is so different from a human being,
and moreover is forbidden unto me as a married female?"

The raven said, "Why dost thou call me lewd (fornicator)?" Noah
replied, "Thine own words prove thine immorality, I have not made
thee an evil name." And thus it has remained according to Noah's curse
(f. 26b-27a).



XI.

WHY ARE THERE NO COUNTERPART TO THE FOX AND THE WEASEL AMONG THE
CREATURES OF THE SEA? AND THE STORY OF THE FOX'S HEART AND THE FISHES.


Q. Why are there no counterpart to the fox and weasel in the sea?
The story of the fox's heart and the fishes.

R. Because they were cunning. When God had created the angel of death,
he saw the creatures, and he said to God, "Lord of the Universe,
grant me permission to kill them." God replied, "Thou shalt have
power over all the creatures of the earth except the descendants of
the bird Milham, who are not to taste the taste of death." He said,
"O Lord, separate them from the rest if they are so pious, so that
they do not learn the evil ways of the others and come to sin." God
at once granted him his request. He built for them a great town
and he placed them therein, and he sealed up the gate of that town,
and he said, "It has been decreed (by God) that neither my sword,
nor that of anyone else should have power over you unto the end of
all generations." The angel of death returned then to God, who said
to him, "Throw the pair of each created being into the sea and over
the rest thou shalt have power." The angel did as he was told, and
he threw into the sea a pair of each created being. When the fox saw
what he was doing, he began crying and weeping. The angel asked him,
"Why art thou weeping?" The fox replied, "I cry for my friend whom
thou hast thrown into the sea." The angel asked him, "Where is thy
friend?" The fox then went and stood close to the edge of the water
and the angel saw his shadow in the water, and he believed that he
had indeed thrown a pair of his friends into the sea, and he said to
the fox, "Get thee hence." The fox ran quickly away and was thus saved.

On his way he met the weasel, and he told her all that had happened
and what he had done. The weasel did likewise and escaped also from
being thrown into the sea.

After the lapse of one year since these things had happened, did
Leviathan gather together before him all the creatures of the sea,
and it was found that neither fox nor weasel was among them. So he
sent for them, but he was told what the fox had done to escape from
being thrown into the sea. Moreover, they told Leviathan that the
fox was very cunning. When Leviathan heard of his great intelligence,
he became jealous of him. He sent large fishes to go and fetch him,
by deceiving him and luring him away, and then to bring the fox to
him. They went and found him walking leisurely along the seashore. When
the fox saw the fishes approach and play about close to him, he
entered into conversation with them. When they saw him, they asked him,
"Who art thou?" He answered, "I am the fox." They said to him, "Dost
thou not know that great honour is awaiting thee and it is for this
purpose that we have come hither. He said, "What is it?" They replied,
"Leviathan is sick unto death, and has left the command that no one
else is to rule after him as king but the fox, for he is the most
cunning of all the beasts. Thereafter, you now come with us, for we
have been sent to offer thee this honour." He said to them, "How can
I go into the sea and not be drowned?" They replied, "Ride on the back
of one of us and we will carry thee safely over the waters of the sea,
so that not even a drop of water shall touch the tip of thy nose until
thou reachest the kingly palace. Then we will lower thee down into
it and there thou wilt rule over all of us, and thou wilt rejoice all
the days of thy life, and thou wilt no longer have to search for food,
and be exposed to be hunted by mighty beasts and to be eaten by them."

When the fox heard these words, he believed them, and mounting on the
back of a mighty fish started with them on a journey on the sea. When
the waves began to play round him he began to be anxious. His wit
had forsaken him. Then he recovered himself and said, "Woe unto me,
what have I done? The fishes have tricked me worse than I have ever
tricked all the other beasts. Now that I have fallen into their hands
how can I escape?"

He then said to them, "I have come with you and I am now at your
mercy. You may tell me what is it that you really want of me." They
replied, "We will tell thee the truth. Leviathan had heard of thy
reputation, that thou art very cunning, so he said to himself, I will
cut his belly open and will eat his heart, and thus shall I become
also very wise."

The fox said to them, "Why did you not tell me the truth, for I would
then have brought my heart with me. I would have given it to the
king Leviathan and he would have shown me honour. You are now going
to your own destruction." They said to him, "Hast thou not thy heart
with thee?" He replied, "No, for such is our habit that we leave our
heart behind and we walk about without it; whenever we want it we
fetch it, and if there is no necessity for it we leave it where it
is." So they said to him, "What shall we do now?"

He replied, "My place and my dwelling is close to the seashore,
if you are willing to do it, bring me back to the place whence you
have taken me. I will go and fetch my heart and return with you to
Leviathan, who is sure to honour me greatly. If you, however, will
bring me to him without my heart, he will be very angry with you and
eat you up. For I will tell him that you had not told me anything
before you took me away, and that when I heard from you the reason
of your errand, I told you to carry me back and that you refused to
do so." The fishes then said at once, "Thou speakest well," and they
returned to the place at the seashore whence they had taken him. He
went down from the back of the fishes, and jumping and frolicking
about he rolled over and over in the sand. The fishes said to him,
"Haste thee, do not tarry, for we must depart quickly." He replied,
"Ye fools, get yourselves away. If I had not had my heart I could not
have gone with you into the sea. Is there any creature in existence
moving about and not having a heart within?" They replied, "Thou hast
mocked at us." He replied, "If I got the best of the angel of death,
how much more likely am I to get it of you?" They returned full of
shame to the Leviathan and told him all that had happened. He replied,
"He is truly cunning, and ye have proved to be fools. About such as
you it is said, 'The stupidity of the fools is the cause of their
death,'" and so he ate them up.

Thus it has remained that although there are creatures in the sea
corresponding to those on land, there are none like unto the fox and
the weasel.


                                THE END.



NOTES


[1] The Rumanian word used here is "ariciu," literally hedgehog,
but no doubt the mole who burrows under the ground is meant. It is
for this reason that I have substituted mole for hedgehog. In the
Bulgarian legend it is the hedgehog, where probably the two animals
are also confused with one another.

[2] The Rumanian oven.

[3] Sila Samodiva, one of the fairies of the Rumanian popular tales.

[4] Probably a reminiscence of Ler, the old Slavonic God of Love.

[5] The water of death means a water which, poured over a body which
has been cut in pieces, causes all these pieces to join together,
and the wounds to heal. The water of life restores to life the bodies
thus joined.

[6] Christmas is here taken as a person.

[7] The cows are often called by the names of the days on which they
were born. Of these Monday and Thursday seem to be the lucky ones.





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