Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kivi and the West Wind

One of the most common themes in older fairy tales is for characters to ask the
wind for help.

Lamps midwinter blossoms


Friday, December 2, 2011

Fairies of Frozen Mid-Night Sun

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Midwinter Blossoms - Fairy Art

Searching for Neolithic Eastern Europe's Fairies and Deities part 3.


Wild and untamed

Despite what can be seen as a civilizing nature the fairies of the nymph types were ultimately wildness fairies, wild and untamed. (Ralston, 1872) describes the rusalki by stating that;

They are generally represented under the form of beauteous maidens with full and snow-white bosoms, and with long and slender limbs. Their feet are small, their eyes are wild, their faces are fair to see, but their complexion is pale, their expression anxious. Their hair is long and thick and wavy, and green as is the grass (sometimes it is black, or blond). Their dress is either a covering of green leaves, or a long white shift, worn without a girdle. At times they emerge from the waters of the lake or river in which they dwell, and sit upon its banks, combing and plaiting their flowing locks, or they cling to a mill-wheel; and turn round with it amid the splash of the stream. If any one happens to approach, they fling themselves into the waters, and there divert themselves, and try to allure him to join them. Whomsoever they get hold of they tickle to death Witches alone can bathe with them unhurt.

A more recent scholar describes them as:

In contrast to the bride, there is a female folk figure in East Slavic lore whose hair is permanently loose and uncontrolled; she is the rusalka.
She is pale, lithe, often beautiful female spirit who lives in the water, forest and fields. She is known to swing aon tree branches waiting to entice unsuspecting male passersby whom she often attacks and at times tickles to death.
Hair is light brown, blond, or green, loose hair, blazing eyes and magnificent breasts…. Noted for her beautiful voice and melodious laugh…. If her hair ever dries out she will perish.

She goes on to state that they ride wildly through pastors on horses, dance freely in meadows. In essence they are symbolic of the freedom and happiness so often denied to women in later Europe. Their wild hair is extremely which is significant to their character and this is symbolic in the Slavic lands as hair is symbolic of sexual status.

In the wedding ritual the bride is “sold” to her new husband and his family, and must leave her home and village. As part of the ritual, she “sell her braid to her new husband, and is valued for the thickness of her braid. I will argue that this act is symbolic of the women’s giving over her sexual potency and autonomy to her husband…

Because the various Slavic fairies have no braids they can be said to be free from any obligation and they cannot be sold or given over to anyone. Without the knots of a braid they are not tied down to anything as the fairies of the nymph type tend to be.
Of course the tying down associated to marriage was not always so strict;

Philippa Rapport maintains that the wedding rituals of the tenth through the fifteenth century show diminishing domestic and social status of women with the increasing influence of the church.

Vila and rusalka in the Slavic lands are to a certain extent a folk memory of freer times. However, they go beyond this by being able to shirk nearly all reasonability, when a fairy of a nymph type bares their children they give it over to humans to be raised as they have no family ties. Yet despite the fact that they don’t raise their own children they do in fact raise the children of other people. They raise those who will become leaders and heroes, the fairies of the nymph type have every advantage then for they still raise children as many people want too but they do not have to raise children who are disobedient or difficult, only those who will grow up to do great things. Their children are Zeus and Dyonisis thus their civilizing power comes from their wild freedom and their freedom comes from their civilizing power. This contrasting nature is important to the fairies of the nymph types. In Greece the religious places associated with nymphs were natural places, often in caves. So the heroes and the civilizers of society lived and were raised in caves while at the same time caves were the birth place of monsters and the dangerous nature. In Slavic lands it was said that;

they run about the meadows, or they frolic among the high-standing corn and,
rocking upon it, make it wave to and fro. Whole bevies of
them live on lonely spots along the streams, or in deep places
and under rapids. Sitting in the depths of brooks and rivers,
they entangle the fishermen's nets; by breaking the dikes they
flood the adjoining fields and wreck the bridges; and they may
also cause fatal storms, dangerous rains, and heavy hail.
Rising to the surface of the stream on clear summer nights,
they bathe, sprinkling the water around them and frolicking in
the waves; they like to sit on the mill-wheel, splashing each
other, and then they dive deep, crying, "Kuku." In late spring
especially they come out of the water, and run about the
neighbouring woods and thickets, clapping their hands and
turning somersaults upon the grass, while their laughter re-
sounds far and wide in the forests. In the evening they like
to rock upon slender branches, enticing unwary wanderers;
and if they succeed in leading any one astray, they tickle him
to death, or draw him down into the depths of the stream.

The Rusalky are extremely fond of music and singing; and
their fine voices lure swimmers to deep places, where they
drown. The water-nymphs also divert themselves by dancing
in the pale moonlight, and they inveigle shepherds to play with
them, the places where they dance being marked by circles
in which the grass is particularly luxuriant and green. Fond of
spinning, they hang their yam on trees; and after washing
the linen which they weave, they spread it on the banks to
dry. If a man treads on such linen, he becomes weak and lame.

Larson states that;
The word numph, paradoxically can refer to the Greek Maiden as a virgin bride and her divine counterpart in the chorus of Artemis, or it can refer to a local fertility deity, often manifestly unchaste, who presides over the spring and woodland..... Nymphs combine the forbidden allure of virgin Artimus with the lust of the sexually aware Aphrodite; yet a social deities believed to inhabit not Olympus but caves, trees, and springs they are much more accessible.... The nymph is also idolized myth poetic version of the village girl at the peak of her sexual desirability.... She has  supernatural power and assumed superiority over the male so that her desires are central to the narratives of their stories..... Unlike the chorus of Artemis, which attempts to preserve sexual purity, the nymphs in general are likely to engage in sexual sport with Hermes, the silens, or even a bemused shepherd.

Fairies of the nymph type then represent both the a certain amount of wishfulness for women and the sexual fantasies of men. For they are free, boys who dare to harm their linins, or insult them are punished. She is superior to males and yet is desirable to them. She is never rejected, never has to truly worry what others will think of her. She is also never going to be tied down. For boys she represents both the fantasy of the shy girl and the agressive willing girl. The fairies of the nymph type allow them to imagine having a dominant mate while continuing to think of their future or current brides as submissive.
This internal dualism as previously mentioned is important to naturalistic worship, because nature itself is clearly internally dualistic, as mentioned in Grimm’s Fairies

So while later religions and societies would place the duel nature of creative and destructive of fertility and desolation in separate beings it was common for people who worshiped nature to think of them as being in the same being. So when people later thought of the fairies as evil or dangerous it may not be a complete change in their nature but rather a shift in focus.
As part of this dualism we also see that they were both feared for their deisire to snatch away both males and females and that they would give comfort to those who’s loved ones had been snatched away. This is because death by natural forces was thought to be a selection by the gods, a means by which they took people to live among them. In both accounts of Hylos (Herkuleses assistant who was taken by the nymphs) they are said to have taken him, not drowned him. In one he becomes their husband in the other they hold him in their laps like a weeping child while they comfort him. In either case however he is now free from mortal concerns. In essence one can imagine that he will find a form a bliss in their free heaven.
In the Rome an epitaph states that a five year old girl was carried of by the naides to be a their playmate.
In many later mythologies its stated that fairies will try to get girls to join them or that fairies of the nymph type are the souls of girls who drowned before marraige or unbaptized. What’s likely is that these myths are a remnant of a form of heaven in which some girls could get to live out their fantasy of being free, of dancing wildly, punishing those who wronged them, while at the same time bringing life to their village and people. For men this too represents a form of heaven where they are allowed to be blissfully passive.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Danuta Taken by Fairies

Moss Folk

Moss Folk are a form of wood wives, Germanic fairies which will ask mortals to bake bread for them and then pay the mortals in piles of wood chips if the human is smart enough to bring it home.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fairies Tales

Fairies Tales are fairy tales from the fairies perspective, in which humans are the secondary characters.

Their in the water, Eastern European deities and fairies part 2


Civilizing beings
To a certain extent the nymphs are civilizing beings they help herdsmen increase their herds, helping people to build wealth and increase their livelihoods. Further certain ones have been known to help grapes ripen, farms to be fertile and more. This in turn helps to solidify them as agricultural spirits. One could say that nymphs were the more rustic the more original form of the domesticated Muses of Greek Mythology.
Much of the depiction of nymphs could in essence be said to be a form of idealization of rural life through poems and plays by those who live in the city. We see something similar occur to the fairies during the Victorian era when to a large extent fairies became a form of idolized life, of youthfulness and a desire for immortality as well as a stereo typical image of the country life. This relationship between the nymphs and the rural poor is to be expected because as previously mentioned these are the people who were likely the most influenced by the indigenous populations of Europe. They are also often the slowest to change religiously. Among the Slavic peoples it was held that;

The fairies are fond of singing and dancing; and enticing
young lads and shepherds or singers to dance with them, they
distribute happiness or misfortune among them.

The Rusalky live in woods, meadows, fields, and waters.
Generally appearing when the corn begins to ripen in the
fields, and concealed amidst it, ready to punish him who
wantonly plucks the ears, they dance and make merry,
adorned with the many-coloured blossoms of the poppy and
with their hair flying loose. (MacCulloch)

The Rusalkas have much to do with the harvest, sometimes making it plenteous, and at other times ruining it by rain and wind. The peasants in White-Russia say that the Rusalkas dwell amid the standing corn; and in Little-Russia it is believed that on Whit-Sunday Eve they go out to the corn-fields, and there, with joyous singing and clapping of hands, they scamper through the rye or hang on to its stalks, and swing to and fro, so that the corn undulates as if beneath a strong wind. (Ralston 1872)

It’s interesting to note that the cults to these nymphs were rarely to them as individuals, but rather to them in the plurality. After all a grove a trees can be extensive so it would seem rare indeed to give each tree a name and a personality. Much like ancestor worship many of the nymphs then remained nameless; there was just the realization that they were the mothers of life and fertility. Going beyond this general statement however was the realization that humanity was born from the nymphs of the Ash tree in Greek mythology and from the Ash trees themselves in Germanic mythology (but from the god of the earth in Celtic).
Because of their status as the mothers of humanity the civilizing powers of nymphs were also more important to the cities of Greece then nearly any other beings as attested to by the fact that they were placed on the coins the cities stamped. What we see then is that groups of people and cities were intertwined with nymphs, nymphs who were the mothers of the city as the deities would mate with the nymphs in order to produce the founding heroes of each city making them in essence truly the mother goddess of that city, with the people directly descended from her. We see to a certain extent a similar idea in Celtic lands where the River spirits were the mother of a people. Because of this the relationship which different peoples had with each other was often describe in terms of the relationship and movements of nymphs. People were said to learn many of the arts from nymphs or nymph like beings such as the Muses. They were in essence a sort of Tutelary spirit, which could encourage prosperity in cooperation with local heroes. Further as the water the spirit of the water source which the city uses they are the ones who keep the people alive and every day the people must go out to gather water from them. In a way this makes reverence to them much more routine then it would be for any other deity.
In Slavic lands the vila went beyond the role of mother to also take the role of sister;

The belief that a Vila may
become a man's sister also points to the existence of close rela-
tions between them and human beings; and it is a popular conviction that not only every young lad and, indeed, every honest
man has a fairy for his sister who helps him in case of need, but
even some animals, such as stags, roes, and chamois, for whom
the Vily have a special liking, may possess such supernatural

Perhaps one of the nymphs most important roles was in presiding over and protecting marriage. In later Greece much of this definition appears to have become more and more patriarchal, however even as this occurred the nymphs themselves retained a certain amount of wildness, of freedom as did the rusalka and the nixes of the rest of Europe. Showing that although they were important symbols in marriage they still retained some of their original spirit.
Given the archeology which helped formulate the idea of goddess based worship in Europe the early nymph cults are of special interest not just because of their apparent survivability but because of the way statues were used in relation to their cults. Several Attic grave reliefs show young girls playing with doll like objects. It has been argued that these naked figures are not to be considered toys but as votives dedicated by girls to insure fertility and sexual maturation. The dedication of anatomically exaggerate votives in this sense could have had a socializing function, teaching girls that the most important parts of their bodies were their wombs and their breasts, that they were bound to become mothers and that their identity was based in large part on reproduction.
Boys in these reliefs on the other hand are shown playing with balls and toys. Certainly Greece by this time was under the influence of patriarchal society, but the only evidence we truly have for the matriarchal society theory are the small figurines of women with exaggerated reproductive parts or which appear as charms that were found throughout Europe and the best record we have of cults which were influenced by the Neolithic European beliefs are the nymph, rusalka and the Celtic sacred wells to which such figures were often offerings.
Other statues of nymphs were nuptial dedications, given to the nymphs on the occasion of the ritual bath before the marriage to insure fertility. So while it seems likely that Greece and many other societies within Europe became more patriarchal over time and so the symbolism of the need women’s fertility became less an idea of power it also seems quite possible that the statues found throughout Europe had multiple meanings, including as offerings for fertility rather than as an indication of a general worship of fertility goddesses.
What’s important to understand is that its seems likely that many of the figures found throughout Europe resemble those later dedicated to nymphs and so may themselves have been dedicated allowing us to glimpse into the past religion of some of the Neolithic Europeans.
Some of the nymphs of mythology were considered to have come into being before the deities with some of them even raising Zeus. And so we come upon another important role which they played in helping to build civilization, they raised heroes, deities and those who brought culture to humanity. Similarly the various Slavic water fairies were said to take and raise children;

feeding them with honey and instructing them in all kinds of knowledge.
This is significant not just because of the desirability of honey to children but because the bee was the sacred animal and the messenger of the nymphs and it was they who taught humans how to gather honey.

So to a certain extent nymphs were greater and more important than the deities but although the race of nymphs were older then the gods however they were not immortal. The trees whose spirits they are die, wells dry up, the world changes and these changes represent the birth and death of nymphs. This is an obvious part of being a true nature deity, for nature isn’t stable and must always change and we cannot forget that for all their civilizing qualities nymphs, rusalka, and the others always remained nature spirits.


Fairies at the Threshold

Every morning people go bustling to their jobs coffee in hand, a mild stimulant to help them fight through their otherwise sleepy lives. For most people by the time they reach their early twenties there is no longer any mystery left in the world, no sense of wonder. But if they looked just a little closer they would be surprised to find that the world is filled with wonder, that the whole world is teaming with fairies just waiting to burst across our thresholds.

Little Red Hood

For a long time I've found it very interesting that Little Red Riding Hood wears Red. Many people have tried to interpret Red Hoods red hood as part of a modern slant.
But looking through fairy tales I don't see any of these interpretations anywhere else. What one sees is that fairies and other magical are the ones who wear red caps and hoods.
In some parts of Europe the color red is also used to protect against fairies, so in order for a fairy to harm or kidnap someone they must then get them to take off anything red that they are wearing. Perhaps this is why the wold asks Little Red to take of her clothes in so many versions of the story.

This had led me to write my little red riding hood stories with Red Hood as a witch, a fairy doctor or a fairy herself.

As part of this I have made the wolf into a forest spirit.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Where are the Local Deities and Fairies of the pre-Indo-Europeans

Where are the Local Deities and Fairies?
So given that Indo-Europeans were so apt to borrow from other cultures and that they had thousands of years of interaction with the peoples of Europe we must presume that to the extent that goddess worship existed in Neolithic Europe it must still exist, so where are they?

Their in the WaterWater fairies were among the most common and ultimately the most important deities of many of the Indo-European farmers and pastoralists and it seems likely that this importance was shared by the Neolithic peoples. Briggs in fact held that water fairies were the most common of all the fairy types the Celtic peoples believed in. Many of these well spirits appear to have existed before the Indo-European invasion and so were so important the belief in them survived from Neolithic Europe the way until well after the post-Christian era. There can be;

“No doubt the Indo-Europeans had no monopoly in religious feeling and observance of this (the worship of water) type; it may go back tens of thousands of years. But it must have been part of their religion, and its prevalence among their linguistic and cultural heirs must be due at least in some degree to the power of Indo-European tradition.” (M. L. West)

This makes sense because while the earth is omnipresent it is generally unchanging with the exception of earthquakes. When water runs through a desert however it is surrounded by fertile life; plants and animals thrive. There are few dances for good earth; there are no dousing rods or rituals to search for good earth, or very many prayers for the earth to be good. Yes there is a desire for the fertility of the fields but there are similar prayers asking for animals to be fertile. Further fertility doesn’t always have to mean earth. More often people pray for rain, people search for water; earth is everywhere but fresh springs are special and rain is necessary for the earth to have any value.  So from Nymphs of Greece and Rome to the Nixes of Germany, the Rusalka of Russia and the Sacred wells of the Celts the deities of healing and life, the ones revered by pastoralists and farmers were most often deities of the water, not earth mothers.  

It’s important to understand that many of the ideas deities, that gods and goddesses of Pre-Christian Europe are nothing like the gods and goddesses we think of today. Rather they tended to resemble fairies, heroes or at their most powerful - giants. In the “Golden Bough” Frazer writes that:

“by primitive peoples the supernatural agents are not regarded as greatly, if at all, superior to man; for they may be frightened and coerced by him into doing his will….. Nor does he draw any very sharp distinction between a god and a powerful sorcerer. His gods are often merely invisible magicians who behind the the veil of nature work the same sort of charms and incantations which the human magician works…”

“Religion of Ancient Rome”
points out that the Romans had no formed deity when they first entered Europe, rather they worshipped spirits which later evolved into the deities of Rome. We see this theme repeated over and over again, MacCaulloch believed that the deities took the form that the peoples needed most such that fairies evolved into more overarching gods and goddesses of fertility and that fertility gods and goddesses evolved into deities of the arts and war as these became more important.
I would continue these arguments to say that while many deities may have been conceived fairly early, much of what was conceived was a general sense of spirits, beings to be worshiped in the larger sense.

Nymphs were some of the most important deities of the Greek lower classes and countryside, but also of their cities in general. As previously mentioned these peoples are the most likely to continue their original culture, and to have had a separate religion from the the upper classes who were most likely representative of the conquerors. This argument is supported by that fact that in many cases nymphs were identified with indigenous populations, and that they had merged with Greek religion through the process of syncretism. True nymph like creatures were said to live in everything, mountains, trees, fields and more but they were nearly always associated with water, further the most important ones were associated with water. One of the main and most important functions of the nymphs was to provide fresh water. As part of this they also presided over human fertility, child birth and care. They were healing deities who helped farmers and pastoralists to increase their crops and herds. But nymph worship isn’t confined to the Greeks. The Greek historian Procupius testifies that the ancient Slavics worshiped beings simlar to the nymphs offering sacrifices to them (
mythology of world MacCullach). And while the Rusalky and Vilas of Eastern Europe came to be feared in modern times people often still preyed to them for fertility and a good harvest. Further people tended to acknowledge the importance of Vila’s to their history;
“The Vily are believed to have lived originally in close con-
tact and friendship with human beings. In the happy days of
yore, when the fields produced wheat and other sorts of cereals
without the help of man, when people lived In peace and con-
tentedness and mutual goodwill, the fairies helped them to
garner their harvests, to mow their grass, to feed their cattle,
and to build their houses; they taught them how to plough,
to sow, to drain meadows, and even how to bury the dead.
But so soon as men had departed from their old virtues, when
the shepherds had thrown away their flutes and drums and
songs, and had taken whips into their hands and commenced
to crack them in their pastures, cursing and swearing, and
when, finally, the first reports of guns were heard, and nations
began to make war against each other, the Vily left the country
and went to foreign lands. That is why only very few chance
to see them dancing in the fields, or sitting upon a bare rock
or a deserted cliff^, weeping and singing melancholy songs.

and at Whitsuntide they sit on trees, asking women for
a frock and girls for a shirt, whence women hang on the branches
strips of linen or little shreds torn from their dresses, this being
meant as a sacrifice to propitiate these water-nymphs.”

In like manner the Slovenians believe that the fairies were
kind and well disposed toward human beings, telling them what
times were particularly suitable for ploughing, sowing, and har-
vesting. They themselves also took good care of the crops,
tearing out weeds and cockles; and In return for all this they
asked for some food, which they ate during the night. So long
as their anger was not aroused, they would appear every sum-
mer; but when mankind commenced to lead a sinful life, and
when whistling and shouting and cracking of whips began to
Increase In the fields, the Vily disappeared, never to return
until a better day has dawned. The belief that a Vila may
become a man's sister also points to the existence of close rela-
tions between them and human beings; and it is a popular con-
viction that not only every young lad and, indeed, every honest
man has a fairy for his sister who helps him in case of need, but
even some animals, such as stags, roes, and chamois, for whom
the Vily have a special liking, may possess such supernatural
kindred. The fairies will aid their brothers in danger, will bless
their property, and will bestow all sorts of presents upon them.
In numerous folk-tales Vily are married to young men. They
are dutiful wives and excellent housekeepers, but their hus-
bands must not remind them of their descent, or they will
disappear forever, though they still continue to keep secret
watch over the welfare of their children.

Some have argued that the “moist earth” was the most important deities to the ancient Slavs and that she was the most important goddesses. Pointing out that people would even take a peace of moist earth in their mouths when swearing an oath. But it’s important to keep in mind that while the moist earth was important, any earth wasn’t. People didn’t speak of the earth in general, they didn’t accept dry earth for oaths and it was the Vila and the Rusalky who made the earth moist. It was their actions that lead to the earth being suitable for taking oaths and growing crops.

Julious Ceaser when making plans to control and invade the Celts put in his reports that they worshipped nymphs and as previously mentioned Brigg’s stated that water fairies were the most common of all fairies. Further more than any other peoples their mother goddesses were of the water. Danu the mother of the Tuatha De Dannan which became the Daoine Sidhe or fairies of Ireland (Briggs) was associated with Rivers in the Indo-European languages and mythologies. Among the the Gaulic people Dea Matrona was their mother goddess and she was associated with the river Marne. In later years sacred wells would retain so much importance for the Celts that the Catholic Church would be forced to rededicat them to Saints because they could not stop people from worshipping them. In “The Religion of the Ancient Celts”
MacCalloch states that the church was not the first ones to rededicate the rivers and wells but that the Celts had rededicated them after they came to dominate the preexisting inhabitants of Western Europe.

The most wide spread female deities within Europe then are not deities of the land but of the water. As importantly they are often fairy like beings, and while it would be easy to argue that they were lessoned by those who conquered to the role of fairies I would argue that the relationship with fairies whose homes can be seen, who are believed to live in features of the land nearby like neighbors members of the village are much more intimate deities. The types of fertility and healing deities that people tend to need to believe in, which is why their cults lasted longer than those of any other deities in Europe. Because of this it makes sense that rather than the nymph like beings being made less by the Indo-European peoples the upper pantheon was made more. After all one expects epic stories to be told of a few characters who do more interesting things. So just as we now tell stories of secret agents and football players even though doctors and grocers might be more important and common we should expect that ancient peoples would tell tales of war and seasonal gods even if they prayed more often to gods and goddesses of the hearth, farm, and water.
Despite being only occasionally defined by name these water fairies have a complex nature, one which symbolizes both the natural world and the civilization of humanity. In this sense they can be said to be the bridge between the humans who pray to them and the natural world on whose lives these people depended.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Searching for Neolithic Eastern Europe's Fairies and Deities

If the Kurgan Hypothesis proves to be correct then the
Proto-Indo-Europeans and the largest Eastern European
Civilization Lived side by side for over a thousand years.
The synthesis of cultures

Its early spring and the ground is still touched by spots of melting snow with little rivulets of water running down between flowers waiting to bud and fields that will soon be ready for planting. A small group of young girls follows these small rivulets of water down to a beautiful cluster of trees which cling to the side of a river as it runs through the countryside. Even here, in the fertile heart of the bread basket of Russia it’s obvious that water is the source of life, the source of fertility. So the girls tie scarves to trees, they perform circle dances while singing and praying to the spirits of the water imploring them to dampen the earth and to keep it damp through until harvest time. The Rusalky comply as they come out of the water and dance through fields damping the ground for the year, bringing their life giving water to what would otherwise be a lifeless earth. Meanwhile the girls cast divinations or swear oaths of eternal sisterhood, as they dance once more free for that moment. Even thousands of years after the Slavic nations had become Christian they still preyed to the water goddesses for fertility.
Somewhere in Christian France and Wales girls approach other bodies of water, a sacred well with trees nearby to which they tie pieces of cloth. They then throw in offerings into the water in hopes that the spirit of the water can help them have children, grant them luck or make their fields fertile. To the North in Iceland a woman is scolding her child for playing too loudly near the goddesses who live in the rocks as she offers food to them for luck. In Ireland the remnants of a story are being told of the goddess of a river who bore the Tuth De Dannon which the Irish believed to be the fairies.
Throughout Europe despite the best efforts of the Christian Church to stamp out the old religions and ideas people still made idols of “corn mothers” to insure a good harvest, gave food to the spirits in the rocks, and prayed to the rivers and wells for luck centuries after their conversion. The gods, goddesses, fairies, and spirits of the world survived not because people didn’t believe in the Christian god but because while it was nice to believe that they would go to the Christian heaven they still had to live, still had to survive with and against the forces of nature much as they had for thousands of years. So while the priests might change from worshiping Zeus, Jupiter and Odin to Christ for the safety of their nation and the soldiers might change their prayers for victory such changes did not affect most people. They would pray to the higher gods of course and hope to get into heaven but after words they would go home and spend the rest of the week asking the natural world for more fertile fields. So it is that most people in a society, the people who work the fields and live in the country will follow the old religion for thousands of years after everyone else’s religion has changed.

Because it’s clear that much of the old faiths of the peoples of Europe’s survived the coming of Christianity it seems likely that these faiths also survived the coming of the Indo-Europeans to a certain extent as well.
There are three very good reasons to presume that at least to some extent the later faiths of Indo-European Europe would resemble at least to some extent those of Neolithic Europe; 

1-Survival of belief among the people
As already pointed out many of the faiths and beliefs remained intact to some extent long after Europe became Christian, there were parts of Slavic Europe that believed in their Vila until the 1960s. The people of Greece still told stories of nymph like spirits until the last century as well. Ancient beliefs and folk magic’s were attested to all over Europe by researches in the 19th century; so even with the threat of the Christian Churches hell fire and inquisition, even with their pastors and the powerful Church doing their best to stamp out such beliefs the beliefs survived for thousands of years. So assuming then that the Indo-Europeans could stamp out the beliefs of the Neolithic Europeans with limited mobility and less organized efforts seems laughable at best.

2- There is a common misconception is that at some point about 5000 years ago hoards of violent Indo-European horsemen poured into Europe bringing with them the invention of war as they quickly decimated Europe’s peaceful and defenseless peoples and cultures. In order to truly come to an understanding of Neolithic European culture we must begin by correcting this mistake because while it’s true that the Indo-European peoples did come to dominate Europe such that perhaps 95 percent of Europe’s population in 1000 AD spoke a language descended from the Indo-Europeans through economic advantage as well as a military invasion it’s unlikely that they completely decimated the culture of the Neolithic Europeans. Rather if we examine the history of Indo-Europeans encounters with other peoples they we see that the Indo-Europeans adopted deities from the peoples they encountered. For example the Germanic peoples seem to have adopted Odin from the Uralic peoples to the North. In Greece aspects of Zeus were adopted from the near east as were Poseidon, Athena and Aphrodite. The Romans adopted so much from the Etruscans that many Roman nobles claimed to be Etruscans decades after they had conquered them in battle. The goddess like women who weave fate which exist throughout Europe seem likely to have been part of the pre-Indo-European belief system. In addition the Germanic peoples spent hundreds of years after they had destroyed the Roman Empire trying to be Roman. The Indo-European migration into Europe was slow taking thousands of years, giving them plenty of time to meet and slowly adapt to new cultures and regions, even if they always seem to dominate them linguistically.

Further the Indo-European society itself was heavily stratified with three basic castes, and each of these casts had their own separate concerns. So while the Indo-European peoples might conquer a people and thus become the kings, warriors, and nobility the agriculturalists and pastoralists would continue to primarily be made up of the original peoples of Neolithic Europe. As was the case in later years this peasant cast likely had a separate set of deities which most closely resembled those of Neolithic Europe.

3-Proximity to each other
There is this strange tenency to think of Neolithic Eastern Europe and the Proto-Indo-European societies as developing in some form of isolation, as being extremely separate from each other. Europe is not isolated, however, rather it’s another part of the Eurasian landmass and its largest mountain ranges would tend to isolate only small portions of it. There is in fact a direct entrance into Europe through the Eurasian Steppes and Anatolian that offers very little barrier between peoples as attested to by the number of raids made into and out of Europe through these two points. It makes no sense then given the Indo-Europeans proximity to Europe to presume that they had a drastically different set of beliefs. Their different lifestyle of pastoralism vs agriculture fit their unique environments but it seems likely that they swapped religious ideas, myths and fairy tales for thousands of years that they were neighbors with each other before the Indo-European Migration, and it may even be that many of their ideas evolved from the same source.

According to the Kurgan Hypothesis the Yamna culture, known from the way they buried their dead and their other cultural artifacts most likely represents the Proto-Indo-European society. As you can see from the map other than two seas to the south they have few barriers surrounding them so it’s likely that they were influenced by and influenced their neighbors greatly. Indeed the Proto-Uralic people which bordered them to the North have a number of loan words in their language from the Proto-Indo-Europeans. To the East lies more people of the steppes possibly the later Altaic peoples but this is uncertain, to the south are the peoples of the Caucuses and to the West lays the Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture. There is evidence not only of extensive trade between the Proto-Indo-Europeans but that for thousands of years they shared some of the same territory.

The Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture had massive cities for their time with some as large as those of the Fertile Crescent. The Yamna and the Cutcuteni-Trypillian cultures began to live side by side around 4500 BC. It’s important to remember that at this time there likely weren’t borders in the sense that we have to day so communities of peoples from different cultures would have traveled side by side. Over time the successors to the Yamna seem to have become more dominate, however while the Cutcuteni-Trypillian built walls there are no real signs of a major conflict and their culture didn’t fade away until 2,750 BC. This means that they and the Proto-Indo-Europeans lived side by side for 1,750 years. Hardly what one would expect if the Yamna were a purely warrior culture bent on conquest and the Cutcuteni-Trypillian were purely peaceful.
The extensive amount of time that the two cultures had in contact with each other is likely to have influenced the later Indo-European Cultures. Indeed similar contact such as the ones between the Romans and the Germans for example ended with the Germanic people adopting Roman Christianity. The Romans before this adopted a number of Etruscan religious and cultural ideas and for centuries after they defeated the Etruscans some Roman nobles still proudly proclaimed that they were related to Etruscans. The Greeks adopted many elements from their neighbors to the near east and the chief deity of the Norse and Germanic peoples adopted many elements from the Uralic people. Yet all of these people fought a number of wars with and occasionally eliminated the societies of the peoples they emulated all together. So while it’s impossible to say of how much of the Cutcuteni-Trypillian culture the Proto-Indo-Europeans would have adopted given that they left no written records to indicate what they believed the written history that we can surmise or read of the Indo-Europeans in Europe seems to indicate that they adopted a lot of cultural elements from their neighbors.


Origins Of Europe's Fairies - p1

Proto-Indo-Europeans Second Society of Fairies.

Read Part 1
However like nature fairies are fickle. The apsara of India who lived in the forests, lakes, rivers, trees and mountains loved to sing and dance could be dangerously so. Their beauty hid a certain amount of malicious glee and they would often leave humans mentally deranged.
The Nymphs of Greece and the fairies of the Celts too would dance through the forests, playing and laughing with childlike glee as if never able to truly grow up and they too could leave those they encountered insane. But perhaps the most fickle of all are the rusalky of the Slavic peoples who are known to tickle humans to death.
The male counterparts to the nymphs and the apsara were equally as playful, equally as musical. Among the people of India the part horse or bird gandharva were said to guard Soma, the food that made the gods immortal. They aren’t all play, however, for they act as messengers between humans and the gods.
The satyrs of Greek mythology too were originally depicted as having horse tails but through encounters with the Latin peoples who’s Faunas was part goat they too became part goat. By the time fairy tales and myths were collected in Europe nearly every European society has a forest spirit with goat legs. The Leszi of the Slavic peoples were the ultimate bachelors just as the satyrs of Greece were; causing and getting into trouble from too much drink, chasing female humans and fairies around the forests and generally acting rowdy. The outlier in all this are the Glaistig of the Scottish Celts, who are beautiful females with the lower half of a goat. Still despite their gender their role appears to have been similar as nature spirits which herd cattle and love song and dance but which are dangerous for they unlike the others drink human blood.

Origins Of Europe's Fairies - p1

Proto-Indo-Europeans Second Society of Fairies.
You see them in the distance, on the hill tops for a brief moment as dusk starts to settle in. Anxiously you watch them carefully, uncertain what the strangers might want, and then all at once they are gone. Did they disappear into a ravine? You strain your eyes but the twilight plays tricks on your eyes and you see shadows dancing among the hills so you can never be certain. Even without such experiences however its easy for people to imagine that theirs another society, another set of people living along side them - in the hills and the forests. As stories come in of other peoples from distant lands who have strange and wondrous foods, songs, technologies, or societies - perhaps the first tales of the copper being extracted from rock or a strange looking piece of jewelry – the tales from these stories would grow. Such tales and artifacts may not come often but once is all that’s needed for the tales to begin. It seems unlikely then that there are a people in the world who don’t have some tales of fairies who live much as they do but have strange powers.
Fairy societies are present among every Indo-European people I’ve been able to find folk tales on, from those of the Hindu-Kush and Persia within Asia and the Celts and Germanic peoples of Europe we see the presence of a second society of magical humans who live in a parallel world, humans who we now call fairies. These fairies have a supernatural control over nature - the wild animals are their herd animals and friends so they protect them. People always had to be very careful to respect these fairies for they would haunt buildings or people that were in their paths and at times they would curse and kill those who disrespected their claims on wild animals and plants.
The parallel world in which these fairies lived was all around the Indo-European peoples, hidden by secret doorways into mountains, rocks, cliffs and trees or at the bottom of special lakes and rivers. Tales of deities and fairy like creatures opening windows in cliff faces or doors in the sides of mountains are common, as are stories of people in Europe seeing the fairies living within hills or the craggy rocks.
It seems likely then that the Proto-Indo-Europeans believed that they traveled among fairies which lived within the rocks, mountains, trees and lakes which surrounded them as they herded their animals through the wilderness or went hunting. It’s also likely that the Proto-Indo-Europeans acted to both pacify and keep these fairies at bay while also making offerings to them for luck and healing. Among later Germanic peoples the warriors, priests and poets would worship the gods who could grant them victory and magic, but what do peasants need victory for? For peasants there are the gods, but there are also the fairies which make the plants grow, the fairies which help the animals be fertile and which give or withhold permission to hunt in the wild. These are who the farmers and herders, need bargain with. Long after Europe was Christianized the peasants would still pray to these fairies, they would still make offerings to pear trees and sacred wells, still bargain with the spirits of the hills and rocks.

Read Part 2

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Proto-Indo-European's Continued

When daylight came they would return to their work in the fields to harvest plants and cereals or to the Steppes to herd their animals and hunt for food. Later Indo-European peoples would have clearly defined work for men and women, with the later sometimes staying at home or cultivating cereals as the men went out to hunt and herd. It is impossible to say if the Proto-Indo-Europeans had a similar system but it is likely that they did divide work into various castes as nearly all later Indo-Europeans groups would.
The men and women would continue their stories here under the sky which seemed to go on for ever, the sky which they watched carefully for signs of storms as they both passed the time and built upon their values. These stories were likely different from the tales of the night before, for while poetry is an important part of Indo-European mythology so too are folk tales, tales of the clumsy and weak, the ordinary surviving and thriving in a harsh world as well as amusing tales of animals doing strange and silly things. They needed these stories too not only for the distraction but also for the courage and humor they could take from them for like all ancient peoples they faced what seemed an infinite number of dangers After all for most people heroic deeds mean little, for most of us are altogether ordinary. We dream of heroism but relate to the Jacks of folk tales.
In order to help those of them who were ordinary with their ordinary tasks they had the fairies, the spirits of the land. For like later peoples of the steppes and their decedents they too very likely had a fairy faith of sorts, a belief in spirits and souls of the land and sky that could harm or help them. It is these people of the Steppes, the Proto-Indo-Europeans who would come to define the fairy faiths of Europe as they moved into Europe to bring with them what would become the Slavic, Greek, Roman, Germanic, and Celtic languages while replacing the original languages and many of the original ideas of the Native Europeans. So while the Proto-Indo-Europeans weren’t the first peoples of Europe these articles start with them because they became by far its most significant.
The challenges that exist in understanding the original culture of the peoples would eventually come to dominate European culture are many not only because they have fractured into many cultures but because they were likely formed from multiple tribes with multiple leaders and different shamans or priests long before they began their Journey into Europe and India. However there are a number of similarities between Indo-European cultures and a number of linguistic clues which can help us to better understand the general culture of this group of peoples.
The Proto-Indo-Europeans where a pastoral culture, one of the first if not the first to have started breeding horses and wagons (so heavy that they were likely pulled by oxen as horses were still too small to do this) which gave them a level of mobility not enjoyed by nearly any other culture of the time. Such mobility offers many advantages to a society which needs to hunt and herds animals for much of its food. However it can also offer some level of disadvantage as well as horses make it far easier for one tribe to make quick raids on another in order to loot food and women. This in turn can force these societies to become more war like and it is under this catalyst that the Proto-European society developed. This war like nature can be seen in their development of a clear warrior cast whose role was perhaps to raid for cattle from their enemies and recover cattle taken in raids. To aid them in their raids many of their deities including Dyēus ‘the sky father’ who was perhaps one of their most important deities became warlike and could be asked to aid them in their battles, He would later evolve into Zeus, Jupiter, Tyr and other deities of the European pantheons.
Their rituals to these war gods seemed to be of special importance as they would sacrifice great horses (surely one of their most valuable positions) to them in a festival that involved the drinking of *Medhu (the root word for mead and many other sweet honeyed foods and drinks from India to Ireland). They would punish those who failed at war by the sword or the fire or sacrifice humans using the sword and fire to aid in victory.
One of the most important tales of nearly all Indo-Europeans from the Hittites and Vedic to the Norse and the Greeks involved a heroic figure who would loose his cattle to a giant and often times three headed serpent and then would seek the aid of the war god to get them back.
Another important tale is that of the heroic last stand, of warriors fighting a battle that they are destined to die in for glory and to insure the survival of even a few humans. This story would eventually evolve into Ragnarok when spirits of the dead hero’s and the gods would battle a great evil in order to avoid the complete destruction of humanity, knowing full well that they would die in this battle. Such stories would have been important to the warrior cast as part of their role as guardians, for there would likely have been many times when a group of them from one clan or another would have had to face unbeatable odds while allowing the other casts to escape.

It’s important to understand however that while the Proto-Indo-Europeans had a warrior cast with a deity, rituals and tales of their own the whole society was not necessarily obsessed with war. The Proto-Indo-Europeans like other Indo-Europeans societies after them was a triple society with two castes other than the warrior; the priestly caste and the caste of herders. Thus the vast majority of spirits, elements and deities appear to have been related to fertility and the land. Indeed for the Indo-Euorpeans who entered Europe the land and the wilderness were perhaps the most important thing. Oak trees were held to be sacred and the word for temple comes from their word for wood, for sacred grove. The Proto-Indo-European too lived in an area with at least some forestation and would bring their cattle and sheep to the elms and oak to forage, they would use the ash trees to make their spears, the birch to make cloth, and the willow tree to weave baskets. They would plough their fields and use sickles to aid them in harvesting cereals. Their food came from farming and pastoralist activities so the bulk of their people were engaged in these activities. Fertility was of key importance and most of the festivals of Europe and India involve fertility not war. They would sacrifice he-goats and or occasionally people by drowning them to assure the fertility of their animals and the land.
The reason war stories were of such importance may be due in large part to the fact that they are interesting. Just as many of the movies from now are related to heroic fighters even though combat itself doesn’t necessarily define our society so to could their society have been much more peaceful then their tales would seem to indicate.
Ultimately the Proto-Indo-Europeans worshiped the elements and what to them were heroic figures. Their sacrifice to rivers and fire along with the importance of these elements to the Indo-Iranians, the Vedic, and early Europeans indicates that they believed in the importance of the spirits of these elements. Trees too as mentioned previously were likely believed to have important spirits who could aid them in their time of need as did the sun and the moon. In addition to the elements they worshipped what to them were heroic figures. Deities with very clear flaws that involved womanizing, a horrible temper, and a propensity to throw nearly childish temper tantrums. It would seem that like later Europeans they believed fairly early that immortal beings may never completely mature in the way one would expect a human too. But such ‘faults’ were likely considered to be more amusing then actual faults as we see from the dualism of many of their decedent cultures the worst flaws were weakness, guile and trickery much like what would be displayed by Loki in Norse mythology. It was okay then for their deities and the fairies to act lecherous and lusty so long as they weren’t weak or deceitful.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fairy Songs and Poems

There are two overarching categories of songs and poems about fairies; the first and the most important to understanding fairies are ancient songs and poems written as prayers and charms for humans to try to get the fairies to do something for them. Such songs are extremely important to our understanding of what people believed about them and humans relationship to them.

For example the following Finnish fairy song was sung by those seeking treasure as a means of trying to get a haltia to aid them;

Kinsman of Hiisi! rise, awake,
thou mountain haltia, to show a man the path,
to point to a full-grown man the place where booty is to be obtained,
treasures can be opened up before a man who is making search,
a fellow creeping on his knees.

This song tells us that the "haltia" a form of domestic spirit in Finnish lore was related to the the Hiisi which were a form of nature spirit which was the soul of rocks, potholes, etc.

Its important to keep in mind that the Indo-European peoples and the Uralic Peoples who came to dominate Europe tended to utilize songs and poems to describe all their beliefs and histories and to say prayers. So much of what we would learn about peoples beliefs would come from poems and songs as well as fairy tales.

Not all of the songs and poems on this page are ancient or religious, many are literary meant simply to be beautiful but in their own way these can also help us understand peoples ideas about fairies at various stages in history.

List of Fairy Songs and Poems

The Fairy Song
By William Shakespeare

Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire!
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the Fairy Queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green;
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours;
In those freckles live their savours;
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear

by Louisa May Alcott

THE moonlight fades from flower and tree,
And the stars dim one by one;
The tale is told, the song is sung,
And the Fairy feast is done.
The night-wind rocks the sleeping flowers,
And sings to them, soft and low.
The early birds erelong will wake:
'Tis time for the Elves to go.

O'er the sleeping earth we silently pass,
Unseen by mortal eye,
And send sweet dreams, as we lightly float
Through the quiet moonlit sky;--
For the stars' soft eyes alone may see,
And the flowers alone may know,
The feasts we hold, the tales we tell:
So 'tis time for the Elves to go.

From bird, and blossom, and bee,
We learn the lessons they teach;
And seek, by kindly deeds, to win
A loving friend in each.
And though unseen on earth we dwell,
Sweet voices whisper low,
And gentle hearts most joyously greet
The Elves where'er they go.

When next we meet in the Fairy dell,
May the silver moon's soft light
Shine then on faces gay as now,
And Elfin hearts as light.
Now spread each wing, for the eastern sky
With sunlight soon will glow.
The morning star shall light us home:
Farewell! for the Elves must go.

The Mountain Sprite
by Thomas Moore

In younder valley there dwelt, alon,
A youth, whose moments had calmly flown,
‘Till spells came o’er him, and, day and night,
He was haunted and watch’d by a Mountain Sprite.

As once, by moonlight, he wander’d o’er
The GOlden sands of that island shore;
A foot-print sparkled before his sight-
‘Twas the fairy foot of the Mountain Sprit!

Beside a fountain, one summer day,
As bending over the stream he lay,
There peeped down o’er him two eyes of light ,
And he saw in that mirror the Mountain Sprite.

He turn’d, but, lo! like a startled bird,
That sprite fled!- and the youth but heard
Sweet music, such as marks the flight
of some bird of song, from the Mountain Sprite.

One night, still haunted by that bright look,
The boy, bewilder’d, his pincil took;
And guided only by memory’s light,
Drew the once-seen from of the Mountain Sprite.

“Oh, thou, who lovest, the shadow,” cried
A voice, low whispering by his side,
“Now turn and see”- Here the youth’s delight
Seal’d the rosy lips of the Mountain Sprite.

“Of all the sprites of land and sea,”
Then rapt he murmur’d, “there’s non like thee;
And oft, o oft, may thy foot thus light
In this lonely bower, sweet Mountain Sprite!”

by William Allingham

Up the airy mountain,
  Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
  For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
  Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
  And white owl's feather!
Down along the rocky shore
  Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
  Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
  Of the black mountain lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
  All night awake.
High on the hill-top
  The old King sits;
He is now so old and grey
  He's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
  Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
  From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music
  On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen
  Of the gay Northern Lights.
They stole little Bridget
  For seven years long;
When she came down again
  Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back,
  Between the night and morrow,
They thought that she was fast asleep,
  But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
  Deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag-leaves,
  Watching till she wake.
By the craggy hill-side,
  Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn-trees
  For pleasure here and there.
Is any man so daring
  As dig them up in spite,
He shall find their sharpest thorns
  In his bed at night.
Up the airy mountain,
  Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
  For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
  Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
  And white owl's feather!


A YOUNG deer track'd his way through the lone forest
One lonely day--another came in sadness--
And the third dawn'd, and brought him sighs and sorrow;
Then he address'd him to the forest Vila:
"Young deer" she said, "thou wild one of the forest!
Now tell me what great sorrow has oppress'd thee;
Why wanderest thou thus in the forest lonely:
Lonely one day--another day in sadness--
And the third day with sighs and anguish groaning?"
And thus the young deer to the Vila answered:
"O thou sweet sister! Vila of the forest!
Me has indeed a heavy grief befallen;
For I once had a fawn, mine own beloved,
And one sad day she sought the running water;
She enter'd it, but came not back to bless me.
Then, tell me, has she lost her way and. wander'd?
Was she pursued and captured by the huntsman?
Or has she left me?--has she wholly left me--
Loving some other deer--and I forgotten?
Oh, if she has but lost her way, and wanders,
Teach her to find it--bring her back to love me!
Oh, if she has been captured by the huntsman,
Then may a fate as sad as mine await him!
But if she has forsaken me--if, faithless,
She loves another deer and I forgotten--
Then may the huntsman speedily o' ertake her." [a]
We have already observed how almost all nations compare female beauty to that of the beings of their legendary creed. With the Servians the object of comparison is the lovely Vila. "She is fairer than the mountain-Vila," is the highest praise of woman's beauty. In the ballad of The Sister of the Kapitan Leka, it is said of the heroine Rossandra, that in no country, either Turkey, or the land of the Kauran, or Jewrs, was her fellow to be found. No white Bula (Mohammedan), no Vlachin (Greek), no slender Latiness (Roman Catholic), could compare with her,
And who on the hills hath seen the Vila--
E'en the Vila, brother, must to her yield.
The swiftness of the Vila also affords a subject of comparison: a fleet horse is said to be "Vilaish" or "swift as a Vita."


Mournfully, sing mournfully-
  "O listen, Ellen, sister dear:
Is there no help at all for me,
  But only ceaseless sigh and tear?
  Why did not he who left me here,
With stolen hope steal memory?
  O listen, Ellen, sister dear,
(Mournfully, sing mournfully)--
  I'll go away to Sleamish hill,
I'll pluck the fairy hawthorn-tree,
  And let the spirits work their will;
I care not if for good or ill,
  So they but lay the memory
Which all my heart is haunting still!
  (Mournfully, sing mournfully)--
The Fairies are a silent race,
  And pale as lily flowers to see;
I care not for a blanched face,
  For wandering in a dreaming place,
  So I but banish memory:--
I wish I were with Anna Grace!
  Mournfully, sing mournfully!
Hearken to my tale of woe--
  'Twas thus to weeping Ellen Con,
Her sister said in accents low,
  Her only sister, Una bawn:
  'Twas in their bed before the dawn,
And Ellen answered sad and slow,--
  "Oh Una, Una, be not drawn
(Hearken to my tale of woe)--
  To this unholy grief I pray,
Which makes me sick at heart to know,
  And I will help you if I may:
--The Fairy Well of Lagnanay--
  Lie nearer me, I tremble so,--
Una, I've heard wise women say
  (Hearken to my tale of woe)--
That if before the dews arise,
  True maiden in its icy flow
With pure hand bathe her bosom thrice,
  Three lady-brackens pluck likewise,
And three times round the fountain go,
  She straight forgets her tears and sighs."
Hearken to my tale of woe!
All, alas! and well-away!
  "Oh, sister Ellen, sister sweet,
Come with me to the hill I pray,
  And I will prove that blessed freet!"
  They rose with soft and silent feet,
They left their mother where she lay,
  Their mother and her care discreet,
(All, alas and well-away!)
  And soon they reached the Fairy Well,
The mountain's eye, clear, cold and grey,
  Wide open in the dreary fell:
How long they stood 'twere vain to tell,
  At last upon the point of day,
Bawn Una bares her bosom's swell,
  (All, alas and well-away!)
Thrice o'er her shrinking breasts she laves
  The gliding glance that will not stay
Of subtly-streaming fairy waves:--
  And now the charm three brackens craves,
She plucks them in their fring'd array:--
  Now round the well her fate she braves,
All, alas! and well-away!
Save us all from Fairy thrall!
  Ellen sees her face the rim
Twice and thrice, and that is all--
  Fount and hill and maiden swim
  All together melting dim!
"Una! Una!" thou may'st call,
  Sister sad! but lith or limb
(Save us all from Fairy thrall! )
  Never again of Una bawn,
Where now she walks in dreamy hall,
  Shall eye of mortal look upon!
  Oh! can it be the guard was gone,
The better guard than shield or wall?
  Who knows on earth save Jurlagh Daune?
(Save us all from Fairy thrall! )
  Behold the banks are green and bare,
No pit is here wherein to fall:
  Aye--at the fount you well may stare,
  But nought save pebbles smooth is there,
And small straws twirling one and all.
  Hie thee home, and be thy pray'r,
Save us all from Fairy thrall.

An Ulster Ballad.

"GET up, our Anna dear, from the weary spinning-wheel;
  For your father's on the hill, and your mother is asleep;
Come up above the crags, and we'll dance a highland-reel
  Around the fairy thorn on the steep."
At Anna Grace's door 'twas thus the maidens cried,
  Three merry maidens fair in kirtles of the green;
And Anna laid the rock and the weary wheel aside,
  The fairest of the four, I ween.
They're glancing through the glimmer of the quiet eve,
  Away in milky wavings of neck and ankle bare;
The heavy-sliding stream in its sleepy song they leave,
  And the crags in the ghostly air:
And linking hand in hand, and singing as they go,
  The maids along the hill-side have ta'en their fearless way,
Till they come to where the rowan trees in lonely beauty grow
  Beside the Fairy Hawthorn grey.
p. 39
The Hawthorn stands between the ashes tall and slim,
  Like matron with her twin grand-daughters at her knee;
The rowan berries cluster o'er her low head grey and dim
  In ruddy kisses sweet to see.
The merry maidens four have ranged them in a row,
  Between each lovely couple a stately rowan stem,
And away in mazes wavy, like skimming birds they go,
  Oh, never caroll'd bird like them!
But solemn is the silence of the silvery haze
  That drinks away their voices in echoless repose,
And dreamily the evening has still'd the haunted braes,
  And dreamier the gloaming grows.
And sinking one by one, like lark-notes from the sky
  When the falcon's shadow saileth across the open shaw,
Are hush'd the maiden's voices, as cowering down they he
  In the flutter of their sudden awe.
For, from the air above, the grassy ground beneath,
  And from the mountain-ashes and the old Whitethorn between,
A Power of faint enchantment doth through their beings breathe,
  And they sink down together on the green.
They sink together silent, and stealing side by side,
  They fling their lovely arms o'er their drooping necks so fair,
Then vainly strive again their naked arms to hide,
  For their shrinking necks again are bare.
Thus clasp'd and prostrate all, with their heads together bow'd,
  Soft o'er their bosom's beating--the only human sound--
They hear the silky footsteps of the silent fairy crowd,
  Like a river in the air, gliding round.
p. 40
No scream can any raise, no prayer can any say,
  But wild, wild, the terror of the speechless three--
For they feel fair Anna Grace drawn silently away,
  By whom they dare not look to see.
They feel their tresses twine with her parting locks of gold
  And the curls elastic falling as her head withdraws;
They feel her sliding arms from their tranced arms unfold,
  But they may not look to see the cause:
For heavy on their senses the faint enchantment lies
  Through all that night of anguish and perilous amaze;
And neither fear nor wonder can ope their quivering eyes,
  Or their limbs from the cold ground raise,
Till out of night the earth has roll'd her dewy side,
  With every haunted mountain and streamy vale below;
When, as the mist dissolves in the yellow morning tide,
  The maidens' trance dissolveth go.
Then fly the ghastly three as swiftly as they may,
  And tell their tale of sorrow to anxious friends in vain--
They pined away and died within the year and day,
  And ne'er was Anna Grace seen again.

Translated from the Irish by J. J. Callanan
[This song is supposed to have been sung by a young bride, who was forcibly detained in one of those forts which are so common in Ireland, and to which the good people are very fond of resorting. Under pretence of hushing her child to rest, she retired to the outside margin of the fort, and addressed the burthen of her song to a young woman whom she saw at a short distance, and whom she requested to inform her husband of her condition, and to desire him to bring the steel knife to dissolve the enchantment.]

SLEEP, my child! for the rustling trees,
Stirr'd by the breath of summer breeze,
And fairy songs of sweetest note,
Around us gently float.
Sleep! for the weeping flowers have shed
Their fragrant tears upon thy head,
The voice of love hath sooth'd thy rest,
And thy pillow is a mother's breast.
                         Sleep, my child!
Weary hath pass'd the time forlorn,
Since to your mansion I was borne,
Tho' bright the feast of its airy halls,
And the voice of mirth resounds from its walls.
                         Sleep, my child!
Full many a maid and blooming bride
Within that splendid dome abide,
And many a hoar and shrivell'd sage,
And many a matron bow'd with age.
                         Sleep, my child!
Oh! thou who hearest this song of fear,
To the mourner's home these tidings bear.
Bid him bring the knife of the magic blade,
At whose lightning-flash the charm will fade.
                         Sleep, my child!
Haste! for tomorrow's sun will see
The hateful spell renewed for me;
Nor can I from that home depart,
Till life shall leave my withering heart.
                         Sleep, my child!
Sleep, my child! for the rustling trees,
Stirr'd by the breath of summer breeze.
And fairy songs of sweetest note,
Around us gently float.


Little Cowboy, what have you heard,
  Up on the lonely rath's green mound?
Only the plaintive yellow bird 1
  Sighing in sultry fields around,
Chary, chary, chary, chee-ee!--
Only the grasshopper and the bee?-- p. 82
    "Tip-tap, rip-rap,
  Scarlet leather, sewn together,
    This will make a shoe.
  Left, right, pull it tight;
    Summer days are warm;
  Underground in winter,
    Laughing at the storm!
Lay your ear close to the hill.
Do you not catch the tiny clamour,
Busy click of an elfin hammer,
Voice of the Lepracaun singing shrill
  As he merrily plies his trade?
    He's a span
      And a quarter in height.
Get him in sight, hold him tight,
      And you're a made

You watch your cattle the summer day,
Sup on potatoes, sleep in the hay;
  How would you like to roll in your carriage.
  Look for a duchess's daughter in marriage?
Seize the Shoemaker--then you may!
    "Big boots a-hunting,
    Sandals in the hall,
  White for a wedding-feast,
    Pink for a ball.
  This way, that way,
    So we make a shoe;
  Getting rich every stitch,
Nine-and-ninety treasure-crocks
This keen miser-fairy hath,
Hid in mountains, woods, and rocks,
Ruin and round-tow'r, cave and rath,
  And where the cormorants build; p. 83
    From times of old
    Guarded by him;
    Each of them fill'd
    Full to the brim
      With gold!

I caught him at work one day, myself,
  In the castle-ditch, where foxglove grows,--
A wrinkled, wizen'd and bearded Elf,
  Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose,
  Silver buckles to his hose,
  Leather apron-shot in his lap--
      "Rip-rap, tip-tap,
    (A grasshopper on my cap!
       Away the moth flew!)
    Buskins for a fairy prince,
      Brogues for his son,--
    Pay me well, pay me well,
      When the job is done! "
The rogue was mine, beyond a doubt.
I stared at him; he stared at me;
"Servant, Sir!" "Humph!" says he,
  And pull'd a snuff-box out.
He took a long pinch, look'd better pleased,
  The queer little Lepracaun;
Offer'd the box with a whimsical grace,-
Pouf! he flung the dust in my face,
    And, while I sneezed,
      Was gone!


Sweet babe! a golden cradle holds thee,
And soft the snow-white fleece enfolds thee;
In airy bower I'll watch thy sleeping,
Where branchy trees to the breeze are sweeping.
                  Shuheen, sho, lulo lo!
When mothers languish broken-hearted,
When young wives are from husbands parted,
Ah! little think the keeners lonely,
They weep some time-worn fairy only.
                  Shuheen, sho, lulo lo!
Within our magic halls of brightness,
Trips many a foot of snowy whiteness;
Stolen maidens, queens of fairy--
And kings and chiefs a sluagh-shee airy,
                  Shuheen, sho, lulo lo!
Rest thee, babe! I love thee dearly,
And as thy mortal mother nearly;
Ours is the swiftest steed and proudest,
That moves where the tramp of the host is loudest.
                  Shuheen, sho, lulo lo!
Rest thee, babe! for soon thy slumbers
Shall flee at the magic koelshie's 1 numbers;
In airy bower I'll watch thy sleeping,
Where branchy trees to the breeze are sweeping.
                  Shuheen, sho, lulo lo!


I heard the dogs howl in the moonlight night;
I went to the window to see the sight;
All the Dead that ever I knew
Going one by one and two by two.
On they pass'd, and on they pass'd;
Townsfellows all, from first to last;
Born in the moonlight of the lane,
Quench'd in the heavy shadow again.
Schoolmates, marching as when we play'd
At soldiers once--but now more staid;
Those were the strangest sight to me
Who were drown'd, I knew, in the awful sea.
Straight and handsome folk; bent and weak, too;
Some that I loved, and gasp'd to speak to;
Some but a day in their churchyard bed;
Some that I had not known were dead.
A long, long crowd--where each seem'd lonely,
Yet of them all there was one, one only,
Raised a head or look'd my way.
She linger'd a moment,--she might not stay.
How long since I saw that fair pale face!
Ah! Mother dear! might I only place
My head on thy breast, a moment to rest,
While thy hand on my tearful cheek were prest!
On, on, a moving bridge they made
Across the moon-stream, from shade to shade,
Young and old, women and men;
Many long-forgot, but remember'd then.
And first there came a bitter laughter;
A sound of tears the moment after;
And then a music so lofty and gay,
That every morning, day by day,
I strive to recall it if I may.

The Hosting of the Sidhe

THE host is riding from Knocknarea
And over the grave of Clooth-na bare;
Caolte tossing his burning hair
And Niamh calling Away, come away:
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.
The winds awaken, the leaves whirl round,
Our cheeks are pale, our hair is unbound,
Our breasts are heaving, our eyes are agleam,
Our arms are waving, our lips are apart;
And if any gaze on our rushing band,
We come between him and the deed of his hand,
We come between him and the hope of his heart.
The host is rushing ’twixt night and day,
And where is there hope or deed as fair?
Caolte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling Away, come away.


NYMPHS, who from Ocean's stream derive your birth,
Who dwell in liquid caverns of the earth
Nurses of Bacchus secret-coursing pow'r,
Who fruits sustain, and nourish ev'ry flow'r:
Earthly, rejoicing, who in meadows dwell, 5

And caves and dens, whose depths extend to hell:
Holy, oblique, who swiftly soar thro' air,
Fountains and dews, and mazy streams your care:
Seen and unseen, who joy with wand'rings wide
And gentle course, thro' flow'ry vales to glide; 10

With Pan exulting on the mountains height,
Loud-founding, mad, whom rocks and woods delight:
Nymphs od'rous, rob'd in white, whose streams exhale
The breeze refreshing, and the balmy gale;
With goats and pastures pleas'd, and beasts of prey, 15

Nurses of fruits, unconscious of decay:
In cold rejoicing, and to cattle kind,
Sportive thro' ocean wand'ring unconfin'd:
Nysian, fanatic Nymphs, whom oaks delight,
Lovers of Spring, Pæonian virgins bright. 20

With Bacchus, and with Ceres, hear my pray'r.
And to mankind abundant favour bear;
Propitious listen to your suppliants voice,
Come, and benignant in these rites rejoice;
Give plenteous Seasons, and sufficient wealth, 25

And pour; in lasting streams, continued Health.

Finnish Prayers to Fairies

Kinsman of Hiisi! rise, awake,
thou mountain haltia, to show a man the path,
to point to a full-grown man the place where booty is to be obtained,
treasures can be opened up before a man who is making search,
a fellow creeping on his knees.

From the earth rise, Ghostly Shade (manalainen),
like a horror, hairless one, like a hideous fright,
clod-headed. one, approach to take away thy blast,
to take possession of thine own; the injury thou dost,
force down into Tuoni's turf, to the end of the hut of Manala,
not into a human being's skin or into a creature's (kave) hide.

O Siilikki [v. Huijutar], woods’ daughter-in-law,
pray discipline thy wee 'winged bird,'
hide away thy 'feathered chick,'
bind up its wings, confine its claws,
to prevent it stabbing with its pike,
to prevent it sharpening its steel. Kuutar,
conceal thy children now, hide, Päivätär,
thy family, and follow not a wizard's wish,
don't be made jealous by jealous folk.

For Fishing
O water's mistress, Vellamo, water's old wife with reedy breast,
come here to exchange thy shirt, to change thy clothes.
On thee is a shirt of reeds, on thee is a sea-foam cloak,
made by the daughter of the wind, the gift of Aallotar;
I give thee a linen shirt, of linen entirely made,
by Kuutar woven and spun by Päivätär [v. Kaunotar].

For Cattle
Forest Nikki [v. Hitsi], forest Nikki [v. Hätsi],
of the forest the golden king, grey-bearded and with a mossy cap!
thou kindly mistress of the woods, fair woman of woods’
winding ways from the deep forest-dell arise,
awake from thy pine-bough bed, to my beasts give peace, to the hoof-footed ones—repose,
full freedom to the calves, to the shepherd the best control.
Take care of the weaker kine, the weaker ones,
the smaller ones, lest they should come to grief,
should stumble into shame; let Kirjo range o’er wooded wilds,
along the 'yard of God,' along the ground of Mary dear;
while the evening bath is being prepared,
drive thou my cattle home rejoicing to the great court-yards before conclusion of the day,
before the setting of the sun.

O Katrinatar, woman fair, the girl of night,
the maid of dusk, pray take five serving-girls,
six who obey command, to watch my herd, to tend my kine,
that the herd may freely rove, that the 'small hoofs' shall not fear,
that the calves sha’n’t be alarmed, that the cold weather sha’n’t scatter them.
May a wolf bar up his mouth, may the tooth of a bear be broken off from summer night to winter night.
But if it pay no heed to that, construct an iron fence,
erect a fence with stakes of steel round my live stock,
on either side of my herd of kine. Cause the fence to reach from the earth,
from the earth as far as the sky, that the son of a toad can't injure them,
a 'forest cur' can't injure them this summer of Jesus, this important summer-time of God.

To Silence a dog
Field maiden, farmyard girl! O golden king of earth, here where they need thee, come from the field with thy family to close the mouth of a dog, to plug the nozzle of a whelp. Bind silk across its eyes, tie a bandage round its ears, a mushroom up one nostril thrust, an apple up the other one, lest it should scent the breath of man, perceive the smell of a full-grown man, lest it should hear a passerby, lest it should see a wanderer.

When Sowing
O Etelätär, youthful maid, the boisterous,
the jolly girl, just cause a honeyed cloud to rise in the honeyed sky;
from the west despatch a cloud, from the south let one arrive,
lead water from the sky, rain honey, liquid honey
down on the growing shoots of corn, on the rustling growing crops.

Catch Birds
Lord of the wooded wilds, the island's oldest man,
old man of 'feathers' with rumpled beard!
O kindly mistress of Metsola, O Hollow Fir, 2 old wife of down!
bring a 'feather' from the genial land, send a 'downy feather'
from the west to jerk my honeyed snares,
to spring my honeyed nooses set on a honeyed knoll in the luscious wooded wilds.
From the copse take a switch, from the scrub a
copperheaded one, from the coppice chase the birds and
drive them from the abandoned fields to flutter with a whirring sound,
till for their wings there is no place. May the twigs sink down as the birds
approach these trapping grounds, these passages 1 that must be trod.
Bind round their mouths with silk, twist their heads awry,
lest they damage my flaxen noose, lest they destroy my hempen snares.

Laaus, the master of Pohjola! grant me to take a full-grown bird 2 from these clean sticks, from the whitened twigs, 3 as a present for the folk at home. I'll give thee thanks for it, I'll bow before the famous man, for it extol thy worthiness, if thou wilt give a full-grown bird 2 as a present for the folk at home.

When Hunting
O Grove, be kind! be friendly, Wilderness!
O blue Backwoods, be amiable! that I may ramble through the woods, may jostle through the wooded wilds. Forest, be friendly to my men! Backwoods, be kindly to my dogs! be appeased by these peace-offerings, by these inducements be mollified, with which the Creator was appeased, the Omnipotent was mollified. Marry our men, introduce our full-grown men to the pleasant daughters of the woods, to the downy-breasted chicks. The eyelashes of other men are not more smooth, nor the eyebrows more magnificent than those that our men have. The gait of other men, the silken ribbons on their socks, the silver laces to their breeks are not more elegant. The bows of other men are not formed out of gold, nor of silver are their narrow skates, nor of copper are their skating staffs.
The hunting dogs of other men are not more dear (F. golden), more dear or more renowned, than those that our men have.

Old man of the forest with light grey beard, of the forest the golden king! O forest-mistress, Mielikki! Miiritär, forest-daughter-in-law! mount up on a sloping birch, ascend a bent-down alder-tree, to listen to my songs, whether my songs are suitable. Gird the forests with a sword, place a glaive in the backwoods’ hand, clothe the forest in homespun cloth, dress in German linen the wooded wilds, array in coats the aspen-trees, the alder-trees in lovely clothes, with silver adorn the firs, deck the pines with gold, put flowers on the heads of the pines, and silver on the heads of firs, gird round old pines with copper belts, the firs with silver belts. Clothe them as in the days of old, in thy periods for giving gifts, on my days for seeking game, and at the times I went to shoot. When to the forest I had gone, had attained the far backwoods, had ascended to the wilderness, had arrived on a mountain top, the aspens were in silver belts, the birches decked with golden flowers, pine branches glistened like the moon, the spreading fir-tops like the sun, like the moon the famous lad shone forth, like the sun—the doughty full-grown man.

Old man of the knoll with golden breast, with a hat of twigs, with a mossy cap! O forest-mistress, Mielikki! O Tapio's daughter, Tellervo [v. Annikki], the forest-daughter, the kindly maid, the tiny little forest lass I blue-mantled old wife of the copse I red-stockinged mistress of the swamp! O lovely being of the heath! show me the path, open the door, proceed to indicate the path, to give instructions for the way, to set up posts along the road and landmarks make. O son of Tapio, Nyyrikki, spruce fellow with a tall red cap, cut marks along the country side, establish landmarks on the hills, that I, though stupid, can find the way, I, though a stranger, can repair to the hunting-grounds of other men, to special woods of full-grown men. Make a slow-footed man to scud, by the breast of his jacket lug him on, by the hole of his snow-skate shove him on, lead him by the ferule of his staff across morasses, across firm land, across the backwoods of Pohjola; conduct him to a wooded isle, transport him to the knoll where 'gold' will afford him sport, 'silver' will make him glad, where pines have flowers on their heads, the firs have silver on their heads, birches have golden earrings on, alders are dressed in lovely clothes, the aspen-trees—in pale grey stuff, the heather flowers—in gold.

O forest-mistress, Mielikki, famed 'golden buckle of the woods,' pray come along to give a hand, to stretch thy right hand forth on these my days for seeking game, at the times I go to hunt. Take the golden keys from the ring at thy side, step to the storehouse on the hill, into the cellar lightly trip, open quickly Tapio's magazine, disturb the forest-tower, set free the gold to move about, the 'silver' to wander forth towards a white man, the colour wholly of the birch. 1 But pray be on thy guard that the quicker ones don't slip away, for tardy I am at snowshoeing, am slow at shoving along.

O forest-mistress, Mielikki, the mother with a lovely face, get ready my reserve, make my allotted share leap up in the blue backwoods, at the centre of the 'golden' knoll. Open quickly the honeyed chest, disturb the honeyed box, set free a drove to run about, a file of animals to skip before the man in search of them, at the steps of him that craves.
If thou thyself be disinclined, then send thy serving-maids, direct thy thralls, command the obeyers of commands. Thou art no mistress, so to speak, if thou keepest no serving-maids, keepst not a hundred serving-maids, a thousand that obey commands, that keep watch over all the herd, that tend the forest animals, that regulate the lengthy flock and guide the great string of animals. I keep a single serving-lass that is in her movements brisk, is energetic at her work and open-handed with her gifts.

King 1 of the forest, Kuuritar, that maketh hoofs, that bendeth paws, open thy 'money' magazine, unbolt thy store, set free a drove to run about, a file of animals to skip; let a 'golden fur-coat' issue forth, a homespun cloth' come trotting down along the silver path, along the copper track from the wild creature's place of birth, from the rearing-ground of 'precious pelts' (F. money hair), to the places where I set my gins, to the passages that must be trod. Whoe’er is quick at galloping, keep in check with reins, with a bit keep straight, whoe’er's not quick at galloping, strike with a switch to quicken him, with a rope's end give a thwack, with a cock's beak tickle him, and prod him with a golden spur.

O Ukko, the golden king, the silver governor, take a golden club or a copper hammer from the end of a silver spar, from the head of a copper nail, and with it beat the wilderness, bang the gloomy wooded wilds, that into squirrels pine branches turn, into otters—densely wooded wilds. Good is a beaten wilderness, and gloomy wooded wilds well banged, so that a dog can run ahead, a whelp can work aright.

Old Ukko with the rumpled beard, O hollow fir with fir-twig hat, pray come and beat the wilderness, make its edges shake on a summer night, the first afternoon. Belabour, Ukko, a young tree, make stumps resound with thuds, with a fiery sword, with a golden club. Drive out the creatures to the edge, to the openest abandoned fields, from the end of every jutting point, from the corner of each wilderness, on my days for seeking game, at my periods for setting traps.

Give me, Ukko, of thy 'ewes,' of thine own 'rams,' bring forth thy 'gold,' all thy 'drooping ears.' Bring them without a fear, without suspicion let them rove; those that are resting in the grove, that are reposing under boughs, that are sleeping on a knoll, are paddling the bottom of a brook, send in threes from the forest vales, in fives and sixes from the glades along the golden cattle-roads, along the silver paths, where the bridges are laid with silk, bridges with silk, with velvet—swamps, wet spots with homespun cloth, with Silesian linen—dirty spots, with linen from Germany, with a fringe of homespun stuff.

O Tapio's daughter, Annikki [v. Tyytikki], the tiny little forest-lass with down-like shirt, with a fine spun shirt, the woman of complexion fair, with shouts awake the forest-king, arouse the backwoods’ haltia, to give me of his precious ones, his animals (F. hoofs) of every hue; play a tune on a honeyed pipe, pipe on a delicious pipe into the comely mistress's ear, the gracious mistress of the woods, so that she speedily shall hear, shall arise from sleep, since she won't listen in the least, not even rarely will awake, although I beg incessantly, keep murmuring with a golden tongue.
Lass Annikki that keeps the keys! Eva, the tiny little serving-maid! advance to the magazine with the delightful mistress's leave; fling open the magazine of gifts, the lock-less doorway of the loft. Thou art no lass at all, no lassie of the keys indeed, unless thou open the magazine, and, having opened it, give forth some greater and some smaller game, some of every sort of hue. Twist a ruddy thread on thy ruddy cheek, and draw it across the stream, across the stream of Pohjola, for the animals to run upon, for the 'money-pelts' to skip along in front of the man in search of them, before the steps of the man that walks.

O forest-daughter, delightful girl, O Tapio's daughter, Tuulikki, chase the wild creatures out to run from the forest-castle slopes, make them to scamper, make them scud for my good luck. When the wild creatures reach the track, hurry them on along the track, place thy two palms as a fence on either side, lest the wild creatures dash away, the forest-herd should bounce aside, or on a by-path should diverge. When they look over it, then raise the fence; when they look down, then lower down the fence; when the animals don't move, then leave the fence as it is; if the wild creatures dash away, or on a by-path should diverge, lift them up on the path by the ears, bring them back on the track by the horns. If a fallen tree oppose their course, shove it aside; if trees lie across the path, smash them in half; if a fence oppose itself, prostrate the fence; if a river chance to be in front, a rivulet—across the path, cast down thy silk to be a bridge, as a foot-bridge—scarlet cloth, along which the drove can run, for a path for them to go across. Bring them across the shallow sounds, over the waters draw them on, as a sail employ a tail, or use a pizzle as a sail.

O Tapio's daughter, Tuulikki, the famous beauty of the woods, O Pihlajatar, little lass, short daughter, Tuometar, O kindly mistress, Hongatar, fair wife of the forest-environs, from a spinny take a switch, a fir-branch from a clump of firs, chase the wild creatures out to run before a miserable lad. If in this direction none appear, pray seek them further off, from Lapland's gloomy wooded wilds, from the utmost border of the north, from under Kuha-vuori's top, from Kuusivaara's peak, from near lake Imantra, from the boundary land of the Turja Fell; more sloping is the country here, more flowing are the waters here; here in a straight line pathways stretch, here gates fall down.

O lively woman, Vitsäri, O Tapio's daughter, Tellervo, take a whip of mountain ash, a cattle-scourge of juniper from the rear of Tapio's hill, from Tuomi-vaara's further side, and with it drive the timorous, hurry along the younger ones. Whichever is slow to run, at starting is a lazy one, quicken up with a switch, drive with shouts, with a crack of the lash, so that the switch shall whiz, the willow-top shall make a crash; give a swipe across the sides, or across the withers strike, at the forehead aim no blow, don't thwack upon the skull. Old wife of the forest with lovely hair, 'Gold hair-plait' of a hundred woods! O honeyed maiden of Metsola, old man of the forest with flowing beard! old wife of Tapio, Nyrkytär! and forest-Tapio himself! O son of Tapio, Pinneys, don't hold them back, don't hold them fast: Christ christened thee, thee the Omnipotent baptized in the middle of the forest-field, to tend the forest animals. Fetch me some forest-ale, that I may forest-honey drink; in the forest much ale is found, in the forest is honey sweet, myself have seen it to be true, when as a young man I was there. Send forth the droves to run, the forest animals to rush, without suspicion let them come, without precaution—bound along before the man in search of them, up to the steps of him that begs. O Pohja's open-handed [v. blue-mantled] wife, Laaus, the master of Pohjola! O Sinisirkku, Pohja's maid, O Pohja's daughter, Pohja's son, O kindly mistress, Hyypiö, distinguished woman, Varvutar! stir up thine animals, frighten away thy herd from sleeping in the woods, from slumbering under boughs of fir, reposing in the leafy grove, from snoozing on the sward; induce thy droves to run, the forest animals to bolt, cause the elks to scud along, grand reindeer to hurry up, their legs to take a sudden spring, their hoofs to move with rapidity to my spots for catching animals, to these passes where I look for game. In profusion let them come and hurry with speedy foot, along morasses, over lands, along long streams, through the forest dense, across the thinly wooded wilds, across the leafy wooded hills, across the lofty mountains too; then when they hither have arrived, when they have reached their journey's end, do thou, Mist-maiden, maid of Fog, the 'Leaf-bud,' 'Ship-borne Yarn' [v. O Tapio's daughter, Luonnotar], 1 with a sieve sift mist, keep scattering fog before the wild creature's face, when nine paces off, rub fog upon its eyes, let mist descend upon its pate till I am ready with my bow, have arranged myself to shoot.

O forest-youth with a golden hat! O forest-mistress, Juonetar [v. king of the forest, Kuippana], transport thy 'gold,' induce thy 'silver' to approach to my spots for catching animals, these passes where I look for game. Send the best of thy flock, of thy herd—the most superb from the blue backwoods’ interior, from a liver-coloured hole, from Kuha-vuori's peak, from Paksu-vaara's slopes, from near the rapids of Imantra, from Kana-saari's deep recess. From a spinny take a switch, a birch from a forest-dell, send forth the drove to run, cause a 'money-pelt' to break away. Any one too inert to run, make lively with the switch, correct with the birchen bough; of any one that is quick to run raise the mouth with a bit, with halters lift its head. Permit the game to run this way, a 'money-pelt' to rush headlong. More sloping is the country here, a milder climate here is found; here rivers flow, here waters fall.

O Hiisi's little boy that rides a good two-year-old, take thy golden spur from the end of a silver shelf, from a golden chest, from a silver box, tickle with it the wild creatures' flanks, into their armpits dig it too; cause the drove to run, the wild animals to caper round towards the man in search of them, the stately full-grown man, in copper harness, with golden rings.

Tapio's daughter, Annikki, Tapio's girl with honeyed mouth! stoop down to 'milk,' prepare to give on this my day for catching game, on my hunting days. Open wide the storehouse doors, set ajar the garret doors, throw out my share upon a bough, my portion on a bending tree, by fives from the dense young scrub, by sixes from the forest knolls, by sevens from the woodland ridge, by eights from clumps of juniper, in front of my dogs, my dogs, my men. Induce my dog to bark, let my hound give tongue; stretch a scarlet thread, spin with a buzzing sound blue thread, along which an arrow can ascend to a young squirrel's brow, to a 'cone-biter's' nose, to the nostrils of 'blue-wool.'

O forest-mistress, Mielikki, kind forest-mother that giveth gifts, the honeyed maiden of Metsola, the golden forest-king! give something to me to shoot, some larger 'hoofs,' some smaller 'hoofs,' some 'hoofs' of medium size; cause the hillocks to resound, bring down the squirrels to the dells, chase the 'money' to the forest's edge, that I can strike them with a staff, can seize them with my hand and fist. If I can't strike them with a staff, thyself direct them to a branch, thyself support my bow, steady my gun thyself, that I can shoot the squirrel on the branch, the 'forest-cat' upon its swing, with which I shall my tribute pay, shall carry away my receipt for rent.

King of the forest, Kuippana, brisk man of the woods with tree-moss beard! O liberal mistress of the woods, the kind gift-giver of the woods, take a fancy to my salt, approve of these boiled groats, feed a man with thy 'sweet rye cakes,' and coax him with thy 'groats'; induce the 'gold' to move, the 'silver' to wander forth ’long a golden lane, ’long a silver path, into the little golden 'cup,' into the silver 'farrier's tongs.' Drive briskly the animals, the forest-creatures hastily, toward my gins that are made of iron, toward my traps that are formed of steel; and then when they are close, when they have reached the spot, let my iron give a snap, jerk the points of steel.

Take a fancy, Forest, to my salt, O Tapio—to my dish of groats, thou golden forest-king with fir-twig hat, with a tree-moss beard, O Mimerkki, the forest's wife with sheath of tin, with a silver belt, O Raunikko [v. Rammikko] that regulates the 'cash,' Louhi, the mistress of Pohjola, let rattle thy hand that is filled with 'cash,' let gleam thine ornamented hand. O son of Tapio, Nyyrikki, spruce fellow with a tall red cap, with a cloak of blue, with a beard of white, take thy tall cap of hoofs, sow the smaller 'hoofs,' sow the larger 'hoofs,' without suspicion let them come, rush in torrents without a halt, strutting along in socks of black, tripping along on their neat feet to my spots for catching game, to my traps that must be trod. Choose white ones for other men, the black ones suit me best; if hereabouts they do not show, then fetch them from a remoter part, from over nine deep woods, from a hundred stages off.

O stalwart maiden, Päistärys [v. Tapio's maiden, Ristikko], that strews flax-stalks (päistär), strew 'stalks of flax,' scatter thy 'cloaks' about in the blue backwoods, in honeyed Metsola; without suspicion let them come, without misgiving let them run, without perceiving the smell of man, without their scenting human scent, to my spots for catching game, to my traps that should be trod, cross-breasted ones from Pohjola, black 'coats of fur' from Turjaland, to make into fluttering clothes for lords, to make into garments for men in power.

O Christopher (Ristoppi), the river-chief, the golden river-king, O Nokiatar [v. Jokiatar], youthful girl, that
watches over the river-herd, pursue the river-herd with shouts, make them to rush out like a flood from the holes of their stony dens, like a herd of cattle—from the rocks, through a silver 'door,' through a 'window' of gold 1 to soft pillows, to beds of wool. In a hundred ditches have otters been caught, in a thousand streamlets they are found, but in one ditch they must be caught, and it has a silver 'door.' If hereabouts they do not show, then fetch them from a remoter part, from the side of Imantra Lake, along a river of Pohjola, over nine men in search of them, under eight persons on the watch. If thou a full-grown otter guide, drive one the colour of the wave through the silver 'door,' through the 'window' of gold, I'll give thee gold as old as the moon, give silver as bright as the sun.

O cease, good God, from raining, blowing, and maintaining a cloudy sky; O Ukko, god of the sky, thyself; the mighty lord of air, to Russia [v. Viborg] conduct the clouds, take the rainbows to Karjala; they are waiting for water there, an old woman has borne a child, no water has it seen as yet. A little child is there—a boy, and another child—a girl, of one night old, of two months old, they all as yet are unbaptized.

Extracts from Slavic Vila Songs

“but a vila gave birth to me,
In green leaves she swaddled me.
my diapers were
of that green grass;
my beds were
slender branches from firs;
winds that were blowing,
they rocked me;
boulders that fell,
they played with me;
the dw that dropped,
it breast-fed me!”

But a vila from the mountain yelled to him:
“Bad morning to you little Marijan!
The Beg Sokolic fled
to his courtyard to his white tower
his is a stone couryard
he is going to close steal and would beams,
you will not see him again

They went to Trenk’s manor
the lads thinking that no one hears them,
but a vila in the mountains heard,
Then the vila called to Trenk:
“Blood-Brother Trenkovic Franjo!
You have sown evil and drank wine
Mountain outlaws are upon you,
leading them is Vidak the Outlaw
They intend to burn down your estate,
surround your wite tower,
they will slaughter your young gaurds,
they will reduce your white tower to rubble,
and you, young one, they will capture
and aventge their anger upon you.
But gather, Franjo Trenkovic,
but gather the young gards, 
Then place them into a secret ambush
and close the door of your manor,
then when the mountain outlaws arrive,
Hasten upon them with ambush fire!”

A vila watched them from a cloud,
Alone to herself she said;
If their could be a hero found,
to kill the two little children,
I would give him half my power

And when the young girl saw (the army), 
she went to her green garden:
she saddled her pie-bald with deer antlers,
with an angry snake she bridled him,
and with an angrier snake she spurred him.

Fairy Halloween

Hallowe'en, when the fairy court sweeps in procession through England and through Scotland and "the warld sae wide," he suddenly appears to Janet, who, with feminine caprice, had gone to Carterhaugh by the light of the moon. With the freedom characteristic of the heroes of ballad poetry, he uses the privilege of a husband without the blessing of Holy Kirk. Janet asks him if he had ever been "sained in Christentie," or been received into the Church by baptism. He then reveals himself to her as her boylover, and explains the reason of his appearance. He can only be saved from becoming the tribute of hell by her "borrowing" him on the following night. Burns refers to this fairy pageant in his Hallowe'en"—
"Upon that night, when fairies light,
 On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance," &c.
And an older poet, Alexander Montgomery, in his "Flyting. against Polwarth," has a similar reference—
"In the hinder end of harvest, on All-Hallowe'en,
When our good neighbours dois ride, if I read right,
Some buckled on a bunewand, and some on a bean,
Ay trottand in troups from the twilight;
The King of Pharie and his court, with the Elf Queen,
 With many elfish incubus was ridand that night."
Tamlane tells Janet in what manner he is to be borrowed. She was to abide at Miles Cross, and go to Miles Moss between twelve and one with holy water in her hand, "and cast a compass round." Inreply to the question as to how she was to know him among the fairy throng, he answers that three courts or companies would pass by—the first of which she was to allow to pass, the second she was to salute reverently, and in the third, or head court, all clad in robes of green, in which the Queen herself rode, he would be found upon a milk-white steed, with a gold star in his crown—an honour awarded to him because he was a christened man—

THE Moss or Wood Folk dwelt in the forests of Southern Germany. Their stature was small and their form strange and uncouth, bearing a strong resemblance to certain trees with which they flourished and decayed:—fit residents for the wooded solitudes that for many a league shade the banks of that romantic river which begins its course in the Black Forest and ends it in the Black Sea.
They were a simple, timid, and inoffensive race, and had little intercourse with mankind; approaching only at rare intervals the lonely cabin of the woodman or forester, to borrow some article of domestic use, or to beg a little Of the food which the good wife was preparing for the family meal. They would also for similar purposes appear to labourers in the fields which lay on the outskirts of the forests. Happy they so visited, for loan or gift to the Moss-people was always repaid manifold!
But the most highly prized and eagerly coveted of all mortal gifts was a draught from the maternal breast to their own little ones; for this they held to be a sovereign remedy for all the ills to which their natures were subject. Yet was it only in the extremity of danger that they could so overcome their natural diffidence and timidity as to ask this boon: for they knew that mortal mothers turned from such nurslings with disgust and fear.
It would appear that the Moss or Wood Folk also lived in some parts of Scandinavia. Thus we are told that in the churchyard of Store Hedding, in Zealand, there are the remains of an oak wood which were trees by day and warriors by night.

The Moss-woman And The Widow.
IS the looked-for hour of noontide rest, And, with face upturned and open vest, The weary mowers asleep are laid On the swathes their sinewy arms have made: The rakers have gone to the woodland's edge That skirts the field like a giant hedge, Shelter to seek from the blinding heat, And their humble midday meal to eat.

But one there is in that rustic band
With slender form and delicate hand,
Whose voice a tone of sorrow bears,
And whose face a shade of sadness wears:
She knitting sits apart from the rest,
With a rosy infant at her breast,
Who has played or slept in the fragrant hay,
Near his mother at work in the field all day.
Said Karl, when he led his comely bride
To his cottage down by the Danube side—
'I'll work till arm and back shall break,
Ere Roschen ever touch fork or rake.'
But, alas for Karl! the fever came,
Stricken was many a stalwart frame,
And his Roschen the widow's tear has shed
O'er the grave where his manly form was laid.
Into the swarthy forest shade
Her pensive eye has aimless strayed,
Till it sadly rests on what seems to be
The limb of a prostrate moss-grown tree:
Suddenly down her knitting she flings,
Up to her feet with her child she springs,
For creeping silently, stealthily,
Comes the limb of the prostrate moss-grown tree.
Still on it comes, creeping silently,
Then rises erect by Roschen's knee.
'A Moss-woman!' the haymakers cry,
And over the fields in terror they fly.
She is loosely clad from neck to foot,
In a mantle of moss from the maple's root,
And like lichen grey on its stem that grows
Is the hair that over her mantle flows.
Her skin like the maple-rind is hard,
Brown and ridgy and furrowed and scarred;
And each feature flat, like the mark we see
Where a bough has been lopped from the
    bole of a tree,
When the inner bark has crept healingly round
And laps o'er the edge of the open wound:
Her knotty, root-like feet are bare;
And her height is an ell from heel to hair.
A Moss-child clasped in her arms she holds,
Tenderly wrapped in her mantle folds;
A ghastly thing, as huelessly white
As the silver birch in the cold moonlight:
She cries to Roschen, in accents wild—
'It is sick, it will die; oh save my child!
Oh take to your breast my little one,
For the pitying love you bear your own!'
The haymakers one by one appear,
And then in a whispering crowd draw near;
As Roschen there with her child they see,
They call to her loudly and urgently:
But clinging about her the Moss-woman stands,
With the strength of despair in her clutching
hands, And the tone of despair in her accents wild— 'In pity, in pity, oh save my child!'
Then Roschen turns and solemnly cries—
'May I ne'er be laid where my husband lies;
May my own child perish before my face,
And I never look on his resting-place,
And long, long after him wearily live,
Oh neighbours! if I refuse to give
To this mother help in her agony,
For her babe, to her dear as mine to me.'
Her child at once on the ground she lays,
And a moment its rosy cheek surveys,
Then up to her shuddering breast she holds
The babe from the Moss-woman's mantle-folds:
About her bosom its fingers stray
Like twigs in the breath of departing day,
And like sound of twigs thus lightly stirred
Is its voice, in a low faint wailing heard.
With looks of pity and shame and awe
The haymakers silently backward draw,
While the Moss-woman gazes with glistening
At the knitting and thread that near her lie:
She snatches them up with a sharp quick cry:
Like leaves in a whirlwind her fingers fly,
And she scarcely seems to have well begun
When every thread on the reel is done.
And now the Moss-child's fingers small
Have stayed their twitchings and movements
all, In breathings calm ends its faint low wail, And maple-brown grows its cheek so pale:
With joy the mother this change beholds,
And wraps it again in her mantle-folds;
Then points to a small round ball of thread
That she by the knitting and reel has laid.
Says—' Never again need Roschen wield
The rake in hay or in harvest field,
But calmly at home with her little one bide
In her cottage down by the Danube side:
Let her knitting be ever so fast or free
The end of this ball she never shall see,
And nought from it knitted out-worn can be
Till my sapling grow to a forest tree.'