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126

ANIMALS POSSESSED.

comfort her, was going on. What do they all do?' we asked sympathetically. Why,' he replied, 'every beastly animal that comes to my house, there is a cry amongst them all, 'Chiosin, Chiosin has come back !' and the whole house swarms with cats and dogs and bats—for they say they are not quite sure which is Chiosin, and that they had better be kind to the lot than run the chance of treating him badly; the consequence is, all these brutes are fed on my rice and meat, and now I am driven out of doors and called an unnatural parent because I killed a mosquito which bit me!'i

The strange and inexplicable behaviour of animals in cases of fear, panic, or pain has been generally attributed by ignorant races to their possession by demons. Of this nature is the story of the devil entering the herd of swine and carrying them into the sea, related in the New Testament. It is said that even yet in some parts of Scotland the milkmaid carries a switch of the magical rowan to expel the demon that sometimes enters the cow. Professor Monier Williams writes from Southern India,

When my fellow-travellers and myself were nearly dashed to pieces over a precipice the other day by some restive horses on a ghat near Poona, we were told that the road at this particular point was haunted by devils who often caused similar accidents, and we were given to understand that we should have done well to conciliate Ganesa, son of the god Siva, and all his troops of evil spirits, before starting. The same writer also tells us that the guardian spirits or 'mothers' who haunt most regions of the Peninsula are believed to ride about on horses, and if they are angry, scatter blight and disease. Hence the traveller just arrived from Europe is startled

1 'Our Life in Japan' (Jephson and Elmhirst, 9th Regiment), Chapman & Hall, 1869.

THE HORSE AND THE GOAT. 127 and puzzled by apparitions of rudely-formed terra-cotta horses, often as large as life, placed by the peasantry round shrines in the middle of fields as acceptable propitiatory offerings, or in the fulfilment of vows in periods of sickness.'1

This was the belief of the Corinthians in the Taraxippos, or shade of Glaucus, who, having been torn in pieces by the horses with which he had been racing, and which he had fed on human flesh to make more spirited, remained to haunt the Isthmus and frighten horses during the races.

There is a modern legend in the Far West (Anerica) of a horse called “The White Devil,' which, in revenge for some harm to its comrades, slew men by biting and trampling them, and was itself slain after defying many attempts at its capture; but among the many ancient legends of demon-horses there are few which suggest anything about that animal hostile to man. His occasional evil character is simply derived from his association with man, and is therefore postponed. For a similar reason the Goat also must be dealt with hereafter, and as a symbolical animal. A few myths are met with which relate to its unpleasant characteristics. In South Guinea the odour of goats is accounted for by the Saga that their ancestor having had the presumption to ask a goddess for her aromatic ointment, she angrily rubbed him with ointment of a reverse kind. It has also been said that it was regarded as a demon by the worshippers of Bacchus, because it cropped the vines; and that it thus originated the Trageluphoi, or goat-stag monsters mentioned by Plato, and gave us also the word tragedy. But such traits of the Goat can have very little to do with its important relations to Mythology

London Times,' June 11, 1877.

Rep. 488.
3 Literally, goat-song. More probably it has an astrological sense.

128

THE STAG AND THE RAT.

and Demonology. To the list of animals demonised by association must also be added the Stag. No doubt the anxious mothers, wives, or sweethearts of rash young huntsmen utilised the old fables of beautiful hinds which in the deep forests changed to demons and devoured their pursuers, for admonition ; but the fact that such stags had to transform themselves for evil work is a sufficient certificate of character to prevent their being included among the animal demons proper, that is, such as have in whole or part supplied in their disposition to harm man the basis of a demonic representation.

It will not be deemed wonderful that Rats bear a venerable rank in Demonology. The shudder which some nervous persons feel at sight of even a harmless mouse is a survival from the time when it was believed that in this form unshriven souls or unbaptized children haunted their former homes; and probably it would be difficult to estimate the number of ghost-stories which have originated in their nocturnal scamperings. Many legends report the departure of unhallowed souls from human mouths in the shape of a Mouse. During the earlier Napoleonic wars mice were used in Southern Germany as diviners, by being set with inked feet on the map of Europe to show where the fatal Frenchmen would march. They gained this sanctity by a series of associations with force stretching back to the Hindu fable of a mouse delivering the elephant and the lion by gnawing the cords that bound them. The battle of the Frogs and Mice is ascribed to Homer. Mice are said to have foretold the first civil war in Rome by gnawing the gold in the temple. Rats appear in various legends as avengers. The uncles of King Popelus II., murdered by him and his wife and thrown into a lake, reappear as rats and gnaw the king and queen to death.

1 E.g., the demon Huorco in the ‘Pentamerone.'

THE LION

129 The same fate overtakes Miskilaus of Poland, through the transformed widows and orphans he had wronged. Mouse Tower, standing in the middle of the Rhine, is the haunted monument of cruel Archbishop Hatto, of Mainz, who (anno 970) bade the famine-stricken people repair to his barn, wherein he shut them fast and burned them. But next morning an army of rats, having eaten all the corn in his granaries, darkened the roads to the palace. The prelate sought refuge from them in the Tower, but they swam after, gnawed through the walls and devoured him.

St. Gertrude, wearing the funereal mantle of Holda, commands an army of mice. In this respect she succeeds to the Pied Piper of Hamelin, who also leads off children; and my ingenious friend Mr. John Fiske suggests that this may be the reason why Irish servant-maids often show such frantic terror at sight of a mouse. The care of children is often intrusted to them, and the appearance of mice prognosticated of old the appearance of the præternatural rat-catcher and psychopomp. Pliny says that in his time it was considered fortunate to meet a white rat.

The people of Bassorah always bow to these revered animals when seen, no doubt to propitiate them.

The Lion is a symbol of majesty and of the sun in his glory (reached in the zodiacal Leo), though here and there his original demonic character appears, -as in the combats of Indra, Samson, and Herakles with terrible lions. Euphemism, in one sense, fulfils the conditions of Samson's riddle-Sweetness coming out of the Strong—and has brought honey out of the Lion. His cruel character has subtly fallen to Sirius the Dog-star, to whom are ascribed the drought and malaria of dog-days' (when the

1 See De Gubernatis''Zoological Mythology,' which contains further curious details on this subject. 2 • Myths and Myth-makers.' Boston : Osgood & Co.

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sun is in Leo); but the primitive fact is intiniated in several fables like that of Aristæus, who, born after his mother had been rescued from the Lybian lion, was worshipped in Ceos as a saviour from both droughts and lions. The Lion couching at the feet of beautiful Doorga in India, reappears drawing the chariot of Aphrodite, and typifies the potency of beauty rather than, as Emerson interprets, that beauty depends on strength. The chariot of the Norse Venus, Freyja, was drawn by Cats, diminished forms of her Southern sister's steeds. It was partly by these routes the Cat came to play the sometimes beneficent rôle in Russian, and to some extent in German, French, and English folklore,--e.g., Puss in Boots, Whittington and his Cat, and Madame D'Aulnoy's La Chatte Blanche. The demonic characteristics of the destructive cats have been inherited by the black,-or, as in Macbeth, the brindled,-cat. In Germany the approach of a cat to a sick-bed announces death; to dream of one is an evil omen. In Hungary it is said every black cat becomes a witch at the age of seven. It is the witch's favourite riding-horse, but may sometimes be saved from such servitude by incision of the sign of the cross. A scratch from a black cat is thought to be the beginning of a fatal spell.

De Gubernatis1 has a very curious speculation concerning the origin of our familiar fable the Kilkenny Cats, which he traces to the German superstition which dreads the combat between cats as presaging death to one who witnesses it; and this belief he finds reflected in the Tuscan child's 'game of souls,' in which the devil and angel are supposed to contend for the soul. The author thinks this may be one outcome of the contest between Night and Twilight in Mythology; but, if the connection can be traced, it would probably prove to be derived

1. Zoological Mythology,' p. 64.

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