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CHAPTER X.

DARKNESS.

Shadows—Night Deities–Kobolds—Walpurgisnacht-Night as Abet

tor of Evil-doers—Nightmare-Dreams-Invisible Foes, Jacob and his Phantom-Nott—The Prince of Darkness—The Brood of Midnight-Second-Sight-Spectres of Souter Fell—The Moonshine Vampyre-Glamour-Glam and Grettir-A Story of Dartmoor.

Novembre Prince of Darknisible Thestr Jacobs

FROM the little night which clings to man even by dayhis own shadow—to the world's great shade of darkness, innumerable are the coverts from which have emerged the black procession of phantoms which have haunted the slumbers of the world, and betrayed the enterprise of man.

How strange to the first man seemed that shadow walking beside him, from the time when he saw it as a ghost tracking its steps and giving him his name for a ghost, on to the period in which it seemed the emanation of an occult power, as to them who brought their sick into the streets to be healed by the passing shadow of Peter; and still on to the day when Beaumont wrote

Our acts our angels are, or good or ill,

Our fatal shadows that walk by us still ; or that in which Goethe found therein the mystical symbo! of the inward arrest of our moral development, and said * No man can jump off of his shadow.' And then from the culture of Europe we pass to the Feejee-Islanders, and find them believing that every man has two spirits. One is his

232

NIGHT DEITIES.

shadow, which goes to Hades; the other is his image as reflected in water, and it is supposed to stay near the place where the man dies. But, like the giants of the Brocken, these demons of the Shadow are trembled at long after they are known to be the tremblers themselves mirrored on air. Have we not priests in England still fostering the belief that the baptized child goes attended by a white spirit, the unbaptized by a dark one? Why then need we apologise for the Fijians ?

But little need be said here of demons of the Dark, for they are closely related to the phantasms of Delusion, of Winter, and others already described. Yet have they distinctive characters. As many as were the sunbeams were the shadows; every goddess of the Dawn (Ushas) cast her shadow; every Day was swallowed up by Night. This is the cavern where hide the treacherous Panis (fog) in Vedic mythology, they who steal and hide Indra's cows; this is the realm of Hades (the invisible); this is the cavern of the hag Thökk (dark) in Scandinavian mythology,-she who alone of all in the universe refused to weep for Baldur when he was shut up in Helheim, where he had been sent by the dart of his blind brother Hödr (darkness). In the cavern of Night sleep the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, and Barbarossa, and all slumbering phantoms whose genius is the night-winged raven. Thorr, the Norse Hercules, once tried to lift a cat—as it seemed to him from the ground; but it was the great mid-earth serpent which encircles the whole earth. Impossible feat as it was for Thorr—who got only one paw of the seeming cat off the ground—in that glassless and gasless era, invention has accomplished much in that direction; but the black Cat is still domiciled securely among idols of the mental cave. There is an Anglo-Saxon word, cof-godas (lit. cove-gods),

1. The Origin of Civilisation,' &c. By Sir John Lubbock.

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employed as the equivalent of the Latin lares (the Penates, too, are interpreted as cof-godu, cofa signifying the inner recess of a house, penetrale). The word in German corresponding to this cofa, is koben ; and from this Hildebrand conjectures kob-old to be derived. The latter part of the word he supposes to be walt (one who 'presides over,' e.g., Walter); so that the original form would be kob-walt. 1 Here, then, in the recesses of the household, among the least enlightened of its members—the menials, who still often neutralise the efforts of rational people to dispel the delusions of their children—the discredited deities and demons of the past found refuge, and through a little baptismal change of names are familiars of millions unto this day. In the words of the ancient Hebrew, “they lay in their own houses prisoners of darkness, fettered with the bonds of a long night.' 'No power of the fire might give them light, neither could the bright flames of the stars lighten that horrible night.'? Well is it added, 'Fear is nothing else but a betraying of the succours which reason offereth,' a truth which finds ample illustration in the Kobolds. These imaginary beings were naturally associated with the dark recesses of mines. There they gave the name to our metal Cobalt. The value of Cobalt was

1 Hildebrand in Grimm's Wörterbuch.'

2 Wisdom of Solomon, xvii. What this impressive chapter says of the delusions of the guilty are equally true of those of ignorance. “They sleeping the same sleep that night . . . were partly vexed with monstrous apparitions, and partly fainted, their heart failing them ... whosoever there fell down was straitly kept, shut up in a prison without iron bars. ... Whether it were a whistling wind, or a melodious noise of birds among the spreading branches, or a pleasing fall of water running violently, or a terrible sound of stones cast down, or a running that could not be seen of skipping beasts, or a roaring voice of most savage wild beasts, or a rebounding echo from the hollow mountains: these things made them to swoon for fear. The whole world shined with clear light ... over them only was spread a heavy night, an image of that darkness which should afterward receive them : but yet were they to themselves more grievous than that darkness.'

234

WALPURGISNACHT.

not understood until the 17th century, and the metal was first obtained by the Swedish chemist Brandt in 1733. The miners had believed that the silver was stolen away by Kobolds, and these worthless' ores left in its place Nickel had the like history, and is named after Old Nick. So long did those Beauties slumber in the cavern of Ignorance till Science kissed them with its sunbeam, and led them forth to decorate the world !

How passed this (mental) cave-dweller even amid the upper splendours and vastnesses of his unlit world? A Faust guided by his Mephistopheles only amid interminable Hartz labyrinths.

How sadly rises, incomplete and ruddy,
The moon's lone disk, with its belated glow,
And lights so dimly, that, as one advances,
At every step one strikes a rock or tree !
Let us then use a Jack-o'-lantern's glances :
I see one yonder, burning merrily.
Ho, there! my friend! I'll levy thine attendance :
Why waste so vainly thy resplendence ?
Be kind enough to light us up the steep !

Tell me, if we still are standing,
Or if further we're ascending?
All is turning, whirling, blending,
Trees and rocks with grinning faces,
Wandering lights that spin in mazes,
Still increasing and expanding.'

It could only have been at a comparatively late period of social development that Sancho's benediction on the inventor of sleep could have found general response. The Red Indian found its helplessness fatal when the 'Nick of the Woods' was abroad; the Scotch sailor found in it a demon's opiate when the 'Nigg of the Sea' was gathering his storms above the sleeping watchman. It was among

? Bayard Taylor's · Faust.' Walpurgis-night.

THE MASK OF EVIL-DOERS.

235

the problems of Job, the coöperation of darkness with evil-doers.

The eye of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight;
He saith, No eye will see me,
And putteth a mask upon his face.
In the dark men break into houses;
In the day-time they shut themselves up;
They are strangers to the light.
The morning to them is the shadow of death;
They are familiar with the dark terrors of midnight.

Besides this fact that the night befriends and masks every treacherous foe, it is also to be remembered that man is weakest at night. Not only is he weaker than by day in the veil.drawn over his senses, but physiologically also. When the body is wearied out by the toils or combats of the day, and the mind haunted by dreams of danger, there are present all the terrors which Byron portrays around the restless pillow of Sardanapalus. The war-horse of the day becomes a night-mare in the darkness. In the Heimskringla it is recorded : •Vanland, Svegdir's son, succeeded his father and ruled over the Upsal domain. He was a great warrior, and went far around in different lands. Once he took up his winter abode in Finland with Snio the Old, and got his daughter Drisa in marriage ; but in spring he set out leaving Drisa behind, and although he had promised to return within three years he did not come back for ten. Then Drisa sent a message to the witch Hulda; and sent Visbur, her son by Vanland, to Sweden. Drisa bribed the witch-wife Hulda, either that she should bewitch Vanland to return to Finland or kill him. When this witch-work was going on Vanland was at Upsal, and a great desire came over him to go to Finland, but his friends and counsellors advised him against it, and said the witchcraft of the Fin people showed itself in this desire of his to go there. He

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