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cold. Christianity has not availed to give the Icelanders any demonic name suggestive of fire. They speak of 'Skratti' (the roarer, perhaps our Old Scratch), and * Kolski' (the coal black one), but promise nothing so luminous and comfortable as fire or fire-fiend to the evil-doer.
In the great Epic of the Nibelungen Lied we have probably the shape in which the Northman's dream of Paradise finally cohered,-a Rose-garden in the South, guarded by a huge Worm (water-snake, or glittering glacial sea intervening), whose glowing charms, with Beauty (Chriemhild) for their queen, could be won only by a brave dragonslaying Siegfried. In passing by the pretty lakeside home of Richard Wagner, on my way to witness the Ammergau version of another dragon-binding and paradise-regaining legend, I noted that the old name of the (Starnberg) lake was Wurmsee, from the dragon that once haunted it, while from the composer's window might be seen its 'Isle of Roses,' which the dragon guarded. Since then the myth of many forms has had its musical apotheosis at Bayreuth under his wand.
England, partly perhaps on account of its harsh climate, once had the reputation of being the chief abode of demons. A demoness leaving her lover on the Continent says, ' My mother is calling me in England.'1 But England assigned them still higher latitudes; in christianising Ireland, Iona, and other islands far north, it was preliminary to expel the demons. The Clavie,' the ‘Deis-iuil' of Lewis and other Hebrides islands-fire carried round cattle to defend them from demons, and around mothers not yet churched, to keep the babes from being 'changed'—show that the expulsion still goes on, though in such regions Norse and christian notions have become so jumbled that it is ‘fighting the devil with fire.' So in the Havamal men
1 Procopius, ' De iBello Gothicu,' iv. 20.
NORTH SIDE OF CHURCHES.
87 are warned to invoke 'fire for distempers ;' and Gudrun sings
Raise, ye Jarls, an oaken pile ;
The last line is in contrast with the Hindu saying, 'the flame of her husband's pyre cools the widow's breast.'
The characters of the Northern Heaven and Hell survive in the English custom of burying the dead on the southern side of a church. How widely this usage prevailed in Brand's time may be seen by reference to his chapter on churchyards. The north side of the graveyard was set apart for unbaptized infants and executed criminals, and it was permitted the people to dance or play tennis in that part. Dr. Lee says that in the churchyard at Morwenstow the southern portion only contains graves, the north part being untenanted; as the Cornish believe (following old traditions) that the north is the region of demons. In some parishes of Cornwall when a baptism occurs the north door of the nave opposite the font is thrown open, so that the devil cast out may retire to his own region, the north. This accords with the saying in Martin's Month's Mind '-ab aquilone omne malum.
Indeed, it is not improbable that the fact noted by White, in his ' History of Selborne,' that 'the usual approach to most country churches is by the south,' indicated a belief that the sacred edifice should turn its back on the region of demons. It is a singular instance of survival which has brought about the fact that people who listen devoutly to sermons describing the fiery character of Satan and his abode should surround the very churches in which those sermons are heard with evidences of their lingering
1.Memorials of the Rev. K. S. Hawkes.
faith that the devil belongs to the region of ice, and that their dead must be buried in the direction of the happy abodes of Brimir and Sindri,-Fire and Cinders!
M. François Lenormant has written an extremely instructive chapter in comparison of the Accadian and the Finnish mythologies. He there shows that they are as one and the same tree, adapted to antagonistic climates. With similar triad, runes, charms, and even names in some cases, their regard for the fire worshipped by both varies in a way that seems at first glance somewhat anomalous. The Accadians in their fire-worship exhausted the resources of praise in ascription of glory and power to the flames; the Finns in their cold home celebrated the fire festival at the winter solstice, uttered invocations over the fire, and the mother of the family, with her domestic libation, said : ‘Always rise so high, O my flame, but burn not larger nor more ardent!' This diminution of enthusiasm in the Northern fire-worshipper, as compared with the Southern, may only be the result of euphemism in the latter; or perhaps while the formidable character of the fire-god among the primitive Assyrians is indicated in the utter prostration before him characteristic of their litanies and invocations, in the case of the Finns the perpetual presence of the more potent cold led to the less excessive adoration. These ventured to recognise the faults of fire.
The true nature of this anomaly becomes visible when we consider that the great demon, dreaded by the two countries drawing their cult from a common source, represented the excess of the power most dreaded. The demon in each case was a wind; among the Finns the north wind, among the Accadians the south-west (the most fiery) wind. The Finnish demon was Hiisi, speeding on his pale horse
1 'La Magie chez les Chaldéens,' ii.
through the air, with a terrible train of monster dogs, cats, furies, scattering pain, disease, and death. The Accadian demon, of which the bronze image is in the Louvre, is the body of a dog, erect on eagle's feet, its arms pointed with lion's paws; it has the tail of a scorpion and the head of a skeleton, half stripped of flesh, preserving the eyes, and mounted with the horns of a goat. It has four outspread wings. On the back of this ingeniously horrible image is an inscription in the Accadian language, apprising us that it is the demon of the south-west wind, made to be placed at the door or window, to avert its hostile action.
As we observe such figures as these on the one hand, and on the other the fair beings imagined to be antagonistic to them; as we note in runes and incantations how intensely the ancients felt themselves to be surrounded by these good and evil powers, and, reading nature so, learned to see in the seasons successively conquering and conquered by each other, and alternation of longer days and longer nights, the changing fortunes of a never-ending battle; we may better realise the meaning of solstitial festivals, the customs that gathered around Yuletide and New Year, and the manifold survivals from them which annually masquerade in christian costume and names. To our sun-worshipping ancestor the new year meant the first faint advantage of the warmer time over winter, as nearly as he could fix it. The hovering of day between superiority of light and darkness is now named after doubting Thomas. At Yuletide the dawning victory of the sun is seen as a holy infant in a manger amid beasts of the stall. The old nature-worship has bequeathed to christian belief a close-fitting mantle. But the old idea of a war between the wintry and the warm powers still haunts the period of
1 Lönnrot, ‘Abhandlung über die Magische Medicin der Finnen.'
the New Year; and the twelve days and nights, once believed to be the period of a fiercely-contested battle between good and evil demons, are still regarded by many as a period for especial watchfulness and prayer. New Year's Eve, in the north of England still ‘Hogmanay,'probably O. N. höku-nött, midwinter-night, when the sacrifices of Thor were prepared,—formerly had many observances which reflected the belief that good and evil ghosts were contending for every man and woman : the air was believed to be swarming with them, and watch must be kept to see that the protecting fire did not go out in any household; that no strange man, woman, or animal approached, -possibly a demon in disguise. Sacred plants were set in doors and windows to prevent the entrance of any malevolent being from the multitudes filling the air. John Wesley, whose noble heart was allied with a mind strangely open to stories of hobgoblins, led the way of churches and sects back into this ancient atmosphere. Nevertheless, the rationalism of the age has influenced St. Wesley's Feast-Watchnight. It can hardly recognise its brother in the Boar's Head Banquet of Queen's College, Oxford, which celebrated victory over tusky winter, the decapitated demon whose bristles were once icicles fallen beneath the sylvan spirits of holly and rosemary. Yet what the Watchnight really signifies in the antiquarian sense is just that old culminating combat between the powers of fire and frost, once believed to determine human fates. In White Russia, on New Year's Day, when the annual elemental battle has been decided, the killed and wounded on one hand, and the fortunate on the other, are told by carrying from house to house the rich and the poor Kolyadas. These are two children, one dressed in fine attire, and crowned with a wreath of full ears of grain, the other ragged, and wearing a wreath of