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THE DUERGAR. 163
death by Mara (night-mare). Vanlandi's son too, Visbur, fell a victim to sorcery. Such legends as these, and many others which may be found in Sturleson's Heimskringla, have influenced our popular stories whose interest turns on the skill with which some little Jack or Thumbling overcomes his adversary by superior cunning. Superstitions concerning dwarf-powers are especially, rife in Northumberland, where they used to be called Duergar, and they were thought to abound on the hills between Rothbury and Elsdon. They mislead with torches. One story relates that a traveller, beguiled at night into a hut where a dwarf prepared a comfortable fire for him, found himself when daylight returned sitting upon the edge of a deep rugged precipice, where the slightest movement had caused him to be dashed to pieces." The Northumbrian stories generally, however, do not bear the emphasis of having grown out of aboriginal conditions, or even of having been borrowed for such. The legends of Scotland, and of the South-West of England, appear to me much more suggestive of original struggles between large races and small. They are recalled by the superstitions which still linger in Norway concerning the Lapps, who are said to carry on unholy dealings with gnomes. In the last century the ‘Brownie’ was commonly spoken of in Scotland as appearing in shape of “a tall man,' and the name seems to refer to the brown complexion of that bogey, and its long brown hair, hardly Scottish.” It is generally the case that Second Sight, which once attained the dignity of being called ‘Deuteroscopia, sees a doomed man or woman shrink to the size of a dwarf. The “tall man' is not far off in such cases. “In some age of the world more remote than even that of Alypos,’ says
... " Richardson's ‘Borderer's Fable-Book,” vi. 97.
Hugh Miller, “the whole of Britain was peopled by giants —a fact amply supported by early English historians and the traditions of the North of Scotland. Diocletian, king of Syria, say the historians, had thirty-three daughters, who, like the daughters of Danaus, killed their husbands on their wedding night. The king, their father, in abhorrence of the crime, crowded them all into a ship, which he abandoned to the mercy of the waves, and which was drifted by tides and winds till it arrived on the coast of Britain, then an uninhabited island. There they lived solitary, subsisting on roots and berries, the natural produce of the soil, until an order of demons, becoming enamoured of them, took them for their wives; and a tribe of giants, who must be regarded as the true aborigines of the country, if indeed the demons have not a prior claim, were the fruit of these marriages. Less fortunate, however, than even their prototypes the Cyclops, the whole tribe was extirpated a few ages after by Brutus the parricide, who, with a valour to which mere bulk could offer no effectual resistance, overthrew Gog-Magog and Termagol, and a whole host of others with names equally terrible. Tradition is less explicit than the historians in what relates to the origin and extinction of the race, but its narratives of their prowess are more minute. There is a large and ponderous stone in the parish of Edderston which a giantess of the tribe is said to have flung from the point of a spindle across the Dornoch Firth; and another, within a few miles of Dingwall, still larger and more ponderous, which was thrown by a person of the same family, and which still bears the marks of a gigantic finger and thumb.'" Perhaps we may find the mythological descendants of these Titans, and also of the Druids, in the so-called
“Great Men' once dreaded by Highlanders. The natives of South Uist believed that a valley, called Glenslyte, situated between two mountains on the east side of the island, was haunted by these Great Men, and that if any one entered the valley without formally resigning themselves to the conduct of those beings, they would infallibly become mad. Martin, having remonstrated with the people against this superstition, was told of a woman's having come out of the valley a lunatic because she had not uttered the spell of three sentences. They also told him of voices heard in the air. The Brownie (“a tall man with very long brown hair'), who has cow's milk poured out for him on a hill in the same region, probably of this giant tribe, might easily have been demonised at the time when the Druids were giving St. Columba so much trouble, and trying to retain their influence over the people by professing supernatural powers." The man of the smaller stature, making up for his inferiority by invention, perhaps first forged the sword, the coat of mail, and the shield, and so confronted the giant with success. The god with the Hammer might thus supersede the god of the Flint Spear. Magic art seemed to have rendered invulnerable the man from whom the arrow rebounded. It would appear from King Olaf Tryggvason's Saga that nine hundred years ago the Icelanders and the Danes reciprocally regarded each other as giants and dwarfs. The Icelanders indited lampoons against the Danes which allude to their diminutive size:— The gallant Harald in the field Between his legs lets drop his shield, Into a pony he was changed, &c.
On the other hand, the Danes had by no means a con* Dr. James Browne's ‘History of the Highlands," p. 113.
temptuous idea of their Icelandic enemies, as the following narrative from Heimskringla proves. ‘King Harald told a warlock to hie to Iceland in some altered shape, and to try what he could learn there to tell him: and he set out in the shape of a whale. And when he came near to the land he went to the west side of Iceland, north around the land, when he saw all the mountains and hills full of land-serpents, some great, some small. When he came to Vapnafiord he went in towards the land, intending to go on shore; but a huge dragon rushed down the dale against him, with a train of serpents, paddocks, and toads, that blew poison towards him. Then he turned to go westward around the land as far as Eyafiord, and he went into the fiord. Then a bird flew against him, which was so great that its wings stretched over the mountains on either side of the fiord, and many birds, great and small, with it. Then he swam further west, and then south into Breidafiord. When he came into the fiord a large grey bull ran against him, wading into the sea, and bellowing fearfully, and he was followed by a crowd of land-serpents. From thence he went round by Reikaness and wanted to land at Vikarsted, but there came down a hill-giant against him with an iron staff in his hands. He was a head higher than the mountains, and many other giants followed him.’ The most seductive Hesperian gardens of the South and East do not appear to have been so thoroughly guarded or defended as Iceland, and one can hardly call it cowardice when (after the wizard-whale brought back the log of its voyage) it is recorded: “Then the Danish king turned about with his fleet and sailed back to Denmark.' It is a sufficiently curious fact that the Mimacs, aborigines of Nova Scotia," were found with a whale-story, already referred to (p. 46), so much like this. They also
* “North American Review,’ January 1871.
ASLES OF THE GAZAV//. 167
have the legend of an ancient warrior named Booin, who possessed the praeternatural powers especially ascribed to Odin, those of raising storms, causing excessive cold, increasing or diminishing his size, and assuming any shape. Besides the fearful race of gigantic ice-demons dreaded by this tribe, as elsewhere stated (p. 84), they dread also a yellow-horned dragon called Cheepichealm, (whose form the great Booin sometimes assumes). They make offerings to the new moon. They believe in pixies, calling them Wigguladum-moochkik, ‘very little people.' They anciently believed in two great spirits, good and evil, both called Manitoos; since their contact with christians only the evil one has been so called. The entire motif of the Mimac Demonology is, to my mind, that of early conflicts with some formidable races. It is to be hoped that travellers will pay more attention to this unique race before it has ceased to exist. The Chinese theory of genii is almost exactly that of the Mimacs. The Chinese genii are now small as a moth, now fill the world; can assume any form ; they command demons; they never die, but, at the end of some centuries, ride to heaven on a dragon's back.” Ordinarily the Chinese genii use the yellow heron as an aerial courser. The Mimacs believe in a large praeternatural water-bird, Culloo, which devours ordinary people, but bears on its back those who can tame it by magic. Mr. Mayers, in his “Chinese Reader's Manual,” suggests that the designation of Formosa as ‘Isles of the Genii’ (San Shén Shan) by the Chinese, has some reference to their early attempts at colonisation in Japan. Su Fuh, a necromancer, who lived B.C. 219, is said to have announced their discovery, and at the head of a troop of young men and maidens, voyaged with an expedition towards them,