Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

level country. Many ages lay between that aged crone and Emerson or Ruskin, and they were ages of heavy war with the fortresses of nature. The fabled ordeals of water and fire through which the human race passed were associated with Ararat and Sinai, because to migrating or farming man the mountain was always an ordeal, irrespective even of its torrents or its occasional lava-streams. A terrible vista is opened by the cry of Lot, “I cannot escape to the mountain lest some evil take me !” Not even the fire consuming Sodom in the plains could nerve him to dare cope with the demons of the steep places. As time went on, devotees proved to the awe-stricken peasantries their sanctity and authority by combating those mountain demons, and erecting their altars in the ‘high places.' So many summits became sacred. But this very sanctity was the means of bringing on successive demoniac hordes to haunt them ; for every new religion saw in those altars in ‘high places' not victories over demons, but demon-shrines. And thus mountains became the very battlefields between rival deities, each demon to his or her rival; and the conflict lasts from the cursing of the ‘high places' by the priests of Israel" to the Devil's Pulpits of the Alps and Apennines. Among the beautiful frescoes at Baden is that of the Angel's and the Devil's Pulpit, by Götzenberger. Near Gernsbach, appropriately at the point where the cultivable valley meets the unconquerable crests of rock, stand the two pulpits from which Satan and an Angel contended, when the first christian missionaries had failed to convert the rude foresters. When, by the Angel's eloquence, all were won from the Devil's side except a few witches and usurers, the fiend tore up great masses of rock and built the “Devil's Mill’ on the moun

* Bel's mountain, “House of the Beloved," is called “high place’ in Assy

rian, and would be included in these curses (“Records of the Past," iii. 129). VOL. I. N


tain-top; and he was hurled down by the Almighty on the rocks near ‘Lord's Meadow, where the marks of his claws may still be seen, and where, by a diminishing number of undiminished ears, his groans are still heard when a storm rages through the valley. Such conflicts as these have been in some degree associated with every mountain of holy or unholy fame. Each was in its time a prosaic Hill Difficulty, with lions by no means chained, to affright the hearts of Mistrust and Timorous, till Dervish or Christian impressed there his holy footprint, visible from Adam's Peak to Olivet, or built there his convents, discernible from Meru and Olympus to Pontyprydd and St. Catharine's Hill. By necessary truces the demons and deities repair gradually to their respective summits, Seir and Sinai hold each their own. But the Holy Hills have never equalied the number of Dark Mountains 1 dreaded by man. These obstructive demons made the mountains Moul-ge and Nin-ge, names for the King and Queen of the Accadian Hell; they made the Finnish Mount Kippumaki the abode of all Pests. They have identified their name (Elf) with the Alps, given nearly every tarn an evil fame, and indeed created a special class of demons, ‘Montagnards,' much dreaded by mediaeval miners, whose faces they sometimes twisted so that they must look backward physically, as they were much in the habit of doing mentally, sor ever afterward. Gervais of Tilbury, in his Chronicle, declares that on the top of Mount Canigon in France, which has a very inaccessible summit, there is a black lake of unknown depth, at whose bottom the demons have a palace, and that if any one drops a stone into that water, the wrath of the mountain demons is shown in sudden and frightful tempests. From a like tarn in Cornwall, as Cornish Folklore claims, TEN/O. 195

* Jer. xiii. 16.

on an accessible but very tedious hill, came up the hand which received the brand Escalibore when its master could wield it no more, as told in the Morte D'Arthur, with, however, clear reference to the sea. I cannot forbear enlivening my page with the following sketch of a visit of English officers to the realm of Ten-jo, the long-nosed Mountain-demon of Japan, which is very suggestive of the mental atmosphere amid which such spectres exist. The mountains and forests of Japan are, say these writers, inhabited as thickly by good and evil spirits as the Hartz and Black Forest, and chief among them, in horrible sanctity, is O-yama-the word echoes the Hindu Yama, Japanese Amma, kings of Hades, whose demon is Ten-jo. ‘Abdul and Mulney once started, on three days' leave, with the intention of climbing to the summit—not of Ten-jo's nose, but of the mountain; their principal reason for so doing being simply that they were told by every one that they had better not. They first tried the ascent on the most accessible side, but fierce two-sworded yakomins jealously guarded it; and they were obliged to make the attempt on the other, which was almost inaccessible, and was Ten-jo's region. The villagers at the base of the mountain begged them to give up the project; and one old man, a species of patriarch, reasoned with them. “What are you going to do when you get to the top 2' he asked. Our two friends were forced to admit that their course, then, would be very similar to that of the king of France and his men—come down again. The old man laughed pityingly, and said, ‘Well, go if you like; but, take my word for it, Ten-jo will do you an injury.’ They asked who Ten-jo was. ‘Why Ten-jo,' said the old man, “is an evil spirit, with 196 TENJO’S TRIUMPH.

a long nose, who will dislocate your limbs if you persist in going up the mountain on this side.’ ‘How do you know he has got a long nose 2' they asked, “Have you ever seen him 2' ‘Because all evil spirits have long noses’—here Mulney hung his head, L' and, continued the old man, not noticing how dreadfully personal he was becoming to one of the party, “Ten-jo has the longest of the lot. Did you ever know a man with a long nose who was good 2’ ‘Come on,' said Mulney hurriedly to Abdul, “or the old fool will make me out an evil spirit.' ‘Syonara,’ said the old man as they walked away, “but look out for Ten-jo !’ After climbing hard for some hours, and not meeting a single human being, not even the wood-cutter could be tempted by the fine timber to encroach on Ten-jo's precincts, they reached the top, and enjoyed a magnificent view. After a rest they started on their descent, the worst part of which they had accomplished, when, as they were walking quietly along a good path, Abdul's ankle turned under him, and he went down as if he had been shot, with his leg broken in two places. With difficulty Mulney managed to get him to the village they had started from, and the news ran like wild-fire that Ten-jo had broken the leg of one of the adventurous to jins. ‘I told you how it would be,' exclaimed the old man, “but you would go. Ah, Ten-jo is a dreadful fellow !’ All the villagers, clustering round, took up the cry, and shook their heads. Ten-jo's reputation had increased wonderfully by this accident. Poor Abdul was on his back for eleven weeks, and numbers of Japanese—for he was a general favourite amongst them—went to see him, and to express their regret and horror at Ten-jo's behaviour." * “Our Life in Japan.’ By Jephson and Elmhirst.


It is obvious that to a demon dwelling in a high mountain a long nose would be variously useful to poke into the affairs of people dwelling in the plains, and also to enjoy the scent of their sacrifices offered at a respectful distance. That feature of the face which Napoleon I. regarded as of martial importance, and which is prominent in the warriors marked on the Mycenae pottery, has generally been a physiognomical characteristic of European ogres, who are blood-smellers. That the significance of Ten-jo's long nose is this, appears probable when we compare him with the Calmuck demon Erlik, whose long nose is for smelling out the dying. The Cossacks believed that the protector of the earth was a many-headed elephant. The snouted demon (figure 15) is from a picture of Christ delivering Adam and Eve from hell, by Lucas Van Leyden, I 52 I.

Fig. 15.-SNouTED DEMon.

The Chinese Mountains also have their demons. The demon of the mountain T’ai-shan, in Shantung, is believed to regulate the punishments of men in this world and the next. Four other demon princes rule over the principal mountain chains of the Empire. Mr. Dennys remarks that mountainous localities are so regularly the homes of fairies in Chinese superstition that some connection between the fact and the relation of ‘Elf” to ‘Alp' in Europe

« ZurückWeiter »