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THE AGUE-DEMON. 83
notions with those of Virgil (AEn. vi.) in his terrible picture of the frozen continent, where The parching air Burns frone, and cold performs th’ effect of fire : Thither by harpy-footed Furies haled At certain revolutions all the damn'd Are brought ; and feel by turns the bitter change Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce, From beds of raging fire to starve in ice Their soft etherial warmth, and there to pine Immovable, infix’d, and frozen round. With which may be compared Shakespeare's lines in “Measure for Measure '— The de-lighted spirit To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice. In Thibet hell is believed to have sixteen circles, eight burning, eight frozen, which M. Delepierre attributes to the rapid changes of their climate between the extremes of heat and cold." Plutarch, relating the vision of Thespesius in Hades, speaks of the frozen region there. Denys le Chartreux (De Poenis Inferni) says the severest of infernal torments is freezing. In the “Kalendar of Shepherds' (1506) a legend runs:—' Lazarus sayde, ‘I sawe a flode of frosone yee in the whiche envyous men and women were plonged unto the navyll, and then sodynly came a colde wynde ryght great that blewe and dyd depe downe all the envyous into the colde water that nothynge was seen of them.' Such, too, is Persian Ardá Viráf's vision. The Demon of Cold has a habitat, naturally, in every Northern region. He is the Ke-mung of China, who —man-shaped, dragon-headed—haunts the Chang river, and causes rain-storms.” In Greenland it is Erleursortok, who suffers perpetual agues, and leaps on souls at death
* “L'Enfer, p. 5. * Dennys’ ‘Folklore of China,' p. 98. P. 5 y P
to satisfy his hunger. The Chenoos (demons) of the Mimacs of Nova Scotia present certain features of the race- . demons, but are fearfully cold. The Chenoo weapon is a dragon's horn, his yell is fatal to the hearer, his heart is a block of ice. This heart must be destroyed if the demon is to be slain, but it can only be done by melting in the fire: the chief precaution required is that one is not drowned in the flood so caused. The icy demon survived long in Scotland. Sir James Melville, in his “Memoirs,' says “the spirit or devil that helped the Scottish witches to raise a storm in the sea of Norway was cold as ice aski his body hard as iron; his face was terrible, his nose like the beak of an eagle, great burning eyes, his hands and legs hairy, with claws on his nails like a griffin.' Dr. Fian was burnt for raising this demon to oppose James I. on his stormy passage from Denmark. This type of demon haunted people's minds in Scandinavia, where, though traditions of a flame demon (Loki) and the end of the world by fire were imported, the popular belief seems to have been mainly occupied with Frost giants, and the formidable Oegir, god of the bleak sea east winds, preserved in our word awe (Anglo-Saxon ege), and more directly in the name of our familiar demon, the Ogre, so often slain in the child's Gladsheim. Loki (fire) was, indeed, speedily relegated by the AEsir (gods) to a hidden subterraneous realm, where his existence could only be known by the earthquakes, geysers, and Hecla eruptions which he occasioned. Yet he was to come forth at Ragnarök, the Twilight of the Gods. We can see a singular blending of tropical and frigid zones—the one traditional, the other native—in the Prose Edda. Thus:–“What will remain,’ said Gangler, “after heaven and earth and the whole universe shall be consumed, and after all the gods and the homes of Valhalla and all mankind shall have
FIERY HEA VEMS. 85
perished 2’ ‘There will be many abodes,' replied Thridi, “some good, some bad. The best place of all to be in will be Gimil, in heaven; and all who delight in quaffing good drink will find a great store in the hall called Brimir, which is also in heaven in the region Okolni. There is also a fair hall of ruddy gold, (for) Sindri, which stands on the mountains of Nida. In those halls righteous and well-minded men shall abide. In Ná-strönd there is a vast and direful structure with doors that face the north. It is formed entirely of the backs of serpents, wattled together like wicker-work. But the serpents' heads are turned towards the inside of the hall, and continually vomit forth floods of venom, in which wade all those who commit murder or who forswear themselves. As it is said in the Völuspá:—
t She saw a hall - ' ' , ,
These names for the heavenly regions and their occupants indicate sunshine and fire. Gimil means fire (gimn): Brimir (brimi, flame), the giant, and Sindri (cinder), the dwarf, jeweller of the gods, are raised to halls of gold. Nothing is said of a garden, or walking therein “in the cool of the day.” On the other hand, Ná-strönd means Strand of the Dead, in that region whose doors face the north,’ far from the sun, we behold an inferno of extreme
86 GOTHIC DEMONS.
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.” 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
* Procopius, ‘De Bello Gothico," iv. 20.
MORTH SIDE OF CHURCHES. 87
are warned to invoke ‘fire for distempers; ' and Gudrun sings— Raise, ye Jarls, an oaken pile ; Let it under heaven the lightest be. May it burn a breast full of woes | The fire round my heart its sorrows melt.
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
* “Memorials of the Rev. R. S. Hawkes.