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SCOTT/SH SUPERST/TVOAVS. 93
rather a vigilance of that perilous kind which was exercised by “Meggie o' the Shore,' anno 1785, as related by Hugh Miller." On a boisterous night, when two young girls had taken refuge in her cottage, they all heard about midnight cries of distress mingling with the roar of the sea. “Raise the window curtain and look out,' said Meggie. The terrified girls did so, and said, “There is a bright light in the middle of the Bay of Udall. It hangs over the water about the height of a ship's mast, and we can see something below it like a boat riding at anchor, with the white sea raging around her.’ ‘Now drop the curtain,' said Meggie; ‘I am no stranger, my lasses, to sights and noises like these—sights and noises of another world; but I have been taught that God is nearer to me than any spirit can be ; and so have learned not to be afraid.’ Afterwards it is not wonderful that a Cromarty yawl was discovered to have foundered, and all on board to have been drowned; though Meggie's neighbours seemed to have preserved the legend after her faith, and made the scene described a premonition of what actually occurred. It was in a region where mariners when becalmed invoke the wind by whistling ; and both the whistling and the praying, though their prospects in the future may be slender, have had a long career in the past. In the ‘Rig-Veda” there is a remarkable hymn to Rudra (the Roarer), which may be properly quoted here:— I. Sire of the storm gods, let thy favour extend to us; shut us not out from the sight of the sun; may our hero be successful in the onslaught. O Rudra, may we wax mighty in our offspring. 2. Through the assuaging remedies conferred by thee, O Rudra, may we reach a hundred winters; drive away far from us hatred, distress, and all-pervading diseases.
* “Scenes and Legends of the North of Scotland.” Nimmo, 1876.
3. Thou, O Rudra, art the most excellent of beings in glory, the strongest of the strong, O wielder of the bolt; bear us safely through evil to the further shore; ward off all the assaults of sin. 4. May we not provoke thee to anger, O Rudra, by our adorations, neither through faultiness in praises, nor through wantonness in invocations; lift up our heroes by thy remedies; thou art, I hear, the chief physician among physicians. 5. May I propitiate with hymns this Rudra who is worshipped with invocations and oblations; may the tenderhearted, easily-entreated, tawny-haired, beautiful-chinned god not deliver us up to the plotter of evil [literally, to the mind meditating ‘I kill'). 6. The bounteous giver, escorted by the storm-gods, hath gladdened me, his suppliant, with most invigorating food; as one distressed by heat seeketh the shade, may I, free from harm, find shelter in the good-will of Rudra. 7. Where, O Rudra, is that gracious hand of thine, which is healing and comforting 2 Do thou, removing the evil which cometh from the gods, O bounteous giver, have mercy upon me. 8. To the tawny, the fair-complexioned dispenser of bounties, I send forth a great and beautiful song of praise; adore the radiant god with prostrations; we hymn the illustrious name of Rudra. 9. Sturdy-limbed, many-shaped, fierce, tawny, he hath decked himself with brilliant ornaments of gold; truly strength is inseparable from Rudra, the sovereign of this vast world. IO. Worthy of worship, thou bearest the arrows and the bow; worthy of worship, thou wearest a resplendent necklace of many forms; worthy of worship, thou rulest
over this immense universe; there is none, O Rudra, mightier than thou. II. Celebrate the renowned and ever-youthful god who is seated on a chariot, who is, like a wild beast, terrible, fierce, and destructive ; have mercy upon the singer, O Rudra, when thou art praised; may thy hosts strike down another than us. 12. As a boy saluteth his father who approacheth and speaketh to him, so, O Rudra, I greet thee, the giver of much, the lord of the good; grant us remedies when thou art praised. 13. Your remedies, O storm-gods, which are pure and helping, O bounteous givers, which are joy-conferring, which our father Manu chose, these and the blessing and succour of Rudra I crave. 14. May the dart of Rudra be turned aside from us, may the great malevolence of the flaming-god be averted; unbend thy strong bow from those who are liberal with their wealth; O generous god, have mercy upon our offspring and our posterity (i.e., our children and children's children). 15. Thus, O tawny Rudra, wise giver of gifts, listen to our cry, give heed to us here, that thou mayest not be angry with us, O god, nor slay us; may we, rich in heroic sons, utter great praise at the sacrifice." In other hymns the malevolent character of Rudra is made still more prominent:— 7. Slay not our strong man nor our little child, neither him who is growing nor him who is grown, neither our father nor our mother; hurt not, O Rudra, our dear selves. 8. Harm us not in our children and children's children, nor in our men, nor in our kine, nor in our horses. Smite
* “Rig-Veda,” ii. 33. Tr, by Professor Evans of Michigan.
not our heroes in thy wrath; we wait upon thee perpetually with offerings." In this hymn (verse 1) Rudra is described as ‘having braided hair;' and in the “Yajur-veda' and the ‘Atharvaveda' other attributes of Siva are ascribed to him, such as the epithet mila-growa, or blue-necked. In the ‘Rig-veda’ Siva occurs frequently as an epithet, and means auspicious. It was used as a euphemistic epithet to appease Rudra, the lord of tempests; and finally, the epithet developed into a distinct god. The parentage of Siva is further indicated in the legends that his glance destroyed the head of the youthful deity Ganesa, who now wears the elephant head, with which it was replaced; and that the gods persuaded him to keep his eyes perpetually winking (like sheet-lightning), lest his concentrated look (the thunderbolt) should reduce the universe to ashes. With the latter legend the gaze of flie cvil eye in India might naturally be associated, though in the majority of countries this was rather associated with the malign influences ascribed to certain planets, especially Saturn ; the charms against the evil eye being marked over with zodiacal signs. The very myth of Siva's eye survives in the Russian demon Magarko (“Winker') and the Servian Vii, whose glance is said to have power to reduce men, and even cities, to ashes. The terrible Rudra is represented in a vast number of beliefs, some of them perhaps survivals; in the rough sea and east-wind demon Oegir of the northern world, and Typhon in the south; and in Luther's faith that ‘devils do house in the dense black clouds, and send storms, hail, thunder and lightning, and poison the air with their infernal stench,' a doctrine which Burton, the Anatomist of Melan" * “Rig-Veda,” i. 114.
choly, too, maintained against the meteorologists of his time. Among the ancient Aryans lightning seems to have been the supreme type of divine destructiveness. Rudra's dart, Siva's eye, reappear with the Singhalese prince of demons Wessamonny, described as wielding a golden sword, which, when he is angry, flies out of his hand, to which it spontaneously returns, after cutting off a thousand heads." A wonderful spear was borne by Odin, and was possibly the original Excalibur. The four-faced Sviatevit of Russia, whose mantle has fallen to St. George, whose statue was found at Zbrucz in 1851, bore a horn of wine (rain) and a sword (lightning). In Greece similar swords were wielded by Zeus, and also by the god of war. Through Zeus and Ares, the original wielders of the lightning—Indra and Siva–became types of many gods and semi-divine heroes. The evil eye of Siva glared from the forehead of the Cyclopes, forgers of thunderbolts; and the saving disc of Indra flashed in the swords and arrows of famous dragon-slayers—Perseus, Pegasus, Hercules, and St. George. The same sword defended the Tree of Life in Eden, and was borne in the hand of Death on the Pale Horse (a white horse was sacrificed to Sviatevit in Russia within christian times). And, finally, we have the wonderful sword which obeys the command “Heads off!' delighting all nurseries by the service it does to the King of the Golden Mountain. “I beheld Satan as lightning falling out of heaven.' To the Greeks this falling of rebellious deities out of heaven accounted, as we have seen explained, for their lameness. But a universal phenomenon can alone account for the many demons with crooked or crippled legs (like ‘Diable